Friday, March 29, 2013

It's An Ill Wind That Blows Nobody Any Good

We love our new grand (to us) terrace right on the beach. The sunshine. The serenity. The refreshing sea breezes powerfully gusting winds.

We planted three very broad, very heavy yuccas on the terrace. Taller than us. Two have already been blown over. The other is in the corner by the living room, protected from the strongest gusts. I was going to simply tie the two exposed yuccas to the railing. San Geraldo, however, had a better idea. He spent two days (one for each yucca) cutting hose, inserting wire, and attaching hooks and gadgets to the brick walls. Those yuccas aren't going anywhere. We'll camouflage the hardware with other plants.

THE CORNER YUCCA. SAN GERALDO'S HANDIWORK.
THE YUCCA AROUND BACK.

video
THE CABLES ARE HOLDING.

FIFTEEN MINUTES AFTER I SWEPT AND VACUUMED. I DON'T KNOW WHY I BOTHERED.

Next, we need to plant ground cover or use a layer of rocks to hold down exposed dirt in the planters. If we don't, given the amount of dirt that gets blown out of the pots, we'll eventually be able to seed the terrace and grow a lawn.

DUDO HELPING SAN GERALDO WITH THE WATERING.

Dudo and Moose love the terrace, although they still get easily freaked out. A strong gust of wind really spooks them. Dudo was exploring earlier today when the wind kicked up. I've never seen him move so fast. He hid between some pots and didn't move until the wind again settled.

DUDO HIDING FROM THE MIGHTY WIND.
(LEFT) HEBE ANDERSONII, (RIGHT) HEBE FRANCISCANA.

Last week, Dudo discovered that if he jumps up on the ledge next to the wall that separates our terrace from the neighbor's, he can walk out on a decorative projection and jump onto the neighbor's terrace. No one is there right now. Dudo panicked when no one would open the door and let him in, until San Geraldo poked his head around the wall and Dudo came running back over. That really scared him. He didn't try to go back over to the neighbor's terrace ... for at least 10 minutes. We surreptitiously spray them with a water bottle when they misbehave. It seems to be working. Dudo clearly understands that he's not allowed on the wall. He's actually spending more time on the terrace without jumping up.

DUDO GIVING MOOSE THE TOUR.

Moose then discovered the ledge and terrace next door. He also clearly understands that it's not allowed. So he waits until our backs are turned. I think the boys are even plotting together. Divide and conquer. Dudo leads me around the corner of the terrace, acting as if he's going to jump up on the wall in back (no neighboring terrace, just open air). In the meantime, Moose has made a beeline for the front and is busy exploring the neighbor's terrace. I know because I've seen him coming back. He looks at me as if to say, "Oh, crap. Busted." before he runs into the house.

JUST LOOKING. DUDO DEMONSTRATING BORDERLINE GOOD BEHAVIOR.
I THINK IT WAS A PLOY.
WITH DUDO DISTRACTING ME, MOOSE SEES HIS CHANCE.
AHA. CAUGHT MID-JUMP.
ONE SQUIRT WITH THE WATER BOTTLE AND HE JUMPED RIGHT BACK DOWN.
FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER.
THINKING MOOSE WAS IN THE HOUSE, I WAS SURPRISED TO SEE HIM RETURN FROM NEXT DOOR.
HE WAS VERY CALM WHEN HE CAME AROUND THE CORNER. THEN HE SAW ME.

28 comments:

  1. Cats.
    Devilish creatures!
    And Yucca Bondage! Who knew?

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    Replies
    1. Bob:
      Those cats! And, yes, I had no idea how talented San Geraldo could be with his hose.

      Delete
  2. I'm surprised they don't view those planters as delightful litter boxes... Looks like San Geraldo was quite innovative in his solution to keeping those plants from blowing away... even if I did think... snake!... at first ;-) I really love your veranda... very nice!

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    1. Sharon:
      Please... I'm so grateful the cats are particular about where they "go." Being indoor cats, I don't think it would cross their minds to do it anywhere else.

      Delete
  3. The cats would love it if you grow some grass especially for them to nibble on. Or some catnip to roll in!

    Like The Odd Essay I admire San Geraldo's innovative solution, and I also thought "snake!" (For a second.)

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    1. Judiuth:
      Thanks for the reminder about grass! I have a container of cat grass that I had completely forgotten about. I'll set it outside and get it going.

      Oh, that hose. We bought a 50-meter hose to use on the terrace. For what it cost, it SHOULD be real snakeskin.

      Delete
  4. This is hilarious Mitch! Watching the two scheme and plan their strategy....too funny.
    Good job done by the one and only San Geraldo!! Hose is a good support cushion against bark, as is panty hose.....just sayin.

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    1. Jim:
      Panty hose would have been so much simpler (but not reusable like San Geraldo's version).

      Delete
  5. Ahhhhh you had me chuckling again, Mitchell :) Love the Moose and Dudo stories :)

    Great job on the hose supports, San Geraldo!

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    1. Judeet:
      Many more Moose and Dudo stories to come. Thanks for enjoying them!

      San Geraldo's great solution is holding solidly again in this afternoon's wind.

      Delete
  6. I'd be so nervous that the cats would JUMP for FREEDOM!!
    They probably know which side their bread is buttered on though!

    The terrace garden is going to be beautiful, you can just tell it is!

    Ron

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    Replies
    1. Ron:
      These cats are too devoted to us to want to jump for freedom. However, Dudo has rolled over in bliss and rolled right off my windowsill a couple of times. Fortunately, the terrace is right there, but it does make me nervous when I see him go near that outside ledge.

      Delete
  7. It's great to see that you are all settling in to your new digs. The light is incredible.

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    Replies
    1. Stephen:
      I don't think I've still completely taken in the fact that this view is home now. Sometimes it makes me gasp.

      Delete
  8. This post made me smile so much, because, believe it or not, I have had the same trouble in tropical Indiana! (Ha).

    Three years ago, I got these two cute little Yucca Cane trees for the corners of my front balcony. They thrive in the summer, and then get pulled inside for the winter. By this time of year, they look a little sad, but when I can take them back out next month, they get all happy grow like crazy in the hot summers. I can't believe that they've survived this cycle three times. They used to be these little things waist high, and now they are nearly my height (a towering 5'2").

    The first summer I had them, they got knocked down by the wind constantly, and, not having a San Geraldo with dangerous hose skills, I went your route. I tied them to the railing with twine that doesn't show very much. Since I place them in the corners, I can tie them to the railing on the side and front, so they stay up.

    Anyway, it amuses me to no end that I have had a similar problem as two cute fellas in their beach apartment in gorgeous Spain. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle:
      I love the fact that you started with small yuccas that are now "towering." That's got to be so satisfying. San Geraldo doesn't have the patience for that!

      San Geraldo says the only way those yuccas are going down (and I'm sure he's right) is if the walls they're attached to get pulled out by the wind.

      This is not the first time I've heard Indiana compared to the Costa del Sol. They're very similar (two of the letters are even the same).

      Delete
  9. Oh, those krazy kitties. Our Bert, being a kountry kat, is free to roam and come and go as he chooses. He'd choose being in the house more if the dog would tolerate him. Bert also turns his nose up at the litter box. He hasn't used it in years, preferring the great outdoors. That suits me, as I don't have to clean the darned thing.

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I've never had an indoor/outdoor cat. Just indoor cats that are allowed out on an enclosed patio, balcony, or terrace. San Geraldo empties the litter box!

      Delete
  10. Like Sophie above I'd be worried like hell that your Devilishly Devious Duo would want to launch themselves right out into the air - rather like a stoned druggie convinced he could fly. It's why here in my first-floor flat (what Americans would more accurately describe as the SECOND floor) I never open those windows having a vertical drop wider than my Fab Four could protrude one of their paws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Raybeard:
      We're on the third, which is really the fourth, floor (I grew up on the 16th floor, which was really the 17th floor... which, as you mention, wasn't the standard way of counting in the states).

      Anyway, we are very nervous about the boys taking the plunge. Not intentionally, but just carelessly. We keep thinking of ways of closing off that opportunity. As it is, I didn't let them come outside with me today.

      Delete
  11. Reminds me of when I worked at the children's psych ward; we would walk to a strip mall where the plants were chained to the wall and were behind steel mesh "cages". Yet, one of the plants was missing and the chain still hung uselessly from the wall and the cage torn away. I explained to the kids that the plants were dangerous, man-eating plants and that obviously one had escaped...." This was, I sincerely believed, a therapeutic intervention on my part. Thanks for the memory....

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    Replies
    1. Frank:
      Hilarious. Were th0se kids in the psych ward BEFORE you got to them?

      I had a friend who worked in the '70s with special needs teens. He had a very deep, booming voice. He saw one of the kids acting out in some way and boomed (unseen), "Andrew. Stop right now." Andrew threw himself to his knees, looked up at the ceiling with his hands raised high, and said, "Forgive me, Lord!"

      Delete
  12. How many floors up is your apartment? I'd be worried about the little guys slipping and falling. It looks like their curiosity about the neighboring unit will not go away. I just hope your new neighbors are cat lovers! (Who wouldn't love your pair of beauties?)

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    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      We're four floors up and, yes, we are very worried about them slipping and falling. Fortunately, the places they've jumped have large jutting areas that give them plenty of room (more than 18 inches of sitting area). But it still doesn't make us comfortable. We definitely don't want them to make a habit of going next door, whether they're liked or not. Seeing what Moose did yesterday, we didn't let them out today and are trying to figure out either how to manage them when they're outside or how to block access to the ledge. What it means right now is the living room door and bedroom windows cannot be left open.

      Delete
  13. Crafty little monkeys !!
    Cats are so good at scheming. You can see them working it out - then they leap !!

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    1. Jean:
      I love them both, but Moose has become a real little sneak lately.

      Delete
  14. Adventure kitties!!

    I have to put rocks in all my potted plants to stop the digging. :)

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    Replies
    1. Knatolee:
      Amazingly, we've had little problem with digging in the past. (And now I'm going to be really sorry I said that!)

      Delete

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