Friday, January 16, 2009

Ask Pony #1, 01/16/09

Today i have two questions to answer, and the rest of my cat experience to tell. So first, the questions!

But first: ACTUAL temp right now is -12F. Whoa. Seriously.

"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?"

You know, I tried but I think he was intimidated by my superior evil content. He knew he couldn't measure up and just refused to dance with me. The wimp.

Interesting fact about me: In Hades when someone gets robbed by the Joker he says, "Have you ever danced with Pony in the pale moonlight?" and it leaves them shaking in their boots at the mere thought.


Bet ya didn't know THAT!

"What inspired you to do the gourds?"

A guy in a Mountain Man costume, actually. Believe it or not it has only been about a year since my obsession took over my life (in a good way).

OK, it was not JUST the guy dressed like a Mountain Man, it goes back farther than that so sit back, get comfy, and listen to me weave a tale of boring details about how I met my true hobby love....

It started a couple of years ago now when my dad got my husband and his dad and brother into his blackpowder sportsmen's club. One of the guys out there, Ed, hosts a primitive shoot. Sort of like a mini rendezvous. My step dad used to be interest in those too so i had read books about it in the past and found the idea appealing. When my husband and his dad offered to help out at the primitive shoot I really got into the idea and started researching "period correct" gear (I.E. "historically accurate").

Since I started having troubles with my arms I lost the ability to draw. But my creativity needs an outlet. I'd spent a long time frustrated and trying to find some way to be creative. Well, last winter they had an "antique gun show" in town and we went to it. It was mostly folks from three local blackpowder groups with Civil War or pre-1840 fur trade era stuff (we are the fur trade era folks). I'd been looking for ideas for stuff for the guy's outfits and this was a good chance for me. So this guy walked by in a frock coat and moccasins and had this awesome water bottle hanging from his belt. I stopped him and asked about it. he said it was a gourd, and that he thought there was one for sale in the other room. So I went and looked at it.

I asked the seller about it.

I thought to myself, I could TOTALLY make these! In fact I bet you could make a lot of stuff out of them, I should look these up online!

And so I did! And I found gads of amazing crafts and containers made with gourds. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any affordable gourds local to me.

Then, just a month or two later I was at my dad's house and walked outside with him and there, under their little picnic table... a stack of gourds! I squealed with delight (I literally squeal with delight at moments like this) and started talking to my step-mom about the gourds. I went home with one in my greedy little hands. Unfortunately it turned out to have a crack in it but no worry! I managed to make something out of it anyway using a broken hack saw blade and a Sharpie marker:


At that point I ordered a bunch of gourd seeds so I could grow my own because I immediately recognized that I would never be able to get as many gourds as I would want if I had to beg, borrow, buy or steal them. While I waited for spring my mother in law and sister in law discovered that a local store had gads and gads of gourds for sale. Now buying gourds can be costly because they are very labor intensive but by now I had to have some gourds!!!! I got a few more from my step mom, and I bought some, and then I started experimenting. I made bottles, I made bowls, I made boxes, I made jewelry, I made candle holders and the rest is history.

My first real project, I chuckle at it now:


and my favorite project to date (I keep my Native American Artifacts and the tail hair from my two deceased ponies and the late great Trooper in there):


I will make a post with more of my gourd art in it at a later date.

OK, and now the story of how I ended up a CAT PERSON.

*between the last sentence and this I decided to take a short break to go toss the ponies an extra flake of hay... next thing you know I am climbing through the barn dragging in old furniture like a bean bag chair and one of those round bamboo "satellite dish" chairs, then cleaning them since they have spent the better part of the last 15 years in the barn. They are now fairly clean, doused in "fabric freshener" and drying in the front room in front of a roaring fire. I may go in there and read once I am done here.*

It started the week before Christmas the year my ex left. I bought my daughter a trampoline for Christmas and set it up in the barn so she could play with it even though the weather was yuck. I was assembling it out there when I heard this horrible raspy sound and turned around and saw the sickest looking pitiful thing EVER. It was white with grey tabby splotches, skin and bones, and one side of her head was scab covered and swollen. I cursed under my breath and figured if it was wild or mean I would need to put it down. I crouched down and held out my hand and whispered, "Here kittykittykitty!"

This "thing" that didn't even look like death warmed over (it looked like death still cold, for serious) dashed over to me, purring and mewing, and threw it's battle scarred face into my hand. *sigh*

So I went in the house and got some canned dog food to feed it. While it ate I checked it's gender (she) and gave it a quick check over for broken bones. This cat was literally the most emaciated cat I have ever seen still alive. She had to pause during eating to breath through her mouth because her nostrils were almost swollen shut. I looked at her teeth and she had maybe 6 teeth in her entire head. The others looked like they had been broken out. I don't know if she had been hit by a car or kicked in the head but she was clearly on the wrong end of some sort of head trauma.

So.... my compassion for an injured animal overcame my dislike of cats and i told her, "If you live, you can stick around. But you have to stay in the barn!" I made her a bed, and got her some cat food.

Before Christmas there was some drama and I was not able to have my daughter for the holiday, but her grandparents brought her by to get her gift. I'd put a huge bow on the trampoline and was sitting there waiting for them to arrive. They were going to look for me at the house and then when they couldn't find me they were going to bring her out to the barn to discover the trampoline. I had named the cat "Her Royal Highness The Lady Lash Whippletree", "Lash" for short. Lash was in my lap the second I sat down.

So they arrived and my daughter, who was 4 at the time, took one look at me and shouted, "MOM! You got me a kitty for Christmas?!?!" then after a second she noticed what I was sitting on... "Whoa! Did Santa bring you a TRAMPOLINE?" HAHA! I had to explain that the barely living cat on my lap was not the gift and the trampoline was for HER.

So... fast forward a few weeks. Lash has been to the vet, who was astounded she was alive considering the condition of her skull. Her face would always be lopsided and her left eye and nostril would always be a bit clogged. But she was given her shots, wormed, and pronounced her healthy and on the mend from the head injury.

We got hit with the biggest snow storm in years. I was in the front room on my computer and Lash was sitting in the bushes staring at me and meowing. "Let me in!" she was saying. I looked at her. I felt guilty. I said, "Go in the barn, stupid cat." I took a jar of hot water out and put it in her bed. I took HER out and put her next to the warm jar. I dashed back to the house and she was at the window before I could get back at my desk.


I got up, frustrated and guilty, and sat in the living room. Tiffany looked up at me and said, "Mom, it's cold. Can we let Lash in?"

"No. If we let her in she will want in all the time and I do NOT want a cat in the house."


The cat was on top of the pole that I had put outside the window in the living room to hold up the window air conditioner in the summer. I cursed. I closed the blinds.

"Mom, she is cold and scared can we PLEASE let her in?"

I look out the blinds and she is standing with her paws on the window pane looking at me. She looked up at me with great big sad eyes and softly went, "Mew?"


I opened the back door and before I could even say "Here kittykitty" she was in the house. And she never asked to go back out again.

This cat was the sweetest, friendliest, most loving and affectionate cat I have ever met. She wanted only one thing in life, to sleep on top of the nearest immobile human. And that was it. The next thing you know everyone with a sick, injured, unwanted cat was asking me to help them fix, repair or rehome their cat.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

OK, there you have it, the first ever "Ask Pony" post. If you have a question for me for next week feel free to email me at!!

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