Springtime in our garden

Here’s an early spring assortment of flowers and other creatures from our garden. I’ll have more in the coming weeks, as our fruit trees begin to bloom.

Something wonderful happened last night

I want to share something with you, something wonderful that happened last night. Read on, it’s worth it.

Around 4 pm, the water company turned off the water for the entire city due to emergency repairs. Late at night, they turned it back on but it was full of silt and mud, so we let the faucets run to clear the pipes. I went back to my work and Ligia took Sophie to bed.

About an hour later, I got up from my desk and went to see if the water was clear enough to take a shower. To my surprise, the entire kitchen was flooded with about 1-2 cm of water. The kitchen sink had run over. There I was at 11:15 at night, faced with having to mop up all that water when all I wanted to do was to take a shower and hit the sack.

I got the mop and the bucket and got to work, grumbling to myself about the water company and the sink and the pipes and the dirty water and my luck.

A few minutes later, Sasha (one of our cats) came into the kitchen, stepped right onto the wet floor (you know cats, they avoid water) and started looking at me. She even drank some of it.

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As I looked at her, I was suddenly reminded of one of my favorite cartoons featuring Tom and Jerry, entitled “Mice Follies”, released in 1954. In it, Jerry and Nibbles (his nephew) flooded the kitchen and froze it with the aid of the refrigerator in order to create a skating rink. Tom naturally pursued them, leading to lots of pratfalls, pranks and laughter.

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That wonderful memory of a wonderful cartoon was enough to wipe the slate clean for me. All of a sudden, a late-night disaster was an opportunity to enjoy the moment. My attitude toward it changed completely and I began to enjoy mopping up all that water. I half expected Jerry and Nibbles to tiptoe into the kitchen holding a couple of refrigerator wires in hand, ready to freeze it.

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It took about 45 minutes to get all the water mopped up. All of the cats joined me by the end, entranced by the circular movements of the mop through the water. I even started a roaring fire in the kitchen stove to keep me company. I had a blast and went to bed with a smile on my face.

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Isn’t it amazing how differently we can perceive the same event if our attitude toward it changes? We can complain and grumble or we can smile and enjoy ourselves thoroughly doing the very same thing. And of course it helps if we also love Tom and Jerry cartoons!

Zumi suckles from Tessa

We were overjoyed to see this going on in the yard today.

That little furball suckling from our dog is Zumi Zoom-Zoom, our newly adopted kitten. The dog is of course Tessa, our ciobanesc mioritic breed, sporting her summer look. She normally looks like this.

With summer temperatures rising into the mid and upper 30s (Celsius), we didn’t want to cook her under that thick winter fur, so we gave her a haircut.

Of course, Zumi’s suckling empty teats. Tessa isn’t pregnant, nor do we have any plans to let her get pregnant until she’s over 2 years old. (She’s just about nine months now.) But the two of them have been getting along pretty nicely so far, in the short time that Zumi’s been with us. It took a week or so for Zumi to get used to the big, white, drooling monster who ran to greet her whenever she ventured into the yard, but they’ve warmed up nicely to each other. And I’m glad to see Tessa provide Zumi with a bit of comfort, while getting in a bit of practice for motherhood.

Playing with Felix when he was just a little kitten

Here’s a video clip of Felix playing with (and scratching) my hand while on my office chair. He was just a little kitten then and he didn’t know how to guard his claws yet. My hands were perennially scratched as he grew up but we adored him just the same.

By the way, if you love my kitty posts, I’ve started a new blog called Medieval Cats, to which you’re invited to subscribe. It’s 100% about cats, featuring our cats alongside other medieval cats (or cats from medieval cities, if you prefer). We currently have four cats: Sasha, Bubu, Tira and Zuzu (three females, one male). They’re all adorable, all photogenic and they love to go on their little adventures.

Why call it Medieval Cats? Because we live in the medieval city of Medias, in Romania. What’s more, we live in a house that’s (on paper) over 200 years old, although parts of it are even older. Let’s just say we “qualify” to use the term. 🙂

Pressing Grapes through a Traditional Wine Press

This autumn, we made grape juice from our grape harvest, using a traditional wine press. This video shows you the process and explains how the grape juice can be stopped from fermenting using either the traditional method, which involves heating it up, or the horseradish method, which will allow you to keep it raw, unaltered by heat.

You’ll also see appearances from our cats and our white rabbit.

Enjoy!

The cat house – part 9

More than two years after publishing parts 1-8, here’s the final installment in this series, which recaps the features of the cat house I’ve designed and built and describes some improvements that I’ve made to my original design, after testing it through two winters.

We now have four cats (Sasha, Zuzu, Tira and Bubu), as opposed to the original two kittens (Mitzi and Trixie) which you saw in the other videos. Mitzi and Trixie now live with my grandmother in Maramures.

So, what improvements have I made?

  • Installed shingles on the roof
  • Built an upper level so the cats can really stretch out while they’re inside
  • Re-did the wall through which the cats enter the house
  • Drilled some aeration holes in the walls
  • Removed a pet door which I’d installed at the entrance, for the same reason I drilled the aeration holes, which is to introduce enough air flow in the house and eliminate the moisture that used to gather on the inside walls
  • Built an add-on lobby which creates an ante-room on the porch and becomes useful during cold weather

Hope you enjoy this final video and it inspires you to build a nice cat house or dog house for your pets!

Here are the other eight videos in the series:

Bubu and Tira Playfight

Each day, as we work, one of our cats decides it’s time for a little playfight with one of the others (or with my pants or shoelaces). This video presents Bubu and Tira, our lovely adopted siblings, playfighting. This time Tira initiated the activities — it’s usually Bubu who does it. Tira is the grey kitten and Bubu is the large brown one.

Enjoy, and I hope it relaxes you as much as it relaxes us!

Meet Tira

Merry Christmas! We’re spending a quiet Christmas day at home, relaxing with old movies and old cartoons…

Here’s a quiet little video of our grey kitten, Tira.

We adopted her along with her brother, Bubu. Tira’s a lovely cat. She loves being around us. Wherever we go or sit in the house, we have to be careful, because Tira will inevitably fall asleep somewhere near our feet. She loves attention and once you begin to pet her, she’ll cling to you like sticky tape, asking for more. You can’t see it in this video, but she’s a fairly small kitten. Her brother’s huge, but she’s short and soft and very, very cuddly.

You can also see Tira and Bubu playing with Fritz, our grey bunny, who has since gone to a better place

Sasha’s gorgeous, dramatic eyes

Sasha is one of our adopted cats (she’s still a kitten, not yet mature). And she’s got these gorgeous yellow eyes. She’s incredibly expressive, all the time, and unlike our other cats, she loves to look into our eyes, for long periods of time. We adopted her when she was just a tiny bundle of fur (here’s what she looked like back then).

I recorded this video as she rested one day, while Ligia played with another of our cats (I think it was Zuzu). I loved how her eyes dilated and contracted based on what she was thinking as she watched the game. I hope you’ll enjoy it as well! I edited it so it’s dramatic — after all, Sasha is always dramatic. When she’s thirsty, it’s as if there’s been a year-long drought and she’s about to die. When she’s hungry, it’s as if she hasn’t eaten in a week. She loves to play it up. That’s our Sasha.

Cat goes missing in Colorado, found five years later in New York City

Photo of Willow courtesy of Popular Science

Amazing Cat Goes Missing in Colorado, Found Five Years Later in New York City, Alive and Well | Popular Science

The Pop Sci blog has published a story on Willow, a very lucky calico kitty who went missing in Colorado and was found, five years later, on the streets of Manhattan. When taken to a shelter, she was ID’d thanks to an embedded microchip and reunited with her owners. If only Willow could talk, what a yarn that would be!

This gives me hope that our own missing tomcat, our beloved Felix, will come back home someday. He disappeared in November of last year, during one of his mating trips. We were accustomed to his going MIA from time to time, but he always came back. We keep hoping against hope that he hasn’t died. The chances are slim, but Willow’s case is encouraging.


Analog LOL Cats

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats by Adam Koford is one of my favorite comic strips. It’s about two hobo cats who love travel and minor mischief. Adam posts the hand-drawn comics on Flickr, where I’ve been subscribed to his stream for over a year. I hope you’ll enjoy them as well!

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Zuzu and the Veil of Doom

Our kitten Zuzu loves to explore all sorts of hidden places, many of which have spiders and of course, spiderwebs. We photographed her wearing one of her own fashion creations here, the Veil of Doom.

Why call it the Veil of Doom? She’s a black kitty after all, and we all know from folklore that black cats are a little dark. (She does tend to be a bit gloomy and stubborn and doesn’t usually say much, but she’s very attached to us and she’s incredibly intelligent.)