Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sunday Selections

Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage.
~Finnish Proverb

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Spring Sights

It is starting to look like Spring around here.  The wild thing is that both the lavender and the Lion's Ear (or Tail) both decided to start blooming at the beginning of February - I am just now getting around to showing the photos of the two of them..

I couldn't believe how early they both got started, or the fact that they actually survived the move last fall.  I wasn't very optimistic for many of my plants since the move was so rushed and haphazard.

We're starting to get many more of these pretty little guys coming by the feeders.  My birdseed bill is starting to get pretty high as they keep bringing more of their friends.  The photo below isn't a great shot, I just liked how I caught him mid-flight with his wings on the downstroke.

This Celtic design birdbath was a Happy Black Friday gift to myself.  I'd been wanting a new birdbath for quite a while and handn't found one that I really, really liked.  We were wandering around Lowe's at about 7am on Black Friday (ticked because we'd missed out on the TV at stinking Walmart..) and out in the garden section we ran upon this little beauty.  At $39.00 I should have bought two!

The birds love it.  It is a pain to clean as it's very heavy and in two pieces, but it's worth watching the little feathered fiends splash around and have a good old time.

The birds are getting friendlier all the time as they have discovered I am the mysterious being that refills the bird feeders - daily.  They used to all leave the yard when I'd walk out.  Now they sit about two feet from me, chirping to each other and at me to "Hurry up!"

And finally....THIS is what I see when I am outside looking in.  Little furry faces that really, really want to be after those birds.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Tao of Mia and Leo Book Review & Giveaway

The Tao of Mia and Leo


I received this for review back at the end of December.  With everything going on with Mom, I have just recently been able to sit down (with a couple cups of tea of course) and read it uninterrupted.  It is such a delightful read that I wanted to be able to enjoy it and immerse myself in the message of the book.

The The Tao of Mia and Leo follows the author and the escapades of her cats beginning with her beloved Samantha and then the mischievious title characters.  Jeffra Nicholson writes about living in and finally leaving the corporate world to pursue her dream of writing and shares how it impacted her and the cats.  She takes us with her through the life changes and what she learned about herself and her fuzzy housemates. 

This lovely true story is written by a dedicated cat lover who is able to convey a valuable life lesson to those of us with cats or those without.  I found it to be a very insightful look at both human and feline behavior; showing how interchangeable and instructional it can be at the same time.  Jeffra offers many comparisons regarding Leo and Mia's personalities and the similarities with people. She puts a spotlight on instances where a person could benefit by taking a page (sorry about the pun) out of the cats' book and mimicking how a cat responds to situations. 

One of my favorite examples is when she talks about buying all of the most expensive toys for her cats only to watch them play with a rolled up piece of tinfoil. She noted that people needed to be able to find joy in the simpler things .  I relayed this anecdote to my family members and compared it to buying a big fancy toy (like a jetski), using it 2 or 3 times, and then leaving it sitting in the garage.  Then finding out that something as simple as playing a card game of gin-rummy at the kitchen table brought us just as much joy if not more, than the $7500 water toy that is now gathering dust.  I keep telling them that we each need to find our ball of tinfoil.

Another selection I really related to (especially with some of my cats) is when Jeffra was moving to a new city and was terrified about the change in her life.  Leo's behavior at the airport completely mirrored and conveyed what Jeffra was really feeling, but holding in.  Thank goodness Jeffra's very intuitive mother pointed this out to her after the incident.  I can really understand this on a personal level since I've become aware that when I am especially upset or worried about something and trying to block it out, I will have one or more of the cats plastered to my side.  They are very attuned to our emotions even when we're not.

This is a very easy read as it is not a really long book (around 100 pages).  It has a very positive message that is effectively presented.   I felt connected with the author when I was finished with this book as I also used to be overly wrapped up in my career and didn't spend near enough time with loved ones.  Since leaving that hectic life, I am enjoying my family, friends, and furry ones so much more.  The Tao of Mia and Leo reinforces the positive message that simplifying your life can enrich it immensely and in unexpected ways.

You definitely do not have to be a cat lover to really enjoy this book.  It is very well written and would make a lovely gift for anyone on your list, especially someone in need of a boost in their outlook.  I have a couple of people in mind who I would like to get this wonderful book for.  I know I will be reading my copy again!

The publisher has generously offered a copy of The Tao of Mia and Leo for one lucky MoonCat Farms Meanderings reader.  Sorry to my international friends, but this is only open to US RESIDENTS. 

There are several ways to enter the giveaway, you can do one or all. Just be sure to leave me a separate comment for each thing you do:

1.Leave a comment on this post & let me know if you have cats and how many.  (You don't have to be a cat owner to enter, I'm just nosy.)

2.Become a MoonCat Farms follower.

3.Subscribe to MoonCat Farms Meanderings

4.Follow MoonCat Farms on Twitter and/or Facebook (links on the sidebar to the right>>>>)

5.Become a fan of The Tao of Mia and Leo on Facebook

6.Blog about this giveaway.

7.Tweet about this giveaway

To enter, just leave a comment below, on this post only.  The giveaway closes at midnight PST on Friday, March 5th, 2010.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday, March 6th, 2010.  The winner will have 48 hours to respond or another name will be chosen. 

To purchase a copy of this lovely and very reasonably priced book, go to the link below:
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. The opinions expressed here are 100% my own. I was under no obligation to offer a positive review. The publisher is providing a copy of the book for the giveaway winner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Proof is in the Potholes

This post is solely for my husband's benefit.  Mr. MoonCat is very firm and outspoken in his opinion (wrong that it may be and IS) that HIS dog Cailen can do no wrong.  He seems to think that MY dog Chandler is always at fault whenever there is anything wrong or amiss. 

We have a gopher problem here at MoonCat Farms.  The gophers here seem to be relatives of the one above from "Caddyshack" with the awesome Bill Murray.  Envision the little gopher dancing and singing "I'm Alright" and you will have a picture of what these poor dogs are seeing on a daily basis. Boredom is a bad thing for working cattle dogs that aren't actively working right now.  Do you see where this may be going? 

So, for your viewing enjoyment and my "HA - I have proof" amusement, I give you "The Boys":

"Cailen and Chandler - On the Hunt"

"Cailen - BUSTED"

"Chandler - Not smart enough to get rid of the evidence!"

All to no avail as I'm afraid this will be Mr. MoonCat by the end of the summer:

Bill Murray vs The Gopher

BTW, it is the 30th anniversary of the release of Caddyshack.  If you have never seen this movie, you are really missing out on a classic.  I don't think they intended the gopher and Bill Murray to completely steal the show, but they did.  Caddyshack

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'm A OWOH Red Panty Crafts Prizewinner

Look at what I won from Tammy at Red Panty Crafts!  Isn't little Ghost Kitty adorable with his little Ghost Mouse?  I was one of the winners in Tammy's One World One Heart giveaway.  She has some more cute things in her Etsy Shop.  I really like that she repurposes items from the thrift store into new, usuable pieces (especially for those of us that don't wear a size 2).  The Red Panty Avenger on her blog is a major kick too.  Go check it out if you get a chance.  Thanks Tammy!!!!

(I actually won FOUR goodies in the OWOH extravaganza this year.  I will share each with you as I get them.  Talk about icing on the cake...)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Selections

Chains do not hold a marriage together. It is threads, hundreds of tiny threads which sew people together through the years.
~Simone Signoret

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Letters, I'm Writing Letters..

Jen at Indie Fixx has started this awesome project to bring back the joy of letter writing.  The Penpal Project was created so that those of us who miss the anticipation and excitement of receiving a hand-written note, card, or 12-page letter in the good old post can start looking forward to the mailman again.  While we all rely on our e-mail, snailmail has been getting a bum rap and needs to feel some love. 

If you're interested in finding a like-minded soul or two who enjoy the fine, almost lost art of the written word (on paper), go to Jen's post HERE to learn more about the project and possibly sign up yourself. It's easy, all you need to do is leave a comment and tell a little about yourself.  Then you can check out the other comments to see if anyone "speaks" to you.  I did and I can't wait to put the pen to paper with a new friend or two or three... 

Patient Style Winner has spoken and we have a new winner:

Bec Clarke said...

I have terribly cold and bad circulating feet and these look like they would be wonderful for our cold winter's here in the NSW snowy mountians.

Congratulations Bec!  Send me your mailing address & I will have your new slippers shipped to you right away.  (I'll send you an email shortly as well.)


On another note, congratulations to ME!  I finally figured out the mega simple way to get the little photo of the result onto my posts.  I can't believe it took me this long.  I wonder what other simple task it will take me another year to figure out?

Thank you for the entries and comments.  We'll have another giveaway coming up in the next week or so.  Be sure to check in for your next chance to win...something. 

Friday, February 19, 2010

Patient Style Giveaway Ends Tonight

Don't forget to get your entry in.  The giveaway ends tonight.  The odds are with you, you can be a winner.   All you have to do is leave a comment and the awesome Anti-Microbial Slipper Socks can be yours!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Herbs - B is for Bee Balm or Bergamot

Bee Balm

Latin Name:  Monarda didyma of the family Lamiaceae

Alternate Name(s):  Scarlet Bee Balm, Wild Bergamot, Bergamot, Scarlet Monarda, Oswego Tea, or Crimson Beebalm)

Description:  The flowers themselves vary in appearance and color from light pinks to mauves and deep scarlet.  The most often seen are the bright red variety.   The tubular blooms usually show in clusters of about 30 or so.  This hardy perennial has opposing leaves on square stems.  They are mostly dark green with reddish leaf veins. 

Habitat:  The monarda tends to favor areas with moist, well-drained soil.  Full sun is its preferred lighting.  Bee Balm is an excellent companion plant in the vegetable garden, especially for tomatoes.  It tends to attract the pollinators as well as some of the beneficial predatory bugs.  The fact that it is a very attractive plant just adds to it's appeal.

Growing: Bee Balm can be started by seed, division, or by cuttings.  Seeds usually need to be scratched up a bit before planting.  They can be planted directly outdoors once the soil has warmed up considerably (70 degrees or above) or they can be started earlier indoors.  Root cuttings are possible and suggested in the spring, but division seems to be the most popular way to expand your Monarda collection.  It is actually very beneficial to the plant to divide them every few years as they can get too crowded  and not get enough air circulating through the lower sections.  They will also become susceptible to various ailments such as root rot and mildew if not allowed enough space.  The plant can reach up to 3 feet high.

Harvesting:  The leaves and flowers are the parts used.  Harvest on a sunny morning after the dew has dried.  After gathering bunches, tie them with string and hang upside down in a darkened, airy room until completely dry. Once they are dried, the leaves and flowers may be removed from the stems.

Uses:  Can be used as a digestive stimulant and as an aromatic in potpourris or the bath.  The taste of the leaves and flowers are rather citrusy and can be used in teas.  The teas can be made with either fresh leaves or dried.  It is also an ingredient in many modern mouthwashes as it has antiseptic properties.   It is not to be confused with the Citrus bergami which is where we get the bergamot flavoring that is used in my beloved Earl Grey tea.  It can be a bit much to seperate the two since they're both called "bergamot" and both are used in teas and cooking.  The bee balm is from the mint family while the latter is from the citrus family.  A distinct feature of these flowers is that they will hold their color when dried.

Notes:   I really love growing these gorgeous plants.  While they do have many varied uses, I pretty much grow them for the dried flowers and for the hummingbirds.  It is a lovely sight to see the plants covered by butterflies, bees, and the little hummers.

Photos courtesy of:
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational, informational, and recreational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent disease. It is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider before taking any supplements, herbs, or other substances.

Monday, February 15, 2010

OWOH Winner(s) Announced

This has been one wild magic carpet ride!  I have had so much fun visiting HUNDREDS of blogs these last few weeks.  While I haven't been able to come see everyone YET, I do plan on continuing down the list so I can meet all of the participants eventually.  Lisa has made up an alphabetical list of all the participants Here to make that easier for those of us who couldn't quite reach all 1,088 blogs in time.  WOW! I am so thrilled to have some new followers of MoonCat Farms as well as finding several bloggers out there that I have added to my growing reading list.  The talent that is out there is just flat amazing.

Blah blah blah, I know you're saying "Be quiet and tell us who won!"  Without further ado, your winner:

Jeanette said...  I love surprises. Please count me in. Love the name of your blog.

Congratulations Jeannette, thank you for visiting from the Land Down Under.  I'll be sending you an email shortly for your mailing address.

Now, as to the other business.  If you recall, my prize was a mystery (some of it to me too...).  I did give you hints on two of the things that were already in the box.  One was something you might wear on the magic carpet ride and the other was something "jangly" with an element of the post title.  If you could guess what they were, you would be entered in a separate prize drawing. 

Well, noone got both items.  I do understand that I was a bit vague.  I LOVED so many of the answers. It is very interesting what many of you would be sporting on your magic carpets although I would also request a seatbelt!  But that's not the answer I was after.  The words I was looking for were:  pashmina and keychain.  I found three of you that had one of those words in your answer and I drew one of your names to win the extra prize.  In fact, the winner had the exact description of heart keychain in her guess.

susanscraps said...  I am a new follower to your fantastic blog,love your photography!  I also love surprises,there are so few left in this life.  My guesses: a scarf to keep my hair from blowing around, and a heart bracelet or keychain.  I am new to blogging (blog being built) but not to art. I hope you will include me in this wonderful giveaway!  Best of luck to all your visitors :)  Greetings from the New Jersey Shore,USA

Congratulations Susanscraps!  Good guess on those jangling keys.  I hope you'll keep us all updated as to when you get your blog up, we'd all love to see it.  I'll send you an email shortly as well. 

Thank you ALL so much for the awesome comments and for coming by MoonCat Farms.  Hopefully you'll all be sticking around to see what's next around here.  (Be sure to check out our latest giveaway Here)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Patient Style Review and Giveaway

Patient Style is a really neat company that has products designed for those who are hospitalized or healing at home. Their slogan is:   Hospital gowns are designed with someone in mind. Too bad it isn’t the person wearing it. was created to change that.

They have patient gowns, blankets, gift baskets, and baby items that can also be shipped directly to a patient in the hospital. Many great gift ideas as well as products to make you feel a little perkier and more comfortable while you're convalescing or just wanting to relax at home.

Patient Style recently sent Mom and I each a pair of their Anti-Microbial Chenille Lounge Socks to review. Due to how much time we've been in and out of the hospital with her treatments and such, it was a perfect time to put them to the test. Since the hospital is the germiest place a person can be, every little bit of defense against bacteria and infection is welcome.

We were very pleased with these socks. They are extremely comfortable and warm. I liked the non-skid bottom as the floors in Mom's hospital room were sometimes very smooth and I worried about her falling. I've been wearing mine at home and they have stood up to washing pretty well so far.

These lovely Chenille Lounge Socks come in pink or blue. They have an anti-slip pattern on the bottom to keep you from sliding on a slick floor. They are really soft and snuggly and make your feet feel really cozy. They were especially great for Mom's tender feet as she had some sore spots on her toes. They are made of 99% polyester and 1% spandex and sell for $15.00 a pair.

Patient Style has generously offered to provide one MoonCat Farms reader with a pair of their own Slipper Socks to keep your feet toasty warm and a little less germy!

Various ways to enter the giveaway, you can do one or all. Just be sure to leave me a separate comment for each thing you do:

1.Leave a comment on this post telling me why you'd like a pair of these great socks.

2.Go to Patient Style and then come back and leave a comment telling me what other product of theirs you like (other than the slippers)

3.Become a MoonCat Farms follower.

4.Subscribe to MoonCat Farms Meanderings

5.Follow MoonCat Farms on Twitter and/or Facebook

6.Follow Patient Style on Twitter

7.Blog about this giveaway.
8.Tweet about this giveaway
Giveaway closes at midnight PST on Friday, February 19th, 2010.  I will use to pick the winner.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond with shipping address or another winner will be chosen. Sorry to my international friends, but it is open to the US only. 
Disclaimer:  I received two pair of these slipper socks from Patient Style for review purposes.  The opinions expressed here are 100% my own (and Mom's).  I was under no obligation to offer a positive review.  Patient Style is providing the pair of socks for the giveaway winner.

Monday, February 8, 2010

We're Going to the Birds!

Well...Mr. MoonCat and I are being dragged into becoming chicken farmers!   In addition to everything else we've got growing around here, we're going to be mom & dad to poultry!  I'm sure you're all extremely excited now, but we're really just going to get a handful of hens and maybe one rooster.  But we're committed - we want fresh eggs!

I've been doing a lot of research on which types of hens I want and have narrowed it down to a few.   I would love to get input from any of you that have or have had chickens.  My dad has a bunch of the bantams out at the ranch that are a real kick and pretty, but I've decided I want some of the larger breeds as I may decide to sell eggs at the farmer's markets this year along with my herbs and veggies. Since you need about a dozen of the little banty eggs to make an omelet, I don't think that is quite what I'm looking for.  Because we are who we are and know HOW we are, the little chooks will most likely become family pets. So I've eliminated the types that are bred specifically for meat as I still don't like to meet or get to know my dinner.

So what do you think?  Are we even crazy(ier) than before?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Selections

Deep in the sun-searched growths the dragon-fly
Hangs like a blue thread loosened from the sky:
So this winged hour is dropt to us from above.
Oh! clasp we to our hearts, for deathless dower,
This close-companioned inarticulate hour
When twofold silence was the song of love.

-Rossetti, Dante Gabriel

Saturday, February 6, 2010

MoonCat Farms Blogiversary Winners

Thank you for entering my little Blogiversary drawing.  I appreciate the lovely comments and the fact that you all come by to see what's happening here at MoonCat Farms. 

I used to draw the numbers.  (I still haven't figured out how to take a picture of the little box that shows the winning number.)

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-02-07 01:29:15 UTC

Congratulations to Birgit and SewCalGal.  Send me your addresses ladies & I'll send you a goody or two! 

Thank you all for the love & support this past year and here's hoping we'll all have many more together!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

MY Moon Shot and OUR Logo

I am so thrilled to have finally taken my photo of a full moon that I'm proud of!  It took me several years to get it..  For your info (and possible future use) here's how I accomplished it:

Camera:  Nikon D100
Lens:  Tamron 70-300mm
F-Stop:  5.6
Shutter:  1/4000
ISO:  1600
Focal Length:  450mm (equivalent for 35mm)
White Balance:  DIRECT SUNLIGHT (+2)

I went out about 8:30pm that night which was fortunate because by 10:30pm the clouds had completely obscured the moon.  I set my camera up on a heavy tripod (heavy is important because my camera and the long lens are very weighty).  I played around with it and took several pictures before I finally got the settings right. 

I have tried many, many times to get a good moon shot since I got serious about photography.  Success had eluded me until now.  The key for this one was getting the white balance set just right.  It eventually dawned on me that the light bouncing off the moon is SUNLIGHT so it made sense to try that setting.  Voila!  A pretty moon picture with contrast and detail taken by little old me! Finally..


So what do you think?  I'm playing around with our logo a bit....

We have been receiving many compliments and questions about our logo and our name.  For those of you who are newer to our little corner of the world, my hubby/Mr. MoonCat drew this for me when I first came up with the name for our collaborative endeavor.  The name comes from several things: 

  • Hubby and I have a real affinity for the full moon with many of our important moments as a couple taking place under it

  • When we first decided to start our business, we had 5 cats - 4 more have found the invisible vacancy sign that flashes over our home since then

  • We went with "Farms" due to the fact that I am an herb farmer (NOT a cat farmer as some might think), on a small scale now-with the plans to continually grow (pun intended)
He took all of those elements, the need for it to reproduce clearly, the ability to use it as a watermark, and the simple fact that I wanted a heart somewhere in the logo and came up with this great drawing which is now representative of MoonCat Farms and all we do.  I am very proud of him and his creation. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

OWOH Update and Thank You

I am so amazed by the amount of comments coming in from the One World One Heart event.  We are almost to 300 comments.  I'm thinking I'll have to add a little extra goody or two to the drawings...   I hope everyone knows that I DO read each and every comment that comes in.  I just haven't been able to respond to them all.  That is one of my intentions for the New Year - respond to every comment.  BUT, with the sheer volume in the OWOH drawing, I really can't accomplish that.  So I am issuing a blanket THANK YOU for the moment to everyone coming by and I hope you'll all continue to visit MoonCat Farms.  We have a lot of new stuff planned for 2010.


Monday, February 1, 2010

She's Baaaaack

Abby Sue has returned! 

If you're new to our blog, you can read all about our favorite little tootsie-roll pooper here.  She is my little doggy niece who is once again our houseguest.  My sister and her family have moved home and are in the house-hunting process.  They are staying with us while conducting the search for the perfect place.  So once again, Abby is ruling the roost around here.  The biggest difference this time is that my beloved Porkchop is not the one who has his nose out of joint, this time it is Tory.

Not a happy camper....

He hasn't ventured out of the garage since Friday.  He's convinced the little rat dog (aka purse puppy, tootsie-roll pooper, the Princess, etc.) and her people are out to get him!  We're hoping for his sake that Sis finds a house before her hubby arrives next weekend with the U-Haul and their two cats!