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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Notes on my Reading of Other Bloggs

I was reading some of the Blogs of Note, came across some really interesting ones.  I like computers, electronics, mathematics, art, cats (maybe cats before art?), drawing, photography, food (OK, now I know this list is not in order), gardens, plants, bug zappers, ... OK.. there are a LOT more, but I'll stop.  So, what is my point? None.

I liked a video featured on Kitty Stampede ( :

which seemed a lot like a picture I have from years ago of my cat Mouse:

Mouse used to run around with his back hunched up and tail fluffed out, looking like a Halloween cat just like the white cat in the video.

My tomatoes keep splitting!

For some reason, a LOT of my small tomatoes split like the picture.  My plants are on an automatic timer, watered every day.  Do I need to water more often?  Water longer?  Add some fertilizer?  Any good ideas?

<Edit> I forgot to mention that the temps around here have been over 100 degrees for a couple of months (except one day) and up to as high as 110 degrees.  Also, I found many places that say to water evenly, water about every week, etc.. and most of them also say that Mulch should be placed around the plants... I will add mulch to see if it cures my problem.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Fire In Leander!

I walk around the neighborhood nearly every day or 2 or 3 and take pictures.  On August 15, 2011 there was a fire near my home in Leander, TX. The fire destroyed several homes, including that of a good friend. Below are some pictures I took before, during, and after the fire.
The picture above was taken a couple days before the fire at the end of Topaz Lane facing into the area where the fire seems to have started.
It looked like the fire was coming under control
and then the wind picked up a little, you could feel the heat from a block away.
When all was done, several homes were completely destroyed.
The fire had raced up their back yard to the home

Other Aftermath Pictures 
Ashes look almost like snow

Some trees burned facing the fire and may survive

Not so lucky one-hundred year old tree, gone to ash

Still smoking embers the next day

The edge of destruction


Catbomb. That is the name I give to occurances like the one pictured here. Turn around from my computer and there are 3 cats on the bed (used to be with all 4 but Stinker is no longer allowed upstairs in the bedroom). Normally they are all spread out, but for some reason they all gathered in on me to pester me until I pet them. Left to right, Missy, Miney, Baby.. the 3 girls. This is not a rare occasion, normally all 3 are upstairs with me while I am at the computer. Missy is the one that might be missing at any time, due to her leaving to eat some of Stinker's food downstairs. Stinker eats, leaves a few nuggets for Missy. Missy comes in and eats them and licks the bowl clean. I keep food and water out for these 3 cats on the counter upstairs where Stinker cannot get to it. Even with Stinker being fed so little, and then Missy taking some of his food, he is still not losing any weight. I cannot bring myself to feed him less, so I guess as long as he is happy with his situation then we will cope with it too.
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Missy helps me remodel

Missy likes to be around people, even if they are making a lot of noise (except vacuum cleaner). Here I was remodeling. I had removed a fireplace (cheap insert type) and the surrounding framework. She came to help me by holding down the carpet padding that I was using to pad my knees as I worked down low. She seemed comfortable so I took a break for the day.
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Cat #4 - Snidely (Stinker)

This is Snidely (but I call him Stinker because he used to unexpectedly climb my leg when he was a tiny kitten). He is one of Baby's last litter in 2005. He weighs in at around 27 pounds. He is not a tiny cat. He is not graceful nor too overly aware of his surroundings. He is special. He is very friendly (especially to missionaries or strangers that come to visit). He is strong but not aware that he is strong. His sister Miney, at about 1/3 his weight picks on him every time she gets a chance then runs away before he can grab her. If Stinker is in your lap and decides to leave, you should not try to hold him back, he has very good traction with his claws dug into your leg.. though he does not intentionally hurt anyone. I'm not sure why, but he just LOVED this issue of Reader's Digest. If you are saying to yourself that we should put him on a diet, well, he gets 1/4 cup of dry catfood about 10 am, and another 1/4 cup at about 10 pm. He is probably not as active as he could be if we would play with him more often.
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Cat #3 - Miney

This is Miney (or Minie? Not sure how my wife intends it to be spelled). She was 3rd in Baby's first litter of Eeney, Meaney, Miney, and Moe. She is a feisty cat, denser in build than her mother or aunt. She is not as friendly as the other cats but she is still a good cat, with short soft fur. If I ignore her for long enough while at the computer, she will head-butt me to get my attention. If that does not work, she will poke me with her claws like her mother does only a bit more forceful. I picked this picture of her because it makes her look mean, but she is really yawning not making any kind of threat. She has one objective in life, torture her younger brother whenever she gets the chance.
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Cat #2 - Missy

This is Missy, sister of Baby and she is an automatic paper-weight. Actually, all of our cats are automatic paper-weights. You look around and see no cats, lay a paper or book on the bed or floor, look away for a couple of seconds, look back and there is a cat holding your item securely in place. I think they take turns watching me to see when I lay something on the bed behind me as I sit at the computer. I think Missy has the softest fur of the group. She likes to be around someone all the time.. anyone.
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Cat #1 - Baby

This is Baby, Cat #1. She is the sister of Missy and the mother of Miney and Snidely (more about Snidely in another posting). She weighs in at a tiny 4 or 5 pounds. She is probably the most adventurous of our cats, likes to go outside (we don't let her out anymore) and as soon as she gets out.. she RUNS to the neighbor's small tree and scratches on it. I've been unable to break her of this even though for most other purposes I've been able to keep our cats in a small area of our yard most of the time. It would not be a factor any more since the neighbor has removed that tree and landscaped with a variety of nice plants. I'm afraid Baby might try to scratch on some of them and ruin them.
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This is Mouse, my first cat that I got as a kitten. He could sleep in the palm of my hand when I first got him. Black, Blue eyes, funny, full of mischief, playful, loving, friendly. He got his name one day (I'd had him more than a month before I named him) when I dropped a piece of cheese and he hissed at me as I reached for it. I asked him if he was a cat or a mouse.. he grabbed the cheese and ran.. so he was Mouse.
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Other Cats I have loved

Just so you know that living cats are not the focus of my life, I'm putting this picture in to show you my first "Tonka" toy.. only it was made by 'Cat'epillar. I think this one adopted me when I was very young and I can still remember the smell of the hydrolic fluid, oil, diesel fuel, and dirt on her as I played. We often picked dirt clods off for "dirtclod fights" with neighborhood kids. I often helped my dad as he repaired the many machines that were stored at our home. My long, skinny arms would be able to reach a dropped wrench, washer, nut, or bolt much easier than his. Then I started driving this D6 (or was it D9?) when I was about 9 yrs old along with a front-end loader (I could not drive the trucks because I was too small to see out of the windshield). My dad would fix them, perhaps welding on new teeth or a broken track. Sometimes he would move them out to a place for testing, and I would run them through some tests to make sure his repairs would hold up during use on the job. I think some of the tools my dad used to fix these machines weighed as much as I did at the time. During summers, I often went to work with my dad when he was fixing something out in the job site. They had a Bulldozer, Front-end loader, Crane, Dump Truck, Rock Crusher, Earth Mover, and a trailer for moving these machines. They probably had more, and probably some accessories that went with these machines, but I'm not sure. Sutton Escavating, I think, was the name of the company. Mr. Sutton retired and sold all of the equipment so my dad went to work in a factory as a maintenance man.
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My First Cat and some sad memories

This is Buttons, my first cat (well, he was my first step-mother's cat until he discovered that I would pay attention to him). Long soft fur and I think he was gray and white pretty much as you see him here. This picture of myself and Buttons was taken around 1962-1965, not really sure. Looks like I am wearing my brother Floyd's Air Force jacket (and if you could see my feet, probably his boots too) since I wore those most of the time back then.
The house in the background is the neighbor's house which was the first house built in our neighborhood. The original owner was the person that owned all of the land around the area, Rosewarne was his last name. A local school is named after him, not sure if he gave the land or if he sold it cheap.. or how it got his name. The school had 3 rooms; Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd in one room; 3rd, 4th, and 5th in the next room; 6th, 7th, and 8th in the last room. After that, for high school, you had to go into Niles to their schools. But before I went to high school Rosewarne annexed with Brandywine schools and so I started 6th grade in the Jr. High at Brandywine schools. I went there until partway through 10th grade when my dad remarried and we moved away from the home shown in this picture.
I have a lot of fond memories of this place, and a few very sad ones. When I was younger (9 yrs old) than in this picture, my mother died. A couple years later my dad remarried (probably too fast, trying to provide a mother for us kids) but it did not last. When I was in 10th grade, at Thanksgiving time, my dad married a wonderful woman who was my mother until she died about 30 years later. I think my dad died about a year after her.
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This blog is not really about cats, well, not as the primary purpose anyway.  We currently have 4 cats. Cat #1 weighs about 4 pounds (perhaps if you get her soaking wet) and has had two litters (none of our cats can produce offspring any longer). Cat #2 is the sister of Cat #1 and weighs in at around 8 pounds (maybe a little less, but she looks like 12 pounds).  Cat #3 is from the first litter of Cat #1 and she weighs in at around 10 pounds (she also looks much like her aunt.. Cat #2).  Cat #4 (and a half) is from the last litter of Cat #1 and weighs in at around 27 pounds.  <GasP!> Hey! He eats 1/2 cup of dry catfood a day, 1/4 cup at 10 am and 1/4 cup at 10 pm... and he usually leaves some for his aunt (Cat #2).  Our cats are all very friendly, they usually gather around any new visitors to our home (scares some kids until they find out how friendly and soft our cats are, especially Cat #4).