Filed under: animals, personal, pets | Tags: cat, cat behavior, cats and food
I mistakenly left the pantry door open for more than 5 minutes today and during those 5 minutes Milo decided it was time for his dinner. With no master around to handle the kibble distribution, he took matters into his own hands.
(Pay special attention to how he Hoovers the kibble at the end. Apparently human men are not the only male species known to inhale their food?)
Filed under: animals, Garden, personal, pets | Tags: cat climbing tree, cat stories, personal growth, tomato horn worms
It’s been an interesting 7 days.
After my last post, I donned my chili pepper skirt of strength and went out into the world with confidence and positivity oozing out of my pores. And you know what happened? I found that core of inner strength that my tarot card reader said I’d find. It was like it’d been there all along and just hadn’t been tested. Or maybe I’d never made the choice to tap into it.
And that’s what has been really critical this week: my choices. I have chosen positive feelings, thoughts and people. I have chosen to be calm. I have chosen to be strong. I have chosen to be informed. I have chosen to be intentional, not reactive. I have not been perfect, but I have been much stronger than ever before. And while the impetus of the change had been due to changes in my relationship, I’ve taken the opportunity to make changes in other parts of my life too.
This post is going to take a look at some of the lighter hearted challenges of the week. They’re pretty silly, actually. But they feel monumental, I’m not sure why.
Challenge 1: Milo climbs a tree. Then another tree. Then another tree.
Two weeks ago I gave the man in my life distance so that he could focus on his individual challenges. It took a lot of strength, a lot of trust and a lot of love. Knowing that I could love enough to let go was an eye-opening moment. I’d never really experienced that before, and strangely enough, it felt pretty good.
So I decided to keep practicing. I let go of some insecurities. I let go of the past. I let go to my sadness. And while I was at it, I thought “what the heck. I’ll let go of Milo.” So I started letting him pal around outside without a leash while I was gardening. I trusted him, and after awhile he stopped running into the middle of the street. He started sunning himself on the driveway and chasing butterflies. And then one day, he decided to let go of gravity. He was hands-down the worst tree-climbing cat I’d ever seen. He was panicked, and slipping all over the place. He didn’t know how to get back down. I halfway expected him to just jump to the ground from 20′ in the air. He’d race out to the thinnest limb possible and then turn back (not very gracefully), but when he reached the main trunk he’d race up another limb, one even higher than the last. It was a disaster. If I hadn’t been having mimosas all morning my nerves would have been shot.
We eventually got him down and I locked him in the house. I decided to revert to baby steps on this “letting go” practice. But then a few days later he found another tree to climb. A much taller tree. And again, he scared the shit out of me. I was terrified that he was going to fall and break bones. After a few more climbs I let go of the fear, as did Milo. And now he’s climbing trees like a pro. He doesn’t go out too far on the branch and knows to come back down the main trunk. He’ll follow a bird or a butterfly but he comes back down almost immediately and runs over to my legs and meows happily. I’m pretty sure he’s thanking me. And I can’t help but hope that he’s burning a ton of calories in the process.
Challenge 2: Tomato Horn Worms and other mysterious gardening disasters
Now this is just depressing. My tomato plants are finally burgeoning with clusters of cherry tomatoes and yellow pear tomatoes. Yesterday I got home from a work trip and I found entire sections of my plants gone – leaves and flowers chewed right off to bare stems. And then I found it: the tomato horn worm. Ick. Then I found 2 more. Today I found 2 more. I don’t know where they are coming from. I don’t know why they won’t eat my chinese privet bushes instead of my precious tomatoes. So I let them go. Into the toilet. Because I am stronger than them.
Other garden challenges: rotting squash, mysterious tomato blight, cantaloupes that won’t set fruit. Frustrating, but boy am I learning a bunch.
So, I guess that about covers it as far as my literal challenges go. But there are so, so many mental challenges – every thought of every day is a small challenge. I’m changing the way I process my thoughts and feelings, and that takes a lot of dedication and perseverance. But the more I do it, the easier it gets. Eventually it will be as easy as flushing tomato horn worms.
Filed under: animals, pets | Tags: cat, cat stories, cats and paper bags, kitty
While I was in the shower this morning I heard a bunch of ruckus from my bedroom. I knew Milo was up to no good, but I was in no way prepared for this sight when I came out of the bathroom:
It would probably be worthwhile to mention that, like any normal cat, Milo has a natural propension for noisy things and small enclosures, ie – paper bags. From what I can deduce a Whole Foods brown bag that was left in my bedroom overnight gave Milo a run for his money this morning. As you can see, Milo was the clear victor. By the time I got to the little guy he was walking around like nothing unusual was hanging from his fuzzy little neck. He was mainly just concerned that I hadn’t let him out of the bedroom yet and he was hungry.
And people wonder why I worry about leaving this cat at home alone all day…?! Look at him, people! He’s CRAY-ZY!
Filed under: animals, Austin, outdoors, travel | Tags: Austin bird watching, Austin hiking, Austin sewage treatment facility, bird-watching, Center for Environmental Research, Colorado River, Dillo Dirt, Dillo Dirt production, East Austin hiking, Hornsby Bend, Hornsby Bend greenhouse, Texas bird-watching
We had a gorgeous Sunday morning in Austin yesterday. The sky was blue, the air was crisp, the sun was warm. Tyler and I made an impromptu decision to spend the morning hiking at Hornsby Bend, a few miles East of my house.
Before I paint too pretty a picture of this natural area along the Colorado River, you must understand that this isn’t just any other City-owned property. This is a sewage treatment facility. There are shit ponds all over the place.
Hornsby Bend is known for two things: producing Dillo Dirt (a rich compost created from sewage sludge & yard trimmings) and for being the best bird-watching site in Central Texas. The website claims that their popularity with the birds is due to their location along a major seasonal migration route. But I think it’s popular because poop attracts lots of really rare and yummy insects that the birds like to eat. I also think it’s because there are strange mutations of normal bugs, too – dung beetles with horns and rolly pollies that glow in the dark… who knows what a few generations of reproducing on top of sewage ponds will do to a species. In any case, for our avian friends these ponds are probably the biggest, coolest birdie buffet this side of the Rockies. And it’s all mere miles from my house. Badass!
If you ever go back there, be prepared for some strange experiences. You’ll drive on narrow dirt roads that seperate the various sewage ponds, and you’ll drive VERY slowly and VERY carefully because if you make any manner of small mistake, you and your car could be sinking into some sludge within a matter of minutes – there are no guardrails or fences to prevent you from doing so.
Once parked and on the grounds, be prepared to stumble onto odd appurtences like this one:
Don’t expect to see any informational signs, warning signs, locked doors or “caution do not drink or swim in the green water” signs… just a massive warehouse struture in the midst of the hiking experience. The facility was clearly not being used and had not been used for a long time. We assumed it had acted as some sort of bio-filtration mechanism at some point during it’s life, but couldn’t determine what it had done, how it had done it, why it had stopped or how long ago it had stopped. We also couldn’t figure out why the City would allow goofs like us to just walk in on this thing and spend half an hour poking around and taking pictures. The place screams lawsuit heaven. After a few deep breathes, Tyler and I were both pretty sure that we’d develop a strange degenerative disease somewhere down the line that could be traced back to this experience.
We got back home and did some internet reseach on the oddity, which turned up nothing. I kept digging though, and uncovered this report which identifies the greenhouse as a bio-filtration facility that once housed water hyacinth plants, which were used as a final cleansing step before sewage sludge was dumped back out to the Colorado. We did see the remnants of a few of these in the ponds, but for the most part they were no where to be found. The report seems to indicate that the hyacinths could not perform their job reliably enough and that use of this greenhouse was halted around 1989. The report also suggests that the channels might eventually be revamped for another use – but in the meantime, the structure has sat untouched for the last 20 years and has undoubtably entertained the imaginations of many hikers like myself.
Whether you go for the bird watching, the greenhouse exploration, the hiking trails or the poop ponds, I recommend a visit to this Austin facility before some idiot falls in the pond, sues the city & the place is closed off to the public for good. It’s really something that ought to be experienced first hand, because it’s rare that we Americans are allowed in such close contact with so many potentially dangererous situations all in one convenient setting.
Filed under: animals, food, pets, Uncategorized | Tags: animal vegetable miracle recipe, cooking disasters, kitchen disasters, kitty in a box, pumpkin soup recipe, thanksgiving, thanksgiving cooking
I’ve spent my entire evening cleaning up messes and trying to fix culinary problems that were way beyond my ability.
First mistake: I tried to make pumpkin soup. With a raw pumpkin. IN the pumpkin, no less.
The recipe came from my “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” book. When the daughter tries to make it in the book, the soup ends in disaster. I’m not sure why I thought that I could master something that a family who cooks all their own meals from scratch could not. The idea is that you bake the soup IN the pumpkin shell, and then you end up with this yummy soup in a neat-o pumpkin shell to impress all your friends and family. Since I have no friends or family coming over tomorrow, I was really just trying it because I was curious. And so I dove in headfirst. And here’s what happened:
If you can’t see it in the photo, trust my eye witness account: there is pumpkin soup EVERYWHERE. To make matters worse, I repeated these steps with the same results 3 times: 1-Put soup in blender. 2-Press button. 3-Watch orange stuff explode all over you, all over your kitchen, all over your floor, and into your kitty’s water bowl. FUN!
Speaking of kitty, while I was in the midst of this pumpkin mess (which was further complicated by a simultaneous chunky mashed potato mess) – kitty decided to climb up onto the dining room table. This is a habit that is STRICTLY forbidden, unless he stays on the corner across from the fridge which he uses as a launch pad to get on top of the refrigerator. Early on I decided that if kitty was going to be on top of ANYthing in the kitchen, it might as well be something that needs an occasional dusting.
Anyway, back to my story.
Milo climbed on the table and promptly knocked the cardboard box for my new roasting pan to the floor. (*yes, I’m going to attempt a turkey tomorrow. With the great success of my pumpkin soup and mashed potatoes, I figure it will be the best turkey ever roasted within Austin city limits). I thought it was an accident, till I rounded the corner and found this:
Oh my. Big kitty in a little box.
As I write now, my kitchen is clean, my potatoes are chunky but definately “mashed”, my pumpkin soup is salty but edible. Not only that, but kitty has escaped his tiny box and is purring away on my lap. I was going to try to get the stuffing started tonight but… I think I’ll leave that disaster for tomorrow.