Monday, January 26, 2009

The Dead Of Winter

The world keeps turning from brown to white. Back to brown, then white again. Once again we're brown.

The Rhododendrons on the ridge top garden account for most of the green in the dead of winter. Many of these are quite large and there are several significant drifts of them. Yet, even large shrubs can feel small in an even larger space. Add in the towering grey and brown tree trunks topped by naked limbs and the tops of bare mountains rising across the valley and the small green shrubs don't even make a dent in the brown.

The little Snowdrops survived the latest icy blasts that sent the temperature down to minus -4 degrees. When the brown returned, they look as if nothing happened, a suspended animation.

Poor Mama Spot has had a major cold for the last few days. The symptoms look most like the Feline Herpes Virus-1. I have never seen a cat with a cold this bad. She could barely move for two days. She seemed to be feeling a bit better today. Crawford was feeling bad and had a minor cold compared to Spot and Collar was just fine. Collar was her usual skittish self darting about and annoying the flu patients to no end. The flu patients have been spending hours at a time inside now.

The front wall of the cozy cabin below the porch roof has all its siding on now. I even did some of the caulking. It took two days to get all those fancy cuts and angles into the Hardie Plank for around the doors and windows and below the pitch of the roof.

Of course my days are short. The above forty degree range may last from 11 to 4. Then I measure a lot and think on it some and ponder a bit and measure some more before I cut any thing. Then I'll stand back and admire it a bit after I get over that ever so slight imperfection that will never be noticed once the final coat of paint is applied.


lola said...

So sorry the spots are under the weather. Hopefully they will be fine soon.
The white/brown is so interesting. I see the beauty when the brown is there. Beauty that can't be seen when all is green.
Glad you are able to get some more work done on the cozy cabin. Coming along nicely.
Stay warm. Spots too.

chuck b. said...

I'm sorry to hear about Mama Spot. What is to be done?

Lisa at Greenbow said...

So sorry to hear that the Spots are ill. They are so lucky to have found you to take care of them. Maybe you can make them some chicken noodle soup. It cures most colds quickly.

Can't wait to see how the Cozy Cabin is coming. The old carpenters adage of "measure twice and cut once" is a good one to adhere to while doing your siding. Of course measuring more than twice is good too. Sometimes on a measuring tape those little bity marks run together and get on the wrong side of the big marks. Just take time to sort them all out.

Christopher C. NC said...

All I can do for Spot is keep her warm and dry and make sure she is eating and drinking, which she is thank goodness and let it pass. It's viral so there is no pill to give.

The next round of rain has begun. More cabin construction has to wait again.

Frances said...

Hi Christopher, we will send our best and most powerful healing thoughts your way for Mama and Crawford. The accomplishment of that wall of siding is something to celebrate in this dreary winter. I don't know if you kept track of it last year, but my journals are showing this to be the wettest, least sun and coldest winter since we moved here in 2000. It does sound like maybe you are thinking of winter interest in your design plans for your own garden? Or just being philosophical?

Anonymous said...

Love that stand back and admire part too!! It is good to work at something you can admire, rather than pushing papers in a cubicle. I also love the latest mountain picture.
Perhaps the silver lining for the Spots is that they will now truly accept that being inside feels better!


Siria said...

Hi Christopher! I am so sorry to hear that Spot and Crawford aren't feeling well. As I look at that picture of Spot on the couch (I assume it's the couch), I can't help but think how lucky they all are to have found you to take care of them. That Spot sure looks pretty settled in! :)
Looking forward to seeing the new pictures of the cozy cabin with siding!

Christopher C. NC said...

Thanks Frances. I knew it was to good to be true. Now I have three sick kitties. Collar is sneezing now and has runny eyes. I don't have a journal, but I know I am much more cooped up this winter than last. I built two stone walls last winter.

Hi Bev, yes the Spots are taking a strong liking to the indoors. They just have to smell everything first and get used to the new sounds.

Siria, I'm not sure whether I'll start the porch roof next or do the siding on the driveway side wall. I have to figure out how I am going to hold 12' long Hardie Planks up to nail by myself? And yes I think you should be able to grow Torch Ginger in S. Florida. If it ever freezes that will set it back, but most of the landscape down there will get burnt in that case.

jodi said...

OH, I'm sorry that the Spots are sneezing and sick. I hope it runs its course quickly.
Do your rhododendrons roll their leaves up tightly and haul them way down when it's really cold, the way ours do? I call them thermomoplants because I just have to glance at them to see how cold it is, well relatively.

Christopher C. NC said...

Oh yes Jodi, the Rhododendron leaves curl here too. The colder it is the tighter the curl. I'm learning to tell the temperature by that.

chuck b. said...

Poor kitties. Sounds like this has at least taught them to appreciate indoor life... They probably caught a bug at the spay/neuter clinic. I hope they get better soon.

Christopher C. NC said...

That's what I think too Chuck. It was exactly a week later that they got the flu. The strange thing is how much sicker Spot is than the spotlets. They all got rabies shots too. I wonder if that is still working its way through.

lola said...

Christopher, could it be that Spot is not quite back to normal from just having the kittens. Being the fact she was outside with no one to take care of her, food wise. I assume it would take some time to recoup after birth. Just wondering.

Christopher C. NC said...

That could be an overall contributing factor Lola. The kittens are five months now and she stopped nursing at least a month ago. I wanted to be sure about that before the surgery. She showed up when the kittens were about six to eight weeks, so for at least two plus months she was being fed while the kittens were young. Still, being a mommy can drain her resources a bit.

Mary said...

To help with the sneezing/runny eyes/runny nose problem you can give the kitties chlorpheniramine, and you can buy it over the counter as Chlor-Trimeton. I usually quarter a pill and give that much, twice a day, and judging by the pics of the Spots this would probably be an okay dose. This does sound like they did indeed get an upper respiratory infection at the clinic. That stuff spreads like wildfire in places like that.