Supporting the Kurds, fighting ISIS: Israel imports 77% of its oil from Iraqi-Kurdistan

While the U.S. has refused to send weapon or dollar one to the Kurds who are not only fighting for their lives but also are the ONLY force in the Middle East that is effectively fighting ISIS, Israel has stepped up to the plate.

Israel has reportedly purchased as much as 77 percent of its oil supplies from Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish population, providing them with an essential source of funding in their campaign against the Islamic State.

Read more: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4693799,00.html

me vs the okra :) (pic)

If that okra grows any taller….
IMG_0950

We finally got some blessed rain yesterday. It is a very good thing that I totally love okra because we are eating it every day. If it gets any taller though, I’m going to need a ladder to harvest all that yummy goodness.

homemade cat food recipe –stretch your dollars with healthy, inexpensive wet food supplements

“You can pay now or you can pay later.” That is a good adage for anyone who is feeding their kitty a diet of only dry kibble.

Don’t get me wrong, dry kibble has its place. Unless your kitty is unable to eat dry food, every cat should have a bit of dry kibble on hand daily in order to keep their teeth and gums in good shape (it scrapes the tartar off the teeth and keeps the bones that the teeth are embedded in strong). That said, a diet of only dry kibble will cause a host of problems when your kitty gets older in years –Translation: Sick kitty and high vet bills.

Cat food is expensive. With 31 cats to feed twice daily (and dry food munchies in between), I’m an expert on how expensive it is to feed cats a really healthy diet. So, I did a lot of research. I didn’t just go online (there is a lot of really bad advice out there, even from some veterinarians) before coming up with this recipe.

Recipe for 16 substantial servings:

1 cup of cooked rice
1/2 cup of cooked broccoli AND/OR cooked peas AND/OR cooked carrots –using just one will give you the 16 servings
1/2 can of tuna (cheapest brand you can find is okay)
1/2 can of wet cat food (we use Friskies Tasty Treasures)
Water as needed (we use the water from the cooked veggies)

In a food processor, blend the veggies and veggie broth (you can also blend the rice to make the mixture more like a pate)
Mix the tuna, cat food, and veggies into the rice
Serve!

We top each serving with a tiny sliver of canned cat food (we use a Friskies pate version for the topping). A lot of our cats are not fans of the cooked carrots, many of them really like the peas and all of them are nuts over the broccoli. Try out the different veggie or veggie combos to see which one your cat will prefer. We were initially blending up the rice, thinking it would be easier to eat for our many kitties with teeth (and lack of teeth) issues but, quite by accident, we discovered that they have an easier time and like it better when we don’t blend up the cooked grains.

You can store the prepared mixture in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Because we have so many cats to feed, we double the recipe and use all of it per mealtime (and we cook it twice a day!). If you have only one cat, half the recipe above to get 3 days of human-grade tasty food for your kitty, loaded with vitamins and nutrients, and importantly, an aid to keeping your kitty hydrated.

a quick update

Garden news:
We’ve got okra coming out of our ears and that is such a good thing. We are harvesting the maximum number that two people can possibly eat in a day and, quite soon, the plants should be producing enough that we can eat the max AND have some to freeze for the winter. I absolutely love pickled okra but the kind we are growing is not the right kind for pickling, so freezing it will be. It will be nice to have okra from the garden in the dead of winter :) With the heat, we are not getting many tomatoes (only those that are now ripening but no new ones setting). In a couple of months, however, we should be getting a good fall harvest of them. I’ve just planted three more tomato transplants. Yesterday, we bought two more gypsy pepper transplants and two banana peppers and I plan to get those into pots on Sunday. I say we bought, but they turned out to be free as we’d racked up enough ‘points’ at the garden center to just take ’em away :)

Gingi news: Gingi is slowly getting better and yesterday was able to eat from a plate on the floor for the first time.

Yaeli news: I’ve lost 10 pounds! Go me. I’m still 30 pounds fatter than I was 3 years ago before hormonal hell kicked in from the fertility drugs but it is now slowly coming off. I’ve not changed my diet or exercise level (in fact, the exercise level has leveled off because of the intense heat).

I am really enjoying my learning to code experience. I’m not learning fast enough to suit me, though. The three courses I’m taking in the fall start in about two weeks and I’m hoping that they will be a bit more useful than two of the three courses I took in the spring. I’m supplementing my efforts with attending the Women Who Code weekly meetups, a paired coding meetup, and, next week, I start a meetup that focuses on Node.js.

Something in the dirt? The air? Mystery kitty paralysis…

Flora is over, or at least her symptoms have resolved, the paralysis that affected half of her face. With Flora and her sister, Flossie, in the house following Flora’s mystery illness, only Gingi and Puddin’ were out in the garage indoor/outdoor enclosure. Last Monday, when I went out to feed those two in the morning, I thought oh my, I really have got to spend more time out here with these two little guys because Gingi was crying, a lot, and refused to eat his food unless I held the plate up for him while I was petting him. I thought he was so unhappy with the amount of attention I am usually able to give him, that he’d rather eschew eating for pets. On Monday night, it was the same story and again on Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening, and this despite the fact that I’d spent a concerted three hours on each of those days with them.

On Wednesday morning I had an early appointment and so didn’t have time to ‘indulge’ him by petting him and holding the plate. He’ll eat it after I’ve gone, I thought. No, no he didn’t. When I came in around mid-day, his wet food was untouched. This is a cat that will climb over anyone and anything to get to his wet food usually. There was a much larger amount of the dry kibble in the bowl than usual. He was hungry and crying but not eating. I got him some fresh wet food, he put his head down, attempted to eat it but seemed to be unable to do so. He kept crying. I lifted the plate up a little bit and he tried again and again could not seem to be able to eat. He’d lick at it and then lift his head up really high. I raised the plate higher and only when it was up at standing head level was he able to eat — and boy did he wolf it down.

I got the bowl of water and held it up and he then drank like he’d never had water before. This was not some sort of play for attention, clearly. After a thorough exam, he seems to have paralysis in his neck and throat when his head is down, stemming from his spinal column. He and Puddin’ are now in the house. He’s in the master bathroom and Puddin’, despite being a tiny cat, is terrorizing the rest of the household. We’ve got a feeding station set up so that his food and water sit at a level where he can eat it. We have no idea what the heck has caused this. The vets don’t know. We do know that it has to be something in the environment out there — an airborne virus? Some sort of fungal infection from the dirt or mulch in the outside enclosure? Having two, young, healthy cats come down with mystery paralysis within a few weeks of each other is more than a coincidence, though…

We lost little Minette

On Friday, last, we made an emergency visit to the vet with Smokey Eyin Echad (Smokey One Eye). She is the old kitty that I rescued in Tel Aviv who had had a stroke and I re-taught her how to walk in a straight line because, after the stroke, she could only walk in circles. She had had a bout of really bad diarrhea and was crying when she got in the litter box. It turned out that she is fine, just experiencing elderly cat gastro problems. We got home with her and got her settled. I got my computer out and set up on the porch to try to work on coding and my Ema got ready to run to the store.

Minette was laying on the porch. In the past couple of months, she has been just loving to be out on the front porch with me and our feral porch kitty, Emily. Ema came to the door to let me know she was getting ready to leave and said, “Is Minette okay? I don’t like the way she is laying there.”

To be honest, I wasn’t really paying full attention and just sort of glanced up. “It is really hot out here, I think she is just sacked out.” Ema went back in but a few minutes later what she’d said started niggling at me and I took a good look at the kitty who was laying with her back to me. “Minette?” She started to sit up and then fell over onto her other side. Oh G-d. I scrambled over to her and she tried to sit up again but her back legs went out from under her. Really oh my G-d.

I ran around the side of the house hoping Ema had not yet left for the store. The car was still there. I ran in and screamed for Ema to come quick. It was closing time at our vet clinic but they said to rush her in and the vet would stay to see her.

Minette had gone through years of terrible neglect before being rescued by my Ema — many of you guys reading here were incredibly compassionate and generous and gave donations when I posted a plea for help for her back in 2012 (here’s the link to her story: https://israeliminx.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/help-little-minette/). We knew that she had damaged kidneys from so many years of not being able to get water regularly: When the vet checked her, one of her kidneys was extremely distended this time. It looks like she had a stroke on Friday afternoon, while we were at the vet with Smokey One-Eye, and her kidneys were starting to fail from it.

I’ve nursed two cats back from strokes before and we talked extensively with the vet about options and possibility that she could recover (giving her fluids, putting her into intensive care in an oxygen chamber for several days, and so forth) but his assessment was that he didn’t think she would make it.

I held her after he gave her pain killer and a mild sedative and she purred as I scritched her head and chin in the way she likes best. When he inserted the sedative that stops the heart into the IV, he’d only put in a fraction of the amount that is usually used to put them to sleep when she slipped away. We buried her next to a rose tree in the back yard.

After having had such a hard and miserable life, her last three years were full of creature comforts, love, and attention. The last three months were especially happy ones for her: We got her a lion cut in early May (shaving off all the hair except on her tail and head) and a therapeutic bath to help her skin condition (which had improved dramatically in the time we had her). She is, was, always like a different little cat after getting her summer lion cut –frisking and playing even at her advanced age and fragile health. Every morning she would race out onto the porch to spend the day with me — sunning herself in the early morning and late afternoon and sitting in my lap or laying nearby in the shade during the heat of the day.

I miss my little porch companion more than words can say.

a short –hrm make that rather long– update

Just a short update on how and what I’m doing. I’m spending about 10 hours a day learning to code. I’ve gotten the command line down and the ins and outs of CSS are in my pocket. Right now I’m filling in some of the holes in basic Javascript that were skipped in the class I took (things like how to work with the date object, how to add and remove things from arrays) and on the more advanced end trying to get my head around prototypes, object constructor methods and properties (and how they work with prototypes) and the DOM (document object model). I’m about to start learning Jquery — I think in about week I’ll be ready to dive into that. I’m about ready to git hubbing :)

One of the things that has been fun and helpful is going to a weekly meetup for women who code. The group brings in great speakers on different topics and is great for having a social support system. I’ve met some really nice gals there. Protektzia (its all about who you know…) is as important in the coding world as it is in Israel, so networking is important –a lot of jobs are never listed but rather filled by a coder recommended by someone who works there.

On the kitty front, Flora the Explorer has finally recovered and can blink on her own now. We had to take Gypsy into the vet the other day because he wasn’t eating and still losing weight (he was one of our outside, previously feral kitties, and he got beaten up by this totally vicious cat in the neighborhood that has Feline Aids and so contracted it. He’s now in an enclosure all his own so that we can keep an eye on his health). He was dehydrated and after getting fluids is back to eating. I refer to him as our transgender kitty because when he first came up a friend of my Ema’s was convinced he was a she — for two years he’s been called a she and it was a bit of a surprise when the vet was like, well HE…

The garden is doing great and really helping with our people food bills (the cost of the food and litter for the cats is something like 6 times our people food budget). I’ll put up some pictures of the Pandora striped rose aubergine (egglplants) that we haven’t tasted yet — they are much later producing than the Astrakoms but it seems get ginormous: 3 inches wide by 8 inches long. There are a bunch of them growing on the vine :). We’ve also got a tiny watermelon forming (it is not even half an inch long yet) and is going to be a surprise as to what kind it is. I planted both Sugar Baby (small icebox size) and a “it gets ginormous” kind but now can’t remember which watermelon plant is which…

I’ve not been blogging about politics because I am so disgusted that everytime I start to write something about the &*%%%$$# crazy, immoral, evil regime in power in the U.S., I want to throw something. The sooner that I get the hell out of the U.S. and back home, the better as far as I’m concerned. I’m hoping that by this time next summer I’ll be starting a cool job as a front-end developer at a cool Israeli company…

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