EarthBox: A Gardening Beginner’s Review

       Having lived in apartments throughout my entire adult life, I’ve never considered gardening an option.  And to be honest, I’ve never been much of an outdoorsy type of girl.  So, when my boyfriend’s mother gave me an EarthBox for Christmas two years ago, I sort of thought she’d lost her mind.  The gift remained stored in its shipping box beneath my bed until just about a month ago, when I finally decided to give it a go and plant my very first garden.  Well, I am thrilled to report the short-term results are fantastic!  The EarthBox makes gardening SO EASY!  Yup, this city girl is growing peppers, lavender, lemon verbena and marigolds! …on a teenie tiny apartment balcony!  I’m kicking myself for ignoring this precious gift for so long.  I’d strongly recommend EarthBox to anyone.  It’s amazing and so much fun!

DART: Another FroliCat Review

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       If you read my previous FroliCat review, you know just how impressed I have been with these innovators of the feline entertainment industry.  I was positively convinced that FroliCat’s BOLT was the single greatest accomplishment of the cat toy market to date.  But I was mistaken.  This is not to say that BOLT isn’t every bit as fantastic as I had claimed.  It absolutely is.  But today, I am writing to tell you about DART. 

       Yes, my dear cats and kittens, the good Doctors Foster and Smith of FroliCat have done it again, raising laser based fun to a whole new level.  Like BOLT, DART generates fluid, unpredictable movement patterns, but with the additional excitement of a 360 degree track.  My boy goes wild, chasing the random movements of the beam full circle around the room!  

       And the added enticement does not end with kitty’s extra dose of amusement.  DART provides supplemental human pleasing features as well.  The main attraction for me: the programmable length of play.  Whereas BOLT has an automatic shut-off after fifteen minutes, DART will continue running for the length of time desired, with program options of five, ten, fifteen or twenty minutes available if so desired.  This permits me to intermittently enjoy playtime with my cat without his festivities getting suddenly halted by the telephone, or some other distraction in my life.

       If there is a downside to DART, it is the noise it makes.  The volume isn’t enough to cause a nuisance, or even be detected in the adjacent room.  But it was loud enough to cause my cat considerable trepidation the first few times hearing it.  However, I highly recommend DART to cat parents (dog parents too).  Just be prepared for skittish pets (like mine) to require a bit of an introductory period.  It will be well worth the time and effort.

Jarhead: A Feral Cat Rescue

       I feel like I have experienced a truly blessed event.  A member of my feral colony, usually one of the friendlier cats, got a plastic jar stuck on his head.  His entire head enveloped in hard plastic, he was completely unable to eat or drink.  I first saw him this way on Saturday night.  I spent hours trying to get him to trust me to get close enough so that I could remove the jar.  But, completely vulnerable and positively panicked, the cat was far too skittish to permit me to get near.             

       The next evening, I tried throwing a towel, then a heavy blanket over him in order to disorient him, hoping that might allow me to get a solid grasp.  But the cat proved too fast and sly for such tricks.  My boyfriend even came out late that night with a large basket and together we tried to capture the frightened feline until, finally, he ran off completely, nowhere to be found.  We decided to leave out a Havahart trap overnight, but that too fell short of success (although it did gain me access to a fertile female, whom I was then able to bring to the clinic for spay and vaccination; so not a loss entirely).  

       Yesterday, I searched every hour on the hour from the time I got home from work, around 7:00 pm until 5:00 am.  He never showed.  I figured he must have died in one of the worst ways I could imagine.  I was beside myself, knowing I had failed this cat who had once snuggled against my legs, awaiting his dinner.  I couldn’t let it go, couldn’t sleep, wondering if he could possibly still be out there, stuck inside that awful jar.    

       Well, tonight, as usual, at nearly 1:00 a.m., I prepared a dinner platter and carried it outside, where my colony patiently waited.  I walked with the cats in tow to our regular spot (a fair distance from the building), served the meal, and had begun walking back when a woman, who seemed to appear out of nowhere, approached me.  I’ve been reprimanded multiple times for feeding my kitties, so I braced myself for another neighborly tongue lashing.      

        She asked me, flat out, if I had just fed the feral cats.  Reluctantly, I admitted I had, and she immediately began gushing about how happy she was to meet me, and how grateful she was to know that someone in the complex, aside from herself, appreciated the cats and was willing to help see to their well-being.  I was, of course, very relieved, and every bit as ecstatic to meet her; finally…a fellow feral cat ally!       

       She told me her name was Rose, and throughout our lively, late night meet-and-greet, Rose and I exchanged stories of our experiences with aiding the local cats.  I learned that she had lived in the complex for several years (I am relatively new to the property).  And despite the transparency of her efforts toward maintaining a vaccinated, spayed and neutered colony, she too had been harassed by various neighboring tenants, and had even received threats of eviction from building management for feeding the cats.  Needless to say, Rose and I became fast friends.  

       So, there we were, chattering away, when the jar-headed cat appeared!  Rose informed me the cat had been stuck in the jar since at least Thursday (nearly six days)!  She had also spent hours trying to save him, and had gotten mauled by him in her efforts.  She said she didn’t even want to try anymore, that she had cried all weekend over her failed attempts.  I completely understood her grief.  Capturing the cat, at this point, seemed impossible, and I knew another failed attempt would be even more devastating to us both.  But I also knew neither of us would be able to walk away without making yet another attempt.    

       Without any planning, I simply sat on the ground and began jingling my keys (a.k.a. the feral cat dinner bell).  And because one of my regular male cats is a bit of a snob who insists on eating apart from the crowd, inside my sweater pocket, I still held a small bag of food (which I had intended on serving to “Catty Aloof” beneath a nearby tree as usual).  I pulled the bag of food from my pocket, opened it and began shaking it along with my keys.  The jar-headed cat seemed almost hypnotized by it–the sound and smell together.  I desperately hoped for him to approach and let me help him.      

       After a minute or so, I noticed Rose creeping up behind the now helplessly transfixed, starving cat.  I shook the keys and food to make the sound louder and louder so he wouldn’t look away or take note of Rose’s creeping.  Finally, like a wild cat herself, Rose sprung at him and grabbed him from behind!  The cat went wild, slashing at Rose’s bare arms!  To my amazement, Rose held her grasp.  I jumped up, shouting, “DON’T LET HIM GO!”  But just as I was about to grab hold of the jar, the cat shot out of her arms and darted away.  

       Exasperated, Rose and I, almost in unison, uttered a few choice expletives, and the two of us began to slump in misery when we suddenly realized she was holding the jar!!  Somehow, during the violent scuffle, Rose had actually managed to remove the jar!  Rose stared at the filthy container in her hands, repeating in disbelief, ”Oh, my God, I have it.  I have the jar!”  I threw my arms around her…this woman, only minutes before, a stranger…my new friend and partner in cat rescue “crime,” and now…my hero!  

       We stood there in the parking lot of our apartment complex at 1:00 in the morning in a tight embrace, blood trickling from the fresh battle wounds on her forearms!  I can still hardly believe it.  The whole event seems almost impossible; the timing, the luck of it all, almost too good to be true.  I felt like I had won the lottery!  The rush was better than Broadway!  And Jarhead is jar free!  He can eat and drink and breathe fresh air!  Rose and I will be working together to restore his health.  I could swear, it must be more than dumb luck that brought Rose and me and Jarhead together in the parking lot in the middle of the night.  It truly feels like a small miracle to me.  It’s something I know I will never forget.  And I am so grateful for it.  I am just SO GRATEFUL.

Tippi’s Tabbouleh

3/4 cp bulgur
1/4 cp lemon juice
1/4 cp olive oil
11/2 cp parsley
2 medium tomatoes
1/3 cp scallions
1/4 cp lemon juice
fresh mint…as much or little as you like
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
a pinch of cinnamon

Pour bulgur in bowl.  Pour lemon juice and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add enough boiling water to cover bulgur.  Let stand until water is absorbed.  Mix in olive oil.  Mix together with veggies and mint.  Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Enjoy!
 

FroliCat BOLT: A Cat Toy Review

       Most cat people will probably agree that one of the greatest joys of cat parenting is playtime!  For me, kitty playtime falls second only to kitty cuddle time.  However, there are those times in my day, when I’ve just walked through the door after a long workshift, or worse, just about an hour before my alarm clock is due to start blaring, that I simply cannot summon the energy to entertain my beloved feline friend. 

       Enter BOLT.  This innovative design by FroliCat is a godsend!  BOLT‘s beam        mechanically zips around in alternating movement patterns ideal for piquing my cat’s interests and capturing his imagination.  Cats and cat parents can enjoy long periods of interactive play with FroliCat’s BOLT.  But, BOLT’s greatest allure is perhaps the solo play option it provides.

       My sweet boy no longer has to wait for mommy to get out of bed in the morning.  With FroliCat BOLT, he now gets to play on his schedule.  With just the quick touch of a button, I can set the laser beam into motion, and head back to bed!  There is just one downside: BOLT lasts only fifteen minutes in a clip.  So, I can bet on my cat returning to the bedroom to protest.  But hitting a button every fifteen minutes certainly beats getting up an hour early, or getting batted in the face with the back of a paw until I agree to stand in the living room and swing a fuzzy mouse from a string.  

You can purchase this item by FroliCat here: http://www.frolicat.com/ 

 

 

Gillian, My Love

You said to me

“Life is just a song”

So I sang the verse

Of the Song of Life

Where the lyrics say

You said to me

“Life is just a song”

 

And now the most amazing thing

About you standing in the doorway

Is you’re standing in the doorway

And you’re standing alone

 

I wish I could be you

Or see you

Or meet you

Or be someone like you

But I’m not so sure I should

 

And so I’m lying in the bathroom

And I’m thinking about you

And I’m thinking about the weather

And why my plants won’t grow

 

Hence, before I walk the line

Between perfections I’ve yet to sign

Shallow dream, my soot-washed theme

I, like you, can do anything

 

Honeycut

Worms in my apple

Sharps in my flats

Binds in your apron strings

To Fireside Chats

 

Ants in my snow

Trolls beneath my bridge

Needles in my thoughts

And whitefish rotting in the fridge

 

Spiders by my tuffet

Repeat of my refrain

Queen of Hearts and Catholic Nuns

Parading through my rain

 

Drive the snakes from Ireland

Kiss the babies good

Drunken on your two-percent

And scammed by Robin Hood

 

Stabbed with kisses

Stung by butterflies

-Can’t help being honeycut

Hip in my Hop

Turn around again

And go back

To the smack

With a wrap-around for rent

Sayin’ “Gotta’ represent!”

Knowledge at the deli

On the corner

In the city

Itty-gritty, not too pretty

What a shitty, shitty day

Hey, hey! Better recognize

The dialect that overlies

The woolin’-pullin’ over eyes

Underneath the smoggy skies

Lackin’ all the quackin’

Of a feather-fly-together

If ya’ see me and I smile

Will ya’ help me learn your style?

 

Better if I’m ready

Growin’ on me steady

Don’t‘cha wanna’ head me

On my way goin’ back?

Back, back to the city

And back to the smack

With a wrap-around for rent

Sayin’ “Gotta’ represent”

Lone

 

Long warm night

Of Hennesey lovin’

Carried into light

On a swollen pink morning

No warning, “run and cover!”

For her softer side

This Easy-Ridin’ Lover

Geared toward homicide

Left hogtied

Bestride the riptide

Inside her

 

Calls her “Cowgirl”

Rough-Ridin’

Tough-Stridin’

Priding herself

On strength to resist

Subsist

Unkissed by deadly lips

Of Love

 

Firefighter

Of her brighter side

Washing out flames

From this crash’n’burn joyride

Then backslide

Cast aside reason

Honeyguide treason

She led him…

Noontide season

 

Reached his goal

Slid through boarder patrol

On cruise control, he rode

But

Taught by flesh peddlers

Fearing soul settlers

She lassoed his cowgirl

And led her…

Away