Tuesday, November 08, 2011
One dog, three cats and $400 later, everyone is up to date on her shots, exams, worming, weighing and all that good stuff. We are now immune to everything, from rabies to other things too gruesome to mention.
But what I would like to mention is that mother cat and 4 kittens living under my deck and in my barn. These kittens are about eight, maybe ten weeks old and mom obviously has another batch in the oven. In a year and a half, mother cat has let me get from 1/8 mile down to about a yard away from her, but she warns the kittens off whenever she sees me, and they run like their little tails were on fire, so the chance of catching them, other than using big Havahearts, is slim.
Even if I could round up all five, and opted to neglect neutering the boys - a female in heat will always find a tomcat somewhere - say I just need to spay the mother and two daughters (2 out of four kittens might be girls - or they all could) - that's going to be another $400, (or, worst case scenario of four daughters, morel like $700) and more if the vet has to deal with abortion as well (just because it's a more complicated surgery.) After they all recovered from their surgeries, I'd have to let them go back to the barn, because a) that's their home and b) they all hate me, despite the fact that Ive been feeding the barn cat population for years. Spaying the girls, at least, is the right thing to do - it's also a mortgage payment worth of spaying cats that aren't even tame enough to pet, let alone love.
I live in an area that has summer visitors, and the number of cats wandering around my barns at the end of summer always jumps. People on holiday apparently get kittens for the kids as a summer toy, then just leave them, assuming they'll be fine. I have news for them: they'll be some coyote/weasel/fox/hawk/owl/dog's breakfast, or they'll be hit by a car, or they'll starve, and that's the sad truth. If parent's want their children to experience "the miracle of birth", let them rent a video; don't bring more kittens into the world than you are willing to be responsible for. Don't adopt a cat (or dog) you aren't willing to care for for fifteen or so years.
I don't know, yet, what I'm going to do about the mother cat and the four kittens, or the next batch that is clearly nearly ready to be born. I know I can't single-handedly deal with every cat (or dog, although not as often) that turns up in my barn, under my deck, or on my doorstep. I don't want to sound like Bob Barker, necessarily, but:
PEOPLE! SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS!!!
PS: I should add that I feed the cats that show up in the barn, not because I'm a soft touch or feel responsible, but because barn cats are hugely useful in keeping down the pigeons and barn swallows that otherwise make our barns dangerous (pigeon droppings) or unpleasant (being literally attacked by barn swallows.)
Monday, November 07, 2011
Still fiercely behind on my daily word totals for NaNoWriMo.
- i ate three actual meals today (still seems like an awful lot of cooking and cleaning up for one person.
- I met both my step (a modest 5000, but it means something if you've been sofa-bound for a year) AND my moderate activity goals today - plus found a weather balloon when walking the dog, which was a) one of my "other" goals (walking the dog, not finding weather balloons) and b) totally cool.
- I paid a pile of bills, which, to my way of thinking, let me off the hook for a bunch of other useful stuff. Plus, yesterday I was stung by a wasp when cleaning, so obviously that's too dangerous a task to be undertaken. >_>
- I made vet appointments for all the indoor critters, so I feel like a Responsible Pet Owner.
Not so bad for a total slacker. :)
Sunday, November 06, 2011
(This train of thought comes courtesy of all the people out in the hills today shooting at things. Bow hunters don't bother me as much, because all in all they're pretty skillful, but anybody can buy a gun and go shoot turkeys and small game....or their brother-in-law. "I thought he was a squirrel." Kinda makes ya wonder, doesn't it? But anyway....)
Since my husband died last year, I've been asked many times, "Aren't you afraid, living up there in that big old haunted house, way out here by yourself?"
Well, first off, I have no problems with whatever "haints" might be in my house. I've always been more worried about the living than about the dead.
Secondly, while I may have one of those little perimeter security systems, I rely on it more to tell someone if the house is on fire than to prevent intruders from messing with me. I prefer my back-up system of dog and shotgun.
I remember a story my grandmother told me about a friend of her who raised...I think it was cocker spaniels. She had a red setter, too - sweetest, silliest dog in the world. But my grandmother's friend, a gentle little writer, said that she knew if anyone ever raised a hand to her, that sweet, silly dog would tear his throat out without hesitation.
My grandmother always had Dobermans. Beautiful intelligent dogs and wonderful family members. But if anyone came to the door, the dog (and there were many over the years) would always stand between the family member and the visitor in the doorway, until the visitor was okayed by the family member. They always got up in the night, too, to "make rounds", and that sound of dogs padding quietly around the house, their tags jingling a little, has always given me a special feeling of security.
My Uncle David, my grandmother's brother, was a kind, funny man who raised bees and collected antique postal trucks. He was the one who taught me how to shoot a 12 gauge without dislocating my shoulder.
I've retained both dog-raising and shotgun skills, and honestly, while the technological security system is a fine thing, and I do sleep with my cell phone at my side, dog and shotgun are also right handy, and if I had to bet, I'd bet on them any time.
I'm jes' sayin'.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
I'm gonna choke 'em.
Let's think of it this way:
Your friend is diabetic, maybe has been from birth, or maybe developed it later, but the bottom line is that her pancreas doesn't make enough insulin, or the way it is used by the body isn't quite right.
Can you hear yourself saying, "Oh, for crying out loud. You're not "diabetic". You just think you are. You could make insulin if you tried. You just like the attention of everyone fussing about your pancreas. You can eat anything anyone else does if you just put your mind to it. It's all in your mind. Come on! Snap out of it! Make some insulin, already! You know, you're bringing the rest of us down with your so-called "insulin dependence." You're just being self-indulgent. All you need to do is talk to someone and your pancreas will be just fine!"
Sounds silly, right? Substitute "brain" for "pancreas", "depressed" for "diabetic" - it's pretty much the same thing. Depression is a biochemical issue, not a play for attention or a character flaw.
I'm glad we had this little talk.
Friday, November 04, 2011
I'm old enough to have read Dr. Spock when I was having children, and he always stressed that schedules were good for children. It became fashionable in the 1970s - maybe earlier - to allow children to eat when they were hungry and go to bed when they were tired - this was referred to as raising the "natural child", if I recall correctly. But Dr. Spock was all about routines and schedules, and because I didn't like the idea of never knowing when people would be eating or sleeping, I went with him. It drove my spontaneity-loving husband mad, but both daughters turned out well.
The last few years didn't allow much adherence to schedules - too many crises and unplanned events - but now that things have settled down I'm trying to work myself into some routines. I think a lot of the reason I don't get exercise in is because I don't schedule a time for it; the reason my meals are sometimes not the best is because I'm used to eating sort of catch-as-catch-can, rather than being sure to have what I need to prepare something nourishing and reasonably simple. Getting the 1600+ words written each day is more difficult than it need be because the activity has no "home" in the day.
My usual meal schedule, I'm sorry to say, is, after I get up whenever I feel like it (and often much later than I'm really happy with) I have some coffee and then just sort of wander in circles for an hour or so - read the paper, do the puzzles, fill the furnace, tend the critters, whatever - and two or three hours later I'll have something light like some fruit and cheese or a small sandwich. I do whatever I'm going to do - which way too often is nothing - and then somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m. I'll make some sort of supper, eat a bunch of it, and later on go to bed before I get hungry again. I usually have an adult beverage or two before or with dinner and a brandy or sherry before bed (and yes, I know how many calories that adds up to.) This is all just so not good enough.
So I'm trying to pry myself out of bed at a decent hour - when I wake up the first time, which is usually sunrise, as opposed to rolling over and deciding to sleep more. I don't sleep well, but I'm willing to bet it's largely because I don't get enough exercise and I sleep in too late in the morning, then go to bed too early (left over from fourteen years of getting up at 4:45 every morning.)
Then I'm going to take my little - actually not so little - Pad Planner and pencil in time for exercise and writing. And I'm going to try eating three meals instead of two.
I know that in the past when I've tried this, its downfall has been that I tried to schedule in *everything* I wanted to do - scheduled meditation, scheduled reading time - and things I felt I had to do - scheduled cleaning, scheduled shopping. It wound up that every minute of every day was scheduled, so I abandoned it almost immediately.
This is all new territory for me - having no one to "answer to" or show up for. I've spent the last year since my husband's death just lying on the sofa, waiting for various legal problems to settle out and trying to be gentle on myself, but I think it's about time I tried to get my legs back under me. I think part of the reason is that I miss having routines and schedules.
Deepak Chopra, one of my heroes, says that routines are comforting to the body, and I believe that. I believe that's why they work so well with children, and may be highly underrated for adults.
I'll let you know how it goes.
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