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Photo Time: You Guys It’s My Cat


This is the look I get.

Vinnie gets meds every morning. Meds come with a treat. Wanna know if Vinnie likes treats? Look into those big eyes for a full minute. Imagine him saying what he says to me every morning.

“Meow,” he says. “Meow.”

He says it from atop his glorious stool. He says it like he means it.



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Kitty Yin-Yang

The first thing I thought when I saw this Kitty Yin-Yang was, “Why didn’t we put this basket out here sooner?” It had been in the closet for years.

This is where the cats spend a large portion of the day now. They cuddle up together and pass the time in their tiny basket of love, presumably reading the Venn Diagram book or looking out over their vast expanse of property. They can see the kitchen from there.

Here this Kitty Yin-Yang sits in balance.

Continue reading Kitty Yin-Yang

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Attention Hog

I lay down on the leather sofa. I have some time, so my plan is to do some reading before starting to cook supper.

It doesn’t take long before I hear a little animal motorboat approach. It pulls up close and I feel the furry bump on my exposed hand. It’s Lefty. He would like some attention.

“Oh, good kitty,” I say. It’s true. He is, indeed, a good kitty, excelling at both cuddly-wuddly and predatory skill sets.

He takes this as an invitation. “Purr,” he says, almost matter-of-factly as he jumps up on my lap. He presses his head hard into my hand.

“Oh, what a nice kitty,” I reiterate. “Everybody knows you’re a good kitty.”

He spots my second hand, uselessly holding the iPad, upon which my book is stored. He swings his body sideways and crashes into the hand and iPad alike. I use both hands to flip him upside down and rub his belly. The purr increases – the little motorboat has kicked into high gear.

“You like some attention, don’t you?”

He turns to me, his yellow-gray eyes gaze directly into mine. “Yes,” his eyes say.

“You do, don’t you?” I say. “What a good kitty. My goodness, how much attention do you want?”

His gaze does not waver. He flips his body and moves forward, ramming my chin with his cold, wet nose.

“All of it,” he says with his insistent purr. “All of it.”

The iPad is forgotten in my lap.

This is why it takes me so long to finish books.

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Fur production was down.  Vinnie wasn’t getting enough exercise, and he seemed to be suffering anthropomorphized feelings of loneliness.  We all felt bad for him, loafing about all day doing nothing but eating and sleeping in some giant Garfield reenactment.

There were all sorts of reasons to get another cat.

We finally did it.  A few weeks ago Lefty joined Vinnie as the second member of our little Kitty Mafia.

We’re still not sure who’s in charge.  Vinnie has the distinct size advantage – more than double, actually.  Lefty has the advantage of youthful energy and front claws.

Front claws will get a person pretty far in life.

Luckily they get along well enough that nobody has ended up injured.  They chase each other around and tackle each other to the ground.  Neither has shown any hint of real “I’m going to draw blood.” aggression.  The only real result of these tussles are wads of Vinnie fur scattered all over the house.  Significantly more than his normal rate of production.

We love having Lefty around.  He is aggressively affectionate, even with the kids.  He loves to sit in their laps and demand endless petting.  His purrs hint that he is far more pleased than any mammal ought to really have a right to be.  When I tell the boys “Wow, Lefty really loves you,” they believe me.


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This, Too, Shall Pass

In the interest of recording Fred’s greatness for all time I thought I would put together a list of the various things which have passed through him. Fred is gifted with the unique ability to consume virtually any object and turn it directly into an awful and unique odor.

The following is a evidence of both his greatness as a dog and my lack of greatness as a dog owner.

  • Wooden spoons – shortly after we got him he ate all of our wooden spoons. One of them was covered with chili powder.
  • A whole bag of Reeses Peanut Peanut butter cups wrappers and all – His first Halloween was an eventful one
  • My Jade Plant – It used to be huge, now very little is left.
  • Chicken bones. He was just too quick. He swallowed them whole to avoid that whole jagged edge problem.
  • A bag of flour. (He ate the baby!)
  • Squash from my garden.
  • Corn on the cob. Both corn and cob.
  • Tomatoes from my garden.
  • Iams Large Breed Dog Food. Have you tried that stuff? It’s gross.
  • A whole bag of potato chips in under 10 seconds.
  • A whole bunch of bananas. (there have been multiple banana dissappearances)
  • A loaf of bread.
  • Two loaves of bread
  • Fred really loves bread
  • Several bags of Halloween candy. No, we didn’t learn our lesson the first time.
  • Cat poop. Yeah. Cat poop.
  • Lawn fertilizer. The iron in it turned his poop black.
  • Bone from a pork chop. It was T shaped and about 9 inches long so I though he’d just take the meat off of it. Then he swallowed it whole.
  • Raw potatoes. Luckily he didn’t find those in my garden.
  • Cat vomit. (Usually a good source of vegetation)
  • Hostas, in the spring when they’re delicious.
  • Leftover grains from my beer making.

That is all I can think of at the moment. Please feel free to add to the list if you remember something that is not on my list.

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Missing Halloween Candy

I happens every year. We buy Halloween candy weeks before the actual date, only to have the supply slowly diminish until a second candy purchase must be arranged. It isn’t like anyone here really eats a lot of candy. It just slowly dissappears. I virtually never eat candy any other time of year. Once as a kid I had to throw away chocolate eggs to make room for the next year’s Easter candy.

But walking by a bowl of Halloween candy without having just one piece seems to be virtually impossible. As the weeks go by the candy goes away and we end up buying more before the big day.

But not this year. This year I had a strategy. I intentionally procrastinated. I waited until there were only three days until Halloween. I knew that we would eat some of the candy in that time, but not a significant amount. Or so I thought.

Something was missing from my calculations. It was like when you calculate how long it would take a guy with a parachute to drop to the ground from 10,000 feet, but you forget to factor in gravity. I calculated the rate of consumption for Carol and I, but neglected to factor in Fred The Dog. The lucky guy ate two bags of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, wrappers and all. This puts us solidly below the quantity necessary for Halloween night, and it isn’t even Halloween yet. It looks like once again I’ll be shopping for candy at the last minute.

I really hope Fred can pass those candy wrappers. It may be his greatest feat yet. I’ve noticed that lately he’s been training. He ate at least three or four squash from my garden, passing the seeds untouched. I have been putting extra grain from beer brewing in the mulch pit, which while mowing I noticed had been gathered into giant tootsie roll shapes and scattered across the lawn. This summer he ate some corn on the cob without hardly chewing. He’s even eaten chicken bones when we weren’t paying close enough attention. He doesn’t break them at all, he just swallows them whole.

I guess I’ll be following him around for the next few days looking for that telltale orange. What a great dog.

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The Mystery of the Missing Squash

Damaged, diseased, and rotten produce is often a problem in a vegetable garden. As a gardener I am have resigned myself to the fact that there will be a certain amount of loss during the growing season. The tomato that looks wonderful while green may ripen into a bug infested mess. The carrots may grow to be brown and cracked.

One does not, however, anticipate the wholesale disappearance of spaghetti squash.

Sadly, this tragedy has struck the Eichenlaub Garden. The squash plant itself remains mostly intact, bearing several more squash of reasonable size. One squash, however, which made its home just outside of the garden, has gone missing.

For the purposes of completeness I have recorded the evidence.

Img:  Debris

A short distance from the garden lies a small collection of squashy debris

Img:  A Missing Squash

The former resting place of a squash. The branch looks almost as if someone violently ripped the squash from it’s stem.

With so little evidence it has been difficult to narrow down the list of suspects. Witness accounts indicate that there were three suspects on the scene around the time of the crime.

Img:  Fred

Suspect 1: Fred. Loves his vegetables. No criminal history, though he is also suspected in a series of recent mass banana disappearances.

Img:  Charlie the Weather Gnome

Suspect 2: Charlie the Weather Gnome. History of eggplant abuse. Doesn’t move much.

Img:  Isaac

Suspect 3: Isaac Eichenlaub. Wasn’t actually in town during the crime. Just wanted to post a cute picture.