Monday, 31 December 2018

The Last Day

The end of 2018 is going out with shivers of major cold here in Central Canadia. I am working the evening shift but starting one hour early (as we do every Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve) so that all of our patients and staff can have the time to do whatever things people do on those two eves. I myself did nothing on Christmas Eve, and tonight after work will be spent just getting back home to the warmth of my tiny house, the company of the kitties, and maybe watching some Netflix to unwind.

Because right now, it is:

(I live where the air hurts my face.)

I will venture forth dressed like the Michelin Man, in my midcalf length down coat, toque pulled down to my eyebrows and scarf pulled up over my face and nose. (Frostbite likely in mere minutes at this temperature.) Even my glasses will be safely tucked into my pocket, as they will just frost up from my breath moving up the scarf to escape by my eyes. I will want to be wearing sunglasses but won't. The frame of the sunglasses sitting on the bridge of my nose gets cold enough to give me brain freeze in this weather! Maybe I need to find some thin neoprene to line the bridge of my sunglasses for a little temperature shield.

So I am taking this opportunity to wish all of you, my fellow bloggers, a Very Happy New Year! And may 2019 bring you peace, health and contentment in your lives.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Oh Christmas Tree!


It's not the kitten I have to worry about... it's the old lady! Pips has to topple the tree at least once every Christmas. So far this year, it is twice. Luckily the tree is outfitted with unbreakable baubles.

Merry Christmas to one and all!

love, Ponita and the kitties (Pips, Lila and Aska) xoxo

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Merry Christmas!

Or Happy Holidays. Or Happy whatever it is you celebrate, or don't. There are so many religious celebrations in December and January that it can be difficult to know what to say to people. But if you wish a non-Christian Merry Christmas, most do not get offended. So be happy and wish everyone you see a happy whatever it is that you celebrate! Spread that joy and love! Smile and people will smile back, because smiles are contagious.

Last year, I never got around to setting up my tiny little Christmas tree, because up until shortly before Christmas, Frosti was still in the house and I was sure I would look up to see him dragging it across the room.

This year, I pulled that little tree out of its plastic storage bag and brought it up to the living room. I have a large wooden chest in front of the living room window, covered with a sheepskin, so I put it there and plugged it in.

At first, Aska paid it absolutely no attention whatsoever. For about an hour, she stayed on the top of the cat tree, not 5 feet away, playing, napping, and grooming herself.

Then she ventured over to check it out. She kind of picked at it gingerly a few times but quit when I finally hissed at her, as I didn't want her to get too aggressive with it. She has since left it completely alone. Such a good girl!

Aska is now just over 7 months old and pretty much fully grown. She is still a tiny thing, about half the size of Lila but I have not been successful in getting a photo of all three sitting next to each other to show the size differential. They really are small (Aska), medium (Pips) and large (Lila)!

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Frozen water running

It has been quite chilly here, with temperatures a good 10 degrees or more below normal. And wet. September has been the wettest month in the past 2 years. Pretty horrible timing, Mother Nature, as farmers has more than one million acres yet to harvest!! This could potentially be economically catastrophic for them, and then for us at the grocery store.

This morning Pips yelled at me for a good 10 minutes before I agreed to go outside. I had worked a double yesterday (16 hours) and am physically tired today so all I really wanted to do was sit in my recliner with my feet up, enjoying my coffee. But I eventually relented, because that cat is very persistent and once she's had some outside time, she is content.

So once outside, I swept leaves away from the step (the trees are nowhere near finished dropping them) to prevent some from being tracked into the house, and noticed the rain chain still had water dribbling down it. (The eavestroughs, or gutters are they are often known, are full of leaves now, which slows the drainage of water.) Here is a little video I made.

That's Pips now yelling at me to let her back in the house, because she is cold. It was 4C and felt like 1C. She lasted about 5 minutes! Such a wimp. ;-)

Saturday, 8 September 2018


Heard on "Because News", a CBC Radio program, "Couldn't we just drug Trump and put him in a big building that looks like the White House and hire a whole bunch of actors to play the staff? Couldn't we just Truman Show him?"

I think that's just perfect!

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Under the sea?

A year (or two?) ago, an old maple tree in my yard had died and was cut down. The stump was taken to ground level and just sat there.

This year, it decided to let a conglomerate of fungi take up residence on the cut surface.

I find it very reminiscent of things that live in coral reefs! Fungus comes in so many forms. Very fascinating!

I am not sure how to get rid of this, as I don't really need it spreading to the nearby old but still living maple trees. Google, here I come!

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Brief visit, and the kitten

I came home from work yesterday, and this lovely Monarch butterfly landed on the fence just outside the gate. It stayed just long enough for me to snap a photo.

I find it fascinating that these fragile creatures migrate thousands of kilometers/miles to Mexico to winter. They seem so erratic in their flight that I don't really grasp how they do that!

All the same, it is wonderful to see them in fairly large numbers up here in Canada every summer.

In kitten news, Aska has taken over the cat cave bed thingy, as she can now jump up on the furniture. She is growing! A very active kitty, she often ignores the food I put down for her, as she feels running and playing and chasing little mouse toys much more important than eating. *sigh* Between her ignoring her food, and Miss Pickypants (aka Pips) turning up her nose, feeding time is a challenge. But Aska is still a good weight, and continues to thrive, so it can't be a bad thing.

For your viewing pleasure, (or maybe not... you can ignore these if you so desire) here are some videos.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Expanded Universe

Aska, the newest kitten, is ~8 weeks old now. She is not longer a scrawny, skinny, ribs-sticking-out kinda kitty. She has filled out and has a bit of a pudgy kitten belly, which is how she should be. Yay! She eats really well and it now shows.

I decided, since she is now a healthy normal kitten, and is really active and playing like mad, that it was time to expand her tiny universe and let her have access to more of the house.

Now, my house has a basement but there is no way to close it off from a tiny 2 lb kitten. There is no door to the basement, only full access to the stairs, and there is the danger of climbing through the wrought iron railing from the kitchen that open over the stairs, and plummeting down into the depths to (more than likely) get broken on the stairs... or worse! Plus there are things and spaces in the basement that a pipsqueak of a kitten could get stuck in, or hurt by, or somehow difficult for me to rescue. So I had to devise a barrier.

I have a wooden pet gate at the edge of the kitchen where the stairs start that is an accordion style gate and it works well to keep dogs from the basement. Where the cats' litter box resides. My sister brings her dog over, and when I had Teak, it worked like a charm to keep dog snoots out of the box, chowing down as they are wont to do. *ew* It has many openings in it that a kitten fits through so that won't do.

So I used one of the old doors that I had pulled out when I demo'd the basement. I cut it down to 40" high, and put a 8" wide board along the top for the big cats to use as a landing pad when they jump up. I cut the corners off the board to allow for unimpeded opening and closing (otherwise it would be going nowhere!).

My house was built in the mid 50s and the door trim is curved, so I had to bend and hammer the hinges to follow that curve. Not a difficult task. Clamped one side of each hinge to the workbench in the basement, used a piece of door trim as the mold, and hammered the desired curve into the other side of the hinge. Worked perfectly!

So I have the big litter box upstairs for now, as Lila thinks she is too fat to jump up on the gate and I want Aska to start getting used to it. She was pretty skittery at first when she started exploring the living room, but was running around playing in no time! Right now, she is back on the cat tree in the front room, having a much needed nap.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Third time's the charm?

For the third year in a row, I am adopting a kitten. In 2016, it was the lovely young Tanner, who's life was cut tragically short by lymphoma at the age of 11 months. In 2017, Frosti made a 9 month appearance but turned into a total bully with Pips and Lila, although with humans, he was super! He went back to the Humane Society to find a single cat home.

In 2018, actually this past Sunday, I brought home a skinny little kitten I have named Aska. The name is Icelandic and it means 'ashes'. I chose that name for two reasons, really. One is her colour. She is a dilute calico, meaning she is white with grey and tan/buff. A regular calico is white with black and orange. She appears to have amber eyes but the final colour isn't set as of yet, as she is only 5-6 weeks old. The second is she was so close to dying, this is like she has literally risen out of the ashes to live again!

I know someone in the city who cares for a colony of feral cats. She traps the adults, gets them spayed or neutered, vaccinated and then returns them to their colony site, as they are wild and not tameable. She is doing her part (more than, actually) in trying to curb the feral cat problem in the city. (There are an estimated 100,000 feral cats in this city of 750,000 people.) Any kittens she can trap, if young enough, will be tamed, then adopted out, spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed. She feeds the colony and has insulated shelters for winter. Life as a feral cat is hard and usually much shorter than for house cats. She has a huge heart and works hard to do right by these cats.

A couple of weeks ago, a tiny kitten showed up in her back yard, where she has a feeding station for the strays in the area. She managed to trap it and take it in. It was a very young, very dehydrated and starving female kitten. My friend kept her for almost 2 weeks, feeding her with a dropper at first with kitten milk replacer and water, then feeding high quality mom and babycat food intended for lactating females and weaning kittens, and getting her strength up. She also took the kitten to the vet, where she was checked out as healthy but underweight, no fleas, no ear mites and blood tested for FIV (think HIV for cats ~ they can live a normal life even if positive) and FeLV (feline leukemia, which is a death sentence). The kitten was negative for both of those diseases.

I had donated $100 towards her vet bill (I follow her feral cat page on facebook and had been watching her posts on this little one) and told her if the kitten was negative for FIV and FeLV, I would adopt her. She would have to be negative for FIV, as Lila is allergic to vaccines and has not been vaccinated for anything since the age of two, where she had severe reactions even when premedicated with antihistamines and steroids, and she is now nine. So when the kitten got a clean bill of health last Friday, I made arrangements to go see her on Sunday. She weighed a mere 0.73 kg (1.6 lb)! You can feel her shoulder blades, spine and hip bones. She has no pudgy kitten belly, no rolly poly at all. She is so skinny! And she's actually put on weight in the past two weeks eating good food at my friend's place!

My friend is letting me use a large wheeled multilevel cage to keep the kitten in while she gets bigger, and the older cats have a chance to get accustomed to her presence. Both Pips and Lila have been growly and hissy, but Aska has been rather unperturbed by it all. She is affectionate and loves to be petted. She purrs like crazy and any touch gets her tail and bum up in the air. She is eating well, drinking water well, using the litter box with normal bodily functions, and is playing on the cat tree when I get her out of the cage and let her loose in the front room (with the door closed, of course).

I have fostered kittens before who were younger (remember that litter of 5 from a few years ago? they were 4 weeks old when I got them) but never one this thin. I am hoping she starts building some muscle and putting on some weight now that she is getting out of the cage and climbing around on the cat tree. She is so very cute!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Rain Chain... Pt II

I'd say it works as it should. I may, in the future, add some clusters of metal leaves to the chain, provided I can find some galvanized metal that I can cut with snips. I don't have a scroll saw, nor do I want to buy one. So we'll see if it evolves. But in the meantime, I am pleased!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Working on a chain gang

Did you sing that line? I did, while typing it out. "Workin' on the chain.... gaaayang!"

My house has a hip roof, meaning it has four sides, not just two. The eavestrough runs all the way around but there are only two downspouts, both at front corners. And (of course) one of the back corners always drips where there is often standing water in it. It is annoying. I don't want to spent a ton of money getting them redone so I decided on a DIY solution.

Did that surprise you? LOL!!

I decided to make a rain chain for that corner. I looked at lots of different ones online. Really liked one made of a copper chain with clusters of copper leaves hanging on it, but buying one was a bit pricey. I did find a DIY site on how to make one, but it involved making the chain from copper tubing, and the leaves from copper sheeting, which is definitely doable but also time consuming and I wanted something put up quickly as we've been having a lot of rain storms in the past few weeks.

(isn't it pretty?)

I found one that I thought looked cute and functional, made with galvanized chain and tiny galvanized metal buckets from a craft store. I bought 5 - 4" buckets and made holes in the bottom, strung them along the chain, spaced equally, and secured the handles with wire. My idea was for it to look something like this:

To make it a little more interesting, I bought galvanized letters to spell out R A I N in the place of every second bucket. So I made the holes in the bottom of the buckets and strung them on the chain but it was so noisy! This chain will be on the corner of the house closest to my bedroom window, and it is often fairly windy here (you know, on the bald ass prairie, there is nothing to slow the wind down ~ this part of Manitoba is as flat as a table top) so that wasn't going to work. So I opted for using just the chain and the letters.

At the bottom, I put a tall planter made of recycled rubber. I drilled a few holes in the bottom on the side away from the house for the water to drain away from the foundation. The patio block it sits on is slightly angled away from the house as well. It is weighted in the bottom so is stable, and is year round durable so I can leave it out in the winter. That bit will be important during the spring thaw when the snow melts off the roof and drips down this corner. I am going to fill it with river rocks (to be purchased from the local hardware store) as pea gravel is small enough to plug the holes I drilled and I want to make sure unimpeded drainage is maintained.

So what do you think?

Friday, 22 June 2018

Going Squirrelly

This morning, on the second day of summer, Pips and I wandered out to the back yard, where I sat with my coffee and supervised her roamings. There was a robin with a beak full of worms that stopped by, high up in the old elm to peep and chirp at us before flying off to stuff those worms down the gullets of hungry chicks. A tiny little bird, whose identity is unknown to me, flitted through the trees, peering down at us from around branches. Pips watched with interest but made no move to hunt.

Then came the squirrel. I have seen it many times in the trees in my yard. It is a small red squirrel and not very noisy. I have found when grey squirrels are about, they raise a cacophony of chitter chatter that gets irritating pretty damn quick. This little one occasionally cheeps but usually just shows its annoyance with a frantic tail bouncing rear end dance along the tree branches.

As we watched squirrel's antics, I could see it was inching its way lower along the tree trunk. So could Pips. She was being very patient, sitting very still in front of my feet.

Then suddenly, the squirrel took off down the tree to the ground and zipped behind the shed. The base of this tree touches the shed, so it was a pretty easy get away, but both Pips and I burst into action in time to see it disappear under the far side of the shed. There is a wooden base under this metal shed and I have noticed it is getting a bit worse for wear but I had no idea squirrels were living under it. For all I know, there are rabbits as well, although I have not seen any evidence of rabbits in the yard for several years. There are mice, though, of that I am sure.

There are white footed deer mice living under the shed, and I have a poison bait station inside the shed. They can transmit hanta virus through their droppings and urine, which can aerosolize once dried. I sure don't need to be breathing *that* shit in, thanks but no thanks. (Infection with hanta virus can lead to Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, which can be fatal, and is a reportable disease. I knew someone a few years ago whose son died of this after working on the plumbing under a cabin without the proper respiratory protection. It was a long slow demise, terrible to watch as he withered away, struggling to breath. He was 25.)

I know for a fact that three mice have already succumbed as I have found their little carcasses, which have been disposed of so nothing else will eat them (read: Pips) and die. The poison is warfarin (ie: rat poison), which is an anticoagulant (thins the blood) and they die from massive internal hemorrhage. Sorry for the gruesome imagery but I don't want that to happen to my cat by accidental ingestion. When I have the shed open, she is not allowed outside the house. That pisses her off to no end!!

I have not seen evidence of the squirrel inside the shed, which is good, because the lawn mower and all my yard maintenance equipment is in there, plus my bike. So far, nothing obviously chewed. If that becomes evident, trapping and relocation is going to happen fast! There is a large park with a heavily forested area nearby, which would be the transplant location. Here is the little furry one in action.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Sunny Sunday

It has been a beautiful sunny and warm weekend here in Central Canadia. Today it is Mother's Day here but as no one's mother (no, I am not my cats' mum!), I only offer my celebratory salutations to those I know who have children.

As is her wont in warm sunny weather, Pips demanded I take her outside. She would prefer I just open the door and let her out to wander and do whatever cats do, but I really have no desire to scrape her carcass off the pavement, or pay large vets bills for injuries, or have her just disappear for ever. So she is supervised, much to her chagrin.

We both lounged around the yard for a while, she rolling in the dirt and me lounging in a chair listen to a podcast (and sipping a tropical cider, a local brew of pineapple, cherry and pear juices). As she kept eyeing a tree to scale (from whence she could jump the fence and escape into the neighbour's yard), I got her harness and leash and we went for a walk outside the yard.

She doesn't always walk down the sidewalk (in fact, she often just sits in one spot), but when she does, she walks down the sidewalk like a boss. And afterwards, because it is a pretty warm day (and we aren't used to the heat yet as it has been pretty cool so far this spring) and she is mostly black, she had to lie down in the shady dusty lane for a bit to cool off.

Wishing everyone a quiet and peaceful week ahead.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Thirsty Bird

Walking back from the grocery store, I stopped to watch this crow drink from a tiny puddle. It was 30C at the time and the sun was hot. We have had a very dry spring this year and I am sure the birds drink from any source they can find. I was only about 10' away from the bird while it was drinking. My presence did nothing to deter this thirsty bird.

Sunday, 6 May 2018

Rummaging about

Spring has seen a mass influx of common grackles to these parts. They eat a lot of insects and anywhere there is leaf litter (like my front yard... I haven't raked that up yet), the birds can be found scratching through the leaves looking for bugs.

Pips and I watched this guy out the front screen door. I got a few still shots, and shortly after I started filming, he very rudely walked off the stage.

I mean, really... how rude!


So those 'dusty' lungs I was complaining about the other day have turned into gunky lungs. Yesterday, I sneezed so many times, and so hard, my sinuses were hurting. I am not coughing often, but when I do, I try to hack up pieces of my lungs. And when I laugh, I sound like a 4 pack a day smoker. *bleurgh*

I now have drugs. Just from the drugstore, because this now seems to be a virus (as in: phlegm is clear to light yellow), and antibiotics do nothing against viruses. I need to haul out the sinus rinsing gadget to see if I can get some of the bugs out of my nose. Still not feeling horrible despite all this. No fever, no aches or pains (other than the usual), no feeling run over by a truck. I am doing laundry and some housework, when I take breaks from sitting in the recliner with the laptop in my face.

Hope you are all having a good day!

It's a.... Chicken?

I had Pips out in the yard the other day, as it was a lovely warm sunny day. She did her usual roll around in the dirt and then was sitting by the juniper when a large grey squirrel came strolling along the power lines.

It did not do the usually chirp and chatter at the cat (and probably me also) but instead stopped and watched quietly for a while. Then it started doing a credible chicken impression. (Have the sound turned up and everything else off... It was quite a ways off and there is background noise, including the occasional meow from Pips.) You be the judge.

Friday, 4 May 2018

A Tad Breezy

Last Sunday, I had to finish off the yard work I had started a couple of days before. I have this big old Chinese elm tree in the back yard and it spits leaves and twigs well after the snow falls so every spring I have a mess to clean up. A mess of leaves stuck to the ground and twigs flung everywhere in the yard. I hate that tree but who has a spare $2K to get it cut down? Most certainly not me!

I had already raked up four large bags of the debris and really wanted to get it finished, but it was such a windy day! Here, see for yourself:

It was beautifully warm and got up to 24C so I couldn't complain about that. But I sure did about that wind! Pips, however, just doesn't care about the wind as it ruffles through her fur. She was out with me for part of the day.

She loves to be outside. I think I need to build a catio that can be dismantled (for winter storage) so I can put her outside without the fear of her escaping the yard, and also making it unnecessary for me to supervise the whole time. She has been known to scale one of the trees, get on the shed's roof and hop the fence into the neighbour's yard. Nope! Not going to a roaming kitty, Pips! And perhaps if I had a shelter in the catio, I could convince Lila that being outside isn't such a horrifying experience. (She runs away as soon as you open a door to the big unknown! Such a chicken.)

And because I did get a total of 7 bags of debris out of the yard, and because of the 75 kph winds on that day, I inhaled a bunch of it and now have a cough. And a bit of yellowish gunk. But overall, I actually don't feel bad. So I really don't think this is a cold at all, just a case of dusty lungs.

But not this kind of dusty lungs:
Dusty Lungs

However, if the coughing gets worse, or sticks around much longer, I will seek medical attention. Have no fear.

Edit: I just watched the videos after publishing this post and because I downsized the files to not be too large, it looks like there's sparkles everywhere! Hahaha! Note to self: don't go so small in the future.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

So? What do you think?

I tweaked and I fiddled and I photoshopped.

Ta da! My new blog look. In case you've never noticed, I like bright colours and artsy stuff. I know, I know. My blog abounds with photos and descriptions of home renos and cats.  But I really do like the bright colours.

And so when I redid the blog, I followed suit.  So let me know what you think of the new look. I took a photo of Lila and Pips and ran it through the Prisma app a couple of times and voila!

Speaking of the Prisma app, here are a few more tweaked photos.

Saturday, 28 April 2018


It is Saturday. It is a gorgeous sunny day. I have yard work to do. I have to go to work in just over 2 hours. I am not really wanting to go to work. Actually, I don't really want to do yard work either, but there is a big Chinese elm tree in my yard that never drops all of its leaves before the snow flies in the fall, so there is always raking to do in the spring once it has dried up outside. I raked up 4 large bags of leaves (and twigs... that thing flings twigs everywhere too) yesterday before my back complained so much I had to stop. I have time to get some more raking done but will I?

No. I will have more coffee. Happy Saturday to you all.

Or, as Pips and Lila like to say... Happy Caturday!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

I'm still around

Wow. Has it really been 2 1/2 months since I last posted anything? Time flies when you're having fun, right?

Starting mid January, my 3/4 time job became full time. I've not worked full time in my 27 years of nursing ever. I've always been around a .7 or .8 and would pick up the occasional extra shift for some extra cash, but I am now 60 and will in no way want to be working past 65. So I figured I had best make the most of the last few years to maximize my pension. But I spend more time at work now than ever before! Don't really like it but it's a necessary evil.

Because healthcare seems to think we need to have a three day weekend thrown into our rotations, they make us work 6 shifts one week and 4 the next to make the 10. I'd be quite happy working 5 and 5 but working every second Saturday seems to confuse them. (I work in an in hospital outpatient clinic, so no nights and no full weekends.) How about working Monday to Friday one week, and Tuesday to Saturday the next? Nope. Monday to Saturday every other week, and the others are either Monday to Thursday or Tuesday to Friday. So I have weekends that are one day (Sunday) and the others are either Saturday and Sunday, or Friday to Sunday. Whatever. It is what it is and it's okay.

So finding time to get this little cracker box of a house fixed up to sell (in only 2 years!) is a little tighter. And not only because I have less time, but because I don't always have the energy. But I need to find both the time and the energy if I am going to get this thing in shape to get a decent selling price. I must. I don't have the wherewithal to hire out for what needs to be done. Most of it, I have the skills to do. And I am not afraid to seek out the information and education to learn what needs to be done for most projects. Hell, I've learned how to replace a toilet, electrical work, foundation repair. Installing flooring, painting walls, installing light fixtures... that's easy stuff. If the roof needs replacing in that time (and it might), I will have to pay someone for that. I refuse to replace the fence, even though it is a bit rotten in spots. There are only so many costs I am willing to absorb.

This is my one day weekend and I have spent it grocery shopping, doing laundry, making a crockpot full of hearty soup for lunches during the week, and of course, the kitchen clean up. But I have found time to natter on a bit here, to cuddle the cats, and prop my feet up for a while. I hope you all have had restful weekends. My heartfelt condolences to LX on the loss of Nikko. I feel your pain, my friend. xoxo

Sunday, 11 February 2018


Today... I turn 60.


How the hell did that happen???

No idea, but I don't put much stock in numbers. As they say (whoever 'they' are), you are only as old as you feel!! So some days, I feel 30ish, and other days, it is more like 104.

I am off to lunch with my sister. I hope all of you have a great day too!

Here is me at age four... over half a century ago. 😊

Friday, 5 January 2018

New Year Kitty

New Year's Day is the beginning of a new year. It is also Pips' birthday. She turned 11-ish this year. She's been living with me for 9 1/2 years now and I was told she was 1 1/2 when I got her, so 11 it is!

For presents, she got some tuna, and a honeysuckle toy. And as much snuggle time as she wanted because I stayed home and vegged in my jammies all day.

Pips loves to snuggle! See?

Here's hoping she has many years left. She's healthy and active so fingers crossed!