Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Zombies Are Coming.....

The zombies are coming
said tiny Sweetpea.
The zombies are coming.
They're coming for me!

Oh what shall I do?
Oh where shall I go?
I see one right now,
outside the window!

With a crash and a bang,
she was inside!
I looked here and there
but there was no place to hide!

She  grabbed me tightly 
with her bony claw.
I felt her teeth sink deeply
into my paw.

The zombies are coming
said tiny Sweetpea.
The zombies are coming.
Only this time, it's ME,
Zombie Sweetpea!


Monday, October 29, 2012

A Pink Lady Ghost Story

You know how much Mom loves Halloween so here is a good ghost story.  The ghost resides at the legendary Grove Park Inn - a very haunting looking building itself, dating from the early 1900's.  The rock building glows at night in stark contrast against the sky. Let's go inside shall we?

The main entrance is decorated festively for the season with  huge pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks. Straight ahead is the Great Hall anchored at both ends by two massive fireplaces—each large enough to burn 12-foot long  logs and each containing an elevator.  These  hand-operated wonders run alongside the chimney shafts within the rock work of  the great fireplaces and transport guests and luggage to the upper floors.  To our left is the Front Desk where guests register. As you can see, at night the flicker of lights add to the eerie look of the place.  People say they have seen the Pink Lady in various places in the hotel. Seems fitting to see a ghost in a place like this.

Now that we are inside, let me tell you about the Pink Lady, a young lady in a diaphanous pink gown. The story goes that she was having a rendezvous at the hotel during the 1920's with a gentleman, most likely married.  It seems her heart was broken at a debutante ball and she either fell or jumped to her death from the fifth floor of the Palm Court Atrium.  Some say that she was pregnant and her lover found out, pushing her to her death rather than face a scandal.

To get to the Palm Court we go up in the old elevator built inside the rock fireplace to the fifth floor overlooking the atrium.  The elevator is old, creaky and has one of those old fashioned gated to close. The room most associated with the Pink Lady is room 545, two stories above the Palm Court Atrium floor - probably the room she and her lover stayed in.

Elevator to the Palm Court Atrium.

Room 545.

Palm Court Atrium today.
Do feel cold air on you?  Is your hair standing on end?  With no one around, this place is very creepy.

A painter from the late 1950s or early 60s and the hotel's current  engineering facilities manager have reported strikingly similar tales about room  545. Both got cold chills on their way into the room so severe they never again  attempted to enter. Interestingly, neither employee knew of the other's  experience, or about room 545's connection to the Pink Lady.

Another employee  who has seen the Pink Lady several times over the past five years describes the  apparition as "a real dense smoke - a pinkish pastel that just flows. It's a  real gentle spirit, whatever it is."  Guests who have seen her say she is a beautiful girl with long dark hair.  She is mischievous and turns off lights, opens closet doors, and even pulls the covers off sleeping guests.

Well - Mom didn't see or feel anything unusual on her visits but others say the air feels heavy and their hair stands on end when in the Atrium alone late at night.  If you look real close I think you will see the Pink Lady.....

Boooooo....heehee.  Got ya didn't I? It's me Ivy!  More ghost stories coming this week so stay tuned.

We want to send our prayers and purrs for all those in the path of this horrific storm Sandy.  Be safe - humans and critters alike.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Wanderings - Halloween

Grove Park Inn, Asheville

It has been a busy few days at our house - Pop was away, Chica, Yoko and Joey were sick and Mom was handling it all by her self.  Everything is fine now so better late than never for our weekend post - just tin time for Halloween.

Mom works at an art gallery inside this hotel.  The Grove Park Inn was built in 1913.  Perfect for spooky occasions like this.  They go all out for Halloween with a pumpkin carving contest, Trick or Treat and a party!

Flower display in Great Hall

Pumpkin spider
 Some of the entries were very creative this year - lots of fun checking them all out.  Do stop back each day before Halloween and we have special posts planned!  What are you dressing up as for Halloween?

Kitty pumpkin

Green man pumpkin

Blue octopus pumpkin

Mummy pumpkin

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Garden Thursday with Minnie

Minnie here today posing with a pumpkin...how lame Mom!  We still have flowers blooming in our garden since it has been so warm this fall but before we get to that...let me update you about Joey.  Mom has begun his cancer treatment and the vet seems to think it will go well.  He also suggested using Renavast for his CRF - it can actually reverse kidney damage!  Mom is excited about that. His treatment is still pretty expensive so she is leaving the Chip-in up for Joey!

Chica had a bad UTI over the weekend but is doing very much better now thank to antibiotics.  She is one tough kitty at 21!!!

OK...now to the garden.  We have one single pink rose in bloom - isn't it lovely?  Pop planted broccoli and kale for the fall.  We still have cosmos and zinnia blooming and even snapdragons!  Who would have thought they would last this long?

Mist still hovering over the ridge across the road.


Most of the trees are past peak but we do still have some color here and there.  We will have warm days for the next three and then the cold comes!!!!  Brrr.  I like it warm.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Our driveway


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Wanderings - Montreat in Fall

Mom had to run to the post office in Black Mountain the other day and decided to stop in Montreat, a tiny village nestled in a mountain cove on Lake Susan.  The town revolves around Montreat College and Conference Center.  The college with its stone buildings and serene campus, provides such a lovely setting no matter what the season but this day it was spectacular!

Looking down from the dam to the creek below.

From inside the gazebo

The gazebo on the dam

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tabby Thursday - Joey Update

Me with my t-shirt collar - keeps me from scratching my boo boo.

Joey here today to give you a update.  The past two weeks shave been full of vet visits, tests, Mom waiting by the phone to hear back from them...but we think we have things down now.

I had a physical with our vet and they did blood work on me.  It shows that I have some underlying health issues that may make surgery more risky than normal.  Mom took me to another vet - a surgeon, for another look and he also did  two needle aspirations on my lumps.  Both came back as abnormal cells - cancerous.  Both vets seem to think they are different forms of cancer, are localized in the upper layers of skin, don't seem to have spread and are slow growing.

My cool ear tufts!

Then another consult with a holistic vet who specializes in cancer treatment.  Conventional treatment would be to take the lumps off but I may have a harder time with surgery and recovering due to my unrelated health issues going on.  The holistic cancer vet wants to try to build up my immune system and shrink the tumors using herbs, homeopathy and other alternative treatments and see what is going on in two to three months.  I may still have to have the surgery then but maybe not if all works well with this treatment. Mom likes this vet and has used him successfully in the past on other cats.

All the money you helped raise for me  has gone for two vet visits, blood work, needle biopsies and pathologies, and for the alternative vet and treatments.  We still have some put aside for future use in case I do need surgery and will leave up our donation button for that too.

We wanted to let you all know what is going on and will keep you updated on this alternative treatment.  Keep on purring for me - I do want to be around for many years to come.

Monday, October 15, 2012

National Feral Cat Day - Oct 16, 2012

Sweetpea was the first to come inside since she was so tiny.

It is National Feral Cat Day and I cannot say enough good things about Alley Cat Allies.  I could not have done what I did for all my ferals without their help. I told this story several years ago when I first started blogging and have brought up parts of it since. For my newer readers, I would like to explain how we ended up with so many feral cats in an indoor shelter. Here is their story.

Darby was rescued as a kitten, living alone under a house in another neighborhood

Many of you already know that all but our oldest two cats (Chica and Yoko) are feral cats that lived in our old neighborhood in a rural mountain community.  When my husband and I purchased the 1920's farmhouse 14 years ago, we inherited a large feral colony living in the woods behind the house.  I asked around and no one knew anything about the cats. An older couple living in the nearby trailer was putting dry food out for them but they could barely afford that let alone medical care for the cats so litter after litter had been born.

Ivy on left, Nick on right and Big Guy in rear next to their first straw igloo shelter.

I wanted to do something to help them, especially after a blind kitten wandered into the yard suffering from a severe URI.  Being new and not knowing any veterinarians in the area, my husband took her to the local shelter and they promptly put her down. ( I later learned that this shelter always euthanized feral cats when brought in.  They were considered unadoptable.) I was horrified that she didn't even get any veterinary care and vowed to do better with the rest of the cats.

Mamacita on left, daughter Rosa on right.

I looked online and found Alley Cat Allies and contacted them.  They gave me all the information I needed about trapping the cats, working with a vet to get them neutered, vaccinated and then releasing them back into the area. With the help of a compassionate vet nearby who offered me a considerable discount, I TNR'd about 18 cats over a period of a year. 

Young litter mates Minnie in rear, Joey in front - now 13 years old.

The feral cats were fed twice a day.  My husband built an insulated multi-level shelter for them. And when they needed medical care, they were trapped again and taken to a vet. We lost a few to wild animals, cars, illnesses - living outdoors is a hard life. When some of the cats developed health issues, we began to bring them inside to live. Several years later when I found the main male Big Guy laying on the upper level of the shelter unable to move, I knew this was the end for him.  I rushed him to a vet but there was nothing I could do - he died in my arms, knowing he was loved very much.

Albert, our deaf cat, found as a kitten  along a busy highway in 2004.

That changed the dynamics of the group and other male cats began to try to move in, chasing off the remaining ferals.  I brought the few left inside in 2005.  If you know anything about feral colonies - when there is a good place to live, if you remove the cats from the area, another group will come in and that is what happened.

Neighbors told me about seeing a white mother cat and tiny white kitten that had been fed by a shop nearby that closed in November for the winter. There had been four kittens in the litter - three black and one white.  I don't know what happened to the black ones.  It was January now and the two remaining cats were without food during a cold and snowy winter.  Of course, I put a bowl of food out on our deck with a basic shelter for them to use.  Lily and Snowball found it soon enough.  They were starving. It was pitiful watching them both shove each other out of the way to get at the food.  At last they had a safe place to get out of the cold and plenty of food.  I even put toys out for Snowball to play with on warm days on the deck.

Snowball that first winter.

Lily went on to have two more litters in spite of my best efrots to catch her.  I tried humane traps,  dog kennel cages - anything and everyhting but she was very smart and out witted me every time. She was a great mother and with food and shelter provided, both litters survived.  Again, I began TNR on the kittens as they became old eough to spay and neuter. Including Lily, we had ten more cats.

Two Spot on left and Only on right. Now you see how they got their names.

We knew at this point we were moving out of the area and began to solicit neighbors to feed and care for the cats with our financial support. No one wanted to make the commitment and I could not leave them behind.  We started trapping them to bring them indoors to move them with us.  I finally caught Lily and the last of the kittens by leaving the enclosed porch door open and letting them wander inside at their leisure.  Once they became used to this, I started to set the door as a trap door, pulling the string from inside the house when they were in the porch, safely away from the door.

Lily - mother of all the white cats.

So yes, we do have a lot of cats but I love each and every one of them. I can't imagine life without silly Lily (who is now a love bug), Snowball, Only, Two Spot and all the rest of them.  The white cats have a separate cat shelter on our land with an insulated heated indoor room and a big screen porch to play in.  The older cats are in the house with us so we can monitor and medicate them if needed.

Tabitha, one of two of Lily's tabby cats.

I am so grateful for organizations like Alley Cat Allies and other groups and individuals that have stepped up in the past 10 years to care for feral cats and educate people about them.  With love, time, effort and patience, feral cats can become a part of our community, our lives and our homes. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Wanderings - Bat Cave

The mountains in our area above 4000 feet are peak color this week but here in town not so much. Since our color here is not quite there yet we went to the town of Bat Cave just below us in Hickory Nut Gorge for a quick pumpkin series.  This shop, situated in a historic home, is very touristy but they do decorate the exterior very nicely for the season with pumpkins and apples and cabbages for  sale from local farmers.  The Broad River runs through the gorge across the street from the shop and was full from the rain this week.  Enjoy and hope you have a wonderful weekend.

JOEY UPDATE - Still waiting for the biopsy results from the vet.  We went on Tues so we are not sure what is taking so long.  Will keep you posted.  He is feeling fine other than the lumps so he is not in any distress.  Thank you all for your concern for my boy.



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