Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oncidium, another unknown specimen

If we had it to do all over again, we would have invested in the metal plant tags that you emboss the names into. That way the sun cant just fade the names from the tags, leaving you with a collection of plants you dont know the names of.

But there is no doubt in my mind that this is an Oncidium, which one I cannot say.

Between my ears..................its been an hour since I typed "between my ears". Ive gone off and hung out some laundry, sat down again and nothing.....out again and brought in some firewood, try again - nothing! Etc.

I dont know what Im feeling. What I can say is that since last Monday I have had some more hours where I felt happy, so at least that is a going trend. Hooray for that.

There is also always the battle in my head between the open part of me that wants to share, and the paranoid part of me that says "You might want to run for office someday and not have something stupid you said on your blog get in your way".

Silly me, or Smart me? Only time can tell!

Friday, May 29, 2009

LC Peter Dane 'Sunshine' x BLC Dream Trader

This one's tag is still intact, so we know its #17 in our collection, and thus LC Peter Dane 'Sunshine' x BLC Dream Trader.


Blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah blah...let me try again tommorrow!

ATTENTION BLOGS I VISIT - Ive been getting wierd 'cannot open this webpage' errors on several of the blogs I regularly visit. I dont know if there is a Blogger issue or if its having recently been updated to IE8 - just FYI if you are wondering where I am. See you all as soon as I can get through - fingers crossed for tommorrow - Ciao!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bonne Chance: About last night

"About last night, Im sorry. I shouldnt have let it get so out of hand, I dont want to give you the wrong idea, but Im just not the kind of guy who settles down - I hope you understand, and that we can still be friends."

Uh huh. Well just so we understand each other, if you were human Id have given up a long time ago. Hey, you'll be back, you know you want it!


The saga continues - its a flippin' soap opera!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bonne Chance: Breaking News!

From my kitchen window, you can see the neighbor's 'dead car' that our lad has been living in. Leaping through the missing window was a breeze for him. But he seems to be making a smooth transition to the big ugly box on my front porch. It is surely less drafty in the box, and the squishy soft bed inside just seals the deal.

No rain today, so at last he can catch up on his garden naps. See how close I can get? It gets better!

Whenever I am in the kitchen, Aurora will be under foot, feigning starvation. Last week as I was trimming the fat from a steak I had a brainstorm. Aurora got a bit of course, but there was way more than one sedentary house cat should have. So I split the remaining fat (with a bit of meat attached for good measure) into daily portions and began a new experiment.

Taking a flashlight/torch with me into the garden after dark, I found Bonne Chance in one of his usual spots. As this was a new time and place to be approaching him, I was very careful to move slowly and speak softly. I held a warmed morsel out toward him, and let him catch the scent. He meowed. A Meow! At last something besides a hiss.

I placed the morsel on the ground and retreated. He was on it immediately. I am sure that in this cold early winter, the extra fat will do him only good. He is still getting a breakfast and a dinner with more balanced nutrition.

The next night, we repeated this new routine, and he took the goodie right from my hand!

Tonight, I was out of the beef bits. I had saved some chicken bits, but they were still frozen. So I brought out a few of the Inside Cat's Multi-national Brand treats.

Seeing me come out, he walked to me - meowing! A lovely, but manly, meow. As he reached for the tidbit in my hand, the scent obviously was not what he expected.

He took a step back, and gave me a confused look. I apologized, explained, and offered the treat again. I had to really work hard to defend this obviously paltry subsitution, and then it happened.

He leaned into my hand, running the side of his face and neck along my fingers, not just once, but several times. Dropping the treats, I tentatively scratched the back of his neck, ears, and back. He purred and purred and purred. One of the world's best sounds, a cat's purr.

After a few minutes of lovin', he broke off and began to eat the little pile of treats. I retreated inside to leave it at that for the night. Short, sweet and positive. You can bet I will have some dandy treat for him tommorrow night!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Bonne Chance: Flophouse Digs

Its been raining heavily for days and days. Although we are lucky we are not in one of the flooded towns, I still worried about our "Outside" cat, Bonne Chance. He didnt seem to be using any of the little houses I set up for him, and since this rain, he had been showing up soaked to his skin.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Years ago we had made this large carpet covered plywood box as part of a cat gym/scratching post for our indoor cats. But it had fallen out of favour with them, and was replaced. Stubbing my toes on it in the night for about the thousandth time, I had a lightbulb moment.

There is practically nothing that cant be fixed with a tarp and a roll of duct tape, (okay, sometimes you have to add a wire coat hanger). A plan was hatched to put into action the following morning. Damn. I really am a crazy cat lady.

He does sleep in it at night, and leaves reluctantly in the morning when he hears us up and about in the house in the morning.

Meant to blog long before this, but suddenly find myself doing stuff. Some of said stuff is totally crazy (cleaning frenzies, nearly ready for a House Beautfiul spread), and some is kinda fun (making myself some PJ's).

And since last Friday there have been some hours where I felt happy, albeit between hours of feeling decidedly NOT happy, but like I say, 'a win is a win'.

I found myself a bit wary of these happy feelings, I suppose because they are so alien to me, but although I joke* about it, Im not unhappy to feel happy.

Yes, I agree. "...not unhappy to feel happy..." does sound a tad suss.

Oh well, never mind!

* Think Monty Python and the Holy Grail: 'Bring out your dead' scene:

"I feel happy!!! I feel happy!!!!"
"I dont want to go on the cart!!!"

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Persephone of the Storm Water Drains

(((Nom, nom, nom.)))

Hey, wait a feels like someone is watching me!


Um, lady, Bonne Chance said I could have his leftovers.

She doesnt come everyday, and when she does, it is always at odd times. When she finished her snack, I watched her as she slunk a few houses away, and then down the storm water drain.

Leaving the ache in my heart aside for as long as I can; I found myself wondering about the personality (cat-ality?) that chooses life in the storm water drains vs the one who chooses life on the 'surface'.

Or perhaps it has less to do with the lifestyle either place offers, and more to do with taste, ie: a preference for rat, over bird. (I could go on, but its sad enough that I spend time thinking about these things, without spending an equal amount of time writing it all down.)


Indeed Bonne Chance is not at all bothered by Persephone. Which leads me to further conjecture, (of which you shall also be spared).

However, Aurora is heartbroken. Untill Persephone started showing up, Aurora was always happy to sit at the window and admire Bonne Chance. But no more. Now she is pissed. Theres only a few reasons why a 'woman' gets that mad at a 'man'.


Yesterday, I had the screen door open for some fresh air. As I passed the door around early evening, I saw Bonne Chance on the garden path, and when he saw me he walked quickly up the steps and right up to the screen door, I was so happy! I felt this was a great sign of progress, at last!

But then!! Aurora came charging down the hall hissing and spitting and hit the metal screen door at speed. BAM!!

Luckily for me, Bonne Chance only took a few steps backward and hissed a reply to her. I hope it wont cool his enthusiasm for interacting with me. I couldnt tell this morning as the poor guy was dripping with rain and therefore too grumpy to tell. Fingers crossed for dinner!


Persephone, Queen of the Underworld at Wikipedia

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lost name, still lovely

Neither of us can remember, with any degree of certainty, the name of this one. Pity, that.


All these gorgeous orchids in bloom do take the mind off one's angst for a few moments at a time. But earlier today, I had the distinct sensation of a large weight being dropped on me, I havent been able to shake the wierd feeling of being pushed downdowndown...or figure out where it has come from. If I consider that it could be a purely chemical thing, and not triggered by anything in particular, it just seems to me to be - unlikely.

Friday, May 15, 2009

BC Island Charm x BC Donna Kimura 'Robinson Heights'

Shouldnt an orchid this lovely have a name of its own, instead of just the name of its parents? This plant was spectacular this year, and the perfume! Heady and intense - summer's last gasp. Apparently, this specimen too enjoys the neglect it and its kin recieve under the backyard gum tree.

The "BC" at the beginning of each of its parents names tell us that both were hybrids, or the result of a 'x' (cross) between a Brassavola orchid and a Cattleya orchid. Making them, and their offspring, Brassocattleya orchids.


In the Depression Department: Ive just interrupted myself in the middle of another savage housecleaning attack, expressly to take a 'break' and blog. In some respects, the housecleaning frenzy could read as a sign that things are getting better. I used to have a fairly rigorous weekly routine and that got lost somewhere. I wouldnt mind having back it again.

Yet yesterday was a bad, bad day with me being unable to handle even the simplest matters. I so hate feeling powerless! Having said that, the frustration level with things like hands that dont work properly, gives me alot of material to get miserable about. Sometimes I wonder what is just bad brain chemistry, and what is just mechanical break down. And does it matter? Blerg!

Enough thinking out loud for today - Go have a good day!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bonne Chance: The Hangman Waits

By the end of April, when he sees me at mealtimes, he will often get up and start walking toward me! Hissing the whole way, but walking toward me! Although he continues to stop just out of arms reach. Still, a 'win' is a 'win', no matter how small.

I dish up the goodies, take one step back from the bowl and then invite him to help himself. Always he sniffs the air and shifts his weight from side to side for anywhere up to two minutes. But eventually he decides that he is hungry enough to come closer.

While he is eating I can get close enough to touch him, although I havent yet done so. I tap the edge of the bowl to get him to notice how close my hand is, hoping he will eventually realize that I will not harm him. I am going to wait for a sign from him that he is willing to be touched. Im certain that if I try it before that, it will be more of a setback than a step ahead.

However once he has finished his meal, he retreats to the 'three foot mark', and all bets are off again.

Ive been rolling all this over in my mind for months now, trying to find more possible solutions. He is feral. If I bring him in, he will be put down, and Im not comfortable with that. Who am I do decide who lives or dies? Hell, at this point in time I cant even figure out what to cook for dinner tonight...and he is not without some happiness. Certinally the bit of looking after he gets from me is of some comfort to him.

But Im not sure that I will actually be able to 'socialize' him enough to have him spared, and I know that bringing him inside with my two would be a mammoth disaster. In so many ways.

Mind you, if he turns up here sick beyond what I can help with (not much when you cant touch) - or gravely injured - then I will not hesitate to capture him by whatever means. I will not watch him suffer beyond what he is used to. If such should come to pass, I reserve the right to cry my eyes out afterward for as long as I want.

Ive set up a few boxes out of the weather for him to shelter in, although so far he seems to overnight in a 'dead car' in a neighbors yard. Fair enough Mate, but youve got options. Winter is not officially here yet, so he may find accommodation on my side of the street just a few stars higher come the wind and rain.

But whatever is to be done, it begs for doing before the breeding season in spring. I might be a crazy cat lady, but I refuse to be a totally irresponsible one.

Wish us luck.


We will catch up again with Bonne Chance as events develop, Cheers!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bonne Chance: Feral Redemption

Just after one evening meal with Bonne Chance, I returned inside and began doing the dishes. The only good thing about doing the dishes is I can look out the kitchen window while Im at it. From there I can see a small part of the garden, where a prickly Grevillia 'Scarlet Sprite' is planted.

This shrub is very popular with the birds, and lucky me, there was a White Plumed Honeyeater hovering about it, taking nectar from the flowers, as they do.

I was enjoying the show - wondering if it would last long enough for me to get the camera, when into this visions periphery, a low slung, fast moving, blur slunk in, and came to rest beneath the shrub.

I was out there in a heartbeat, and well timed it was. The honeyeater hovered, oblivious, just a foot and a half above the head of Bonne Chance, who was in prime position to pounce upward and claim his prize.

Just as his legs began to propel him, I clapped my hands sharply three times, adding a harsh verbal "NUH-UH!" for emphasis. Instantly the honeyeater took off to parts unknown.

Bonne Chance first landed awkwardly on the spiky shrub, wriggled his way off a stout branch, and then fell to the ground. There he proceeded to walk casually back to the sunny side of the garden and made every effort to pretend he had meant the whole thing to happen just exactly the way it did.

I, however, stood still, suddenly feeling sickly concerned about the lack of Little Wattle Bird sightings of late.

Getting ahold of my thoughts, I wandered over to my furry friend and at that invisible 'three foot mark', I crouched down, intent on having a deep and meaningful conversation.

I said "Hey Mate, I know its in your nature, but could you NOT do that HERE? I mean, you cant even be hungry after that dinner...(he yawned!!!)...I know! I know! Opportunity only knocks once, but Mate, the birds are friends of mine too."

Just then, a mob of Common 'Indian' Mynas came through, prompting me to add "Except that lot - you can have all of those you want!"

And thats when it suddenly dawned on me! Well, yes, but besides my being a complete hypocrite...


I will make up a set of flash cards - Birdy Flash Cards! And I will instruct Bonne with me here for a minute...For example: show him the Rainbow Lorikeet flash card and say "NO! Not yummy!" Then show him the Common 'Indian' Mynas flashcard and say "Go for it!" while simultaneously giving him a tasty little treat!

After I have him trained, he can help me recruit other feral cats. Together we will form a mighty Army of Ferals!

We will sweep across Australia wiping out non-indigineous birds thus reducing pressures on our native bird populations!

And One Great Day, Australia will no longer deride the Feral cat! But herald them as some of our Nation's great Heroes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bonne Chance: Homeless Freedom

I think what brings cats into my garden is, firstly, an absence of dogs. Followed closely by an abundance of birds. Add a drought sparse shrubbery and any cat can find a perfect spot to either bake in or escape the sun...and if one is really lucky, lunch will just land beside you! Gotta love the service in a place like that.

By the end of March, as you can see, he is comfortable with me being around him. Although that only lasts untill about the three foot mark - then he will retreat. To the three foot mark. Must just be his personal space requirement.

He will allow me to sit with him while he eats. I talk softly to him in an attempt to gain more trust. One day I asked him "When are you going to let me pet you? Ive got to get you socialized so you can have chance at a real home." While licking his whiskers, he looked up momentarily, I had the impression he was doing the cat equivalent of rolling his eyes.

Pressing the issue I continued, saying "Look, I know what its like out on the streets. It was a long time ago, but I remember like yesterday! The never being at ease, danger everywhere, long, long, neverending nights, sleeping in the day when its safer - and winter! How cold is winter? Dont you want to come in from the cold?"

He may have stuck his nose deeper into his dish, but he continued eating, and then I remembered something about my street days.

Under my breath I said "Of course, there is a sort of...freedom."

And I kid you not. He raised his head. He looked me right in the eye.

I felt his answer.


And as he walked away up the path, I realized why I care so much for this feral cat. We are kindred spirits in our way. Both a bit too damaged to ever really come in from the cold. Both doing our best living on the fringe of 'society', consumed entirely with the business of just getting through each day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bonne Chance: Two to Tango

I have never had an animal so wholeheartedly refuse me. He would arrive in the early evening, and give me a look of utter disdain. I would present my offerings - dry and tinned foods with fresh water - and retreat inside the house. Only then would he gorge himself. After, he would have a bath, a bit of a nap in the sun, then again disappear untill the following evening.

We are still engaged in the long slow dance toward what will be

It took six long weeks of these slow, careful steps till I had earned enough trust to sit within three feet of him while he eats. It was on one such occasion that I snapped this picture of him. He was so curious about the sounds coming from the camera, that he let his guard down. It was the first time I got to see his face without a malevolent expression.

Since then we began to find him in the garden on random mornings, and I have taken to giving him a nice breakfast if I find him there. We have a strange schedule in our house, so if Iam unable to check for him before 10am, he is never here. We hope he has another appointment with another crazy cat person somewhere nearby. Yet other days, he spends the whole day in my garden.

Some mornings after his breakfast we see him up the top of the street heading around the corner. On those days he is never back for dinner. Trying to follow him has been fruitless.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bonne Chance: Dead Cat Walking

Last October I talked about the five stray cats I was looking after . One was found to be a malingering housecat. A deep and meaningful conversation with his owner solved that one. Another just disappeared, which is a heartbreaker, everytime. The remaining three, two of them pregnant, were brought to our local animal shelter. None of them had micro-chip ID's.

At the shelter, I learned that their first test would be an observation of temperment. The rep explained that the 'socialized' cats would all hang out together in one group, and the 'ferals' in another. I thought that was an interesting, but un-scientific test. But given what I know about the behaviour of cats, I would agree its as good a start as any.

If they found that the surrendered cats were 'socialized', they would be health checked, and if passing there, they would have a chance at being re-homed. As I had been 'socializing' with each of these three, I had no worries that I was doing the right thing.

Surrendered cats found to be 'feral' are euthanized within days.

In early January, Bonne Chance arrived.

He is definately feral.


As usual be continued.
Photo taken, surreptitiously, through the lounge room window last January.