Carl and I are prepared for spring even if Mother Nature isn't cooperating. I checked out a couple of the garden beds yesterday. The fenced bed has tulips, black-eyed susans and day lilies breaking ground. I've seen a couple of iris leaves peeping up in the front garden bed. Autumn joy sedum is breaking ground along the sidewalks, the clematis has buds and the honeysuckle has leaves. The flower buds on the crab apple get bigger everyday. I've seen the cardinals chasing each other, the chickadees checking out bird houses and bird song gets louder each week. We're looking forward to temperatures in the 60s next week when the greenhouse will go up. Carl has repaired all the birdhouses, moved the wren houses to the back of the woods and added sparrow resistance to the box by the craft room. We're testing something new this year. If the wren likes that box, we also have deterrent for him which worked well last year. It's a real commitment raising bluebirds.
Update on Sadie and Sassy: Sassy is still in lock up at night. Every night. She doesn't get out until there's poop and pee in the box in the laundry room. There have even been times during the day when I've caught her sniffing in the living room so I scoop her up and lock her in the laundry room. She always goes potty and yowls for me to let her out. And we do. We want her to associate the gate coming down with using the litter box. I ordered two small window bird feeders made of clear acrylic and held up with suction cups. We lowered my craft room storm window about eight inches and affixed the feeders to the outside of it. I can raise the screen and fill the feeders which allow entertainment for the cats. Even with the inside window up, they can't get the birds but they have a ton of fun trying.
Sadie is still on every other day meds but we haven't gotten her to eat them the last two days making four days without medication. No marking around the doors so far and I actually got a picture on my phone this morning of them both laying in the dining room, one on each side of the cat tree watching the birds in the yard.
We're going to have to get tough if we want to straighten out Sassy. What we don't understand is she's a smart cat, perhaps one of the smartest I've ever had. She knows she's supposed to use the litter box, she avoids us when she's been bad, she knows what 'potty' means and does it on command if she has to go. I can't tell you how many times I've asked her if she needs to go potty and she will go in the litter box ... or she will wait five minutes and go on the carpet. My fault for not staying with her after I say the 'p' word. We've locked her up at night and found pee on the laundry room floor right next to the box. At this point I think it's a battle of sheer will. We have been locking her up at night and in the morning if there is no poop in the box, I take her to my craft room and we put the gate up in the hall. She can get to my craft room, my bathroom and part of the hall. I placed the litter box (a new one just for her) in the hall by the gate. Yesterday morning I put the litter box down and asked her if she had to go potty. She sniffed the box a few times and walked away. I went back into my room to check e-mail and about ten minutes later heard her yowling. She had pooped in the litter box and was alerting me to the fact. We opened up the gate (she had been locked up in my craft room area for about an hour) and let her go. This morning after she was locked up in the laundry room all night, I took her back upstairs again (on the 4th floor of our quad level), put her litter box down (we keep this box put up so Sadie does not use it) and it only took about ten minutes for her to use it and yowl. So, we let her go. This routine is a pain in the butt for us but it's worked for two days. We even left the house yesterday afternoon for over an hour and no messes.
Sadie is adjusting well to her every other day medication, she's even a bit more friendly and lets both of us brush her daily. She's not allowing us to work on the knots, though. This morning I tried and she hit me with claws, I bled for half an hour. When she's done, she's done.
Interaction between the cats isn't getting any better. Sassy has actually been hissing and growling at Sadie which is something she really hasn't done much of. That tells us the dynamics of top cat might be changing from Sassy to Sadie. But, who knows? At this point we're just leaving them alone to work it out, they aren't fighting each other, just us.
I have been thrilled with the results of cataloging my stamps. I recently finished a card with a ship on it for Father's Day and needed something to fill in a corner. It occurred to me an anchor would look good and as luck would have it, in my images folder under anchors, I had three dies that would cut anchors, one was perfect. I've been able to find a perfect sentiment for every card with no effort, just scan down the list on my computer, find one, note the location and go get it. Since I can see it on the computer, I can tell which one will compliment my card. And, while I'm getting all excited here, I might mention that since I got it, I haven't made a single card without my MISTI. I'm super excited that I can stamp my die cuts with so little effort to line them up. I cut them out but leave them inside the paper they were cut from and use both pieces in the MISTI. The frame keeps the die cut in place while I stamp it. Easy Peasy!!
You can see the detail work on the arms. Since the arms are in motion, each square of mesh must be covered. Lots of work. Fur will be completed soon and next will be the straps that hold equipment. Hoping all will be done by C2E2. Brad is hoping to be his wookiee at the convention which should boost the accolades for Charlotte's costuming ability. Together, Brad and Charlotte make a dynamic team.
Sunday night I caught Sassy scratching and sniffing around the living room. I asked her several times if she had to go potty, she inspected one of the living room litter boxes and ran into the dining room. I just had a feeling so I scooped her up, took her to the laundry room, put up the gate and told her to go potty. This was about 7:00 pm Sunday. I told Carl to check before he went to bed and if she had used the laundry room litter box to let her out - she did and he did.
Last night I watched the clock. About 7:00pm, I grabbed her and took her to the laundry room and closed the gate. At 7:20 I heard her yowl, not a meow, but a full-blown "come here" and when I did, she had used the litter box so I let her out. I spent some time loving on her and telling her what a good girl she was. And while she pooped, she did not pee - at least not where we can find it. So, either she didn't go or she went somewhere and we don't know where. But...while I hate to hope, I will grab her tonight about 7:00 and lock her in the laundry room. We'll see how fast she catches on.
On the other front, Sadie becomes more manic everyday. She's running and jumping, in the windows and out of the windows. She let me brush her a bit this morning but she will not allow me to tackle those knots on her back. I'll keep plugging away at those. Luckily Sassy loves to be brushed so we don't have that problem with her.
Sadie is getting more active every day since we've started giving her meds every other day; she races through the house like she has someplace to go. With the temperatures in the 50s and 60s and the windows open, Sadie has staked claim to the family room window and Sassy has moved to the bedroom window. Soon, I will have my craft room window open (I'm waiting for a new bird feeder to put in the window) and they will congregate there. Sassy is still thinking the litter box is optional once in a while. We don't think anything will change that. Sassy and Sadie still walk wide around each other but were seen sitting side by side at the top of the stairs this morning. They're weird! Carl and I have talked about building an enclosure outside the family room window that will allow the cats to go through the window and climb into the enclosure. We researched plans on the internet and have come up with a design we think will work and Carl is so handy with wood. You can also buy windows with tubes that can be put into existing windows to allow cats to pass back and forth; sort of a sophisticated pet door that looks good. We figure Sadie will be the first one out. Sassy has been to the gazebo many times and is always looking to go back into the house as soon as we open the door. Sadie wants to go out any time the door is open so she might be the only one to use it. We joke that Sadie is Carl's cat, she spends a lot of time in the basement with him and Sassy is definitely a mama's girl, so if Carl can make Sadie happy, he's thrilled to do it.
I LOVE this tool. I ordered the MISTI (Most Incredible Stamp Tool Invented) in December and didn't receive it until the end of January, so quite a wait time. I had seen this product on several You Tube videos (see a video here) and Facebook postings and, while it didn't make me desperately want it, I could see how it could come in handy. Boy, was I wrong. I hardly make a card without it since I got it. You can die cut images that have stamps to match, put the die cut in, lay the stamp on top, get it perfect, close the lid, pick up the stamp, ink and go. You can use the magnets (I didn't order them) or use double sticky tape. Sometimes because the die cuts are so small, they are picked up by the stamp when the lid is opened. Taping them will either hold them in place or lift the die cut and the sponge lining out which is ok if you just make sure the lining was firmly in the corner and if it lifts, you just put it back. I have dozens of stamps and dies to match and always have trouble lining them up well. My acrylic blocks are no longer show room new, they have ink on them that I can't get off and lines that keep me from aligning while I stamp.
While the bee isn't perfect, it's 100% better than I can do by eyeballing it. This is a card in process using PTI stamps and Darice embossing folders. I'll post the card when it's finished. For the first time, I also used an embossing folder on the inside....stay tuned.....
This is the part where you start going crazy because you're so close, yet not so close. The armor and dread beads are in the mail. Hopefully we can do a fit today so we can measure for the harness. Brad is in limbo, so he started the Tuscan. Once we get measurements, he can cut the harness and work on that.
After several days of being really happy with Sassy, Tuesday morning found another mess on the living room floor three inches from the litter box. She could have had her front feet in the box when she pooped on the carpet. So, we're back to lock up. Since she's eliminating about 8:00pm, we're locking her up at 7:00pm. If she's done by the time Carl goes to bed, she can come out. Hopefully, we'll catch most of it. After three years, I'm not hopeful we will get this problem under control. I had a sleepless night last night thinking about it. I'm at my wit's end. We've run out of ideas. The first night in lock up in the laundry room she pooped and peed on the rug in front of the sink. The litter box in the laundry room (and our spare bathroom) is in the table we purchased and it's very obvious she doesn't like it, although Sadie doesn't mind. So, we moved another litter box in (defeating the purpose of hiding the litter box when guests use that bathroom) and she's using that one. Just when the sun breaks through the clouds, we find ourselves beating our heads on walls. Meanwhile, oblivious to all of our concerns, she's just the happiest cat - and the sweetest.
On another note, for the first time since early fall, the sun now peeks into my craft room window. The earth is moving on its axis and spring can't be far behind. At least in theory.
That electrical connection in Sassy's brain that we always thought was broken seems to have (at least temporarily) reconnected. She's still using the box in the living room - the other two boxes are currently unused although Sadie does a complete sniff on both of them before going to the basement to use the box there. I don't know what makes her dissatisfied with the boxes she previously used. Perhaps it's the sides on the boxes. The box that didn't have the sides on it caused her to spill over and we had to clean up the pee that was outside the box. Totally not her fault. And she won't use the box that Sassy is currently so fond of. The box in the basement is an XL, much bigger than the three in the living room, perhaps she likes the bigger box. I'd love to remove two boxes from the living room and leave the box Sassy likes. We're afraid any change now will break the spell.
This morning I was in the living room playing with both cats. Sassy got as close as putting her nose on Sadie's tail before Sadie walked away. No hissing or growling, she just moved. Sadie is still getting a pill every other day and no evidence of marking.
Sassy has developed several really large knots on her hindquarters. She is totally comfortable with me brushing her chest, upper belly, back and sides until you reach her nether regions and her hindquarters and then she snaps at me. So, I had Carl hold her down and got out the clippers and cut them out. Now she looks funny, one hip is devoid of hair but the hair on her back is so long it covers some of it. We're going to do the same thing to the other side, perhaps just shave her from her hips down her legs and butt. That electric razor we got works a treat. Zip, zip and we're done. So, maybe we'll finish tonight. Then I can introduce her to brushing where it doesn't hurt and keep that from happening again. Sadie now has a knot at the top of her tail and she's adamant we don't get near it. Where Sassy is a sissy and can be held down, neither of us want to deal with Sadie's teeth and claws. Perhaps a wet towel someday, we'll wrap her up and shave it off.
Just to wet your whistle for spring. Blue Dasher Dragonfly taken June 21, 2007 in our old pond. Temperatures here are rising from single digits to the 40s by the end of the week. My new lotus tuber has put up five leaves and two new shoots, the Towhee is still with us under the bird feeder, the possum made a visit last night, the male cardinals are chasing each other (a clear sign mates and territories are being chosen), birds are singing in the morning, the squirrels are playing peek-a-boo. Even though we just got a fresh four inches of snow over the weekend, spring is happening if you know where to look. Next week the 50s. The greenhouse will go up, I will be selecting seeds to plant, the snow will melt and you will be able to smell the earth. Birds will start looking for homes and checking out birdhouses so we will make sure they are clean and in good repair. Since we did a good job of mulching last year, that chore is already done but the pond will need to be cleaned out; we will hire the people who constructed the pond to clean it. This fall we will cover the pond with a net so we won't have so much to clean. When you clean a pond, you remove the old water and add new. All the dragonfly and damselfly nymphs are washed away and you need to add chemicals to encourage the bacteria that keep the pond clean to flourish. If you can avoid that process, nature will stabilize your pond and all the critters that balance it will keep it clean and fresh. We just have to remember when planting around the pond to leave room to attach the net. I will be transplanting the creeping thyme from the area where we feed the fish to the slope by the stream. The net can go over those plants with no trouble. Today is bright and sunny and the icicles are dripping and I am hopeful to see daffodils breaking ground next week.