Friday, October 23, 2015

Here Comes the Cold!

Well... it was bound to happen. We've been enjoying one of the warmest autumns on record here in the Mile High city, but alas, there is a frost advisory out for tonight. Well, as they say, all good things must end.


Soooo... I've spent the past few days getting ready.

First of all there's the Gray Boy.

Gray Boy
As it turns out, he has a family. Not a human family, at least not one that I know of, but he definitely has a feline family!

Gray Kitten
In addition to Gray Boy, there's a female (who I creatively call Gray Girl) and two adolescent kittens (Gray Kitten and Little Blackie).

I haven't managed to photograph the Gray Girl or Little Blackie yet because they're both really spooky, but the Gray Kitten is pretty friendly, and very bonded with her daddy (I'm assuming it's a girl, might be a boy.)


Anyhoo... I'm not sure where they all sleep, but being the cat lady that I am, I couldn't stand the thought of them out there in the wet and cold, so I now have a little kitty village on my back patio, complete with heated houses. I guess I found a use for Princess' heating pads.


OY! Well, you know what they say, in for a penny in for a pound. I think we're gonna be visiting the alley cat folks for some neutering and shots soon!

But the outdoor kitties weren't the only ones who got some heating pads. The first morning that it was in the 60's inside, I woke up to find Jasper huddled in his bed looking decidedly miserable. So he got a heating pad that goes under the top layer of blanket in his favorite cubby, and he's much happier now.


And, I dragged out the attic fan cover to make it warmer and less drafty in here.


Last year I made a few improvements to my original design and I'm quite pleased with it - much less droopy.

So... then there's the garden. I harvested everything that I could.

What's left of the basil





And then I put up the cover on the hail house/greenhouse.


To tell the truth it was a bit of a challenge to get the cover on and I'm not entirely sure it was worth the effort since most of the stuff inside is pretty much done anyhow. But hey, it was good practice, and now I'll get to see how warm it stays in there.

Besides, I was under doctor's orders to use my arms a lot - well, nurse's orders actually, because while I was prepping for the winter I decided to prep myself as well.


Yup... flu shot in one arm, tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis in the other.

So that's what's been keeping me busy around here... well, you know, besides trying to fix everything that's broken lately. Speaking of which, the kitchen was apparently feeling left out because when I went to turn the light on yesterday... nothing.


Fortunately it just needed new lightbulbs so it wasn't a huge deal, but it did require another trip to the hardware store because it's a funky fixture that takes special fluorescent bulbs.


This curse has got to be over soon... doesn't it?

Anyhow, that's what I've been up to. How about you? What have you been doing to get ready for the coming winter?

28 comments :

  1. Hello, Eco Cat Lady -- I so know where you are coming from! I'm another crazy cat lady, and have done the same thing with little cat houses and heating pads on the porch. Thanks for taking care of Gray Boy and his family! Love your blog!

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    1. Thanks Linda. Have you ever had any problems with skunks when you feed your outdoor cats?

      Gray Boy brought the kittens by late last night so I broke my rule about feeding after dark and paid for it with a smelly visitor! Anyhow, I'm thinking that perhaps I should feed the cats up on the picnic table from now on since skunks don't climb well - plus remaining strong about the after dark thing. What do you think?

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    2. I've had a problem not only with skunks, but also raccoons and possums. They ALL like kitty food! I'd stick with your after dark rule, and use the picnic table as an alternative. Skunks and possums will probably be discouraged, but raccoons will find a way to get to the food. P.S. I have a gray tortie and two rusty/cream/black ones (plus a few others ...). They are all adorable!

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    3. Thanks for the tips. We don't have possums but we definitely have raccoons - and foxes and coyotes, and even the occasional bear! Generally speaking I'm trying not to leave anything out unattended, and the after dark rule seems to be helping.

      I'm planning on attending a feral cat workshop in a few weeks, and hopefully they'll have some helpful tips.

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  2. Are you trying to grow anything in you "green house" ?

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    1. Well, two of the tomato plants are still producing as well as the cucumbers. And one of the pepper plants is covered with big peppers that haven't started to ripen yet. There's one eggplant that's slowly getting bigger - maybe a week or two and I can harvest it - plus the plants are covered with flowers. I don't know if there will be time for any of them to actually produce eggplant, but it will be interesting to see.

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  3. Have you been trying to save money?? I find that as soon as i say those words that we need to "save money" that murphy decides to show up and everything in the house breaks!! I also have a couple of the cat houses on our porch. One for our cat that doesn't like to stay in our home if we head out to shop etc. so he has somewhere to get out of the weather until we get home and an extra for any "stray" that might need one. We live in a trailer park and some people have dropped off/abandoned their cats and some of the neighbors are jerks and just wont let their cats inside during the winter....sigh
    I hope your green house works out for you...it would be nice to be able to have fresh produce year round if it stays warm enough in there!

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    1. Ha! So you mean it's some sort of Murphy's Law kind of a deal with everything breaking the instant you decide to become more frugal? Figures!

      You're so sweet to provide shelter for the random stray cats - I worry about them out there all by themselves.

      It will be interesting to see how the greenhouse does in the colder weather. I went out around 10:30 this morning and it was like a steam bath in there! Luckily it has big doors you can open for ventilation - plus the little side windows. I think I'm gonna have to get one of those remote thermometers so I can keep an eye on the temperature.

      Anyhow, I hadn't really planned on leaving it up all winter because it can get down to 20 below zero here, and I don't think anything could live in those temps even in a greenhouse! So my plan was to just leave it up for a month or so to extend the growing season - and then set it up again next spring for starting seeds etc. My thinking was that it would save wear and tear on the cover... but it was challenging enough to put on that it might be easier to just leave it up and see what happens. Maybe I could plant spinach or other greens and see if they'd winter over. Hmmm.....

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  4. Oh, that Gray Kitten face is too adorable! I had a dream last night that I had to return my cat--his one-year rental lease was up--the rental people had already re-possessed him and he looked sooooo sad and ill in the kitty-cat paddy wagon. Glad to wake up and find that it was only a wacky dream! I think we all have the cat-love thing going on around your blog. ;)

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    1. Oh noooo!!! I actually have kitty anxiety dreams all the time. I dream that one of them has gotten out and I'm trying to catch them, or that one of the cats is in terrible danger. Anyhow, I'm so glad it was only a dream and that your kitty wasn't really hauled off in the paddy wagon! :-)

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  5. We switched out our kitchen fluorescent lamp for a new fixture. It's not as easy as changing a light bulb, but it's not too bad. Maybe next time this bulb goes out you'll have more energy and might consider changing the fixture.

    And unlike us, you probably wouldn't have to re-paint the ceiling afterwards (our old fixture was a long, thin one and our new one is round like yours). Not that we've actually re-painted the ceiling--we just hope people don't normally look up. We don't!

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    1. Ha! Well... to tell the truth I would love to switch out this fixture, and if changing the bulbs hadn't fixed the problem that was gonna be my next step. To tell the truth, the whole kitchen could use a face lift so some day when I have the time and energy (that day WILL come) I'll probably paint everything, have the countertops redone, put in real tile instead of the yellowing vinyl floor, have the electricity upgraded and switch out all the fixtures and hardware.

      Some day...

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    2. Ha, my DREAMS aren't even that big!

      Okay, that's not true. I want a dishwasher. And a separate laundry room so I can move the washer to it from the kitchen. And then more counters and cabinets in the kitchen. So we'll have to get rid of our old counters which are a color I don't enjoy (though it's grown on me a bit). And replace the scratched up vinyl floor with new black and white vinyl floor tiles to scratch up.

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    3. Oh... if I let myself start really dreaming I could get in real trouble! There are so many things I'd like to do to the house... the problem is that I just want them to be done - I don't want to go through the process of getting them done, even if I hire someone, it's just such a pain to have your life disrupted.

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    4. Ha, one thing I recommended to my parents was to buy a used trailer, park it in their back yard, and move into it. Then renovate the house. Then sell the trailer for probably the same amount they paid. That works best if you have a huge pile of money to do everything at once, though.

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    5. That would be the way to do it! I had some friends (who are significantly more well-off than I am) who moved into a rental house for about 6 months while they had their home remodeled. It seemed like it made for much less craziness during the process!

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  6. Replies
    1. Awww... thanks so much for your kind words.

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  7. That's a nice looking harvest! I have one suggestion for you...for your indoor cat, a hot water bottle may be safer and more economical than a heating pad (if you can devise a cover that can't be clawed through). I use'em in my bed and under a nice blanket, the heat lasts all night.

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    1. Ha! That's a great idea but alas, Jasper already destroyed my hot water bottle years ago. And we've tried several kinds of microwaveable pet heater things - but he doesn't like them... they're either too squishy or too hard.

      Anyhow, this is a special heating pad designed specifically to go between the layers of a pet bed, so I'm not terribly worried about it in terms of safety. And I think it only uses 10 watts or something tiny like that - which is a bargain compared to what it would cost to keep the house warm enough for him to be comfortable!

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  8. Aww the family of grey strays are adorable! Grey boy reminds me of one of my cats- I hope they all stay safe this winter!

    It's getting colder here so I keep finding cats snuggled against radiators..one year I found one of them in the bed because the heating had not come on...it was definitely a hint for me to turn the heat up!

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    1. Ha! Jasper almost never sleeps on the bed but Smoky... it's his favorite place! Now that it's getting cooler I generally wake up with him snuggled up next to me. It's very sweet unless you need to roll over! :-)

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    2. The cats will sleep on me at night during the winter- although the dog has been getting on the bed recently so the cats are often sleeping in the dog bed!

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    3. Well... I suppose that's only fair if the dog's gonna steal their spot!

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  9. I love that you're taking care of the Gray Family! I hate the idea of kitties being out in the cold like that. Thank you for helping them.

    Today is our coldest day so far, and it's raining. Tomorrow will be a little colder, but I'm hoping we won't have to turn on the heat since Wednesday will be warmer. I'm planning to make a big pot of soup after work. It sounds yummy and should help warm up the house.

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    1. Definitely soup weather! It got down below freezing last night for the first time this season... Thankfully we get lots of sunshine so the days are still relatively warm. But I think we might need another kitty house or two! :-)

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  10. It was cold over here in the UK two days ago and I got out the autumn duvet (last year I didn't use that until December and never used the winter one at all). Now it's gone warm again but you just know if I change back then Murphy will come by again!

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    1. Ha! Yup... that's exactly how it works! :-)

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