Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Kitten house from a handy spouse!

One minute our leaves were a a-blaze and beautiful...

And the next minute, the leaves were suddenly off the trees and we had this:

We actually had snow flurries!  I was hoping for some accumulation, but we mainly got a 'wintry mix' that melted by the next day.  Still, it was nice to see some winter scenes...

The temperature shift was so sudden that a lovely fog emanated from the surface of the pond.

Of course the cats, who are normally so keen to get outside, weren't so tough once they got their paws in the snow!

Speaking of cats, this is Clotilde.

I've seen her around for the past couple of years, but she was so fat and sleek that I was sure she had an owner.  But as the weather has gotten colder, she's spent more and more time on our back deck.  She seemed hungry, so I fed her.  She gobbled it down.  I began to worry as the temperatures dropped at night.  I started feeding her twice a day daily, spending a little time petting and fussing over her (cats love to be loved!), and decided that she must be a stray.

This is a bit of a sore topic for me.  I can't imagine the moral vacuum that must exist in a person who adopts an animal and then, when it becomes inconvenient, tosses them out into the cold to fend for themselves.  I understand that circumstances change and that sometimes, you're just unable to keep your pet.  That's fine, but try to find them a home, or turn them over to a no-kill shelter.  Ugh!!!

Since Todd is allergic to cats and we already have two, we just could not bring her into the house, not even for just overnight.  Tabitha has been terribly offended by Clotilde's occupation of the deck, and Todd was worried that it would be constant yowling and under-the-door fighting if we kept her occupied in a spare room.  So we did the next best thing:  built her a "kitty condo" outside!  I encourage anyone who might have a stray or two hanging around to do this in cold winter months.  It's easy and inexpensive.

We bought a large Rubbermaid container and cut a cat-sized hole in the front of it. 

Next, Todd built a little wooden box with a removable lid (OPTIONAL:  just get a smaller Rubbermaid box to fit inside if you don't want to build one!)...

...and packed the area around and above the smaller box with household insulation to hold in warmth.  If you don't have insulation, pack it with anything that would help hold in heat:  wool strips, straw, Styrofoam, whatever). 

Then put on the lid and you're ready to go!  It took her a couple of days, but Clotilde slept in the cat box for the first time last night and stayed as cozy as a bug in a rug all night!  It confirms my suspicions that she's a stray.  She is so friendly and playful.  I have to walk bow-legged around her, because she rushes to rub against one leg and then the other, as quickly as I can walk, so I have to make room for her or I'd trip.  She is such a sweet girl and I look forward to spending more time with her! 

Meanwhile, our spoiled cats are staying plenty warm inside.

I love this time of year.  It's not really cold in South Carolina.  We're in the 50s during the day.  But nights are chilly, so it's the season of snuggling under quilts, board games by the Christmas tree lights, supper by candlelight, fleece pajamas, hearty soups, and hand-knit gloves and socks.  I love it! 

Have a great week!

Monday, December 4, 2017

It's beginning to look a lot like...

It's December!  Although I've been lackluster and disorganized some years, this year I have been on point with decorations.  This has been kind of a lousy year, so it feels nice to have good things to celebrate. 

Plaid tablecloth and mini "Christmas tree" made out of leftover pine boughs?  Check.

Christmas tree up and decorated?  Oh yeah.

I love our ornaments.  We each only have one or two from our childhoods.  The rest have been cobbled together from thrift stores, are homemade, or bought with intention to signify "an event" in any given year.  I love all the little animals we've bought over the years, the metal bells, the tin stars.  Almost no ornaments match, but the tree just feels like "us."

The mantle is punctuated with red (Todd has a stocking, but it's on the other side!)...

...and if a side table has room for a Christmas display, it's got one.

We have red and white/tan Christmas "banner flags" over all the windows, and golden snowflakes on our kitchen cabinets...

Advent calendar on the fridge!

I even made two Christmas pillows this year.  You saw the quilted one from a few weeks ago, and the other is a badger cross stitch.  Thanks to water soluble fabric, I can now cross-stitch on anything.  Can you see the clear fabric that I've stitched on?  A few minutes in hot water and it disappears.

I decided to make it into a small pillow.  I think I may make it even smaller when time permits.

I've got red balsa wood snowflakes scattered in our bookshelves and red velvet bows tied everywhere.  I love how festive it feels.  In 2018, I'm planning to be much more intentional about celebrating EVERYTHING and changing up the house with the seasons.  But for now, I'll enjoy our Christmas explosion.  Cuddling up in the living room with our hand-made quilts, in the glow of our lights, is so, so wonderful.  Even the cats are getting into the spirit of it!  I think they enjoy using the quilts even more than we do.

It's getting a little cooler here, too.  We've had some beautiful nights...

...and cool, foggy mornings.

Seemingly keeping with the spirit of the season, the Japanese maple outside my office window is a gorgeous vibrant red.

We're not anywhere near what I'm used to with an Indiana winter, but we're going to dip down into the 40s this week!  It's wonderful weather for hiking.  We all love being outside in these kinds of temperatures!

Have a great week!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Hiking at Hunting

After Thanksgiving, Todd and I decided to take a little time off and drive to the coast.  After much deliberation, we decided on Hunting Island, a semi-tropical barrier island off the coast of Beaufort, South Carolina. 

I'm not as interested in the normal white-sand beaches of the Atlantic, although they're pretty...

I just love to see the water...

...and the wildlife!  We saw all sorts of birds.  Willets...



Snowy plovers...

...and pelicans!  I loved to watch them dive for fish.

Lots of unusual wildlife!  ;)

Fishermen lined the shore, hoping for a nice haul.

Dogs frolicked...

...and surfers aimed for a good wave!

I found horseshoe crabs...

...and pretty shells.

By the way, those horseshoe crab tails aren't venomous.  They use them to help navigate through the water!

Hurricane Matthew caused terrible damage to this island.  Even two years later, many of the trails were closed, and trees were uprooted along the coastline.  It had a very stark beauty. 

We clambered over the trees and hiked to the salt marshes, just slightly inland.

We saw more birds, and kayakers, too.  This place is a kayaker's dream!

It was nice to get some hiking miles under our belts in such a nice location, and the 70 degree temperature was perfect. 

Have a great week!