Category Archives: Yard and Garden

09/15/2017 – Around Colehaus

Smoky Summer Skies 2017 - ©

Smoky Summer Skies 2017 – ©

(Photo taken in late afternoon. Actual sky and sun color. Small black dot to right of sun is flying bird.)

Today, we *think* fall weather might be considering coming along but gone are the days when September meant cooler temperatures and the return of our fall/winter rainy season. Last weekend was the first in a long, long while that we hadn’t had record-setting temperatures and smoke-filled skies from the gorge wildfires some fifty miles to our east. Earlier in that week, we had actual ash falling from the skies for two days. Mom sure did have fun cleaning up after all that!

*grumble grumble*

Z comes a-visitin' ©

Z comes a-visitin’ ©

Z's personal drinking fountain - ©

Z’s personal drinking fountain – ©

We didn’t shut off our fountain over the ash-fall days but did refresh the water every afternoon. Somecat sure enjoyed that and the raccoons remembered where the fresh water was and made it part of their early evening/nightly rounds.

Raccoon babies taking a break from the heat - ©

Raccoon babies taking a break from the heat – ©

Raccoon baby cooling off - ©

Raccoon baby cooling off – ©

Raccoon baby washing up - ©

Raccoon baby washing up – ©

Crepe Myrtle almost done flowering - ©

Crepe Myrtle almost done flowering – ©

Our crepe myrtle is almost done flowering already, only a month early. We used to count on this as being our fall flowering bush, but this year, as also happened last year, it went into bloom a full month earlier than ever.

Squirrels are stocking up on nut fat - ©

Squirrels are stocking up on nut fat – ©

Our hot weather hasn’t stopped the squirrels from stocking up on their nut consumption. Maybe they know something we don’t? Looks like it’s just about time for us to swap out their old feeder for a new one (we keep a new one in stock and switch it out every other year). Between the squirrels and raccoons, that feeder gets a serious workout!

2017 was a good year for Roma tomatoes - ©

2017 was a good year for Roma tomatoes – ©

Our tomatoes loved our summer heat as did the last of the strawberries. Mom’s considering giving up on strawberries for next year. “They take a LOT of water,” she says, because she grows them in sunny hanging baskets and keeps the plants around for only three years.


A Pigeon? At Colehaus? - ©

A Pigeon? At Colehaus? – ©

Imagine our surprise when this not-so-little pooping machine fluttered into our backyard one day. We don’t live anywhere near where pigeon might hang out so, we’re thinking this guy must have stopped by for a drink of cool water before heading elsewhere. Like Chicago or New York or maybe even Rome!

Since Teese went to the No-Kill shelter for adoption and then, was adopted just this week (SQUEEEEE!) there haven’t been too many visiting kitties this month. We think the weather has just been too hot and smoky and we’d like to think people are being smart by keeping them indoors (no, really, we know people can be smart… if they want to be).

So, we’ll leave you in the soft, delicate paws of Miss Newton, who goes in for yet another blood pressure check this weekend (her fifth, or maybe her sixth?), and who is undoubtedly saying to Mom in this photo, “What? Again?? This needs to stop, lady!”

Miss Newton, September 2017 - ©

Miss Newton, September 2017 – ©

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A Colehaus Cats Flashback:

2016 – No post
2015 – Ruby Tuesday
2014 – Multicat Monday
2013 – No post
2012 – No post

08/04/2017 – Around Colehaus

By request, here’s an online puzzle of Wednesday’s wordless photo of Ruby and Quint kissing, courtesy of

Ruby and Quint kisses.

Bonus: A second puzzle link of a visiting cutie is at the end of this post. Have fun!

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While our fountain wasn’t running, Mom looked outside from upstairs one afternoon and swears she saw a shadow shaped like a sitting cat. Dad didn’t see it and maybe you won’t either but here’s her photo:

Do you see a cat-shaped shadow? - ©

Do you see a cat-shaped shadow? – ©

Yes? No? Here’s the same photo with a blue outside around the shadow.

Cat-shaped shadow? - ©

Cat-shaped shadow? – ©

Let’s turn the photo. Better?

Shadow play in the fountain - ©

Shadow play in the fountain – ©

Mom says the cat shadow is sitting in the well-known loaf-cat position, paws tucked under, facing left with it’s tail straight out behind. If she could find a photo of one of the Colehaus Cats, maybe love panther Olivia, the shadow might make more sense. Or maybe not. She’s still looking for that photo. It could take years for as many photos as Mom has.

Anyhoo…. our fountain is back up and running, just in time for record-setting heat, with some necessary leaks and “tweaks” scheduled for repair in September.

Here’s some cuties who are happy having a constant running water source:

Raccoon baby - ©

Raccoon baby – ©

Two baby raccoons - ©

Two baby raccoons – ©

Curious baby raccoon - ©

Curious baby raccoon – ©

These are Patches’ babies who come to visit every second or third day. They are adorably cute… and wild. Mom keeps telling herself these are wild animals and she feels so fortunate to be able to photograph them nearby. And yes, that is cat kibble they are eating, leftover kibble Mom set out for great, great, great grandmother Happy who happened to have visited a couple of hours before.

And so, where was Mama Patches while Mom was clicking away with her camera. Oh, she was nearby.

Mama Patches waiting - ©

Mama Patches waiting – ©

She was behind the big tomato pot, letting her babies eat first. She is a very gentle and trusting mama raccoon, but we don’t want that to become the norm so Mom wished the family well and went back inside. Whew! You just know one of these days Mom’s gonna report how she touched one moments before she was rushed to the hospital after some mama raccoon taught her that is completely unacceptable behavior.

Later still, after Mama Patches and her babies went back home or out for pizza and video games or wherever it is that young raccoon families go, we saw neighbor cat W hanging out with Teese on the patio (Teese is laying on the chair in front of the green pillow). Truth be told, W chases Teese mercilessly and often picks fights with him. We’re not sure what kind of arrangement they came up with to be napping so close together but we hope it’s a lasting one (it wasn’t).

Neighbor cat W hanging with Teese - ©

Neighbor cat W hanging with Teese – ©

And just for the record, this is not our cat:

Not our cat - ©

Not our cat – ©

… but this is our sunset to share with you, simply beautiful after an exciting day of visitors to Colehaus:

August sunset - ©

August sunset – ©

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Courtesy of, here’s an online puzzle of one of the visiting raccoon babies. Have fun!

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Previously on Colehaus Cats:

2016 – No post
2015 – Ruby Tuesday
2014 – Multicat Monday
2013 – No post
2012 – No post

07/28/2017 – Around Colehaus, Part 2

Dead fountain - ©

Dead fountain – ©

Back at the end of May, on Memorial Day to be exact, after nearly seven years of faithful service, our backyard fountain pump gave up. The fountain has been off ever since and Mom’s been a wreck with worry.

This isn’t to say there’s no water around the area. There’s a running creek down the hill just a block and a quarter mile over. Another yard or two have some kind of water feature running. It’s summertime so, people are probably running lawn sprinklers, even as we type this, and letting water go willy-nilly over sidewalks and down gutters. We are not a dry wasteland.

Every so many days, Mom puts some water in the lower fountain basin and at night, listens to raccoons play and wash themselves. Birds have no way to bathe themselves right now and the hummingbirds are fairly frustrated at the moment, but help is on the way.


Dad purchased a new pump and someone is coming out today to install it. Fingers crossed all goes well and we’re back up and running. Of course, there has to be someone who’ll miss the dry fountain. That would be the Cat That Is Not Ours.

Teese naps in the dry fountain bowl - ©

Teese naps in the dry fountain bowl – ©

About the same time the fountain died (and our main sprinkler system valve started leaking because why let the dead fountain pump have all the fun, right?), the neighborhood lost Chunky. Mom learned a bit about his plight but we were unable to move fast enough to help.

Last photo of Chunky - ©

Last photo of Chunky – ©

Chunky was the huge boy who visited early in the mornings and came to muscle every other cat, feral or not, away from the feeding stations. One morning, he looked his usual self but we noticed he was dropping worms with every step. Mom immediately went on the hunt to find his home to talk to his owner and discovered something that still boggles her mind.

Chunky’s original owners dropped him off at the humane society to be euthanized when they moved from the next street over. The woman who bought their house learned of this and immediately rushed to save Chunky… and she did, only to then allow Chunky to roam the same neighborhood streets as he had for the past two years. She wished Chunky to be a “neighborhood cat” in which everyone else would look after him. She wanted to save him, but didn’t want him living inside.

Chunky, a visiting neighborhood cat - 2016 ©

Chunky, a visiting neighborhood cat – 2016 ©

Mom heard all this second- and third-hand from other neighbors for when she tried to talk to Chunky’s person, she was never home, no matter the time of day or night. Another neighbor who used to work with abandoned animals briefly took up Chunky’s cause and then suddenly, Mom couldn’t find Chunky anywhere. And no one wanted to talk about him. And that’s where things sit.

That was at the end of May. We’re thinking good thoughts about Chunky and thank him for visiting us.

A week or so later, another neighborhood cat went missing.

Visiting neighbor cat Z - ©

Visiting neighbor cat Z – ©

Z lives nearby with three other outside-only cats, all who visit regularly (when our fountain is running, that is). Z is the sweetest petite girl and just wants to be around people. So, it was tough to learn she had been missing for nearly a week, then two weeks. All kinds of thoughts crossed Mom’s mind and just about the time she had steeled herself to the real possibility this was just the way things were going to go this year, Z was found at the humane society by their owners. She was found some five miles away, still wearing her cat bowl activating collar that did nothing to help because she didn’t have a microchip. You can believe she does now! Her owners say she’s “legal and everything,” but she still doesn’t stay inside. *sigh*

Visitor Z spies a big bird - 2016 ©

Visitor Z spies a big bird – 2016 ©

One of Z’s siblings has also taken a liking to our dry fountain. B/P also likes that she blends in nicely with the surrounding boulders. Mom celebrated a first the other day when ultra skittish B/P let herself be petted.

B/P and her camouflaging fur - ©

B/P and her camouflaging fur – ©

Other happenings over our month-long hiatus (we didn’t go anywhere; we haven’t taken vacation since 2000):

– We rebuilt a set of backyard steps that our winter rains had washed downhill.
– We lost two good friends.
– Mom finished sixteen weeks of French classes… and still can’t speak more than a word or two.
– Ruby, Sunny, Quint, Miss Newton, and the Dad had their yearly checkups. More on this later.
– Entire neighborhood has been grilled asked if they know where Teese’s home is. No one’s admitting anything.

Still, this is not our cat:

Nope, not one of ours - ©

Nope, not one of ours – ©

Neither is this one:

Daytime visitor - ©

Daytime visitor – ©

Nope, not our cat - ©

Nope, not our cat – ©

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Previously on Colehaus Cats:

2016 – No post
2015 – Ruby Tuesday
2014 – Mancat Monday
2013 – No post
2012 – No post