Sunday, January 13, 2013

Beauty in Brown and Gray

I went for a walk on a dreary, rainy day.  Can one find beauty in Ohio in January?  I believe we can find beauty anywhere, in any circumstance.

Water always fascinates me, even if it's brown.

Love the textures

...and shapes left after the flowers fall...

Looks like rock cliffs.... it's a tree!

Just a bit of snow left.

Making My Own Cat Scratch Post!

So, I finally decided to get a cat.  My allergies to cats kept me from owning a cat for several years now, but alas, I am a cat lover.  I finally gave in.  I've noticed I'm not as allergic to some cats as I am to others.  In researching cat allergies, I found that their are certain breeds that seem to be less allergenic.  I decided I would look for one of those.  My other desire, however, was to adopt a rescue cat rather than get one from a breeder.  It is difficult to find any pure breed in a shelter.  I found a year old cat who is half Russian Blue and half short haired domestic cat.  I think her Russian Blue traits are not so strong as she is completely black and has brown eyes.  Nevertheless, I decided to try.  So far, my symptoms seem mild and are relieved with allergy meds.

Now, for the purpose of this post: I wanted to get her something to play with and meet her scratching needs, but I didn't want to spend a fortune.  I did get some ideas from others online, but then I put together the items I had and figured out the best way for me to make this cat scratching post.

  • 12 inch round wood (Any shape will do.  It should be heavy enough and large enough that post will not be easily knocked over by your cat.)
  • 1 empty, clean vegetable can
  • Approx. 75 feet of 1/4 inch Sisal rope
  • duct tape
  • liquid nails
  • 5 screws (shorter than the depth of wood)
  • screwdriver
  • hammer
  • a nail
  • permanent marker
  • scissors
  • utility knife (not shown)
  • cardboard tube (The kind posters are mailed in)
  • piece of carpet (large enough to cover one side of your wood)
Note: See that the tube barely fits over the can.

1) With the marker, trace the shape of your wood piece onto the backside of your carpet.

My new kitty wants to help!

 2)  Use the utility knife to cut through the carpet backing along the line.  Then, use the scissors to completely cut out the circle.

3)  Use liquid nails to glue the carpet to the wood.

4) Use the nail and hammer to tap 3 holes into the bottom of the can as shown.  This gives a guide for your screws, making it easier to place them.

5)  Place the can, bottom down, in the center of the carpet side of your wood piece.  Insert the screws, one at a time, into the nail holes and use the screwdriver to tighten them down into the wood.

6)  Place the tube over the can and secure it to the can with the remaining two screws.

7)  Rather generously coat the outside of the tube with liquid nails.  Starting at the bottom, wind the sisal rope around the tube until you reach the top.  Secure the end with a piece of tape until the glue dries (about 30 minutes.)

I found it easiest to hang the edge of my wood off the table and turn the wood with one hand while placing the rope with the other.  If you put the rope on the floor, it will unravel itself nicely as you turn the wood.  Every few rows, I stopped and pushed the rows tighter together.

I didn't buy enough rope and had to stop mid project!
8)  Replace the cap on the open end of the tube.  I decided to hang a toy by catching the string inside the cap.
She likes it!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Westerville; A City Within A Park

I've been in my new home for a month now.  I thought it was time I checked out the bike/ walking trail that passes right by my home.  One of the things I've missed since leaving Middleville, was the beautiful walk along the West Canada Creek.  Walking there was not a chore, but an enjoyable experience in nature! 

So, I decided to see what this trail across the street was about.  I was thinking that I'd walk for about 30 minutes, then head back home, making it an hour round trip.  Within minutes I found myself feeling very HAPPY!  The trail runs along Alum Creek and is surrounded by trees and nature!  Even now, with most of the leaves gone and the colors muted by the oncoming Winter, it was beautiful.  There were many varieties of birds to see and I noticed wren houses placed throughout the trail.

Another fun thing is all the choices!!  I won't have to take the same path every time I walk.  There are many directions to choose from and even some "pedestrian only" paths which I did check out today.  It seemed that each time I came around a bend, I wanted to walk just a bit further to see what was up ahead!  The trail went under overpasses, over water, through woods and fields and led to various parks, streets and even gardens.  I just wanted to keep going!  Of course, I realized that the further I went, the more walking it would take to get home.  I forced myself to turn around and go back.  About a mile from home, my hips began to complain... when I arrived, they were screaming at me!  It's funny how a little pain is worth it when you're having so much fun!

With 26 miles of trails in Westerville alone, I may need to get a bike!
Black walnuts that I don't have to clean up!

My entrance to the path.

Stone "benches" if I need to rest.

Paths go under and over bridges!
There are a lot of white birch trees.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rest in Peace, Sweet Jessie

My sweet Jessie passed away on Thursday, June 9, 2011.  I was able to be there with her as she slipped peacefully through the veil leaving behind her frailty, pain and suffering.  I will always count Jessie as one of the greatest blessings ever bestowed upon my family.

She came to us at a very sad time, when my children needed someone to love and someone to love them as well as fill a void.  My wonderful mother arrived at our home in Ohio with two adorable puppies!  She said she bought them both and wanted us to have one.  They were a boy and a girl from the same litter of boxer/pit puppies.  The children chose the girl and named her Jessie.

Caught on the bed!
In her youth, Jessie was a playful and energetic puppy.  I know she gave my children many hours of playfulness and so very much love.  I had strict rules for her:  No table food.  No jumping up on the furniture.  No sleeping on the beds.  I know that Jessie convinced the children to allow all of those things when I wasn't looking!
Hiking in the Adirondacks

Even as she grew older, Jessie loved to play and romp, especially outside.  We used to go for long walks along the West Canada Creek.  She enjoyed running through the trees and tall grass and sniffing the ground as any good dog does.  She always left cats alone and completely ignored other dogs.  But, when it came to birds.... they were a temptation beyond resistance!  One time, on a walk, we passed a small farm.  Jessie took off running toward a flock of chickens.  Before she could be caught, she made it into the hen house where she was dragged out with feathers in her mouth!  Thereafter, she was dubbed the "Chicken-Chaser!"

Jessie and Ben

Jessie with her best pal, Butter.
She was also loyal and loving.  Jessie absolutely HATED water!  Bathing her was a huge challenge.  She never, ever went swimming.  She even walked around puddles.  She loved a wild, rambunctious pup named Butter.  Being a Lab, Butter loved water and often jumped in the West Canada for a swim.  Jessie would not even get close to the edge.  One day, the current was too strong and Butter was having a difficult time getting back to shore.  Jessie saw her struggling and actually came down to the water and stood with both front paws in while we tried to reach out and pull Butter to safety.  Once on dry ground, Jessie ran after Butter growling and barking at her in such a way that we just knew she was giving Butter a good scolding!
In the sweater I made her.

She REALLY hated her picture taken!
Although she didn't have puppies of her own, she was a nurturing and protective mother.  One night, my teenage children decided to sneak out for an adventure in the middle of the night.  Jessie stood at my bedside whining until I got up to let her out.  Once I opened the door, she refused to go out.  She just looked at me and whined.  I finally woke up enough to realize she was trying to tell me something was wrong.  I went to check on the children and... well, they were gone.... BUSTED!

In our favorite place on the West Canada.
In our last days together, she was my only companion, faithful and loyal.  She slept by my bed, laid at my feet and walked by my side.  Although she became weak and tired easily, she made every effort to continue to be the loving companion she's always been.  She's been sick for a long time now, but just kept going.  Finally, she just could not continue... she stopped eating and I knew that I had to do a most difficult thing.  Because I love her, because she does not deserve to suffer even for a second, because she would not choose it on her own.... I made the choice to give her peace and rest.  I think that my mother, who gave her to us and my father, who was a dog lover, met her on the other side.  Now, she has a Heavenly home with them where she once again romps and plays in the grass and chases chickens to her heart's content.

Rest in peace, my sweet Jessie.  You have perfectly fulfilled the great measure of your creation.  I will see you on the other side.....

April 14, 1996 - June 9, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

All Things Yellow...

Finally, Spring has arrived!  At dusk, this evening, I went for a long walk and couldn't help noticing all the wonderful yellow adding brightness to my new little town!

Loved watching the firemen during an exercise!  The fact they were in yellow made me smile.

 I had today off and enjoyed the warmth.  My mood is so much brighter!  There is hope for Summer after all!