5/25/16

Life Goes On

We're moving along, reluctantly. There's still no sign of Maggie, and at this point, we're not expecting to see her again. Many of you have told stories of cats who returned home after being gone for long periods of time. In fact, we have our own story about our cat named (very originally) Tom, who was missing for five days and returned. There's always a possibility she'll come back, but we're not counting on it. Part of me hopes that by writing these words I'll give many of you the chance to say "I told you so." Nothing would make us happier. For now, we are moving ahead while continuing to leave the door open for her for at least a little while longer. We have to close off the laundry room at night to keep Smitty inside, but Maggie is free to come inside to her favorite flannel quilt if she returns.

This morning I finished the last of the embroidery for the Written in Thread wallhanging.


Then I trimmed the edges to 1 1/4 inch from the seam line. That was scary. I was careful to make sure there was still at least a quarter inch seam allowance around the outside of the stitching.


The last thing it needs is a pieced border around the outside, and then it will be ready for quilting and binding.

Yesterday I left early to pick up our CSA share and allowed time for a trip to JoAnn's. I wanted to pick up some floss for the next embroidery project to enter the line-up: Wine Country, a gift from my dear friend Marei. These are the colors of floss I'll be using. The one on the right there is a silvery gray, not the lavender that it appears to be. The red in the center is a brick red.


I thought I would use that piece of Kona solid in the background of the image above, but then remembered that I still have about a yard of some tea-dyed muslin left over from the Quilting Snowladies. I decided to go for the more rustic look and use that. The paper transfers are cut apart now and numbered (so that I can keep track of where I am). First up will be the Pinot Noir block since this is Oregon, and that's what we do best here. What a luxury to be able to iron on the transfers rather than tracing them! Stitching begins on this one tomorrow.


Also at JoAnn's I picked up a hand quilting hoop. Already I had the larger 15-inch one, but I wanted a smaller one as well. 


I've decided to go out on a really long limb here and hand quilt the Mumm's the Word quilt. To my eyes, it seems to be begging for hand quilting.


The only other quilt I've ever hand quilted is this whole cloth doll quilt made when I took an online class from Quilt University (no longer operating). This one was done in the traditional way with hand quilting thread. "Traditional" if you're a stabber like me.


Recently I've become aware of another hand-quilting method known as "big stitch". It's done with #8 Perle cotton and a running stitch. Supposedly it goes quickly, and so I'm going to give it a try. I found a pretty good tutorial right here, if you're interested in learning more about this.

After my trip to JoAnn's I needed a few things at the grocery store and then headed over to pick up week 2 of our CSA share. Pretty veggies again. You can't see them well in this image, but on the right-hand side toward the back are some collard greens large enough to use for sailing the Pacific ocean. We'll probably eat ours instead of setting sail, but it's always good to dream big.


Experimentation is ongoing with these. In the image below is Monday's dinner. On the left is a mixed green salad, to which I added roasted beets and some quick pickled radishes. Six radishes were sliced thinly along with one shallot, then pickled in a combination of 1/4 cup of bottled lime juice, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of pickling salt. Then they were allowed to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and then drained and added to the salad. You can wait an hour to serve them, but I'm told they'll start turning gray after that. Those were very nice added to the salad.


On the right is a dish of Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash. The kale pesto was very nice on the pasta. I happen to like kale. Mike likes it better if it no longer looks like kale. The combination of the kale pesto, pasta, and roasted butternut squash was delicious.

So that's life at the Three Cats Ranch, now sadly down to just one cat. As I've already said, we've searched high and low, inside and out, and not seen any sign of Maggie whatsoever. Along the way I noticed that the rose is going to bloom despite repeated assaults from a rather friendly deer.


As the rhododendron blossoms fade in the background, the daylilies are heading up and should be blooming by next week. I always love seeing these bloom. They were a gift from Erik and Mae.


The two zucchini plants seemed to come to a complete standstill after I transplanted them into the ground. Now they're growing again and starting to form blossoms. Looks like I need to sprinkle some "candy" for the slugs. 


The lavender is heading up and ready to bloom...my favorite fragrance.


Additionally, I wanted to say what we've been thinking about the future of kitties here at the Three Cats Ranch. There are differing schools of thought about whether cats should be allowed outside or kept inside exclusively. We happen to be in the camp that believes they have better lives if they are allowed outside with certain restrictions. The restrictions here have always been that they come in at night when predators roam the land. Also, they don't go outside when we take them in the RV except to use the catio or unless they are leashed...which they don't like, and thus, they don't go outside much. But thems are the rules.

Losing Maggie has hit us very hard. We haven't had her long, but we both grew attached to her very quickly. Her vulnerability made her easy to love, and she has some very endearing qualities to boot. Further, she has virtually no bad habits, which is unusual in any living thing. And so we're very saddened by her disappearance. It doesn't help that we lost Gracie just six months ago.

With that said, we've decided to amend our outside kitty rules to accommodate the use of an outdoor shelter. Yesterday I did some shopping and found a company in Seattle that will sell plans for a DIY version. We're planning to build their "Sanctuary" plan.


 As pictured, its dimensions are 8 x 10, but Mike plans to make it 8 x 12 by adding one more vertical section. He also plans to put it on casters so that it can be moved in order to clean our deck which has a membrane surface. When it's in place, it will attach to the exterior wall of the house with eye bolts and hooks. Mike has purchased the plans, and he expects to have it completed within the next couple of weeks.

We continue to believe that cats live the best lives possible if they are allowed to be outside. Smitty, in particular, loves to run and hunt, and keeping him inside will make him unhappy. We still plan to allow him out when we can be outside with him. We can't bear to restrain him from his "galumphing" back and forth in pure kitty joy when he follows us around the yard. On the other hand, Mike and I are growing weary of this worry over predators. It's time to make a change, and it will no doubt evolve over time.

Today I have a day at home. Originally I thought I'd be making another trip the the grocery store today, but then remembered that we are eating dinner out tonight to celebrate our anniversary yesterday. (We would have gone yesterday, but the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.) That means I'll have some time to get back to quilting the Yard Art quilt today. Also there's a little housework and some weeding to do.

We're keeping our fingers crossed about Maggie, but really not expecting to see her again. Keep your fingers crossed too, okay? If she returns, all greetings that begin with "I told you so" will be gladly accepted.

28 comments:

  1. Fingers crossed here. I have shown my hubby your catio on your trailer and we have looked at lots of the outdoor cat sanctuaries, but haven't gone there yet. Our cats have been indoors their whole lives (16 years) but one loved to go out with us on the deck. We had to put her to sleep in March so we are down to one also, but she has no desire to go out...or leave her room! We plan to be pet-less by the time my hubby retires in a few years (just through pet life expectancy) but once we decide to get another pet, we have pretty much decided on just getting a cat and then we can do the outdoor run and something like your catio so we can take him/her camping with us. I'll be thinking about you guys and Maggie...it's hard to go through. Take care.

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  2. My cats are indoor cats. I know I would lose them quickly if they were allowed to roam. I will take the cat out with me but keep a close eye on her. I would feel horrible if one of them took off and didn't come back.

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  3. I believe that other quilting stitch technique is sometimes referred to as a "utility" stitch, or running stitch, and done with the perle cotton. Teje (https://nerospostbox.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/mouse-meeting-small-quilt/) does most all her quilting by hand with this method and I LUV it!!!!!!!

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  4. So sorry to hear of Maggie running off.....hoping for her return. The cat palace is a good idea for some sunny days for Smitty.

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  5. Again, I'm so sorry about Maggie, but I'm hoping that she proves you wrong and shows back up with a smug look on her face and ready for lots of love. Our cats have always been indoor cats, but we live in a busy subdivision less than a mile from two very busy roads that are heavily traveled all times of the day and night.

    Our sweet little Olive was a rescue. She was abandoned outside as a tiny kitty by the person who had her originally, without being spayed or having any shots. A kind neighbor fed her until he realized the woman left her and then took her to the no kill rescue where we got her. She is terrified of the outdoors and any time a door opens to the outside she runs away.

    Henry, who we got at the same rescue about a year later, is a little more curious. But the few times I've tried to carry him outside and just hold him (he LOVES to be held and will meow at us until we pick him up and carry him around) he freaked out and tried to get back inside. We will likely put a screened in porch on our house and they will be allowed out there, but other than that they stay inside. We also signed a contract when we adopted them saying we wouldn't let them outside unattended. So our kids stay indoors.

    I really do hope Maggie comes back to you. I know how heartbreaking it is to have an animal run away. I'll be thinking good thoughts for you.

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  6. I do wish I could let mine outside, I know they would love to hunt and play and it is good exercise for them. Love the idea of an outdoor shelter, that will be nice for the kitties. Love how your quilt came out, stitching helps us get through the tough times and I know your other quilt will look beautiful with hand stitching.

    Debbie

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  7. I am so sorry Maggie is still missing. I fell in love with her photo and the sweet descriptions of her personality. Hoping and praying she is safe and returns home soon. I check your blog every few hours to see if there is any word. That sounds like I don't have a life but it really saddened me for Maggie to disappear. Now I am off to do some sewing.

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  8. Fingers crossed in Alabama! I've been checking often for news.
    I agree with you that cats lead fuller lives when they can be out in nature, of course depending on location. My boys were outside, almost feral, for a year before they came in the house. They would be miserable and so would we if they were confined indoors.

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  9. I am so, so sorry, but with fingers still firmly crossed. Hugs.

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  10. I would never do a 'told you so' - keeping fingers, toes, ankles, and eyes crossed with hope.

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  11. Fingers crossed that she shows up soon. Seems like a good compromise for letting the kitties be out, but not. It will probably take Smitty some time to get used to it as he gets to come and go as he pleases at the moment.

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  12. Aww, I'm so sorry Maggie abandoned you. Add me to the list of folks hoping she returns with a "what are you so worked up about?" attitude.

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  13. Our hearts hurt for you all. Hoping for the miracle that brings your Maggie back to you.

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  14. My fingers are crossed. Don't give up hope.

    Please click in the delaineelliott above for my email link.

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  15. It's so hard to decide what's best for them, isn't it? We went through that with Gypsy and Sable when we heard there were coyote sightings in our area. By that time though, they were pretty aged and didn't wander too far on their own anymore. We hated to think of keeping them in when they loved the outdoors so much - we just couldn't do it. Like you, we always brought them in at night. Thankfully, our new little guy Rocky shows no interest in going outside, so we've decided to keep him indoors always. His former home was in the NC mountains where over 10 of the cats in his family were taken by coyotes in the past year. I think he's happy to be indoors and safe.

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  16. The embroidered border came out great! The new wine iron on looks good, and a bit simpler than you have been working on.
    Still hoping that Maggie returns. More ((((hugs))) for you.

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  17. Fingers crossed and huge hopes are aimed in your direction, I hope you have so many "I told you so's" that it takes days to answer them all.

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  18. You are wise and practical in your approach to your kitties. I too love nothing more than watching the joyful gallumping knowing that there are risks with the outdoors and cats. Knowing how hard this experience is for you. Wishing you the best.

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  19. Hearing that Maggie is missing just broke my heart. I've heard that putting their litter box outside can help them pick up the scent if they're lost. My heart goes out to you & I'm praying she'll return soon.

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  20. Keeping fingers and paws crossed for Maggie's return. That is a super catio. Can't waut to see it.

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  21. Fingers and toes are crossed!

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  22. I think we have similar views about the kitties, indoors vs outdoors. Prior to the two we currently have, I'd let my kitties out - one was blind and had no jumping/climbing ability so she was totally safe limited to our fenced in back yard, the other was a rescued feral who preferred outdoors at night - we gave in but after a few years lost him - still makes me sad. Of our newer kitties, Raven was rescued by a neighbor as a very young kitten and has been kept totally indoors - she's such a chunk, I don't think she'd ever escape our back yard or get carried off, but Flame is lithe and athletic and would be up a tree and gone in no time flat but she's a scaredy-cat and neither would come when called if outside, so indoor-only they remain. Also, Flame was adopted from a cat shelter, under contract, that NO outdoors unless on a leash. I've considered the Catio idea for outdoors because it bothers me that they don't get to experience 'fresh' air, bugs, leaves, sunshine (we have NO good windows for sun-bathing, and taking dust baths. I'm still praying Maggie shows up, and then you can use your planned catio and not worry about her any more!

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  24. We tried to get DH's mother to let us build her cats an outdoor area like this -- but she wouldn't go for it. I think it is a GREAT plan!

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  25. I can really understand that Maggie's disappearance has been hard for both of you. It's been hard on your readers as Maggie looks such a sweet natured and pretty cat. Mind you her distinctive markings may mean if she is found she is reunited with you quicker. Like everyone I hope she does a 'Tom' and surprises you.

    I do like the idea of the large catio. That will offer secure outdoor space without the constant worry.
    In the UK most cats are outdoor but we don't have predators. But we do have very built up areas with cars aplenty and cat nappers. We kept out first cat in for 2 years but he became very skilled at escaping and was clearly desperately frustrated by being indoors only. This was despite lengthy play sessions and having more toys than the children!! In the end we agreed as a family that it was better for him to have a shorter but in his mind a more fulfilled life than be a grumpy unhappy cat for a long time. Our other cat is indoor and is happy to be so. As long as there is a human around, preferably the quieter female variety, to cuddle up with she is happy. So I do think you have to weigh up everything and then just make the best decision you can.

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  26. I'm hoping Maggie returns soon. She must be lost and frightened.

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  27. I know Maggie is really missing you by now. I just hope she remembers her way home. Keeping my fingers crossed here too

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  28. I know this comment is very late, but I missed these posts and didn't realize anything had happened until you introduced Sadie. I am truly sorry you have lost Maggie. She was a precious kitty. Love the idea of the catio and I know Smitty can't wait for that project to be finished. I'm amazed at how well Smitty and Sadie are getting along. Sadie is a smart little girl. You picked a good cat there.

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