Our iconic cat is gone: Obi-Wan, 1999 – 2015

Obi-Wan in his basket

Obi-Wan’s favourite place to take a nap was in his basket at home in the hallway near the kitchen. He liked to be close enough to hear conversations among his people and our guests when they came to our home.

It is with deep sadness and sorrow that Bob and I convey to friends and family the passing of our eldest cat, Obi-Wan. Obi-Wan died at 6:34 p.m. on the afternoon of Monday July 27, 2015, secure with Bob and I, in his basket and with love, compassion and mercy at his vet’s. My children, Zachary and Nicklaus, came to the vet’s office to bid goodbye to Obi-Wan. It was they who picked him out of a litter born in Wasaga Beach, Ontario in September of 1999. Obi-Wan lived with us for a bit more than three years before Bob and I became a couple.

Obi-Wan lived for 15 years and almost 11 months. Obi-Wan was diagnosed with chronic and incurable kidney failure in April, 2015. Much to the pleasant surprise of his vet, he responded to drug therapy, and for nearly four months, remained in good health. Obi-Wan did much better than anyone expected, and even went off his pain killers for more than a month in June and July.

In July’s fading days, Obi-Wan began to have trouble keeping food down, and became visibly uncomfortable. During the weekend of July 24 to 26, he began to have trouble eating. By Sunday of that weekend, he had stopped eating. He showed the remainder of the end-of-life kidney failure symptoms he had not exhibited before. We were not going to let Obi-Wan linger or suffer through a predictable decline. Through the weekend, his condition worsened. His vet confirmed that his poor little kidneys had shrunk to less than half their normal size. His organs could no longer rid his body of its poisons, which built up within Obi-Wan. His heart, however, was as big and strong as ever. Of course, we knew that part, though the vet confirmed it in her final examination of him.

Obi-Wan and babies

Here at a 2007 Christmas party at Erin Meadows seniors’ residence in Mississauga, Obi-Wan let two little babies play with him.

Obi-Wan’s enduring legacy

Obi-Wan has been on our Christmas card every year since 2004. Local Mississauga residents have seen Obi-Wan at the Streetsville Santa Claus Parade every year for the past nine years. Obi-Wan attended the Streetsville Bread and Honey Festival, was a frequent visitor to seniors’ homes, and went with Bob to many of his community events as an Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament. Obi-Wan was picked up, handled and patted by hundreds of kids, been photographed countless times. He came with us as we inspected our present home while it was being built in 2005.

Every animal that sheds its instinctive reserve and embraces a human being, loving and being loved, is a special animal. One like Obi-Wan, who worked at being a good communicator, who would shake hands, sit on command, sit up for treats (especially his favourite, cooked ham), who loved learning things, and who loved being with people transcends the special to the unique. It is no exaggeration to call Obi-Wan our city’s best-known cat. Watching Obi-Wan shake hands with visitors, our guests would normally exclaim, “I have never in my life seen a cat do that.” That was Obi-Wan. He sat in the living room to take in the discussion, seldom further away than his basket so that he could hear what was being said.

Obi-Wan in his prime: hopping up on the counter to share a Sunday morning with Mummy, reading the newspaper together.

Obi-Wan in his prime in 2009: hopping up on the counter to share a Sunday morning with Mummy, reading the newspaper together. He would focus so intently on the newspaper that one would wonder if he really could understand what was inside the pages.

Obi-Wan’s last journey

Even as Obi-Wan was part of our public face, he brought Bob and I so much joy and companionship at home. Obi-Wan was there whenever one of us fell ill, or went through challenging times. Obi-Wan has had his own health issues through his life as well. He survived a bad reaction to vaccines years ago. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007; and made the journey of being a managed diabetic with us. He knew how to tell us when his blood sugar was high or low. Obi-Wan was never a problem when measuring his blood glucose or administering insulin. He has survived pancreas and liver infections. In recent years, his eyes began to form cataracts, and he struggled with osteo-arthritis in the past two years. He was in some pain, and having trouble getting around. Obi-Wan spent two days in April with his vet trying to flush out his kidneys after his chronic kidney failure diagnosis. His vet saw him again in June, and was amazed at how he had managed. His kidneys, however, were not getting better. He was then stable at stage three of four stages. Obi-Wan had good months in May and June, and up until mid-July. Though his taste in cat food changed, he kept a strong appetite. It was only in mid-July that Obi-Wan clearly dropped into stage four of terminal kidney failure, with vomiting and diarrhea problems beginning in recent days. There was no doubt that for Obi-Wan, life had become a struggle for existence.

By the winter of 2015, Obi-Wan could no longer hop up onto our bed to sleep at night, needing a lift up and preferably down when he did come. In the past few months, he has stayed downstairs at night, though he would, until his very last few days, climb the stairs in the morning to wake everybody up. Obi-Wan didn’t complain when we offered him a ride back down the stairs in the morning. Ever independent, he squirmed as soon as he was on the main floor, letting us know he was quite capable of walking from there, thank you very much. He gratefully accepted a footstool to help him get up on his favourite living room chair, owing to the pain in his joints. Right to the end, he used the cat port in the screen door to go for a stroll in the back yard, taking a nap in the gazebo on his second-last day, and sniffing the outdoor air to check up on who was around his yard. He walked around to have a last look at his house before we left for the vet. He was a loyal, loving, big boy cat with a sense of humour to bring a smile or a laugh to his people when they needed it most.

Obi-Wan in 2009

Here was our big boy as we knew him best. His eyes and heart were full of love every day of his life. We will never be able to forget Obi-Wan. His life has enriched our own and so many others. Thank you, Obi-Wan. Click the picture for a larger size.

We will have a much more extensive photo gallery of Obi-Wan on the web site soon. Obi-Wan’s friends, and those who admire him, can visit his Facebook Page to share their thoughts.

A new Texas foal named Obi-Wan

A Texas classmate friend of mine from the 1960s, Lomas Sharma, has named a new male foal, born August 2015 after Obi-Wan.

A Prayer for Obi-Wan

Heavenly Father, Creator of all things, thank You for having entrusted us with such a loyal friend as Obi-Wan. Thank You for letting this handsome animal teach us unselfish love. Thank You for the memories we will recall to brighten our days for the rest of our lives. Finally, in gratitude, we return the spirit of our cherished companion, Obi-Wan, to You, until we meet again in glory. Amen.

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Our bird family

Family of red-breasted robins

This spring, a couple of red-breasted robins decided to build their nest in our crabapple tree along the side. Then along came some eggs, and we had a family move in. This year of 2015, there has been songbird music as never before, and Mr. and Mrs. Robin have been attentive parents. We have seen two little baby birds poke their heads up over the edge of the nest.

Birds' nest in the crabapple

Our family of red-breasted robins who have set up house in our crabapple tree by the side. You can see Mom on the top, and the two little ones peeking out just below her.

Our principal worry was a wicked weekend of wild weather near the end of June, with driving rain and very high winds, blasting the full fury of the storm directly at the tree the birds had moved into. Once the storm abated, we were worried that the eggs or babies (we were not sure which at that point) may not have survived a whole weekend of bad weather. However, there were two downy heads poking over the edge of the nest looking at the brand new world.

Father robin forages for food, and sits off at a distance, squawking at anyone who ventures near the nest, and following up with fly-by runs to request some privacy in a bird-like way. Both parents spend their days looking for food to bring home. As neither of our cats have front claws, and Obi-Wan’s days as the resident hunter (mostly mice) are largely behind him, the birds are free from climbing predators. The nocturnal skunks don’t climb, and we have never seen baby bird on the menu for any raccoons, who have not showed up this summer in any event. We’ll revise this post through the summer as we see how our robin family develops. Click one of the pictures below for a gallery.

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Friday July 3: A third baby!

Bob and I both saw the third baby robin today. No doubt about it. Mom and Dad robin are keeping busy on food runs with three mouths to feed. They had a perfect day today: warm and calm, with plenty of food to find.
Tuesday July 7: Leaving the nest
Today, I went outside to check on the plants – and on our bird family – and the babies were leaving the nest! I kept the cats in as the little ones were finding their footing on the lawn, and stretching the new wings. Mom and Dad are watching as the little ones learn how to find something to eat, and flutter along in their first flights. We had some mid-day rain, and Mom and one of the babies returned to the nest to ride out the rain.
Wednesday July 8: Exploring the world
On Wednesday morning, the cats darted out for a stroll. We were not sure if the birds were still around after the nestlings began to spread their wings. There was, however, one little nestling still getting flight lessons in the back yard from Mom and Dad. We got his picture as he sat patiently on the stone wall by the walk, which you can see in the gallery on this posting. Mom and Dad wanted no distractions from the cats while they taught baby bird the facts of life (learn to fly, and stay away from cats), and literally chased Bebe back in the house. She came running through the cat port with a squawking bird on her tail. Obi-Wan watched this spectacle, decided that discretion was the better choice, and ambled in on his own a few moments later.
Thursday July 9: Using the sanctuary
Mother Bird

Here is Mother Bird on the afternoon of July 9. She has got used to us, and won’t fly away as long as we are quiet, and don’t try to get too close. Bob used a tripod for stability, and shot this telephoto picture of Mother Bird in the back yard on the afternoon of July 9, 2015.

Mother bird and one baby bird are still in the back yard. The cats haven’t been prowling the perimeter while the baby bird has been taking flying lessons. So far, he does not flutter for more than a few seconds at a time. Father robin and most of the nestlings seem to have gone their way in the world. Mother is still trying to coax this last baby into sustainable flight. He’s been using the shrubs for rest and safety, and Mom has been bringing him some food as she tries to coax him to follow her into flight. As Bob was watching the two this morning, a little baby skunk made a very rare appearance in the back yard on the patio. He saw Bob standing well away from him, and turned and slowly ambled out of the yard, sneaking under the gate. He was just a little guy, and did not get startled or feel threatened.

Friday July 10: Baby is still around
Baby Bird

Baby bird is still a tree-dweller, with Mom hovering nearby. We are careful not to touch or startle him, though he does let us close enough to take these remarkable photographs. This photo was taken the morning of July 10, 2015.

Baby bird and Mother bird continue to live in the back yard, with baby bird being a fairly trusting bird in letting people get reasonably close to him. Mother bird hovers nearby, and brings food, though baby doesn’t seem to want to spread his wings and fly. The baby gives no appearance of there being anything the matter with him, but hugs a tree branch without flying. We have seen him flutter from ground to branch and from branch to ground, but not fly any extended time or distance. Mom has not given up on him, and continues to bring food, and chirp to have him follow her. Each morning, we look for Mom, who is still using the safety of the back yard to try and coax baby into flight. There is abundant food around, and neither bird has been in any danger from the cats or from any other animal. Mother bird has started to use the bird bath we rigged out of an unused ceramic plant saucer. We will try and get a video of that process. Obi-Wan is not really interested in the birds, and a curious Bebe has been chased back into the house by a squawking parent robin a few times. She seems to have given up going out on her own. Bebe ventures out when one of the two of us are present. We keep an eye on the situation so that neither cat disturbs the birds.

Friday July 10: Bob’s observations – baby is flying
I went into the back yard to finish reading a book in the quiet of the gazebo this afternoon. I checked on baby bird’s last location, and baby had gone. As I was reading, Mother bird flew down onto the grass with food in her beak, calling for baby, who responded from the corkscrew hazel tree near the gazebo. Mom fluttered into the tree and fed the baby, then hopped down onto the ground. To my pleasant surprise, the baby bird followed her, and the two poked around the edge between the grass and the bushes, with Mom seeming to teach the baby how to find food. Then baby fluttered to the top of the shed, and flew to the window ledge, where Mom brought more food. Baby bird was looking through our side window, and flapped its little wings, lifting itself up and down, to see if it could fly inside the house. No such luck, and it flew into the Japanese maple by the shed, where Mom visited twice more. In between these visits, I walked quietly up to the Japanese maple with the camera, and shot a video of the little guy perched in the tree. Then, after Mom’s second trip, both birds took flight and left the yard for a while. Both flew back after a short time. Baby bird now appears to have the strength and confidence to put some wind beneath his wings.
Wednesday July 22: The family is off on its own
It has been about two weeks since our last sighting of any of the robin family. During the hot weather while Mother Bird was feeding the last baby, we laid out a shallow ceramic plant saucer on the stone wall, and a few times, Mother Bird came to splash around, cool off and have a bird bath while she was doing her food-gathering rounds. We didn’t manage to grab the camera in time to get a picture or a movie on the few times we watched her enjoy her bath. Bob had one of the last sightings of baby bird. He was doing some yard work, and baby bird was perched on top of the fence. He let Bob get up nice and close for several minutes. We heard the mother and one or two of the babies in our bushes, where they camped out for a few days. We had become able to pick their songs out. Now they have been gone for about a week and a half, and we wish them well, hoping that either the babies will return to nest, or Mom and Dad will come back to re-use the tree or the nest again next year.

See a short video of baby bird in our Japanese maple tree

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Easter Snow

So much for Easter brunch outside

Bob went outside on Good Friday, and spent a few hours bringing out the patio furniture in soft and balmy (for April in Ontario) weather. He raked up the entire back yard and uncovered the lawn ornaments, which we cover with plastic wrap each autumn. We were hoping for an Easter Sunday brunch on the patio in moderate weather. This happens about a third of the time in southern Ontario. Not this year, though. Overnight on Saturday, it began to snow, and by Easter morning, the patio was covered with a fresh layer of white stuff. Click any of the photos below to see them as a slide show.

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And so the reluctant spring after the unending winter continues, with forecast temperatures below normal well into May. Nonetheless, we pass along our warm wishes for a Happy Easter to one and all among friends and family. Once the weather warms up, it is a quick conversion to the summer routine. Come see us.

Try a comment! Submit a recipe…

Our registered users can write comments on this web site. Your User Name is a combination of your first and last names, like this: OliveSeepersaud. Your password was sent to you when you were first signed up. If you don’t have the e-mail from me, just click here to send me a request to change your password, and the web site will send you a new one. Whenever you log in, you can change the password yourself. I don’t know what your original password was.

And don’t forget to submit your family recipes. Just print out one that’s in this web site for a general format of how to do it. You can e-mail your recipe to me, and we’ll do the formatting niceties here. A good-quality picture would also be helpful. Have a great spring, and a Happy Easter.

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Snow storm

How is the weather where you are?

Ontario got its first major snowfall of the 2014-15 winter on Groundhog Day, the day halfway between the start of winter and the start of spring. As the hokey commercial legend goes, if the fabled groundhog (Ontario’s is named Wiarton Willie after the rural place where the mid-winter drink-up is held) sees his shadow, the rodent goes back into his hole, and we have another six weeks of winter weather. If he doesn’t see his shadow, the region ought to be for a mild late winter and/or an early spring. It’s for people who also believe in the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy.

Snowstorm aftermath

This is after we had shoveled the snow and cleared the driveway and walk after the first big snowstorm of 2015.

After a dry, but frigid January, a storm formed over Missouri, and blew into Ontario from the U.S. Midwest, starting late Sunday night. With 30 to 40 cm of snow and high winds, we awoke to drifting snow. There was no way to get out of our street, even after one had shoveled the driveway. Bob called his staff and told them not to risk the roads and to work from home. This they did with alacrity.

The cats took a look outside, and decided a nap was better than a morning promenade in the snow. Once it stopped snowing, we had our own driveway to clear. I was on the phone with some clients getting ready for my seminar this week, so Bob went out to begin the winter snow storage project. A native Montrealer, Bob knows not only how to shovel snow with the minimum effort, but where to put it so that he builds a windbreak to both protect the plants and keep blowing snow away from the walk and driveway. As well, he planned out the snowbanks so that if we get a lot more snow, we won’t exhaust the places to put it when we shovel.

Bebe and Andrea

This is more like what cats like to do when the snow is falling and the wind is howling outside. Bebe comes for a cuddle with her Mummy each evening while we watch TV.

For all the family in Guyana, this all happened as the mercury plunged to -15°C (which is pretty much where it was for most of January). The wind eased off, and the sun came out as we cleared the driveway and the walk in front. The snow was light and powdery, which meant that heaving it wasn’t like throwing the heavy, wet sloppy snow we get later in February and March. We had it all done within two hours, and got our workout too.

To put the snow and the cold into a different perspective, a Canadian winter means that all the creepy, crawly and slithery creatures that make life interesting in hot and humid Guyana can never survive spring, autumn or winter in Canada. So it’s not all bad with a Canadian winter. It has a cleansing effect.

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Family Cookbook

Preserving the family culinary memory

Shaaron and Patricia were chatting at Auntie Ione’s party tonight at Lisa and Shamir’s. They felt we should have a family cookbook. Little did they realize that we already have exactly that. And it is on this website! Click here to see for yourself.

Three sisters

The family got together at Lisa and Shamir’s house to celebrate Auntie Ione’s birthday on January 24th, 2015. Here are the three sisters with an iPad showing how technology spans eras.

Now the challenge is on! Who will submit the next recipe? Click the menu above and try one or two of our recipes. Then submit one of your own. Don’t worry about formatting it. Bob will take care of it for you.

If you have forgotten your password to log in, which you must do before you can post something, it’s not a big problem. Just e-mail me, and either Bob or I will reset your password, and the website software (WordPress) will e-mail it to you. You can then log in and change that password if you wish.

Everyone liked the honeyed spiced chicken tagine I brought along to the party, and Lisa did her usual magic with a spread to remember. Let’s start with just one each of the dishes we all shared for Auntie Ione’s party, and expand the Recipes page with some more dishes for our friends and family worldwide to try and enjoy.

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Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas from Mississauga

Christmas morning present-opening

Zach, Gramma and Andrea (and Indiana Jones in the background if you look hard enough) just starting to open their presents on Christmas morning at Larisa Grove in Mississauga, December 25, 2014.

The wonderful thing about hosting friends and family is not having to travel, and putting on one’s very best for people we care about, and even a few who just need a place to be on Christmas. The other side of that, of course, is that Bob and I work like galley servants for several days leading up to, and through Boxing Day. You’re always cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, taking something out, putting something away, and also trying to make it look effortless while engaging in chatter with the guests. Other than all that, it’s a piece of cake!

Our favourite FM station, Classical FM 96.3 in Toronto (you can click the link to get it on the Internet live in Guyana and the USA) plays non-stop, commercial-free music all of Christmas Day every year, as well as an annual all-request Valentine’s Day music lineup.

Zach and Nick came over on Christmas Eve for dinner: a seafood medley Mediterranean-style, along with salad and a host of appetizers, including bagels and lox with cream cheese, and desserts. This morning, Zach came back for breakfast: ham and eggs and lots of other good stuff. Throughout the day, we are opening our presents as our guests arrive.

If you’re on the web site distribution list, add your comments about where you are, who you’re with and what you are doing. It’s is a blustery and cool winter morning, without snow, in Ontario. We had high winds and some pouring rain last night. Global warming is very real. It should be cold and snowy here.

Warm wishes from the whole family: me, Bob, Obi-Wan and Bebe plus Mom, Zach and Nick to one and all. After the Christmas festivities, we are free to visit, and welcome visitors ourselves. See you…

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New Members

Family members can post content

Congratulations to Marisa and Shawn on their gorgeous wedding in Ocho Rios! How could you ask for a more perfect evening? We are going to go through our photos and post a collection of people’s thoughts here. Welcome also to Ivor and Serene Seepersaud, and to Donna Karran to the Seepersaud family web site. You can create your own stories if you wish, and perhaps you ought to give it a try.

We can do this posting because Jamaican weather chose Monday afternoon to pour rain and crash thunder in Ocho Rios. We almost chose to go to Dunn’s River Falls, which would have meant climbing Jamaica’s signature attraction (see the 1962 film Dr. No) in a thunderstorm. No thanks. Marisa made the right call.

Whether you are a Seepersaud, a Latchmansingh, a Ramroop, a Riwanna, a Narsing or a Sewnauth, you can use this site in ways Facebook just won’t let you do. This is done with an open-source piece of web software called WordPress. WordPress is estimated to power about one-sixth of all the sites on the Internet today.

I am aware of what Bob calls a folder permission issue when people try to register for the web site. It happends when you use the Captcha feature. Bob says we can resolve this easily with our web hoster, and he has done it with his MPP web site, but one ‘benefit’ of the issue if that it completely blocks computers in Russia, Poland and other strange corners of the world from being able to create phony accounts, and that makes this site completely secure for this unplanned reason.

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Summer 2014

The Larisa Grove back yard in full bloom

It was a very hectic spring at our home. On May 1, the Ontario government tabled its 2014-15 Budget, and on May 2, one of the opposition parties said they would not support it. The Opposition Party, the Conservatives, didn’t support any government bill, so that meant that a vote on the Budget would result in the fall of the government. This was not unexpected. On Friday May 2nd, the Premier called an election for June 12th, and we were off and running!

I managed the phone room for Bob, who did in five to seven days what took that many weeks to do at the last election in 2011: getting the campaign office; installing the wiring; getting the phones hooked up; bringing in the photocopier and the computers and making everything work; getting nominated; organizing the managers and the campaign team. And all that is before we took our message to the streets.

Bob ran against the same six-time loser of a candidate that he has run against twice before — and now three times. Bob is three of her six election losses!

Garden Arbour August 2014

Our new, custom-built garden arbour. The metal frame was assembled from a kit from the nursery, and Bob built the base from spare wood we had on hand in the shed.

It was pretty obvious from the very outset that the government had wind in its sails. The opposition, in an absolutely inexplicable mind-cramp of a decision, announced that if elected, they would fire 100,000 people in the public sector. To start with the entire Ontario Public Service is only about 64,000 people, which meant they proposed cutting off funding to police; schools; hospitals; mental health; cities and the like. That went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

To those of us working the phones, we knew instantly that Bob was going to win in our riding. He cleaned up in the various debates, and the month-long campaign went very smoothly. In retrospect, it now seems so quick. In the end, the Liberals were re-elected with a slim majority, and Bob won one of the largest victories in Ontario. We polled more votes than ever before; earned our highest-ever share of the popular vote, and thrashed our opponents by our largest-ever margin of victory.

The gazebo in summer, 2014

The last time visitors to this web site saw our gazebo, it was covered in winter ice. This is the gazebo as it is meant to be, where our friends come to chat and enjoy summer evenings in Mississauga.

I returned to my EduNational business in mid-June, and Bob hit the road to do his normal June round of graduations; picnics; barbecues; annual meetings; more graduations and other pre-summer events. Then it was Canada Day (July 1st), when elected members go like the clergy does at Christmas. The day after, it was off to the Legislature to elect the Speaker. The day after that was the government’s Speech from the Throne. The following week was debate on the Speech from the Throne. Then the Ontario Budget that set up the election was re-introduced, and Bob, as Chief Government Whip (as of March of this year) had to coordinate the government’s response. Two weeks, the government’s majority passed the Budget and just like that, summer started for Bob. He basically slept for the better part of two days.

A good time to visit us, and enjoy the back yard ambience

Irish shamrocks in our garden.

Our summer garden gives rise to wonderful indoor plants when fall and winter come. In particular, these authentic Irish shamrocks thrive outdoors from late may to mid-September, and make great take-home items for your living room when the cold weather returns.

Even though we normally start our summer in early July, August is nice here too. The weather actually wasn’t all that cooperative in July, but the forecast for August is great. Posted here are some photos of our back yard oasis and garden in full bloom. It really does look terrific this year with all the rain we have had.

I had wanted an arbour to allow my kiwi plants to climb and bear fruit. While Bob was at Queen’s Park working on the Budget, I asked a guy to come in and quote me a price. He wanted $3,000 to build an arbour. Neither of us felt the project was worth that amount of money. We went to the nursery, where I had seen some nice arbours in kits, and we bought one for about $300. Bob used up some spare wood we had in the shed, and built exactly the kind of base we needed to plant the kiwis at each side of the arbour. Today, after building it all by hand, and staining it against the elements, we did some digging in the garden and installed it. We re-used every bit of dirt we dug up. Even the nails in the arbour base were all recycled. And it looks just like what I had wanted, giving us a place for the pagoda that also serves to anchor the whole thing against the wind when it blows.

Side yars at Larisa Grove

With the July wet weather, the garden and the yard are home to thriving plants, and very happy cats. Our hedge, planted several years ago, now gives us a great deal of privacy and seclusion.

We have a great kitchen garden every year. We can harvest garlic; chives; dill; thyme; basil; oregano; rosemary; green onions; cucumbers; tomatoes; beans and hopefully some eggplant. We also have a nasturtium plant. You would recognize its leaves and flowers (all edible) on ritzy salads in high-end, avante-garde restaurants. Visitors for dinner are certain to have some ingredients picked moments before use. The hedge now gives us a great deal of privacy, and the trees are adding to the feeling of living in our private oasis. This year, we were joined by a family of squatters: raccoons who were looking for a home, and decided to rip out on of our roof vents and move in. It took a visit from the pest control outfit to remove them (safely and alive), and to repair the roof to keep them from destroying any more vents. The cats would watch for them through the screen door at night. Bebe would start to hiss when she saw them. We would turn on the patio light, and there would be mom and three or four of her young. They were not at all shy around humans, which is the main reason our cats are ushered inside at dusk. Obi-Wan has already had two skunk encounters.

Larisa Grove outdoor dining room on the patio.

Our outdoor dining room at Larisa Grove is intended to have a tropical look, with its potted plants and summer time setting. Dressed up for dinner, and candlelit at dusk, it is a great place to enjoy a summer evening with us.

One of the more idyllic settings for dinner in Mississauga (if we do say so ourselves) is on our back patio, especially when it is set up for an evening soiree with candles, and we do the full treatment for dinner. Bob has almost finished the weather vane, which will be installed this month. Aside from seating six, we sometimes bring out the kitchen table, and can serve 14 to 16 comfortably out on the patio. On occasion, when it’s looked like rain, we use Bob’s canopy, and have a candle-lit dinner in the rain under its roof. The cats keep any wandering field mice honest. This year, some of our guests who enjoy their own culinary adventures, may head home with some of our designer garlic. We have three varieties harvested this year: music; Mennonite; and Red Russian.

The cats, whom everyone always asks about, are both fine. Bebe turned nine in April, and Obi-Wan will be 15 in September. Obi-Wan enjoys his naps much more as he ages, but he is a healthy cat whose diabetes remains under control. Bebe has become a very affectionate grown-up girl cat who loves cuddling, and often sleeps on our bed all night. We hope everyone has a pleasant summer. Remember, if you enjoyed this post, you can write a comment below. We wish more of our friends would do just that. Click Reply, and add a thought or two.

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