Cat’s Meow Cat Toy: A Crowd Pleaser at our Place

Last week, we gave our cats, Penny Lane and Peat, a late Christmas gift: the Cat’s Meow cat toy. We received it from a friend whose ‘outdoor’ cat was not impressed by the mechanical arm and mouse tail that runs in both directions underneath a yellow nylon skirt. Clearly, not the case at our house, with our predominantly ‘indoor’ cats. Both sister and brother are giving this cat toy full marks. Personally, I’m curious to see if the motor lasts as long as their interest. So far, so good. Every bit as addictive as catnip, when used sparingly.

Muse: Backyard Bird Feeder

Hawk Composing Itself After Eating Bird

Always nice to see a hawk in the backyard … until you realize he’s just finished eating one of the other birds you’ve been feeding all winter long. Ecosystem Management. Pretty. Brutal.

Music to suit: Guns n’ Roses Welcome to the Jungle
(Source: YouTube, FROZENPONDproduction)

Muse: Putting the Koi to Bed for Winter

Putting the Koi to Bed for Winter

Flurries and freezing temperatures … what a difference a week makes. That’s my cue to cover the pond with plastic and put the Koi to bed for another Winter. Not so bad for them. Just one more sleep till Spring.

Music to suit: The Specials, Enjoy Yourself
(Source: YouTube, Scuba Kat)

Muse: High-Energy Halloween Decorating

Always interesting to see Halloween decorating taken to extremes, like this house in Virginia that synchronized 8,500 LED lights with different music you can tune in to on your car radio. Epic. Curious to see what they do for Christmas … if they have any energy left.

Music: deadmau5, Ghosts N Stuff
(Source: YouTube, EdwardsLandingLights)

Muse: From Old-School Fish Tank to New-School Koi Pond

Koi in Backyard Pond

Shut down the old fish tank this week, which was probably a good idea, since it was 20 years old and starting to leak at the seams. Hard to imagine that’s the second tank I’ve retired. Guess that just means it’s time to focus on bigger and better things – like the Koi pond in the backyard and sharing it with all the thirsty critters in the neighbourhood. Fully interactive and social. Feels just about right for today.

Music to suit: Ernest Ranglin, Love and Happiness
(Source: YouTube, gurufuttlappele)

Muse: Can’t See the Bee Fly for the Bees

Bee Fly on Coreopsis 'Jethro Tull'

Saw this odd-looking character in my garden last year and again this past week: looks soft and fuzzy like a brown bear, flies like a hummingbird and feeds like a mosquito. Apparently, he’s a Bee Fly and he likes my Coreopsis. Bet he’s been there the whole time; I just never noticed him before. It’s a small world – until you open your eyes.

Music to suit: Deodato, September 13
(Source: YouTube, tuberider1976)

Muse: Bee Balm. Hummingbird Tested and Approved.

Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma 'Jacob Cline')

I love having Bee Balm in the garden when it blooms in early July. Not because it’s the most attractive plant in the garden – actually it’s kind of tall and awkward looking. But no other perennial attracts Hummingbirds to my city garden quite as reliably. Red Bee Balm is like a backyard gateway drug for Hummingbirds. Add a Hummingbird feeder and a Butterfly Bush on the side and you’re set for Hummingbird acrobatics the rest of the summer. Sweet.

Photograph: Bee Balm (Monarda Didyma ‘Jacob Cline’)
Music to suit: EST, Tuesday Wonderland
(Source: YouTube: MasterKefkaZX)

Muse: Roughing it out back … in my garden

Garden Pond, Waterfall, Patio, Pergola

Never feels quite like Summer until after the May 24th Long Weekend, when the garden is planted and the pond is up and running. Nothing like reconnecting with nature and getting lost in the sights and sounds of falling water. Not a substitute for a cottage, but certainly a lot easier to get to on Friday nights.

Music to suit: Stan Getz, Corcovado
(Source: YouTube, TheChroniquesdumonde)

Muse: Thank God, I’ve got shingles!

Never thought I’d be happy to get shingles, but when the rain started dripping through a tiny drapery-track hole in my ceiling, that was exactly what the Roof Doctor ordered. Home Ownership: curse this blessing.

Music to suit: The Beatles, ‘Fixing a Hole’
(Source: YouTube, mac3079b)