Thursday, September 27, 2007

Living in a (kitty) war zone

It's been quite a while since I've posted here, so it's time for a quick update on Caruso and Co. Caruso is doing beautifully. He now owns the living room, and spends most of his time curled up on the big sofa in a little gray-furred circle, sleeping peacefully. When he wakes and stretches, he'll usually do his little "Where is everybody?" yowl; if I'm awake, I'll lumber out to the living room, scoop him up, and we'll have a short love-fest before he settles down at his food dish for a snack.

He and Sam have reached a detente of sorts, and we've seen them sleeping near each other on the guest room bed, or lying on the sofa together. Every once in a while, they'll pause next to each other and Sam will attempt to groom Caruso, while Caruso sniffs at Sam's face. All in all, they've found a way to co-exist.

Harley, otoh, is a completely different issue. She refuses to enter the living room, preferring to go through the kitchen to get to the food bowl in the sun room. If she catches sight of Caruso and he moves a muscle, she's after him, hissing all the while, chasing him into his hiding place behind the sofa. It doesn't matter how often we reprimand her, or try to carry her into the living room when we're sitting in there together, she morphs into the Terrible Tortoiseshell Torpedo whenever she realizes Caruso is nearby.

Harley is a big cat (and she can't get away with the 'I'm not fat, I'm just big-boned' excuse - she's a porker). Caruso is slender and probably weighs half of what Harley weighs. So far, they haven't tangled (he clearly understands that discretion is the better part of valor, choosing to run and hide rather than attempt a fight with her). I sure hope he continues to do this, and that she eventually learns to accept him.

Lately he's been following me around the house, and he's even ventured into our bedroom, where Harley tends to sleep most of the time. So far, she hasn't realized he's been in there. Thankfully.

Of course, my fantasy is that our war zone will eventually turn into a place where all three of these kitties will learn to tolerate each other -- but I'm not holding my breath!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

More about the garden

The forecast for Portland is hot - temps near 90 degrees. So I went down to the vegetable beds just now, before it heats up and I need to cocoon in the house, and picked a few ripe cherry tomatoes, a handful of lettuce leaves and a few sprigs of oregano and thyme. I anticipate a significant crop of tomatoes - yellow pears, red cherries and Roma tomatoes - in a week or so, but the zucchini, cucumbers and eggplant are still not really producing much. Next year we'll put things in much earlier, in hopes of a bigger harvest ('big' being a relative term, of course!).

The pear tree is bursting with fruit, and our niece Bobbi is coming over mid-week to help me can a bunch of pears (bottle, really, not can, but the old-fashioned verb seems to linger). The muscat grape vine is covered with fruit as well, not enough for wine and too much to eat. I need to find some recipes for using these grapes since the vine produces prodigious amounts of fruit every year.

I saw a large, brown maple leaf on the front deck this morning, and the Japanese maple in the front yard is showing its first bright-red autumn leaves. It's odd to think of autumn with such summer-like temperatures, but it's clear that autumn is definitely closer than I'd like to think.

I sure did miss the change of seasons, and am very glad to be living in a place where we can experience all four, distinct seasons again.