Friday, December 23, 2011

The Adventures of Smokey Rose

Since we last checked in, Ms Smokey Rose has had some adventures. I'm not sure what she actually thought of them. I think if I had said in advance "how would you like to do this?" she would have answered, "No, thanks. I'm fine here," but, of course, I'm bigger than she is.

A Vist to the Cemetery

The first adventure was back in late October. On a bright sunny afternoon, I put on her old harness and lead, put her into her carrier box and took her for a little ride about a mile away to the City Cemetery. I found a quiet road and parked in the middle. Then I let her out to see what she thought about this grass thing.

At first she didn't know what to do. She sniffed around the car and the tires a lot. I picked her up and put her onto the grass a couple of times, but she kept coming back to the car. She got a little spooked by cars driving along other roads. (No one drove on the actual road where we were parked.) Then finally she set off very determined across the road to the other side and started up the little hill. Now I had a problem because I had left two of the car doors wide open with my purse and stuff right there. I didn't want to go very far away from the car, so I picked her up again and carried her back.

She just did NOT want to explore the south side where we were parked. Smokey Rose had decided the north side was where it was best. Finally she just gave up fighting with me and got into the car.

After that she was quite content to explore all over the inside of the car. She was especially fond of the place right by the pedals where my feet would be if I were driving.

My car is always filled up with stuff. She had plenty of places to explore and then hide in. Eventually I decided it was time to go home. I had bought one of those animal car seats, like you put a small do into, so I put her in there and fastened her in instead of using the carrier box. At first when we were driving, she was interested in looking out the window, but pretty quickly she jumped out of the seat. She was tethered to it, so she could not go far, just underneath the seat. There she had to stay until we got home because I couldn't pick her up and drive at the same time. I put her back in the carrier box and took here home.

I was encouraged because she did not protest about riding in the car in her carrier box. That bodes well for long distance travel next spring. We'll maybe practice again on another sunny afternoon with the grass. This time I'll park on the north side of the road.

A Visit to the Kitty Doctor

In early December, on a Sunday afternoon, I noticed Ms Smokey was doing a lot of licking under her tail. She was mad at me for doing so, but eventually I got a good look under her tail. I found she has licked away all the hair under the actual tail, and the skin there was bright red. The whole area did not look good really, but it was hard for me to see well.

I thought about it for awhile and decided to take her to the vet ER. A storm was coming in and I knew I would not have time during working hours to take her any place on either Monday or Tuesday, so I decided it was prudent to get her checked out rather than wait to see if she got better...or more likely worse.

So we went for another drive down to Cottonwood. She did quite well in the box in the car. We had to wait awhile because there were several animals there that day. The techs took her to the back and cleaned her butt off (I heard some yelling for a few seconds), and then we settled into a room to wait to see the doctor.
Ms Smokey explored the room and then settled down to wait. I had my kitting so I was fine. Eventually the nice doctor came to meet her. Together we had a real good look at her bottom which was indeed inflamed all over. The doctor decided to be aggressive in treating her, given her history. We went home with oral medication, prescription cream and the collar.

The collar did not make her happy. I made her wear it for two days. She got better quickly with the treatment and has been fine since. But I am keeping a really close eye on her bottom even if she doesn't like that. Too bad, so sad, must do, boo hoo.

A Visit From a Photographer

Our final adventure was a home visit from Miss Sarah, the photographer from Best Friends. Sarah is obviously very good with getting nice pictures of animals. Ms S. Rose was pretty leery for a long time. She was interested in Sarah, and couldn't help but play with the toys we offered her. But given the chance, Rosie tried to run away and hide. I had prudently locked her out of the bedroom before Sarah arrived. I think if Rosie had been able to get into the bedroom, she would have just gone under the bed and then no more pictures after that.

Eventually I more or less forced myself upon the little lady. I kind of held her down and petted her even if she did not seem to want it. But she had this look on her face that made Sarah say, "Oh you know you want to, you want it bad. Don't be so stubborn; just give in and relax."

Sarah stayed about an hour. She took stills and some video. She said she got some good pictures. Today I was interviewed by a writer from Best Friends. he said Smokey Rose's story will appear after the first of the year on the website and maybe even in the magazine or on a YouTube video. I'll let you all know.  I don't think we'll be doing interviews or autographs though. I think Ms Rosie would not really enjoy a book tour.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Red Butte Garden Ready for Winter

I walked at Red Butte last weekend, checking out all my gardens. A lot was all torn up, not looking that good, ready for winter.

Here's part of the rose garden, for example. You can see there is some snow that has stayed because of the elevation that's higher than the city.

Right now you have to find the beauty in the shapes and textures.

Many grasses still look good.

The hardscapes and art are always lovely.

 And the vistas are mighty fine, as usual.

I was fascinated by the look of the roses blossoms that had frozen on the plants. We did not cut off all the flowers because that encourages new growth which we did not want towards the end of October, so there were plenty of these really interesting rose flowers to check out.

Some of the red roses really retained good color.

There WAS color throughout. Some yellow things,

the evergreens, of course, (and talk about interesting shapes and textures ...look at the cones here)
but the predominant color was red. Red leaves,

red berries,

red branches
red bushes,
red thorns on roses. This IS Utah, after all, the red state in so many ways.
The pond was frozen, the geese gone.
Even though it's not exciting right now, I still love to spend time there.

There's always something interesting to see.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Simple Pleasures: Toast

I love toast. It's so simple and so delicious. I imagine it has been with us ever since someone invented bread. It's one of those things, like socks, that is just the exact right thing. I trust that toast will be with us forever.

I gave myself a gift this month of this fine new toaster. Before that I was using my toaster oven to make toast. This was part of my effort to simplify my kitchen. I use the toaster oven all the time as a little oven. Unless I decide to bake a full size cake or something similar, the little oven meets all my baking needs.

Several months ago my old little oven began to act up. For example, it had a fan, and the fan kind of broke which made it make a lot of noise. A toaster oven should not be noisy enough to drown out the radio at normal volume, but my old oven did just that. I put up with it, though, because I couldn't justify replacing it just because of the noisy fan. Then finally the control knob broke off and was unfixable. Hooray! The old oven was in the trash. I was completely toasterless, but I was free from that horrid old thing.

I went to and checked out all kinds of models of toaster ovens and toasters. I read a lot of reviews. I selected the new oven based on reviews. Two features that I like about my new little oven are that the settings are made with push buttons not a turning dial knob and that it happens to be made in America. It was moderately priced, neither cheap nor expensive. Now that I have it, I am pleased. It works just fine.

However, as you can see above I also decided to indulge myself. In addition to the little oven I bought an official toaster. I had come to decide after years of not having an official toaster that the oven was good as an oven, but not really the best thing for actual toast.

Toast (a noun) has to be made from sliced bread. You can toast (a verb) other things like bagels, English muffins, pita bread, but if it's toast you want, then bread is required.  And the official toaster machine makes toast just right.

(To my mind the best toast is made from some kind of white bread. As with bagels, you can toast rye or whole wheat bread, but a sublime piece of toast requires white bread. But this is my opinion. I won't argue about this if you disagree. And the best made toast has real butter on BOTH sides. Jam / jelly or cinnamon sugar are optional but always nice.)

I never say that a thing make me happy, but I will say that my new official toaster pleases me very much. First of all, it's colorful and well designed. Bodum, part of their new line of small kitchen appliances. Can you see how the cord happens to touch the outside? No problem with that because the green cover stays cool. The settings are simple and work well. And it has this warming rack feature that I didn't think would matter, but which has proved to be useful for warming up single rolls. I smile when I look at this corner of my kitchen now. I think that buying this new toaster was a good decision.

So now I eat toast a lot more than I used to. It's so easy to make some. I love toast.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In for the Winter

It is still autumn, but we have had one large snowfall and a couple of small ones. More and more will follow, and soon it will be winter. I'm happy about this. I like winter when I don't have to drive in bad weather. And living where I do in the city, I don't usually have to drive in bad weather.

I'm ready for winter. My car has been all oiled up and checked out. It has new windshield wipers, and the tires are inflated correctly. And now it will do a lot of sitting in the parking place because I don't need to drive it very much.

My bed is dressed with flannel sheets and the down comforter. The summer clothes have been moved to the back of the closet and the winter clothes are front and center. The snow boots have been pulled out, ready to go. The basket of hats, mittens and scarves are sitting on the landing strip.

The crock pot is back in use. So far I've made a small amount of beef stew and a week later a small batch of pulled pork.

I getting into my winter routine. I go out every morning and walk to one or another of my local coffee shops. This is Two Creek in the Avenues. It takes me a couple of weeks to make the rounds of all of them. I have my coffee and sometimes a breakfast pastry (depends on the can't go to Tuile Bakery, for example, and just have coffee). I write by hand in my little journal book and then maybe read or knit for awhile. Then I walk back home and am ready to start whatever is on the agenda for the day.

I walk to the grocery stores now, and so have to go a bit more often. But I'm also more careful about shopping because I have to carry everything. So I usually shop only for a recipe or a meal. I don't keep a totally stocked larder in the winter.  I do have basics and can always fix breakfast and lunch and simple suppers like mac & cheese or spaghetti. But I get salad from the salad bar and only have a couple of onions, some garlic and carrots and maybe one potato on hand for vegetables. For everything I want fresh, I have to buy it fresh.

I'm doing a lot of knitting including sweaters. I'm working on one that is simple at first and complicated later and another that is the reverse. I always have some socks going, and now I have a little shawl too.

I'm in for the season now, and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Smokey Rose Settles In

Ms Smokey Rose has settled in to Apartment 3C quite nicely. She even has a secret hiding place where only she goes. It's someplace in the bedroom, because that's where she emerges from when she decides to emerge, but I have no idea where, exactly, her little secret place is.

She is a real love bug. She purrs just by touching her anyplace, almost like an on-off switch. She likes to spend time lying next to me when I'm in bed. Just a little bit of petting will make her roll over for some tummy rubbing. Unlike some of the other kitties, she does not like to sit or sleep on my body in any place, but she will come up and push her nose right into my face when she feels it's time for some attention.

She likes to spend time in this bed near the window. She doesn't spend that much time looking outside. Perhaps it's a bit warmer because the window does face south.

At first she only liked to spend time on higher up places where she could keep an eye on things, like on the server here. She's very good about NOT knocking things off of tables, unlike little Poppy who loved to play tabletop hockey with whatever might be there. Smokey Rose is very trustworthy.

Right now she is chasing a ball that rattles all around in the kitchen. She loves to play with her toys, Suppertime seems to be the correct time for ball games. She has chased several balls behind furniture like the bookshelves....where they have to stay for awhile because I can't get them out and she chooses not to. She likes her catnip toys a lot too.

She likes to jump in and out of the bathtub. I tossed some ping pong balls inside, and she loves that game. She likes to skitter around inside the tub chasing after the balls. I think it might be like an amusement park ride ... a bit dangerous because it's unpredictable. She can't always get the needed purchase in the tub, so she'll go sliding into the walls. But it's basically safe, and she knows it.

Lately she has taken to spending time in hidey hole places like this basket or her carrier which has the door removed.
At Best Friends she used to go out and walk around on her leash. I put her harness and leash on her one day and tried to take her out of the apartment. The hallway really freaked her out, even though it was empty and quiet, and she would not go out the door. That's good actually because I don't worry about her being a door darter like Poppy was. I still want to try taking her out, though, so now the plan is to put her in the carrier and take her for a car ride to a nearby cemetery. I'll let her out at a quiet place in the grass and see what she thinks.
Her favorite place though is clearly the bed. She spends a lot of her time here. And doesn't she just "go" so well with the bed clothes? This is clearly her home now, and I am so blessed that she picked me out that day last month.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Red Butte Garden, End of October

I have finished with my volunteer gardening for the year at Red Butte. My gardening clothes are washed and put away. My tool bag is stashed in the back of the car. I threw away a hopeless pair of garden gloves. I won't be back doing any horticulture work until March or April next year. Much as I love doing this work, I'm ready to stop for the year. I think they will have a few extra days where volunteers can work next week, if the weather holds, but it's getting to be so cold in the mornings now, it's not that much fun anymore for me.

Over 100,000 bulbs have been planted this year. I did a few. The last few days we've just been cutting back and digging up. many of the gardens are looking rather bare now.

I am amazed at how many of the roses are still looking grand.
We have plenty of fall color now. It's probably at the height, or just a bit over.
Here's the view in the four seasons garden now. We chopped down all the grasses last week so there would be plenty of room for the spring bulbs.
Pretty leaves are everywhere.
So here are just some more pictures of fall colors.
It's hard to stop taking pictures.
I have plenty more.
But maybe I'll quit here.
Time to go see the garden before winter really sets in.

October, the best month

I think October is just the best. I love the fall colors.

I love the temperatures, cool in the mornings and evenings, cold at night for sleeping, but pretty nice during the daytime.

It doesn't rain or snow much in October. The sky is usually bright blue.

I don't have many autumn decorations for my home, but I have a few things, and I enjoy doing a little bit of fall decorating.
It's time to get out the crock pot to make soups and stews. I'll do some baking too...carrot cake for our potluck at work, birthday cake for our knitting group party, something to bring to another potluck next week.

Plenty of knitting to do.
This year I decided to make a sweater. It will take me awhile, but perhaps I can finish it by January.
And naps in October are just the right thing to do in the late afternoon.

What's not to love about October?