Friday, December 20, 2013

End of the Year

 My little tree at work,
on the last day.
Off for two whole weeks!
I never have that much time off,
not even in summer.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Introducing Zena - Princess Warrior!

This is Zena, Princess Warrior. Zena spelled that way on purpose. She is our recent rescue, and what a story she has! Even though we are FULL, cat-wise, what with refugees from the cold and our own gang, this was a very special case, quite the exception. She was living out on the streets for God knows how long until she found my friend who loves cats. Never comfortable to be inside, this kitty was basically living for 4 years outside on friend’s porch (screened with plastic in winter),  and further protected against cold with many sleeping bags, blankets etc.) She got tucked in securely every night, with just a nose barely showing! Long story short, friend suddenly had to move from her house this summer, and this little one, which she had named Sillyhead, was suddenly really homeless - her world as she knew it, shattered apart. The people who bought friend's house were not cat lovers - had dogs - imagine the scenario. But friend would not abandon SH, no way: she went EVERY DAY back to her old street, calling for SH, and feeding her well, and making sure she had water and at least an hour of companionship. 

This went on for 3 months during the summer! I went along a few times as we tried to coax her into a carrier (I had already agreed we would take her, if she were captured). Unfortunately, this kitty was very very wary, and would not allow herself to be captured. Finally, after 3 months of this,  another circumstance arrived that meant it was "now or never" to catch the elusive Sillyhead. It was her last chance. Somehow, she must have known this, as the much anticipated “Gotcha Day” arrived when I received the phone-call "I've got her!" That was August 29th.  And it has not been exactly boring ever since she arrived.

Early days - stealthily conquering the bedroom!

Of course, we went through all the appropriate procedures when bringing in a new cat into the house: 2 weeks or so sequestered, gradual introduction to the others etc. But most did not warm to her at all! So much growling and hissing, and general grumpiness. To make matters "worse", SH, now renamed Zena, Princess Warrior, due to her "spunk" and daring behaviour, has decided to take over the bedroom, and basically the entire upstairs, much to the chagrin of the others, who regularly slept with me on the bed. 
For a while the resident grumps were in self-imposed exile in the basement. Chaiyka, the big tabby, joined in in solidarity as shown in the photo below,  even though he was cool with the new one. In fact, I have learned that in many multi-cat households, there is often a “facilitator” cat, that makes friends first, and tried to smooth the rough edges. He does try – such a good boy. The rest remain on high alert, eyes wide and terrified every time they catch a glimpse of the stealthy and speedy Zena, Princess Warrior.

Refugees in the basement

But she has become very attached to me, and when alone with her, she is “little mouse”, close to my side. She also loves her little basket in the bedroom, and her spot near the window that, on sunny days, is the place to be. And besides, no one else had been using it. 

"My basket!"

She also loves the window garden – now THAT is prime real estate – everyone loves to be there, as is a frequent backdrop for fabulous photo-shoots that feature both  cats and flowers. A perfect combination.

Conquering the much-coveted Window Garden

But of course, cats have short memories sometimes. Here is Zena anxious to go out the back door, despite her many years out in the cold. I think that is where they have it over us: they get over things, and get onto the next challenge or adventure.
Naughty girl wonders what's out there!

After a week or so, the "refugees" in the basement relocated to the ground floor, where they are "suffering" on the living-room couch - such hard times!

It’s gonna be a loooong winter!
Down to -27 Celcius tonight!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In Memoriam - To be Brave in Grief

10 years.
10 years ago on this date I learned of my brother's passing.

Source: Dave's Garden, Poems for an Autumn Day by Kathleen M. Tenpas.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

A Temporary Seat

Broken limb of majestic Maple
Provides a nice vantage spot
for our Manitou.
Alas, it was chopped and removed
I kind of liked it resting there.
As did our Manitou.

A look at the inside of the tree
showed no rot or aging
So sad.

Makes a heck of a scratching post!

Have you noticed the winter floofing around his neck has begun :)
Snowflakes cannot be far behind.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wild is the Wind

I am sure a mini-tornado (or something close to it) hit our area of the north ward last month: wind whipped up very suddenly and furiously  - massive amounts of rain - sideways - poured into the sun-porch through the screen windows! Our beautiful maple tree, the cornerstone of the garden, has been decimated. So sad - it was a glorious orange-red in the fall - hallmark of Maple Grove Gardens. Other people had bad tree damage too - barbecues, shutters, planters and garbage bins went flying. Not much sleep to be had that night - and up early the next day to see the extent of the damage done by the brief but intense violence of the wind. Luckily all my cats were safe inside at the time - it was truly scary - one feels so vulnerable and at the mercy of nature. My big beautiful towering acacias (they must be some of the tallest in my town), so awesome in early summer with their fragrant and abundant blossoms, now look very menacing - especially when the wind blows hard.  

Ultimately, the entire tree did not need to be cut down, thankfully, as its removal would have created a huge hole in the garden, not mention a huge hole in my bank account! But it has lost its symmetry, its fullness, and the light is filtered in a different way. The tree is no longer perfect - it is scarred and flawed - but - still alive.  I recall our recent conversation concerning the lack of sunlight, and how we had too much shade in recent years. Be careful what you wish for...

Sic transit gloria mundi
Farewell, beautiful Maple.
PS - thanks to Google Street view I have these photos....
I never thought to take them myself.
And how cool that we see the shadow of the "Googler".

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer at Last - Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

Our back porch features a new addition, which is useful for both plants and cats. 
Tristan demonstrates...

Such a hot day - a perfect place to catch a cross-breeze.
This shelf is reserved!

Time for brunch...

I love Lee Valley!

A most welcome gift from a friend, fabulous photos...

A most excellent spinach quichey, omelettey creation!

Oh - Tristan is on guard - someone is coming!

Il Pantero (aka The Reverend) likes to visit kitty day-care chez nous!
"Fill my bowl please!"

Chaiyka enjoys the expanded patio walkway - nice and cool on a hot day.

Love this new bright red Begonia - just gorgeous!

All manner of Dianthus are in bloom - cannot have a garden without
Sweet William.

Salpiglossis, or Painted Tongue, related to the Petunia,
is stunning.

Welcome Summer!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Rain and Wind and Snow - Oh My!

 Yes - we actually had some snow on the weekend - it was utterly depressing to see my tulips getting smashed by the torrential rains. And, this year we had more lilac on our old lilac tree than ever before - it was stunning. But that too was pelted with buckets of rain. Sigh. But today the sun is out, and all is very green, very moist, but the grass and weeds, very high.
Saved a small crab-apple one winter,
from a neighbor's tree.
Winter-sowed the seeds within.
In spring, one germinated, and grew over the years.
6 years later I finally have blooms.


So pretty.....

Tulips  before the rains....

Happy Spring!!