Friday, September 22, 2017

Cat Tales

Almost forgot to bring you up to date on my cat adventures.

Tigger wasn't nearly as "wily" as I perceived and walked right into the live trap on Saturday night and got transferred to a carry case. Fuzzball (now named "Tribble")  got scooped up first thing Sunday morning and also got put into a carry case. Both spent the balance of Sunday in the basement getting a few strokes and a couple of tablespoons of food.

I had no luck getting near Collar after the scratching incident earlier. That cat wanted no part of being picked up again and stayed just out of arms reach while feasting on the canned food I put out for Coffee and Collar.

Monday morning, to the great dismay of momma Coffee, I put two squeeling kittens in the back seat of the Tundra and headed off to the clinic in East Smithfield. There they got dropped off for surgery, rabies shots, and leukemia testing. (I also delivered three 36-can boxes of cat food.)

Tuesday I went to pick them up. (And drop off two more boxes of canned cat food.) That's when I discovered that both Tribble and Tigger were females and leukemia free. Tigger does test slightly positive for heart worm, but they told me it was untreatable and not of great concern in outdoor cats.

I brought them home and fed them another tablespoon of cat food in their carry cases before returning them to the "wild" of my yard. (Terry wouldn't let me keep Tribble inside. Yet.)

Seems we dodged a bullet by getting two females (three if you count Coffee) fixed. I don't want to think about how many litters of kittens we could have had around here next spring!

Still trying to gain the confidence of Collar so I can get that one over to the clinic, but I'm not having much success. There's a 50-50 chance that Collar is also a she.

New Car Coming--Sooner than Expected!

So. Last week I drove the Jeep Compass to take Terry up to Corning Hospital to get her knee scoped. Along Route 15 I noticed some vibration in the front end at 65-70 mph and told Terry she should get it checked out before she drives to St. Louis next month.

Yesterday she dropped it off at the Jeep dealer in Mansfield and they called back saying it needed new front brakes, new tires ("the belts inside were broken"), an alignment, a new tie rod, new struts, and a couple of other things. Total would be around $3000. This is a car they had in the shop last spring because one of the front brakes was making a squeeling sound. Now, I'm not a mechanic, but the Compass doesn't get a lot of miles put on it during the summer. It basically sits on the side of the house. It's one "big" trip was to the Carolinas and back. (On second thought, maybe we should stop going to Columbia, SC. Every time we do something needs an alignment.)

Anyway, we had been thinking of replacing the 2009 Compass and had already started to do some research. We had narrowed our choices down somewhat but had hoped to wait until spring or fall 2018. I told the Jeep people not to do any work and Terry and I drove over to Williams Toyota to see what they had available. Our targets there were the Sienna and the Rav4. They needed to have either 4-wheel or all-wheel drive because, hey!, we live in hilly snow country.

Well, Terry thought the Sienna too huge for her needs (the third row seating was just a little too much), but liked the size of the Rav4. The only model with all-wheel drive (AWD) on the lot was a base model in a pretty plumb color which we did take for a short test drive. Terry liked it, but I wanted a few more bells and whistles than the base model offered. They did have an XLE with AWD in Barcelona Red (same as the my Tundra) over on the Elmira lot, however. We could get either $2500 cash back or 0% financing on the Rav4.

So, we go back on Saturday to look at the XLE and--probably--sign some papers.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Life at the Aerie

Not a whole lot happening at the Aerie this week.

Sure, Terry and I went to Point Pleasant Beach, NJ last weekend for her high school class' 50th reunion and had a great time with a bunch of people from St. Mary's High School of whom I knew just three. But the bar was open almost all night so there's that. And the weather was gorgeous so we got to walk on the beach and boardwalk both Friday and Saturday. Waves were marvelous!

Then on Sunday we stopped at cousin Nancy's to meet up with lots of folks from Terry's side of the family to look at a bunch of old photographs. The goal was to ID as many people as possible. As I didn't know many of them (or plead the fifth), I sat on the side and watched while recovering from the high school reunion. (See above. re: "open bar".)

I was keeping an careful eye on Irma as she tore through western Florida. I've relatives in Key LArgo and up the coast at Weeki Wachi. They all suffered minimal damage to their property and the folks in Key Largo were sane enough to have evacuated to areas around Orlando where they hunkered down. (And then went to Disney World immediately after since they couldn't get home.)

Tuesday, Terry did a pre-op assessment over in Wellsboro and on Thursday she had her left knee scoped to remove debris and remove/repair a partially torn meniscus that has been troubling her since, well, the early '70s. She hurt it when we were going to climb Mt. Washington back then and reinjured it the next year when we went to climb Wildcat Ridge across the highway from Mt. Washington. Doctors back then pronounced it "hyperextended" and gave her some Tylenol, a pair of crutches, and sent her home. No MRI or anything. The current doc (who replaced both my knees in '13) said she also has arthritis and bone-on-bone contact on part of that knee may need a partial knee replacement if this surgery doesn't help.

Terry came home the same day (Thursday) and has been hobbling around the house with the occasional help of a cane. I'll be driving her down the hill to church on Sunday but she should be good to go on her own Monday or Tuesday.

I've been knocking around the house doing some chores like cleaning out gutters and weeding the fallow garden beds in preparation for winter. I've also been mentally marking the trees I want to fell this winter for next year's firewood. (I'm still waiting for the power company to come through and do their right-of-way maintenance that they said they were going to do this summer. That might provide some additional wood.)

I've also been plotting exactly how I'm to catch/nab/trap three 5-month old kittens to take them to the vets on Monday morning. I've been working on gaining their confidence so I can suddenly snatch them in an act of betrayal. One will be easy. (That's the one I played hide-and-seek with in the basement for 12 hours about a month ago.) A second is a possibility. (I've managed to actually pet that one a time or two. Granted it was only a quick stroke or two and very , very brief, but I think I can snatch that one.) They third.... Well, that's why they make have-a-heart traps. Tigger is a wily, wary one. My plans may be foiled, however, if they successfully bring down their own meals as they did last evening. A young, dumb bunny became an overnight snack that meant they really didn't need my can(s) of cat food.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

White-faced Hornet

I mentioned in a previous post how much I hate Yellow Jackets. Those wasps are just a pain in the a$$...and anywhere else they may sting you. Plus the rotters are usually found nesting at ground level where you might easily stumble upon them.

I had one nest of Yellow Jackets removed for me by (I assume) a bear. I also removed one from between the awnings of the trailer. So imagine my dismay/surprise to find a huge nest built on the antenna of the trailer.

I initially thought it was another Yellow Jacket structure but realized it was too large and so were the critters flying about it. I watched for days from the deck and finally got a good look at a few as they flew paste me. They weren't Yellow Jackets. They were White-faced Hornets!
White-faced Hornet

I thought to wait until things got below freezing before I tackled them, but grew impatient. I opted to hit them with two cans of Spectricide--the stuff with a 27-foot range--when I had a calm evening. That happened on Friday evening. I took a position a safe distance away and hit 'em hard! I soaked the one side of the nest with spray after the sun set.
I stood on the right side of the truck and was able to reach the center of the trailer roof. (The white piece to the left of the air conditioner.)

This morning, the deck of the house had a couple of dead hornets laying about and the roof of the trailer had even more. I watched for an hour or more and saw no hornets flying in or out of the nest. Hooking up a nozzle to the garden hose that would allow me to reach with a narrow, powerful stream of water, I spent half an hour spraying the nest. Damn thing is tough! It's still holding on to the antenna post. I managed to take half of the nest out and exposed larvae inside. The entire time I saw only two hornets fly into the area. They didn't stay.
Hitting the nest with a stream of water exposed the interior but didn't knock the entire thing off the antenna.

Exposed larvae of the White-faced Hornets.

I'll hit the exposed nest with more spray later this evening. Then I may be able to use a ladder to get closer and on a different angle to attempt to knock the rest of the nest to the ground.