So Many Things

by grace on April 27, 2022

Ok then…first, Pumpkin’s ulcer quickly turned into something called a Corneal Sequestrum. It showed up on April 8th, just six days after the ulcer had formed. It’s basically a hole in the cornea, and it’s so uncommon that our vet had to get out a big book to remember the name.

Our vet said we should take Pumpkin down to St. Louis to an ophthalmology specialist vet ASAP, and we were able to get him in on Tuesday the 12th. The St. Louis vet was wonderful and reassuring, instantly diagnosing Pumpkin’s corneal sequestrum. He’s been practicing for 35 years and said that he sees about one of these a month, but he’d never seen a sequestrum that deep before. When he normally operates on an eye, he digs out the sequestrum and then sews a bit of the conjunctiva on top of it. Since it was so deep, he said that he’d leave the sequestrum alone and just sew the conjunctiva over it. The conjunctiva is the inner eyelid, we found out.

The surgery was scheduled for Monday the 25th, two days ago. Kevin took Pumpkin back to St. Louis and the operation was successful. The vet put two stitches over the eyelid to protect it, which will remain for a while, but then they will be removed and hopefully he’ll be able to see and will do fine. So far Pumpkin is doing great, and we have to go back for at least a couple of re-checks.

So, that was quite a bit of stuff happening. Meanwhile, Mom and I went to Seattle on the 12th to visit one of her old high school boyfriends, a guy named Stan, who is in failing health. She wanted to see him one last time, so I booked our trip.

On the morning of April 12th, Kevin and I drove down to St. Louis with Pumpkin for his consultation, and then we got home and I finished gathering together a few things and drove back to St. Louis with Mom an hour later. A big travel day.

I took approximately one bazillion photos and videos while we were gone. I always promise myself that I won’t go crazy with that, but then inevitably I end up overdoing it again.

I’ll post some of them here, but not all one bazillion. Maybe only half a bazillion. The thing is, we stayed in a beautiful air b&b overlooking Puget Sound with the Olympic mountains in the distance, and every morning I was able to run down the hill to the shore, where I jogged along the sidewalk at the marina. It was filled with so many boats and there was always some kind of activity and I wanted Kevin to be able to see it all, so I’d stop every few minutes to take a photo/video.

I sent him so many that he stopped watching at some point, and I plan to sit down with him and watch them on the TV at some point.

Just not right now.

We had a good time, more on all that later, but I have two photos today.

On Sunday there were many kitty shenanigans, first of all the fact that we couldn’t find Pumpkin. He’d been sequestered in a bedroom, but we’d started letting him roam free and I couldn’t find him anywhere. Kevin was gone in the morning and when he got home we scoured the house and worried that he might have gotten out the kitty door and escaped over the fence. I was starting to panic, and was inside looking and Kevin was in the fenced yard, after scouring the perimeter and looking around our neighbor’s property.

Kevin then sent me these two photos.


What was going on? How had he taken the photos while a bird perched on his finger and what was that bird doing?

The bird had gotten trapped under the extra fencing on top of the fence and Lovey was underneath, waiting to pounce. Kevin was able to rescue the bird and it hopped onto his finger, too afraid to move.

I rushed outside where Kevin was standing inside the fence holding the bird outside the fence, safely far from Lovey’s clutches. I stuck out my finger and it hopped onto it and Kevin instructed me to start slowly walking towards the bird feeder, which I did. After I’d taken a few steps the bird suddenly realized what he was doing and flew off.

Whew. It’s called a rose-breasted grosbeak, and we’d never seen one before.

Yeah, lots going on, not enough time to sit here and process everything.

More later.

Ok then,



So much has happened in just a week…

by grace on April 3, 2022

…and the most important thing is that there was a Harley sighting!!!

Last Sunday I spent a great deal of time creating an eye-catching lost cat flyer and changing it around a lot making many copies. Doing this made me feel that at least I was doing something about poor lost Harley.

Monday wasn’t such a good day. Rainy and dreary, plus I worked myself up about Pumpkin’s eye and texted a lot of people and talked on the phone, then finally called the vet and they said we could bring him in that day.

We took him and they wanted to keep him there for a few hours, so in the meantime we drove to Edinburg to put up flyers and when we got there it felt like it was a completely fruitless endeavor. I put one up in the sad little post office and another up at the gas station but the entire downtown area was boarded up and it looked like every house surely held a meth lab.

I stapled flyers to several utility poles and felt discouraged and hopeless.

We picked up Harley and the vet said he had a corneal ulcer. He needs a drop in his eye three times a day followed by ointment, with a 10-minute gap in between. They put a plastic cone over his head and he seemed OK with it, although very dejected.

We got him home and took off the cone so he could reach his food bowl, and then Kevin went downstairs and I finally put the cone back on Pumpkin whereby he totally freaked out. He crashed into everything, desperately trying to flee the cone. Smash smash, smashing into a shelf next to the couch and into a table and smash smash smash. It was horrible and we were both traumatized. Finally I got it off him and it was all battered. I called Sunny, our friend the cat-whisperer and said he’d be ok without wearing the cone.

Whew. Not a great day, all in all.

But then, Tuesday night, Nancy called to say that her husband Butch had spotted Harley down at their burn pile. Unbelievable! I didn’t know exactly where this burn pile was, but it was fantastic to know that Harley hadn’t run away and hadn’t been eaten by a coyote. Or maybe he did run away but then he came back. Doesn’t matter, it’s just good to know that he’s somewhere near Nancy, because she feeds everybody who comes near the house.

We still have two cameras set up on her property in hopes of catching sight of Harley just so we know he’s sticking around, but so far it has just been photos of cats, deer, possum, raccoons, leaves, more cats…but no Harley. But at least we are hopeful that he’ll want to stick around because of the plethora of food. When I dropped by later in the week to swap out SD cards in the cameras so I could bring them home and look through them on the computer, I realized that the burn pile is kind of down the road from their house, so it’s not as close as I’d hoped. But still…hopeful, that’s my mood right at the moment. Harley lives!

As for Pumpkin, I was worried because he kept his eye shut and I didn’t know if I was even getting any of the drop into his eye because when I pulled his lower lid down all I could see was the inner lid. On Friday I called the vet with many questions and we got to take him back on Saturday morning. When the vet checked out his eye she said he was improving, but it would be a good idea to put in a drop and then wait thirty minutes before putting in the first ointment, so the drop would definitely get totally absorbed. So now it’s a good hour that I spend with him three times a day, which is fine because he’s completely sweet and loving.

So things are pretty good right now, I think.

Meanwhile…I realize there are plenty of photos from January and February that haven’t made it here, but since many have to do with lots of snow, I’m over that. So here are just a few from March, which, dang, it’s already April.

A big platoon of white pelicans mid-March; maybe they’re migrating back home? Not sure about that.

Kevin took Les Paul down to the water and Spot joined them.

I love this picture. Just relaxin’.

Marley spend most of her time upstairs in the guest bedroom but she comes down quite a bit to eat from everybody’s food bowls. This is the first time we saw her on the couch.

Sometimes she lies in Kevin’s lap, which is awesome. Or on his legs…

And here’s a canna lily that bloomed for quite a while inside. Maybe it’ll warm up enough to put plants outside again.

Kevin took me to see a wonderful production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Sangamon Auditorium.

It was a fantastic production, so well-done, and also so sad and overwhelming because in the end all the people in the town are forced out by the Russians…it’s incomprehensible that the Russians continue to commit atrocities right now.

Whew. On that happy note, I hope you’re enjoying yourself…

Ok then,



It has been a crazy month. Hard to believe that April is almost here. On February 18th I wrote about our attempts to capture one of Wanda’s outdoor kitties, Harley. His brother, Pumpkin, had been successfully taken to live out in the country with Nancy, who had been trying to catch Harley before Kevin and I joined in. We built a cat house in which we hoped to catch Harley but it became clear it wasn’t going to work, he was too smart for us. I started to worry that time was going to run out because they were having an online auction for all the stuff in Wanda’s house and I speculated they’d put the house on the market in the spring. It was maddening to think of not getting Harley.

But then I met an awesome animal rescuer, Rachel, who had a trap that she felt would be just the thing. It was an incredibly heavy wooden box with a sliding door on one side that would slam shut if the animal stepped on the trigger plate in back. Kevin and I picked it up from her on Wednesday, March 9th and lugged it into Wanda’s back yard. We didn’t set the trap because we wanted Harley to feel confident about going inside.

And he did. I think he liked it because it was so spacious. He went in and out a few times, and here he is on Saturday March 12th.

We set the trap on March 13th. He arrived minutes after we left…

And it breaks me heart to say that’s the last we’ve seen of him.

Nancy and her husband went to Wanda’s to retrieve the trap right after he was caught and brought it home to their place outside of Edinburgh – and when they opened it, Harley wriggled free.

It’s been exactly two weeks now that he’s somewhere, who knows where, I don’t like thinking about it.

The day after it happened I spent the day moping around but finally called Rachel. She’s not a moper, she’s a doer! She said we should set up trail cams around Nancy’s property, and post signs up around Edinburg.

We couldn’t use our camera that we’d used at Wanda’s because they don’t have internet out there in the country. So we set up the trail cams and there have been some issues with them, but I think they’re finally capturing lots of activity. The last time we checked, we saw plenty of deer, a couple of Nancy’s cats, a pheasant, a coyote, a raccoon, birds, squirrels, a possum’s tail…but so far, no Harley.

Did he run far away from Nancy’s? Did he run all the way to Edinburg? We haven’t put up flyers yet but I finally finished them today and we’re taking them around tomorrow.

The horrible, horrible thing is not knowing where he could possibly be. Somebody suggested that since they’d heard about animals traveling long distances to get back home, maybe he’d show up at Wanda’s? It’d be good if he was in the neighborhood there because at least people would feed him, but I bet a realtor wouldn’t want a cat hanging around when the house is up for sale. And it seems unlikely that he’d be able to travel that far anyway.

So, bummed. Bummer.

However, there is a silver lining…when I thought about Harley being missing, I thought about Pumpkin, sitting in a cage in Nancy’s garage. She has a fantastic set-up for many, many cats, but the few times I’d seen him when Wanda was still alive, I thought that Pumpkin should be an inside kitty.

So when we went to Nancy’s on Wednesday to set up the cameras, we picked up Pumpkin.

He was a good boy on the ride to our house and he’s been living in our second extra bedroom upstairs ever since. Here he is a few days ago.

There are a couple of issues – there are always issues – his eyes are red and swollen and now it looks like there’s a bubble on one of them, which he keeps closed. We took him to the vet and he’s on medication which will hopefully clear up the problem. And today I realized that he’s been using the carpet for a litter box. He seemed enthusiastic about the box initially, but this morning it finally dawned on me that he’s not using it. Oh boy.

But like I said, always issues, and I’m sure we’ll get it straightened out and meanwhile he’s incredibly happy to be here. I’ve opened his door so he could explore the house but so far he prefers to remain where he is, which is just fine. We’re up to six cats now, quite a few.

And maybe we’ll find Harley, stranger things have happened…

ok then,

Mrs. Sunday Hughes.