Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Maple Tree: Beauty and the Beast

I love the towering maple.  The birds love it also.

It is beautiful, especially in the fall, as its leaves change color.  But its beauty has a dark side--Leaf Fall.     The falling leaves create a time of intense labor for me.

Like cats who shed their winter coats in the spring, the maple drops its leaves in the fall.  The maple has no use for them in the winter, when the sun rarely shows.

The colors of the dying leaves are spectacular.  But then they fall.  In volume.

On the ground, or worse, atop the cat yard wire,  they become my problem.

We have leaf pickup three times in the next two months here in town.  The date of each pickup spans over a week and you never know when they might come during those days to pick up the leaves.   It is messy to start piling them in the street for pickup.  By the time they come for them, they will be strewn all over the area, or flattened to a soggy pulp pile by cars running over the long high piles.

But it is the best I can do here.  I rake the leaves onto plastic tarps then pull the tarp out to the street and dump the piles along the curb.

I wish I could measure the volume of leaves the maple drops each fall.

But, the cat yard wire catches the leaves too.  Want to see?  This is a 3 day accumulation.  It took me hours 3 days ago to get the leaves off.  I was going to do so yesterday again, but the blower fried.

The above photos were taken from inside the cat yard.

On previous cat yards, I attached the wire along two sides to wooden poles.  I attached hooks to the eaves and hung the poles from the hooks.  I need to redo it that way here.    Then you can lower an entire side, to dump off leaves, very easily.

There's a branch broken off, laid out horizontal, with its branchy end caught in the top of the cherry tree.  It will fall when the wind knocks it free of the cherry tree's grip.  I just have to be sure to remember its up there and to be wary.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Toro Mulcher/Blower Fries Just a Year after Purchase from Home Depot


I hate that maple tree in the fall.  The branches are tall and spindly and scary in the wind.  But its the leaf production that makes life in the fall rather a hell.

The leaves fall by the truckload.   Many fall onto the wire of the cat yard turning day in the yard to night.  I used to whack at the wire from underneath, with a broom, to try to get them off, but I can't do that anymore.  Hurts my neck and shoulder.

So last year, I bought a mulcher/blower, Toro brand, at Home Depot.  I have the receipt that says I bought it on October 11 last year.  I didn't use it much, just the rest of the leaf season.   I've used it so far three times this year, the last time being tonight.

Suddenly, after only ten minutes out there, it began to smell awful and then smoke poured out of both sides. I quickly unplugged it and ran it out to the driveway so it wouldn't catch anything on fire.

It smoked another ten minutes or so, and I went and found my camera to get a video although it had mostly stopped smoking by the time I found the camera.  I am not happy.  To have something last only a year with such minimal use means it was crap to begin with.  It's made in Mexico.  The warranty from Home Depot on it was only 90 days.

It's almost like they build this stuff to break and expect me to dutifully go buy another piece of plastic crap to replace it.  I'll go back to whacking at the leaves from underneath with a broom before I'll lay out cash for crap.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sweet Little Waterloo Girl

  This is the latest little kitten from the Waterloo Residential colony.   She is darling but very shy.   Julie trapped her up there on Friday and she came here the same day.  The two Julie got from the county park went back to the camp host.  The camp host decided she wanted them back.  I have them scheduled to be fixed next week at Heartland, while this little girl will be fixed Thursday.  Her fix will cost $40.   Getting the two fixed from the county park will cost $80.  Waterloo has been expensive to "fix"!  This little girl is the 43rd cat helped at the Residential colony.
I think she is precious.

I am thinking I might name her Powder.  What do you think?  Or do you have ideas for a name?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

More Waterloo Kittens

I've been trying to recuperate since the 28 cat adventure in Harrisburg and then the trip to the coast with two cats.

My computer has been acting up.   Another of my pocket cameras bit the dust when the "on" button stuck, so its always on and drains batteries within an hour.  I can only use it if I take the batteries out if I take a photo and then put them in for a photo.

So, I went online again, back to ebay, to try to find a camera like the one I had ten years ago, with the rotating LCD screen so I can actually see, in sun, what I'm trying to photograph.  You can't see much of the time with the little cameras whose back is entirely a fixed place LCD and no viewfinder.

Once again I ordered the same camera.  I ordered a replacement off ebay when the one I had originally fried, literally.  Sparked and snapped and smoked!  Somehow water, probably rain, had gotten into the circuit board and it shorted out when I tried to take a photo.  But that replacement camera lasted only a year before the lens froze in the dreaded "lens error".  I finally freed it, but it would not focus anymore.  Apparently the lens pins were broken or had disengaged.

I also tried to order the same camera, used, on Amazon.   But the seller never sent it, once I bought it, and never responded, so Amazon refunded my money (and I hope suspended that bogus lousy seller).

That's when I went back to ebay and found one very cheap, as now they are considered extremely old cameras.  It came within a few days.  No camera strap is the only problem.   Otherwise, it works like a charm.  For how long, I don't know, but I am back in business and hope to find something I can use for a strap soon.

I am currently broke.   Too much personal outlay this month for gas, bait, and Panda's emergency and I lost $100 when trying to get Panda to the emergency vet.  I had taken out cash to pay the immediate $90 one must lay out to get in the door at the emergency vet, and then somehow, in the worry I was in, getting Panda into the car, I misplaced it.  I don't know how that happened or where it happened but I hope to stumble across that money at some point.

I am trying to keep a low profile for the rest of the month.   However, that doesn't always work.  For instance, as of last night, I have 3 more Waterloo kittens in my bathroom in fact, two from the county park, and one from the residential colony there.   Julie was able to get two others earlier, from the residential colony, whom I took to a Portland rescue (Animal Rescue and Care Fund) when I took them also the 7 Harrisburg tinies.  She had left the Waterloo colony woman a carrier and a few days ago, the woman called, said she had two more, whom Julie now has at her place.  But she trapped a fifth yesterday and also had two relinquished from a camp host in the park there, who had had six in her RV.  The camp host had given four away already, unfortunately unfixed.
Two more from the Waterloo residential colony.  The black is a girl, while the long hair gray is a boy.  They were covered in fleas and full of worms.
And now this one, also from Waterloo Residential colony.
Black tux boy kitten from county park

Torti girl kitten also from the county park

So, in all, Julie has managed to get 7 more kittens out of the Waterloo colonies.  Two are already now up with Animal Rescue and Care Fund.  Two are at her place with one I think spoken for, and three are here.

The sad thing is, the camp host lady told Julie she'd seen more kittens in the briers.  I knew there might be more, given the number of lactating females I had trapped up there.  Bootsy (got her six kittens who went to Heartland), Indy (got her six too, in foster in Portland), then Gracie (gray), Little Gracie (brown tabby tux) and Emmie (a calico) all were lactating and the six kittens the camp host found were not all of them, from those 3 lactating mothers.  I knew there were likely more.

  It's also sad that four of those six she had in her camper may go on to produce more unwanted kittens and cats, since they were given away unfixed.

The numbers from the Waterloo residential colony alone are staggering.   17 kittens and teens relinquished, 26 others fixed and returned.  That's 43 cats and kittens helped, just at that one place in Waterloo.  That's so far.

It never ends.

I forgot to mention I went up yesterday to get my traps back from the woman who took in the 11 kittens from Harrisburg.  Not the tinies, the littles (2 to 3 months in age).  I also took her some kitten food, wet and dry, and round wormer and $110 in support money, for care of the kittens.  I had already taken her $30.  I believe it is the ethical thing to do, if a rescue or foster has little money and they've taken in so many from me, to give them a chance.  I took $260 in cat food and cash to FCAT, when they took in the six eating from the dumpster in the Sweet Home trailer park.  I can't always do it, and always wish it could be more, but I don't get that many donations.

 I took the support money from my personal funds, another reason I am broke, but will reimburse myself if there's enough in HCC funds.  It's part of the HCC mission to support those stepping up to help out cats in trouble.

A woman from Eugene was there to adopt two, but ended up taking three.  I knew Autumn, the darling little calico would be snapped up and she was one who went along with two of the orange and white boys.  I then helped the woman transfer the three left out in her cattery, to her bathroom, and snuggled with them in her bathroom, as they too are pushovers (easy to tame) and darling beyond darling.  Two more of them, likely Pumpkin and Willow, move on to a shelter for adoption next week.  For five of them to move on to homes or shelters within a week and a half, now that's something.

Willow, photo taken when I trapped him, is such a love now.  

Autumn, plus two of her orange and white brothers/cousins, has moved on to a home in Eugene.

But for some good news.  
Ace and Deuce, unwanted in Albany, whom I got fixed through Happy Cat Club, then took up to Felines First Rescue, were adopted together.
 And Shiloh, whom I trapped in Albany, who was being fed as a stray and was pregnant at the time, finally got her home, through Felines First.  She went into foster in Lebanon with a Felines First volunteer, Chelsea, and had three kittens.  Then it was Shiloh's turn to get a home, so she went to the Portland area and get a home she did.
 Two of the teens from Waterloo residential went up for adoption through Felines First Rescue and now have a home together.  Teen boys Abbott and Costello, formerly of Waterloo, get great home.

I don't do adoptions, which brings in money through adoption fees.  I don't do adoptions because it is time consuming and because I burned out on it badly after several bad adoptions that turned into terrible nightmares and PTSD for me.  It is very tough to outlay a lot of money on cats, only to have them go, fully vetted, to an adoption group who then keeps all the money, which can be hundreds, they get adopting them out.  But what can a person do.

It is hard to worry on it much when unwanted kittens and cats end up in good homes.

So I keep on keeping on and do my best and try to keep up the standards I believe in.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hairball Slide and Trip to the Affordable Clinic

After finishing the big situation down in Harrisburg, in just four days, I had to take a break.

My knee was killing me, along with my right leg, even my right foot.   I knew I'd need to rest awhile.

Felines First Rescue had asked me to transport a cat of theirs, although the cat had already been adopted.  FIV positive Zepplin, a sweet orange tabby male, needed full mouth extractions and his new owner could not afford that.  So FFR had told him they would help by getting him to the affordable clinic.  I agreed to the trip as transporter.  FFR made two appointments so I could take one of the cats here.
Zepplin went with me yesterday

Monday morning, when I awoke, I noticed someone had coughed up a hairball, nearly in the bedroom doorway.   I simply stepped over it.  I wanted my morning coffee and got the tea pot on the stove and turned up the heat.

I went back to the computer and later heard the pot scream it was ready.  Forgetting everything else, eager for my first cup of coffee, one of life's great joys, I ran for the kitchen.  And hit the hairball with my  left foot!

I went sliding forward, my left leg straight out as I went down. Fortunately I have some extra padding.   But the toes on my right foot caught on the door jam. So as I fell, with forward momentum, my right knee bent backward and sideways awkwardly.

I sat there on the floor howling in pain.

I finally realized I could move, and crawled/scooted to the kitchen for my coffee.

I got up and realized I seemed ok.   I was sore again, on my right knee and leg later, but everything worked which is a big plus at my age.  I put an ice bag anywhere I thought might need it, tied them on with lengths of cloth, and plopped in a chair to sip my coffee.

Yesterday I left at 4:30 a.m. with Shaulin, my abby tabby seven year old, in a live trap, headed first to Portland then across to the coast.  I met Feline First Rescue at a Shell station off highway 217 to pick up Zepplin, the reason the trip was initiated.

The weather was terrible all the way to Portland and beyond, to Astoria.  I figured I was in for a day spent in the car.  I had a sleeping bag in the back and some books to read.

I dropped the two cats off at the clinic by 8:15 then headed for Seaside.  FFR had paid half the gas but also gave me $10 for lunch.  Well, I hadn't had breakfast yet, so I ate out, for once, an omelet, on FFR.  It was a great omelet!

I felt like a big deal, like someone, walking into a restaurant, laying down cash, like someone with money, for breakfast.  I don't eat out much.  It's not in my budget.

By 10:15, and after waiting out a thunderstorm, I headed to the beach, figuring the rain would be back.  But it never came back!  I walked several miles on the  beach, before heading for Ecola State Park.  I don't know why I went there, instead of to some of my favorite beaches.

At Ecola, you have a few options.  One is to hike a steep but lovely trail to the top of the bluff, to the hikers camp and a great look at Terrible Tilly lighthouse, then back down.  My knee was not up for that uphill hike.   Or you can head down to Indian Beach.  But yesterday  it was underwater mostly from high tide.  Or you can go to the Ecola park overlook which offers just a view of the ocean in two directions.  I went there after seeing Indian Beach was swallowed by high tide.

I rolled out the sleeping bag in the back of the car and took an hours long nap.  I thought about driving down to gawk at tornado damage in Manzanita, but decided against it.

After I left Ecola, I headed north back to Hammond and the city hall/library.  I love this place.  Sadly, due to problems with the building, they are moving in November.   It's a friendly tiny cute library that offers a book sale section and four computers you can use.

I could not resist looking through the for sale books.  I was urged on, in friendly banter, by a librarian who said, the more I take the less they have to move.  In the end, I filled a grocery bag with books for $5.

Afterwards I kicked myself not only for coming home with about 15 more books, but also for spending the $5.  I read a lot, however, I enjoy reading.  And those books will provide me a couple months of enjoyment.  I mentioned life's little joys, like that morning cup of coffee, making it, and sitting to relax as the day begins, sipping coffee and watching the news or, if its not too rainy or cold, sitting outside with that hot cup, to watch the day break and the birds wake up.

Well, reading is also one of my little joys, especially at night, with the stars or night sky visible through my bedroom window, one light on, to read by, otherwise, the house dark, my cats warm against me, and me deep into a good book.

I took lots of photos yesterday but last night, when I went to view them on my computer, from the camera card, and clicked on one photo, they all vanished, emptying the card even of photos that had been on it for months. I do not know how that happened or why.  I was sad.  The photos you see on this post were taken on other trips.

Shaulin had to have six teeth pulled.  She also got updated on her rabies shot, droncit for tapeworms and her ears cleaned.

She behaved very well and Zepplin was no problem either.  Except he didn't wake up from anesthesia at the clinic for a long time.  They were literally sweeping the floors and emptying the garbage around me as I waited, and waited, for him to wake up enough to be released to go.

So I didn't get to leave til about 6:00 p.m. to start the 3 hour drive home.   I met a FFR foster woman at the same Shell station off 217 to hand Zepplin off and Shaulin and I proceeded the rest of the way home.

Home never looked so good either.  The happy cats waiting for me made me feel warm inside.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

23 More Cats Fixed

Yesterday, 23 more Linn County cats were fixed.  14 were fixed from the Harrisburg colony and 9 Tangent barn cats also were fixed.

I took only 20 to the FCCO however.  3 other Harrisburg colony cats were fixed at Willamette Humane.

Darling Calico who now has a name!  Autumn!

Another little boy, fixed whs yesterday, with a name now, which is important--Pumpkin!

Little boy, now named Willow
These three were not going back, that was pre determined.

But what about the other 8 kittens under 3 lbs from the colony where nobody was getting enough to eat

Well, after she thought about it, the Salem woman who helped get the above three fixed said she would foster those 8 as well, just so they won't have to go back.   I hope to find her help with it, people willing to take on one or two of the kittens, you must be out there somewhere, people.  I know you are.  These little guys want a future with enough to eat and safety from cars and coyotes.

I was so worn out I didn't get proper photos of anybody, but the Salem woman promises she will get some.  The 8 I dropped off there last night, as rain poured down in buckets, were four boys and four girls.  The boys were all orange and white and the girls, a torti, an orange and white, and 2 calicos.

Little male orange and white, still sleepy from Anesthesia

I still have the 3 older kitties here.  they were all girls I think.

I'll return them after the storm blows through today.  We had a tornado yesterday hit the coast along with lots of wind and rain.  Driving home after dropping off the 8 kittens the skies opened up and the rain was so extreme I could barely see to drive.   A trucker ahead of me slowed way down and put on his flashers to alert the dumbshit drivers who were still driving like maniacs, including some sort of utility truck who raced past me and went hydroplaning, fishtailing back and forth on standing water.   I was happy to be crawling along and safe.

I am exhausted from the efforts of this week.   9 Tangent barn cats also were fixed at the FCCO yesterday.  The caretaker contained them, delivered them to me, and picked them up last night.

In all, 28 cats were helped from the Harrisburg colony alone.   18 of those were not returned, the tinies and the littles.  The tinies, all seven of them, are with Animal Rescue and Care Fund.  The littles, 11 of them, are with the Salem woman, who will need help taming and placing them in safe wonderful homes.

Here are some more photos of the 11 kittens, now with the Salem woman. She took these photos.   She is going to need help!

Bless the kitties, and those who help them.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Colony

There were supposed to be just 16 unfixed cats at the colony I was referred to, in Harrisburg.  Including kittens.


I had taken only nine traps when I went down Tuesday to trap.  I had only five reservations yesterday with the FCCO for fixing.  But we are getting a 3 punch storm system moving into our area and I knew trapping today would probably be futile, due to the heavy rains and winds predicted.

When I saw the overwhelming number of cats, and tiny kittens fighting for the food too, I set to work.  I knew with the upcoming storms, I better get them all and as I trapped, I was also working over in my mind where and how I could comfortably house them all til they could all be fixed.  And I was texting photos of the tiny kittens to rescues, asking if they might be able to take any in.  I got an instant response from Animal Rescue and Care Fund.  I was incredibly relieved.

 In a couple hours, I had 22 cats and kittens caught.   I hand grabbed some of the tinies, and dug some laboriously out of a spider crawling woodpile.

With so few traps, and even fewer transfer traps, with which to transfer cats out of the drop trap, I doubled up cats in traps, then tripled up.  In the end, I had six young cats in one trap, four in another and so on.

I went home with the 22, to get them set up and because Julie had wrangled two kittens of the seven left at the residential colony in Waterloo, and left them in a carrier outside my place, since she had to go to work.

I found them doing well, a brown tabby and a little gray guy.  The little gray boy kitten is darling and very loving.  Fell in love.....

Waterloo boy kitten
Waterloo boy brown tabby out front with six of the seven tinies from the Harrisburg colony.  Of the seven from Harrisburg, six were girls, including that orange tabby in the back!
They all had URI's, but fortunately, yesterday, when I went to the FCCO with five of the Harrisburg colony cats, Animal Rescue and Care Fund took in all nine of the kittens.  They have helped so much with the Waterloo kittens and now with these Harrisburg little ones, plus two more from Waterloo.

I situated the teens and adults of the 22, in cages in my garage, plus getting the Waterloo boys set up in my bathroom, along with the tinies from Harrisburg.  I even vaccinated, wormed and flea treated the two boys.  I didn't vaccinate the Harrisburg crew of kittens since they had the eye issues I didn't want to make worse, but flea treated and round wormed them and got a start with eye meds.

Then I went back down and caught five more, including the last tiny, the little orange tabby girl.  I thought I was done and folded up the drop trap.  But as I was leaving, a teen orange and white showed up.  I left them a trap, ready to go, and during the day yesterday, they caught him.  I pick him up today, when I return the fixed seven.   In addition there are at least three cats with ear tips they feed, whom I got fixed four years ago.

I not only got five of the 27 I had from the colony fixed at the FCCO, but a Brooks woman, who helps cats, offered up her two Willamette Humane reservations, so two more were done there.  I met her, on the way to Portland, at WHS, and she even registered the cats and picked them up after surgery.  Later, on the way home from a long day in Portland, I picked them up from her at her home.  She had a surprise waiting!  Several bags of dry food she had recruited during the day to give the Harrisburg couple to help them feed the colony.

I arrive home, to find 10 bags of dry cat food bags piled in a chair by my garage, donated by an Albany woman.  I was floored and very happy and grateful.

The first seven are now fixed.  Four boys and three girls, and they go home today.  Seven kittens from the colony are now safe and dry and well fed and warm.   Along with two more Waterloo kittens.
Bradley, a big black tux male, one of two fixed yesterday at Willamette Humane.
Samoa, another male, fixed also at Willamette Humane

Calico female fixed yesterday at the FCCO

That's a great start!   I still have 13 colony cats in my garage and will pick up another, the orange and white they trapped yesterday, today, when I return the seven fixed cats.   Three of the remaining 14 I will take to the same Brooks woman who helped with 2 yesterday.  I will choose three in most need, as they will be fixed tomorrow at whs and she will keep them in her large contained cattery.  They won't go back.

The colony caretakers, an older couple on social security were quite happy to relinquish the seven six week old kittens and the three young teens.  That's ten less cats to feed.  And now I have many cat food donations to help them feed the rest.   So many people have helped, with food, with taking the kittens, by giving over spay neuter reservations.

So the 11 others I will be left with, from the colony, will travel with me to the FCCO Friday, along with 8 cats from a Tangent barn, to be fixed.  That is if we haven't washed away here, from the tons of rain coming down.  Or blown away.  The 2nd punch of these three storms hits Saturday and there are concerns about Saturday afternoon and night.

Some forecasters claim we are in for an extreme wind event with winds close to 90 or 100 mph.  Such high winds are not uncommon on the coast but could be devastating in the valley.  Oregon is full of big trees and high winds often topple them by the score.  I think of the Maple and Birch trees out back and hope for the best.

Forecasts can be wrong.  We shall see.

On another note, Panda is doing quite well.  She still drools a bit.  I do believe she fell and popped her lower jaw apart at the front juncture.  It is a common injury to cats but the treatment now, a vet told me, is to let it heal on its own. I believe this led to dehydration, which led to extreme constipation.  I could be all wrong about it.   She is doing just fine, eating, drinking, and acting like nothing happened.