Sunday, January 17, 2010


This is Dawn The Kitten/Cat who mothered them all.  She is about 9 months old in this picture.  she is fierce.  Mousing is her favorite hobby.  Attacking other cats who infringe on what she considers her territory is her goal each day.  Her territory is anywhere she happens to be.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


As I was leaving, Spirits new home, I told the new owners if they had any questions please call and added if she didn't work out well please call us we would pick her up.  I really didn't think the pick up option would happen or I wouldn't have left her. 

Sometimes my faith in humans is destroyed, sometimes I am upset with myself for misjudging the situation; both had happened this time.   This morning Spirit's new home called for us to pick her up.  They said "Halloween" just wouldn't calm down and leave her alone.  I thanked her for calling and told her I'd be right over to pick her up. 

When I arrived I was shocked.  There wasn't just one cat there that was 8 months old.  There were 3 male cats, all black, all un-nuetered.  The others were Cats not kittens.  The lady had lied by ommision. I would have never left a 5 month old little girl there. 

I picked Spirit up.  She was shaking and then all of a sudden she realized who I was and I received a love rub and she started purring.  Matilda was truly sad to see her go.  Thank goodness she realized she had a situation that wouldn't get any better with time.

When I returned home with Spirit I took her to the bath room and rubbed her down with a wet wash cloth.  I did this for two reasons.  Evidently they smoked.  She reaked of cigaretts and Hunny is allergic to black cats.  No joke, every black cat he has been around causes immediate sneezing, swelling of his eyes and severe itching.

Spirit is in Hunny's Den now.  She is exploring and getting to know where every nook and cranny is.  Tonight we will introduce her to the dog again.  I tried when I got home but she was still so hyper from her experiences the last few days she thought the dog sniffing her was going to kill her. 

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Spirit's name seemed to fit her even though she didn't seem to care for it. 
She never did respond to it when I called her. She was one of the kittens
from the litter that had hypothermia. From the first when I found her she
was a fighter. She was the first to scramble under Dawn and latch on. As I
remember she was always first under Dawn. She was always the first to jump
up when I came into the room. She was full of vim and vigor.

She was white but not really white she had this veil of beige on the tips of
her fur; giving her a misty appearance. This was the reason I named her
Spirit. As she grew older her feisty independence grew stronger. She wanted
to be first at everything and she was. She was the first to figure out how
to escape over the sides of the nest box.

We knew when the sign went up that if any kitten went first it would be her.
She was gorgeous. No one would even look first at her personality. They
would only notice how beautiful she was. I thought if we were going to have
to raise a kitten (finding homes for the kittens in this economy is hard) we
would pick the one we wanted to keep.

Each week Spirit's coat changed. The beige tips changed to gray in some
places. She still was very white but now she looked like she had a cloud
around her. Her ears became light gray. Her face developed steel gray
tabby stripes on it. Her tail became charcoal gray. Nothing seemed to
take away from her beauty. She was fabulous. Her personality grew too. She
was adventuresome and quite the little prankster.

Each person who came to look said, "Oh, I want that one". I followed with,
"She's already spoken for I am holding her for Christmas." Technically it
wasn't a white lie.

By Christmas all had found homes except her and Winky. Winky's story you
heard in Part two. I was getting ready to give the two a flea treatment and
bring them up to the house to peoplefy them; to teach them manners.

My Hunny called and said he had just gotten a call on the phone for kittens.
I said I wonder who gave them your number. He told me he told her he'd have
me call her back. He said, "I think she's elderly, she said her name was
Matilda." He gave me the name and I sat down to call the lady.

She must have been waiting by the phone. I called from my house phone and
she had no idea of my last name so caller I.D. would not have clued her in
it was I. The phone was answered before the first ring had finished
ringing. She didn't even say hello. She said, "Is this Gloria?"

I told her it was. I asked her if she was the lady that called my Hunny and
she answered yes. (She had gotten the number wrong by one number and it just
happened to be Hunny's number). Her English was halting. I couldn't tell if
she had a foreign accent. She also sounded like my deaf friends who had
never heard a spoken word but learned to speak.

She stated she was elderly and she wanted a boy kitten. I asked her if
there was any special reason she wanted a boy kitten. She replied no and
asked me why I asked. I told her I had only one kitten left, it was one I
had chosen to keep if I couldn't find a good home for it and it was a girl.

In her broken speech she told me they would be a very good home with lots of
love. She told me we have lots of toys for her. She said could you bring
her for us. I asked where they lived and it was less than 3 miles away. I
told her being the ice on our drive was so thick we would bring her around.
I also told her I had already refused a home last week and if we got there
and we decided we should keep her we would bring her back home.

She became very distressed at what I said and reiterated all they had for the
kitty and asked me why I had refused the other people. I told her when I
asked a couple of questions the lady admitted they were from a rescue center
and would be taking her and putting her up for adoption. I told the lady I
was doing that and if I didn't find a home I approved of then her home would
be with us. She answered me, "That would be terrible and so hard on the
kitty having to learn to like another home only to have to leave to go
somewhere else."

After hearing her response, I told her not to worry we would bring Spirit
over to see her when Hunny got home from work.

I proceeded to get directions from her. I realized she did not know if she
was east or west of our road, even though she had seen the sign on our road.
I finally asked her if she turned out of my road which town would she being
going to. It turned out she lived in the mobile home park not too far from
our house.

When Hunny got home I loaded both Winky and Spirit into the cat carrier. I
had just finished treating them for fleas so they wouldn't carry any over to
the people's cat. I forgot to mention as we were finishing the conversation
she said quietly, "We have another cat." I asked her why you want another
one. She answered her kitten was lonely. I can understand that, if our cat
and dog weren't such good friends I would have had another cat too.

The mobile home park is very nice. It has nice wide streets that are paved
with concrete. There are side walks. All the lots have nice size yards.
This park was built in the 60's. It was very subdivision like. Not the
norm for mobile home parks of that era. We meandered down the street
looking for her address. She made it sound like she was the second house on
the street. We went for over two blocks before we came to the right

I called her when we left and told her we were coming over. She asked how
long it would take me. I said maybe 5 minutes. You are right around the
corner from us. She replied, "Oh goody, I will wait by the mail box for
you." I told her not to, it was too cold. She reluctantly said okay.

When we drove up she came out of the house lickety split. She hollered,
this is Spirits new home you are here. She had on furry slippers and a thin
blouse and skirt. No sweater not even warm socks. I told her to hurry back
in we'd bring the kittens in a minute. When we brought the carrier in she
squealed, "You brought me 2 kitties, you are so wonderful." I explained to
her that Winky just came along for the ride that he was our kitten and we
didn't want him to be lonesome. I told her when we got home he would be
coming up to live with us at our home, he wouldn't be living in the barn

When we came inside I realized the reason for her halting English, She had
Turrets syndrome. She had to hold on to her hand or hold onto something to
keep it from flying all around. When she wasn't nervous (when she picked up
Spirit) her voice returned to a normal cadence and her body stopped shaking.
The trailer inside was sparsely furnished, but very clean. Everything
inside was very old and worn. On the floor in the middle of the living room
was an 8 foot square of carpet. In the middle was the largest assortment of
cat toys you have ever seen. In the middle was a small carpeted cat tower
with a springy toy on top. Against the far wall were 4 water dishes and 4 
very full feed dishes. She said did you notice I got another litter box
just for her. "You are going to let me keep her; I already love her so
much." Her husband said, "We will give her lots of love and she will have
Halloween for a friend." I asked who, and he said that was the name of the
other kitten. We hadn't seen him. All of a sudden as if on cue, out comes
Halloween. He's as black as night.

Matilda is holding Spirit and pleadingly looks at me and says, "Are you sure
we can have her?" I said yes but if you decide you can't care fore her or
she is too much trouble for you, you will call me to come and get her.

When we got in the car I asked Hunny if I did the right thing, I knew the
kitten would probably never see a vet unless she became ill. I knew they
didn't have the finances for all the shots. I also knew from all I saw that
she would not lack for love and would get the best care they could give her.

Matilda called me today and said, "Spirit loves me, thank you so much."


I told you I would do “Spirit’s” story next but “Winky’s” story just came to a close. Winky was the first kitten I found. Remember the one found on the floor in the barn? Winky was gung ho on eating for about 10 days. All of a sudden he decided he wasn’t going to eat from the syringe or from Dawn.

Each time I would try to feed him he would gag and try to scratch me. I tried to put him on Dawn. I took all the kittens out of the box and left him without the competition to nurse. Nada, nothing, he could have cared less about nursing. I forced a three cc syringe down him (working hard not to cause him to aspirate the liquid).

When I returned to the house I called the vet and asked him why the kitten stopped eating. He said that kittens and cats can become anorexic. He said dogs don’t but cats do. Winky did not have a name yet. In fact I had not named any of the kittens yet. I decided I should give them identities in case someone else would need to bottle them. They were not eating the same amounts each. I had a chart on the wall with their colors on it. I marked them off after they ate with the amounts they consumed.

Three of the kittens were very close in colors, names and descriptions were necessary. There was White socks, smoky, and gray beard. Then Spirit who looked like a ghost, Squeakers, Fuzzy, and Zoomer. We also had Lady, Grayling, My friend and Amigo. My little anorexic friend I named Andy.

Andy insisted on not eating for 2 weeks. He was getting skinnier and skinnier. I was just about to give up when he started eating. He ate like he hadn’t been eating for weeks; which he hadn’t. He began playing with all the others and darting around the room, getting into everything.

His rambunctious ness was to lead him into trouble. One morning I came in and it was very evident that something had punctured the center of his eye. There was an infection in the eye. I had antibiotic from my cataract surgery and the vet said to use it. The eye seemed to do alright until the night before I left to go out of town. It seemed to me it looked swollen (the eyeball). I told hunny to watch it and be sure to give the antibiotics 3 times a day. I was only gone three days and when I came home little Andy looked like he had one of those jawbreakers for an eyeball. The next morning I rushed to the vet with Andy.

He looked at the eye and said the only fix would be (removal of the eyeball); he used the fancy word for it. I asked him how much and he said 350.00 dollars. I gasped and told him I didn’t know. The kitten was a not worth anything Barn cat. He said he could put him to sleep; which sent me into cataleptia (I know it is Not a word). I called hunny, he knew how much vested interest I had in the kittens and he said go ahead with the surgery.

We left Andy with the vet for 5 days. We visited him daily. You couldn’t see anything, the head was bandaged. The vet said he was eating like a little pig. When we brought him home I was worried momma and the siblings would have trouble accepting him. It was no problem at all. Everyone ran around smelling everyone and they all did fine. My next worry was he would do something to injure the area.

For the next two weeks we had a regimen of medicine till the stitches would come out. The stitches would be removed the week before Thanks giving. That week we were excited because the Grands were coming to visit. I was thrilled we still had 8 of the kittens. I knew the kids would enjoy them.

Enjoy the kittens wasn’t the correct word. They were thrilled and each day would beg to go to the barn several times a day. The second day they played with the kittens my granddaughter said, “Baba, His name should be “Winky”. He looks like he is winking.” That day Andy became “Winky”.

At the end of the month it came time to pay the bill. We stopped by to pay him; he has been our vet for 35 years. He called us in to the office and said, “I know in this economy you are as pressed for cash as I am so I am making you a deal. If you ever find him a home they will owe me the money. But if you keep him for yourself consider the operation a gift.”

Christmas came and went. All the kittens except for” Spirit”, the chosen one and “Winky” were gone. Sunday night “Spirit” found a home and the Free Kittens sign came down. Winky was brought up to the house to learn how to be a house cat. We put him, his litter box, feed and water dishes in the den (it is a room that is totally closed off from the rest of the house.) We wanted him to get used to us walking in and out, to get used to the dog and the other cat without running and hiding. He adjusted really well and the first night snuggled up between Hunny and I while we were watching TV.

Hunny was sniffing. I told him to start the vitamin “Cs”. He said okay. The next night he said his eye felt really dry and scratched. I said try your moisturizer, the eye doctor said that could happen (he just finished cataract surgery). Tuesday night he complained his eyes were burning and I said he better start the eye antibiotic again. Well last night we realized the sniffling and the eye burning only happened when he went into his den. Hunny was allergic to Winky.

This morning I called the vet and told him. He told me to bring him over and he would find a home for him. When I delivered him I told him what a fantastic kitten he had been. How much he liked to cuddle. He looked at him and held him and said, “You know, I might just keep him for myself.”

It was very difficult to leave my little one but I was so glad I got to know what a prize he is. (Hunny is very upset “Winky” had to leave. Several times today he called me and said he was sorry.)

It has been an amazing five months playing Mama to the kittens. I learned so much watching them. My only regret is Hunny didn’t take pictures of them.


Sunday we found a home for the last kitten.

In August we had a 6 month old kitten dumped. The vet said she was too young to be pregnant. Three weeks later she had two kittens no bigger than your thumb. They were naked. They were at least 3 weeks premature. We figured they would die; she cared for them never leaving the box. We had to take food and water to her and moved the litter box next to the nest box. We couldn’t believe how they thrived. It took two weeks for them to start getting hair. And it was almost a month before they opened their eyes. It was amazing to watch her take care of the kittens. She was nothing but a kitten herself.

The first of the orphaned kittens showed up when her babies were 3 weeks old. This one barely had its eyes opened. It was lying in the middle of the barn floor. I picked it up trying to find where it came from. I had no luck. I called Hunny and told him to pick up some goats milk from Wal-Mart. Till he came home I gave him diluted cow’s milk to keep him hydrated and his tummy full. Middle of the afternoon I thought, “I wonder if the mom will take this orphan?” I made a trip to the barn to see if I could introduce the kitten to the new mom. (New mom’s name is Dawn.)

Dawn was nursing her babies so I put the little one next to them. He immediately started rooting around. She looked down, reached over the other two and gave him a nudge, pointing him in the right direction. Success, But I was worried that she wouldn’t have enough milk for them. Nursing her own 24 hours a day I knew they were needing all she could produce. She was still not leaving the nest box; this had been going on for 3 weeks. She was so tiny herself. I decided I should still supplement.

Evening came; Hunny brought home the goats milk. I went down to feed the new arrival at 10 Pm. I figured it would give him the extra nutrition he needed and stop his drain on her, so she would have plenty of milk for her babies. When I entered the barn I heard babies screaming. It was not the babies that were snug in the warm furnace room. This was a litter in the barn somewhere. I thought Mom has left them to go get something to eat. I didn’t think any thing else. I fed the baby and when I came out, little ones were still hollering. I turned out the lights and left.

The next morning I had to get up early to take care of the new little one before I had to get Hunny up. At 5 in the morning things are so quiet, the birds haven’t even gotten up yet. Fall wasn’t here but my valley already had frost. When I got out of the car, I could hear babies crying. These were the same ones that were crying last night. I thought, “Oh no, Mommy isn’t hunting, something is wrong. Mom is gone.” I listened and started searching. I found the babies; they were not in a nest. They were under the mower. There were three, very dirty kittens. Their bodies were so cold. They evidently had been scooting around trying to find mom, crying all night.

I took them in the furnace room. Wrapped them in a warm towel and filled a bucket with warm water. I put the kittens in the warm water. They were so cold I had to keep adding hot water to keep the temperature of the water warm. It took about an hour to warm the kittens to where they were not cold to the touch anymore. I dried them thoroughly. From the size and colors of them, they were siblings to the little one I found in the floor the day before.

Next on the agenda, was to get some warm milk in their tummies and feed their brother too. They were so hungry I had no trouble getting them to suck on the point of the shot syringe. As I fed them I placed them in the nest box with the Dawn. I hoped I wasn’t overwhelming her with the deluge of kittens. She accepted each baby giving them a thorough washing, nudging them so they would start nursing.

Dawn now had 6 babies with her. I decided I should also try to get her babies used to the syringe because all those kids would be stealing their milk and they wouldn’t get enough. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. The little ones started sucking right away. It was now apparent Dawn and I would be sharing mothering duties.

The babies had gotten so chilled I was afraid they would be sick from hypothermia. I decided I should put every one on a goat’s milk diet every four hours around the clock until I saw how they fared.

Three days went by, everyone was doing great. It was the first feeding of the morning. A similar day to the day I found the kittens. Entering the barn I hear the screams not just crying of little kittens. In front of me on the floor was a cat, she was very deceased. Something had mutilated her. It was the mother of the screams I was hearing. The sounds were coming from the back of the barn. When I got nearer they stopped. I had to wait for five minutes before they started again.

There was a stack of boxes in front of me and I could hear the cries coming from that area. I had to un-stack the boxes to get to them. In the back behind the shelves I found five cold kittens. They were about a week older than the ones I found four days ago. They were not hypothermic yet. I put them into a box with a towel (it is impossible to carry five squirming, hissing kittens in your arms). Yes these were old enough they had been taught to hiss at a stranger.

First order of business was to warm and feed these little ones. I wiped each down with a damp cloth to hopefully get some of the smells off them and fed them and then decided to put them in with Dawn. I wondered if I would be asking too much of her? She had 6 babies already. This would be almost doubling the population. I fed the six babies before I introduced the new ones. I didn’t want to upset her and have her not feed the ones she had.

The six babies had really grown the last few days and were starting to roll around and play. Her own two had opened their eyes and were joining in the fracas. Watching them made me worry, if I introduce the new ones who were larger would they overrun the little ones? I decided to put all five in the box at the same time. It was love at first bite. There were eleven tumbling bodies. Mom was ecstatic. She didn’t know who to love first and started giving everyone a bath. At one point she was holding two down under her front legs and licking each one alternately. She was thrilled. She would roll over on her back to give the babies the best advantage to gain access to her teats. At this point there were not enough teats for all of them so it was push and shove. You heard a lot of squeaking going on as they tried to get a hold of the prize. I didn’t worry about it though because I knew their bellies were already full. All they needed now was their pacifiers. Did you know little kittens slurp when they nurse?

At the end of week one of the babies that was in the batch of hypothermic kits developed pneumonia. It moved real fast. We lost the kitten in 12 hours. So now there were 10.

Two days later there was a thunder storm. It rained 11 inches in 3 hours. There was no where for the water to go except on top of the ground. We had had so much rain in October. It rained almost everyday an inch or more. The ground was so saturated. One of the cats had her kittens somewhere outside in a den (at least this is what we suppose). I went into my potting shed and heard crying. There were 5 very large 3 week old kittens. Three of them were dead. They all were so wet. It was evident that the dead ones had drowned. The two that were alive were almost gone. It was apparent the mom tried to save them all. I removed the deceased ones and dried off the others. Kept watch all day to see which mom they belonged to. Mom never showed up. When I went down for the 10PM feeding I took a flash light with me to see who the mom was. I figured she’d return after I left. Not a sign and the babes were now crying non stop.

I reluctantly removed the little ones, worrying the mom would return and be upset. (The next twenty-four hours I never heard a Mom crying for her babies.) I took the babies to the furnace room to try to give them a meal. I really thought these would be too old to teach about the syringe. They had no problem, they attacked it. That was when I realized they were younger than their size indicated. They were also just starting to move around.

While I am caring for the new arrivals, the box behind me was very noisy. The contents had awakened when I opened the door and they were now lined up at the side of the box waiting for the two legged mom to feed them.

I presented the new arrivals to mom under her chin. It was like, “Oh my, look here, where did these come from?” She didn’t have long to wonder, these little monsters headed the right direction to get some affection, straight to the feed station.  While I am feeding the ten little ones, each of them are practically jumping into my hands to be next, the new arrivals are getting a bath from Dawn.

Dawn now had 12 kittens to keep track of. Every day she amazed us at her abilities to keep track of a care for the little ones. At the end of the first full week with the 12 babies we noticed Dawn was climbing up on top of the counters and watching the little ones in the box. I decided she needed some down time with out kids. (We all need that lol). I let her out of the room. When she ran out there was another cat about 10 feet away. You have never heard such hissing; Dawn turned around and begged to get back in the room. When I let her in it was like she was counting all her kids making sure each was there. When finished she jumped out of the box and back on top of the counter. She was not ready to join the public yet.

Dawn raised all twelve kittens. (We have to watch her now when she is out and about, if a kitten cries in the barn she runs to steal it. We have had to replace several babies back to their mothers.) Most of them were here till they were 12 weeks old and older. We found wonderful homes for all of them. From the beginning we picked out a kitten to save for ourselves. We figured if we were to get stuck with raising a cat it should be one we wanted. We picked out one, when people came to choose a kitten we said she was spoken for (everyone that came picked her first). By Christmas all of the kittens were spoken for except two. “Spirit” the chosen one, and a little grey stripped tabby named “Winky”, who has his own story.

Next Chapter “Spirit” The act of giving.

Monday, January 4, 2010



I am not a user of boxed mixes. Before this recipe I only used a boxed mix for Pineapple Upside-Down Cake. This recipe was served to me after a scrumptious dinner. I was an immediate convert. I couldn't wait to get home and make my own. This cake besides being delicious also stays moist and fresh for at least a week.
The picture above is the cake made in a spring form pan. It required parchment on the bottom and sides with lots of Crisco greasing it. (yes, there is a time and place for shortening). I have also made it in a bundt pan, 9x13 pan and as layer cakes. Each pan took different cook times and gave a different textured cake. So far I prefer the springform. The cake had a more fudgy/brownie consistency All the cakes took much more time to bake than recommended. I started checking for how done they were at 30 minutes. The springform took by far the longest. I had to lower the heat to 300 the last 15 minutes to get the center done. (when the sides were pulling away and appeared done I lowered the temp.) I wish I could give you an exact time, but the difference of ovens and pans make it impossible.
1 box of the most chocolate cake mix you can find
(It does make a difference, the German Chocolate mix makes a very dull cake)
1 box of INSTANT chocolate Jello pudding (there is a fudge chocolate if your store has it)
(brand makes a difference in taste)
1 (12 oz ) bag of semi sweet chocolate chips.
(If you like the flavor and texture eating them out of your hand they will be great in the cake. Do not use them if they feel waxy when you eat them. Some store brands do.)
One and 3/4 cup of milk (room temp)
2 eggs (room temp) beaten into the milk
2 teaspoons vanilla (in the milk/egg mixture)
1. Prepare your pans, use parchment or waxed paper on all pans except the bundt pan. The parchment and waxed paper still requires shortening to grease the paper. The bundt pan needs Crisco on the heavy side in the creases and then take cocoa and use it like flour to dust the pan with. Preheat the oven at 350 F.
2. Use a whisk (or your mixer) to mix the cake mix and the pudding mix together. Then add your liquid ingredients. Do not be tempted to add more liquid. This is a very thick batter. Beat on medium for about 2 minutes. (I add the wet ingredients in a gradual stream as I am beating)
3. Fold in the bag of chocolate chips. Pour into your prepared pan. Give the pan a sharp rap on the counter to knock the air bubbles to the top (might need a couple of
4. Put into your preheated oven. When time to test happens...most cook books say use a tooth pick. I use a very sharp, very thin bladed steak knife. The chocolate chips melt and seem to cling to the toothpick giving you the impression the cake is not done when it is...the thin knife seems to slide right through the chips and cake when it is done...there is also the press in the center test which helps let you know when it is close. Like I said...the most difficult thing about this cake is judging when it is done.
 New Article on my blog: 
A mystery quilt designed with the novice in mind
Other blog sites by me:
Where I have stories of my cats and other pets
a blog about my courtship with my husband,
and a blog about my most embarrassing moment.
A "Soap box" blog where I do air my opinions.
blogs about the wildflowers on our farm
Organic methods we use, some cooking and some poetry,
blogs about Seed sprouting, insects, and garden pictures
Blog about an endangered beneficial beetle
New Blog:
All recipes, pictures, and writings are my own.
I give credit for items which belong to other people in my blogs .
Please do not copy without permission