Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring 1202

Finally, spring is well on the way. Global warming in the Frozen North means that spring comes in March and April rather than the middle of May. It is a huge change. It's raining this month and the last of our snow is going fast. Cross country skiing will shut down this weekend, if there is anything left to ski on this weekend. I can see the tops of the rocks on our garden wall, the strawberry fields on the way into town are bare.
The north country looks its bleakest in the early spring. November is soft and grey and pretty because it is just a way station waiting for snowfall. But spring is grey and lasts longer (usually) while we wait for everything to turn green.
The felines are anxious to get out in their huge, fenced in yard. Harper is especially looking forward to visiting Grandpa next door. Harper likes to spend time sitting in the screen porch with my FIL while he reads. The porch gets very warm and nice as soon as the sun is shining down in the afternoons. And in the summer mornings it is a nice place to sit with morning coffee.
I'll clean our porch (in this house) off the next sunny day so we can have lunch out there and watch the apple trees bloom. All winter Ramona has had a large bathroom box out there since she believes poop does not belong in the house. I agree with her but Harper wants a warmer bathroom, which means I had to put one in his room to avoid incidents.
I'm working on a lot of projects, putting all my web sites together with my plays and writing projects, helping with our camera gear business and editing video. I have started onions and tomatoes and I'm trying a method of starting onions from seeds where you cut them back whenever they reach three inches. We'll see how that goes.

Friday, October 07, 2011

What's Up


It's a beautiful fall day with the colors peaking north of us. We're been busy with a number of things. The guys are making camera gear in the workshop and I'm trying to get our web store and our blogs and web sites in shape. Ramona and Harper are running in and out (they have the whole yard fenced in with deer fencing for kitty safety). Yesterday there was an otter in the pond and I hope he didn't get all of my frogs. I like my frogs.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Harper's New Year Revolution



The Fur and Feather channel is on for the 2010 season. Now showing turkey's, chickadees, tufted titmice, blue jays and gold finches. Not sure where the Fur part is right now, I wonder if they sleep the first part of the winter away. We're in the midst of a long snow storm. Have to get out and get some fuel for the tractor so we can plow ourselves out.



Ramona is sleeping a good part of winter away with a warm belly as close as she can get to the wood stove.



While Mr. H has to go on a diet. He is getting to be a very large boy.
"hey, he says, I'm big boned."
Yup, that's true but that cow like belly is why the vet tech gave you your first nickname.
"Pork Chop"
I know, there's more of him to love and he is a lover, but I better keep a watch on how much I fill that Midnight Munchie Bowl.
Someone has been getting the munchies all night!

I am also writing over at my other blog at zuleme.com Come on over.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

BRRRRRR!



Yeah, it's cold out! Put another log on the fire!
We are gathered inside as the wind whips around the house. It is nine degrees F out. Yup, nine. Add in the wind and you get one of those nights when you feel sorry for any living thing out there. The bears will be dug in fast asleep somewhere. The chickadees team up in a hollow out of the wind. The bird feeders were packed today as they fueled up. The turkeys are probably huddled under our summer gazebo. That's where they spent a lot of last winter. Yes we feed them too.

Harper and Ramona are busy playing with their Fling a String. Someone needs to put a motion detector on off switch on that. As soon as I turn it off they want it on again. We also have one of those mouse under the dome toys and a basket of fussy toys. The biggest attraction right now is the wood stove where everyone gathers.

I meant to get more designs finished for the Etsy shop but video work has caught up with me. And if this cold goes away there is skiing to be done. But I have my bench covered with supplies and a box of gorgeous Czech glass pieces I bought to make jewelry with. And lots of ideas. I am going to do it, really.

I haven't been to the shelter for ages but it's been on my mind. There is a new group taking it over which I hope will work out. It's a long story. They have had some rough times but it is still a decent place for a poor homeless feline. I wish I could win the Megabucks and then I could help Megacats.

I am working on linking the Etsy shop and my blogs together. I'd love to sell a few pairs of earrings a week, not so many that I burn out on it again, but enough for fun and profit. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Zuleme on Etsy





This is what I am busy with these days, adding my jewelry designs to my new shop on Etsy. Caturday readers probably don't know that I have been a jeweler for over thirty years. My mother is a jeweler too. I got really really burned out on it after working really hard with it, making a good living and wholesaling my work across the country, doing trade fairs and craft fairs and having a small retail shop.

Then we started a video business and it was just too much so I was glad to quit. The tools sat in the attic for years. I got them out, set them up, and packed them away again at least three times until, one day, I made a pair of earrings and realized it was fun again. Also, my mother and sister opened a gallery on Cape Cod and I wanted to try to help out by consigning some work. That helped get me going.

It helps that I have a great camera and with Olof's help I can take good photos. Things have changed since the old days of film and slides.

But I don't want to over due it again and lose the fun of it. So no craft fairs and no wholesaling. Just making what I want to make and posting it on line.

Please come visit and see my work.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Zuleme

And the jewelry blog will be over at Zuleme.com

Sunday, November 29, 2009

So winter begins...



I was rather chagrined to see, when I happened to look at my stats, how many people have still been faithfully stopping by here even though I haven't posted for over a month. Unless it's all robots just adding me to their endless collection of data.

What have we been doing? In October we had a splendid and lively party for a collection of Libra's including my MIL. We harvested plenty of vegetables from the garden and put it to sleep for the winter. We watched the leaves turn and went out to shoot video of the spectacular scenery we enjoy in New England. And just lately we took the Cog Railway to the summit of Mount Washington on a clear and yet warm day to begin collecting video for projects for them.

Olof fixed up the furnace room and put in a small shop in which he is designing pieces for high end video cameras. I started making jewelry again and got some to both my local League of NH Craftsmen shop and to my mother's gallery in Sandwich Ma. And I am getting ready to post pieces to a shop on Etsy.

This winter I have a lot of editing to do and we have some video shooting lined up. Right now we are waiting for snow and eyeing the Big Rock (Mount Washington) which I can see is white with snow though here in the valley we are still brown.

I will also restore some of my tee shirt designs on Cafe Press and I'll be working on printing some of those designs for jewelry.

The photo above is of Harper and Ramona their first winter here, back when they still cuddled together. They are now almost grownup cats, Harper is a hefty fourteen pounds while Ramona, who rules the household, is a svelte ten. They are endlessly entertaining and loving felines and usually I wake up with one of them cuddled up next to me.

It will be another long winter here in the Frozen North.

Thanks for stopping by, all of you. I should have time for more posting and to catch up on photos. There are plenty.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I dream of France



A few days ago I woke up and Ramona was having a bad dream. Errrrr, Errrrr, Errrrrr, she was moaning with that anxious edge to it.

I reached over and petted her to wake her up gently. Mona, we're here, I said.

"I dreamed you were in France!" she said.

It sure seems like a dream. Funny how time is when you live in a body. On August 27th I knew I'd be going to France the next day. And, unbelievably, we drove to the airport with our French students and we all boarded planes for France. They met us at CDG (we couldn't get on the same plane) and they helped us find our way to the TGV. Three hours after that we were in Avignon, got our rental car and 45 minutes after that we were being greeted at the house by our friends who had rented it.

And we proceeded to have a wonderful week of bicycling and dining and wine drinking. Then we drove north to visit friends in Brittany and then, before we knew it, we were back home. wow.

Harper and Ramona had a full time kitty sitter so they could have their schedule undisturbed. She checked the fence everyday and at 6 PM got them in for dinner. I had recorded myself calling them in and that worked great for the first night but after that Miss R was too smart. She knew I wasn't home and she didn't have to obey anyone other than Big Cat Momma. But all was well. I was greeted with cries of joy from R and a huge purr from H and all is now back to what passes for normal around here.

The beans? Oh yes, that's my harvest of kidney beans from a patch of bad soil which up to now wouldn't grow much. I'm quite pleased with them.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Health Care and the Creative Economy

I live in northern New Hampshire where there are few good jobs (up here a good job is one that pays more than minimum wage and has benefits), but a large population of what is known as the creative class. Most creative types are self employed. And we are some of the people that any health care reform plan will help because our situation could not be worse. As our insurance agent put it "You're thrown to the sharks."

Go to a craft fair or into any artisan's shop. Potters, glassworkers, jewelers, painters, printmakers, weavers, woodworkers. Or the charming little mom and pop stores that tourists love to see here in New England. And include the creative types writing software or designing web sites. And musicians, actors, photographers, writers, and videographers like myself and my husband. We are the people who have to buy those individual health insurance policies with the sky high deductibles. The policies that don't pay for any preventive care and under which we will still probably go bankrupt if either of us get ill and cannot work.

The last time I was at a major craft fair everyone was looking older. I wonder if any young people are going into arts or if it is just too hard to make a living at it, especially if they want to have children. We don't make a lot of money but we live well by working hard, doing all of our home maintenance and building ourselves and rarely taking vacations. It's a great life, but not a wealthy one. And we don't have children.

We've always carried health insurance and we've been lucky to be healthy. We work at it, we exercise, eat well, we're outdoors working a lot. We can easily bicycle 25 miles and the same on skis. But once we got past fifty our premiums aimed for the sky and we had to keep raising our deductible so that we could afford any insurance at all. Currently we have a policy with a 10,000 dollar deductible that costs us 7,000 a year. With dental and eye care we are spending over 8,000 a year on health and that's while we're healthy. Any insurance agent that thinks they can do better for us doesn't even bother to call back. The situation is the same for many of our friends. Health insurance is now our single biggest expense. And a single root canal (around 800.00) or illness raises the total.

When a doctor recommends something like a colonoscopy (1300.00 each) mammograms ( a couple hundred) , yearly check ups, cholesterol tests or any other kind of expensive screening, well, we're already spending a good chunk of our income just to keep our insurance. The last time I went to the doctor's office with a bad stomach ache, the nurse suggested I have a blood test (400.00) to check my electrolytes. I said couldn't I just go home and drink some Gatorade and she agreed.

And if one of us actually got sick? Who knows how long and how much our insurance would actually pay? The few times I've had a doctor send an invoice to the insurance company (to add to our deductible in case anything happened in that year), I've noticed that the company doesn't allow the whole amount. So I just imagine what would happen if one of us needed cancer treatment or surgery. With an individual policy, we are the ones the company can drop for "pre-existing conditions". If we were lucky we'd get some coverage until renewal time. And who knows what we would have to pay out of pocket as the company refuses to pay the amount billed. And how stressful it would be fighting to get the bills paid. The one time we did file a claim against our (at that time) 5,000 deductible, was when my husband was sent to our regional hospital by ambulance with a life threatening case of pneumonia. He had woken up at 4 AM coughing blood. It was our doctor's decision that he needed to be in the intensive care unit at the larger hospital. Our insurance refused to allow the charge saying he wasn't ill enough to be in the hospital. That's how much you can trust insurance companies.

We did have one time when the insurance company paid their share with a problem and that was when my husband had hand surgery. We paid 5,000 and they paid 8,000. The surgeon had good office people who knew how to deal with the paperwork and everything went through.

I am hoping that health insurance reform will include something that will help us and other artists and self employed across the country. I am hoping for a public plan. One of my fears is that we will simply not be able to afford the premium raises coming along in the years between 60 and 65 and that we will be without insurance and vulnerable to losing everything we have worked so hard for all our lives.

I don't understand the people screaming at meetings about how they don't want health care reform so that everyone has care. I've lived in Canada and Sweden and no one there has to imagine that they could go bankrupt if they get sick. Our system is barbaric and cruel, with some having everything they need and others left to suffer.

Those of us supporting health care reform are posting today August 20th. Check in with www.timegoesby.net for more stories.
And add your own if you can.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Catching up on Cats

Kitten season is in full swing. These guys should find homes, it's the older ones that I hope will also go. The sociable adult cats can move into the community room, which houses about ten in peaceable comfort with climbing trees and cubby holes to nap in. Of course, I have always gone for kittens but as I get older it is only right that if I adopt any more cats (No!, says Ramona) they should be adults.
Someone dropped fourteen cats and kittens off at the shelter either at night or just without warning. One is a Himalayan I haven't seen yet.


Tootsie

Simon

Raul, an elegant House Panther if I ever saw one.

Oscar, obviously a real character here.

Mai

Leo

Felix

Cameron

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

In the Garden

Hello friends who have not given up on me since my lack of posts for over a month. Here for you is a tour of the garden on a rare sunny day in June. It has been raining for over six weeks here and we are all waterlogged and somewhat gloomy but in our Yankee way, resolute. The rain is pouring on the roof this morning and the felines are only opening one eye to say "what a fricking drag and jezzes christ." The garden has been growing, it is on a hill and well drained but what the sun loving tomatoes will do is anyone's guess. We do have onions, garlic greens, lettuce, peas, chard with beautiful stalks of pink and yellow and the last of the strawberries to gather before they rot. We did mulch them with straw but this summer, they should have had more. Any lying on the ground are grey and gone. The strawberry farm down the road is probably a disaster this year and the corn fields by the river are sodden with stalks only a few inches high. But here is a tour on a lovely, hopeful day in June. Everything has grown a lot since these photos.


The raised onion bed. Good thing it's raised and drains well. The purple flowers are Olof's beloved patch of chives.


The potato field with the squash just beginning. The elder's home below with their summer gazebo on the deck. The felines hide in the tall grasses behind the potatoes and keep watch. They also have catnip bushes to lie in and dream away the summer days. When it is not raining.


The path by the onions, well mulched this year. A good thing or the weeds would be knee high. They like lots of rain.


Another view, our house below.


The upper terrace above the terraces for strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Potatoes can be seen and small broccoli, radishes and chard.


Olof lived in Brussels once and never forgot The Little Pisser.


The Tea House. Below it is a lovely ravine where the brook is rushing waterfalls this year. Olof built this one summer when I was away for a week. I should go away more often, eh?


Our beloved Brendan lies here by the upper pond with his brother Finnegan (known as Innigan Outigan Finnegan) and Silas the Faithful. Fergus is in an urn on the shelf, waiting for when we shall meet again at the Rainbow Bridge.


My favorite room in my home. We have dinner with friends here on summer evenings. When it is not pouring rain.
Hello to all, how's your summer? 

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Billie the Kid



This little guy is in the group of four kittens in their own private room. He's not related to them. I don't remember the details of his story but he was injured and he might be deaf. He has a purr loud enough to make your heart vibrate.

He's the first kitten I've come across with a grade A Fergus personality. He climbed up on my shoulders and head while I was trying to get his photo, purring all the time and then he happily wanted to play play play.

He's a funny little thing with those extra toes. I'm sure he won't be at the shelter long, if any cat lover with the eyes to see how wonderful he is meets him.

Yes, I'd take him home in a blink of a kitty eye. And just think of the havoc it would create around here.

They steal your heart and break it into little kitty bits, don't they?

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Atlas and Ollie


These guys are too much. If I remember the story correctly, Ollie is the kitten found at a dumpster who survived being poisoned. A trap was set to catch him and huge Atlas was the surprise catch. It seems these two are bonded buddies and they are currently sharing a nice large condo with a screen porch at the shelter while they wait for someone who connects with them as a pair.
They're pretty darn nice if you ask me.

Instant family!

Monday, June 01, 2009

To the Shelter

It's been ages since I had any time at all to run down to the shelter and get some photos. Nothing but a long list of video projects to get through. And now it's garden time. Harper and Ramona are seizing every second of the days in their fenced in yard. They wait for us to do boarder patrol in the morning (the bears are coming over the fence almost every night) and they know 6PM is dinner time and they (usually) come when I call them. By then they are ready to eat and run for a sleeping spot. They'll be crashed out until morning when they are ready to do it again.

I really believe cats need to be able to be outdoors in a safe way. They just come alive with the smells and sounds of the outside. 


Little Lady waits for someone. When I entered the kitten room where there were four, the soft sound of purring rose to my ears. These guys are sweet.

And passes the time.
This is Janis, she is five and was found as a stray.

And Ziggy, who is ten.
And Priscilla whol had just arrived with siblings.

Dancer has moved into the community room, which gives him room to move around and be sociable with the other cats in there. When I was there he was sound asleep. It is a good place for him to be at this time.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Ramona

video

Fooling around with my Canon this morning