Saturday, March 11, 2017

We Lost Another Cat...

I was really hoping to post some motorcycle news, or some happy Spring news. We have no snow, but the temps are still close to 0 at night. I'm sure Spring will arrive, and the bikes and convertible will come out soon. Unfortunately, this post has none of the above...


We had to put Rudy down this morning. This has been an especially hard day. It was just 74 days ago that we had to put down Orangie.

Rudy was born in my closet when we lived in Prescott, WI, on 4-29-09. A pregnant stray cat that wandered into our lives and stuck around our place must have decided we were going to be OK "pet parents". She was an odd one. She wanted nothing to do with either of us, or the other 2 cats we already had, Sticky and Orangie. She wanted no affection, no love.... only food and to be left alone. Early in the morning of the 29th, she jumped up on the bed with us and let me rub her belly. After 10 minutes or so, she got off the bed and disappeared into my closet. I remember waking Nancy and telling her to listen. There was the sound of mewing baby kittens coming from our closet. She had a litter of 6, all nestled on top of my 2 spare pairs of Sorel boot liners.

We now had 9 cats. We worked hard to acclimate the kittens to human contact, but the mother kept picking them up and hiding them every time we'd try. We cared for them until they were old enough to adopt. Then we brought mom and 4 of the kittens to a local shelter that would find homes for them.

We kept two males, Rudy(in the back), and his brother, Screamer (in front).


Rudy was a very unusual cat. Unlike his scrawny, thin and very talkative brother, Rudy was BIG and solid. He had huge paws, thick fur, no fat, no belly, and great teeth. He hardly ever meowed and when he did, it was almost kitten like. For being the big, burly boy he was, he had a gentle and shy demeanor. He was absolutely in love with out oldest, Sticky. Rudy was Sticky's shadow and was never far from him. Rudy would follow him wherever he went. Sometimes Sticky would snap at Rudy, just trying to get some space of his own. Rudy was persistent. He would always try to nurse off of Sticky. It was pretty common to hear suckling sounds and see Rudy's paws kneading Sticky's belly. Sticky just let him...


Rudy was truly an indoor cat. I remember one night when we lived in Prescott. Rudy was lost outside and it was getting late. I took Orangie outside with me and we walked in the woods behind the house. I was calling his name, but Rudy was nowhere to be found. Orangie was a now tame, feral farm cat and was very used to being outside. That night Orangie stayed outside all night. In the morning, I found Orangie and Rudy waiting at the basement patio door. Orangie was fine, but Rudy looked like he was in shock. His eyes were huge, his tail was huge. He looked scared. A few days later we found a very small red scab on the left side, right about the middle of his rib cage. I always suspected someone, like our 35 year-old (still living with mom and dad) neighbor, had shot him with a bb or pellet gun. Today, Dr. Sammi took x-rays and sure enough, there was a pellet! After that night he never tried to sneak out like the other boys did.


He was the lowest maintenance cat we have. He always seemed the picture of health. But this week it all changed. He started getting sick around Tuesday this week. I thought it might have just been a hairball issue. By Thursday, He couldn't eat or drink. Nancy took him to Dr. Sammi and she gave him a shot of antibiotics and injected him with saline because he was dehydrated. She told us she'd be available this weekend if he didn't improve. Friday was tough. He showed no improvement. There was no way he'd survive the weekend if he couldn't eat or drink! Nancy called the Dr. around 10:30 Friday night. At about 5:40 this morning, the Dr. called back. We were at her place by 6:30. She took x-rays and it showed that Rudy's lungs were full of liquid, and his esophagus was very constricted. We talked with her about what to do. She said that she had seen cats with these same symptoms before and was sure this was FIP(feline infectious peritonitis) related. She had found that Orangie had been a carrier of FIP. There is no cure or treatment for FIP. The virus can hide dormant for a long time before there's a problem.

We made a heart breaking decision... There's no joy in the house this evening.




"Heaven is the place where we meet all of the pets we loved on earth"






RIP my little buddy.








Tuesday, December 27, 2016

WARNING: Sad Cat Passing Story....


It's with mixed emotions that I make tonight's post. We had our cat, "Orangie", put to sleep today. He'd been living with diabetes for the last 9 months and his physical condition had been slowly declining. We gave him shots twice a day to try and control it, but feline diabetes is hard on them. His back legs were losing strength and he had a difficult time walking on non-carpeted floors. All he wanted to do the last week was hide under our bed. He would use the cat box when no one was around and then head for cover again.


We met Orangie shortly after we moved to Prescott, WI. We started seeing him in our backyard in March or April of 2005. He'd come around with another, much younger, stray that we'd later take in and name, "Sticky". The two of them were best buddies and they were always together. Sticky was a neutered and box trained cat that had probably been kicked out and left to fend for himself by some less than wonderful owner. Sticky warmed up to us right away and once he came inside that spring he found our home to his liking and never left...


Orangie however, was a bit more reluctant to come join our family. He'd had a tough life and we suspected that he was a 2 or 3 year old, semi-feral, farm cat from the other side of the ravine in our backyard. He was very skittish at first and would run when he saw us. It took a long time for him to let us approach him. He'd hang out in the back yard and we'd feed him while Sticky watched...


One of the first times he came into our house, we noticed that one of his front paws was swollen and red. When we called the Vet they told us to bring him in, and we just laughed to ourselves. We managed to capture him in a cardboard box and duct taped it shut to make the trip. By the time we got to the Vet's office, he had clawed a hole in the side of the box and when he put his paw out of the hole, he appeared to be giving everyone the finger. When we explained to the Vet that Orangie was a stray he neutered him for free. They also fixed up his broken and infected paw. At one point during his visit, Orangie broke free in the Vet's office... They later referred to him as "Satan in a Box".

It wasn't until the coldest part of the winter of 2006-2007 that Orangie finally gave in and became a house cat. I had done everything I could to help him get through that winter. I made him a heated shelter out of a plastic storage tub, 2" foam insulation, a down filled throw, and a kennel heater. I placed the box on a table that was under the second floor porch. It was well protected and out of the wind. He'd come inside, but only for short periods and would insist on going back out to spend the night in his box. Until frostbite got his ears...

This looks way worse than it was... He recovered but his ears were a little disfigured.


After the frostbite, he wanted nothing to do with going outside in cold weather. He and Sticky would still go out in the summer and hunt in the woods behind our home..

When we moved up to Cable, we brought all our cats with us. By then we had 6 rescues... Sticky, Orangie, Vinnie (The Thug), Screamer, Rudy, and LBK (little boy kitty).


Since moving here, we've lost 3 cats. Vinnie (The Thug) who passed away unexpectedly in Nancy's arms in August of 2012, LBK in June of 2013, and now Orangie.

It was a hard decision to make. I absolutely hate feeling like Judge, Jury, and Executioner, but I know I did the best for him. Even the Vet said that we did more for him than most people would have. Dr. Sammi did an excellent job. She fitted Orangie with an IV port, and when it was time he passed very peacefully with no apparent pain, physical reactions or stress...

Thank you North Star Veterinary Clinic..

Goodbye my buddy..... Rest in peace...



Sticky and his best bud, Orangie...




My favorite Orangie story...

When we lived in Prescott, WI, Orangie was an indoor/outdoor cat. The last few years we were there he had an unusual behavior. Every August, I would take off on the motorcycle for a week or so, and head to Sturgis, SD. Nancy would let Orangie outside after I left and he would disappear for the entire time I was gone. She would call out for him several times a day but he'd never return. Every time this happened, Nancy would think that he was gone for good... But, like clock work, I'd come back home from my trip in the evening and without fail the next morning Orangie would be outside waiting at the patio door... I'd like to think there was a spiritual connection between the two of us but, knowing Orangie, I'd bet he was never far away and would hear me come home or could see me in the house. He was always excited to greet me!



Once we moved up here, the cats were no longer allowed outside. There are way too many dangerous critters in these woods...


Monday, November 21, 2016

It's Over for the Year...

Late in the evening of Thursday, November 17th, it started to rain. By Friday night the rain had turned to snow. Earlier in the week I had taken each of the bikes out for one last ride. I stopped by the local gas station for a fill of no-ethanol premium and a shot of Sta-bil before pulling them into the garage for the last time.

I had to do a lot of rearranging to get everything to fit...


I hope to have a shed or another garage by next winter. There are too many things sitting around outside.

It was kind of an off year for riding. No long trips, not even a multi day in-state trip. My riding buddy, John, moved up to the area from St. Paul this summer, so I spent a lot of time with that. The addition of a car cut down on some riding too. Nancy can't ride on the bike, so we put quite a few miles on the car this summer.

I've got a couple of ideas for some rides for next year. Maybe this winter I'll try and come up with a route and a list of things to see...

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Fall Colors by Kayak.

It was cool and rainy most of last week so there's been little chance to get out and enjoy any fall colors. Yesterday, Nancy and our friend, Wendie, went to check out the Stone Lake Cranberry Festival. The weather was perfect and that meant big crowds. I'm glad I didn't go along.

Today was another perfect day. I think it topped out at 71° with no wind and a cloudless sky! An excellent time to kayak on the Namekagon River.
We put in at the Thompson Bridge Landing (Mossback Rd.) and got out at the Larsen Road Landing. The two are only 4.4 miles apart by car, but we were on the water almost 3 hours.

That section of the Namekagon is located about half way between our home, just east of Cable, and Hayward. The river runs right next to the little town of Seeley. It's really just a wide spot in the road, but there's a lumber company, a cemetery, and a small motel-bar-restaurant in town. The Sawmill Saloon has a great fish fry on Friday nights.

The river is pretty tame in that section, no rapids and not too many shallow spots. It does have it's share of large rocks just below the surface to watch for though.

A Google map of the area....



Here's a link to the National Parks Service map of the St. Croix River National Scenic Riverway that includes the Namekagon... Here...



Here are the pictures from today...


It's supposed to be just as nice tomorrow. John and I are going to meet up and take the bikes out for a ride. Maybe a land based fall color report will follow!




Sunday, August 07, 2016

3rd Post Since Spring?

I haven't done much riding this Summer, but I have kept busy.

Today, Nancy and I went kayaking on the Namekagon River. Each time we go, we try to do a different section. We put in at the Thompson Bridge Canoe Landing and got out 4.3 miles down stream at the Larsen Bridge Landing. We've had some rain lately (more on that later) so the river is still pretty high for this late in the Summer. That's kind of nice, the high water gives you more clearance over some of the large rocks in the river. Lower water levels make for what seems like slower water, but bouncing off the rocks is not a lot of fun.


One of several NPS camping spots along the river...

I've noticed that the ferns along side the road way are starting to die off. Is this the start of some Fall color?

Our kayaks. We have the sit-on variety.


The garden has been producing... A few days ago I harvested, and taste tested, the first of my Yukon Gold potatoes... Yum!


Last weekend, Nancy and I met up with Doug, from Coop's Corner, and his son, Ben. We met down in Rice Lake for a photo op with ScooterBob, and then had lunch at Culver's. A huge thank you to Doug and Ben for making time in their busy family schedule to meet up with Nancy and me. Getting the chance to see ScooterBob meant a lot to me.


I mentioned rain??? Over night on July 11th-12th, we got a huge amount of rain in a very short time. Some areas near us got 10", some got more. Our little 5" rain gauge was over filled. If that wasn't enough, we lost power over night and it was off for close to 11 hours. Not a good combination. I was witness to an ever rising flood in the sump basket in the basement. The water kept rising during the night and with no power to run the sump pump.... Well, here's a few pictures...

At least all the cardboard boxes were off the floor on shelving. There were only plastic tubs on the floor.

The water flooded the entire basement. Thank heavens for optional sump/sewer back up insurance! The actual loss, a small area of carpet and some very minor water damage, totaled just a little over the deductible, but the insurance company covered the clean up and drying! The "man cave" will get some type of waterproof vinyl flooring and a new door this Fall.

We lost an oak tree in the backyard that night too...

We've had more wildlife in the backyard...

We visited Amnicon Falls State Park and saw a nice waterfall and some interesting rock formations.

My riding buddy, John, has finally had enough of living in St. Paul, MN. He and his wife, Wendie, recently purchased a home on a lake outside of Hayward, WI. They're in the process of moving up and selling the MN place. That will be nice, I wont have to drive 160 miles to go riding with him.

More as it happens up here in the north woods...

P.S. the FJr's replacement is in a few pictures... Did you see it? Hint: Bob would be pleased.