Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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The Downside of Feline Hunting aka The High Cost of Rodent Extermination

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Feline host of ‘straw’

***Gross alert.

No. I’m not talking about the trail of mangled body parts, a bit of liver, a tiny furless skull, a cluster of feathers. Though walking through a feline hunting graveyard is not for the weak of heart. Quick steps and eagle-eyes are necessities.

I’m also not talking about the catch and release program of yesterdays when we had a kitty door. Catch a rat? Bring it inside and let it go. Find a rat in a trap? Bring in the decapitated corpse and play toss and catch in our bedroom in the middle of the night. Live bird? Shall we see the damage we can cause by releasing it in the living room. Not those downsides, though they are quite entertaining. One particular birthday will always be quite memorable because we all screamed, stood on the couch, and simultaneously hunted a terrified rat. With kitty help.

No, this downside I’m shuddering about today is what happens after a feline hunter is successful. I’m not sure about the total timeline, but a week or three after eating wild mice, mysteriously little bits of straw appear. No big, UNLESS they happen to be beneath the tail of said hunters. Or along back haunches. Then we have a problem.

Let’s all take a moment to scream EWWWW!

Can tapeworms be any more gross? I mean, sure, dead stuff is gross. But for the most part, they are not in my bed, on my couch, on the cat tree, littering blankets. Ick.

Miss Monet, resident exterminator and feline hunter extraordinaire, is a repeat offender. Last summer was our first encounter with ‘straw.’ I think I’ll call tapeworms ‘straw’ from now on. It’s less offensive. Straw sounds nice and cozy, like in chicken coups or horse stalls.

Last summer, I noticed straw on Monet’s backside. We scheduled a vet visit, particularly after some straw was moving. Once confirmed by the vet, Monet was duly treated for a straw infestation. And a nice little vet bill we received from that visit. Cha-ching.

The silver lining of this mouse and cat game, the coup de grace of being a hunter of mice, is the benefit of repeat offenders getting a free pass from visiting the vet. Little did I realize how this law would line the pockets of my wallet with a lower bill for removing a straw infestation.

December. Again with the straw. AGAIN.

We called in and they advised us to come on over and get a dose of straw medicine.

End of January, beginning of February, we saw warm spring-like weather. And mice. Oh, mighty huntress Monet was witnessed gobbling some poor hapless rodent. We thought nothing of it. She had just been treated for straw.

And then. Snowmageddon. Everything was snow and ice locked. No hunting, no fun runs through the pasture, no live prey of any type. Until this week.

I kid you not. This week. We still have piles of snow! But plenty of open range greening up areas RIPE with straw infested rodents. Opening day for Monet included 2 voles, 1 mouse, and 2 birds.

You can guess, can’t you? Today I welcomed Monet into the house and noticed straw on her backside. Noooooooooo…

Yes……. Back to the vet I went for straw medicine. Which, apparently, only lasts 30 days. Is there not something that lasts LONGER than 30 days? This is going to get expensive, this live rodent extermination.

The answer was no.

So, if you need some rodent control, let’s make a bargain. $25 bucks a pop for the good stuff. Maybe needed once a month. Rent-a-cat for one month will cost you. And me.

Back to vacuuming and washing blankets. Which I just did last week before we discovered straw.

And you? Do you have a problem with straw infestations?


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Swift Arrival of Spring Startles, Shocks, and Confuses

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Her highness was quite pleased with her hunting prowess. Full of herself too.

And just like that, click. The flip is switched and spring is here.

The snow is mostly gone, where last week we were path-bound to specific routes by mountains of snow and ice. Mud reigns supreme and small streams become floods. Smashed grass gasps in surprise to be free and under the sun. Spring came roaring in with the flip of the switch.

And we sit at night, bundled in our flannels, suddenly realizing we are sweating and why in the world is it so hot? Oh. It’s warm outside. The 40-50’s do not allow flannels and heaters and electric blankets. Those winter settings set our skin to blazing and must be forced down to a dull roar. Winter jammies are tossed aside for cooler, thinner fabrics. Spring thundered in, showering us with unexpected warmth. Our minds are too slow to acclimatize.

The winds blows. Wind? Why is it windy? It was just snowing last week, and gray skies permeated our days. OH. March is here. The true March, with roaring winds and warm days, leaping lambs and shamrocks. The blustery breeze helps clear the snow-winter fog from our bodies.

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The cat. She was long confined to one narrow, winter ice-packed lane of travel. That went, well, nowhere except to other narrow, ice-packed lanes. It was better to sleep away the cold, day and night. When explosively, spring is here! The pasture appeared as if by magic. Birds called, frogs croaked, bugs hatched. The cat’s life is renewed. The hunter is re-energized with wide open spaces and plenty of sun-deprived prey.

Record setting opening day of feline hunting season set by one Monet. 2 voles, 1 field mouse, 2 birds. We sat, strolled, walked outside. Oh, there is another one. OH, watch your step, there’s something else. In the plant pot, hiding on the gravel, on the flat grass. Be careful where you step.

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Getting ready to tackle another hunt.

RV windows need screens to let in fresh air, keep bugs out. Condensation woes drop to an irritation instead of mildew concern. Overnight heating sources are neglected, one by one.

In the blink of an eye, winter clothes must be swapped for spring, leggings, short sleeves, light jackets, sun-blocking hats. Sun block! Roadways are clear enough for walking, and though the body protests movement, efforts are made. And the realization comes that, well, spring is really here. Sweating, thirsty, hot. Add hat and water to next trip. Remove sweater and coat.

The sun! Seemingly overnight, with the gray clouds of winter gone, the sun seems to be coming up much earlier and going to bed later than our expectations. Let’s not even talk about daylight savings time and the big jump forward.

Change is hard. Even seasonal changes. Gentle is normal, but this year the leap from winter to spring happened overnight. This body reacts in slow motion. Oh, get out my spring/summer clothes, put away my snow/mud boots. Where are my slip-ons? The heavy coat remains hanging on the hook. Even socks change from thick warm to short athletic.

Each day, less snow, more spring-thinking. Spring exploded right in our laps, and I, for one, am racing to catch up.

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How about you? Have you made the leap into spring?

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: snack attack

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poised, hunting, ready;

snow melts, rodents rise, meals live-

planning snack attack

 

snack attack by Angie Quantrell

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The snow has indeed melted, though not all of it. Snacks appear, bursting from earth, leaping into the jaws of death. Cat treats for Monet.

The evidence is all around us.

Happy first day of spring! What signs do you see?


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Spring Cleaning

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This past (YAY) winter has left this bod in serious cabin fever shape.

It’s true. Being cooped up inside with record snowfalls does nothing for a hiking physique. I did spend quite a bit of time shoveling, but that exercise was offset by hiding inside away from frigid temps.

Take my walk today, for instance. Huffing and puffing, sweating and trudging at a snail’s pace, the summer hiking season seemed far from my grasp. After all, actual hiking is done up and down, over hill and dale.

That’s when I realized my self needed spring cleaning. Some sprucing up, working out, and trimming off the fat.

Spring cleaning is coming to this future outdoors woman.

Walking around the yard, I noticed several casualties of the heavy snow and resulting compact ice. Funny smiling face? Busted. Sage in clay pot? Needs repotting to an undamaged pot. Siberian irises in a similarly disintegrating pot? Same treatment. Gravel strewn every which way due to shoveling of snow.

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Spring cleaning extends to the garden and surrounding yard.

It also includes the cat, Monet, who is sporting more of a tummy due to forced lack of exercise, and her favorite pastime-hunting. It’s hard to hunt or pursue any fun activities when snow accumulations are higher than your head! The one time she tried, well, it was hysterical and a very fast trip. Monet is in much need of a tune up.

Spring cleaning has arrived for the cat.

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Monet on her way up the pasture to the irrigation ditch (and future snacks)

The good news is she caught her ‘second’ first mouse of the season today. We thought spring was on the way in late January and early February. That was when she ate her first mouse of the year. And then Snowmageddon. There was much lying around, racing through the RV, climbing the walls, and sleeping on fuzzy blankets.

Inside the RV, blankets and rugs have been washed. Carpets love their new vacuumed look and floors appear a shade lighter after being mopped. Excess items are disappearing from cluttered sight. Spring cleaning is happening all over the place.

Let’s chat just a bit about the honey. In his jammies. And plastic shoes. Right now. Out smashing down mole hills all over the pasture. This mole has been a busy beaver, leaving a winding lane of black dirt mountains across the field. Soooo, honey does his spring cleaning by paying attention to signs of the season.

Spring cleaning comes to the Yakima Valley.

How about you? Have you enjoyed spring cleaning? What’s your favorite spring cleaning task?


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#TBT Annabelle and The Garden

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My little girl, Annabelle! How she loved the garden and being outside and snuggles on my lap. I miss her mama personality. As you can see, Anna Banana owned the garden. The house. The yard. The couch. The bed. The chair. As any true cat does.

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This Throwback Thursday flings us back to when we first started a little kitchen garden in our old house. This triangle plot used to be cement. TOTAL concrete. Ugh! After my honey worked his fingers to the bone removing icky cement, I went right to work, planting tiny rows of radish, lettuce, beans, peas. We added flowers, parsley, thyme, and even strawberries. And every year, I continued to remove bits of broken concrete that worked its way to the surface.

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It bloomed, grew, produced, this little potager, and gave me hours of pleasure. It also transformed over time to include a fence (to keep tiny grands from trampling tender shoots), blueberries, a host of insects and pests, and a wide variety of vegetable experiments and floral specimens. The very best year of production was when our neighbor found and homed a swarm of honeybees. Oh, did we miss those bees when he moved!

Do you have a potager? A secret garden? A weed patch?

I’d love to hear.

 


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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge: Dog vs Cat

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purple tongue panting

sun-heated fur, sunshine paws

I hike! I like! ruff

 

on a scale of 1 to 8, I’m a ca-nine by Ally Andersen

 

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aloof feline boss.

I rule, command, what I see.

know this, slave, or die.

 

cat-ness by Angie Quantrell

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Teacher (the older one) and student (from way back when in 3rd grade) who is now a senior in high school!

Fun! What a lovely, well-spoken young lady! It was a joy to spend time with her.

 


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do. not. touch.

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between here and there;

temptress, splayed and inviting.

kitty danger zone.

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by Angie Quantrell

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Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge! Have you dared to touch the danger zone? I’d love to read your haiku about facing a danger zone.


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Surprise Dinner Plans: Happy Hump Day Haiku Challenge

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surprise dinner plans

 

salmon encrusted

with spicy cajun tartar;

cat had other plans

 

aluminum foil

cooler than summer and fur;

unsupervised cat

 

kitty barbeque?

dare not, methinks, feline love.

new foil, fish dinner

 

 

by Angie Quantrell

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BEWARE leaving the cat alone to her own devices in the RV while I’m out trotting around the pasture.

How has your cat (dog, child, husband, wife) surprised you? Share by penning a haiku!

 

 


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Party Night in the RV

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When I go to bed…

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When I get up…

Sometime during the night, someone has a party in the RV. Someone short, furry, wild, and nocturnal.

Monet? Was that you? That was quite some fun you had last night. Just look at that couch! How many toys did you leave tossed here and there? Was that thuh-dump duh-dump duh-dump duh-dump I heard? Were you galloping up and down the hallway? Climbing the window shelves? Leaping from the counters?

Oh, my.

It’s a nocturnal Kitty-Cat RV Party!

Tonight, we put away the breakables.

Tell me. What happens at your house during the wee hours of the night?

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Monet, sleepingĀ during the day.


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The MABEL Gate: In Memory of a Furbaby

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Just before Christmas, our family was devastated to discover neighborhood dogs had destroyed our precious love-love (my nickname for her) Mabel. It was pretty awful. We still miss our little gray girl every day.

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No more “Which one is this?” from the grands (and everyone else). No more help working on my writing projects. No more kitty tracks on my printed papers. No more head butts and lap cuddles.

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Monet, her twin sister, was lost for quite a few weeks and is now just finally starting to come into her own as an ONLY cat. There are times she quite enjoys the attention. The rest of the time she’d rather be out mousing or birding. She was always the more independent wild thing.

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To combat future attacks, we put up a gate on our driveway to discourage any other dogs from wandering in to check out what trouble they could get into. As Papa and Hayden finished up the gate, they decided it should be named after Mabel, a tribute to her short, cuddly, furry life.

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Perfect! In honor of our Mabes, Mabel, love-love, gray girl, kitty baby. The MABEL gate. Ta-da!