Fall into Autumn

Moving from September into October is a delightful fall into autumn in Phoenix. September is still hot. It’s a nasty remnant of summer hanging on past its prime. But October is one of the best months here. Still balmy, but not hot. Sunny days, but sometimes the sky is a little overcast. The snakes are getting ready to hibernate, and the rabbits and quail are old enough to watch out for predators.

The gardener thought it was a good time to put in a couple of new cacti. Within a day of planting one of the cacti developed black spots on it. He ended up agreeing to cut off the limbs with the spots, and they gave him some smaller plants to make up for it. I don’t think that was a great solution. I would have preferred a new plant because I worry about contagion and because now we have a maimed cactus. But he can’t let any plant go to waste. He treats them like the living beings they are.

Then his years-old barrel cactus (it’s not a regular barrel cactus, but some sort of barrel) fell over (it’s fall! it’s fall! sorry). He’s grown that baby into what he says is a $500 plant. But now look at it. So sad. He propped it up, and the man at the landscape store told him it might live. Looks pathetic to me.

What happened, I guess, is that the gardener planted it in the right spot years ago, but a new company came in and worked on the irrigation. They “fixed” it to the point where too much water was hitting that cactus. Because it was near the wash, we aren’t around it when the water came on, so we didn’t know that was happening.

But now that it’s getting cooler (70s and 80s), it’s much easier to work outside, so the gardener is happy about that.

Speaking of fall: pumpkin ice cream bars! I kid you not. I got them at Whole Foods. Vanilla wafers and pumpkin ice cream. That reminds me that I need to look for the pumpkin butter I got last year. That stuff was so good on the gluten-free bakery’s yummy bagels. Don’t try to make me feel bad about pumpkin. I was eating cold pumpkin pie and Cool Whip for breakfast long before you ever thought of it! (News flash: the bars are making me sick which shows me how bad my lactose intolerance is getting).

Felix seems to be ok, but I am taking no chances. I watch for his business on the potty cam every day. Tiger is getting sub q fluids to help her system deal with kidney disease. That makes me feel bad for Pear who is 4 years older and has had kidney disease at least as long as that, but gets no fluids. However, at 19, I think Pear would prefer to just lie in comfort on “her” couch, rather than be hauled off to the vet’s office twice a week. Sloopy Anne does not seem to be throwing up now that I put her on hypoallergenic food (we’ll see if that continues). Kana and Perry are ok for now.

I’ve been puttering (pottering for some of you) around with my writing lately. Continuing to tweak the memoir that looks WAY different than it did a couple of years ago. Revising poems and sending them out.  I might take a look at some old prose pieces, too, and see if anything can be done with them. This feels like where I am right now: refining, not originating. And that’s ok. It takes less energy, but is still rewarding. That is a good thing in this time of much busyness in business, as well as family and cat stuff going on.

There are only three months left to reach my 2019 publication goal. Luckily, I have a new poem up which I posted about on Saturday. Here it is: BEHOLD THE NEEDLE at Thimble Literary Magazine.

If you celebrate Rosh Hashanah, L’Shanah Tovah! If you celebrate fall, Happy October tomorrow. Friday is the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi. He holds a special place in my heart. The animals and the environment, you know. Make it a great week.


Adding this fun update. Remember when I wrote about my music box? According to Robyn who blogs at Holding to the Ground it was in January. She took me up on my request that you guys write about the secret life of an object! It’s a wonderful piece–enjoy and see if you don’t get ticked off at her mom, too (by the way). The Secret Life of a Clock Radio


Filed under #amwriting, #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Writing

41 responses to “Fall into Autumn

  1. That cactus does not look happy! Wishing your pets the best. Despite clear blood work I knew something was bothering Mollie so we ended up at the Emergency Vet Center this weekend for x-rays. There is something odd about her esophagus and she has gas pockets all over her interior — esophagus to colon. Most likely it’s the gas that’s been making her uncomfortable so we have some meds to try. The funny thing is that at her annual exam last week I told my vet she was gassy and we both laughed. Turns out that may be a big part of her problem. Sigh. Aging pets are heartbreaking.

    • I think he’s deluding himself to think that cactus is going to survive.
      Mollie!!! What in the world? I’v enever heard of such a thing. That poor baby. She must be miserable. Can you imagine? Gassy should have probably told the vet something since cats so seldom have that problem. (unlike dogs) How did you know to take her to the ER? Aging pets are SO heartbreaking. These two old ladies over here (Pear and Tiger) keep making me weepy. And then worry over Felix. I need to know more about Mollie! Please keep me up on what’s going on! Hugs to you both.

      • If I get my act together I’ll probably post the story on Friday. She had this gagging thing going on in her throat. Made me nervous. I isolated her for 24 hours to inventory her input/output so I had data. Her esophagus which should open and close as she swallows, doesn’t close. They are not sure why. They talked about ultrasound, biopsies and such. I was thinking she’s like 80. I won’t do invasive things. I want to talk to my own vet before making any decisions. We have new info now. Believe I want to give her tums! They gave me an antibiotic for mild inflammation.

        • Oh, that would have distressed me, too. I hope your vet has some good ideas. Tums?! I can imagine that cats do get heartburn. But I would think that any human meds for that would be way too harsh. So frustrating!

  2. Hurrah for pumpkin pie with Cool Whip for breakfast! (It’s pumpkin pudding for me these days–no crust–but still works.)

  3. Thanks for the update, Luanne. Irrigation and cactus are bad company. Hope the best for all the kitties.

    • I am going to suggest he check all the cacti now that he knows about this one. Not sure how you check that until it’s too late. Thanks re the kitties. Hope your furkids are well!

  4. I know how sad it is to see the end of plants you’ve nurtured for a long time. Thanks for the update on the rest of your doings. Good that Felix is still okay. What a job you have, mothering them all.

    • My daughter was your way last week. i forgot to tell you. She attended a wedding at Hadley Castle. Wow, I saw photos–that is some amazing spot!
      Yes, it’s sad with the plants and sad when the kitties are sick. And lots of mothering on my part and on the gardener’s part!!!

  5. Just read and enjoyed this post immensely! A fine array of notable fall stuff! <3

  6. Meant to add: good luck with kitties!!!

  7. Happy Fall, Luanne, and so sorry the gardener lost his wonderful cactus. The same thing happens around here to large oak and pine trees when there’s too much rain.

  8. Ha! I’m a big St Francis fan also Luanne – I’ve been looking for at least two decades for a garden statue of him to join my outside Buddha. I want both Frank and Sidd watching over my plants and wildlife 😀 I’m hoping your various maimed cacti make a comeback for you. They are not plants I know anything at all about except most will hurt you, like roses do, if you get too close too carelessly. Kitties sound like they are either doing well or holding their own – always a relief. My Orlando is doing okay but visibly becoming frailer as he hits the end of his thirteenth year. I’m hoping we get a summer this year so he will get to enjoy his favourite sunny spots………. Oh. and a PS: I make a sugar free, lactose free pumpkin ‘cookie’ using cacao powder, mashed pumpkin, crushed almonds and coconut oil. Spice of preference and there you go. I keep some in my freezer for those times when I want something sweet………..

    • Oh, what a lovely idea! We have Kwan Yin in our garden. She hears the cries of all living beings. I would love to put “Frank” in there with her! Poor dear Orlando. Seeing them getting frailer is so difficult. That is how I feel about Pear and Tiger. I keep tearing up over them. Praying for just the right sun spots for Orlando. Those pumpkin cookies sound good. Is it a particular recipe or do you just mix up the batter as you go? Then you bake it?

      • It was a recipe that used flour and I substituted mashed pumpkin – it’s evolved over the years to some of this and a bit of that…… Basically it is 1 – 2 cups of mashed pumpkin and 1/2 cup cacao powder mixed with a good dollop of vanilla extract, about a cup of crushed almonds, half a cup of coconut oil, pinch of sea salt, good dash of cinnamon or any other spice you like (I often use a pumpkin pie spice mix), mixed up and put in teaspoon lots on your baking tray and cook about at 180C for 20 – 25 mins or so until spread out and golden. I leave them on the tray to cool and store in the fridge or freezer. I’ve also added cacao nibs and or frozen berries into the mix at different times with sometimes messy but always tasty results. Enjoy!

  9. It sounds like you’re having a great fall. Good luck with the cactus, cats, and pumpkin treats.
    I’m happy it’s a bit cooler today and we have lots of leftovers to eat!

    • Just found this. So sorry, Merril! The jury is still out on the cactus. Kitties holding their own, although I do worry about Tiger. Our weather is now beautiful. FINALLY. Enjoy your weekend.

  10. Could we please have cooler weather??? It’s still too hot in Florida and I do believe that spending too much time on the back porch during midday was one reason our cats went off their food for a while. Thank goodness we’re all back on track 😉 The barrel cactus does look rather sad. Congrats on your poem, by the way. I’m so sorry to hear about your kitties’ health struggles. It’s so hard when you have to decide whether giving them a treatment is going to help them or just prolong the agony. You’re following your instincts which is a good thing. It is so hard to cope with aging cats. Max, the oldest, is 16 and still spunky but she has early stage kidney disease so I’ve been watching her like a hawk. She really is eating well and everyone is drinking water, but still. I watch 😉

    • I’m sorry that Maxine has kidney disease. That is what Tiger and Pear have. Today Pear is acting like she doesn’t feel well and Tiger won’t eat at all. Getting ready to pull my hair out. I’m glad everyone is drinking water over there. I think that is the problem with Felix. Good grief. The other thing is is that there are health issues among the older human people in my family right now too. I guess it always rains at the same time.

      • We had a few other cats with kidney disease. If they live long enough, their kidneys start to fail. How horrible that you have three kitties with health problems! I cannot imagine what you’re going through ❤️❤️❤️

        • People say it’s their diet that causes the kidney disease, but I don’t know what would be a good diet. I think fish is bad, but then sometimes it’s all they will eat. I got Tiger eating something–it’s a type of Friskies (which I’ve never served before b/c it’s McDonalds), but then when I looked at the ingredients it has fish although fish is not in the name!

  11. Your kitties will be in my prayers. Yep, we felines pray as well. Happy Fall!

  12. I’m with The Gardener—it’s much nicer to be out in October. We have what will hopefully be our last day in the 90s tomorrow, 97 to be exact. We are supposed to cool off finally. Thanks for the update on the kitties. I hope everything continues to move along without too much excitement. Peaceful is good. Good luck on all the writing aspirations. I’m working under a deadline today, so I’m going to wish myself some good luck to. LOL

  13. So sorry for the ailing cats and cacti. The fall is such an interesting time for pondering, exploring, evaluating, and journaling. I love that you are sprucing up some of your past work and memoirs. Can’t wait to read the finished book! Celebrating autumn with you and prayers for all the cats and plants and people too.

    • Thank you, Carla. I owe you an email! Thank you so much for your prayers. I feel that fall is going to be difficult but not as difficult as this past summer and spring. I think I will make a little headway with the “pondering, exploring, evaluating, and journaling.” I hope you do, too, Carla.

  14. I find the differences between all us bloggers’ environments interesting. I have cacti on my windowsill but of course wouldn’t dream of planting them in my garden! But they live so long it’s no wonder he’s devastated – I have had some success with my smaller ones with cutting limbs and tops off to revitalise them but they’re only a fraction of the size 🙂

    • What a range, right? England, New Zealand, Australia, western Canada, eastern Canada, continental Europe, the Philippines, all the United States, all with different topography, weather, plants, animals, etc. I love getting a taste of it all!!!!

  15. I’m feeling so bad for that poor, laid-low cactus…

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