Monday, June 28, 2010

The Cat Whisperer Versus the Dread Pirate Misty

Those of you who know me over on ravelry have probably already seen stories about my Dad and his dealings with the colony of feral cats that made an appearance on his land. There have been no new litters for about two years so I think it's safe to assume that everyone has been trapped and fixed at this point. This still leaves a ton of feral cats that live in and around my parent's house and in the woods behind their house.

In the past the ferals have managed to take up residence in the small space between the ceiling and the roof so they literally had a couple of ceiling cats. It was kind of awesome to just be sitting there knitting and watching TV with them and all of the sudden the little thud of feral foot would sound overhead. The best was when they would fight. My Dad finally coaxed all the cats out with lots of tuna fish and closed their entrance.

Then there was the time that my sister had two semi-feral kittens that she had trapped and was trying to tame as indoor cats. They took up residence under her bed and eventually burrowed into her box springs for a better hiding place. When it came time to get them fixed she had the unlucky task of trying to figure out how to extract them. So she called the cat whisperer. He looked under her bed and found the wad of cats, took out a pocket knife and cut a cat wad shaped hole in her box springs and caught the very surprised kittens as they fell out of the mattress and shoved them in a cage. My sister said that she had never seen two more surprised cats in her life.

Having said all of this, my Dad has been thwarted by a rather stupid feral cat named The Dread Pirate Misty (thank you to my little sister for the name), aka Dreadly. Dreadly is a tortie and can usually be found sitting on their roof and meowing and begging for pets when she remembers that she likes humans. When you're a Dreadly cat, your memory isn't that good. Anyway little Sis's new German Shepardish puppy managed to gnaw a hole in the bottom of the door into my Dad's office. My Mom blocked it off, but Dreadly had already discovered the wonder that is "the Cat Whisperer's Office". First she figured out how to move the chest blocking the hole and then when Dad fixed that she discovered that she could remove the insulation around the window a/c unit and break in. Now she's back to tunnelling in through the door. My Dad keeps blocking her different entrance places, but she's always at least a step ahead of him. We're not sure what she's getting out of this whole breaking and entering thing since she only breaks in when Dad isn't in there and when Dad isn't in there the a/c is turned off to that room. Still every day or so Dreadly will perform her Houdini act. They are having to keep a close eye on her because well a) she's a feral cat and therefore not house broken, b) there's no food, water or litter box in there and c) it's been in the upper 90s and low 100s for the past few weeks which means that it's even warmer in the room.

As of this morning the score stands at:

The Dread Pirate Misty 7

My Dad, the Cat Whisperer 0

BTW - here's a picture of their little B & E artist taken during the great Louisiana snow storm last winter.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A New Order of Business

The past couple of weeks have been busy for me. I've finally decided on a plan of action and have been going at it full tilt. I'm opening my own accounting firm and I've been telling everyone I can find about it. A lot of cards have been passed out and one return has been completed. I'm supposed to meet with a couple more people next week to discuss their accounting work.

Unfortunately, this plus the heat wave has cut into my knitting time. It's just been way the heck too hot to knit anything other than dishcloths. I've spent a lot of time looking at all my pretty yarn and getting all sweaty just thinking about knitting with any of it. My poor air conditioner can't keep up. I've got the thermostat set at 80F and even that's a struggle. My elderly collie has taken over a box fan in my living room and gets quite upset when I turn it off at night. I tried to explain to her that I don't trust her not to knock it over, but you try explaining to an intelligence challenged, hot, elderly collie why she can't keep her fan on all the time.

I just finished playing a wedding. Nothing too exciting other than a photographer that seemed to be getting in a rather strenuous yoga routine while she took her pictures. Hopefully future gigs will provide more entertainment.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Kitties, Sheep and Rain

I'm starting to come out of the fog that fell over my life last week. I've gotten a couple of job leads and I'm starting to feel a lot better on that front. I've also been embracing my inner pioneer woman. I hit the sales at the local grocery stores and bought a ton of squash and zucchini to freeze. I also put up some applesauce. An old copy of the Good Housekeeping Cookbook and I have been close friends. I even managed to make popcorn on the stove and didn't set anything on fire. The last time I attempted that I managed to set the whole pan on fire. We're talking giant flames. Only my obsessive watching of Emergency! during college kept my house from catching fire. I distinctly remember screaming "What would John and Roy do?". Let's just say that I will not be turning this into a cooking blog within the foreseeable future.

I finally drug out the fleece I bought in New Mexico last year and started to clean all the thistles and fecal matter (to put it nicely) out. I spread a trash bag on my parents front yard and was promptly joined by several others; four cats and a bored neighbor. A girl cleaning a sheep fleece can attract a lot of attention. I had to speak firmly to the cats about staying away from the fleece and they took up positions around my like so many little furry, rolling, meowing sentries. The neighbor came up on his four wheeler to investigate and even he couldn't scare off my guards. He recently broke his ankle and had to have surgery and shouldn't be walking around let alone driving over to see what I was up to. Ah the allure of a girl with fleece.

It rained all this afternoon and after a rather scary drive home from the store with the wind buffeting my car and trying to blow me across the road. I decided to take to my bed with a good book and my knitting and watched CSI. Over all it was a good day and I hope to continue my forays into playing pioneer woman. I refuse to wear a corset, though.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Adventures in Dyeing and Cello

This morning my Mom and I went playing in the graveyards. No it's not what y'all are thinking. We got to talking about natural dyes and decided to start with lichens. And since lichens grow on oak trees we figured that the best place to find fallen oak limbs covered in lichens would be in the graveyards. So that's where we went. We started off just trying to scrape the lichens off at the cemetary, but quickly decided to just throw the limbs in my trunk to be harvested later. Let's just say that my trunk now has a very oaky/licheny scent. We also gathered some wild growing mimosa flowers while we were out.

When we got home we soaked the mimosa flowers in some alcohol but that didn't work. Tomorrow I will be gathering more flowers and trying the different methods of extracting the dye. Plus I've spotted some interesting looking berries in my parents' backyard and some wild black eyes susans in the ditches around my house. I could be gaining a rather random reputation if this keeps up. I also think I'm going to talk to my next door neighbor about buying her goats' milk and attempting soap. This could get very interesting. I hope I don't blow something up. If I do I promise to post pictures of the destruction.
After my adventures this morning playing nature woman I came home, freshened up and changed into my all black ensemble. I arrived at the Church early and spent some time reading before we played. The concert went well and I was surprised to see that several prominent local violinists joined us for the first piece, a Tchaikovsky, that was dedicated to the memory of the conductor's wife. She had been a rather well known violinist in the Northeast and I'm sorry that I never had the opportunity to meet her or hear her play. The way the conductor spoke about her made her seem like a very special lady.
Tomorrow I look for more plants and start cleaning a fleece in the front yard. This will be my first time playing with a raw fleece so wish me luck.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Brave New World

Well, today marks the beginning of a new way of life for the pigeon. I've lost my best friend and I've lost my job all within a period of 4 days. It's either start over or keep making the same choices and mistakes. I've decided to start over. I've got some money in savings and a couple of months of severance pay coming my way so I have choices. I think for now I'm going to explore my options for making money on my own without an 8-5 position. I'm going to give myself until next June 1st to decide whether or not this is a good idea. I've got a couple of ideas up my sleeve that involve the cello and my knitting, both of which are passions of mine.

To start off my new way of life I'll tell y'all a story about the concert I'm currently in rehearsals for. It should be a really great performance, by the way. We've now rehearsed for three days straight and I've managed to only fall down the steps leading to the Church one time. I've got a lovely scrape up my left leg. Anyway the conducter is in his 80s and keeps telling us awesome stories about being a musician in the 1960s and the random concerts he's conducted. One involved a guy coming on stage in a complete non-pc Indian Chief costume and doing a fake war dance for 10 minutes in the middle of a piece of music. Ah the 60s must have been a grand time to be a classical musician. The problem, though is that he is now severely hunch-backed and insists on conducting while sitting in a short chair. The problem you might ask? No one can see his baton unless they're on the front row. Me? I'm on the back row because I got this gig at the last minute and was sight reading for the first rehearsal. The poor guy keeps getting upset that we aren't stopping when he stops and then he starts mumbling which makes it all the more awesome. I can still see the spark that made him a great conductor at one time, but in between are great moments of confusion. I'll let y'all know how this all goes come Sunday.