My July Garden 2013

The garlic isn’t from my garden, I just like to keep it close by.

We should come up with a name for the time of year when gardeners are completely overwhelmed with tomatoes and zucchini… you know, other than “July.” I also had some blueberries this month (thanks to a bush I bought with tons of berries already on it). I can hardly get to some of the plants in the raised beds. The zucchinis look like man-eating plants, even though I haven’t gotten a single yellow squash. The yellow squash were pretty spare last year as well. Anyone have any ideas on what I’m doing wrong? The plants look fine.

Cucumbers, peppers, and herbs are coming in as well. It’s a colorful harvest.

The flowers are all in full bloom, and there is no evidence of colony collapse around my house. The bees are plentiful and come in many varieties. The butternut squash vines are huge and though one of the squash succumbed to blossom end rot, there are more coming and I’m keeping a close eye.  Continue reading

Everything I Know About Cats and Urinary Tract Infections

She's not sick, she's just very hot.

She’s not sick, she’s just very hot.

A few years ago one of my cats came down with a urinary tract infection. The first sign of this unpleasant feline problem is an excessive amount of litter tracked around the house from the constant in and out of the litter box. Then you start to notice the poor cat actually going in and out of the box. And then, and this is the weird part, you’ll find them trying to pee in sinks and tubs (or at least my cat did) and wonder, “How does a cat know what a drain is?” And eventually you get to the vet and they tell you that, in the case of male cats, UTI’s can be extremely dangerous if they develop crystals in their urine–the crystals can lead to a blockage.

It’s been a long time but I recently went through the experience again, and over the years I’ve learned a lot about the problems so I thought I’d share my extensive knowledge. This is one of the more frustrating (and annoying) health issues to deal with and I know I wish I’d had all this information 4 years ago.

Originally my cat was put on a prescription food, which was super expensive and had pretty crappy ingredients. So after a few years I decided to do some homework and found out that giving your cat the crappiest wet food is better than giving them the most expensive dry food, at least when it comes to UTI’s. It’s all about the moisture content. Continue reading

My June Garden 2013

The early harvest of sugar snap peas and strawberries.

The early harvest of sugar snap peas and strawberries.

June is when the literal fruits of your gardening labors begin to show up. The plants get big, and flowers turn to fruits and vegetables… but not quite all of them. While I spent much of this month collecting strawberries, pea pods, and various greens I’m still waiting for a ripe tomato and a squash big enough to be worth picking.

And, if you saw the May post about my garden you’ll know  that one of my biggest challenges this year is the wasteland which — because it’s behind my fence — I am referring to as “The Pale.” I started tackling this problem by throwing wild flower seeds down, which turned out to be a terrible idea. Plants began to sprout but I had no way of knowing what was a wildflower and what was just going to be a weed (which, I realize, is a bogus distinction). This drove me crazy, especially because I look out of my office window at The Pale all day long. So, I started to rethink my strategy. Continue reading

I love dogs, and still don’t want to pet yours

Me & the world’s cutest dog.

When I began reading Farhad Manjoo’s “No, I Don’t Want to Pet Your Dog”  I was expecting to hate it…but something surprising happened. Despite being an all-around animal-lover and owner of the world’s cutest dog, I realized that I don’t really want to pet your dog either (in the most general of terms). Here’s what Manjoo had to say:

“Sometime in the last decade, dogs achieved dominion over urban America. They are everywhere now, allowed in places that used to belong exclusively to humans, and sometimes only to human adults: the office, restaurants, museums, buses, trains, malls, supermarkets, barber shops, banks, post offices. Even at the park and other places where dogs belong, they’ve been given free rein. Dogs are frequently allowed to wander off leash, to run toward you and around you, to run across the baseball field or basketball court, to get up in your grill. Even worse than the dogs are the owners, who seem never to consider whether there may be people in the gym/office/restaurant/museum who do not care to be in close proximity to their dogs.” Continue reading

My May Garden 2013

I am a woman obsessed! Work gets slow in May, so I end up taking a lot of half-days and long weekends. Do I head off to the beach or the mountains? No. I head outside to my garden… and I just can’t stop…

If you follow this blog, you’ve no doubt seen my other gardening posts, and you’ve seen that my flower beds and vegetable gardens are my pride and joy. My lawn, on the other hand, is the family embarrassment.

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What do poverty, yachts, and gardening have in common?

On Friday nights I often curl up on my couch with a cup of tea and a movie. This week I decided to watch American Winter, a documentary that follows 8 Oregon families that happened to call the state’s 211 hotline looking for help with their desperate financial situations. It’s a heartbreaking movie, really. It made me feel guilty about every penny I spent on dry-cleaning and junk food over the past few days. If you haven’t seen it, here’s the gut-wrenching gist:

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Me + Spring Fever = Bad Blogger

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. This is, in part, because I’ve been busy with work and it can be hard to come up with something to write after a long day… but let’s face it, I’ve also got Spring fever. When I’ve got an extra half an hour, I don’t want to spend it at the keyboard. I’ve been spending a lot of time cleaning up the yard and gardens, planting bushes, and even some cold-season veggies.

My new quest, though, is to get some wildflowers growing behind my fence (where my giant trees used to be) to help hold down the dirt and give me something to look at from my office window. In my imagination, it looks like this:

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My Trees Are Gone & #Snowpocalypse Is Here

It’s been a big week here at my house. I started out the week getting the giant, terrifying pine trees behind my house taken down. It pains me to see a tree cut down. I am, after all, a bit of a tree hugger, but these things were a danger to themselves and others. For half the summer, my dog ends up looking diseased because I have to cut big patches of her fur out thanks to the sticky sap from the trees. Any furniture I put in the yard would be covered with the same sap, and then there were the needles… Oh the needles.

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But that’s not enough reason to go to the trouble and expense of cutting down seven trees (three of which were absolutely huge, and the rest were more like weeds). But every time the wind blew branches came down. So far they’d missed the house, and anyone driving on the private road behind my house, but it was just a matter of time. I mean, the really big trees were probably damn near twice as tall as my house, and they were not pictures of health.

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If You Hate Cats, I’m Judging You

I read this article on XOJane the other day: “Cats Are Evil and I Hate Them.” It’s obviously meant to draw in all the people watching LOLCatz all day and drive traffic… but it’s still annoying. And I find it even more annoying because it was written by someone from The Good Men Project (which I’m starting to find is a really misleading name). The best men I’ve known in my life have loved cats — and animals in general.

I live with these three animals. I love all three of them and their quirky personalities.

I live with these three animals. I love all three of them and their quirky personalities.

It is completely deranged to me that any person would say, “I hate [insert type of animal]” and still be considered a good person. I don’t really like rats but I don’t go around declaring my hatred of them. They serve a purpose just like every other living thing on the planet. Hell, I even named the toad that lives in my basement. (His name is Badger, in case you were wondering.) And if someone were to declare how much he hates dogs we’d write him off as some sort of uni-bomber weirdo/possible serial killer. So why is it OK to go around declaring how much you hate cats? Continue reading

Game of Thrones, My New iPad, & Other Things I’m Obsessed with This Week

Rescued Mutts

I made this video a couple weeks ago after Maybelle experienced another one of her weird late-night “episodes.” Today I brought the video to the vet with us, but we still aren’t sure what’s going on. I’m supposed to keep a log of these episodes, which are pretty infrequent (once every three months or so). My vet — who I love — had one other suggestion for me. If we determine that she’s not having small seizures — or can’t figure out what’s going on — that perhaps we should see an “animal communicator.” Apparently she’s got a couple she trusts and now I just kind of want to go anyway…

Anyway, has anyone ever seen something like this? It fits some of the “small seizure” criteria, but I’m still kind of hoping for ghosts.

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My Girl Crush on Tia Torres

I have an obsession with Pitbulls & Parolees… Not with the actual dogs and felons, but the Animal Planet reality show that centers around Tia Torres and her Villalobos Rescue Center. I’ve always liked the show but it  really hooked me when Tia decided to relocate her rescue from the deserts of California — where locals weren’t being too friendly — to New Orleans.

Why does the location of the the show matter to me? Well, much like the dogs and people Tia tries to help, New Orleans is a bit of an underdog. It needs help. I’ve often thought that if I was just going to pick up and leave my life, New Orleans is where I’d go. I’ve never been the kind of person who wants to move to a hip, thriving city like Austin or Portland. I would move to a place with potential, that needs the help of people who care. Continue reading

I Love Autumn, but I Don’t Love Deer

Every year I start to get an urge to write about how much I love autumn. Frankly, I feel stupider for it… Of course I love autumn. I live in New England. I like sweaters and boots and crunchy leaves under my feet. I love walking in the woods without being swarmed by bugs, or having to balance my need to be cool with my need to protect my body parts from things that bite. I love apples and I loooooooove cinnamon… I even kind of like raking. (mostly because my yard isn’t that big, and I don’t have to bag my leaves because the town comes and picks them up).

I don’t always love the garden cleanup — it’s a little depressing and messy — but that’s OK…because this:

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