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I kind of dropped off the radar for a while, and even though I am minimally superstitious, I didn’t want to jinx what was turning out to be a fortuitous turn of events.  Heck, I didn’t even let our son know what was going on, lol!  But now that they’re safely home, I can spill the beans.

As some of you may know, two of our cats passed away recently.  One cat, Ginger, had become my hubby’s little buddy and he was particularly devastated when Ginger passed.  Hubby had been allergic to cats when he was younger and had only in the last few years gotten to the point (from repeated exposure) where he could pet and hold a cat without breaking out.  Hence, he had never really bonded with a cat…until Ginger.  Mr. Ginger was not intimidated by the big guy at all, he just hopped up right into his lap, looked him square in the eye and started doing biscuits on his chest.  Ginger tolerated me as well as the munchkin, would give us enough love to keep us happy, but he was definitely hubby’s cat, following him around, sitting on him while they surfed the ‘net together, snuggling up against him in bed, etc.  Ginger was a Turkish Angora cat, and if you do a search for the breed they give a very accurate description of their personalities–highly intelligent, more dog-like than feline, strong-willed, inquisitive, loves water, very devoted.  It was those traits that made Ginger so special.

Hubby mentioned to me that he would like to get another cat, preferably a Turkish Angora, to become part of our family soon.  He missed that special interaction he had with Ginger, and though he knew nothing would replace him, he had now become a cat daddy and wanted another companion.  So, I started looking.  I had no idea Turkish Angoras would be so darned hard to find!  There are breeders up north, as well as some in California and Florida.  I really didn’t want to go through a breeder if at all possible, preferring to adopt/rescue one that needs a forever home.  That said, I couldn’t find one Turkish Angora within 300 miles of us.

We kept looking, went to local adoption events, looked through websites of the Humane Society, Animal Care Services, etc.  None of the cats “spoke” to us.  I was beginning to lose hope and thinking we’d have to go with a breeder, which meant having the cat flown down given the distance between us and the breeder.

Then, as I was doing a last cursory search through Adopt A Pet, I see they have not one, not two, but three Turkish Angora kittens listed approximately 170 miles away from us at a rescue shelter.  They also had a Maine Coon, and the munchkin fell in love with the picture.  After a short consideration, hubby said we could get one of the Turkish Angoras and the Maine Coon.

Right after we got back from a mini vacation to the beach, adoption applications were filled out, many phone calls and emails ensued, and we set up a date to make the trip.  Three hours one way, another three hours to get everything squared away (getting to interact with the cats, paperwork, vaccinations and microchipping), and three hours to get back.  The plan for the Maine Coon fell through, unfortunately.  Even though she was a gorgeous cat, she was a little on the wild/feral side and would have been a handful for several months–not conducive to a kitten’s safety.  The munchkin decided herself that particular cat was a little too much to handle and opted instead for the sibling of the Turkish Angora.  So, we are now the proud forever home to Blake and Angelina.

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They’re four months old, have a grayish streak on the top of their heads which apparently will eventually disappear (some Turkish Angoras are born with this and is called a ‘kittens cap’), and have beautiful gold/green eyes.  Blake is smaller than his sister, is much more loving and hasn’t met a human or animal he doesn’t like–he walks right up and says ‘hi’ right away before starting to rub against you.  Angelina is a little more skittish, but she finally crawled into my lap and let me pet her.  She’s larger, and is very protective of her brother.  If you take him out of her sight she starts meowing, trying to find him, and as soon as she does she sniffs him from head to paw making sure he’s all right.  Besides their sizes, the only other way to tell them apart is the fact that Blake is slightly cross-eyed, but it definitely hasn’t slowed him down at all.

Angelina:

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Blake:

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Hubby’s happy:

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The garden is producing very well so far, and thankfully I drew out and labeled each raised bed as well as the in-ground rows so I have a reference to what did well and what didn’t do so well, hence I’ll know what to concentrate on next year.  I started taking pictures of whatever I harvest right after I bring it in, not mixing it in with the previous days’ haul, so I can see exactly what I took in.  So far I’ve canned seven large jars of tomato sauce, four of them being from the Park’s Whopper tomatoes, one from the Tangerine tomato, and the other two from a combo of Mortgage Lifter and Brandy Boy.  The cucumbers have finally started producing, and I’ve found about a half dozen watermelons as well as a half dozen cantaloupes hidden amongst the vines.  I’m okra-challenged when i t comes to growing okra, but I’ve managed to harvest a few here and there.

Regarding pests, i.e. racoons, opossums, skunks, etc, raiding the garden, I’ve noticed a strange thing–they don’t touch the Tangerine, Yellow Pear or Italian Ice tomatoes.  These tomatoes have fantastic flavor, are great producers, but don’t turn red.  The Tangerine is an intense yellow orange, the Yellow Pear a bright lemon yellow, and the Italian Ice a buttery cream/white.  Since the critters raid at night, I don’t think they’re going on color to pick out their dinner…what is it about the orange/yellow/cream tomatoes that they don’t like?  I also wonder if deer would be as picky, i.e. leaving these particular tomatoes alone?  I’ve had great success protecting the red tomatoes with the use of cayenne pepper powder, but you must be diligent about reapplying it after a rain.  If you have problems with pests, give those unique colored tomatoes a try, and stock up on generic cayenne pepper powder.

Here’s the continuing harvest: (Some of the photos you’ll need to click on in order to view the entire contents of the photo):

June 11th:

 

June 12th harvest, which features a turnip, a peach, sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, okra, a baby Cajun bell pepper, a Tangerine tomato as well as Yellow Pear tomatoes:

 

June 17th:

 

Also on June 17th:

 

June 18th (had already sliced into the Golden Jubilee tomato before I took the picture):

 

June 23rd: (Yellow Pear on the left, Italian Ice on the right)

 

June 25th:

 

June 26th:

 

Now I want to draw your attention to Brandy Boy above.  This tomato is MASSIVE.  The following photos will show it in comparison to a Sweet 100 Cherry tomato, me holding it in the palm of my hand, on a full size dinner plate, in a soup bowl and on the countertop next to a cherry tomato:

 

June 27th:

 

June 29th:  (Can we say ‘C is for cucumber’?) lol!

 

All the red cherry tomatoes have come from one bush.  I’ve learned the cucumbers, watermelon, squash, cantaloupe and pumpkin do much better in the ground versus the raised beds.  All the other plants, however, have done much, much better in the raised beds, especially the tomatoes.  I’ll keep harvesting, canning, and gathering information so I’ll know what to plant where and when next year for an even more spectacular harvest.

 

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