Monday, August 31, 2015

The Summer Switch

Summer switched off suddenly here in Oregon.


Now temperatures are in the 70's and the forecast for September is for days in the 70's with maybe a handful reaching into the 80's.  This is not normal either, for Oregon.

The predicted storm brought only a quarter inch of rain over the weekend.  We had so hoped for so much more.   Areas in the coast range did receive more.  What we got was a lot of wind, which downed some trees and caused power outages.  But nothing major.  This has all been caused by a strong El Nino, that's been going on for months, the paper article said. El Nino's, those warm Pacific waters paired with westerly winds and other factors down near the equator, can cause excess rainfall and intense storms but the farther north or south you get from the equator, the opposite is often true.  Less rainfall, warmer temps (sometimes).  That's the theory.  As I see it.  The armchair annalist here, without an ounce of expertise on the subject.

The Hood to Coast relay run went on, although the tents and canopies set up on the beach at Seaside, for the party after the race, blew apart and there was no after party.  Runners described facing extreme winds and downpours.   Usually they get sunburned if anything.

I sat here waiting for the rain.  There were a few downpours with thunder and lightning Friday night.  But after that, mostly nothing but wind.  My trees held!

But....the switch got flipped regardless and summer is apparently over.  Off and on light showers are predicted for the week and temps in the mid 60's to mid 70's.   Some would say "whew!"  Back to Oregon normal.  But it's Oregon normal late fall weather, not Oregon normal September, when we usually enjoy 80 plus degree days and cool nights.

Oh well.

Here's a video of my middle aged cat crowd playing, lazily.  21 year old Vision wanders through at the 51 second mark.

Meanwhile life chugs on.  I chatted with a neighbor the other day.   She's got an antenna in her attic and doesn't get the greatest reception for her TV, about like I do.  She pointed out someone else's antenna, said they cost about $100 at Walmart and get all the Eugene and Portland stations.  I thought "Wow", because I often get no good reception at all, especially in winter, and the picture will pixelize out often right towards the end of a show I'm watching.   I've become used to disappointment.
Many people in this area cannot afford cable or even internet so try to find ways to get something, at least.   She had tried to get her son to come install the house top Walmart antenna but he hasn't, thinks she should just pay for Satellite or cable, but she says he doesn't understand about not having money.
Mostly I read now for entertainment but finding decent books isn't that easy either.  I look for cheap used.   The local used bookstore is not cheap at all.   But I find them here and there.  I can't pay much more than $1 for a used book.
The plant down the street a ways from me is fenced off and closed for now.   They rejected the union contract and locked out workers who are now striking.  Probably trying to bust the union.   The city council sent them a letter telling the two sides to find a solution, the paper said, and there is resentment because the city invested over $2 million of local taxpayer money in a jobs program at the local community college so the plant would have trained workers.  Guess the city thinks taxpayers should get something out of that huge investment, like family wage jobs, in terribly short supply around here.  Or something.
I think about my brother, by contrast.  He works himself to death, six days a week, to keep his small business running and he says partly because what would his employees do without the jobs.  What nearly broke him, when the economy turned bad a few years ago, was having to cut back health care for his employees and lay some off.  My big tough brother cried over it.  They're like family to him, maybe dysfunctional family, but family nonetheless.  With these big companies, you're not family.  You are a production zombie there to benefit the corporation, to the max.  Period.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Faithfully Waiting for Rain

Oregon has been dry as a bone for months.  And hot as hell to boot.

So...we suddenly are forecast to get up to two inches of rain, plus high wind, in what is being called a winter storm in August.

This is abnormal.  But we're getting used to abnormal here.

In fact, yesterday I was whining when the thermometer did not climb up to 90.  We expect 90 degree days now.

Today I thought, after the first few showers that were predicted for morning,  never came, I'd clean the gutters.  This might help bring the rain, I thought.  Or maybe if I didn't clean the gutters rain would be more likely.  I went back and forth and finally settled on the latter opinion, since I hate cleaning the gutters.

And besides, I'd have to don shoes, to be safe on the roof.  My feet haven't seen shoes for months.  My toes like to be free and going back to shoes was a terrible thought to ponder.

I did at one point haul out the ladder, as if I might clean the gutters.  I did not clean the gutters and eventually, as darkness closed in, put the ladder back in its place.  But I felt good about getting it out there.

My friend came along and said, "Come on, let's go to lunch."   Hmmm, shall I clean the gutters or go to lunch with a friend?"  Now what a tough decision that is.  Ha!

So we went to a restaurant and ate and conversed.  She takes me out now and then, which is wonderful!

I get back home and look with longing at the sky.  She offered to turn the hose on, while I sat in the car and pretended it was raining.

Look, you can see some clouds in the sky.  They're forming up there.
So now the rain is supposed to come in late tonight, with high wind, maybe gusts to 40 mph in the valley, but sustained at 40 mph on the coast with gusts to 70.  Now that's a winter storm for us.   I hope the trees hold.  They're drought damaged and still have their leaves and that's a sure recipe for destruction.

It's certainly bad timing for the Hood to Coast relay run, going on now.  By tomorrow morning, when those poor runners are topping the coast range, on their way to Seaside, they'll be running into extreme winds, if the forecast is close to right.  I saw on the news the tents and fanfare set up on the beach at Seaside for the big party that follows the race's finish and wondered how many people one of those bigger tents might take out, if blown off down the beach by wind gusts.

A winter storm.  In August.

We'll take it!  And I'm waiting.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three Albany Cats to Portland

Hearing that KATA alone has 200 kittens plus more adult cats in foster right now made me want to yell "Nooooo!"

I told a Portland rescue friend about it, and when she expressed shock at such numbers, I asked if she had any room, if I found kitten ads on craigslist that owners would relinquish. At least then, they get fixed and vet check ups prior to adoption.  And they are out of the over run in cats Linn County.  So then maybe someone looking to adopt, will do so from a shelter or rescue.

She said "sure", that she could handle about 6.

I called or e-mailed about six ads.  Got responses from just two, which is about the norm.  The second response I got was a text telling me all their kittens had gone to homes and the mother of the kittens was getting fixed this Thursday, which made me happy!

 The first response was an enthusiastic "yes".  She needed help.   She has a dog with puppies, plus her own cat, and she'd taken in a cat from someone moving who couldn't take her.  Then she had two kittens from some barn, south of Albany, way out, she couldn't recall where.  She took those two girl kittens in because the barn owner was making threats about what would happen with them if they weren't gone a.s.a.p.  She has a soft heart.

But they couldn't handle the kittens, the cats, the dogs and the puppies.

So I picked up the lovely adult female, who is herself under a year.  And the two girl kittens.  They are so lovely and laid back and acted, last night in my bathroom, like they'd always lived there.  Adaptable cats!

This morning I met my rescue buddy at the Portland vet clinic she uses and handed the girls over.  They're lucky.   I call this "an assist", since the only cost to The Happy Cat Club was in the Advantage I applied last night to all three and the gas to drive them up to Portland.  But it does help out the cat situation in Albany a tiny bit and certainly helps out that family and the 3 cats involved.

Lola, the young adult Siamese girl.

Marly, a 10 to 12 week old female kitten, who is very lovely.  This picture doesn't do her justice.

Marly's sister, Stash!
Thank you again, my Portland friend.  I would name her but I'm not sure she wants that in public.  That rescue took 7 or 8 kittens I took up from Albany end of June, while their mothers were being fixed.  The mothers went back to their owners, but they didn't want the kittens.

Update:  the three girls tested negative, but were covered in fleas, dead by then, had worms and earmites.  All taken care of now.  So happy they got vet care immediately!

It was a short outing, got me out of the house and I felt productive for once.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Cat Yard Cats

Some of the cats stay mainly in the cat yard, much of the summer.

Then when the rains come, inside they march, creating, for a time, some cat spatting over who sleeps where.

Sisters Tweetie and Button used to be in the house most of the time.  However, Button got bullied by Honey and moved to sleeping in the garage cage room, with her sister. Nights they play wildly in the cat yard, wearing themselves out. Tweetie is far more social and flits about near me, craving attention.  Every evening, I spend time in the cat yard, reading, taking a wand toy and treats, and play with the yard crew, who love it.
Tweetie, whose right ear tip was a massacre at the Wilsonville clinic where she was fixed.  I took them back after they were fixed, to the trailer park where an old woman fed them.  However, not a month later, she died suddenly.  The family called me, wanting me to take all the cats she fed.  They promised donations and help finding them homes.  They didn't help on either front.   I took all the kittens and several adults, over a dozen cats, and found homes for everyone but the two sisters, in the end.  The most bizarre part of the story was when someone told me my name was in the paper, with her obituary, which stated people could donate through the funeral home, to help the cats.  Neither the funeral home nor the family knew my address however, nor had they contacted me about the alleged donation fund.  I was told two donations had come in, and asked how I would get those, and was stonewalled then told by a different employee there were no donations.   It was some sort of a scam is all I could figure out and now I have it in my final document that I don't want to be taken to that funeral home when I die.  

Forest too spends much of his time in the cat yard.  He has many friends.  Teddy and Willy Wonka are his best friends, but he has many and is well liked.
Forest gets some love from Teddy, behind him.  The boys are best friends.
Forest is a beautiful boy.
Willy Wonka dozes.  The cat yard grass is dead, like the grass out front.  The cost of water, the drought, I let it go this year. I do water the trees and the sunflowers but that's it. I keep the sunflowers because they make me happy and they make the bees happy which gives me a satisfaction.  When the rains come, and it is supposed to rain next Sunday, I'll plant new seed and hope some of it grows before the days shorten and the cold comes.

Sam is in and out, ever the gadfly and he has some sort of attraction surrounding him.  All the other cats want to be near him.  And yet often he is just plain mean to his fan base.

Juno adores him, but puts up with his bouts of evil better than the others.  Jade follows him around, wanting love.  She has lately paired off with Calamity, who is ecstatic to have a close friend.  When Sam went after the lovely natured Jade, Teddy quickly stepped in to comfort her slicing Sam with shameful looks for his behavior.
Sam goes after Jade, who just loves him.  She is forced to defend herself.  Teddy stepped in, to defend her, then gave Jade head butts and grooming.  Teddy likes peace.  Sam likes to stir things up.

Mums is Sam's constant companion.  Forest and Teddy love him but know enough to watch for his mood swings.

Arrow, the youngest of the Lebanon colony cats, is not that wild anymore. None of them are.  Di Vinci, the long hair gray male, I believe is working up nerve to be petted.  Huckleberry and Mona Lisa, the muted torti girls, are nearly tame now, as is Vino.
People think cats are solitary.  They are not.   I hate to see kittens adopted out alone as only cats.  Hate it!  Cats are extremely social with one another and family oriented.   Sure, it can be a challenge to keep the peace here.  But by and large, peace is the norm.

I don't tolerate bullying.  They get a time out and a stern lecture.   They want to please me, so they shape up.   You don't let behaviors go that you don't want to become accepted.  It's work, but worth it.

I also find more discontent if they don't get enough attention or play or if they are having hairball issues.  Who isn't cranky when constipated?

The oldsters, Vision and Miss Daisy, are like puppies, and follow me around every waking moment, which also is a challenge sometimes, because the other cats also want attention.   But it's all part of the job description---cat clan kingpin, that's me.  Ha.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Balloon and the Smokey Sunrise

This morning, I was up just after sunrise and thought for sure I had missed any passing balloons.  The air is still smoke filled and the sunrise shrouded in red and smoke.

So when a balloon materialized out of the smoke haze next to the rising sun, I took some photos.  It was beautiful.  The sunrise was shrouded red with the smoke from countless wildfires.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smoke Fills Oregon

Smoke fills Oregon skies.

In the valley, the smoke is so thick, from various wildfires, you need a gas mask if you're going out.

I resorted to a head scarf, draped over my face.

I am filled with unease.  I am watering the maple.  I don't know why.  Seems important suddenly.

The smoke stinks of smoldering imminent doom.  Of hell.

I eye the cats and wonder how I'd escape with them, if suddenly the neighborhood became a firestorm.

There is a fire at the KOA campground, the campground I passed when I went to the grange for the flea market.  I can't get ahold of my friends who live out there and I know they're far enough from it and fine, but an irrational worry grips me nonetheless.

There are fires everywhere.

When Washington state became overwhelmed in fires with no resources left, they called out for volunteers.  Over 3000 have signed on.  Probably more than that by now.

One day, our Oregon skies will clear and rain will fall.

One day.

More and More

Well, over came the balloons again this morning, after once again, I failed to get up when my alarm went off, to go watch the balloon launch, over at the Art and Air Festival.

I was relieved to not entirely miss out.

I first saw them through the window, through the glorious sunflowers, swaying slightly, in morning breeze.  The sun was just peeking out over the eastern horizon, sending out rays, feelers, to see if it was in the right place and welcome.

 I went outside with my morning coffee and plastic chair.  I turned a white bucket upside down for a coffee table/foot rest.  I took my camera but got few shots.  I could not help but adorn the photos through filtering.   I wandered barefoot to my sunflowers then.

 Last night, I saw on the news, some gunman on a speeding train in France was stopped from hurting others by three Americans and one Brit.  One of the Americans was from Oregon, Roseburg to be exact.  We're all quite proud here.