Sad Cat, the Follow Up

That old saying, if you love someone set them free resonates.

If anyone read the previous blog post regarding our Sphynx cat grieving the passing of his playmate of years, this is the unexpected outcome. It has been a big adjustment for me but good for the cat and his choice. The goal in mind has always been his happiness and cats being who they are more often than not make their own choices regardless of what we as humans want. I am no cat expert, as a matter of fact I had not had a cat for years until our inherited Sphynx arrived as a baby from a family member. After a period of time losing his playmate, my 35-year-old free roaming parrot, the cat became very despondent. Fast forward he then began acting out in anger. To try and find a solution I arranged play dates with our local vet techs female Sphynx, as we are unable to have another cat due to our building rules. Kitty was a highly active and social cat, he and his new friend took to each other almost immediately after the first get togethers which took place in our friend’s home and ours in time. If you have a Sphynx cat in the family, you know how gregarious they are.

Kitty was not a happy cat on his own. It pained me to no end when he got to the stage that he got angry with us. It felt almost like he thought us the cause of his loss. He avoided me and if I tried interacting or playing with him, he responded only in anger. We purchased new toys and cat furniture to entice his interest. He no longer wanted to go for walks or explore as he used to outdoors. In the end he had stopped wanting to eat as much, but a veterinary check assured us his health was fine. At the vet we knew a woman who also had a solitary female Sphynx cat. It was with her agreement we decided to begin socializing the two as friends. The first meetings were neutral ground outside of either cats home, for territorial reasons.

A bit later we started meeting in our friends home, it was larger and the open environment gave both cats room to explore indoors and the enclosed catio outdoors. The two together are laid back personalities, the dynamic works well. It worked better than expected actually. The meetings were as if the cats had known each other years. They’d touch noses, walk side by side gently touching tails as cats do with affection. Where one would go the other would eventually follow. Returning home after the play date kitty would be in a better mood and his anger subsided, his appetite returned to normal. He has never been a lap or cuddly cat. Eventually our friend had to do a weekend family trip and her cat spent a night, all good. We then in turn let our cat spend a night when we had a two-day trip and it too went well.

We often joked the pair looked related, not due to their breed but body markings. Our cat had darker skin around one eye and the female had similar but on her opposite eye. When they had spent another day and night together on a work weekend, things began to change upon returning to pick kitty up. He did not want to leave his new best friend. Him being who he is it didn’t surprise me, though a “cat,” he has always been obvious in exactly what he wants. I did return home with him that evening much to his distress, but now none of us wanted to create a repeat trauma. After much consideration and discussion, we all decided to let him remain in our friends’ home with her Sphynx, his new best friend for a whole weekend. As we all suspected it went famously and there he has remained. She was an only cat; he was a cat in need of companionship. A bittersweet but triumphant ending of solace for kitty. I am just so happy that he is happy again. It’s still taking quite a bit of getting used to his not being here days when I’m home. Losing one pet to illness and months later losing kitty to a new love interest now leaves our home without any pet, a first in my lifetime. That old saying, if you love someone set them free resonates.


Silence is Golden

It’s important to remember that we are human beings, not machines, and there is life to be had offline.

How do you know when it’s time to unplug? What do you do to make it happen?

I have learned one thing about myself, staying connected isn’t always the best idea. At one point it felt like a constant onslaught of information, noise, and it caused too much anxiety. I am not a computer needing to be fed unlimited information all day and night. Turning on the television to scan local news weather, and checking my phone notifications occasionally during the day is enough for me. At one time I used to leave the electronics on all day every day and my phone sat nearby but those days are over. The laptop mostly collects dust on the table sitting shut off with only targeted use, the cellphone remains in the kitchen on the counter unless it gets a call. During the years of Covid-19 when we were all forced to take notice in every aspect of daily life, I decided enough was enough. I am lucky in the respect I grew up without needing all of this digital ridiculousness and know the difference.

A grand baby and kitty enjoy a walk in Maine.

Nowadays, I prioritize both my health and well-being over being constantly connected. I’ve found that taking breaks from technology and unplugging for a while can do wonders for my stress levels, it often feels triumphant! Instead of scrolling through the internet, I spend more time engaging in hobbies, exercising, and spending quality time with loved ones. It’s important to find a balance between staying connected and taking care of ourselves. Technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier in many ways. It’s important to remember that we are human beings, not machines, and there is life to be had offline.

Through The Window

Life waits for no man, or woman.

With my ongoing health situation getting out into the garden or anywhere is a current challenge, so I have been indoors weeks. The past few days I dragged out my older Nikon camera, cleaned it thoroughly and decided to give it a go through the windows to capture the spring fledglings and early blooms. This was my very first venture camera in photography and it’s my old adventure buddy of a decade. I can hear the House Sparrow babies just outside my kitchen windows settling in for the evening in our Azalea bush, so I attempted to capture them in the low light. This is not a setup I care for but for now it occupies my mind, and I can do it in my limited mobility state. I’m hoping my upcoming surgery consult Monday will lead me to a path of wellness sooner than later, it’s certainly been a long wait.

The Azalea bush has seen better days and needs a good trim yet continues to put out beautiful blooms. It’s become so large it easily fills up one side of a double-sided window. Over the years the spring native bird babies began using it as a sort of nursery after leaving their nests. They stay in it for safety and the parents return to feed them. It’s very interesting to watch. Because the bush keeps its foliage winters, it then is occupied by the flock of Black-Eyed Juncos that appear in autumn and they use it for shelter throughout the cold snowy months.

Two of the four babies sitting having a chitty chat, taking in the sights and afternoon sun while waiting for mom and dad to return for a feeding. This is our fourth season of babies outside the window.

Not exactly my format of a usual post but the idea is to keep chugging along doing some of what I love to do. We did manage to hang out a few early flower planters that are blooming quite nicely, and last weekend my husband put in his early peas, and squash plants along with tomato. We are hoping to do more soon as we like to grow and can our own produce in fall. With the last year we were hit with mostly dry hot weather during the season, little rain, and the area was on water restriction for the first time in a long time. This year we have had a good amount of precipitation and fingers crossed the growing season will be abundant.

When you’re an active individual and suddenly forced to come full stop, it certainly is aggravating. There is so much to do and a short summer season to do it all. Next week is my father’s 80th birthday, he will be up visiting from the south and the family will have a celebration this weekend. I want badly to go as we rarely see each other but that isn’t looking possible as the drive to the next state is not doable being in such pain. Life waits for no man, or woman.

Are You Home?

This was a comical start to my morning, though I am sure our resident “chippy” didn’t think so.

This morning I was late going out into the garden to fill the squirrel feeder. I didn’t realize it until this little face started entertaining me at the kitchen window. I heard noises and pulled back the curtain, there I was greeted by a very persistent Chipmunk. This was a first, I have a very large flowering bush the birds nest in outside the window he had climbed. He was standing on his hind legs, his tiny paws pressed against the glass, his big black eyes staring straight at me. It was as if he was saying, “Hey, where’s my breakfast?” I couldn’t help but laugh at his adorable expression. I quickly grabbed the bag of food and went outside to fill the feeder. As soon as I stepped onto the porch, the Chipmunk scurried down across the yard and onto the feeder. He wasted no time grabbing a nut and scampering back up the tree to eye me. I watched him for a few minutes, amused by his quick movements and energetic personality.

In past years we have always had at least four of these little beings in our yard, often a mother and a baby or two at least. An older woman who also lives here used to feed them by hand while sitting at her patio table reading. They had gotten quite accustomed to her bringing out special treats such as walnut meats or strawberries and setting a dish on the ground. When only one appeared this year, I was curious and googled online about them, I was surprised to learn they don’t have a long-life span. In the wild the average is 2-3 years. Nonetheless I am happy to see at least one this year. This was a comical start to my morning, though I am sure our resident “chippy” didn’t think so.

Less is More

Beware the quiet woman!

What are you good at?

As a young woman I was more vocal. Before thinking my thoughts or opinions would verbally escape me often at the most inopportune moments. Now that I am older, I am calmer, somewhat wiser, and the opposite of my former self. I have learned the power of listening and taking a moment to reflect before responding. It’s not that I don’t have opinions or thoughts anymore, but I have learned the importance of choosing the right time and place to express them. I have also learned that there is value in silence and that often it’s better to observe and learn from others before speaking up. Age has given me a new perspective and I am grateful for the journey that has led me to this point. Now I am very good at keeping my mouth shut. Beware the quiet woman!

Mom is a Polar Bear

How do you feel about cold weather?

I love cold weather. This doesn’t mean my body agrees. As a diehard New Englander, the cold weather bothers me very little and most days in winter I have gone out shoveling snow in shorts and boots, my spouse is the opposite and considers me a wombat. Autumn is my ultimate favorite season, I adore everything about it and the transition to winter. When briefly living in Florida a few years I often wore shorts in the rare 55f degree weather there, which made most southerners wide-eyed. Some would approach me in public and ask if I was “cold.” My reply was always a giggle. I’m known as a Polar Bear to friends and family and wear the title proudly!

The Return

It’s wonderful to be home and be back.

During my absence I managed to capture some picturesque moments in my effort to remain optimistic, and because it helped to keep me focused. It has been a scary last two weeks or so. Becoming suddenly ill in my sixties is a whole different ball game and mindset than the younger years, much happened but I think we are on track again.

I don’t know how I coped in such pain but part of it was the House Sparrows everywhere we went. It sounds so silly yes, maybe I was delusional in my illness, but these little happy souls were outside every office and in trees. Their loud busy chirping could be heard from the doctor offices and from the hospital all day long. The human mind is an amazing thing and mine kept reminding me in my darkest hours their song was the sound of living, of happiness to come, and to keep going. It’s wonderful to be home and be back.

Rise and Shine

This season we have a rogue young grey squirrel who is not following the plot and I want to strangle the little bugger.

It’s been a busy last few days with life and it’s nice to be able to sit and finally post. Family friends have children graduating, there are birthdays, I started a low-carb diet and I’m cranky and trying to work outdoors in between a week of rain has kept me offline. I had these photos to post days ago of various scenes from the garden bird feeders laying in my draft folder I had wanted to share.

In prior years in one area, we had fought squirrels off as they are just notoriously hungry and chase the birds away. Then one year I got the idea to put up a feeder of their own which they did very well defaulting to. I would load it up with “squirrel goodies” of my own creation to tempt them to leave the other table feeder alone. It brought peace and harmony back, costing us less trips and money for feed. This season we have a rogue young grey squirrel who is not following the plot and I want to strangle the little bugger. He has broken feeders and empties them all within an hour of my putting food out. I’m tempted to neglect them a bit to ward him off, but we are in the nesting season. Soon the baby birds will start making an appearance with parents.

A Grosbeak finally made a recent appearance leaving me stunned. Though neighbors had told me of seeing one or two in their yards, I have not seen one in years, then one afternoon there it was.

There is never a short supply of finches so long as the jerk squirrel is full and gone his way. The Goldfinch has always been one of my favorites. I have seen he but no mate as yet. This one is very skittish compared to the other finches who are used to me photographing them (from a distance of course). I have most windows facing the garden and keep 2 cameras, one at each window on the ready at them. One window is located over the washing machine, so the camera sits there on it when not in use. People entering the porch door who spy it give me a quizzical look, my husband just chuckles.

Earlier this month instead of putting suet in a cage feeder I halved tangerines I had that needed using and filled it with them along with laying slices out. I’ve learned over the years many birds enjoy them from hummingbirds to crows. Baltimore Orioles are a beauty to behold but we only get them briefly.

These little House Sparrows are my favorite. They are tiny but boisterous and so full of personality, they remain year-round. When I am outdoors, they land right at my feet and nearby just chattering away to each other often in large numbers. I guess some find them annoying yes, they tend to get in all sorts of cracks and crevices on homes to nest. My neighbor across the street replaced his standard roof a few years ago with a metal one and found many old nests while doing so. He stated the new roof would deter that. Days ago, I noticed the sparrows were back at it and climbing up under his gutter back under the roof, oblivious to his statement and it made me giggle how nature finds a way.

I’ll end here for now and in the interim keep my fingers crossed eventually the sun will return. While I don’t mind being out in the rain, I don’t want to tempt fate at getting sick. I’m 61 years old in days, still healthy for the most part, and hope to keep it that way!

Whatever works 🙂

A Little Sweetness

I have only seen this bird once in years.

Today was a quiet day, too quiet and very cold and gloomy out. I caught sight of a pair of Carolina Wrens at the feeder, what a sight to see and I settled to observe them. I have only seen this bird once in years. It was a pleasant surprise to see two together, hopping and chirping around the feeder. They were a beautiful shade of reddish-brown with bold white stripes above their eyes. I watched them for a while, admiring their vibrant colors and cheerful demeanor. As I continued to observe the wrens, I noticed a few other birds that had joined them at the feeder. There were a couple of sparrows, a tufted titmouse, and a chickadee. It was heartwarming to see them all coexisting peacefully and enjoying the food together. The sight of the birds brought a smile to my face and lifted my spirits.