Tag Archives: Four-footed Ones

Murphy and Dora are Right

The yard here at Fontana is much bigger than the yard they had in Houston.  Both of them can get up to running speeds here that they only had when they escaped the yard back in Houston — which was rare.

Murphy is not interested in walks and Dora is not much either.  I have seen them running around the yard here on a daily basis.  Why would they want to go to a park on a leash connected to me — an old lady?  They are smarter than that.

This is a big plus to the Fontana move.  There are others, but this one is perhaps the biggest of all.  Having Dora active and happy is something I haven’t seen in years.  Having Murphy running full speed and rolling around in delight is a marvel.

If they are happy here, I should be, too.


House Activity (Edited and Updated)

I’m trying to add some more media. I figured it out.



This is what the west side of the house and yard looked like before I got started.  What you can’t see is all the pup poop.




Dear Dora

Yesterday, one of my old students stopped by.  He’s an American citizen by birth, but grew up in Syria.  His family is ok — and expanding.   He is married now and has a son.

Ten years ago, he was my student.  Ten years ago, he also helped me build my front fence.  He also met Dora. This was after Gretchen and Buddy but before Tammy and Murphy.  He only knew Dora.  He was afraid to ask if Dora was still around.

She is, but she is old.  Sometimes she is with us, sometimes not.  Like any old lady, she struggles with what was once easy.

I promised her a walk tomorrow.  I will take some pictures with my new smarter than me phone.  I need to buy a better camera.


A Shift is Happening

I’m down to one lonely, stoic feral kitten.  Tilly the anti-social except for her sister kitten Toes is now alone.  Toes is dead.

Tammy’s tumor has come back, so now it’s just a matter of her pain and quality of life.

I tried to get Tammy and Dora to be friends, but Tammy bit me, so since I didn’t know her, I used the fact that another dog got into the yard as an excuse to have her tested for rabies.

That was long ago.

Sad times are here.  Sadder times await.

A shift is happening.

The Olds

And no, I’m not talking about the Republican party.

While we are all aging, we still have to take care of those older than us.

My friends are taking care of two aging kittehs.  I’m dealing with an aging Dora.

Tonight, Dora seemed to have a little leg that went to sleep.  It wouldn’t be a big deal with any other dog, except Dora only has three to start with.  She was distressed, but between Caroline and I we got her back up on the bed and happy. Caroline is watching over Dora now — quite a change, since Dora has always been Caroline’s protector and cleaner — as it were.

Watching Dora calm as she ages is something I rejoice, but also dread.  I love the gentler calmer Dora, but I also know that caring for her will involve risks.  I deal with her delicately.  I know she loves me, but her instinct is to defend herself no matter what.  I can only hope that she remembers I have never hurt her.  Even after all these years, she trusts Caroline more than me — because of what idiot hunters did to her.

I’m thinking that in addition to play time with Dora, I’ll add a little massage.  She’s been a wonderful dog always.  She makes me feel safe — especially since the fire.  She was the one who saved us all that night.

Here’s to taking care of the olds.  They mean so much to us and end up being such babies, which makes us love them all the more.

An Exciting Day (for me at least)

I’m an idiot when it comes to keeping my camera’s batteries recharged, so pictures will have to wait until tomorrow.

First, my very Kung-Fu like battle with the grasshoppers continues.  I don’t want to kill them, I just want to fuck with them.  I’ve got about four — one is HUGE.  I pester them by looking at them and then slowly anticipating their avoidance maneuvers.  It’s a game of “you can’t see me” and “oh, yes I can!”  I zapped them with the garden hose yesterday and this morning.  Those fat fuckers were back later in the afternoon.  There’s one that I just plead with.  She’s (?) just on the sunflower.  I beg her not to be greedy.

The swallowtail caterpillars are another story.  I love them.  It is amazing how quickly they grow.  I spotted another cocoon, and one that is making a cocoon.  They didn’t much care for me watering the damn parsley they are living on, but what’s a caterpillar to do?  One showed its “horns” but that was about it.

I didn’t write about the possum earlier.  I wish I had.  A possum got into R’s bathroom and Dora was throwing a fit.  R went in and discovered the possum last week.  We set the(humane!) trap and then nothing happened.  Until today.  I was putting some clean bedding in R’s room, and there was that smell.  That possum smell.  Sure enough, it was in the trap.  I had no idea how long it had been in there, since I hadn’t checked it everyday.  In retrospect, it had only smelled today, so the damned thing was just playing possum.  I put a cloth over the trap, took it out to the driveway and opened the back.    The first couple of times I checked it (via the window — possums give me the heebie-jeebies ) I thought it was dead.  I kept cleaning up its mess and checking on it until it finally left the trap.  Possums aren’t the smartest animals in the world.  It went along one side of the fence, and then it turned back, only to go into the area it had just avoided.

Later the storms came.  Dora got under my desk.  As I was watching the weather on TV, Dora came over and tried to curl up in another little nook.  I went back over to the desk, in an attempt to get her to go back there, and noticed a puddle on the floor.  At first I thought she had peed herself.  Bad mommy.  Rain was streaming in the house from under the window A/C.  I apologized to Dora and sopped it up with the towel I had planned on using to dry off Tammy and Murphy, who were still outside. Upon coming back to the leak with another towel, I found Francisco licking rain water off the wall.

The storm passed without Tammy or Murphy wanting in.  They seem to enjoy the yard more and more.  Dora finally sacked out on the bed, and the kittens finally ate dinner and fell asleep next to their food bowls.  The outside kittens ate during the shower, and I fucked with the two grasshoppers I found.  I checked on the caterpillars, but didn’t find as many as I did this morning.  I’ll look for their cocoons tomorrow.

Finally, I have decided that food is only a side show to my garden.  Keeping up with the insect life and figuring out how to take care of each living thing is more important than how much my garden produces.  It’s an ongoing experiment, and while the end result might be a very productive garden, my end goal is to have a place where all of the living things have a chance to thrive.

Hard Day

I hate driving.

Last night I had to take up everyone’s food except for Dora’s because of Tammy’s surgery.  I know they were all hungry — they mostly snack.

We got up early this morning, and after I got everyone — including myself — situated, I put Tammy’s collar on (she doesn’t wear one — Murphy chews them off).  Murphy was not happy.  Tammy was unsure.

I always worry more when I have one of my babies in the car, mostly because I don’t know what I would do if I had a wreck.   Since we were going against traffic, everything went fairly smoothly.  Tammy and I count the freeways — 45 to I10 to 610 to 59 and then exit Beechnut to the vet.

Tammy was more reluctant than usual at the vet’s.  She didn’t want to go with the tech, so they let me go back with her.  She’s a good dog; she just remembers the chemo.  We got he in a nice cage with a nice binky and I left for work.

I cruised in at 10 til my class, still having to change clothes and review for class.  Of course other teachers needed this and that and so my class suffered a little.    Just before I had to go observe a class, the vet called.  He had pulled Tammy’s two bad teeth, and now that he finally had her under, he could look more closely at the tumor in her mouth — everything was on the left side.  He asked if I wanted him to cut out the tumor.  After confirming that he was only talking about soft tissue (taking out half of her jaw was one option four years ago), I agreed.

I observed the class and then had to drive out to Clear Lake for my first dental appointment.  It went well and then I drove to my second appointment (I’m in the implant process for one tooth).  The second involved upper and lower impressions — which I am getting better about since I had a very kind student who is a dentist from Venezuela give me some advice.  It has worked so far.

All the while, I was thinking about the second question from the vet: did I want to have the tumor tested.  When I got back over to Beechnut, I told the vet my trouble.  In saying it, I knew.  I didn’t want to hear any bad news, but would love some good news.  But what could he do if it were bad news?  Tell me they had lost the sample?  I said send it.

He then told me that he had had to sedate poor Tammy again because she was bleeding.   And that she had pooped herself while under and that they had to clean her up.  You have to understand that Tammy’s but is at once a mass of mystery — the fur!!!! — and something of a magnet for grass and leaves.  The poor tech was so worried she hadn’t cleaned her up very well.

I got Tammy’s meds and some pictures, and we left.

The trek home was hard.  Tammy was woozy and very attached to the gear shift. The traffic was terrible on 59 to 610 to 45.

We finally got home and I found that Murphy had pooped in the house.  Sigh.

I let them out for a minute and then ran to Fiesta to get some soft wet food for Tam.

As I held the bowl for her to eat, she was still bleeding a bit.  Hopefully, it will stop by tomorrow.  She’s still a little wobbly, but I think she will be ok.

Baby Died Yesterday

She was a sweet girl and the tamest of all the ferals.   For some reason, she got up into the car.  As I crossed the bridge over the bayou, I heard and felt that I had run over something.  I knew what it was.  This is not the first time for me.  How I had always hoped I would never feel that or hear that again.

I looked out my rear view and saw her look at the car and then scramble — in the worst possible way — off into the jungle that surrounds the bayou.  I stopped and thought about looking for her, but what could I do?  I couldn’t take her to an emergency vet — I knew they wouldn’t take a wounded wild animal.  I knew from the time it happened before that a small kitten’s body has no chance against the weight of a moving car’s tires.

I told myself that after Harry disappeared, I wouldn’t get so attached to these wild kittens, but I got attached to Baby.  She never strayed from the backyard or driveway.  Then she dies away from home.  I am sad.

She was born between a fence and a neighbor’s old storage building in the backyard.  He brother got separated from the litter, and after his mother didn’t retrieve him, I found a crazy old cat lady who took him in.  (That was enlightening — a moment I will always remember as ‘I don’t want to end up there’.

I tamed one of her sisters — Robyn and she went to Houston SPCA and got adopted.  Her other sister, Tilly, was always hostile.  I caught her and tried to tame her, but nope, that kitty girl is to this day one wild cat.

I could never tame Baby, though I got her to be friendly enough.  She was the last one I got spayed.  The first time I took her in, the guy at SNAP called and said she had green slim coming out of her nose, so they couldn’t spay her.  A couple of weeks later, she trusted me enough that I could scoop her up and with Roberto’s help, get her in the trap and finally spayed.

She had an idyllic life, though too short.  She lived in a jungle, full of bugs, lizards, squirrels and birds, beautiful birds.  The day she died, she got caught in an okra bed, stalked a squirrel and a beautiful cardinal.

I went back twice yesterday and then again today to look for her, but not very hard.  She’s food for something and in the end, aren’t we all?

They’re Here!

Here’s Jewel:

I heard about bear.org on Prairie Home Companion.

Congratulation to Jewel!

The New Year Begins

The lettuce.

Little tomato plant.

A little beet spout.

Another little beet sprout.



Oh, and some beans.

Fat Toes on the deck.

Baby on the compost bin.

It’s the carrots.  There are some smaller sprouts and I planted some more seeds.

I’ll add more later.