Tuesday, September 17, 2019

8 Cats Fixed Yesterday

I didn't round up any cats for yesterday's load.  I only arranged for them to get caught and fixed.  Which is good.  No sitting out long hours trapping myself, however, not this time.

I'd given traps to the apartment complex folk for three cats yesterday and they had three ready, but the Lebanon woman I'd given four spots to picked up those three also.

She was able to catch a male she'd been after outside the Treasure Chest in Lebanon.  She also got the last two cats in to be fixed from a Lebanon house she'd been "fixing".   She got five in all, including the two yesterday, taken to be fixed from there and also got six or more kittens out of that house and to a shelter or rescue I think in Portland. 

The other two were a kitten from Brownsville another woman found, who needed fixed and a cat from Sweet Home.

That was the 8.  I picked them up, after they were fixed yesterday, at the clinic, and delivered two of the apartment complex cats back, and the rest were overnighted by the Lebanon woman who will return them today.

I only got pictures of the three complex cats.

Bighead, the black tux male

Buff, white female teen.  I've already forgotten her name.

Jasmine, black female, overnighting up with the Lebanon woman
I guess I wasn't back into it enough in my brain yet to get the names and photos of all the cats yesterday since the Lebanon woman even picked up and transported the complex three, along with five others she rounded up/trapped.  Bad on me.  Well one of the two boys from the Lebanon yard was named Oreo and a black tux.  And the Treasure Chest yard boy's name was Hippy, and he's a gray tabby tux.  And the Sweet Home boy was black and named Edgar.  The Brownsville female kitten was a brown tabby but I don't recall her name.  See, I'm trying to get my brain back in it.

The tenant trying to "fix" the complex is feeling overwhelmed with the number of unfixed cats there alone, already.  I said "welcome to my world."  The problem is made much worse by the lack of affordable spay neuter appointments available in the valley.   There are no options in this county at all, for high volume spay neuter.

This morning, I was awakened at 4:00 a.m. by what sounded like, in the dream I had just before waking, things being blown apart.  In reality it was three huge Pacific Power trucks out front of my place and across the street.  I realized the power was out.   After which I went back to bed and slept even ignoring jack hammer sounds.   Later I woke again, at 6:30 and the power was still out and the trucks were still out on the street.

I hadn't packed away my camp stove yet so I fired it up and made coffee in the garage.

 The power was back on a little after 7:00 so no big deal.  The website said it was caused by equipment failure and about 20 customers were affected.  Lucky me.

I hauled out a garage sale find to help process the apples from my little tree.  I love this gadget I got for $2 at a Heartland Humane garage sale.  It not only peels the apple, but slices and cores it too.

It's so fun.

Ever since Sunday morning, its been pouring rain off and on and is generally wet and soggy.  There's no end in sight either.  Summer isn't even officially over and the weather seems to have skipped straight to winter.  Lovely.

But I got a last fling at Waldo in, at least, the most beautiful day probably of the summer, Saturday, I was so lucky to spend at Waldo.

My brother is still in the hospital in Idaho after his stroke.  I don't know what will become of him.  I guess he still can't walk so will go to a rehab place.   I guess, don't know, for now he's still in the hospital.

I am still smiling over my trip to Waldo Lake.  I had such a great time.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Last Fling with Waldo

I went!  I got to go!

I took off for Waldo Lake in the rain Friday morning.  Intent on a last fling with Waldo and summer.

The weather improved the farther I went into the day.

My younger brother and his wife were coming, along with his son and his wife.  Little to no communication did not stop me.

The night before, I called my older brother, to chat, and his wife answered.  I wondered why.

My brother was in the hospital, had an event, she said, and at that time, they weren't sure what was wrong.  It's going to be a stroke I said.  But the doctors had done a CAT scan, seen nothing, and were checking his ears and urine for infection.  He had symptoms similar to vertigo. He was vomiting wildly, projectile vomiting and my brother never vomits.

So it took them awhile to figure it was really a stroke he'd had, back in his cerebellum, affecting his ability to orient to the world, balance.  This didn't seem good at all.  They couldn't operate to remove it, they said, and it would have to dissolve.

I went to Waldo anyway although I slept very little Thursday night.  I realized this could be the end of my brother's life.  Nobody can live with permanent vertigo. 

My nephew didn't arrive until late in the afternoon, even though they left an hour and a half earlier than I did.  My brother and his wife didn't get there til late either.  Didn't matter to me.

I arrived, found a site, bought it for the lot of us, drove all the way back down to a certain magic pullout along the road where I could get one bar of cell service, and called my brother first, then my nephew to tell them the site number.  Then I drove back up and on to the boat ramp, pumped up my raft, which held air (thankfully), launched into the lake with the aid of a mountain biker, who helped me carry my raft to the water, and took off.  I can't back down a boat ramp.  My car's emergency brake doesn't work.  Don't want my car at the bottom of a lake.  I hope to get that fixed one day.

I rowed and played for hours.  Then I swam, towing the raft for another hour.  I beached the raft near the campground, and walked up to the site, to see if anyone had arrived and spotted my nephew.  Finally.  He said he'd come back down to the beach and let me know because they were thinking they'd change sites, get the refund of my money and move, because one had opened near the water.  But they never showed up again on the beach to let me know.  Be a short walk to that site, with my raft, easy too.  So finally not knowing, I rowed the half mile or so back to the boat ramp.  I figured I'd just let the air out again, load it in the car, and then try to find my nephew. But, someone started throwing rocks at me through the trees.  Ha!  It was my brother.

We loaded the raft into his pickup and I followed him back to the campground.

We had a good time.  We didn't do much, just ate, sat around either a camp fire or the beach.  I was out on my raft most of Saturday.  The weather was beautiful Saturday. My brother and his wife have two very light weight kayaks, weigh only 30 lbs each.   First my nephew and his wife went out with them, following me to the island on the far side of the lake, which takes over an hour to get to, rowing.  I love that little hidden away island with its west side beach.  However, it was populated by a group of kayakers having lunch. I'd brought my phone along, because there are a few spots on the lake I'll get sudden cell service and I hoped to text my sister in law to check on my other brother.  Sure enough, once we walked through the brushy trail  on the island to the picnic table at the top, my phone dinged.  I had only 1% battery but got a text through.  My nephew and his wife headed on back, being much faster in those kayaks than I am rowing.  They are also 30 years younger than I am, which makes a bit of a difference, lol.   Later my brother and his wife took their kayaks out.   Sunday morning the weather had changed and we knew it would be raining soon.  I left first and the rain was pounding down within ten minutes.

It was good camping there again.  Fourth time for me.   There was a large crowd camped in the next campsite but they seemed nice.  The only issue was they let two big dogs free roam and free roam they did, into our site.  The dogs seemed to have no personality, would not react to us if we spoke to them or tried to pet them.  One dog would scrounge for food, even vomited at our feet and the other pee marked our stuff and trees in our campsite.   The owner also sicced the dogs at chipmunks and squirrels.  Raunchy.

Saturday evening, my brother and I drove down to that one little magic spot about 15 miles from the campground, where I had found cell service and called my other brother to see how he was.  He's in the hospital after his stroke.  He was  in good spirits.  Today his wife tells me he can't walk because he falls over, due to the orientation problems, so he has to go to a "rehab" center, a.k.a. nursing home.  They hope he improves.  He's worried it will be a permanent move.  I am also.

I slept in my car up at the campsite.  I have that arrangement, of sleeping method in the back, down pat now, easy, simple and very very comfortable.  I got lots of sleep, no problem there.  It was cold nights, however.  Always is up there in September.

My nephew is a grown man, almost middle aged.  I look at him and try not to see him as a little boy.  He's bright and eager and full of the energy, mental and physical, of his age.  I watched he and my brother, for whom he works, talk work talk across the campfire, about this and that project, materials (contractors), methods and felt happy.  Earlier I'd watched my brother and his wife snooze on the warm beach and had felt happy then too, watching them rest, for a change.

Drove home through the pouring rain.   I gave someone else four of my reservations to fill for tomorrow, which she has filled, and tasked apartment complex folks with rounding up three.  The other woman picked them up too.  She'll deliver to the clinic, I'll pick up the cats, to save on gas for both of us.

I had a great time   I've camped at Shadow Bay several times before.  I LOVE it.  But it was a hundred times better to be there with family.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Monday's Cat Catch

I ended up in Sweet Home, Sunday afternoon, in pouring rain, to try to get cats to fill my clinic spots.  Heartland had said I could bring seven.  I had six at the Salem clinic.

I'd bugged Heartland about spots for a Tangent woman who claimed to have a barn full. I had alerted her Saturday we could get many of hers done at Heartland Monday.  She didn't tell me to forget it that she was going on vacation.  She should have, because that's what happened.  She strung me out and ultimately bailed out.  So then I was up a creek.   Can't do that to a clinic, make reservations and be a no show. 

That's how I ended up in Sweet Home in the pouring rain.  Car loaded in traps.

I caught 11 there.  There were at least two more in that colony needing caught but they didn't show up or they would now be recuperating in my garage also.  I'd taken some plastic to cover the traps when set to protect them from the rain.

I had only caught one cat--Howard, from the Lebanon complex, thus far.

Now I had 12 and someone else was trapping in Albany.  I hope she'd catch at least one.  She didn't.

But she did take six of the cats to the Salem clinic for me Monday morning, so I could deliver six others to Heartland in Corvallis to be fixed.  Heartland was done with the cats by noon, so I picked them up there, brought them home, then headed directly to Salem, to have lunch with a friend who lives near McMinnville.  Then off to the clinic to pick up the six fixed there.  I was tired, dragging seriously, when I got home.  I collapsed on my bed and slept three hours fully clothed.

Anyhow, this morning I'll take all 12 back to their locations.

Here are their photos.

This is Howard from Lebanon
Now the 11 from Sweet Home.

Bugs, the torti kitten, and Samurai, who turned away from the camera, her brother, are the two smallest kittens at the colony.

There are four kittens a bit older than Bugs and Samurai.   This is a very sweet boy teen Josi.

The other three in that age group--all girls.  This is Pickle.

This beauty is Twill

And Dill, Pickle's lookalike sis
One adult boy in the mix I caught.  The other two I think are both boys were off somewhere.

Then there are four under weight adult girls in the mix.  I wish they'd feed them better.  Food is just thrown out on a board.  No rain protection.  Then her little dog is always out, eating the cats food.

Cinnamon, the beautiful torti, is now fixed. 
Sugar, the tabby tux sweet girl, now fixed too.

Rosemary, a very small tabby on white medium hair girl, now fixed.

Posey, a charming black and white girl.
So anyhow, it was a good Monday for mid valley cats.   There are, like I say, two more, one I know is a male, maybe the other one is too, but that's for later.  The neighbor had a female with kitten show up too who need caught.

For now though, 12 more area cats fixed and that can only be good.

You know what's funny about Oregon, even though everybody pretends to politically fight, probably like everywhere?  It's the culture. 

When I'm out trapping, I meet so many interesting people from all walks of life.  Maybe we're all different, and we are, but we have so much in common too.

Pot has always been a big deal in Oregon, hidden away mostly, when it wasn't legal.  The hippies came here in droves in the sixties and seventies, like this was their mecca, and hid their pot fields in second story forests and fields  Now those hippies are old and many are rich but they're still hippies at heart.  And those grows are still out there, only now mostly ignored, even if not a registered commercial operation.

Pot's accepted and legal now. Now you can grow pot in your yard if you want, and people talk about how they cure this or that with pot in some form.   Across all political landscapes, from rednecks to yuppies (the well-off hippies), from anarchists to loggers, to the average joe's, people get high, or drink wine in their overalls or carharts or have their favorite local beer. Wine is big here too and so is beer, home brewed or specialty.   We should forget divisive politics in Oregon.  We're so much the same here.  People also like their coffee and their out of doors and everyone is skeptical of big corporations and big government. The government says corporations have the status of human beings and we don't buy it here.  You can't pin down anyone to a certain box and slap on a label.

Some day, long from now, when most of our area or the world has been destroyed by something, a meteor or volcanic eruption or whatever, and civilization has sprouted again and archaeologists are digging up old cultures, they'll find skeletal remains wrapped around pot pipes and bongs, or with skeleton arms wrapped around cats and speculate about the peculiar culture of the Pacific tribe once called Oregon.

I don't get stoned.  I don't ride a bike down rural roads from one winery to the next, tasting the fruits of each's labor with many others.   I don't visit breweries or have home brew equipment.  I do have cats.  I do have precious books gleaned from free stacks or library sales or thrift stores. 

My favorite thing in the world is, after a long day, to lay on my back on my bed in the dark, one small lamp clicked on, reading, surrounded by my cats, with the stars shining bright through my curtainless Oregon window.

Sunday, September 08, 2019


Been raining here last two days.  Not heavy rain, the usual stuff, light, misty, depressing.

Some people who love the rain here would call it refreshing.

The long gray begins.


It's harder to catch cats in the rain, unless there's a barn or outbuilding where they take cover.  Rained in cats are very bored and easy then to catch in such a situation, with a barn or the like where they retreat to stay dry.

That was not the case last night, over in Lebanon, rain at times, at an apartment complex.  Lady feeds them on her back porch, strays, but mixed in with free roaming owned cats.  That makes it hard.  Manager had declared all owned free roamers had to have collars, to be easily identified as owned, since she was in on the trapping of strays to be fixed.

We caught only one.  An enthusiastic young boy was my helper.  He got so excited when we caught one.  Infectious!    That first one caught would be the only keeper and he's got a bad cold.

Poor guy, but seems like a nice enough cat.
We did catch a black male, that seemed tame but very shy.  Very large cat.  Just had him in the car when a guy comes over to where I was setting another trap.  He was hot and bothered and thought I'd trapped his outside unfixed black male.  I wanted no trouble and said, well let's go see, he's in the car.  So the guy looks at the cat in the trap and says its his but that he'd put a collar on his, as was required, but he must have slipped it.  He tries to take the cat out of the trap.  The cat freaks and climbs him, up to his shoulder, jumps down, his girlfriend dodges the cats frantic run.  "Hmmm," the guy says, "That might not have been my cat."  Ya think, I wanted to say, but held my tongue.  He apologized profusely and then asked if I could get his cat, who lives outside, fixed, and I said "anytime".

Later I saw a black cat with a collar on.

The lady who feeds goes to bed at 9:30 so it was a short night for me.  I brought the one cat home, left a trap with the feeder and the little boy, who instantly learned how to set it, and came home.

I'll probably go back up to the Sweet Home colony to catch my quota for tomorrow's clinic.  I had written down I have 7 reservations, but the reminder call said 6 so I am not sure how many to take.  I tried to get some extra reservations at Heartland, thought I would get some, but have not heard anything back definitive.  I can't trap without knowing if I can get them fixed.  Here are some photos of the Sweet Home colony cats waiting to be fixed.  Only George has been fixed recently from there.  And the poor little black female died at the vets.  But I did get 8 fixed there almost three years ago.  I've seen four of those cats so far.

They're a healthy looking bunch, that's for sure.

I fixed my raft.  At least I think I have all problems solved.

I had to roll it up yesterday, to make space if I caught cats.

I blew it up in the garage.  I knew I had ruined the valve on the right side when trying to inflate it at the lake last time.  I connect the air pump that plugs into the cigarette outlet with the hose that came with the original hand pump for it.  I twist the connector end of that hose into the raft valve.  That hose has sprung some leaks.  I've taped them and I have to hold the hose end onto the pump to inflate.   Since the cord for the pump is short, I have to have the raft valves close to the front of the car.  Well I opened the car door too far and the very bottom metal corner hit the raft valve.   It did something so the washer underneath inside the valve, so then it wouldn't close to shut off air leakage unless I screwed the top of the valve on tight after really quickly removing the air pump hose.  But it slow leaked too after that.

I found a raft valve in the grass at Waterloo Park a couple months ago.  I picked it up, thinking it looked a lot like my raft valves and maybe I'd need it.  Well, its exactly like my raft valves and now I needed it.

First I looked it up and down and worked it so I knew exactly how they work.  I hoped to fix the bad one, once I got it out.   I used the valve wrench to remove the bad valve from the raft. It came with the raft long time ago when I got it.   It was kind of stuck but finally came free.  Then I replace it with the one I'd found.  It works just fine.
That's the old valve in the middle there and the valve wrench on the right

Newly installed valve
It was the other side the lost air though, so I filled a spray bottle with water and dish soap and sprayed it down.  I thought it would be a slow leak around the valve on that side too, but its good there.  I found a leak in the seam however.   The short video just shows soap bubbles bubbling at the leaking seam as air leaks through the soapy water I sprayed on the raft.

I consulted Youtube for seam repair tips then followed them.  I cleaned the area with acetone.  I applied raft glue along the seam, worked it under the seam, left for 20 minutes, repeated twice more. I hope it holds.  I didn't have time to search for any other leaks.  I will later though.  I felt good to get the valve fixed and the one leak taken care of.

It's never been real easy to pump up the raft.  At first I did it only using the hand pump that came with the raft.  Sometimes in 90 degree heat.  That wasn't easy but I got it done and I guess it was good exercise.   Then I got a Coleman rechargable hand pump that could pump out air at high rate for about 13 minutes before losing its charge.  That was enough to mostly inflate both sides and the floor.  I'd add on 10 minutes of hand pumping, to fill it tight.  Finally that little powerful pump would no longer hold a charge and I got one, when I got this new old car, that plugged into the lighter outlet.  The old car's lighter outlet never worked.  This one doesn't work as well but does ok.

The hand pump, now a decade old, has broken.  The handle broke off the shaft, then half the handle broke too.  Plastic.  I tape and use it anyhow best I can because no DC pump will completely fill the raft tight.  Then I lucked out and found a pump along the N. Santiam River, on a rock.  It does not have foot hold downs, so its not as effective but it works.  Without the foot rests to be able to exert pressure straight down nothing will be that effective.  So mostly I still use the broken pump, carefully though, because its taped together.

Broken high volume pump. It broke off at the shaft and also half the handle broke.  So yeah, get out the electrical tape to try to keep it going.  I've been using it taped together for three years.

I love that raft and being out on the water.   Trying out a plastic kayak a few weeks ago let me realize how much I love the raft.  I can't get down in those plastic kayaks with my bad knees.  I take naps out on the water in my raft too and I love that.  Can't do that in a kayak.   I take stuff along I can easily access.  Again, you can't do that in a kayak.  So I love my raft and I hope to find out just how long it will last.  It's already old.  I try to take good care of it so it will last longer.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Bad September?

Well, things haven't been the best lately.  I figure I got some good weeks coming after all this.

Here's the good news though.  My nonprofit got the bill from Willamette Humane's spay neuter clinic for Linn County cats fixed in August but taken in by others.  It costs people from Linn County $43 per cat there, which is a wonderful price, but one many in Linn cannot or won't pay, when they have multiple cats they feed.  Anyhow, 27 cats were fixed in August.  I only started the program, after getting a donation from a local farmer that allowed me to put $7000 in the budget for this program.  It will go fast at this rate, but I'm thrilled that so far, since end of June, and with limited appointments available, a total of 42 cats have been fixed as a result.  That's really tremendous.  So my focus is shifting from doing it all myself to raising funds to keep that going.  The only way to really make a difference is to get people to get it done themselves since I"m old and my car isn't in the greatest shape. So that's the good news.

I tried to get some cats in an Albany neighborhood I've trapped before.  I don't like the neighborhood due to having a bad experience there years ago.  Anyhow, someone contacted about strays there, needing help. So I go over, ever the eager beaver to help out and help solve overpopulation.

Well, the cats were fed by a lady who moved, leaving a mess.   The new property owners allegedly (was told this third hand) had trapped a bunch of them and done away with them.  I don't know that's true.

I tried talking to neighbors, to no avail.  Nobody wanted to help or have them trapped on their property.  Also too many free roaming owned cats, many unfixed, some not, in the area.  So had to give that one up, in the end, after being screamed at by one woman, and trying without success to find some other place to trap.  I already posted about this before.   So I'll just say, that one I had to let go.

I go all the way to Sweet HOme to get a couple cats for two appointments that come with vouchers that someone else isn't going to use.   These folks have 15 or so unfixed cats.  I take them in yesterday, a girl and a boy, and by noon the vet has called and said the black female crashed under anesthesia.   She's dead.

Guilt overwhelms me. Taking a feral to a private vet clinic to be fixed is a risk.  They don't have the high volume experience.  They're often estimating weight and not as fast at spays so sometimes they get overdosed on anesthesia.  I don't know what happened with this little girl, if she had a heart condition, which is likely, or what.  She's dead now.  Bummed me out badly.  The clinic had no kind words about her death, when I picked up the male who did survive his neuter.  I won't go back there. I got no good vibes or kind words there.  I'd worry if I went back.

These things happen, I know, but I always feel bad for the kitty, who one day was playing with her beloved family members and the next day is dead.   While there is grief over the death of a tame cat, when a wild cat dies at a clinic there is generally no sympathy expressed for the cat or the person who brought the cat in, as if that cats life didn't matter really anyhow, simply because a human couldn't pick her up and get what they want from her. 

 Having lived a life as basically an unloved human, I have great empathy for animals whose lives are judged the same.  If you've got no home or family, what use are you.  You don't matter.  Live, die, suffer, nobody cares.  I guess its a personal issue I have.   Their lives matter to me.  So I grieve her death.

Even using a voucher, it was $66 for one neuter there plus rabies. 

I have to return him this morning, and tell the people the little girl is dead.   Will they still let me get the others fixed?  Well if they do, they do and if they don't, they don't.

I haven't had many anesthesia deaths in cats, over the years and thousands of cats taken to be fixed.  Only a couple.  Both those cats had enlarged hearts.  It's the most common reason for anesthesia deaths.  I forget the name of it, but its a relatively common condition in cats.   I had the one crash after surgery due to bleeding but she survived, when I took her back the next day and they stopped the bleeding and sent her for a transfusion.   I had a terrible problem with a cat fixed at a private clinic, who experienced anesthesia overdose, went blind as a result and was in a waking sort of coma for a week.  They offered no after care there, for her, no apology either, no instruction on what to do.  She died suddenly a week later when her lungs filled with water as her heart failed. It was horrible.  I do have better luck at high volume spay neuter clinics.   They have so much experience.
RIP little black girl

George survived at least

Then it was a call from someone whose cat was fixed 12 days ago.   I get these folks cats fixed because at one time, the daughter had a zillion unfixed cats.  I don't want it to blow up again there.  Anyhow she said he wasn't right after surgery and she was crying, so I told her to meet me at the clinic, already overwhelmed in guilt over the black girl's death at the other clinic.
Fever of unknown origin, the vet said, of Grayson's post surgery illness.  His surgery site was fine.  Could have been vaccine reaction maybe.

 I usually do not pay for people's cats to see the vet. That'd be really crazy.  People can be very manipulative and leechy around these parts, and want everything free, so I have to be very careful.  But yesterday was a  bad day and I didn't want another possible death related to surgery.

Anyhow I only paid for fluids and antibiotics, as the vet said he had a fever of unknown origin and suggested they get him tested for leukemia.  I didn't pay for that, just the fluids and antibiotics.  He should be fine if he doesn't have some underlying thing.

Many people get and lose cats like cheap plastic kids toys.

Anyhow, hoping for better days.  I'm due.  Fall is here now, rain the next few days, thunder storms last night.   I wasted the summer and didn't get out and have some fun.  Darn it.  I did try.  Car problems, leaks in my raft, food poisoning, Kona and her kittens needing help, Charlie, the old orange boy, still in my bathroom, can't go to a home til October, lack of parking space at the lake, etc etc--all these things kept me tied down or incapacitated.  That's life.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Bad Day at the Lake

I wanted a last fling.  I loaded my raft and headed to the lake.  Right after Labor Day, they lower the reservoir levels so rapidly its useless to go.

I tried to get going early enough to possibly get a place to park, at the boat ramp.

But alas, so many chores I have to complete before I do anything else.

I was up there by 1:30 however.   No parking places at the boat ramp.

It's not like there ever are very many parking places there, that are not for cars and trucks with boat trailers.  There are only five car places.  The county doesn't cater to non motor boat folks, with kayaks or rafts, like me.  So if you want a parking place, near the water, to launch a raft or kayak, you have to be up there early, or go on a day without much use, like if the weather isn't quite right.

This summer the crowds there have been something awful, so getting a non boat trailer parking place has been very very difficult.   I've only gone three times the entire summer where I've stayed, after finding a place to park.  This time was one of those, but I didn't find a place to park, and eventually instead of leaving, went to the big picnic with swimming area park where you have to pay $7 just to park.

The parking places are nowhere near the water.  You're not supposed to launch a raft or have one in the swimming area.  Not to say there were not a zillion people with rafts, kayaks and paddle boards inside the swimming area.  But I follow rules.  You park a long way from the water.  Very long way.

I blew up the raft by the car knowing it would be hard to get it to the water.  I was maybe a quarter mile from the lake and there were no good places to get it in the water once blown up.  I really wanted to be on the lake though.  I finally pulled it on the little wheel cart all the way to the water.  I had put the two wheel cart in the back of the raft then, rather than leave the raft and walk it all the way back up across the field, to the car. 

Almost immediately once out on the water, free of the over crowded swimming picnic area, I discovered the raft had a terrible leak in one side.  It was going flat fast.  I got out of the raft and swam, pulling it, looking for a beach I could pull it out on.  I found one, although it was slammed constantly from wake waves from motor boats.  Almost immediately there, a group of people emerged from the trail down from the road.  They had fishing poles.   They surrounded me and the raft, ignoring what I was trying to tell them, that I needed to get the raft out and search out a leak.  I don't even know if they spoke English and understood, but common sense and courtesy you would think would tell them "this beach is occupied".  People are self serving nowadays though.  They don't care.  Especially if its a person alone.

I found another tiny little beach, started to eat my lunch, which was merely a bag of peanuts, before pulling the raft out.  This time it was three Hispanic men who horned in, coming down a trail through the berry vines, and refused to leave.  They too had fishing poles and intimidated me badly, mocking me.  Once again I left, this time angry that people are so awful.  I'd repeated to them this tiny little spot was occupied, which only made them move closer in scary fashion, so I left, pulling my raft out to where I could swim and get away.

I headed back, exhausted and upset, to the bouyed off swimming picnic area, realizing my mistake for even coming out today, then with the raft springing a leak I'd never find to repair until I got home and away from people.  I tried to drag the raft on the little two wheel cart that I strap to the back, through the gravel of the "beach" area (pea gravel), and the cart wheel twisted off.  Now what, I thought.  I felt defeated.  I was exhausted.

Suddenly a young man shows up, lifting the back of the raft up, wants to help.  He's a teenager.  His father comes also behind him.  He speaks no English but the boy does.  They get the raft up the 20 feet or so through the pea gravel to the grass lawn.  I still have a long way to pull it to the car and I head off.  About half way through it, I take a break and lay down.  The  boy and his father show up, thinking something's wrong.  I am happy to take them up on an offer to pull the raft all the way up to the parking lot where my car is.  I was not going to turn down help at that point.

I don't think I could have repaired the leak even if I'd found it.  It was one side. The other side held fine.  I swam under the raft looking for bubbles but found none.  The raft is ten years old now. I think it was leaking at the valve.  I have a temp repair kit I carry with me that is entirely adequate for regular leaks but wouldn't work on a leaking valve.  The one side leaking was about half deflated by the time I got back to the picnic area above which I was parked.

I might get rid of the raft.  I love it and love being out on the water, but the difficulty of even finding a place to park this summer has me convinced it won't get better around here.  We are experiencing a population explosion of people in the valley and the result is...well, just like the bad day at the lake, no place to park, recreational places over run with people.  When there are a zillion people on the lake and only five parking spaces for cars without boat trailers near the boat ramp, seriously, do I think things will improve?   I don't.

That was not the end of the bad day.   I'd been contacted by a woman in sw Albany via facebook, over cats, kittens in need, after a woman who fed them had moved.  I was told she moved after a neighbor allegedly repeatedly called police over her feeding them.  She became very stressed and moved, is what I was told.

I had gone over, as usual, to canvass nearby neighbors, check it out.  The woman who contacted me had had four kittens left on her porch in a carrier or box.  She didn't know who did that, likely one of the neighbors who doesn't like cats, and now is fostering them through KATA.  She believes they were offspring of one of the stray females.

Most people didn't even answer the door.   One farther down did, to a friend who lived nearby, although she has moved to the east coast now and just returns to work on her house to ready it for sale.  But they were drunk so got no useful info there.  The abandoned house where the cats hang out has been long abandoned and the feeder house, across the street, is now vacant too, since she moved out, although the property has been sold.  The house next to the abandoned house had sounds inside and lots of cars out front but they didn't answer.   I stuck a card in their door and left but later they came out to leave and I talked to her.  She seemed nice, was happy the strays would be helped, said she had two unfixed cats of her own, one a calico who had just had kittens a week ago, somewhere out back she said.   This I didn't think was normal.  She claimed she would get the two fixed, when I offered.

After the bad day at the lake, I went over to trap, since my barn cat placement friend has openings and I'd seen one skinny mom with one kitten over there, plus a male following her, and one other cat, a black tux, that I knew by talking to folks were not owned.    I set traps at the abandoned house just a few feet off the sidewalk and also tried to knock on the neighbors door again, to let her know I was trapping and to ask her to take in her cats.  Again, TV's on, no answer at door.

I had just returned to my car, and two cats, a mom and a kitten, were over by the traps, when out came the woman next door.  This time full on psychopath, yelling at me, accusing me of trespassing on private property, the same property on which she now stood, screaming her cats would get in the traps.  I tried to be nice, suggesting she keep them in a couple hours, so they wouldn't go in the traps, said we all want this done, lets just do it, really fast, there aren't that many and they're starving.  Then she claimed I was going to sit outside her house in the dark and how creepy that would be. Said "don't you think that's weird, don't you think you have a problem?"  I tried at first so hard to remain calm and nice.   At first. 

 First of all, I said, I'm not sitting outside your house at all, but rather down in front of the abandoned house, in my car, parked on the curb, nice and legal, and that I'm not some monster, that I'm helping out little starving kittens.  Then she said she was calling the police, it went down hill from there, so I just grabbed the traps and left.   I was too tired to take more crap.  Shaking and sobbing later, to think how easy this problem would be to solve if people were not so fricking crazy, cold and unkind.  I can't figure out the change from one day to the next with her, but I have a very bad feeling this is a person I encountered before with similar results.

Today I'm kicking back and trying to rest.  I'm worse for the wear, in trying to haul my raft way too far from a parking lot to water, then the long swim towing it when I realized it was deflating.  I so badly wanted some recreation.

Sunday, September 01, 2019


Just thinking about all the cats that need fixed, without appointments for over a week and not nearly enough to get even a quarter of those on my list done, has me in stress.  I wish it wasn't so.

It's ridiculous that it is so tough to get enough appointments to get a handle on the overpopulation problem in one small Oregon county.

It's because the short sightedness of people and lack of common sense never seem to improve.  Common sense and personal responsibility would make a person fix a cat, not wait til there are 30 plus cats to see the problem they have created.  Ah well, the broken record, me.

I got the one structure, the latest, for the cat yard, almost done.  The one that replaces the old cat structure I had to tear out due to age and rot.   Speaking of age and rot, I think I am rotting with age, too.  I need some recreation, seriously.  I've not really had any for a very very long time.

Litter bucket turned into cat hideaway

Two story cat house