Archive for October, 2008

The life of lemons

Posted in Gardening at 13:46

My lemon tree has been overflowing with flowers lately, filling my terrace with a pleasantly tart and pungent odor. I had no idea how lemons grew until getting my tree a few months ago, so thought I’d share, photographing lemon development in three stages. All photos are from today. First, the flowers — older ones whose stamens will form lemons on the left, and a new blossom on the right. Open blossoms only stay this beautiful white for about a day or two:
Lemon flowers

Then the “baby” lemons about two weeks after flowering — you can tell they were stamens not too long ago:
Baby lemons

And finally, lemons that have been growing for several months now:
Maturing lemons

Caught red-pawed

Posted in Cats, Journal at 20:09

A story in three photos:

Pouncing on a sponge  With sponge caught on a paw  Hm, how did the sponge get like that

Anna the Handywoman

Posted in Cats, Home improvement at 13:37

Cat tree (1)

As just another Joe(anna) who had her own business (but which was actually mine, and I know enough about finances to know the difference between “earnings” and “profit”), I spent some of my hard-earned euros on a big arbre à chats — cat tree. This meant a bit of DIY. For anyone else interested in putting together a cat tree/scratching post:

1. Identify all the parts and organize them so you’ll know which is which more quickly. For instance, this tree has different-length posts, so I laid them out from longest to shortest.
2. Start with the base.
3. Build up gradually. The perch attached to the cat house/box on my tree had a bracket on it that was supposed to bolt to the box, but its screws had ripped out. Luckily I’m Anna the Handywoman! and have a wide variety of screws around, so was able to reattach it, though slightly off from its original position (the original holes were useless).
4. At this point, since you have a cat, you will probably have to take into account the unpredictable addition of extra weight onto various parts of the tree, in the form of a pouncing, rapidly-moving furball. Keep a strong hold of the tree during this delicate period. Finish with the top perch.
5. All done, kitten included!

I found this particular cat tree in several places, but got it from ZooPlus since it was cheapest. (Good-quality cat trees and scratching posts are expensive…!) It’s called Alicante, and is part of the tall models on their French site. On their US site, here’s the Alicante, where it’s among their medium cat trees. I liked this one since it seemed stable (which it is indeed), was tall but slim enough for my smaller-sized apartment, had several platforms, and came in a decent color. It was hard to choose though, there are so many neat-looking cat trees!

The Impermeable Kitten

Posted in Cats, Journal at 15:36

Kanoko and faucet

Maine Coons love water, as every site about them seems to point out. Kanoko has always dunked his paws in his water bowl, but Malo did the same — the transparent water makes it hard for cats to see just where the surface is, so they’ll often daintily feel for it before drinking. But since Kanoko has grown large and strong enough to jump onto countertops, it’s become clear that his love of water goes much further. He’s even put himself in the sink with the faucet running over him, and he loves it! When I wash the dishes he’ll play with the water, and then snorfle from the faucet during the rinse.

Kitten or cat?!

Posted in Cats, Gardening, Journal, La France at 12:28


Kanoko turns four and a half months old about now. Here he posed for the camera this morning, and I photographed him blissfully scratching a yucca stump a bit later. Originally I’d planned to pull out the big yucca, but Kanoko loves its stumps so much that I’ve kept it. It’s now regrowing leaves from the tops of the stumps.

Since Malo passed away only two months ago, I still remember how big he was, and can hardly believe that Kanoko has nearly reached Malo’s size at such a young age. Kanoko’s face has really filled out, his whiskers (chopped off by the people who abandoned him) are nice and long now, and his tail is beautiful. He certainly does look very “Maine Coon”. His paws still seem to be growing more quickly than the rest of him! (There’s a photoset of Kanoko that shows his development since my kind neighbor asked if I’d take care of him two months ago.)

There are also pictures of the bougainvillea and other plants on my terrace, including a baby rose plant that surprised me when I found it this morning. My cyclamen are looking to be beautiful again this year, and my lemon tree has been blooming up a storm lately: lots of lemons to come!

As for the crazy neighbor who threatened to kill Kanoko, all has been well since I went to the police, and put up the finer-grade wire on my terrace. I later gave the police report to people in her building, who spoke with their building management about it — it’s far from being the first report that’s been filed against her. Ever since, I’ve made a point of using my terrace normally and ignoring her whenever she came out. She’s stopped going outside very often and no longer bothers trying to scream at me (she never talked normally, only screamed — it’s not an exaggeration that we call her “crazy”, it truly seems that she is mentally ill, which is sad). So Kanoko is fine, I’m fine, and it’s wonderful to have such a quiet terrace.