Tag Archives: Yard and Garden

04/28/2017 – Around Colehaus

Our old visiting raccoon, Happy, who is partially blind and mostly deaf, is looking much, much better than she did a couple of weeks ago and we think that’s due to having access to good kibble. Sure, the food is out there for the daytime visiting strays and ferals, but we’re okay with her chowing down if she’s hungry.

Happy at lunchtime - © Colehauscats.com

Happy at lunchtime – © Colehauscats.com

A couple of weeks ago, we were certain Happy wasn’t going to be around much longer. She was sneezing horribly and looked so ragged and thin. And she walked so slowly, it was painful to watch. Now, she’s no longer sneezing and she may even have gained a pound or two! She still walks slowly, but not as slowly as she did weeks ago. Maybe she has arthritis and if so, the cold, wet weather can’t be doing her much good.

Happy at Dinnertime - © Colehauscats.com

Happy at Dinnertime – © Colehauscats.com

After months of whining about how our area is breaking all kinds of rainfall records (yet another record smashed for the month of April just this week), last week we had one and a half sunny, warmish days, in a row, and half of the flowers in the garden seemingly opened all at once.

Our east side backyard - © Colehauscats.com

Our east side backyard – © Colehauscats.com

In our backyard, on the east side everything tends to bloom at once. About three weeks later, things bloom along the back. Lastly, about three weeks after that, things bloom over on the west side. It’s all about sun exposure, someone once mentioned. Okay… we’re just happy everything doesn’t bloom all at once, even though it might seem like it is.

Bright Tulips - © Colehaus.com

Bright Tulips – © Colehaus.com

Azalea Crater Lake - © Colehaus.com

Azalea Crater Lake – © Colehaus.com

White Trillium - © Colehauscats.com

White Trillium – © Colehauscats.com

Pink Rhododendron - © Colehaus.com

Pink Rhododendron – © Colehaus.com

Soft lavender creeping phlox - © Colehaus.com

Soft lavender creeping phlox – © Colehaus.com

Creamy Pink Rhododendron - © Colehaus.com

Creamy Pink Rhododendron – © Colehaus.com

Though possible, we don’t get too many rainbows during the winter months – not enough sun. But during spring, our weather goes from sunny one minute to a downpour the next and a brilliant rainbow after that. Sometimes, two or even three rainbows are seen.

Double rainbow from a back window - © Colehaus.com

Double rainbow from a back window – © Colehaus.com

Our squirrel feeder hangs on the fence and if, from inside, you lean over the corner kitchen sink and look though the west side window, you can see whether the feeder is occupied or empty. If a squirrel is just sitting there looking at you through the window, you can bet the feeder is empty. Okay rodent, we’ll get some nuts out there soon.

A curious squirrel - © Colehauscats.com

A curious squirrel – © Colehauscats.com

Oh yeah, this is supposed to be a CAT BLOG. Okay, we’ve had three new visitors this month.

1 – A solid gray tank of a cat, we suspect a true feral by the looks of him(?) and how terrified of people he is. We’ve yet to see his face but could identify him in a lineup by his backside alone.

2 – A gray and black tabby with white socks cutie who we think is less than a year old. It walks our fence occasionally and we’ve yet to get out there in time to call to it.

3 – This black and white fluffy one who sadly, we have only seen once and couldn’t get within twenty feet of.

Someone new - © Colehauscats.com

Someone new – © Colehauscats.com

Someone new close up - © Colehauscats.com

Someone new close up – © Colehauscats.com

Sweet Teese still visits twice a day, once in the early dawn hour and once later in the afternoon. The thing with Sweet Teese is… she’s a drooler. BIG TIME drooler. Just say her name twice and she gets all lovey-dovey and slobbers all over the place. Could this be why she’s an outside cat and not an inside cat? Could be. If she were our inside cat, we’d have to mop the floors hourly… but we’d take her to the vet first to make sure some condition wasn’t making her drool so much.

Petting Sweet Teese - © Colehauscats.com

Petting Sweet Teese – © Colehauscats.com

Lastly, if you remember, we took down our bird feeder in late January because there are just too many outside cats in our neighborhood now. Cats plus birds at feeders equals bird feasts. Most of our regulars have flown the coup permanently and other than the occasional blue jay fly-by, there’s not many birds out there now. But that’s not to say we don’t notice an odd one every now and then. Like this…. this… thing that we think might have been a turkey vulture. Eeks!

What is that thing? - © Colehauscats.com

What is that thing? – © Colehauscats.com

What is it? - © Colehauscats.com

What is it? – © Colehauscats.com

It was sitting for over an hour on a skylight at a neighbor’s house and we took these photos from our kitchen window (which was as close as we could get). The good thing is we saw Happy and all the new visitors after we saw this bird-thing so we weren’t worried too much about what or who it might have been eating. Even so, people, keep your pets INSIDE. Turkey vultures are about!

That’s about it. Have a great weekend. See you again in May!

04/17/2017 – ManCat Monday with the artist Quint

We were hoping to have lots of photos of Quint taking his first stroll in his garden today, and even after a first (first!) warm-ish dry weekend, but it seems Ms. Rain Showers and Mr. Chilly Skies will be with us for a while longer. We’re barely into fifty degree (F.) daytime temperatures here, too cold for Mancat walks outside just yet. Yes, we are officially tired of the cold and rain. We love cold and rain, but enough is enough already!

Quint watching the rain - © Colehauscats.com

Quint watching the rain – © Colehauscats.com

Quint’s been spending a lot of time up in the windows, looking for his flowers to start blooming. Sadly, the rain wiped all the Star Magnolia flowers away before they could be enjoyed and all we have thus far are a couple of sad daffodils keeping all the moss company.

The mini daffodils survived all the rain - © Colehaus.com

The mini daffodils survived all the rain – © Colehaus.com

This double rainbow brightened our day, however, and made us believe our garden will soon be bursting with color.

A double rainbow - © Colehaus.com

A double rainbow – © Colehaus.com

Quint’s not waiting around for a reason to paint.

Sure, I miss my flowers but a boy’s gotta march on forward when tough times call for it. My flowers will come along. I’m sure of it!

And then, he got to painting, using the colors he’d been watching all spring. You might remember at the beginning of the month, he spent a lot of time painting this and that, most of which is still waiting for those pops of color that he won’t add until his garden flowers arrive.

Quint painting spring - © Colehauscats.com

Quint painting spring – © Colehauscats.com

But he did create some pretty paintings given we’re still in our Pacific Northwest (Northwet?) gloom. We bet you’d like to see what he did with that navy blue and lavender, huh? Introducing Quint’s Pop of Spring 2017.

Quint's a Pop of Spring 2017 paintings - © Colehauscats.com

Quint’s a Pop of Spring 2017 paintings – © Colehauscats.com

And because sometimes, Quint likes the softer colors of spring before all the flowers go wild and bold, he created this second one called Spring Fling 2017.

Quint's Spring Fling 2017 - © Colehauscats.com

Quint’s Spring Fling 2017 – © Colehauscats.com

In both you might be able to make out just a little bit of daffodil color. If you know Quint and his color leanings, you know he really wanted to slather on the yellow. Good thing our outside moss isn’t all yellow, right?

You can bet he’ll get something all yellowed-up later in the year, and in the meantime, please visit his art shop to see his newest offerings. He’d love to know what you think of his latest efforts (and your thoughts on the color yellow), and hopes maybe, one of his works will find its forever home with you!

The serious artist Quint - © Colehauscats.com

The serious artist Quint – © Colehauscats.com

03/31/2017 – Around Colehaus

A spot of sun! No, really! Finally we can peek at what’s going on around Colehaus, other than to watch our Pacific Northwet “liquid sunshine” falling from the skies. We’re on track to set another month’s record of rain here and we just might do it by midnight tonight.

Outside, our pretty primroses are blooming. Dad always asks, “Tell me, when AREN’T primroses blooming?”

Spring Primroses - © Colehaus.com

Spring Primroses – © Colehaus.com

When nearly everyone else’s bulbs have already bloomed around the country, our grape hyacinths are the first bulbs blooming here.

Grape Hyacinths - © Colehaus.com

Grape Hyacinths – © Colehaus.com

Somewhat near the grape hyacinths, neighbor cats Z and Scruffy discuss the weather, as all cats do. We imagine their conversation went something like this:

Z: “So, it’s not raining at the moment.”
Scruffy: “Can’t get nothing past you, can we?”
Z: “Well, I mention it because while my butt isn’t wet, the rock I’m sitting on is still cold on the bits, if you catch my drift.”
Scruffy: “. . . . .”

Z and Scruffy discussing the odd lack of rain - © Colehauscats.com

Z and Scruffy discussing the odd lack of rain – © Colehauscats.com

Meanwhile, Mom was so inspired by our day of dry weather, she cleaned up the strawberry baskets and found new leaves coming out.

Strawberry plants coming up - © Colehaus.com

Strawberry plants coming up – © Colehaus.com

The squirrel we call Tilt (because he has a head tilt) isn’t so sure Mom should have removed all the dead strawberry foliage. Word has it squirrels are avid gardeners when not raiding bird feeders, so they should know.

The squirrel named Tilt - © Colehauscats.com

The squirrel named Tilt – © Colehauscats.com

Our Star Magnolia is bursting with white flower buds. After years of living in gloom, half-hidden behind a big birch tree that was removed two years ago, this magnolia has blossomed into a real beauty (pun intended).

Star Magnolia buds - © Colehaus.com

Star Magnolia buds – © Colehaus.com

Remember back in January, when we mentioned we saw a new cat in our backyard? Mom called it Teese because, well, only she understands her misspelling, and slowly, Teese started trusting Mom. Now, Teese is at the feeding station most mornings waiting for the food bowls to be set out.

Teese in the feeding station - © Colehauscats.com

Teese in the feeding station – © Colehauscats.com

And look who’s become an outside friend!

Sweet Teese is a talker - © Colehauscats.com

Sweet Teese is a talker – © Colehauscats.com

Sweet Teese likes Dad - © Colehauscats.com

Sweet Teese likes Dad – © Colehauscats.com

Mom’s pretty sure Sweet Teese is a spayed girl but then again, she’s been known to be wrong half the time. She’s also pretty sure Teese has a home on the next street over down the hill, and when the weather warms up and dries out, she’ll take a walk down there to ask around.


Old raccoon (Happy?) returns - © Colehauscats.com

Old raccoon (Happy?) returns – © Colehauscats.com

Forgive us for the poor photo. This is the best picture we’ve yet to capture of an old, but somewhat-speedy raccoon who is staying in one of our heated feral shelters. Can you see it there on the fence behind the evergreens?

Mom and Dad both have seen an old raccoon hanging around for the past few weeks, eating from one of the feeding stations during the day, in the pouring rain, something that is a bit unusual for a raccoon around here. It doesn’t act sick, it just looks old and clearly, it’s hungry.

Upon a single closer look last week, we think it might be partially blind, yet it knew directly where to go for food. And this pleases us.

Background info: We’ve been setting food out in our side yard during daylight hours since 2005, and we’ve been aware of recognizable raccoons, ones with distinctive markings or behaviors, returning year after year since 2012. Could this be Happy, the raccoon mama who brought her three babies to meet us in 2013? It could be. Happy had a darker raccoon mask than any other raccoon we’d ever seen, with significantly less white/grey on her face. She had a very, very pointy nose. And her tail was never full and puffy like typical raccoon tails are, and with her darker fur, the rings on her tail were very faint.

This raccoon is almost completely dark faced, has a sharply pointed nose, and has a thin furred tail. If this is Happy, she is the daughter of Sunny who, in 2013 along with her three babies, were the very first raccoons we’d ever seen during daylight hours. One of her babies was very dark compared to the other two. We named that one Happy.

In 2014, Happy returned with her three babies, one we called Lily who returned with her three babies and with Happy in tow in 2015, making Happy a grandmother.

Happy became a great grandmother last year when one of Lily’s babies whom we called Daisy, returned with her two babies.

In the wild, raccoons only survive between one and three years. We never know if we’ll have raccoons come visit us at all because a few people in our neighborhood feel the need to go on “raccoon relocation” forays. This raccoon somehow must have been spared that horror and we are so thankful we have a kind of sanctuary for it here. Here, this raccoon, be it Happy or not, will be safe with a warm shelter, food, and water for as long as it likes. That said, the neighborhood greenspace with tall native trees, a creek, and open access for animals is a quarter mile down the hill and this is, undoubtedly, where Happy and her extensive family normally resides.

We fully understand this is a wild animal and will conduct ourselves accordingly. There will be no attempts at petting, brushing, or feeding of snacks from fingers we wish to keep intact. We won’t try to pose the raccoon with toys, try to entice it to play with a feather wand, or make it wear a hat. We will however, keep working toward capturing a better photo of this raccoon while following all safety precautions.

Lastly, let’s take another look at Sweet Teese, because she isn’t wild, the camera seems to like her, and simply because we can.

Sweet Teese - © Colehauscats.com

Sweet Teese – © Colehauscats.com