A little hint of sunshine

We’ve got some lovely mild weather right now. It’s kind of deceiving, to look out the window during our cold snap and see bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine when it’s bitterly cold, but now that we’re warmer, it’s overcast and deary looking. Those insulating clouds, however, are part of the reason we can enjoy these milder temperature.

The outside cats like the warm spot on the roof of their shelter, above the terrarium bulb! They were quite active when I came out to do their food and water.

Note in the background, a certain Nicky the Nose, tucked under the lilac by the storage house. He shelters under the building, when he’s not sneaking into the cat shelter to visit the ladies. 😦

Inside, we have tiny little bursts of sunshine of another sort!

This is the first time we’ve seen this succulent blooming! When we got it, it was one of 3 succulents in one pot that they soon outgrew. The other two varieties are still struggling along, but this one seems to finally be thriving! We’ve had to move it a few times because, apparently, it is delicious. The cats kept trying to eat it! Even when it was hanging in the dining room window, they would manage to clamber up and reach it. We finally seem to have found a spot where they haven’t been able to reach it. At the rate it’s growing now, we’ll have to keep an eye on how low it starts to hang, or they’re try eating it again!

Meanwhile, we have these lovely little busts of sunshine in our window to help us thing of warmer, sunny days!

The next couple of days will be even warmer, which means we’ll finally be able to start working on the main door that’s falling off its hinges, and see what we can do to fix it until we can replace the door and frame. Until then, we’ve been using the door as little as possible; mostly, just when we have to unload the van or something, which we do assembly line style. That way, only the storm door gets opened and closed frequently.

It should be interesting to see how damaged the door is, once the hinge plate is moved away. That will determine what we end up doing to get it usable again.

The Re-Farmer

No rest for the wicked!

My goodness, I can hardly believe it’s just barely afternoon as I write this.

Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, isn’t it??

Things started off pretty routine. I did my rounds and the outside cats were very happy to see me. Well. Happy to see fresh kibble and water!

Potato Beetle joined me, as he often does. I caught this picture just before he jumped straight up me!

Doesn’t that expression look malevolent? 😀

The Potato, however, was not the walking disaster today. Oh, no! It was the cute, little adorable ones that were pure destruction!

I posted a while back about how we had to do an intervention to rescue our remaining avocado plants.

We had started off with 5 plants, and now we’re down to one poor, battered avocado… and a stick that still had live roots on it, so we’ve left it for now.

The cats did try to get in there, but the cage worked. I think the avocado is recovering, but it still looks pretty beat up!

Well, that didn’t stop the cats, unfortunately. They just moved on to other plants.

First, was the umbrella tree. After various barriers were tried and failed, I was able to put some 1/2 inch wire mesh around it that I had left over from some other projects. They still could get over it, though, and every now and then, we find a kitten sitting in the middle of it.

Yes, we have barriers in there, too. I made a spiderweb of cord to support the branches, and they still fit in between. This morning, I heard a strange noise and found Cabbages trying to climb the wire mesh to get at either Nicco or Tissue, half-hidden in the middle.

At least they’re not digging in it anymore.

They just moved on to other pots.

We have since lost a small pot with a jade plant in it – and it was one of the ones that was covered by a cloche to protect it! A while pot full of soil, all over a shag carpet… Fun times! A couple of succulents that were hanging in windows had to be moved, because they were still getting at them, including all my daughter’s orchids. The biggest jade plant got 4 hollow tubes (unused legs from a utility shelf) inserted into the soil, with cord wrapped around, because the cats kept sitting in the middle of it. That seems to be working, plus I found it works well to water it through the tubes. 😀

Then they moved on to another large jade tree. That one even got knocked off the shelf several times. For that one, I tried laying foil over the soil, but that does not deter any of our cats! We have some large plastic containers from Cheese Balls and pork rinds I would get at Costco. The containers make great cloches and I was saving them for spring planting. I ended up cutting one to get the straight middle part of the container, which I was able to fit under the jade plant branches and place around the edge of the pot.

That finally stopped them!

Unfortunately, I just discovered they have moved on again, and started digging in one of the aloe vera pots. This surprised me, because aloe vera is so splayed out, the soil is hidden. They had to actually dig out a couple of aloe babies to get at the soil. It wasn’t much, though, so I moved the plant pot to the dining table and finished my rounds.

Later, while I was on the phone with my mother, my husband popped his head through the door to tell me that cats had been digging in the pot.


When I finally came out, I found Cabbages, innocently sitting on the table next to the pot, and soil all over the table and floor.


The face of destruction!

As I cleaned up, I put a towel on a chair and moved the pot over. While working on the table, I happened to look up to see Fenrir on the chair, her front paws in the soil, starting to dig!

Another face of destruction!

I ended up having to put the pot with my husband, so he could guard it while I finished cleaning up.

So how do I stop the cats from doing this? After many years and many moves, it was a very long time before we lived anywhere long enough to have house plants, so having them is not only something I really enjoy, but it gives a feeling of stability for me. Unfortunately, the cats just can’t seem to resist them! They dig in the dirt like a dog digs for a bone!

What to do? If I protect one pot, they just move on to another.

Well, I did have a few more of those plastic containers left.

My poor, sad, beat up, cat chewed aloe vera!

I ended up using the flat side pieces to protect three aloe pots, including one rather large one. I have no idea how the plants will adjust to this, but it can’t be any worse than the damage the cats were already doing to them, just in going to and from the window ledge. I used the curved top of one of the containers around another jade plant. There is still one more aloe vera left without a shield of any kind, but that thing is so massive, there is simply no way I can do anything around that pot. Hopefully, the sheer size of it is enough to keep the cats from trying.

While I was doing all this, I kept finding kittens on the dining table. Mostly Cabbages! I hate having to chase her off. She still isn’t completely socialized, and this will set her back, but there are some places we just can’t let the cats get onto.

Hopefully, they will stop digging up our plants now. It would be great if we could set up a bin with soil for them to dig in, but they’d just use it as a litter box. I do wish I knew why they all suddenly decided that digging in plant pots was a good idea! We’ve never had this problem before.


The Re-Farmer