Category Archives: Pandora

The Blankie is back in action!

Today, on the three month anniversary of Pan’s passing, once again  The Blankie is back in action doing what it does best: serving as a feline comfort zone.  I’ll explain.

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but years ago – 10, maybe? – each morning I began the day by drinking my coffee and reading the morning papers on the couch… with Pan always by my side on The Blankie.  And, depending on my schedule, at times I would sit on the couch throughout the day – and evening – and Pan would always follow me out to sit by my side (and often sleep) on The Blankie. Over time, it was the most natural thing in the world for visitors to our house to find Pan and I sitting on the couch… me, reading… and with my left hand resting on her back, Pan by my side… gazing at me, sleeping or – if we had company – sitting upright in a Sphinx-like position, gazing at our visitor.

After Pan passed, I left The Blankie in its center-cushion place – directly to my left… it just seemed the natural thing to do.  When Calvin and Cherry came to live with us, I had hopes that one of them would find it to their liking and we could share some time together.  Despite my assurances to them that The Blankie was TwoBigCats approved and certified, neither of them showed the slightest interest in The Blankie… or the couch, for that matter.

Until today.

Late in the afternoon, Springfield Al stopped by to visit and caught me – well, actually, the entire pack – napping.  Calvin and Cherry being who they are, came out to the front of the house to see what all the barking was about.  IIRC, Calvin cruised by Al to acknowledge his presence and shake his tail at Al, while Cherry remained slightly out of sight.  Al stayed about 10 minutes, then headed out the door to catch a bit of a nap, himself.

And that’s when it happened.  After seeing Al out the door (thx for latching the screen on the way out, Al!), Calvin came in to the front room and took the off-road course to the sewing machine perch @ the window.  He looked out the window for ~1 minute, then looked at me @ my end of the couch.  I patted The Blankie and said, “You know, two very special cats have spent many years on this blankie – maybe you would like it, too.”

That did it.  He walked over to The Blankie, planted himself on it and curled into a half circle and closed his eyes… I instinctively reached out to pat / rub his shoulders and head as I had done with Pan sooooo many thousands of times over the years, and he began purring deeply.

We both woke with a start an hour later when Joanne called from work to say she was on her way home.  When she drove in the driveway, then walked in the front door, Calvin remained on The Blankie… apparently content in his new-found resting place.

Strange coincidence that Calvin (or Cherry) would choose the three month anniversary of Pan’s passing to discover The Blankie, but it is what it is, eh?  I hope Cal (and Cherry) continue using The Blankie.

Luv you and miss you, CatGirl.

Happy Birthday, CatGirl!

A note to say out loud,

Happy 14th Birthday, Pandora – we love you and miss you!  Not a day goes by that we don’t share memories of our years together. Not.a.single.day.

Yesterday Owen and I harvested 5 frames of capped honey and today Owe scraped it, then I filtered it; tomorrow I’ll jar it and GrandmaCat will label it: “Happy Birthday Pandora

Luv you, CatGirl.

Blankie-cat tradition continues…

Funny how it wasn’t until just last year that, after hearing Ellen say her cats like to sleep under the covers / blankie, I realized that Pan liked sleeping under the blankets. She really liked that and I delighted in covering her up or watching her crawl in the blankets, then pull the cover over herself.

Cat’s, huh?

Anyway, yesterday morning Joanne said to me, “Check out what’s under the blanket” (I was thinking something else, but, hey… we’re older now, I guess.) Anyway, it seems Calvin had snuggled in the blanket and was sound asleep. Later on in the day after he’d eaten lunch, he jumped up on the bed, sat down next to the blankie and looked @ me as if to say, “Hey, old guy, can you help me with this – I can’t seem to locate my thumb.” I covered him up and in a few seconds he was purring himself to sleep.

When I came in to the room a couple of hours later, this is what I found:

Cat’s, huh?

Need a dose of Pandora?

Today I sure did.  With Owen and Olivia returning home, the house settled down a bit yesterday… and then last night it got a little too quiet just as I was heading for bed.  I missed CatGirl telling me it was time for a hot bath and then SnuggleBunny with her so we could go to sleep.

So I sat down @ my computer and found some videos I’d taken of her over these past few years… and then today, with Joanne gone to work and the KnotHeads out in the den, the place is dead quiet… just my fingers clattering on the keyboard, the washer / dryer doing their thing and the rain coming down in buckets throughout the day.

As I updated our family blog earlier in the day, I was aching to hear Pan’s feet coming thumping in to my office… thump, thump, thump… and have her sit down on the carpet to clean herself and sleep.  Eventually, I was drawn back to the blog and it occurred to me that maybe you’d like to relive a few moments in time with Pan, too – nothing quite like a dose of Pan to brighten up the day.

So here’s a video I posted some time back… I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:

http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2008/12/pandora-remembers-where-her-chair-is.html

And here she was just last year, supervising my work:

http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2009/03/catgirl-queen-pandora.html

And the last for today – here she is from kitten stage to mature CatGirl on her birthday last year:

http://twobigcats.blogspot.com/2009/07/happy-birthday-gorgeous.html

btw, please don’t think because I haven’t mentioned Dee much lately that I’m not thinking of her… just the opposite.  

“Smallest Cat in the World”? Nope, but I bet she felt like…

the smallest person in the world after…

When I stopped by Kirkwood to pick up Pan’s ashes, I (naturally) went in to the cat side of the facilities.  The room was empty of other clients / patients when I asked Stephanie if Pan’s ashes were returned and available for pickup yet.  She checked and said, “Yes, let me get them.” and off she went.

Seconds after walking away from her desk, a cat caretaker entered the waiting area from the exam area.  She was carrying an empty cat carrier and a book that said (in part) “Cat Behavior” on the cover.  In an effort to make a bit of small talk to ease my tension at my own situation and help her be a bit more at ease, I said, “A book on cat behavior, huh? Good luck with that!  ;)”

Just then, Stephanie entered the waiting area with Pan’s ashes in the cedar box and handed them to me with tremendous respect and, it seemed, great sadness and some tears in her eyes… she had always, always said Pan was her favorite cat, ever.

As I took the ashes from her, the woman said, “That must be the smallest cat in the world.”

I was stunned, but with my eyes filling with tears I was able to say, “No, these are the ashes of my longtime companion cat.” as I rolled my bike out the door.

I didn’t look back, but I can bet she felt like the smallest person in the world at that moment.  (In case you’re wondering, I did not take offense at her uninformed, unfortunate comment.)

So how is “the pack” doing, you ask?

Several of you have asked how our “pack” is holding up with Dee’s multiple illnesses and, sadly, loss.

Grandma Cat is struggling – Dee and Joanne had a wonderfully close relationship, usually ending most evenings with Dee laying in Joanne’s lap, having her ears scritched and shoulders deeply rubbed. It was Joanne and Scott who got to know Dee when she was just six weeks old and eventually chose her to come home. Though I’m the house-dude and spent far more time with Dee on a day-to-day basis, Joanne and Dee were very, very close. Dee’s loss easily impacts Joanne as much – or more – as it does me.

As for the animals, Penny continues to sleep on her own blanket in the den (as always) so “moping” would be hard to detect in any event 😉 Pandora is somewhat lower-key than normal. Pepper-Do-You-Want-Her seems lethargic and (we believe) misses Dee the most of the animal population of our house. Pep and Dee had a very close relationship… and I will post pictures that prove it 😉

When life gives you lemons…

From time to time we get questions from readers & friends about the goodies we make. Typical questions range from, “where do you get all that fruit?” to “how do you prepare the fruit for making the jams, jellies and liqueurs we get from you?”.

After much internal debate, we’ve decided to pull the covers back on a few of these deeply-held secrets and show you “how it’s done”. We realize we’re taking a big chance… some of you city slicker-types may be scared off by the ugly details, but that’s a chance we’ll all have to take.

Ready? Here goes:

Where lemons really come from:

Yup – Lemons come from Lemon-Cats
(no, we’re not making this up)

What happens to the lemons that aren’t quite ripe?

Good question: As shown here, the Queen Lemon-Cat places them under a layer of towels, then nests on the towels until she feels they’re ripe and ready for the next step. When they’re ripe, she gently removes them from the towel so the house-dude will see them.

And then what? House-dude moves them to the lemon spa.

I’m sorry, did you say, “the lemon spa?” What’s that?

It’s where lemons with potential are taken to de-stress, naturally.

Here is a group of lemons with potential, de-stressing and au natural…


(Note: It’s obvious why this group of lemons didn’t make the grade – they’re rather gloomy and desultory.)

Next, after they’ve had a chance to clean up, they’re brought back together…


We’re careful not to overcrowd them 🙂

Then they’re pampered until relaxed…

The rest of the production process is our secret, so now you know where lemons come from and how we make them ready for being part of our jams, jellies and liqueurs.

(This weekend we picked the remaining 30 lbs of the little buggers. Washed, then zested and squeezed them one by one. The zest went in to two gallons of limoncello and the 2 gals of juice were made into ice cubes for storage / use throughout the year in jams / jellies.)

The cherry tree is ready for harvest now, so Farmer Hal signing off.

Thanks for visiting, take care and write when you get work.

hal