Sunday, June 8, 2014

Catch up time ...

It's been a while since my last post.  Lots has happened since then, and it's been a busy time.

I've made the decision to close my daylily nursery (Mystic Meadows Daylily Farm) after this season.  It was always a labor of love, but has turned into too much labor.  I work full time at a bank and then come home and work in the gardens Spring, Summer & Fall.  I've decided it's time to enjoy all the other things Buffalo has to offer and not spend all my time in the gardens.

I am already planning out my gardens that will be just for me, next summer!  I don't have the time to spend on my own gardens these days, too much time is spent on the Nursery.  I'll probably still do some hybridizing, on a very small scale ... but will probably take this year off since I still have tons of seedlings to evaluate this summer.

I also moved my bedroom from the second floor down to the first floor.  I stayed upstairs because that's the only place I could spend time with my cat Cassie that passed away in April. The rest of my house cats come downstairs ... so I moved down tot he bedroom on the first floor.  It's much cooler and much larger than upstairs.

So let's catch up with some photos ... I lost many large fish out of my pond when the ice cleared this Spring ... these are turkey buzzards waiting their turn to eat the fish I dumped in the back pasture.


This picture is trying to show the large troughs that some animal dug in the middle of the daylily beds to get at the lilium bulbs that were planted there.  I couldn't believe the damage, and they ate ALL of the bulbs in quite a few beds.


I lost a tree this Spring, we had a really windy day and when I got home I was happy to see that I hadn't lost any of the trees in the front/side of the house, where I normally lose trees.  So I was shocked when I looked out the back door and saw this pine tree laying in the pond.


From the other side of the pond:


Here's my "feral" cats eating side-by-side ... Seneca, the one in the front, isn't feral at all ... but he's definitely an outside cat.  My neighbor Sally calls him a murderer ... he's quite the hunter.


I called my tree guy, to get the tree out of the pond ... his solution was to drag it out back so I didn't have to pay him to chop it up.



That was a good idea until he kept getting stuck in the mud and making huge ruts.  He left the tree in the back pasture (at least it's no linger on the part we mow) and said he'd be back when it dried up.  He also mows the pastures so didn't want to have to deal with too many ruts when he mows them.


Some of the interesting daffodils that bloomed this Spring:



I love the "green" of Spring ... it's all so lush ...too bad it doesn't stay this gorgeous green for long.


Some more Spring blooms - old fashioned bleeding hearts:


Pansies:


A weeping crabapple:


Sambina's nose .....


Cosmo's behind ...


Merlin's nose ....


Seneca the not-feral cat is right at home .....


The Baltimore Orioles found the feeder within 10 minutes of me putting it out.


I need to figure out the name of this plant ... anyone know?


Some alliums ....


A misty morning ...


I love bridal wreath spirea, I have 2 of them.  This one I got from one of my younger sister's friends.  It was too big for their backyard, so they asked me if I wanted it ... just love it!


The clematis on the purple barn ...


I had to grab my camera and get this good shot of Rocky sitting with his paws crossed.  He does this all the time.


Iris blooming ....


Lily got her annual shave last weekend ... isn't she cute??


My friend Mary came out to help shave Lily, she took Lily for a walk and stopped to say hello to the donkeys.

Can you see the rain?  It was pouring when I took this picture even though the sun was shining too.

Solomon Seal ....

The Spring garden ....

More alliums ....


Japanese painted fern ... if I have that right.


Candelabra Primrose and hosta:


My variegated tulip tree:


Love the color and ruffles on this hosta:


My tree peony:

Lupines:

Another unknown ... I know this was a recommendation from Sally Cunningham at Lockwoods a couple of years ago:

The back garden this morning ... the iris in the pond are a great backdrop.


Another unknown, and I think another Sally recommendation.


There, now I've caught up!  If you are a local gardener (Buffalo, NY area), I have a list of daylilies that I am selling at very reasonable prices.  I'm selling half clumps and clumps ... so email me at pamhoff@roadrunner.com and I'll send you the list.

Now that it's stopped thundering, I'd better go clean the donkeys stalls before dinner.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

RIP Cassie

RIP Cassie, I lost my oldest cat this past week, she would have been 17 next month.  While I was reflecting on her life as a spoiled house cat, I kept remembering stories of all my other cats and thought I should write them down.

This is Cassie, I think she had a stroke Wednesday night, she lurched by me dragging her back legs.  When I went to help her, she started walking normally.  I had seen her do this with one leg in the past week, when I saw her doing it with 2 legs, I knew it was time.  She was very frail, but until that night had seemed OK.


So we'll start a t the beginning ... this is Chelsea, she was my first cat.  I was moving to Geneva, NY to be the Assistant Manager of the Perkins Restaurant in Geneva.  My younger sister Lori told me that someone at her work had a kitten they were trying to find a home for.  I remember going to the lumber company and Chelsea was in this persons car sitting in the back window looking at us.


Chelsea moved with me to Geneva, then Syracuse, back to Buffalo at my parents house for a short time, to the two-family house in North Buffalo I bought with my Mom, to the single family in Kenmore I bought next, and then finally out here to the farm.

Here's Chelsea in my sister's stroller in the Kenmore house.


Here's Chelsea helping me do my homework when I was studying for my MBA.  She was such a good helper!  I love tortoiseshell cats!


While we were still in N. Buffalo, I looked around for a companion cat for Chelsea.  I found an ad in the paper for a long-haired grey kitten in Clarence.  I called and said I wanted to meet the kitten, they said to come out.  When we got there, no one was around, but there was a note and a box.  The note said the grey male kitten was gone, but I could have the kitten in the box for free.  I opened the box and there was this scared little black & white kitten.  I named her Picadilly, and brought her home.


She was so timid ... they obviously knew she was a scaredy cat and were looking for some soft-hearted soul to take her.  That was me! 

She used to hiss at my younger sister Lori, all the time .... and she was always the lump hiding under the covers in the middle of the bed. 


She was very good at hiding!  But she and Chelsea became very close.


I used to let my cats roam outside (haven't allowed that in years) and I couldn't figure out how Picadilly got up to the second floor porch.  Until one day I saw her, she climbed the 4 x 4 post that was the corner of the porch, and scooted right up.  I was amazed.  Here she is waiting for me to let her in!


She also decided the stroller made a good seat!


My favorite picture of her .........


Here are some of her and her buddy Chelsea.  First one is when she was a kitten in N. Buffalo.


Here they are in Kenmore:


And then came Sly ... I was working at Devere Capital, now known as Hunt Mortgage.  It was Christmas time and a few of us from the office went to visit some of the lenders we sold loans to.  We stopped in the Chase office in Amherst and as I was talking to someone, I saw a small blur run by.  I said what was that?  They looked at each other and said "Pam's an animal lover" .... Pam, you have to take this kitten or he's going to the SPCA on Christmas Eve ... he desperately needs a home.


Isn't he precious!  So Sly came back to the office with us, and then on to Happy Hour.  The bartender's at the Lafayette Tap Room got him a saucer of milk, and he had his milk on the bar while we had our drinks. 

Chelsea was a mellow cat, Picadilly a scaredy cat and Sly was a cat that got into everything!  He and Chelsea got along, he and Picadilly basically ignored each other except when Sly would jump on her to annoy her!


Sly grew up to be a big beautiful boy .. and quite the hunter to the dismay of some of my neighbors in Kenmore.


This was when my older sister and her husband brought their dogs out to the farm one day, and the dogs chased Sly ... he had no where to go but up!  I was looking for the picture of my BIL Tim in the bucket of my tractor getting him down, but couldn't find it.


And here's the only picture I have of my original 3 cats together.  This was a Christmas morning, they were enjoying their catnip presents.  Sly on the box in the lower left, Picadilly rolling in the catnip in the upper left, and Chelsea also rolling in the catnip on the right.


I lost both Chelsea and Picadilly shortly after moving to the farm.  I was devastated when I lost Chelsea first, it was the first time I had to say good-bye to a beloved pet.  Then Picadilly developed kidney problems and passed a month later.  It was too much, too soon.  Sly and I were lost.

So I decided Sly and I needed another friend.  I went to a house in East Aurora where a woman was fostering kittens for Ten Lives Rescue.  I sat on the floor of her living room and had kittens crawling all over me.  She finally convinced me to take a pair of sisters that had been born feral in a field in Akron.  They had named the kittens Akkie & Ronni ... I couldn't call a cat Akkie, sounded like I was having a hairball, so she became Cassie.  And home
they came. 

Cassie is the fuzzy one on the left, Ronni the short-haired girl on the right.  They hid in the couch in what is now my office, for quite a while before venturing out.


I don't have a lot of pictures of Ronni, or Cassie really.  They held onto their feral beginnings and were cats that hid upstairs most often.  I did let them venture outside for a while, I think that ended when Ronni brought a snake into the house.  I dislike snakes, they can stay in
the garden, but they don't belong in the HOUSE!!!



Sly became the protector of the 2 girls, and they snuggled up to him.  Sly was the only cat I've ever had that turned into a demon as soon as we went into the vet's office.  He'd start growling in his crate, people used to ask me what I had in the crate that was growling so much.  And he bite one of the Vet's .... they then put the word "BITES" in large red letters on his file.  When he developed kidney problems, my friend Shannon came to the house and euthanized him here, so he didn't have to have a stressful end to his life.

Ronni passed away in her sleep on Thanksgiving Day, 2010.  She was 13 years old, and still the only pet that passed away on their own without me having to make the decision.


And that left Cassie.  After Sly passed, I looked for a "normal" kitten ... I didn't want a scaredy cat again, I wanted a regular pet.  So I got Bailey through HEART in Hamburg, NY in 2004.

Bailey immediately became great friends with all my other pets, both dogs & cats.  He loves Lily the dog, and even wants to snuggle with Rocky, though Rocky's not so keen.  And he took over caring for the 2 black scaredy cats, Cassie & Ronni.



Here he is sleeping with Lily.  And yes, from that cute little kitten above, he turned into a 25 lb. smushy cat.  He's snoring behind my computer now as I type.


His favorite seat, especially when I am on the computer.  Bailey is your typical lap cat.  When you sit down to watch TV, he's in your lap within 5 minutes.


Along the way, I don't remember when  .... this cat was wandering around the farm.  People seem to think it's OK to take their pet out to a rural area and just let it out.  I've found home for many cats that have been dumped and obviously aren't feral.  This one didn't get along with my other cats, so I found her a good home.  Isn't she gorgeous?


So I had 3 cats, and a stray in the barn that I thought was a male (2005).  Until I saw her nursing 4 kittens!!!  So I borrowed 5 live-traps and trapped the 4 fluffy kittens and the mother cat.  I had the mother and the 2 boys spayed and had already found homes for the 2 girls, so they were spayed by their new families.  I put the mother back outside after she healed, figuring she would be my barn cat ... and then I also put one of the boys outside as he was feral to the core and would not let me near him at all.

That left one fluffy black & white kitten, who had fallen in love with Bailey.  I'd never had 2 male cats and didn't know that could bond like that.  So Figaro became the 4th house cat.

Yes, another black & white cat ... here he is as a young boy.  I called him Figaro because he has a little white mustache ... for some reason a mustache and Figaro just seemed to go together?


Here he is in all his grown-up glory.  Quite the handsome fellow, isn't he?


And then his mother decided she didn't want to be a barn cat and kept hanging around the back door.  I opened the door one day and told her if she was coming in, she was never going back out.  In she came ...


Momma also has some feral left in her ... no one sees her except for me.  My neighbor Sally, sees Figaro & Bailey when she walks the dogs, but never Momma.  This is her favorite perch upstairs.


The two boys snuggling .... Figaro is usually hanging out with Bailey.


Rocky at the other end of the couch ...


Here's a picture of the 4 black cats ... Cassie at the bottom, then her sister Ronni, then Momma, and Figaro disappearing at the top.


Since Cassie just passed, the housecats left are Bailey, Figaro and Momma.

But we can't forget about the barn cats ... I have 2 now.  Barngirl who has been here since 2007.  She was 3 when she got here.  Now I'm amazed that she's 10 years old!  I got her from a feral rescue group.  She came with another cat, that disappeared after a year.


She has a doghouse in the barn for the winter and a heated water bowl.  So she's a very spoiled barn cat.


One of her favorite places to sleep.  She just loves Lily, my dog.  I can get close, but am still not allowed to touch her.


Here she is interviewing the new feral barn cat I got last week.  His name is Seneca and he was taken from a hoarders house by Feral Cat Focus.  He's estimated to be 2 - 3 years old.  I had to keep him in the cage for 10 days to 3 weeks, depending on how I thought he was doing.


After 12 days, I thought he was doing well, so I let him out of his cage yesterday morning.  They told me he would probably disappear for a day or two while he scoped out his surroundings, but he was hanging around the barn this morning when I went out.  Hope he stays, and I hope he and Barngirl become good friends.



So that's my Ode de Cats ....  I miss Cassie, she was part of my life and my family for 16 years.  But I'm sure she's found Ronni and Chelsea and Picadilly and Sly ... and is happy again.