What Dubhghall (Dougall) Has Been Doing Lately  Feb 11, 2004


I am starting this on January 29, 2004.  I have edited a few things to this first section on February, 2, 2004.

It has been a while since I posted anything to this blog.  I am paraphrasing Tennyson here… “It is getting towards spring and this woman’s, ‘fancy’ greatly turns to thoughts of seed catalogues”.  I tell myself every year, that I will spend the winter reading the good gardening books that I have.  I always want to “hit the ground running” come spring.  It never seems to happen!  I have a good book on “soils” sitting out in the living room.  Have I read it? No!  I figured out this past summer, why my pumpkins and other such plants were withering and dying early.  It was because the soil is so “crappy” in our back yard.  I was hoping that after reading this book, I could solve my problem.  Behind our house used to be an alley.  They dug up the sewer line back there sometime in the 1980’s, I think.  When they did, they put clay up onto the surface of the yard.  Douglas’ grandfather had worked yard waste into the ground for many years.  As I understand it, he had quite a vegetable and fruit garden back there.  Some of the raspberries survive.  Some how, the rhubarb died after we moved it. (We can get some from a neighbor, but we haven’t gone and done it yet.  Maybe come spring we can get it from her.)  I got a bucket of what we hope are wild black berries from up north.  (These are indeed, “wild” berries, but we are not sure what type.)  They are doing well in the dining room.  I brought them back too late to plant them outside.  There are some other wonderful plants growing in the bucket as well.  I have some moss, wild strawberries and a new something.  I suspect it is new shoots of berries, but I am not sure.  If they are raspberries I will be sorely disappointed.  They are not my thing at all.  Now, blackberries, that is another story!!!  The thought of blackberry cobbler with cream or good home made vanilla ice cream… Oh!

Speaking of blackberries and such like…(added February 2, 2004) 
I knew that raspberries and blackberries are in the same family.  But what I did not know is that a “common” name for the, “family?” is “brambleberries”.  I have heard people in the UK talk of, “brambles”.  And I took that to mean some sort of hedge or bushes with thorns.  My friend in Latvia sent me  pictures of her garden.  One of the pictures showed her, “brambleberries” which she called, “dewberries”.  They were on stalks like our blackberries or raspberries.  I don’t know if she called them, “dewberries”, simply because that is what her dictionary translated the Latvian into?  Or is “dewberry” a specific berry?  I looked up “dewberries” and “Latvian dewberries”, on the net yesterday.  From the photographs I found, they look similar to raspberries or blackberries.  Dewberry is either another generic name for “brambleberries”, OR they are a separate berry altogether.  If you know anything about, “dewberries” let me know.  I think they might be a wild variety of “brambleberry”? 

Douglas has come home with Chinese food.  So I will finish this later.  At least after I eat, I can move the subject onto something other than food.

More “help” requested please!! 

If anyone knows of something that will keep a cat occupied without need of supervision, please let me know.  Our very intelligent cat Dubhghall (Dougall) is in need of something to do.  I saw something in a documentary or on the news, where the workers at an aquarium found that their octopi were bored.  So they put their food into a jar and had them work to retrieve it.  I tried that with Dubhghall recently.  She saw me put some canned cat food into a plastic container she could open if she tried.  But then she walked away once I put the lid on the container.  She couldn’t smell the contents, so she figured she wasn’t to have it.  I even tried smearing the food on the outside of the container. That didn’t work either.  I don’t know why that idea didn’t work.  She has been known to go to great lengths to get pastries out of plastic bags, and kitty treats out of their plastic bag.  I don’t know why the plastic dish and canned cat food idea wouldn’t work.  (She “loves” canned cat food and I was using a chintzy dish.)

Dubhghall has been getting so bored since it is too cold and snowy for her to go outside.  If you know anything that might “occupy” her, let me know. 

Here are some funny things that Dubhghall has done lately.  First off let me explain that there are a few things that are “forbidden” to her that she absolutely goes nuts for.  (Most of these items are forbidden to cats in general.)


1. the plastic and wire, “twist ties” off bread wrappers etc.
(she could choke on it or get it tangled in her intestines)
2. the remains of a rabbit fur mouse
(We keep it so we can try and find another one.  She choked on some of it before.)
3. plastic bags or other such items she would eat
4. the aloe vera plants
(these are toxic to cats yet she insists on chewing on them—I give her frozen green peas to combat the problem, but it doesn’t help.  She likes them frozen by the way.)
5. kitty treats when we haven’t given them to her
6. catnip in a plastic container---unless we give her some
7. the flip sticks (Chinese paper “yo-yo” [not a true Chinese yo-yo])
(The flip sticks are a toy for her, but if we allow her to have one without us controlling it, she will shred it.  They are difficult to find in the large size.  They are a wonderful toy for her, but she needs supervision to play with them.)
8. people food that we don’t purposely give her

I got up today because the phone was ringing.  It was listed as a "toll free call".  By the time I got to it, they hung up.  Darn!  I wanted to tell them not to call back.  As I went to the facilities, I noticed that there were some "forbidden" things on the floor.  These were things we kept on top of Douglas' secretary.  The secretary is a "federal" style desk chest thing.  We had to store stuff on top of it in order to keep Dubhghall (Dougall) away from the stuff.  We had one or two twist ties; some "Chinese paper yo-yos"; remains of a rabbit fur mouse and a pillow I am making for my sister’s cat.  There was a plastic dish of cat nip up there too.  We thought that Dubhghall couldn't possibly get up there.  She got up there, by climbing on the desk shelf that we always keep “open”.  I spent part of the morning trying to find her stash of stuff.  She ran out of “somewhere” and I managed to get a long twist tie from her.  But I puzzledly hunted for the fur mouse and the package of yo-yos.  I did not want her getting the yo-yo's, because she would shred them. 


She can play with them if we are flipping one for her---she jumps three feet or more to try to catch it.  But she shreds them if she is allowed to have it.  They are hard to find in the large size.  Then I didn't want her having the fur mouse, because the last time she played with it, some of it got caught in her throat and she had to cough it up.  I found the yo-yo's under my bed.  And eventually she got the fur mouse----her most favorite toy---and she went to play with it.  It was under the desk here.  Patience paid off.  I shut the door to the basement, the other bed room, and the up stairs.  I went after her with a gadget that allows you to grab things without bending over.  I used it to retrieve the yo-yo's out from under the bed.  I wasn't going to hurt her with the gadget.  The noise caused her to drop the fur mouse and back off.  I grabbed the fur mouse and put it away.  By putting things, "away", I mean, that I stuck things in the china cabinet of the secretary.  (We only have the fur mouse so that we can find a new one like it.  This one is just the fur---she tore it up and the stuffing is long gone. It is difficult to find safe cat toys.)  I think that is the last of the “forbidden” stuff. 

February 2, 2004

I writing this and having a sardine sandwich, part of a peach, a cup of tea, and an Italian chocolate cake/cookie thing, for a late lunch.

Ok, so I stuck the “forbidden” stuff up in the china cupboard of the secretary.  Then I was in the kitchen doing dishes or some such.  I saw Dubhghall waltzing in with a flip stick in her mouth.  What?!!  How did I miss one?  I hadn’t missed one, she figured out how to open the cupboard.  Ugh!!  I got the flip stick away from her.  I put a rubber band around the knobs on the doors to the cupboard.  I knew that wouldn’t hold the doors shut very well though.  When Douglas came home, he looked at the situation, and he put the things into a drawer. 

I think this was the day, Douglas wanted me to make some working space for him on the dining room table.  He is going to be teaching at our Bible fellowship and he wants a place to work.  I had some stuff that my cousin gave me out of her “building”.  This is paperwork and postcards that were in a lawyer’s office above my cousin’s ceramics shop.  This “stuff” is from the 1940’s mostly.  Two envelopes contain unused WWII war bond posters.  One of the lawyer’s, (or was it his father?) had been mayor of that town during the war.  This paper is very “old” in other words.  Dubhghall likes to chew on old paper for some reason.  I forgot about that.  When I cleared the dining room table off, I stuck this stack of “old” papers onto the top of the secretary.  I figured that since it wasn’t “cat toys” Dubhghall wouldn’t be interested in it.  WRONG!!  I guess it was the next morning, but I heard her chewing on something.  I came out and found her chewing on a business card from the stack.   I wasn’t too upset, as I had some duplicates.  This cat ran from the situation right away.  I put the paperwork into the china cupboard.  I know she won’t get it now.  She was just interested in it because it was on top.  (She never noticed it before I stuck it on the secretary.) 

It was at this point, that I figured out how to close the desk of the secretary.  I closed it just enough to keep her off it.  Douglas got home and wondered why it was shut.  Now he likes it open and I like it shut. 
February 10, 2004

This is from a letter I recently wrote to Douglas’ brother:
Did I tell you, that we put the tent away damp a couple of times?  It was a tent that my grandfather bought us.  He had given me an old soda machine he had.  He was afraid someone would steal it out of his barn, so he sold it. (How could we get it up here?  Where would we have put it?)  He gave us the money so we could buy a tent.  We used to go to a Bible festival in Ohio.  They had camping facilities there.  We used the tent up north a few times as well.  Then this past summer during the big black out, I tried to sleep in it the first night.  I had a mattress out there and it was very nice.  Except Dougall the cat put a man sized hole into the tent.  I had been in the house boiling water.  She was outside.  I wanted her to come and eat before I went to bed.  I knew she would bother me when I went to bed if I didn’t.  She wouldn’t come.  So, I went to bed anyway.  I got settled in bed, when heard the cat pawing at the tent. I let her in a few minutes. She didn’t like it in there, so I let her out.  She wanted in to eat.  I refused to get up and let her in.  No sooner did I get asleep good, then I heard this “crash”.  It was Dougall coming into the tent.  I was hoping to get a few more uses out of the tent before it fell apart on its own. (putting it away wet, caused it to get mildew damage—mildew rotted it)  I laid there and fought the mosquitoes all night, because I knew I couldn’t get the mattress in by myself.  The next morning Douglas came out to tell me he was off to work.  (He went in so that he could tell people to go back home.) He asked me


about the hole. We knew it was going to rain.  Eventually I went inside, and I took my radio and other things in that shouldn’t get wet.  I was eating breakfast when it started to rain.  I rushed outside with plastic trash bags to try and keep the mattress from getting wet.  I put some of the bags on the outside of the hole to divert water away from the inside.  Then I put some around the side of the mattress.  The mattress barely got wet—thank God!  But Douglas had a mind picture of me sleeping in the tent with my radio etc. on a chair right on the other side of the hole in the tent.  He pictured the expensive electrical things getting ruined.  So he was rushing home to save my stuff.  I had it in already and he was relieved.  He brought the mattress in. 

That cat is full of personality.  She is an “entertainment package” all by herself.  She enjoys watching television.  Then she loves pop corn and regular corn.  I feed her frozen peas.  She likes them frozen.  She goes nuts when I make coffee.  She has to have some, but when I give her some, she backs away from it.  Normally our cat Dubhghall (Dougall) will eat anything.  I brought in some snow and stuck it in her treat dish so it wouldn't melt all over the place. She sniffed it and then ate it.  I only wanted to show her what was outside. I know she likes to eat ice.  She tried to eat a piece of a Tupperware bowl recently.  We took that away from her.  The person who writes an animal column in the paper, said that there was something about certain plastics that cats were attracted to.  Well, we bought some cookies.  We were at our local bakery.  The name on the cookies was familiar.  I am on a Swiss genealogy list, and someone was asking how to make the Swiss cookies their grandmother used to make.  I had to try these.  I got to the car, took one bite of them and made a face.  Couldn't place the taste.  It was sort of bitter with a hint of something akin to mint to it.  Yuck!!  Douglas said they were an acquired taste.  I tried to eat the one I was munching on.  It wasn't working, the after taste was awful. Eventually we remembered that we both did not like "black" licorice. Anise is very bad!!!!  When we got home we tested our little vacuum cleaner to see if she would eat these.  It was so funny!!!  Normally she goes nuts and "has" to eat what you put down. This time she sniffed the cookie crumbs very cautiously.  Then she backed up from them.  They were not her thing.  She tried to eat them again, but kept backing away from them.  So, we took the rest of the cookies to Norman and Barbara.  We didn’t tell them what flavor the cookies were, they had to guess.  Barbara smelled them and eventually recognized the flavor.  She


said they liked anise. 

February 10, 2004

It is very funny to be sitting at this computer and then have this cat hop onto your lap, up onto the “desk”, over the keyboard, and then slink back behind the monitor.  She just ignores the person working at the computer with a, “don’t mind if I do” attitude.  She likes to sleep behind the computer monitor.

The first time we noticed Dubhghall behind the monitor, Douglas was working on one of his rare E-mails.  I heard him say, “Well, hello Dubhghall”…  I went to investigate and I saw this cat sitting between the monitor and the CPU (computer box). 

I have a sort of “put together” (hodge podge) desk.  I have a table top that we found in the garage.  I assume, that Douglas was about to throw some wood away. I prevented him (of course!).  It was six tongue and grove boards.  If you put them together like a puzzle, they looked like the table top to an old child’s table.  I had Douglas glue it back together.  I know we didn’t do it correctly, but it works.  Then my stepfather had bought some furniture makings from an unfinished furniture store that was going out of business.  We guestimated the size of our table top and he made us a base for it out of some of the parts he had.  It happened to be a perfect match.  We set the table top on the base.  We haven’t screwed them together yet.  So if the weather is right, the table top bows.  I can watch it curl up and flatten out.  The table looks similar to the taller table in this kit---only mine doesn’t have a drawer to it and my legs are straight and not turned.  http://www.suzisdollhouses.com/noname62.html   I have the monitor on top of this table.  Behind the monitor are two crates against the wall.  They are used as shelves.  Dubhghall gets up on the table and sleeps behind the monitor inside the lower crate.  I guess it is warm back in there.  The keyboard sits in front of this table on an old wooden topped typewriter stand.  It is great what you can get out of the trash.  We found the typewriter stand in someone’s garbage.

Dearborn used to have a “trash amnesty” in the spring.  It meant, you could put anything out in the trash without paying an extra fee.  People threw away some neat stuff.  There was an old chair I should have gotten once.  I didn’t. 

Speaking of staying warm.  Dubhghall was keeping warm by sleeping under a rug in the front room.  Ok, we were going to take the carpet out of main rooms of the house.  For one thing the carpet is very “tired” looking.  Absolutely warn out to be exact!  Mainly in the main paths.  Then I know, that whether you want to or not, people track pollutants into the house and they get trapped on carpets.  If you are allergic to anything or have trouble breathing, carpets aren’t good.  I didn’t want to deal with the fumes from man made fiber carpets either.  If I got carpet, I wanted wool carpet.  Douglas said that would be cost prohibitive.  Although, I heard from his cousin’s husband that you could buy carpet from the Auto Show.  They have a large trade fair in Detroit each January.  “The North American International Auto Show”.  This cousin said his mother bought carpet that was used at the Auto Show.  It was wool and hard wearing.  I don’t know if that is available anymore.  Would you want carpet that had thousands of people walking on it---and spilling, or spitting who knows what on it?  I decided I just wanted to have the wood floors.  We are keeping the carpet in the two bedrooms so as to be nice to the people walking with bare feet in there. 

We took the carpet out of the hallway.  It has a good wood floor but the padding stuck to it and left a stain.  That needs sanding now.  We figured we would tackle the dining room next.  Douglas had a whole weekend (or was it a long weekend--three day, bank holiday weekend?).  He planned on lots of time to tackle the padding on the wood floor.  We had already boxed up all the knick knacks, glass ware, china and such like from the shelves, and dresser.  Then we moved the furniture out of the room.  We prepared to yank up the carpet, when I said, “Wait a minute”.  We looked under the edge of the carpet between the living room and the dining room.  Douglas put a split in the carpet there, if there wasn’t one already.  We found the same ancient red linoleum that is in the kitchen.  Urgh!  But wait, maybe underneath is a nice wood floor!!??  NO!  We lifted layers of linoleum, and what seemed like thin card board.  Underneath all of it was simply the sub floor—in other words, plywood or something like that.  Darn!!  So, we put all the furniture back into the room.  We left the other stuff boxed up.  Now there is this split in the carpet in the threshold between the dining room and the living room.  We put an old throw rug on the “crack” so we wouldn’t trip there.  Dubhghall likes to tunnel under the rug and then pull the padding out from under the carpet.  That is one pastime she has.  I hate it when she gets in that mood!  The cute thing she has done lately though, is tunnel under the throw rug and then sleep under it.  I would walk past and find this large lump under the rug.  There she would be.  I would chase her out, so that I didn’t accidentally step on her. 


We have a larger throw rug in the living room.  Douglas used to loose his pencils.  Then he would find this lump under the rug and there would be his pencils.  I know some day we will find a stash of twist ties and other “forbidden” things in the basement or some such place. 

Speaking of stash…  I almost forgot to tell you this one.  We went to our sort of “fancy” eating spot around Saturday or was it Monday (Mon. Feb. 2, 2004). http://www.georgeandharrys.com/ 
  I ordered the roasted chicken that I like.  I didn’t eat it all and was eating it through the week some.  Of course Dubhghall was so interested in this chicken.  It is so good and she loved it herself.  When I was finished with it, about Wednesday, I threw it away.  I was in here working on something at the computer, when I heard a noise.  I waited until I was at a stopping point.  Then I went to investigate.  I saw that the cupboard where the trash is was open.  I peaked down stairs in the basement.  Dubhghall was munching away.  I grabbed a water sprayer bottle.  I went downstairs and started squirting.  She wouldn’t let go of the chicken bones.  I didn’t want her having it, because I don’t know if it is good for her.  They don’t like dogs eating chicken bones.  I don’t know about cats.  Cats eat bird bones, but they are smaller.  So I chased Dubhghall around the basement with the squirter.  Then she ran upstairs and under my bed.  I just kept squirting.  Finally she was cornered under the bed and she dropped the chicken.  I took it from her as she hissed at me.  I threw the chicken away again, and put a stick through the handles so she couldn’t get the cupboard open again. 

This should do it for now.  I will re-read some of this and check the spelling, and then paste it onto (into?) my blog.