Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thank Dog

Hi visitors to Flartopia.  This is Rosie.  That's me in the picture.  I don't have the camera, so I found this old picture of me on the computer.  Sorry about the eye glare, but I was kind of excited about maybe getting a treat when this was taken.

So Mommy #1 has been all kinds of crazy the last few days.  She's been mumbling something about thanks and giving and pies and turkey.  All I know is that the Other Dog's people came Tuesday night, this time without the Other Dog (he doesn't live with them anymore, 'cause he left on a trip over a bridge).  So it's nice to have more people, because there are more hands to pet me and they really like to share their food with me.  I didn't like the Other Dog very much, but I have to admit he did train his people pretty well.

The other thing those People have been up to is making the kitchen smell really, really good.  The Lady spent all day yesterday in the kitchen baking pies.  When Mommy #1 came home from work last night, she said she could smell them outside!  She looked at the counter and said there's a pecan, an apple and two pumpkin.  I only ever saw one pumpkin, and I watched that one get all mooshed up, so I'm not sure where the other one went.

Anyway, Mommy #1 is taking her People and their pies to somewhere else for their afternoon yummers today, and Mommy #2 left yesterday on a really long car ride.  As usual, the dog gets left at home.  How fair is that?  I mean, they are making LOTS of food for this big yummers, and do you think they're going to eat it all?  No, they will complain about being "too full," and then make a big fuss about fitting what's left in the tall winter box.  Why don't they invite me?  Then they won't have to fit anything in the box.

Humans don't make any sense.

Since I am bored and alone, and already checked the counters for treats (why can't they just put them on the floor, instead of making me stretch?), I thought I would see what Mommy #1 is always doing with this inside window thing.  It looks like she is sharing stories and pictures.  I think, since they are off somewhere giving thanks, I will give you what I am thankful for.  Aren't I a generous dog?

First, I am thankful for yummers.  Those are good!

Second, I am thankful for hands.  Especially when they are rubbing my back or my ears or my neck or my tummy.  Especially my tummy.  Oh, and I like them when they are serving up my yummers.

Third, I am thankful for my walkies.  Especially when I get to see my friend Bonnie and we can run around off our leashes.  Sometimes she drools on me, but what's a little drool between friends?  The other day she had another friend with her, Cocoa.  My, he was a big, handsome dog!  He is a little young, but I will not hold that against him; he can run circles around me any day.  I hope he comes to visit again.

Fourth, I am thankful that the little attention hog is finally gone.  You know, this one:

Look, isn't she creepy looking?  Probably whining that she hasn't eaten for two whole hours.  What a baby!  Anyway, my Mommys' friend came over Tuesday night, and when she left, she took the fuzzball with her!  Yay!  Now before Mommy #1 tells you something silly, I want to put it on the record that I was only sniffing her cage so carefully last night to make absolutely sure she was gone.  I don't miss her or anything.  I don't even care if she misses me.  Mommy #1 said their friend called to say that Smoky is happy and chewing on her toes and stuff.  Good, better than my tail.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, thanks.

Um...well, the rest is little stuff.  Like, I'm thankful for my bed (but I like the sofa better).  And I'm thankful for my toys, because it's really hard to go outside and pee without one of those.  And I'm thankful for all this lovely soft carpet I can stretch out on, and rub all my itchy extra fur on when it's time to change my coat.

Mommy #1 said she is thankful for me, because I keep her company and get her butt off the couch (no, I don't, I just lean on her, and look at her and wonder when she's going to go for a walk--I don't touch her butt; I can't reach it when it's on the couch!  Didn't I tell you humans make no sense?). 

She said she is also very thankful for Mommy #2, because she doesn't know how she would do "it all" without her.  I don't know what that means.  Does it mean maybe she would forget to give me yummers?  Well then I have to say, I am also thankful for both my Mommies.  I wish every dog could have good Mommies and yummers and hands and carpets and toys like I do.

The End.  Happy Yummers Day!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

What's Up, Pussycat?

So I spoke with my parents the other night, and after chatting about the kitten, they asked, "What else is new?"

I couldn't think of a thing!

But, dear readers, there is definitely Kitten News!  First, I'd like to re-introduce you to her Royal Highness, henceforth to be known as...Smoky.

You may notice her eyes are changing color...I suspect they will be green.  She's also starting to show some faded tabby striping.

Like a true princess, Smoky has begun to learn the graces of living in civilized society.  She has finally outgrown bottle feeding, and has been eating solid food for the past week. We're still mixing soft food with formula and some kibble for her morning and evening repas, but in between she's quite happy to munch on the hard, dry stuff alone.  Particularly about an hour before my alarm goes off.  *KRUNCH, KRAK, KRAKKLE*  As long as there's no mewing, I'll take it.

The princess is also testing the edges of her considerable powers by playing some dangerous games...

I have made some progress, too, finally letting the little Kit-Kat into my heart.  It doesn't hurt that she's easy-peasy right now.  Not only is she using the litterbox and eating from a bowl, she's still far too small to leap onto counters, reach the toilet paper, or get into the houseplants.  She's developing a personality, and definitely reacts differently to me and Miss Chef.  And whoo-whee, is she fun to play with!  She's a caricature of every kitten cartoon you've ever seen--hiding and pouncing, leaping straight up in the air, rolling on her back to rabbit-kick, clearly obssessed with shoelaces.

Brushing one's teeth is much more enjoyable when there's a kitten pouncing gently on your slippers.

However, in spite of my growing warm feelings and Miss Chef's big ol' puppy-dog looks of longing, we are standing firm in letting her go.  Our friend came last weekend to meet the little one, and she's thrilled about taking her.  The day after their first meeting, Smoky started eating solid food, which was a pre-requisite to being adoptable.  So, this coming Tuesday night, Miss Smoky will be moving on up to the north side.

Smoky: You like my new pad?
Me: Uh, sweetie, that's not your new pad, that's Rosie's old one.
Smoky: Good, 'cause this one's hairy already.

Yes, we will miss her--even Rosie, though I believe she'll be quite relieved at the same time.  And, as you can tell, I've been taking extra pictures to document every adorable moment.  As I said to Miss Chef, "She won't be this small for long!"

Fortunately, the exhausting nights of bottle feeding and butt-wiping are faded, dim memories.  Or, perhaps unfortunately, because if we find another kitten someday, I'll be quite ready to jump back in and do it again.

That's how people have two kids, isn't it?  They forget some stuff...

Aaaaand, on a completely unrelated note, look what I pulled out of the garden today:

Those, my friends, are carrots.  This is what happens when you ignore your garden for two months.  Let this be a lesson to you.  (And if anyone ever wondered what carrot flowers look like...kind of like Queen Anne's Lace.  I believe they're related, come to think of it.)

Well, perhaps I shall stuff these with turkey for our Thanksgiving feast!  Hope you all have lovely feasts planned, and may your carrots and other goodies be plentiful.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

We Can Can

I had almost forgotten that Miss Chef and I actually tore ourselves away from the kitten long enough to do some canning.  When we missed the last of the summer tomatoes, I thought it was time to put the canner and jars back into storage.  But I forgot about apple season.

Other than hiking around in dramatically colored forests, Miss Chef's other chief interest in our mountain getaway was apples.  I had always taken apples for granted, as I grew up sort of surrounded by apple orchards--there was even an old, overgrown patch in our own woods.  I certainly never stopped to consider one variety versus another, other than knowing that Granny Smiths are good for pies.

Living with Miss Chef, though, has opened my eyes.  Now I know that cameos and pink lady are my preferred out-of-hand eating apples.  Miss Chef also enjoys a good honeycrisp.  I even get a little nostalgic when I see Winesap and Empire apples, more common up north.  So when we repeatedly passed by a roadside apple stand between our cabin and the town of Brevard, I knew we'd eventually have to make a stop.

To make a long story only somewhat long, we ended up with almost two bushels of mixed apples.  Our goal: applesauce and apple butter.

Miss Chef's hi-tech recipe card holder

There was, of course, a little hitch to our plan.  A hitch that is still nameless, but has four paws, a tiny face and a very loud mew.  We found her two days after our trip, and all our plans went out the window for a while.  Sleep deprivation will do that to you.  Unfortunately, we don't have a cool, dark storage area big enough for two bushels, and after two weeks our apples were beginning to go bad.

Fortunately we finally managed to find the kitchen again last weekend and get some of those apples processed.  We only had a half-day, so we focused on apple butter.  Except that Miss Chef found a recipe for apple cider jelly, and I wanted to make some mint jelly before a freeze knocked back our mint plants.  So, once again, we bit off more than we could chew.  At least I did.  For some reason--fatigue, stress, post-kitten depression--I found myself getting panicky and irritable that my pectin was clumping and my jelly was jelling before my jars were ready.

There's a reason Miss Chef's a chef and I'm not!

Apple Cider Jelly

Thankfully, she managed to calm me through my little fit--without taking over, isn't she amazing?--and we got everything cooked, jarred and processed.

mint jelly, apple butter, apple cider jelly

I was never a big fan of apple butter growing up (in spite of the fact we were ten minutes from the annual Apple Butter Festival in Burton), but I think I'm about to come around.  I dropped a tablespoonful into my Cream of Wheat earlier this week, and gobbled it down.  Yum!

We've managed to cram the remainder of our apples into our little cold cellar, so hopefully there will be some applesauce and pie filling in the near future.  At the very least, I think our Thanksgiving guests can count on at least one fresh apple pie!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bonus Kitten Update

Because I haven't posted enough already, amiright?

We are making lots of progress here!  First, Kitty (gah!  She needs a name already!) is using the litter box!  Hooray!  Previously, we had to wipe her nether regions with some damp tissue, as she wriggled and mewed over the sink, digging her claws into my wrist in an attempt to escape.  The resulting stench was, to say the least, unpleasant.

Today, Kitty is taking care of her own stench, thank you very much.  Much less piteous mewing these days.

Also, there's this.

Yes!  At least around us, Rosie has completely controlled her prey instincts.  She's a bit uncomfortable with it all, but she does allow the kitten to attack her feet and tail--which is amazing, considering she often won't let me touch her tail.  I even have a cute video of kitty being all fierce and Rosie being all bemused, but after 3 hours, it still wouldn't finish loading.  Sorry, folks, but Blogger's taken enough of my time today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Kitten Update

So, judging from my comment count, pretty pictures of our romantic fall getaway didn't pique y'all's interest, eh?  Yeah, I got your number now!  I know what you really want:

Can you tell how much she's grown since here?
Ok, I can't give you a hard time.  I'm just about as bad.  Sometimes it seems every waking moment, I've got Kitty on the Brain.  If it's not worrying about arrangements for kitty daycare, it's hand-wringing over why she's still turning her nose up at solid food and ignoring the tiny litterbox we've made for her.

As you can probably tell, I'm getting a mini-crash course in parenthood.  We've been staying up late, and setting our alarms, taking turns getting up in the darkest hours of morning to feed, potty and play with the little one.  I've learned it's not the getting up that's hard, it's the trying to get back to sleep...and the re-getting up when it's time to start the day.

Here's an instant message conversation I had with a coworker earlier this week:
me: You're a parent.  How long can you go without a full night's sleep before you become non-functional?
her: Actually, you get used to it.  Eventually you forget what it's like to sleep for a whole night.
me: How long does it take to adapt?  I was doing pretty well until today.
her: That's how it goes; for a day or two you feel like you're going to crash, and then you feel fine.
me: Oh, so it's a cycle.  So, you did this for what, 5 or 6 years?
her: Trevor's 15 now; I haven't had a good night's sleep since I was pregnant!
Sheesh!  I have to say I have a lot more understanding of what it means to have children.  Are you familiar with the baby dolls commonly used in high schools to teach teens the responsibilities of parenthood?  I think orphaned kittens might be an equally good option.  Think of it, a whole army of young people taking care of the overwhelming number of unwanted animal babies!

So, as a proud parent, I'll share with you some of kitty's progress--as well as some good news.  In the first three days we had her, she went from 6.5 ounces to almost 9.  Tonight, a week later, she's up to 14--almost a pound!  We've moved her into Rosie's old soft-sided cage, so now the dog can stare at her for hours when we're home.  Keeps them both out of trouble!  (We do not trust Rosie alone with her.)

The cat's eyes are fully wide open, and her focus has increased from about an inch to several feet, at least.  She seems to recognize faces, and definitely knows that human hands are good for food, cuddling, wrestling and the occasional chomp.  Which is why she now has Bunny here as her best bud and sparring partner.

She's still a bit wobbly on her feet, but is fast picking up speed, and has begun to make tiny little pounces--most of which land successfully, but many of which end in a back-end collapse or a face-plant.  She's developing her butt-wiggle and her sideways dancing attack.  And she's been instinctively grooming herself, moving from her front paws toward her rear.  It's the cutest dang thing to see her licking her tiny paws and cleaning each miniscule claw just like an adult, then stopping to lick the hand that's holding her.

Before she gets much bigger, I've got to pull out the owner's manual for my camera and see if I can adjust the shutter speed.  Because now most of kitty's pictures look like this:

Have at ye!
Which is why I switched to video!  (Check out that round belly when she starts strolling across the table.  The weird pattern in her fur is where the vet shaved her to check out the "tiny, superficial puncture" cause by a certain canine on the day we found her.  It was so small they couldn't even stitch it; they used surgical glue.)

So what's the big news?  Kitty's got a home waiting for her!  Our friend who lost her cat last year said "Yes!"  (along with things like "cute," "sweet" and "adorable").  Which was a relief to me, because Miss Chef was ready to admit she might have trouble giving her up!  Miss Chef even came up with a name: Fluffernutter.  Cute, but what adult cat wants the indignity of that silly name?  I had already come up with Dixie, but out of supersition, I didn't let it cross my lips until I knew she had a home.  So, of course all of our friends started calling her Fluffernutter, too.  But our adopting friend gets the final say-so, so for me she's still Kitty, Little One, Little Miss, Sweetie...etc.

I still think Dixie's a great name, though.

And the other big news: she slept through the night last night!  Whoo hoo!  I'll do whatever it takes, but I'm very glad kittens develop faster than humans.

UPDATE: Check out this video that Terry forwarded in the comments.  It really does look almost exactly like Little Miss Fluffadixie!