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Of Hair, Cats, and TitlesApril 28, 2009

So many things are running around in my head, and I can't seem to grab one right now to put it on the page.

I cut my hair.

There! Caught one! A thing running in my head, that is.

Back to the hair --I just chopped a couple inches off. It had reached that way-too-long point where nothing worked but pulling it up, and while I was thrilled by this suddenly long hair I had, I was also BORED out of my mind with it. It was great for curling and going out. However, more than going out, I go to work, and ponytails only go so far.

Oh, you want a picture? Okay, but it's not a good picture.

Photo 423

See? I'm not even wearing lipstick. Bet you've never seen THAT before. I've barely seen it myself. That's what I look like in the morning when I'm writing. I would like to say I'm usually in a handknit, and I DO often wear my sweaters while writing, but as often as not I'm in an old sweatshirt or just a tee, and it's not that glamorous, is it?

I like to chop my own hair. My hair stylist hates it (don't tell Carol!)  but I had scissors right there. It's cheap. Also, it's just fun, that snipping sound. (And if you don't have massively straight, heavy hair, if it has any wave at all, no one will ever notice if it's not perfect. No one except your stylist, who will NOT be amused the next time you go in. Fair enough.)

It didn't stop right away, either, that feeling of good-snippery. I grabbed Clara, who had some crazy dreadlocks behind her ears and on her chest, and she quite good-naturedly sat there while I pulled and cut. I got enough hair off her to start another dog, were I to plant it in the garden, which I didn't. We are at capacity, I don't know if you noticed.

Speaking of the garden and animals, some DAMN CAT (not our indoor kits, of course) shat in my garden, tearing up one of the squares. Bastard. Any easy solutions? I already have a little white fence up around it, so hanging netting (what kind?) wouldn't be hard, but what about when the plants get tall? Any and all ideas are appreciated.

Me, today: We're going rock-climbing in a little bit. I haven't been in a while so I expect to be puny. Then I have some writing to do. I'm THISCLOSE to finishing Book Two, which is great because I can't wait to edit this puppy.

Oh, DID I TELL YOU? I have a name for Book One. Remember, back in the day, when it used to be called Love Spun? It's so much better now, people. Thanks to Marketing at Avon, my book will be called:

How To Knit a Love Song
(A Cypress Hollow Yarn)

Okay, that could change yet again, but I'm told it probably won't, that this is what will be on the shelves come next spring (OHMYGOD STILL SO FAR AWAY). I love it. I love the rhythm of it. HOW to KNIT a LOVE song.

My book. It is still so thrilling.


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I had a neighbor cat that used to poop in my garden; I could smell it from every corner of my yard! I stuck several bamboo skewers (sharp sides up) very close together in the soil.

It was enough of a deterrent to keep him from pooping in my garden (and he was never harmed by the skewers - I informed my neighbor before I placed them and checked back with her afterwards).

Similar idea to the one above - from Gardeners Supply: http://www.gardeners.com/Safe-Cat-Deterrent/YardPests_DogsCats,31-954,default,cp.html. Maybe other textures (like eggshells?) would also be tactile-ly undesirable to them. How about laying bird netting on the surface - plants will grow through it, but it might feel yucky and the cat couldn't scratch through it. Good luck!

Sprinkle cayenne pepper in the dirt(I buy the bulk stuff @ WinCo). Those dang outdoor cats that run a-muck sniff before they dig and a snoot full of cayenne will make them pretty uncomfortable but not harm them. Even worked on the lazy indoor cat the decided that behind the entertainment center was so much more convenient than running up stairs. She don't poop there any more. Happy Gardening :-)

Cari at Dispatches from Utopia (formerly Dogs Steal Yarn) put chicken wire flat over the soil, so the seedlings could grow through the holes but the cats couldn't poo in her veggies anymore.

Will Anne Murray sing the theme song to the TV movie? Sorry, now you have to suffer the same ear worm I have...hope it doesn't last too long (like an afternoon delight) OMG now you have 2 for the price of one (which IS the loneliest number, after all). I'll stop now.

Holly leaves.
We scatter sprigs in the garden; it has kept the cats out.
Hopefully you or someone you know has a bush you can trim.
It works for houseplants too.

That IS a great title, though Love Spun is stuck in my head, not sure I want to part with it. (much better than Eliza's Cottage-loved your dad's comment about cottages and ranches...)

That title is covered in win.

I have a lot of feral cats in my rural area and they do from time to time use my herb garden for their pooping. I have found that ground coffee works really well to keep cats off. Please note the coffee has to be unused (not brewed) and the cheaper the brand the better. Since I have been spreading coffee everywhere, no more little "surprises". No harm to plants either, in fact my tomatoes were really great last year.

Holly leaves.
We scatter sprigs in the garden; it works.
Hopefully, you or someone you know has a bush you can trim. (Did I really type that? Get the Quattro!)
It works for houseplants too.

That IS a great title, though Love Spun is stuck in my head, not sure I want to part with it. (much better than Eliza's Cottage-I love your dad's comment about cottages and ranches)

I have the same problem- so many stray cats here. I use a 4" wire grid that is meant for reinforcing concrete slabs. The 4" squares give you enough room to reach through for weeding and harvesting. I think the pieces come in about 4'x4', and it is stiff enough that plants don't get all tangled in it, and it can be reused over and over.

If you are growing vegies in that garden, you want to replace the soil before planting. We use chicken wire to keep the cats out of our garden beds. Cut a piece to fit the bed, and lay it directly on the soil. You can hold it down in a couple spots with rocks, or with pieces of wire bent so it has a hook on the end. Then, your plants can grow through the holes if they are small enough, or you can cut larger holes with wire cutters where you need them. Once your plants get a bit bigger, you won't even notice the chicken wire.

I really like this title; it combines two of my favorite things. Looking forward to seeing it on the shelves!

I've been told they won't shit near clean water - and that they can't stand citrus and will avoid that - but I don't know if they are just old-wives tales as I've never tried them. The only way I KNOW works is to have a very mean-tempered and territorial cat that no other cats will come near. But that's not a lot of fun.

PS - Yay! for the book name!

Cute cut!
Love the title!!!

LOVE that new title! (Not that Love Spun was bad or anything, but the new one really "sings.")

Home Depot sells a product called Critter Ridder which is basically pepper and it works pretty well. Also, planting marigolds is helpful as cats hate the smell. Some cats are pretty persistent though. Good luck!

It's great to have a title! Congrats!

I forgot to add that I do like the new title for the book but will miss Love Spun.
The feral cats in my neighborhood laughed at the citrus, then my dogs found the citrus peel and proceeded to eat it. No they are not the smartest.

Putting chicken wire over the soil works in theory (the cats don't like to step on the wire) but it's a total pain in the arse when your stuff grows. I suggest making a conestoga wagon type thing with skinny pvc pipe, and then putting bird netting over the top. You can clamp the bird netting into place with big binder clips. Works like a charm at keeping all sorts of veggie-eating critters out. (See the first picture here: http://heatherly.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/07/growing.html

Yay for cutting hair! And especially for cutting dreadlocks off pets :-)

My mum used to put eggshells and squirt lemon juice around our vegie patch to stop other cats from ruining it. We also used to hang plastic bags up on sticks, because when the wind moves them it scares the cats.

I hope that helps!!


Love the title!

A lot of urban gardeners lay down old blackberry canes on the beds and tamp the paths down too hard for the cats to use.

I second (third, fourth, fifth?) the cayenne pepper and citrus peel suggestions. I don't know how well they work separately, but together, they keep kitties out of MY garden.

Now if only I can deter the snails..

The conestoga wagon thingy is similar to what Mel describes in his SFG book. He also has some cube versions built out of conduit. I think it would be useful in keeping birds out of strawberries and the like as well.

Love the new title!

Great title!

And after what I spent on my hair this week, the self-cut is sounding like a great idea!

(Too chicken. WAY too chicken.)

OOhhhh...I am a Cypress Hollow groupie! cant wait for the next one.

About cats: nearly every suggestion I have requires you to see it. The best is an AK757 Air Soft Gun, which looks like a Colt .45 automatic but shoots little plastic balls with fair accuracy. Won't hurt it (eyes possibly, aim at the butt) but it has a huge startle factor, even if you miss. My crows know. I recommend multiple shots, while you shout BANZI! and run straight at it, following it to the wall and shooting over the wall till it disappears. They don't expect persistence, so you become Satan and they don't return.

Most satisfying.

I have a spare AK757 and ammo you can have next time you're here.

yer Dad

Lots of great suggestions on the cat problem! Do you have any pigeon spikes left over from the pigeon-proofing of your gutters? Those might work.

You know what REALLY works? Coyote urine. Dribble a bit onto cotton balls and scatter them around the perimeter.

I am betting it is difficult to buy coyote urine in Oakland. I can mail you a bottle! The sporting gear stores sell them out here. I have purchased coyote urine for city friends in the past.

The bamboo skewer suggestion, mentioned above, successfully kept skunks away from my bulbs.

Wish I could cut my hair - too straight and too short.

No cat poop suggestions (though your dad scares me a little), but so exciting about the book title!!!

Another vote for the bamboo skewer sharp end up. Cats are smart and learn quickly not to jump into that area twice.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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