One Less Bowl To Fill…

Since I last wrote, my husband, Ed, now has one less bowl to fill with cat food each day.  Now, you may be thinking it’s “Trouble”, the cat, from The Man With The Can stories, but it wasn’t “Trouble” that we lost.  It was one of our original “shelter cats” named “Smut”, who was several years younger than “Trouble”.

“Smut” came to live at our house back in 2004, when I adopted him from our local animal shelter, where I was  volunteering at the time.  He was about 4 months old when I brought him home with me.  “Smut” was just a run of the mill black cat, who stole my heart after his sibling “Ashes” got chosen for adoption and he didn’t.

5-15-2010 11;47;19 AM Smut n Tabby

2004 – Smut (the larger black kitten) playing with Tabby (the small kitten)

When “Smut” was old enough, I had him neutered, but he still enjoyed rambling and partaking in a few fights, every now and then.  It was almost as if he still had some testosterone in his blood! I just know “Smut” would’ve made one heck of a tom cat, had he not been neutered.

Sometimes, in winter, “Smut” would sleep outside, in a chair, on the tiny terrace right outside of my bedroom.  He had his own cat bed and blanket in the chair, something most of our other cats don’t have.  Yes, “Smut” was special, and he knew it.

The years passed quickly, and “Smut” lived a good life, up until about a month ago, when it became apparent something wasn’t right with him.  Feeding time became an issue with “Smut”.  He’d hiss and growl at the dry food in his bowl, and act like he was afraid of it.  So, we added canned food to “Smut’s” diet, which helped for a short time.  As time went on, eating became difficult for “Smut”, and he began to lose weight, in spite of Ed’s best efforts.

“Smut” always loved to sit in my lap and be rubbed.  This hasn’t been possible, for a while, due to the back problems I’ve been having.  Finally, one day, week before last, I made a point to drag up a chair outside and sit for a few minutes.  “Smut” came over for a visit, and I noticed how thin he’d become.  He hopped onto my lap, and I sat and rubbed him for as long as I could. Little did I know, then, that we were saying our goodbyes to each other.  Within a week, Ed found “Smut” dead.  He buried him at the edge of our field, beside most of our other deceased pets.  Unfortunately, our pet cemetery is growing quite large.

As for old “Trouble”, of The Man With The Can stories, she is still with us, but has moved back to Ed’s parents’  empty house (again).  She stayed at our oldest son’s house for a while, but when they went off for a long weekend, a couple of weeks ago, she left!

So, after a brief hiatus, “the man with the can” is back feeding “Trouble” again.  The saga continues…  It’s a good thing Ed’s a very patient man…

*** I’m not sure how old “Trouble” is, but I’m thinking she’s at least fifteen.  Our youngest son, Brad, was a young teen when I brought “Trouble” home–and he just celebrated his 30th birthday.  “Trouble” has been living at Ed’s parents’ empty home for just shy of three years.



Published in: on August 2, 2015 at 9:34 pm  Comments (4)  

Living In A ‘Special Needs’ Household…

If you’ve read my blog within the past three weeks, then you know I’ve been somewhat ‘out of commission’ with a back ailment.  During this time, my husband, Ed, has taken on the majority of the household chores.

As if this isn’t enough, he’s been shouldering all of the animal-related duties, as well.  Yes, poor Ed has been dealing with the feeding and care of  every single member of our ‘special needs’ household–including me.  Caring for an ailing wife and her pets is one thing, but, in our case, it borders on being downright ridiculous, as you will soon see.

For instance, our dog, Morris, is an outside dog, and he’s old.  He’s pretty much blind and deaf, and, therefore, marches to the beat of his own drum.  He doesn’t come when called, because he can’t hear, and it’s not always easy to find him at mealtime because he lays low, these days.  Making sure Morris gets fed can be quite a task.

Next come the cats–all fourteen of them.  Two of our cats are pretty old.  Trouble, the oldest cat of the bunch doesn’t even live at our house, but lives at Ed’s parents’ vacant house.  (You could say we inherited her, along with the house.)  Ed has to drive about a quarter of a mile, each day, just to feed her.


Charlie, our next oldest cat, is about 12. Both Charlie and Trouble now require some canned food at both meals, in addition to a little dry food.  Their teeth aren’t as good as they used to be.  Cans are just more aggravation and expense to deal with, but we do what we can to keep our oldest felines satisfied.

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Drake, our male tabby, is the next oldest of our clan.  I’m not exactly sure how old Drake is, because I adopted him from the animal shelter, as an adult.  My guess is he’s not far behind Charlie in age, but Drake is senile.  He gets agitated and confused easily, and his equilibrium is off, as well.  Bless him.



Smut, Kyle, Big Red, and Fat Susan are more of our shelter rescue cats, and all are close in age.  They’ve  just celebrated their 11th birthdays.  All are still in relatively good health, with the exception of Fat Susan, who’s overweight, and Big Red who has a bad limp from an old leg injury.  The problem with this bunch is we have to watch Fat Susan, carefully, because she’s a bully and a food hog!

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Fat Susan, who lives up to her name

Next we have Kitty Bee and Sarah Callie Girl, two calico cats, who were also rescued from the shelter.  They’re around age 11, as well.  The problem with these cats is they didn’t bond with the others, for some reason, and have to be fed separately–far away from the rest of the bunch.  More special needs kitties.  Both stay in the woods most of the time–in two different places!

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Kitty Bee (left) and Sarah Callie Girl 

Smut, Suzy, Bobs, Jo Jo, and Baby–who comprise the rest of our feline family–usually get along pretty well, and don’t seem to mind sharing a meal together, but then there’s MAC (acronym for Mean Ass Cat).  When MAC chooses to come and dine with the others, he always comes hissing and growling.  We have to keep a close eye on MAC to make sure he doesn’t attack anyone–including us!  He’s very temperamental, and a bit paranoid.

100_0220aMAC- before he grew up and became mean

Last, but not least, we have our nine hens, ‘the girls’.  (Sadly, we lost one of our ‘older girls’, to a health issue, yesterday.)   I love ‘my girls’, but let me tell you, it’s a lot of work taking care of them properly.  The coops have to be cleaned, the sand in the runs has to be scooped twice daily (think humongous litter box), and the chickens have to be fed and watered twice daily.  Oh, and eggs have to be gathered and washed each day, too!  Then, of course, there’s the occasional ‘booty washing’ that must be done… and let’s not forget the chore of trying to keep our two free-ranging girls in their proper place!

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One of those pesky red hens, sneaking up on the front porch…again!

Yes, poor Ed has his hands full, at the moment.  The good news is things are slowly beginning to get better with my back.  As my back improves, I’m trying to help Ed out in any way I can.  The bad news is, progress is coming slowly.  I’m thankful Ed is a patient man.  He’s outside feeding animals and cleaning coops, in the rain, as I am writing this…Bless him.



Published in: on April 29, 2015 at 7:55 am  Comments (2)  
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I wasn’t looking for a pet bird when ‘Tweety’ entered my life.  I’d owned four parakeets, over the years, and had enjoyed all of them, but I thought I was finished with the ‘bird phase’ of my life.  Little did I know…

The year was 2005, and I was still working at school, as a parapro, then volunteering at the local animal shelter during weekends and summers.  Everyone at school knew I was committed to finding homes for any animals who needed them–after all, I’d adopted over twenty of them during the past year alone!

I was in my classroom, working, when a co-worker stuck her head in the door and asked if I’d be interested in adopting a parakeet.  She said a pretty green and yellow bird had showed up at their house, under their carport.  She said the bird was relatively tame, so her husband had been able to capture it.  They had not been able to find its owner, and she wasn’t interested in keeping it, so she thought of me.  Without giving it a second thought, I agreed to take the bird.’Tweety’ came to me housed in a tiny pink mouse cage, which the teacher said I could have.

I quickly determined that it was a male bird, from the blue-colored area where its nostrils were located, just above its beak.  Judging from the ‘color bars’ still left on its head, the bird was still fairly young.  Probably under a year old.  I couldn’t keep a parakeet in a mouse cage, so I quickly found him a bird cage on eBay and ordered it. For some reason, I decided to call the bird, ‘Tweety’, but in later years,  I usually just called him ‘Tweeters’.

When I got the bird home,  he was wild as he could be, and flapped his wings every time I neared his cage.  It took weeks for him to calm down enough so I could feed and water him peacefully! I often wondered how in the world that teacher’s husband managed to lay his cap over that bird, in order to capture it!

I believe, Tweety’s previous owners had taught him to talk.  I could tell, because I once taught a parakeet how to talk.  They ‘talk’ in a certain pitch and tone, and you have to listen closely to decipher what they are saying, especially at first.  Listening to what parakeets are saying is often difficult because they do most of their talking when it’s noisy around them.

For some reason, Tweety liked my daughter, and did most of his ‘talking’ when she was around. We noticed, when she started talking, Tweety started ‘talking’, too, but we were never able to understand what he was saying.  If we got quiet and tried to listen, Tweety got quiet, as well.  (We did notice, recently, that Tweety had learned how to imitate the baby chicks who had been staying next-door, in the pool room!)

Tweety lived, in his cage, on top of my curio cabinet, which is located in a corner of the living room.  He seemed to like his ‘bird’s eye view’ of his surroundings, and I liked the way the decorative top edge of the curio cabinet caught all of the stray seeds and feathers, and kept them out of sight.  Birds are messy creatures!

I hung a two-sided mirror in Tweety’s cage, and he dearly loved it!  A little bell hung from the end of the mirror, too.  Tweety loved kissing and talking to his reflection in that mirror, and he loved ringing his bell!

The years passed, and I began to wonder how much longer Tweety was going to be with me. None of my other birds lived past the age of seven, and I was nearing the nine year mark with Tweety–not counting the time he’d spent with his previous owner!

A while back, I could tell that Tweety was slowing down.  He’d stopped using his cuttlebone to sharpen his beak, and didn’t ring his bell quite as often.  A couple of weeks ago, I noticed more changes, and I knew Tweety’s days were growing short.

Yesterday morning, when I got up, I immediately noticed Tweety wasn’t on his perch.  I looked in the bottom of his cage, and there he sat.  Tweety was alive, but I knew he wouldn’t be for much longer. Tweety quietly passed away a couple of hours later.

This morning the house is eerily quiet.  No sounds of Tweety hopping around in his cage, no sounds of his ringing bell.  Yesterday afternoon, Ed buried Tweety, along with ‘Ethan’, the dog, and ‘Della’, the baby chick, who died recently.  Our pet cemetery continues to grow.

It’s amazing how God’s creatures can enter our lives and become such a part of us!  I always begin to fret as my pets grow older (and I have a lot who are!).  It’s painful to have to say “good-bye”, but, in the end, I wouldn’t change a thing because of the joy they bring.

Rest in peace, dear ‘Tweeters’.  Perhaps we’ll meet again someday…

Published in: on November 4, 2014 at 10:38 am  Comments (5)  
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Hello Again, Hodgepodge…

Hello there!  It’s Wednesday, therefore it’s time to join in the Hodgepodge, once again.  Thanks again to our hostess, Joyce, who never ceases to amaze me with her questions each week 🙂  I only wish my answers could be half as interesting as her questions!

1. Under what circumstances do you do your best thinking?

I’m not exactly sure when I do my best thinking, but I do the majority of my thinking late at night, whenever I’m unable to sleep (which is quite often, these days).

2. Are you a risk taker? What’s one big risk you’ve taken?

No, I’m not a risk taker at all.  One of the biggest risks I’ve ever been a part of was when Ed and I decided to build a new home next door to the old home we’d lived in for over 30 years.  Designing and building the home ourselves, with a very limited budget, was quite an undertaking–especially at our age.  At times, the challenges seemed overwhelming, but we survived, and have been happily living in our new home for almost seven years–and it’s paid for!

3. Some of the most common phobias according to the National Institute for Mental Health are-fear of spiders (arachnaphobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), heights (acrophobia), fear of spaces from which escape is difficult (agoraphobia), fear of thunder and lightening (astrophobia), fear of dogs (cynophobia), injections (trypanophobia), social situations, flying (pteromerhanophobia) and fear of germs and dirt (mysophobia). True phobias affect only about 10% of adults, but of those listed which would you rate as your greatest fear?

I could actually choose several of these phobias, but a fear of snakes ranks pretty high on my list.  I don’t like snakes of any kind!

4. Are you settled or do you feel the need to move somewhere new?

We’ve lived here on the family farm for 37 years, so I think we’re definitely settled!  I have absolutely no desire to live anywhere else.

5. What is something you find annoying when dining in a restaurant?

I get annoyed by crying babies or loud, over-active children who cause disturbances.  Poor service ranks a close second.

6. Daffodil yellow, sunset orange, spring green, or sky blue…your favorite color this time of year?

Of the colors listed, sky blue would be my favorite–any time of the year!  Of course, spring green is a beautiful sight, too, after seeing brown all winter.

7. If you were going to take a holiday all by yourself, where would you go?

I’d probably just go to nearby St. Simon’s Island or Amelia Island because I’m familiar and comfortable with both of those places.  Both places sort of feel like home since I’ve been there so many times!


We lost another furry friend, this week, when our dog named Ethan passed away.  Many of our beloved pets are getting on up in years, and, at times, it feels a bit like a Hospice Home for animals around here.  Our remaining dog will soon be ten, and nine of our twelve cats are ten years old–or older!   Even our parakeet is over nine years old.  I’m reminded, daily, how precious and fragile life really is, and I’m always wondering who’s going to be next?

I’ve had more than my share of pets over the years.  I can’t remember very many times when our family didn’t have at least one pet of some kind or another.  For the past ten years we’ve had lots of pets, following my year of volunteer work at the local animal shelter!  Having pets brings me great joy, but losing them brings me great pain, as well.  I’m feeling lots of pain, this week.

A couple of years ago I put together a video of all of the pets we’ve had, or still have.  In honor of Ethan’s passing, I’m re-posting that video.  Many pets have passed away since I made the video, but some of the animals on the video are still among our aging crew.  We still have cats ‘Trouble’(who lives at Ed’s mom’s house), ‘Charlie’, ‘Smut’, ‘Big Red’, ‘MAC’, ‘Kyle’, ‘Kitty Bee’, ‘Drake’, ‘Sara Callie Girl’, ‘Suzie Q’, ‘Fat Susan’, and ‘Bobs’.  Morris, the dog, and ‘Tweety’, the parakeet are still with us, as well.

I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy the antics of our crazy pets.


Published in: on May 21, 2014 at 6:50 am  Comments (11)  
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A Simple Woman’s Daybook Post…

Outside my window…
It is dark , cloudy, and beginning to sprinkle rain (again!)  On one side of the house, I can see the Dogwood  and the Eastern Redbud trees that Ed planted, on Saturday.  On the other side of the house, I can see ‘my girls’ (aka the hens) busily scratching and searching for food.  Several cats are gathered beside the back door, as well.  The Japanese Magnolia is just beginning to bloom.
I am thinking…
about how everybody in our household is getting old–including our pets!  Both of our dogs will turn ten this year, as well as the majority of our twelve cats.  Our two oldest cats are ages  twelve and thirteen!  Throw in the parakeet who is nine, and we’re a household of ‘oldies but goodies’!
I am thankful…
for a wonderful husband and provider, three healthy children, (who’ve grown up to be loving spouses and parents), four healthy grandchildren, a warm/cool house to live in (that’s paid for), plenty of food to eat, and, that my chronic health issues have settled down, somewhat, at least for the moment.
In the kitchen…
the refrigerator is filled with left-overs from Sunday’s family lunch.  There’s roast beef, fried chicken, macaroni & cheese, green beans, and more.  I shouldn’t  have to cook again until Thursday!
I am wearing…
a blue flowered nightgown, which is too big for me.  I’ve dropped a size, but am still wearing many of my old things, for now.
I am creating…
nothing at the moment, but a few days ago,  I stained a couple of sun catchers (for Easter) to hang on my year ’round tree.
I am going…
to lose my mind if winter doesn’t hurry up and get over!  We are under a “winter weather watch” again because we may get some sleet tomorrow.  Yesterday the temperatures were in the 70’s.  Today the temperatures are in the 40’s.  Only in the south!
I am wondering…
if the summer is going to be extremely hot, since the winter has been unusually cold.
I am reading…
‘Service:  A Navy SEAL at War’ by Marcus Luttrell
The Duck Commander Family:  How Faith, Family, and Ducks Built a Dynasty by Willie and Korie Robertson
Both books are autobiographies, and are very good.  ‘Service’ is the follow up book to ‘Lone Survivor’, while ‘The Duck Commander Family’ is son, Willie’s, account of growing up in the Robertson family.
I am hoping…
to hear, soon, from the carpenter who’s supposed to be doing the renovations on our front porch!  I’m ready to get the project underway.
I am looking forward to…
getting some new baby chicks in the spring.  They’re so precious and cute.
I am learning
 to be a lot more patient than I used to be.  I suppose this comes with age, since we do things a lot slower, now!
Around the house…
a few things need to be put away, especially in the pool room.  The pool room is our ‘catch all’ room.  It’s the home for Ed’s pool table–and everything from canned vegetables (stored underneath the table) to grandchildren’s toys.  There’s also a computer, a treadmill, a stereo, a futon, a cedar chest, and a baby swing in there, too!  Yeah, it’s a bit crowded.
I am pondering…
what changes the year 2014 might bring.  Ed will turn 65, this year, and I’ll turn 60.  Milestone birthdays for us both.
A favorite quote for today…
(in honor of Valentine’s Day)
  “All you need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  Charles Schulz  
One of my favorite things…
is planting seeds, and watching them grow.  I’m currently growing some seedlings that will be transplanted into our garden in about six weeks.
A few plans for the rest of the week:
I’m supposed to babysit grandson, Chase, on Thursday morning, while his mom attends brother, Caden’s Valentine’s Day party, then I plan to bake Ed’s Valentine’s Day cake on Friday.
A peek into my day…
I begin my day by feeding all of our animals.  First, come the chickens, then the cats and dogs.  It takes twenty minutes to get everybody fed, and the chicken house swept out.  Afterward, I’ll eat breakfast, then usually spend the next couple of hours blogging, after first putting some laundry on to wash.  Eventually,  I’ll do my household chores, and cook supper.
From my photo files…
That’s  me, yesterday, holding one of our turnips from the garden!  
Thanks to Peggy for hosting The Simple Woman’s Daybook.
Published in: on February 11, 2014 at 9:00 am  Comments (9)  
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Thursday’s Thoughts ~ Searching For Better Days

It has not been a good week in our neck of the woods.  First of all, my lap top died on Sunday night while I was trying to check my email.  I’ve spent the better part of this week trying to decide what kind of laptop to replace it with.  I’m not tech-savy and this chore is making my head want to explode!  Sitting in this computer chair (at the desk top) for hours on end is making my behind sore, too.  Computing from recliner is much more comfortable.

After four months of suffering, two rounds of medication by mouth,  taking probiotics twice daily, and two months of topical applications–my problem with overgrowth of yeast persists.  I’m ready to scream!  The weather here has turned cold, and wearing free-flowing dresses is not comfortable–but neither is wearing slacks.  It’s a “no-win” situation.  I’m currently on round three of Diflucan–and I sure would appreciate prayers.  My doctor says sometimes yeast can be difficult to get rid of.  No kidding!

Honeybun, our aging and paralyzed rabbit continues to grow worse.  Ed and I have both been working hard to keep him as comfortable as possible until the end, but the inevitable has happened to him.  He’s developed a “bedsore”, or as Ed would say in medical terms– a decubitus ulcer.  Bedsores are caused by pressure from staying in the same position for a long period of time.  They are horrific things– maggots actually get in them to eat the rotting flesh, but Ed explains to me that this is actually a good thing.  In the past, there have been cases where maggots were actually put in the bedsores of people to clean them out!  Enough said about that!

Last but not least, I couldn’t help but feel a sad and sinking feeling on Tuesday evening, as I watched the election results.  I was hoping and praying for a turnaround for our country, but alas, it was not to be.  The majority of voting Americans apparently approve of the direction our country is heading, but I’m afraid most don’t have a clue of what direction that truly is.  A couple of quotes keep running through my mind…”poor choices have consequences” and “you reap what you sow”…

Like the title of this post says, I’m searching for better days.  Hopefully, I’ll find them lurking somewhere just around the next bend of life!

Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 11:11 am  Comments (8)  
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