kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Trying to Recover

Those of you who have followed my blog for a long time may remember that I have written in the past about having seasonal depression.

This past winter was particularly difficult with the extremely cold weather and frequent snow, not to mention a majority of gray days.  I spent most of the winter doing absolutely nothing.  Sitting in the recliner covered in a wool blanket and either sleeping or reading was the order of the day.  I did not go out more than once a week if that often.  I do not have agoraphobia, I just can't stand cold and will not go out in it.  And this past winter was COLD.

I sank into the worst depression since postpartum depression in the 70's.  I resisted medication because I thought that once spring arrived, late as it was, I would snap out of my funk.  Of course, my Mom has always told me that if I just do my housewifely duties, motherly duties, and marital duties, I wouldn't have time to be depressed.  Yetch!!!  I had no interest in doing anything.  If the kids hadn't been here to prod me into talking, I would have isolated myself completely.

Spring arrived and I still was just dragging through the days.  I finally made an appointment with the doctor and got some medication.  Then after reading the side effects (which really weren't that terrible) I dragged my feet about beginning to take it.  I have taken anti-depressants before and they made me feel groggy and out of it.  Just what I need, more sluggishness!

Last week I took the first pill and already I can see small differences.  Good grief, I actually feel like getting up and doing something!

Still on the quest for the perfect bread, I signed up for a Craftsy class by Peter Reinhart on making artisan bread.  And darned if I didn't make some bread that was better than anything I've made before! Here are my steak sandwich rolls.

Aren't the pretty?  And Chef Reinhart's method is so easy, hardly any kneading at all.
And look at the texture inside.

I was so pleased with the results!
There is a FREE pizza class by Peter Reinhart on Craftsy and I've tried that one too.  Made some really good pizza.
So I'm slowly getting back to some creative things.

The week after Christmas, our new equipment shed was delivered.  We had hoped to get it before it started snowing because the roof was caving in on our old shed and the tractor was getting wet.  Unfortunately the day after the shed arrived we had rain and then it froze.  The two big piles of crushed stone that were supposed to go inside the shed froze solid and never thawed out until mid-March.  We ended up putting a tarp over the tractors and mowers.
But the shed is now in use.  Our only regret is that we didn't get a bigger one.

 The kids have been working on the yard and garden.  Each year we plan to add another few raised beds.  We just got a truck load of compost so will be filling the boxes and then planting our seeds and plants.

 Next brad and Kami will be setting up the water gardens.

We took a drive a few weeks ago and saw these cute guys waiting for their dinner.  The little Mennonite girl was on the other side of the road with a wheelbarrow full of hay.

Even though I'm feeling better, I still enjoy quiet time reading and drinking tea from my favorite teapot.

And conversing with my best little companions.  I could not live without my kitties!

Thanks for stopping by!
Hope you're having an enjoyable spring!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Project Started

We are still in the icy grip of winter.  Yuck!
Our area has been lucky with only small snowfalls of about three to four inches at a time.  No major blizzards here but it is COLD!

We took a drive on Sunday for lack of anything better to do.  I finally remembered to take my camera along.  Not that there was much that was bight and colorful to save and enjoy.  Would you believe BLEAK???  This is the vew of our valley from the top of the mountain in back of our property.


Since it was Sunday, churches were a good subject.  The Mennonite church near our house.  Love the rows of buggies.  And that is only about a third of them.  There are long open fronted shelters all around the sides of the church that are parked full of more buggies.  The bicycles belong to the young unmarried men and women.  The smaller kids and babies ride in the buggies with the parents.

 This is a little old church in Upper Strausburg.  I don'[t know if they still hold services there.  There were no cars around when we stopped by in the afternoon.  There is a nice little graveyard on the other side of the church that I doesn't show in the picture.

 We drove along the Big Spring near Newville.  This is one of Zip's favorite fishing spots.  He belongs to a spring preservation group that helps maintain this old mill.

I love this little abandoned spring house.

Like I said, it wasn't the most colorful tour but it did get us out of the house.  And the car has a great heater!  It's warmer in the car than it is in the house.

I've decided I need to get back to some creative projects.  I spend too much time sitting and reading.  I cranked a warp on my loom over a year ago and never finished threading.  Yesterday was the day.  It didn't take nearly as long as I expected.  I started threading in the late afternoon and by 9 p.m. I was weaving.

Threading the heddles.

The paper on top of the loom is my threading plan.

 Pulling the threads through the reed.  This keeps them evenly spaced.

Strung, tied, and ready to weave.

  The first little sample. 

When I had finished threading, I counted threads and was one thread short.
I thought I was missing a thread. Panic!!!  A missed thread that is still stuck somewhere in the roll at the back of the loom comes back to bite you big time later.
When I did my first two inches of weaving, I found the mistake.  Two threads were stuck together. I was able to fix the problem without too much hassle.. Sometimes I get lucky. 

This is a lattice twill pattern.

I'm also going to work on my Baltimore album quilt.  I had it basted by a woman who has a long arm quilter and then I was going to quilt it by hand.  I haven't done any work on it because I wasn't happy with her size.  It was just too big.  After all that work, I hated to have to tear the border off and do another narrower one.  Now that several years have passed, I'm ready to tackle that mess.
No pictures yet.

Last but not least, a word from the kitty contingent.
Isabel says she is ready for the windows to be open.  Fresh warm air is always welcome.
Winter makes her grumpy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Big Sigh of Relief...

Yes, Christmas is over!
I always take a deep breath and say 'thank you'.  Not that Christmas was stressful this year.  I can say it was actually fun and very laid back.

Brad did most of the decorating.  Since we are still adjusting to the move, we only put up the little twig tree instead of the big ones.  Between our two families we have lots of vintage decorations that we've inherited or picked up at flea markets.


Kami and I started baking two weeks ago.  We planned on making several kinds of cookies but only got as far as the sand tarts.

Brad loves Chex mix so we made a whopin' big batch.  We baked it slowly in the oven for two hours, stirring every fifteen minutes like our recipe said.  It was yummy!

Later I was reading recipes on line and found a recipe for Chex mix in the microwave.  DUH!!!  Am I behind the times???  It takes less than ten minutes!  We had to make some more to try it out.

A tradition in Kami's family is potato candy.  We made some of that, too.

 By Christmas Eve there wasn't a crumb of any of these goodies left.  We had to buy extra cookies.

We open our gifts on Christmas Eve.  Deiter is checking to see if there is anything exciting for him.

And strange gifts they were!  No lovely pieces of jewelry, no fancy new electronics, not even any new clothing. 

Would you believe a new used tire for Brad's mower, complete with a bit of grease around the hole for the axle?  And a box for Reggie

A can of paint for Kami.  And now the box belongs to Penny!

Oh no!  Did he find a stray Kitty Treat???  I must check this out!  Can you see Isabel's eyes shining in the dark?

A perfect leap out of the box!

Notice how the heads on the humans have been cut off the picture.  It's all about the kitties!

Deiter loves rolling in the paper.   Boxes and wrapping are the best kind of kitty gifts.  Along with a few Kitty Treats.

After the gifts we had a snack fest.   With wings, cheese ball and crackers, bacon wrapped dates,  meatballs, veggie tray and cheesecake.

Deiter took a nap.

Christmas Day we enjoyed crablegs.  Thought I should get some human in the pictures.  Zip and Kami chowing down on crab.

Brad and Reggie.  Hmmmmm, that melted butter looks really good!  I hope I get some on my pieces of crab.

We had a really enjoyable Christmas.  I am so glad to have Brad and Kami living with us.

Daddy and Deiter keep the home fires burning.
Zip calls Deiter his little Fire Dog.  He is white with black spots like a dalmatian.  And if Zip is at the stove tending the fire, Deiter is sitting by his side.

After all the excitement, it's also good to have a little quiet time alone to contemplate.

Hope your holidays were the best ever!
Thanks for stopping by.
See you in the new year!

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Just a quick post to mention that I am giving away a hundred+ molds for making reproductions of antique porcelain dolls.
There are many boxes of molds in my basement that I do not want to go through and take the time to inventory.
They are dusty and need cleaning, BUT
THEY ARE FREE for anyone who wants to come with a truck and haul them away.
You will have to load them your self, so make sure someone with muscle comes along.
If interested, please email me at
Please put molds in the subject line!

I also have a floor model kiln that I used to fire the porcelain that I'm giving away.  Also heavy and will need to be hauled in a truck and carried out by two strong people.

I really hope someone would enjoy these supplies.

If this isn't of interest, wait a month or two and there will probably be more crafting equipment that I'll be needing to unload.

Monday, November 10, 2014

It's All Finished!...exept for organizing...

The addition is officially finished!

Thanks to our wonderful contractor, Paul of Z and E Construction, the project was completed three weeks ahead of the proposed date.  We are so pleased with the work he did!  He gave us estimates and did not go over budget.  How great is that?!
There is still a lot of work on our part that needs to be done, like organizing the combining of two households.  Two households of hoarders, that is.
The kids have moved in with all their stuff.  Lots of stuff.

I haven't included any interior shots yet because we are still arranging furniture and trying to decorate.  The pale green cupboard has just been painted and will go in the bathroom.  When I took this picture, the Hoosier style cupboard was awaiting it's coat of olive green paint.  I've since finished it and put it in the laundry room/pantry.

Zip's room is mostly finished except for the hanging of pictures and his mounted fish.  Mine still needs work, especially curtains.

The kitties are adjusting well to all the extra family members.  Though this past week we thought we were going to lose our dear older girl, Tipper.  She got some kind of horrible intestinal illness and was unable to eat or drink.  I couldn't even get her to take water by giving it in a syringe.  Thankfully the vet gave her medication, first something to settle her stomach and then an antibiotic and an appetite stimulant.  She made an amazing recovery.  We are so happy she is still with us.

Deiter has been a source of comfort through all the stress of building and moving.  He is such a wonderful even-tempered guy.  He brings me joy every single day.

Though he did say that if things didn't soon settle down he might be tempted so crawl into a priority
mail box and get sent off to where there's peace and quiet.

I just love his furry little white face!  I don't know what I would do without this darling boy.
Is there anything more amazingly beautiful than a cat's eye?

 Isabel is muttering to herself, 'oh Mom, give it a break!  I can't take much more of this!'

A few weeks ago we were driving in to Shippensburg and passed by this lovely log house that is being moved to another site.  Is this not amazing???  Last week there was an article in the paper about this house moving and it said that no truck pulled the bed that the house was resting on.  There was a motor that moved it that was remotely controlled.  Totally unbelievable! 

My new header picture was taken this past Sunday morning.  I want to get back to this church another Sunday and take better pictures.  There must have been at least fifty buggies parked around this small white church.  What a great congregation!  Seeing this makes me happy to live in rural PA.

Thanks for stopping by!
Hope to have some pictures of the insde of our addition next time.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Fall Already?

Where did the summer go?
I must say I loved this summer with only one week when the temperatures were in the 90's.  Mostly it has been pleasantly warm and sunny with a nice breeze blowing.  There were a few much-needed rainy days.  I can't remember a more enjoyable summer since I don't know when.

We've been busy painting in the addition.  WOW!  Brad and Kami have been life savers.  They are so good with the brushes and rollers that the basic wall and ceiling painting only took two day.

Brad is the king of the roller derby.

 Kami did all the trim work around the ceiling.

 Zip is revving up the reciprocating saw.
There are no pictures of me because I'm sitting on the sidelines supervising the action.
Well, not really.  I did do a little bit of the rollering but I just don't have the strength that I used to.

The job is finished!

 The colors look brighter than the picture.
This week the crew came and put the trim around the windows and doors, put locks on the French doors and installed the chimney for the wood stove in case we decide to install one.  No pictures of that yet.

Next either the flooring or the electric will be installed.  Then all that's left is the plumbing.

When we took a lunch break during the painting, we discovered this guy taking a stroll through the yard.  First turtle I've seen in our yard in several years.

This past weekend I noticed that little Miss Penny was in the catbox a lot more than normal.  I keep little styrofoam bowls handy in the bathroom so that I can take kitty urine samples when necessary.  Sure enough, she was peeing pink.  We called the vet and they were able to see her right away.  She has a recurring bladder problem when she gets stressed.  She didn't seem upset by the roadwork by our house and the work crews in the addition, but it must have affected her more than we realized.

When we got there the vet tech came out with a towel and put it over the cat carrier.  They are using 'comfort towels' to lower the stress levels of cats who come in for an exam.

It was pretty amazing!  She isn't a spazz or anything, but she does like to wander around the exam room and climb up on the shelving and hide.  This time we got her out of the carrier and put her on the towel and she lay there and purred.  She was relaxed and very cooperative all through the exam.  I was relaxed and happy too, even when I saw the bill!   It isn't supposed to work on humans, but I wonder...

The stuff they spray on the towel is called Feliway.  It mimics the pheromone that cats use to mark their favorite things.  You  who have cats know how they rub the side of their faces against things.  When they do that, they are leaving this certain scent that tells them that this is a good place or thing.

The brochure claims that Feliway will help reduce inappropriate scratching and spraying and helps reduce stress.  I don't know about the first two, but is sure did calm Penny while at the vets.

I bought a bottle for myself and Kami.  She used it on Ernie recently when an inspector came to their house to make an assessment in preparation for selling their place.  Ernie who usually races off to a hiding place as soon as someone comes to the door, remained laying on his 'comfort towel' right there in the living room.

We may have to buy this stuff by the gallon when they move here.

One last kitty thing.  A friend emailed this to me yesterday.
Was she trying to tell me something???

Thanks for stopping by!