Thursday, April 26, 2018

Willows, Weasels, and Windows

Happy Thursday, friends! Are you ready for some rhyming? We sure are. After all, we always have fun participating in Angel Sammy and Teddy's Thoroughly Poetic Thursday challenge.

Each week, our wonderful hosts share with us an image to assist us in our rhyming endeavors. For this week's poem, they offered up this fantastically fantastical image:

I adore this magical picture. As I've mentioned before, I am a huge fan of all things fantasy. That's probably why this stunning image reminded of both the temperamental Whomping Willow tree in the Harry Potter series, as well as the magical land of Narnia and its animal inhabitants.

What's more, the thought of that Whomping Willow in Harry Potter brought to mind a little town of which I know. Before he passed away, my grandfather lived in a tiny town. In order to visit him, we had to drive through a number of other tiny towns, one of them being Willow Hill. I always remember being in awe of how tiny Willow Hill was. It always took only a matter of 1 or 2 minutes to pass through the entirety of Willow Hill, and its population was so small that we'd often drive through without spotting a single inhabitant.

Want to know a strange fact? We had to pass through so many small towns to visit my grandfather, that when we were young, my sister and I often couldn't tell all of the little towns apart. Willow Hill, though, we would always know. The reason for this is that Willow Hill had a little, vacated, rundown bank building with a window adorned with none other than a bullet hole. We always wondered when and how the bullet hole had gotten there, but never did find out.

Anyway, that was yet another long-winded discourse leading up to yet another of my long-winded rhymes. This particular poem was inspired by all sorts of random bits and bobs, and so it's all sorts of randomness itself. I hope you don't mind.

Welcome to Willow Hill

Daisy did not wish to move.
That, to her parents, she tried to prove.
Her efforts simply fell short, though,
And so she packed her things and prepared to go.

In the back seat she watched the world go by.
At her situation, Daisy could not help but sigh.
She had left her home and friends behind.
About that she was angry, she could not deny.

For hours and hours they did drive,
Until at their destination they finally arrived.
Daisy knew that their travels would now still,
When they passed a sign that ready, Welcome to Willow Hill!

And so Willow Hill was Daisy's new home,
Which was a fact that made her cry and moan.
After all, the little town was smaller than small.
The population was 200, that was all.

Unhappy and unpacked,
Daisy decided to see if this town was worth jack.
She figured the answer to that would be no,
And that perusing the town would only bring her more woe.

Daisy was really not the least bit impressed.
Willow Hill had her feeling really quite depressed.
The tiny town had but one tiny store,
And even that was such a bore.
Also but one restaurant was there.
The lack of entertainment Daisy simply could not bear.

She had lost all hope, Daisy had,
And was feeling both sad and mad.
She began to make her way back to her new home,
For no longer could she bear to roam.

Then, as she plodded along,
Daisy suddenly heard a song.
It reached her ears in the form of a whistle,
And its beauty made the hairs on her neck bristle.

Daisy wished to find the song's source,
And so she looked around in full force.
Finally, she turned and saw a willow tree upon a hill,
And from that tree was coming that trill.

Making her way to the tree,
A big black bird Daisy did see.
It rested upon a leafy limb,
And when Daisy approached, it stopped its hymn.

"Please, don't stop singing," Daisy said,
To which the bird seemed to bow its head.
It whistled one more sweet note,
And then from its beak did float,
"You find our little town quite boring.
Out of you sadness seems to be pouring."

Daisy was at a loss for words.
After all, she had never before met a talking bird.
She had heard of parrots speaking phrases,
But this one here was but a raven.

Seeing that Daisy had no reply,
The talking raven did cry,
"Willow Hill is far from boring.
See for yourself that it is no place for snoring."

Then and there something incredible occurred,
As if spurred by the words spoken by the bird.
The willow tree's trunk began to transform,
And then upon its trunk appeared a door!

The door was red and swung right open,
So that out streamed a light ever so golden.
A figure appeared within that light,
And Daisy was not sure whether she should feel fright.
But it did not seem that fear was a valid response,
Since the figure in the door had whiskers and paws.

The feline that emerged was big, orange, and striped.
Her current feelings Daisy could not quite describe.
This became even more truer than true,
When the cat told her, "I have something to show you."

The cat then turned and walked back through the door,
Leaving Daisy to wonder what might be in store.
Daisy at first thought following along to be unwise,
Until she decided to see what was next with her very own eyes.

And so, into the willow on the hill Daisy did enter.
Before long, she knew that was her best decision ever.
After all, inside the tree was a world of its own.
This was something that to Daisy would soon be known.

The first place they stopped was just beyond the red door.
It was a cozy abode with colorful walls and a vibrant floor.
"My name is Fergus," the cat finally said.
"This is my home. Do you need fed?"
Daisy could find no words but nodded her head.
She realized she had eaten nothing since rising from bed.

Fergus the cat led her out of his home,
And into the street together they did roam.
Before long, they passed a giant sign.
Welcome to Willow Hill, upon it was written in letters quite fine.
After that, Daisy simply could not believe her eyes.
This Willow Hill was stunning from the ground to the skies!

Lights streamed out of countless cottages and shops.
Daisy's gaze bounced around like a bunny that hops.
There was just simply so much to see,
In this land within that great willow tree.

Happy trees and flowers and animals did abound,
And to Daisy's ears floated a beautiful sound.
When she found its source she was rendered quite speechless,
For it came from a band of mice, cats, and even a Vizsla.

On the other side of the magical willow tree,
There was only one measly place to eat.
Here, though, diners and bakeries numbered at least twenty-three!
Into a deliciously scented joint Fergus led Daisy,
Where, from a great big hound, she ordered a burger and a pastry.
Daisy had never tasted food so divine,
And she was hesitant to leave this scrumptious place behind.

But Fergus had far more to show her on their journey,
And so, with him leading the way, Daisy did scurry.
Into a grand library was where they headed next.
Daisy could not believe the amount of texts.
Books, books, and more books there were!
There were so many books that they started to blur.
And when Daisy opened one to read its phrases,
She found words and pictures dancing with life on the pages!

Next door, a troupe of rabbits were putting on a play,
But Fergus and Daisy had so much to do that they could not stay.
They dashed to the shops and perused the shelves.
First they admired toys handcrafted by cute little elves.
Then Fergus took Daisy to the chocolate shop,
Where she tasted the magical goodies without stop.

But that was still just the beginning.
Throughout it all, Daisy could not stop grinning.
Did you know that this Willow Hill had a castle?
In the sun it did more than just dazzle.

Around the castle was of course a moat,
Where Fergus led Daisy to a boat.
Somehow Daisy then found herself on a ride down a river,
Where they stayed until the sun in the sky was just a sliver.

To finish their day's journey,
Fergus led Daisy through a prairie quite ferny.
Then they traversed through some friendly trees,
Where they were even offered sweet honey from bees.

 The wonders did not stop on their way back to the tree with the door,
And Daisy could not wait to return and venture some more.
Fergus the giant orange cat asked if she would be back the next day,
To which Daisy said that no one could keep her away.

So Daisy departed, but only for a while.
On her face spanned a great big smile.
Daisy decided that she was now quite happy in Willow Hill,
And she knew her life here would be filled with great thrill.

Today is the last Thursday in the April A to Z Challenge. That means we have for you our last Thursday A to Z Challenge doodle. That, in turn, means that this is the last Thursday when our poem will not be accompanied by its illustration. We will instead share this poem's doodle on Sunday.

Speaking of the A to Z Challenge, are you ready for the letter W?

As per usual, our theme involves putting animal-inspired twists on classic story titles. For today, the chosen classic is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. We just made a tiny alteration, though, and ended up with this:

Our little weasel up there seems to be having a nice day, and so are we. We are still happily enjoying window whiffies over here in our corner of the world. Of all the furbabies around here, Thimble perhaps enjoys the window whiffies the most. That's why she's entering her gratitude for Spring and its window whiffies into Brian's Thankful Thursday Blog Hop.

As always, this Thankful Thursday would not be complete without us thanking you all for your friendship. You all make us feel so happy and welcome, and we thank you for that!

Happy Thursday to you all, our friends!

Our Tip of the Day:

Our Spring safety tip today involves those beloved window whiffies. As you all certainly know, before opening those windows, make sure that they have screens and that those screens are properly safe and secure. Check those window screens before allowing your kitty or pup access. If any weak spots or issues are noted, do not allow your furbaby access until the window is safe against escape by said furbaby.

Also keep in mind that it is possible for a window screen to seem secure, but for a furbaby to lean or push against it and thereby knock it loose. It's also possible for little claws to make weak spots in screens. For this reason, never leave your furbaby unattended with open windows. This way, no accidental falls or escapes from the window can occur. We're a broken record, so we'll again repeat that it's always better to be safe than sorry!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Views and Vanity


Today's A to Z Challenge letter is V. Going along with our theme, the classic story we decided to work with is Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. As per usual, we put a twist on this, and that led us here:

We are wishing all of you friends of ours a wonderful Wednesday!

Our Tip of the Day:
Today's Spring safety tip is another one we've very recently mentioned, but that we'll repeat again. It is to always be aware and cautious of the potential dangers of various fertilizers, pesticides, and other such chemicals that are often used this time of the year. If you plan to use any such products, do your research and try to avoid using potentially toxic variations. No matter what kind you use, though, to be safe, keep any such products stashed safely away from your furbaby's reach.

But, this tip also goes beyond what you might be using in your own personal environment. For pups or kitties who go outdoors, you should take into consideration that unfamiliar yards, parks, and other such areas may use products that could have toxic effects if walked through, ingested, and so forth. When out and about with your furbaby, or even just yourself, try to avoid areas where you know or think any unsafe chemicals are used. When you arrive back at home after a walk or other excursion, wipe off paws and shoes, so that you can do your best to remove any traces of fertilizers, pesticides, or other chemicals. There is no such thing as being too careful when it comes to the health and safety of our furbabies, so do all that you can to keep your furbaby protected from potentially dangerous chemicals this time of year, and all year round.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cleaning Up and an Uncle's Kitten

Good grief, our blog posts have the weirdest titles these days. We'll get right to the first part of today's title. As part of the Blogger Outreach Program, we tried us a neat and clean new product this month. Well, one particular furbaby got to try it out.

We'll cut right to the chase. Evan tested out Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo for cats.

The reason that Evan tested this out is because, due to his hind limb paralysis, sometimes his aim in the bathroom is a bit off. Though it is rare, he sometimes emerges from the depths of the little boy's room with urine or feces on his rear end and legs.

All of that being said, Evan hates baths. He hates water, he hates sinks, he hates bathtubs, and all that jazz. All of these reasons are why waterless kitty shampoo has become a staple in our home. All I have to do is spray it and wipe Evan down. To be honest, though, Evan doesn't necessarily like being sprayed and wiped down with waterless shampoo all that much either. But, despite his complaints, waterless shampoo can make for a quick and harmless cleanup.

Now, back to Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo.

We have tested this product out. But, we don't have photographic evidence of our use of it. That's because Evan treats any and every bath, no matter how waterless and fleeting, like a visit to the guillotine. He squirms, he cries for help, and he tries to escape. I figured I wouldn't make him offer photographic evidence of his torture.

So, we'll just give our thoughts. Our thoughts are that the Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo does its job well, allowing Evan to be spick and span no matter what happens in the toilet. It has a soothing scent, neither too bland nor too pungent. It is made largely of natural components, including apple and honey. What's more, Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo for cats is formulated specifically with a cat's coat and skin in mind, and is also cruelty-free.

Are we pleased with Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo? We sure are! Well, at least I am. Evan thinks I'm the most cruel lady in existence when I bring it out to play. So, I guess only my vote counts this time around, and I give it two thumbs up.

(Disclaimer: As members of the Blogger Outreach Program, we received Burt's Bees™ waterless shampoo for cats in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are our own. We only review products that we believe will be of interest to our readers, and we never recommend a product that we do not believe in.)


  And now we're on to the A to Z Challenge.

We're all the way the letter U now. Of course, we continued on with our theme of twisting classic story titles into animal-inspired doodles. How did we do that with the letter U? Well, we made use of Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. Except, we gave it this weird twist instead:

I wasn't so sure about this one, but hopefully you all like it, or at least find it entertaining.

Have a terrific Tuesday, everybuddy!

Our Tip of the Day:

We're here with another Spring pet safety tip today. This one is another repeat tip, but it's also one that we think it's worth saying again. And that is, to please keep up with those preventatives! As the weather warms and the grass grows green, pests such as fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks will be out and about in full force. We very recently gave a series of tips on buggers such as these, what parasites they can harbor, and what diseases they can pass on to our furbabies. Tapeworms, heartworms, and Lyme disease, for example, can result if your furbaby falls victim to such pests. This can of course affect their health and happiness, and nobody wants that.

So, in short, please do keep up with preventatives for your kitties and pups. Discuss the best options with your veterinarian. And, of course, only give your furbaby a preventative that is formulated for their species, as well as their age and weight. Proper prevention indeed plays a part in keeping our furbabies as healthy as possible.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Tuxie Boy and a Kitty Tale

Evan and Eddy got to show off their cute little noses yesterday. Our housemate Toby heard about this, and he may or may not have gotten a tad bit jealous. So, this tuxie of a mancat wanted to show you all his own sniffer.

What makes this nosy shot even better is that involves some window whiffies! We sure are loving this thing called Spring.


It seems like just yesterday that we started the A to Z Challenge, yet now here we are at the letter T.

The classic novel title we twisted around for the letter T is A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. We told you guys that we'd be having some more kitty doodles coming up, so here's a bit of one for you:

What's more, given that we made use of his work for the A to Z Challenge, we chose a quote by Charles Dickens as our Spark this week.

The Sparks blog hop, hosted by Annie of McGuffy's Reader, is a way for us to share positive thoughts in this often negative world. We hope the quote we are sharing below is one that is positive and inspiring to you.

"There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are brighter in the contrast."
-Charles Dickens

Have a magnificent, motivational Monday, friends!

Our Tip of the Day:
We've gotten into the habit of turning our tips into series of tips these days. We're doing that again, and our newest series is going to be on pet safety in the Spring. Today's springtime tip is one that we've shared far more than once before, and that is to always be aware and cautious of the plants you have both in your garden and in your house. Some of the springtime plants that can be highly toxic to our furbabies include certain lilies, daffodils, and tulips. The list most certainly does not end there, though.

All of the above is why, before you bring any plants anywhere near your kitty or pup, always do your research and understand any potential toxicity. One good resource for finding out the potential toxicity of plant types is by perusing the ASPCA's extensive information on plants, which you can find by clicking here. In short, to keep your furbaby safe this Spring, of course be aware of any and all plants with which they come in contact. And, of course, if you have any concern that your furbaby may have gained access to a toxic plant, seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Nosy Sunday Selfies

We have been basking in the glorious sun these days. Spring is officially here now. Finally. It was while basking in the sun that two of the furbabies around here decided to show off none other than their noses.

See? Evan and Eddy wanted to show you all just how lovely their noses look in the sun. We bet you all have lovely noses in the sun, too.

Of course, Evan and Eddy snapped these nosy shots for the Sunday Selfies blog hop, hosted by none other than the Kitties Blue over at The Cat on My Head.

Has Spring finally found all of you? Is the sun shining and giving you lots and lots of sun puddles? We sure hope so!

Our Doodle of the Day:

As we've said before, for the month of April, our illustrations for our Thoroughly Poetic Thursday challenge poems will be shared on Sundays. This is because we're participating in the A to Z Challenge, and so those are the doodles we share on Thursdays during this month. 

Anyway. Enough babbling. To read our most recent poem, titled "Geronimo", just click here. To see its illustration, just scroll below.

Our Tip of the Day:

We have one more tip in our Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month series. This tip is another way you can help contribute toward the prevention of animal cruelty and neglect, and that is by assisting in the mission and work of shelters, rescues, and humane organizations. The more resources these organizations have, the more animals they can rescue from cruelty, neglect, and other similar situations. To do this, you can volunteer your time, make monetary donations, or donate goods that aid humane organizations in rescuing and caring for animals in their program. You can also help by spreading the word about the work they do and the animals they are rescuing or adopting out.

Of course, do your research to ensure that a particular organization is indeed humane and that their mission matches your beliefs. The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, and various local shelters and rescues are examples of those that you can potentially volunteer with or donate to in order to help prevent animal cruelty and promote the adoption of homeless animals. Any little bit that you can offer to such organizations can help them rescue more animals, including those subjected to cruelty and neglect. Any little bit truly counts, and any little bit can help keep kitties and pups safe and ready for their forever homes!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A Sheepish Saturday

We of course have a bit of a doodle to share with you all today. It is our contribution for both the A to Z Challenge and lovely Athena's Caturday Art blog hop.

Today's A to Z Challenge letter is S. And, as usual, we're following our theme of putting animal-inspired twists on classic story titles. To be honest, I had a bit of trouble with S. There are certainly classics out there that start with S, and I even had ideas for how to give some of them an animal twist. But, I wasn't really liking any of the ideas I came up with.

So, I asked my family to start throwing S titles at me, and my dad offered A Separate Peace by John Knowles. That was one of my favorite books from my high school English courses, so I really liked the thought of using it. I couldn't think of how to fit it in with my theme, though, and so I asked my dad if he had any ideas. He immediately said, "How about A Separate Fleece?" And I figured, why not? So, here you go:

I know I just drew sheep very much like these fellas for a recent doodle, but I hope you don't mind the repeat subject matter. Also, I promise there are more kitty titles and doodles coming up very, very soon! It feels strange not drawing kitties or pups every day. This A to Z really is a challenge.

We hope each and every one of you is having a wonderful weekend!

Our Tip of the Day:

In case you forgot, April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month. And, in case you forgot, we're doing a short series of tips on this topic. Today, we have a simple tip on how you can help prevent cruelty and neglect of animals. And that is, simply, to adopt your furbabies from shelters or rescues. Though there are indeed reputable and responsible breeders out there, there are also, unfortunately, a vast number of backyard breeders and puppy and kitty mills where animals are inhumanely treated as nothing but tools for the sake of human profit. By purchasing from such breeders or from pet shops, you are supporting the cruel treatment of the animals used by these breeders. So, please always consider adopting from shelters and rescues!

Also, as we're certain you already know, please also have your kitties and pups spayed or neutered. In addition, if you are able to do, consider assisting with trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs, which help reduce overpopulation both in the wild and in the shelter system. Strays, ferals, and even intact house pets can contribute to a large number of kittens and puppies being born in the wild. Sadly, these outdoor animals can make accessible and easy targets for cruel treatment from humans who wish them harm. We have all heard the terrible stories of animal cruelty inflicted on innocent creatures living outdoors. So, for more reasons than one, please also spay and neuter your pets, and consider assisting in TNR programs.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I Spy Rosie and Something Red

Welcome to the eve of the weekend, friends! There is much to love about Fridays, like the Friendly Fill-Ins challenge, hosted by our friends Ellen of 15andmeowing and Annie of McGuffy's Reader.

Here are the clever fill-ins our hosts created for this week:

1. New _________ are _________.
2. I love to _________ on the _________.
3. When I was a child, I loved to play _________.
4. One _________, I _________.

And here are my results:

1. New books are one of my favorite scents.
(Does anyone else sniff books? Surely I'm not the only one. While I have finally learned to enjoy reading ebooks as well, for me nothing will ever beat a wonderfully old-fashioned book.)

2. I love to stay home on the weekends.
(Way to party hard, huh? I honestly love nothing more than parking myself on the couch with my furbabies.)

3. When I was a child, I loved to play "make believe".
(My sister and I used to think up all sorts of scenarios for us to "make believe". We would be doctors, teachers, race car drivers, all that jazz. We especially loved pretending we were detectives. Books like Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy really spurred that, I'm pretty sure. Our childhood kitties and pups, including my girl Rosie, used to play roles in our games, too, of course! When the mood would strike us, my sister and I would pretend Rosie and her brother Sammy were our babies, and we'd push them around in strollers. Poor kitties.)

I've shared that there photo once before, but there it is again. That is, indeed, 
my sweet angel Rosie being pushed around in a stroller by my roughly 
7-year-old self. Rosie had to put up with me for 21 years, bless her heart.

4. One day, I will be owned by another calico.
(Rosie helped me fall in love with calicoes. It's been almost 3 years since my girl Rosie flew to the Rainbow Bridge, and another calico has not yet found me. I will never in a million years be able to replace my Rosie, but I've always known that, someday, another calico will be in my life.)


It 's probably no surprise to most of you that next up is our newest installment in the A to Z Challenge.

Our theme of course still involves putting animal-inspired twists on classic story titles. Today we're at the letter R, and so we went with The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. But, of course we made a bit of an alteration to that.

Do you want to know a secret? I really don't enjoy drawing birds. Why? Because I'm terrible at drawing birds. This was a really tough one for me. But, there it is, The Red Budgie of Courage. Do you want to know something else? I had a budgie bird when I was a small child. His name was Pippin, and he was a great friend.


Don't worry, we didn't forget to give you an Eddy fix!

Don't mind that grumpy face. Eddy is indeed happy for some sunshine, regardless of that expression of hers.

Eddy and all of us here wish you all a beautiful, sunshiny day!

Our Tip of the Day:
Yesterday's tip for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month offered suggestions for reporting animal cruelty that you might witness. To further that, did you know that some areas have cruelty prevention programs or task forces? These are often part of the local animal control, humane society, or other similar organization. Therefore, if you wish to further assist in the prevention of animal cruelty in your area, do your research and see if your area offers a program such as this and inquire as to how to join. If your area does not offer such a program, there are still ways you can help when it comes to preventing cruelty. Over the next couple of days we'll be going into detail about some the ways you can help prevent animal cruelty, so stay tuned.