05/30/2016 – Memorial Day

A quiet day with Pia Bean - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

A quiet day with Pia Bean – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

This Memorial Day, we and Pia (and perhaps everyone else around here – we’ll see how that goes) are taking the day off to honor those who have served. Please hug your loved ones, and we thank you for visiting.

05/27/2016 – Around Colehaus

Mom's tomatoes - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Mom’s tomatoes – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Taking a stroll around Colehaus, we’ve finally got tomatoes planted, and rosemary, and chives, too! Figured since we went to all the hard work to get this cement patio created last year, we really ought to take advantage of the possible hot weather this summer. And tomatoes love hot weather!

(Because most of our small property faces true north, we have no ideal plot for a vegetable garden. Instead, we grow our fruits and veggies in pots with good results.)

This year's strawberries - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

This year’s strawberries – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Across the walkway from the patio, the strawberry baskets are coming along. We picked the first two yesterday. Yums!

The feeding stations - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

The feeding stations – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

A few feet in front of the tomatoes sit the feeding stations. These have worked out wonderfully this winter. No soggy food, no windswept bowls blowing around. We couldn’t be happier and we think the visiting ferals and strays are happy too. Thank you for helping us acquire these stations!

Marnie - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Marnie – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

This isn’t a stray, but a neighbor’s cat that probably wasn’t supposed to be outside. She has a pretty collar, a funny crooked, short tail, and she is very friendly. Luckily, her humans saw her outside and scooped her back inside right away.

Confirmation: Cocoa is a boy - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Confirmation: Cocoa is a boy – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Don’t know if we already mentioned this, but we have confirmed Cocoa is a boy! He visits the feeding station nearly every morning and after just a short three years, Mom is able to pick him up (briefly) and pet him for a long as she likes. Last month, she did a quick check and bingo! Itty bitty Cocoa kumquats.

Some flowers - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Some flowers – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Mom couldn’t resist our local Home Depot garden department (who can?) and planted up some flowers this year, ones the hummingbirds will like. More bird TV!

One clean fountain - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

One clean fountain – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

After cleaning out the fountain last month (still waiting for that $$$ water bill *gulp*), the fountain looks nearly as clean as when it was new in 2002. Still wouldn’t wade in it though. No way!

Joe the Frog - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Joe the Frog – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Joe, the frog, sure is enjoying it!

Goldfinch impersonating a duck - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Goldfinch impersonating a duck – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

As did this Goldfinch, who was masquerading as a duck this day. Somedays, you just gotta go with who you think you should be.

Another flowerbed project - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Another flowerbed project – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Because Mom can’t let anything be, she’s still working on eliminating billions* of cubic yards of extra dirt on the property. If you notice the rotted bottom of the fence in this photo (to the right of the new cedar boards along the bottom), you might begin to understand why she’s removing dirt. Note to self: NEVER listen to anyone who says pressure treated cedar wood will never rot. Liars!

The dirt in this flowerbed used to be as high as the rot line on that fence. For the entire length of the fence. Slowly, but surely, all that dirt is being dug out and down to the same level as the neighbor’s on the other side of the fence. By hand. With a shovel and a single five gallon bucket. Because that’s the only way we can do it and because Mom’s middle name is Fortitude.

*Not really billions of cubic yards, but Dad will assure you it sure feels like it!

Flowerbed project - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Flowerbed project – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Another view of that flowerbed. The blob in the foreground is a stump bigger than a microwave, smaller than a Smart Car, that Mom and Dad removed, with a shovel, a pair of loppers, and a Sawzall. All hail the power of a Sawzall!

This bed once contained five large trees – a couple of maples and three cedars, all precariously leaning, and all slowly taking down the fence. Sad, but they had to go.

Last stump to remove - 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Last stump to remove – 2016 © Colehaus.com and Colehauscats.com

Here’s the very last stump to remove. It’s a tremendous amount of work, but secretly, Dad gets enjoyment of digging out stumps. Did you know he was an urban lumberjack? Sure, it says so right under Software Quality Engineer on his business card.

Once things dry out after today and tomorrow’s rain, Dad thinks this stump will be out in a day or two. He has removal down to a science.

Stellar Jay helping clean up - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Stellar Jay helping clean up – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Meanwhile, when Mom isn’t out there digging away, she gets a little help from her garden friends.

Whittles visiting the garden - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Whittles visiting the garden – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

And visits from neighbor cat Whittles. No hunting here, Whittles, remember? DO NOT make Mom hunt you down to take a baby bunny from your mouth ever again! (As happened just last week.)

Squirrel - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Squirrel – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

And finally, what’s a visit to Colehaus without squirrels?

Acrobat squirrel - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Acrobat squirrel – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Like a circus without acrobats.

Computer issues are being resolved and we’re checking the legitimacy of yesterday’s received ransomware threat (nothing to do with last week’s dead mouse, hard drive, home server, or Mom’s MacBook), but take it from us: Back up your stuff. Transfer it elsewhere. Do it. Don’t assume you’ll be the only person on the planet to never receive a message or email demanding you pay to get your files back unencrypted. We’re fairly up-to-date on information regarding these kinds of threats but it is still scary to get one. We work hard to live simply and don’t have information on a computer we couldn’t live without, but it does jangle one’s nerves a bit to think someone would be sooooo interested in a chubby, housewife’s few hundred gigabytes of cat photos to think she would be willing to pay to keep them intact. Actually, no.

Be careful out there. Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!

05/25/2016 – Furniture for Cats

Zuzu's personal console table - 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Zuzu’s personal console table – 2016 © Colehauscats.com

Fits her perfectly.

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We’re going through our annual all-computer-things-must-break phase and to date have needed to replace one mouse (might have been Tessa-caused; she can neither confirm or deny involvement) and a hard drive. Mr. Colehaus got the main keyboard working again but Mom’s MacBook and the home server are goners. If you’ve been waiting for an email from us, thank you for your patience. Hopefully, we’ll be along shortly.