Jake and Bathsheba

A blog by two cats who used to live in the same house in Northern Virginia. Unfortunately, they are both no longer with us.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Took the Environmental Dare

In memory of Anastasia, our friend Karl asked the cats of the blogosphere to come up with a fun dare. Many cats, including us, submitted suggestions, but Mr. Chen's dare impressed the judges enough to win. Thus, we were all dared "to come up with one creative, fun, useful way to save the environment and put a picture of yourself doing it on your blog!"

We are not particularly creative, so we decided on quantity, not quality. Our mom considers herself very committed to being sensitive to the environment, so she welcomed this dare.

First off, instead of driving to work, we offer teleworking, which Mom did today. We highly recommend this--it's win-win for everyone. We get a servant at home to cater to all of our needs and she gets to enjoy us and have less stress doing her work on the computer and phone.

If you have to report to the office, one thing you can do is ride your bike to work. Mom tried this for the first time back in May for "Bike to Work Day" and has been doing it at least once a month since. Yesterday was a beautiful day and she rode in--12 miles one way, 24 miles round trip. It helps to keep her in shape. She's lucky to have showers at her office--or rather her office staff is fortunate!

I didn't like having to pose on that bike pack. I work from home as deck patrol so I don't have to ride to work.

On those days when she has to drive, Mom takes her Prius. We highly recommend this hybrid vehicle because it has low emissions plus gas mileage in excess of 50 mpg.

On the home front, there are lots of things you can do to make your yard more environmentally friendly. Here is our brush pile at the bottom of the yard. This is a great place for little critters and insects. Birds love to peck around in the brushy leaf litter.

You can also make a compost pile. Though I have been known to raid the compost pile for avocado rinds in the past, this time, Mom placed me in the midst of this stuff. There are lots of shredded leaves and vegetable waste. You can see that some of the cantaloupe seeds sprouted and a vine is growing. This pile is super high in the late fall when Mom rakes and shreds leaves, but a lot has decomposed by now.

Then there's garden plantings: try to plant for wildlife. Mom uses lots of native plants and no pesticides. So what if our lawn is "weedy"; at least it's healthier for me to walk on.

See the tall "stalky" plant here? It's a milkweed, the only plant that monarch butterflies eat in their larval stage.

During Tropical Storm Hanna, one of the big Bradford pear trees in our neighborhood split. The neighbors cut it up and put the wood out with the trash. Mom knows that it makes better firewood than fodder for the landfill, so she took it home. We just have to wait a while for it to season.

How about some solar power? Ours is old technology, but it's a renewal resource that could be viable in many sunny climates out west.

We also recommend natural cleaners like vinegar rather than harsh chemicals.

And reuse your plastic take-out food containers. They're great for lunches and leftovers--or for carrying our food on long trips.

Of course we recommend recycling. Just be sure you know the rules in your area and don't contaminate the recyclables.

We aren't showing them, but we assume that all of our friends reuse plastic bags for the daily scooping of the litter box. And those plastic newspaper sleeves are great for those of you with dogs and need a disposable pooper scooper. Sure, reusable bags are great for groceries and shopping, but you still need something for the stinky stuff.

Yes, Mom still gets the dead tree version of the newspaper. She's a geezer and loves to read her hard copy version. She especially likes to read the Sunday edition in bed. She likes to think that by being a paid subscriber she will do her part to keep the newspapers in business because online versions still don't pay for themselves with ads.

Just remember - CATS are NOT recyclable! They all deserve forever homes.


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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Safe on Sunday

It's the day after Tropical Storm Hanna dumped lots of rain on our area, and I am checking the rain gauge. Just less than 5 inches of rain fell at our house, but our county was one of the most affected by the storm in all of the state. Many areas received closer to 10 inches of rain.
We did not have high winds, so only a few tree branches came down. We are grateful that the rain started slowly. It softened up our ground for the big rains that came in the afternoon. The ground was rock hard because we've had a dearth of moisture since July. Many trees are stressed in the area, and our big elm tree had already shed a lot of leaves as it does when there is little rain in August.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the passing of our grandma, and Mom wanted to put flowers on her grave. She waited until late afternoon to do so--once the rains had subsided. She had to take an alternate route because some of the roads were closed from swollen creeks flooding the pavement.
Today is beautiful, but after inspecting the yard, I decided that I wanted to nap on my bed inside.
Please stay safe from the hurricanes, earthquakes, or whatever else Mother Nature throws at us. Be prepared.

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Monday, September 01, 2008

Mancat Monday

Mancats need BIG water dishes!
This morning was exquisitely beautiful here on the first day of meteorological fall in Virginia. Mom and I hung out on the deck. She watched the birdies and did some pondering. I napped as a proper mancat is supposed to do. Mom enjoyed watching those hummingbirds for me. As William said, they aren't worth the effort of hunting because there's not much to them.

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