Archive | July, 2012

Summertime Slump

July 27, 2012



Oh it’s not that we’ve been lazy… not exactly…. it’s just that it’s been too hot and humid to do much renovation work. I had such grand plans once July hit. I can’t believe all we’ve done in get the new windows installed. Lack of rain and an explosion in the deer population ruined the garden. I haven’t even finished sewing curtains or installed the bookshelves or finished installing drywall in the kitchen closet… I’ve been very busy with work, though. I was accepted for a special project for a few days, and was paid well for that. A few tourist places want us to visit, and I have a ton of reviews to write including one on pet pheromone diffusers. I’m eager to see how that diffuser thing works. I have to leaves it plugged in for 30 days to see any results. Livvy’s been cranky and jumpy lately — I don’t think she likes all the noise from the fans — so we’ll see if this gadget helps any.

Over all, it’s been a quiet summer so far. I suppose we’ll get going on the renovation projects in August or maybe September when it’s cooler. It’s just too hot and miserable to wrangle with drywall and dust right now.

How has your summer been?

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Da Baby is Four Years Old Today!

July 26, 2012


Livvy 5

Oh they grow up SO fast!

Livvy and Daddy3

Actually, I don’t know when her birthday is, exactly. We got her in September, and her owner said she was 8 weeks old, which makes her birthday week this week. I figured today is a good a birthday as any, especially since it’s mine, too.

Scratch Post 1

I chose her from the litter because she was the “runt,” and she was quieter than her crazy sister and brothers. After taking her home, however, she quickly became Queen of the Castle. I think perhaps the reason she was so small and quiet in the litter is because she didn’t get enough to eat. Once we plied her with roast beef and fish and canned cat food, she quickly became more energetic.

Livvy Discovers Paper 1

She is a very unusual kitty. Besides being a polydactyl Tabby Point Siamese, she has a unique personality. She follows me around the house all day long like a little dog. She “talks” to us in squeaks and pulses, and she knows a lot of words and responds to them. She’s less of a pet and more like a family member. She’s the most unique cat I have ever had.


Happy Birthday to my Baby. 🙂

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Find the Kitty Friday: Heat Wave Edition

July 13, 2012


It’s been so hot that Livvy does not feel like playing games. All she does is this:


She’s practically drooling!!! LOL!! Don’t tell her I took the photo, OK?

It’s been mighty hot. Livvy likes it warm, but not hot. She’s also tired because she stays up all night, partying, with the eldest daughter. The two of them play with a yarn ball together (well, it WAS a yarn ball) and snack on canned tuna! By the time the sun start to rise, Livvy is exhausted and ready for bed.

On the bright side, she no longer plants her precious Siamese butt in front of my computer, so I can work almost all day without interruption for *more* tuna breaks.


How are your kitties doing? Do they handle the heat well? Do your cats party all night long?

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The Biological Clock

July 12, 2012


My baby will be 4 years old in two weeks. OHHH I am feeling the biological clock ticking away! I want another kitten!!! Look how cute she was!

Livvy Kitty

Time flies so quickly. *sigh*

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Tame the Savage Beast: Do Cat Pheromones Work?

July 12, 2012

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As we all know, Livvy the Tabby-Point Siamese is a pretty tame little gal. I’ve made sure that her upbringing was as stress-free as possible, as I believe that stressed-out cats become angry cats, and I didn’t want a biter or a scratcher in the house. Still, despite my best efforts, Livvy is still a bit spooked by traffic noises, super-low airplanes (WHY do they do that?!), strangers, and oversized Uncle Sam hats.


I’d heard of something called “cat pheromones” and “dog pheromones” dispensers that supposedly help calm the critters. I thought nothing more of it until Comfort Zone contacted me and asked if I wanted a free sample to try out their product and if I wanted to offer a free coupon to you guys. Seeing we are all a bunch of crazy pet owners, I said YES!

So I’m going to get my Feliway Comfort Zone product and see if it works! You have to wait 30 to 90 days until you really know if it works, so it’ll be a while before I can present my results. However, if you guys want to check out the coupon, you can do so here:

I know many of you have feral cats, and these cats can be a tad jumpy. I am very curious to see if the product works. Livvy is mild already, so I don’t know if the affect will be as dramatic for a crazy feral beast. If you do try such a product yourself, let me know!

Also, the company has a Facebook page and they are having a CoolCat Sweepstakes. They have weekly prizes but the grand prize is a FOUR night getaway for two PLUS a cat or dog to one of the country’s most pet-friendly travel destinations in Key West, Florida! Um, YEAH. What could be more perfect than a vacay with the hubs and my cat in Key West. Wow.

Have any of you guys tried the pheromone thing?

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LED Lights: Expensive But Very Nice

July 12, 2012

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I’m fresh from writing an article (for SF Gate) about light bulbs, and it got me thinking about LED bulbs. I got one from Home Depot last year and I haven’t really used it much. But after that article and seeing how much energy LEDs save compared to incandescent, I’m very curious and eager to try more of these bulbs.

Home Depot has a terrific chart comparing incandescent, CFL (those “swirly” bulbs I always complain about) and LED bulbs. While I don’t care much for the CFL (they are so expensive and never last as long as they say), I rather like the LEDs. Look at the comparison!

Chart courtesy of

Energy costs are very, very high in the Northeast so there’s been demand for.. well, for energy costs to go DOWN but that ain’t gonna happen here…. so we’re scrambling to get better bulbs and adjust our lifestyles to save money. That’s really the only choice we have. LEDs are still rather expensive, but the prices are starting to fall. Last year, this bulb I got cost $35. This year, it’s under $20. Other styles and brands are $10. It would still cost me a small fortune to rig up my home with LEDs, but I already pay a fortune in energy costs.

I’m seriously thinking of getting LEDS, at least for the kitchen which consumes the most lighting in the house. To do so would cost me about $180! But they also produce less heat, last longer and save energy. Hmmm.

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Find the Kitty Friday: Enough Is Enough

July 6, 2012


We’re not going to complain about the 100 degree heat because everyone else is and it just spews more hot air into the atmosphere. ….although, I could probably complain a little longer and a little louder because my house is situated in a partial-business district so that we have asphalt parking lots around three of the four sides of the property, where temperatures reach 140 degrees (and it’s all sunny because SOME PEOPLE and the deer keep mowing over and eating the trees I’ve been trying to plant for about 2 decades now…)

No, we will not get all upset about the heat. We will not sigh for those marvelous winter days where we are sipping hot coffee, snuggling with cat by the computer, and blogging. No, we will hold our sweaty heads high and endure this blast from Tartarus!

I will instead gaze into my cute little kitty’s face. She is so loving. On occasion, she will tiptoe up to me and “kiss” me (a light little lick) on my hand or leg, just to let me know she’s there. She rubs her little head on my sweaty legs, and I care not if her furs stick to my sweaty skin like a Chia pet fuzz.

She’s just so durn cute.

Livvy Feed Me

Hang in there, folks. Only four more months to go.

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Common Problems of the Garden Pea Plant

July 3, 2012

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The humble garden pea (Pisum sativum L.) has appeared on the plates of farmers and beneath their children’s tables for thousands of years. This little green vegetable has endured countless botanical biopsies, genetic tinkering and domestic cultivation since 7000 BC, appearing on every continent of the world as food, fodder and forage. The pea is not without its troubles, however. Its primary enemies are fungal and bacterial diseases, usually caused by over-watering, high humidity or stress from inadequate growing conditions.

Blight, Fungus and Mildew
A myriad of fungal and bacterial diseases plague the garden pea. Most of these types of diseases appear during seasons of high humidity and excessive rain. Downy mildew is one of the most common pea diseases, causing the plant to curl up into stunted, discolored leaves and stems early in the season. Humid conditions cause the fungus to produce fuzzy fruits. Powdery mildew develops later in the growing season as a white powder that coats leaves and stems. Both of these diseases are spread by wind during dry seasons and turn the plant yellow. Myospaerella blight cause purple streaks or lesions on the entire plant, which eventually turns yellow and dies. Leaf and pod spot, caused by a similar bacterium, appear as sunken purple or black spots. Control the spread of disease by rotating crops and burying or burning infected plants. Never place infected crops in the compost for recycling.

Rot and Viruses
Seed rot and root rots are caused by fungi that lie dormant in the soil and strike the pea plant when environmental conditions are favorable. Most fungi prefer very moist soil conditions with warm temperatures and high humidity, but the common and very destructive Fusarium root rot thrives in warm, dry soil. Ascochyta foot rot and Pea streak causes purple lesions and streaks similar to Myospaerella blight, forcing the plant to mature and die rapidly. Control the spread of disease by treating seeds and maturing plants with anti-fungal solutions, crop rotation and sufficient air circulation between growing plants. Avoid overwatering especially during times of high humidity.

Deficiencies and Disorders
A plant that does not receive its basic needs — water, sunlight, soil nutrients — becomes stressed. A stressed plant is much more susceptible to pest problems and diseases. Most stresses occur over a period of time. While a temporary lack of rainfall or freezing temperatures can certainly damage the plant, these occurrences do not necessarily cause disease. Routine over-watering, poor soil and improper climate conditions invite disease and pests. Peas prefer well-drained soil, a cool growing season and nitrogen fertilizer in soils with low nitrogen content. They benefit greatly from drip irrigation as excessive surface watering encourage rot and the possibility of fungal disease. Therefore, while environment is not a direct disorder, environment greatly influences the common problems that strike pea plants.

The pea has few parasites that affect production but a stressed plant may be plagued by pests that spread more serious diseases. Aphids feed on the sweet sap and transmit Pea mosaic virus and the virus that causes pea stunt. These diseases are characterized by sudden malformations and blisters that appear on the leaves and pea pods. The Pea leaf weevil, native to Europe, chews on leaves and nodules leaving behind a characteristic scalloped edge. Avoid planting peas near clover plants, a favorite aphid food that encourages the pests to further spread to the peas. Spray plants with insecticidal soaps or foliar insecticides. Purchase virus-resistant pea cultivars.

I hope this helps you with your pea plants. If you liked this post, please share on Facebook, Twitter, or StumbleUpon! Thanks for reading.

Photo courtesy of

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