Six months ago:
Irina, my step-mother: And Dasha (her youngest daughter that my dad had a hand in raising) sent us the most beautiful flowers for your father’s birthday. I don’t know how she managed it from Canada.
Me, making a mental note, Must figure out how to send gifts to Russia.
Me, sending an extravagant clearly-US basket to my dad and step-mom. With a big card. In Russian. From Gordon, Ilona, and the girls.
Email: Basket delivered!
Skype: Crickets. Crickets. Crickets.
Me, the next day through Skype messaging: Dad, did you get korzinu? (Basket.)
Him: Oh yes! Great basket. So many American goodies. We were very puzzled and have been trying to figure out who would send us an American basket.
I can’t even.
Kid 2: I took two at home tests and I have COVID. I ruined Christmas!
Insert a long period of time when when both daughters were despondent, one was in despair because Christmas is the only thing she was looking to this year and “I want my sister to open my gifts and be happy, damn it!” and the other ridden by guilt. Angst and more angst, suggestions of delaying Christmas to New Year from me met by scorn etc. Me, hiding the extreme spike of anxiety by sheer will and assuring everyone that it will be fine while trying not to think of worst case hospitalization scenarios.
Kid 2, facetiming and waving a piece of paper.
Kid 2: I went to get professionally tested. I had COVID before. I knew this was not COVID. I don’t have COVID, but they are pretty sure I have the flu, because they have multiple cases of the people with the flu getting a false positive for COVID in our area with the at home tests.
How accurate are at home COVID-19 tests?NBC Chicago
Home tests will miss some infections and in rare cases mistakenly indicate an infection. One popular test misses around 15 out of 100 infections — these are called “false negatives” — and gives a false positive result in about 1 in 100 people who aren’t infected.
If you took an at home test, you might want to double check.
There are mice in the wood pile.
Mutilated mice count: 3.
Keeping Tuna inside game – Tuna 3, Us 0.
Reserve of emotional fortitude I have left to deal with gifts of disemboweled mice on the kitchen table: Zip.
Number of outdoor cat feeding stations and houses the deer now smashed: 4.
I am at my wits end. We’ve tried wood. We’ve tried plastic. The last house they stuck their heads in to get the cat food, their heads got stuck and they panicked and smashed the house on the ground.
I am so done.
Zero words for the last two days. This morning I slept in, because apparently I really needed it. I have resorted to Russian tea preparation. Normally I drink it without anything in it, but right now there are about 3 Tbsp of raspberry preserves and some honey in the Christmas tea. It’s medicinal. I don’t care how many calories it has.
Thank you so much for all of the gaming suggestions. I am going to try to make some words happen, and then I am going to get my grocery delivery sorted, and then I might look at Timbertown.
Am I first?
Glad to hear Kid 2 doesn’t have covid. Same thing happened to my cousin. I am supposed to get her from the airport today. 3 days ago she called in a panic and said her husband tested positive for covid on an at home kit. She was about to cancel her flight when I told her there’s still time to get a PCR test. It was negative. He had the flu.
Wishing you and your family a safe and happy Christmas!
Moderator R says
Certified first ????
I know it’s silly, but I grin every time I see this. Thanks for taking the time to make this award. It’s so fun to see people get excited about it.
Merry Christmas! ????????☃️
This is the first time I’ve spotted this- very cool… now thinking I’ve missed other posts with this in and will have to go check and catch up????♀️
Ray Bowden says
Have you tried a deer fence around the cat feeding station? You would need multiple entrances to the enclosure for the cats.
HOA would have a fit of cosmic proportions. The idiot cat and Boots, the not-ours semi feral cat, only hang out by the front door. We are limited in what we can put there.
I’m really glad I’ve not come across the UK equivalent of HOA’s they sound scary and a right pain in the a***
Mary Beth says
Ugh. Can’t stand HOA’s.
Best wishes for an excellent Christmas!
The Deer won’t smash or even lift 1/4 steel plate … make friends with a welder and make a custom something.
Just a suggestion.
Best of luck! And merry Christmas.
I’m glad it wasn’t Covid. We had to cancel a trip to Ohio to see my daughter’s family because of what turned out to be a cold. Still, these days you can’t be too careful. We are staying home for the holidays. I ordered a lace bundle from Farmhouse Fabrics as my treat and also made baklava. On gifts to parents: I remember one year I made fruitcake from scratch and overnighted it to my Dad in his retirement center. His response had to do with how much I spent mailing it! Merry Christmas and Happy NewYear!
Your dad’s response is exactly what my parents would do!
I am always entertained by the blog. And sometimes, I learn things I did not know.
Things I did not know that I learned from the Blog today. Deer eat cat food. I did not know that. Racoons, yes. Possums, yes. Dogs absolutely. Foxes, that’s a big ten four. But DEER? Not to mention shoving heads into containers to get to food!
Hedgehog ate cat food too. My front terrace currently housed one and watching its interaction with our resident cat is quite hilarious????
Hedgies! LOL. Well I don’t know what they put in the dry chow, but my cats love the trashy cheap store bought fancy feast beans. They refuse with great emphasis to lower themselves to eat the expensive boutique no grain, good for you semi dry chow I cough up many bucks for. Nooo. It must the the cheap beans. I can only think there’s an additive animals find delish and addictive. I have had squirrels, crows, chipmunks, the beagle next door, possum, skunk and fox dining on the dry chow. along with all the roaming kitties too.. but so far, I’ve not seen deer going for it. 🙂
I think cats (we have three), are like small children. It may taste better, but it’s not what we’re used to Mom!
Skunks also eat cat food. They are cat close cousin
Carina M Paredes says
I am currently getting over COVID. I had pneumonia with it thanks to my asthma. I am still coughing but starting to feel better. I am unvaccinated because I am actually allergic to all COVID vaccines. (Like actually allergic. . .doctor approved and all. . .) This is my second time having COVID and I am extremely cautious and most people I know are vaccinated. I probably wouldn’t have caught it again but my in-laws had it and I had to take care of them.
Wishing you a smooth recovery, Carina.
David Becher says
I found this on Amazon. It looks pretty solid, but I do not know if it would keep the deer out of the feed.
Nancy Weaver says
Lol, cat was trapped on front porch that I use for storage. After two days of sad meows, I tried tunneling through to it trying to lure it out with can of cat food, discover myself trapped. Sigh.
Greedy Guts says
How many days of sad meowing did YOU have to do to get rescued?
Ruth Flescher says
Ah, yes. We also had two days of sad meows as our intro to a new-to-us kitten. We had to pry up the metal skirting that covers the styrofoam insulation around our foundation. No idea how she got in, since the space didn’t look big enough for her. The skirting will never be the same, but Smudge was fine.
Brittany V. says
My dad has covid for Christmas. So it’ll be a very FaceTimed Christmas this year ????
Item of interest for you – I know there is a book section for recommendations but I really think both of you will enjoy – Apollo Murders (just finished audio book and highly recommend even though I am not typically a fan of military books, the espionage mystery portion was excellent) by Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. If you don’t take book suggestion I would encourage a view of his youtube vids of while he was in space…the man is pretty darn amazing. https://www.youtube.com/user/ColChrisHadfield just a time suck but fun! Not like you don’t have a pile of stuff to do. Glad your Christmas is saved with only flu and no covid. Here in Canada Omicron is kicking butt and taking prisoners – Happy Christmas to all – be safe!
Deer are the biggest PITA. I just got my backyard fenced. To keep dogs in, not deer out, but I didn’t expect deer would want to get in that badly. This morning I discovered a stag had apparently jumped in and used the star magnolia to shred his velvet.
The tree is over thirty years old; star magnolias don’t grow huge here. The trunks are bigger than the deer-preferred baseball bat size, but apparently not enough bigger. It’s just a Royal Star and not my favorite magnolia – that would be the Waterlily at the other end of the yard – so I’m not that worried about it. Still annoyed though.
Too many family issues. I’m not touching them! Especially the dad story.
You have deer issues, I have squirrel issues. Sometimes a possum or two. We are working on a multi-year solution to stop squirrels from killing our potted plants. They’re still winning.
Hoping your holiday turns out great. Hugs. ????
Inga Abel says
Glad it wasn’t Covid! Hope she recovers well and fast and can enjoy christmas with you all.
How about setting up an extra deer feeding station with hay and carrots, so they will (maybe) stay out of the cat food. Install a wildlife camera and share with us, maybe?!?
Good luck, happy holidays and stay healthy!
Greets from Switzerland!
I recently discovered grocery delivery. (Late to the party as always!) I love the convenience, but considering that I am already 98.65% introvert and social isolationist, this additional means of staying home and not interacting with other human beings is probably not in my best interests.
Merry Christmas and Good Yule to the Andrews family.
Maybe allocate the 1.35% non-hermit time to things which you enjoy doing with others?
We do click & collect option. Less dodging of people and wondering what’s a good substitute if something is out, & in-person time saved. No delivery fee and sometimes a small upcharge on the item for the convenience of shopping from home.
General PSA regarding the self tests: the rate of false positives increases when you take the test in cold temperatures. Check the insert for your specific test but in general you should be taking it at room temperature.
I thought for sure that Russian tea had vodka in it – I’m going to have to try it with raspberry jam! I’m so happy that the COVID test was a false positive. Now, to train the deer. . . Maybe Santa’s reindeer could have a word?
Thank goodness your kid doesn’t have active COVID! Christmas!
Also, thank you for the good info on the at home test.
Finally, have you seen the feral cat warm boxes they make out of plastic tubs or old ice coolers? Maybe a more time intensive but less expensive outside cat option?
kIm Hurt says
You could try predators urine around cat boxes
Sara B. says
FYI — I tried that to try and defend my tulips from the bunnies … took cat-box leavings and spread around the tulip plantings, … no go. The bunnies just kept on eating the leaves and buds as the push up out of the ground. I switched to daffodils. 🙂
Oof. I’m so sorry you’re going through a hard time. Esp since your books are often what gets me through hard times! Sending you lots of good vibes if you want them.
Hugs…. thats all…. hugs
My kid and her husband are supposed to be getting tested today. He was exposed last week. That may cancel Christmas plans. At least it will change things
Re: disembowelled mice. Try finding one inside your duvet cover that has been there for a couple of days. That is really gross.
Or finding a bunny in pieces all over the back yard which may have been done by the dog and not one of the local foxes. Super gross. And sad
My dog was small cat sized with thin coat and when cold would jump up on our bed and scratch doonas etc into small hill and borrow into it. Went to bed one night and found hill covered in blood and guts. Rang son next door to deal with situation, I was hysterical, he thought I was having a heart attack. Was a torn apart dove. Had to supply my son with multiple batches of home made Afghan biscuits as compensation.
Cheryl M says
Hooray for Kid 2 not having covid. My Kid 1 and her husband do, so are missing Christmas dinner with the extended family. My sweet sister is taking dinner and presents over to leave on their front porch. (I’m in another state.) This is a breakthrough infection for them, so they’re not terribly worried, just annoyed. And getting bored. Good luck with the feeders snd the deer! Oh, better the mousie presents on the table than next to the bed each morning?
I used to foster cats for a rescue organization. Our president told me once, “If your cat brings you something dead, it is trying to feed you. If your cat brings you something alive, it is trying to teach you to hunt. Either way, your cat sees you, at best, as a kitten in need of care and training.
Shew, your life is extreme. Huh, and I had the boo-hoos over not seeing our Kate( lives in England) for around 10 years. Okay, we’re going to Zoom, or something, and hopefully this will sooth some woe. Hope your world improves, and Happy holidays, from us to you.
Maria M. OToole says
Your comment about Tuna cracked me up. My old cat used to pull the same trick (without the mutilated mice) if you left the door open one nanosecond too long. For instance, every time you tried to come in with a load of groceries…
Valerie in CA says
Deer and stupid cat; use tuna fish oil on the food? Maybe – deer do not normally care for fish. You may have mutant Texas deer though.
A friend of mine had a deer problem at his place in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He urinated all around contested areas and it worked. What was really bad was possums who really love cat food and the only solution was to stop feeding cats outside. They are vicious.
I think Tuna loves you very much and is just trying to feed you.
I just think Sean Evans and apple trees????
Ruth Flescher says
Like Talon tried to feed Cornelius after Nari’s murder.
So glad Kid 2 doesn’t have covid and that hopefully your Christmas plans can continue.
My eldest kid is 8 and his class had a mass outbreak just over two weeks ago and he tested positive. We made it a full week before I caught it so now we’re isolating and my youngests birthday is Xmas eve, we were having family round but it’s all been cancelled grumble grumble grumble.
Luckily the youngest is still free and clear (Jammy little bugger) also means plans of seeing spiderman are out the window too as I have a sneaking suspicion UK is gonna lockdown after Xmas
Happy holidays everyone
Rachel RobinsonHunley says
I baked bread today. It’s the first time we’ve ever done that. I get to try it in 30 minutes. Wish me luck.
Marianne Eybye says
Merry Christmas & Happy New year to you, Gordon Family! Ilona, please take this holiday time to write no words and relax with the family! We love you, take care of yourself! ????????
Bigmama Battillo says
Yikes! Love ya’ll! Sheesh. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I have no other words.
Real wood and hardware cloth like a rabbit hutch.
Yaya! On no covid. This variant is terrible catching.
On critter front. The deer had mostly left our inner yard but now with not just our 2 dogs, with my sister’s 4 dogs they are showing up more. Go figure, still maybe get your dogs to go potty around the kitty house?
My issue is fox denning in one of my back fields. She left at least ONE huge deep hole, so no horses out there for over a year. So now sis wants to put the sheep out there and just stick a log in the hole. I just hope she fox’s not using it. They aren’t supposed to have babies yet.
Deer are wonderful pets. Also…they taste awesome. X-Bow with broadheads will drop them silently and the HOA will be none the wiser. Naturally this works best in the backyard and not the front.
+ 100 from Canada
All that good food, delivering itself! 🙂
Merry Christmas to you, Gordon and your entire family! Take a nice break from your blog at least until after the New Year. And the same for Mod R!
Bill G says
Yuckers! Blessed be, and have as Merry a Christmas as possible.
The holidays is always a stressful season, it’s equal parts stress and equal parts joy. We just celebrated winter solstice, which is a big thing for Chinese people. One of my friends had decline to join last minute because she’s scared of getting Covid before her trip back to Taiwan. I was in the midst of food prep, and I thought I’d have to cancel the whole thing. Thankfully it still happened.
For Christmas, we have decided, we’re gonna have instant ramen, and call it a day. Just veg out. I’ll be totally zen.
We drove 9 hours home, having tested the entire week, both PCR and rapid. After one family gathering, we got a positive PCR result, a positive rapid test, and we turned around and went home. 3:30a we finally arrived, with the very confused two year old, to have a Christmas back at home without the break of doting grandparents.
I’m trying to make some magic happen, but…our moms cried. This variant is EVERYWHERE, and we had the most minute symptoms. Thank goodness for boosters but UGH what a stupid Christmas. I hope yours is better!
Lynn Thompson says
Thank you for the post, Ilona Andrews.
Very thankful that home Covid test was shown to be wrong. PCR testing is the gold standard in medical field and it is very difficult to reach that accuracy with home testing kits. Very nerve racking for you and yours though due to wait time for PCR test results.
Regarding the mice and Tuna. I read an article today at vet (waiting on Titan’s annual vaccinations etc visit— he was ugly about donating blood for heartworm test. no one got bit. Sigh) on Apple news titled “yes, your cat is an actual psychopath” by lifehacker. I LOL until I cried.
Deer…. the ten point buck apparently went to the heavenly fields this summer/ fall so there is a new buck who is determined to mark trees etc at 5 foot level. My bull has not been thrilled with tree and barn marking in his pasture. ????
Have a great holiday.
My mother in law told me to tie some used nylons around the bottom of my trees, that the scent would keep the deer away. I also think marigolds are supposed to repel them though not quite the season.
Donna A says
Forget the calories and add more jam to that tea!
I’ve already eaten from the Christmas goodies (ham and chocolate) and am eyeing the cheese and pickles. Covid Christmases are worse than regular Christmas so you need the extra treats for fortitude ????
Debbie Richardson says
It’s kind of crazy but put the outdoor cat food up high. Someplace you can get to for refills. Cats will find it. Deer can’t get to it.
If course, the coons can!
We have had some success with keeping deer out of the garden with these lights placed all around the perimeter. They were eating all the new shoots off our tomatoes. ???? I think mileage may vary depending on how smart the deer are in your area. They do not, however, work on groundhogs, who ate ALL my fall brassica crops (broccoli, Brussels, kale). ☹️
I am now very curious about Russian tea preparations. I googled it and apparently there are a variety of different methods, some of which involve fruit juices, cloves, cinnamon sticks, butter, as well as jams. It sounds like a tea adventure.
Very glad your daughter is fine. I am currently in line waiting to get tested. I feel fine and have all my shots, but I have a new cough and cases are spiking in my area. Le sigh, thank goodness for audiobooks and a full tank of gas.
Glad it was a false positive! Hope it’s alight case of the flu. Hmm, maybe doing a metal prison- style cage around the cat house? Or hire a guard wolf. ???? Been having Palmetto bug issues here. Stupid things keep coming into my house to (hopefully all) die. But this means I keep finding them in odd places and then feel thre urge to clean or burn everything. ????
I met palmetto bugs for the first time a few weeks after moving to Houston from the Oregon Coast. I almost had a heart attack! It then snuck off and I slept with the lights on for four days until I saw it wandering unsteadily across my bedroom carpet.(The apartment complex pest sprays probably got to it.) I covered it with a bowl. A few days later, I asked maintenance to come remove the (now dead) bug. I had a few more while I lived there and they are the scariest bug!
Forgive my lack of knowledge, I’m from L.A. Deer eat cat food? Do deer eat meat?
Moderator R says
Yes https://youtu.be/KE384lbB4No . If you check cat food ingredients you will see they contain more than just meat ????
That’s so much to deal with. Glad Christmas is saved, and hopefully everyone feels better and calmer soon.
May the cats stay in the right place/find the carefully hidden foods/stop it with the mice.
Ona Jo-Ellan Bass says
Love the beautiful kitty pic. Is that Tuna? Sorry about the mouse gifts. My babies caught a rat inside the house! I was worried about what it might have eaten (such as poison) so I did not let them keep it. They will have to make do with cat food.
Moderator R says
That is indeed Tuna ????
Clemson U recommends double fencing for deer – as deer have poor depth perception. The “fences” do not have to be solid or strong – tall poles with tape can work, according to the institution’s instructions to growers. It might work for part of your property.
More info https://lgpress.Clemson.edu/publication/managing-deer-damage-using-a-two-tiered-fence-system/
I’ve used rubber snakes to keep wildlife away from the house.The rubber snakes work best if you can set them up to move a little in the breeze (fishing line) and when they are back lit at night. I set mine up to throw a long shadow. If you decide to go this route, remember to spray paint them safety orange or cover them in glitter so that you can tell your decoys from local & transient snakes.
Wishing you & the BDH a joyful Christmas!
Yesterday I cancelled my trip back to Seattle. I’ve been feeling bleh (but I don’t have covid, thank you excellent university testing program) my sister is going to Mexico (she is getting back a couple days after I was supposed to have arrived, but my nephew can cover the whole cat sitting period), and this is why I bought refundable tickets, darn it. Hopefully I can reschedule the trip in February.
So phooey, but also an extended period at home with the cats, leavened with various expeditions with friends, and without work stuff hanging over me. (Unless you count all of the lace weight I am spinning for my sister…) All of my gifts will arrive late, because I was intending to bring them with me, but I suspect everyone will cope. My biggest regret is not being there to make Christmas morning break for the nephew and his girlfriend… and for the three of us to put together my sister’s stocking.
I’m going to try strawberry jam in my tea sounds great, thank you.
Aaaah mice, the bane of my NYC apartment existence lol (along with bedbugs, silverfish, cockroaches etc). My parents now have them in the basement of their suburban house and recently my dad caught two on a sticky trap. Somehow the sticky trap got attached to the side of some shelving in the laundry room and there were two mice on it. I let him dispose of them because I had enough adventures with those critters living in NYC.
No advice on how to keep deer out of anything. There’s a small herd we regularly see during spring/summer, they are scarcer in the winter but they eat everything and go everywhere. Fences don’t do anything because they can jump so high.
Glad your kids don’t have COVID! My supervisor’s son woke up this morning and collapsed, was hallucinating, it seemed pretty dramatic. He’s positive for covid. He seems to be okay but now my poor supervisor’s Christmas plans are ruined and she is trying to keep her 90 year old father sequestered from the rest of the family while hoping the rest of them don’t get it. Stay safe everyone! And if you do get it and you are vaccinated, I hope it is mild and passes quickly.
It’s the winter and dark mornings. During the summer I used to drink green tea in the mornings… No longer, it’s black tea all the way I desperately need it to wake me up.
Also, when you want some escapist TV – The Witcher season 2 was pretty fun. There’s a version of babayaga in it 🙂
You’re dad’s comment cracked me up! Yeah, I wonder who lives in America that would send them a Christmas present. Glad kid2 does not have covid again.
Ah the travails of pet ownership. I remember it fondly but have yet to feel the need to re-experience it.
Hope your holidays are fun and maybe less stressful going forward!
Sorry to hear this has been a rather suboptimal week. Fingers crossed it will go better from here!
Happy Holidays to one and all 🙂
Ellen D says
Poor Tuna. He works so hard keeping his human family fed. He gets no appreciation at all for his efforts.
Judy Schultheis says
My offspring are in Los Angeles for the holidays.
This morning I got to watch a video of my grandson rolling down the Page Museum at the Tar Pits. They forgot to bring any bubble stuff with them – there are fabulous wind currents on top of that museum, and when my girls were little, we lived maybe a block away. We spent a lot of time at the Page Museum chasing bubbles.
Thank you. Your blog posts shine bright in my pre-christmass gloom.
Yvonne A says
put the cat house on a place the cats can climb and out of the reach of the deer?
Paulette M Smith says
So happy to read about negative Covid test! As for Russian tea… I seriously need to look into this! Poor Tuna is trying to feed you. Not sure if that is any better than our own feline guardian who has been known to bring me LIVE (or at least half dead) mice… in bed. (Not the kind of breakfast in bed I like to dream about) Said guardian will let it get a few steps away from me before pouncing and bringing it back to me. ???? As for the deer? They do not like certain plant odors such as marigolds, mint, tansy, garlic, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, and lavender. (We live in middle of nowhere) They also avoid putrescent egg solids and wolf urine, the latter which can be bought online. (I do not wish to ever know how they get wolves to donate said urine).
It’s almost Christmas Eve and I have not wrapped a single gift. Off to research Furoshiki wrapping techniques for odd shaped packages. (As a quilter, I have LOTS of fabric to temporarily do double duty) Happy Holidays to both yours and MOD-R familles!
Deer and cats.
We have neighbor dog and cats. We only give cats enough for that meal. They have to be present to eat.
That’s great about the basket. Loved reading that part. Reminds of my own Eastern European relatives 🙂
I am curious as to which company you used for the gift basket. I’ve been looking to send something to my cousin in Croatia.
Debi Ennis Binder says
Sometimes being a good person, mom, and daughter catches up with you. Time to take care of yourself!
Glad Kid 2 tested negative.
Hope your family have a nice Christmas (and same to anyone reading this)!
Alison Parker says
Very glad for the covidless condition!
Is venison stew on the menu yet?
Please have a good Christmas!
You guys always give me the very best presents, I hope the very best come to you this year (and every year)!
As always, thank you for being so awesome.
I gave myself so much stress over Christmas lists and shopping, decorating, and holiday menus and more shopping, I had to take a stress day off from work yesterday. This happens when I wake up, sit on the edge of the bed, and literally can’t make myself move. It happened last in May when I was killing myself to make an editor’s deadline that I knew was impossible. Sometimes you just need it.
And I wrote a story years ago where a character drank Russian tea with preserves in it. Glad my research was accurate.
I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy New year. Love from Germany
Andrea Stevens says
I’m wondering why the deer want cat food? Maybe try placing a salt lick in the far corner of the yard for the deer? They may be trying to supplement something missing in their diet.
Then again, Texas deer are basically a$$holes. When I was living near the Woodlands, I had a doe that had an “appreciation” for a large planter near the driveway. Every time I replanted it, she would selectively snack on only the most expensive or hardest to get plants, while leaving the cheap or easy to find ones. I have never wanted to violate hunting restrictions so much in my life! Eventually gave up & planted a $hit ton of marigolds – problem solved…
Something that helps me when I am a little down, is to appreciate the small things in my life. Feeling gratitude for my friends and family. Enjoying the rain, the snow and the beauty all around me. Feeling the peace and the joy of the season through those small things.
Wishing House Andrews a fabulous Christmas, and a very happy and prosperous 2022. Lots of love and appreciation to all of you.
Susan Kim Reynolds says
Martin, our tuxedo cat, gave up on trying to teach me how to disembowel mice, but I think it may be because we ran out of them. He did kill a large rodent once, which we put in the trash after praising him extravagantly, and then we went to bed. In the morning, we found a large dramatically dead rodent in the dining room.
He was recycling the critter from the trash can.
NANCY L HASBACH says
Glad it wasn’t Covid. We are starting to pull back on activity again. It is not mandatory but my husband fits the profile for hospitalizations if he should get it. We are all vaccinated and boostered.
As to the cat’s presents, we have always had barn cats because the horse feed attracts rats and mice and we won’t use poison. I had a cat named Tropical that left rat remnants on the front step every morning. She left head tail and stomach. She lived fifteen years doing her job. None of the new cats are nearly as efficient.
Russian tea….much more effective with liberal addition of vodka!
Raspberry preserves & honey IN THE TEA? Mind blown. Now I’m wishing I made some from my homegrown raspberries this year. As soon as holiday hell-traffic is over I’m rushing to buy some!
I also hate how holidays have become anxiety ridden due to Covid so I have declared it tequila Christmas we are going out for tacos on the 26th with fingers crossed nobody in my little family has to miss it.
You have as many of those teas as it takes to soothe your soul for the upcoming holidays. Add some half & half too!
Kat in NJ says
I’m so happy to hear about the negative COVID test, but also sad to hear you have drama and illness otherwise.
As another Mom who is hitting her limit, I know how you feel: this has been A YEAR. I didn’t even want to set up a Christmas tree this year (but now that we have, sitting with only the tree lights on and listening to my favorite Christmas music has brought me much peace and comfort.) ????
Here’s a Christmas gift for you: from now until January 2, 2022, you are hereby OFFICIALLY granted the gift of hiding under warm covers when you need to, gaming anytime you want to, and drinking large quantities of sweetened tea (followed by the consumption of yummy cookies, even if they are store bought) frequently. No questions asked. ????
Here’s wishing a very Merry, Joyful, and Safe Christmas to our beloved House Andrews and Mod R! ????????????
Also wishing a happy holiday (whatever one you celebrate)to everyone in the BDH, as well as a much improved, healthier, and dare I wish HAPPIER New Year to all of us!
Yay to Kid2’s NOT-Covid. You and your family have a wonderful Christmas. Ours will be low key, but we will see my older sister and her husband who don’t take chances and have their vaccines and boosters despite living in PA. My brother came by today, but also safe. His wife’s leukemia is in remission, but she is still getting treatment ot keep it that way, so they are extremely careful.
Oh, God, mice. A few weeks ago Little Brother jumped on the bed, where I was lounging reading, and ran up to the pillow next to my head. I looked over, and he had a mouse hanging tail first from his mouth. I shrieked and shooed him off, he dropped the mouse at the foot of the bed, where I managed to scoop it up and discard – not sure whether it was dead or stunned. Then, last week, he jumped onto the bed and dropped a live mouse down by my feet. In. The. Bed. Fortunately, he dropped it on a top sheet, which I was able to gather up, carry outside, and fling open to send the mouse out to the predators that be. Straight into the laundry with the sheet. Both my cats are pretty good mousers, they get a lot of practice, as my house is over 100 years old and there are too many ways for them to get in.
Being a biologist I was thinking along the same lines as Yvonne.
Elevate the Cat food.
I am now supper impressed with all the different cat climbing designs people come up with. For deer you will want it 10 feet high to be safe. The problem then becomes, how do I comfortably get the cat food in there every day? So many complicated MacGyver solutions abound. Easy option, put the platform by a window. Complicated option, try a dumbwaiter esque pulley system. I love this stair design for minimalist style! https://quipster.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/cat-stairs/
Ilona and Gordon and family,
Hope your Holiday is able to happen now that the COVID disaster has been averted. I love reading your posts as they always make me laugh. Hope your family has a blessed and fun-filled Holiday
Sending all the love to House Andrews. Merry Christmas.
Sharon Leahy says
Smiles and impressed with the badazz deer y’all grow in Texas! Wowser, Texas !!! Meanwhile, I just wanted to share a realization (like, after looking at things for 74 years now, mmm, yes, somewhat slow on this…) that plants m a k e color … i.e., my African Violets are sitting on my window shelf, quietly, mysteriously, for their own jollies, m a k i n g color!!! Color, the most precious thing, and they have the superpower of m a k i n g c o l o r …. I am (as the Brits say) gobsmacked. (thank heavens that’s not literal, because who knows what the f* a ‘gob’ is … so, smiles from this edge of the earth to you at the Texan edge of the earth, and just a reminder to “focus on the donut, and not the hole”, smiles, look at what gives you joy, collect some gobs, and just add a little adult bev to that tea, and enjoy this wildazz planet’s cornacopious carnival ride.
Moderator R says
Hehe, a gob is a persons mouth ☺️. “Smacked in the mouth” with shock.
Old slang – “gob” meant “face”. So “gobsmacked” literally meant “slapped or punched in the face” = surprised!
I have no idea how current the meaning is, but that’s the old one.
Sorry, ModR, I should have known you’d have a better definition.
Alas, no good deed ever goes unpunished. I might attempt to move the feeding station, but I imagine you have already tried and failed.
So glad the Covid fairy missed you for Christmas this year. My son and daughter-in-law took tests the night before they got on the plane for Pennsylvania, just in case. (Both negative, thankfully.)
The dog is breaking out in a rash, however, and I am dog sitting…
The barn cats used to leave the unwanted parts of the rats that they caught on my parents’ back porch. We never knew why, unless they were bragging. It was a decent hike from barn to house, especially for a six pound cat carrying a large rat.
The dogs never touched the bodies, not even George (who was named for “George of the Jungle” for *very* good reasons.) I always figured they had been warned off enough times to make it stick.
I hope your Christmas calms down a bit and is as happy as you can make it.
Just a quick reminder to those considering jam in their tea. If you have a dislike for tiny seeds in your teeth, be sure your jam is seedless…
Claire M says
My boss had 3 positive home tests last night. Which means today she went for PCR test (not sure if it’s the same in the US as the UK, but that’s the professional one). Because my sister’s partner is the covid officer in his building and is rigorous with rules and regs, he’s told me I’m not allowed to rely on the LFT’s (home tests) and must get a PCR done and be negative or him and sis aren’t coming on boxing day ????. I get it, I do. He works in cyber security for company with government contracts and is pretty high ranking. He can’t afford to be off work because he can’t work from home. But it still sucks. Here’s hoping my test comes back negative, and in time.
Audrey L. says
Don’t know of you’d be interested, but E. Jade Lomax (author of Beanstalk) wrote an interactive fiction story that’s available to “play” freely online. Might help pass an afternoon when writing is being difficult.
Here’s the link to Stay: https://ejadelomax.itch.io/stay
And here’s the link to their blogpost announcing/explaining it: https://ejadelomax.com/2020/11/20/stay-a-choose-your-own-adventure-story/
Just finished the Dec 22 Newsletter. I am so sorry you are experiencing this angst. Frustration can be so tiring. Your humorous writing of it makes me want to laugh (which is what you were going for I’m sure). Just think successful authors also have real people lives.
I hope all goes well for your families’ Christmas. We are able to all get together this year which makes it wonderful for us! Peace and love this next year
Fr. Stephen Supica says
Emergency Christmas fall-back plan: Julian calendar gets you a do-over on January 7th. You’ll have lots of Russian company.
Mary Wheeler says
You could try putting cut onions or garlic or chives near or on top of the cat feeding stations. Deer typically will steer clear of them.
I hope everyone that is under the weather gets better and that you have a lovely Christmas celebration! Hope Dad appreciates your gift and lets you know it. take care, get rest and rejuvenate! Praying for a better year to come!
We keep mice out by using dryer sheets, regular bounce. Works great, we keep deer out of our garden by using plastic bags or used/dirty nylons socks. Hang up the plastic bags so the wind can shake them. Or hang the nylons/ socks close to the door way they don’t like the human smell
Wishing you all good things for the remainder of this year, and for next year, too.
Thank you for the joy and wonder you given the world.
So glad Kid 2 doesn’t have COVID again!
ROFLMAO at the part about Tuna. How is Kid 2’s kitten doing?
One of my fellow cat rescuers has taken to dropping of donations at my house so that I can take them to HQ. One day Gina graced the volunteer with her presence. The volunteer, knowing that the bags of dry food were now in mortal peril opened a can of wet food for Gina as tribute. Gina graciously accepted, ate the meal and left. 5 minutes later she returned with a vole that she placed next to the can.
Debi Majo says
The American basket… I laughed so hard! Water sprouted out of my nose and I “leaked” a tiny bit!
Angela Knight says
I am so sorry you’re stressed. Glad Kid doesn’t have Covid! I hope the rest of Christmas improves!
Mmm-kay …so please don’t ban me..cuz I adore your books and don’t want to be prevented from buying the next one…so..I’ll just explain Corona, and COVID and leave it up to you to interpret. So: Corona is the family. (Think Baylor family). That’s their name. They break off this powerful little piece called COVID (Victoria) she is a prime and she’s kinda scary. Victoria spawns off Delta (Nevada Baylor) who is a total bad ass…and WILL hurt you. So then comes Arabella… (Yes, I know I just skipped over Catalina…sue me). Arabella is WAY more relatable (and contagious) and we all want to have her story..we’re gonna call Arabella Omicron. So Arabella wreaks havoc and stirs up the council. She’s fun, we all want to be in her presence….and she will spread her love (easily and quickly). Meanwhile….normal humans are testing for COVID (House of Baylor with Nevada or whom???!!!) and Corona (Is Victoria our fairy God Mother?!?!). And yes, they may have it or not…but WHICH HOUSE? Which individual? Which super-power?? Tough to tell. You can be part of the house of Corona…and not be a Baylor. OR you could be Arabella in the direct relation of COVID.… The “at home tests” aren’t sensitive enough to know if you will bend minds…or stomp on people because they are stupid and deserve it. Bottom line. Fight with all the super-power you have. Get a damn vaccination!
So….all these insta-test will tell you your house…but little else. Covid is part of the regular (boring) Corona house. So you may be part of house Baylor..but still have absolutely no scary super power (common flu).
Mel, this was the most confusing and convoluted explanation of SARS-CoV-2 I have ever read. I think you misunderstood some things. Let me help you.
When people say that COVID and common cold are related, they mean in very general terms. Coronavirus family includes many different viruses that cause very different illnesses, including SARS, MERS, and of course, COVID 19.
No, the rapid at home tests do not produce false positives because they detect common cold. They are rapid antigen tests and are highly specific. Most likely they are giving false positives due to either buffer being compromised, to user error, or because by nature they are less precise. They are looking for viral proteins vs PCR, which looks for viral DNA.
Common cold and Covid are caused by different viral agents, the first by rhinoviruses and the second by SARS-CoV-2, which is why antibodies developed as a result of a seasonal common cold infection do not protect us from COVID infections. You can read more about it here: https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2021/february/antibodies-to-common-cold-coronaviruses-do-not-protect-against-sars-cov2
You don’t need to explain COVID to me or any of the VOCs. 🙂 I have a good layman’s grasp of epidemiology and microbiology, and I read WHO dispatches any time VOI or VOC pops and warrants a press release. Everyone in our family is vaccinated.
Well that makes MUCH more sense! Thank you! And I think I just (self – embarrassingly) proved the fact that it’s better to be thought an idiot and remain silent than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. oops..I hate it when I do that! Thanks for the WAY better explanation. I (obviously) need to learn more than I think I already know! Hugs and happy holidays!
Happy Christmas????????. I really enjoy reading your blog. Usually I find something amusing in there. Covid isn’t amusing of course & Im glad the kid didn’t have it????????. It’s frightening to even think you have it. Both my brother & nephew have had it( their fine now except my brother still has a problem with his taste buds) & my partners daughter & her family have had it. Her older daughter has it now & is in isolation until Boxing Day.
The basket to Russia? I cried because that is the reaction my dad would have had- or similar- Bless him. ‘I got this ‘thing’ in the post & I don’t know who sent it. Oh you did. WHY? ‘Lol. Yep! That’s so him.
I’ve been watching a show on Amazon called Detective Anna so I knew that you added jam to Russian tea but I hadn’t seen them add vodka. Is Russian tea a particular brand? I must look it up.
My shopping? I do what we call click & collect here. I pay a nominal sum for the supermarket to ‘fill’ my shopping basket online & then drive over for them to put it in the boot of my car, mainly because in lockdown it gave me a chance to use the car & keep it ticking over. You only talk to the servers through the car window☺️.
Finally. Did I hear TG????. I like Deer????????. I like Venison☺️. Enough said.
Hopefully you can enjoy a few stress free days surrounded by your family, eating lots of yummy food & not thinking about the extra cals.????????????????????????????
Does anyone have any idea how many recipes there are for a PRICEY boneless ribeye roast? Bazillions! AND NO TWO ARE THE SAME.
I am so intimidated by this piece of cow meat…
I’m at my son’s house so happy days; it’s been two years. I’ve had three tests in a week but I’m just happy to be here. I’ve been to wrestling practice and indoor soccor but no volleyball as the coaches don’t allow it. I swear both kids are almost 6 inches taller!
Best wishes to everyone for your best possible holiday season and remember to appreciate all your blessings large and small.
Calico cats always have to do it THEIR WAY!
Hope your week looks up!
Thanks for the great snippet! Love InnKeeper series!
I have seen outdoor cat houses made from tires. They have plywood circles over the openings, top and bottom with an opening for the cats cut into the sides. Several can be fastened on top of each other. I think your deer might have a problem breaking those lol. I think metal could be substituted instead of wood to make them even more deer proof.
Please explain Russian tea prep. ….sounds interesting for debriefing post work????
On the deer issue. Try deer level bird feeders with dog food and bird food available. That way they don’t have to hunt to eat
But did you read about Jorts the Cat? That would be medicinal, too. (See comments and links in previous post.)
Now I will have to google Russian tea with jam. Because I love tea. (That coffee stuff is just nasty!)
Katherine L Nobles says
Russian tea with preserves, yum! I like cherry preserves. Желаем счастливого Рождества вам и вашей семье.
Matthew Smith says
It seems to me that 99% of being a parent is keeping a calm, straight face, while screaming, crying, gibbering, and/or foaming at the mouth on the inside.
Cat Kimbriel says
No suggestions. Just sympathies and ghost hugs if you need one.
You tried everything possible. I hope the tea helped!
May you all stay safe this season.
Okay, this may sound crazy. I have a cat who will drink from a running faucet or my glass. For obvious reasons this is less than ideal. So I bought a cat water fountain that is powered via USB plug. I had it on the counter next to her favorite sink for two months. She would look at it. Then me. And demand water from faucet. I finally gave up. I took the fountain apart, washed it all and was trying to figure out what to do with it. The cat is suddenly very distressed. Turns out she was a closet fountain drinker. I promptly reassembled and filled it and all was right in the world. (Btw she no longer hides her fountain drinking) ….the point of sharing this story is your cat may be willing to enter the fenced area to eat…but only if you don’t know. Maybe a web cam might help? Good luck!
Holidays can be stressful…especially with sick children. Your tea sounds so good! Definitely going to make!