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I want him so much!

For a little over a year now, I've had a feral cat colony in my back yard.  We feed them and provide shelters, along with trap-neuter-and-release, at which time they get whatever medical care they need.  There are four of us who care for them, and so far, about 10-12 of them.

Since last spring, I've been giving extra food to an orange tom named Luna.  He belonged to a family on the block who moved away and just dumped him.  (grrrrr..)

At first, he wouldn't come near the food if I was still there.  Over time, he let me get closer, then let me pet him while he ate.  For the last couple of months, he stops eating from time to time to nudge my hand to get more scritches.

Last week, when it was around 3 degrees outside, I couldn't stand being on the porch feeding him, so I coaxed him into the vestibule.  He finally did come in, but he was very skittish about being inside.  When the door started to swing shut, he shot back outside.  Still, he came back in and settled down to eat and get his scritches.  Then he scooted back outside.

Today, we had a breakthrough: I decided to try picking him up.  He didn't object at all; in fact, he curled up in my arms and started purring.  I sat scritching him for 15-20 minutes, and the whole time he was purring and kneading my arm.  When I had to put him down to come in, he didn't go all the way down to the ground, he just sat on my lap.

He is such a love!  I wish I had a pic to put up, because he's a very pretty cat as well as being so sweet.  But he's still too afraid to come in.  After I put him down outside, I came into the vestibule and coaxed him in, and he did come in and let me pick him up again, but when I tried to coax him up the stairs, he'd had enough, and left.

Another neighbor on the street told me they took him in once, but he wouldn't stay.  I don't know how they went about it, but they have a small child so it might not have been very gradual for the cat.  He gets along pretty well with two of my indoor cats, and nobody gets along with the Terrible Belle, so named because while she is a beauty, she is also a bit of a beast.

I really want him.  But I've only been working on him for about 8 months or so, so I think I just have to be more patient.

Today made me really happy, though.  

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Le sigh.

I love halloween.  Especially early, when the little kids are out, in their face paint and their cute little costumes.  I get candy, take a book out on the porch and wait for them, usually all bundled up and still freezing my buns off.

Today, it snowed for the first time of the season.  Snow mixed with freezing drizzle, and high winds.

I waited two hours out there, and got not one single trick-or-treater.

What is wrong with the youth of today?  A little thing like snow and sleet and gale-force winds is enough to keep them from free candy?  Shockingly little respect for tradition, if you ask me.

Oh, well.  There's always next year. 

Ping lblanchard

A press release for the Lancet article about Richard III:   http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-09/tl-tls091514.php

Apologies if you've already seen it.

Ping lblanchard

You've probably already seen this, but just in case:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-08/e-bcr081414.php

Since it touts a documentary that will air tomorrow in England, it's probably more or less publicity, but I thought it was interesting nevertheless.

Ping lblanchard

Should you ever decide to automate your springerle:

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2014/06/custom-engraved-rolling-pins/

FWIW, I think yours look much better.

Disgusting and barbaric

Church sign:

WARM YOUR SOUL IN THE BLOOD OF JESUS

Celebrate blood sacrifice.  That's the message?  It's barbaric.  It summons images of ghouls dipping their hands in the entrails of their victims.  shudder

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Uh-oh

The little dog across the street who always runs up and down the block at top speed, decided to cross the street today and come investigate me.

The only time I've ever seen him hesitate was when he got to about ten feet of the porch and saw all three cats lying stretched out on the steps. He thought twice about it, and decided he liked his own side of the street better.

The cats watched him but with little interest. Cats are so weird.

The (almost) Great Escape

I'm sitting on my front porch, and I see, across the street, the small dog who always runs at top speed. He is, as usual, running at top speed down the street. Today, however, he is followed, also at top speed, by a toddler wearing only a diaper. Whoa! Just as my alarm bells go off, I see said toddler is also followed, again at top speed, by his mother. That kid is fast!

Okay, so she corrals him and carries him back the way he came, and the dog changes direction and runs at top speed after mom and toddler.

Not two minutes later, dog at top speed, followed by toddler at top speed, followed by mom at top speed.

You have to (a) admire the kid's tenacity and (b) hope the mom survives the kid's toddlerhood.

I love my neighborhood.

Big fat moon

Last night and tonight we've had the loveliest, big fat moon rising about 21:30. From where I sit surfing on the back porch, he first peeks his round head from between two trees. He's so bright! And for once Chicago isn't socked in during interesting phenomena.

Such a friendly face.

All hail the conquering... me.

I have a new cat, a lovely tortie the neighborhood children have named Mocha. She probably should have been named Houdini.

As I was going to bed one night after she'd been here about a week, my doorbell rang. It was my downstairs neighbor, ringing to get me to let the cat in. I thought she must have gone out when I came in. Okay, says I, I'll be more careful in the future.

The next day Doc started hissing, and I turned to see Mocha squeezing herself through a two-inch hole in the screen. She apparently got out onto the sill, then onto the roof of the porch, then jumped down to the ground. How a five-inch diameter cat got through a two-inch diameter hole is still a mystery. She left a little ring of fur around the hole.

Okay, so I got some cardboard and I used monofilament fishing line to secure it to the screen, until I could get the screen fixed. I went outside with Doc, and he kept hissing up at the window, so I looked, and there she was, peering over the edge of the roof at me.

The little Houdini had managed to pull off the cardboard and break the line that held it. Sigh. So off to Menards I go, and now I'm very, very proud to say I replaced the screen in the frames of two of my windows, all by myself.

It's very satisfying to do something for your own home by yourself - I feel like a giant.

Now if only Mocha will stay in. I've been bringing her out when I come out, but I want her to stay in if I'm in. I got extra-strong pet-proof screening, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Hard to type that way, though.