Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Sex Fairy Visits . . .

So, we had a visit from the Sex Fairy last night.  No, it's not what you're thinking, lol! Get your mind out of the gutter!!!  Birman breeders all know that there are several small but powerful beings, who are in charge of things like, color, markings and gender in our kittens.  And last night the Sex Fairy deigned to visit BumbleBe Birmans.

A little background may be necessary:  Birmans are pointed cats, similar to the Siamese or Himilayan in their coloring (meaning they only have color on the points, or face, ears, legs and tail, versus being colored over the whole body), but they are neither long and skinny like the Siamese, or short and smushy-faced like the Himi.  In fact, according to most of us Birman folks, they are the PERFECT happy compromise between both extremes.  The Color Fairy is in charge (regardless of what genetics says SHOULD happen) of what color kittens you get.

Birmans are also known for their pretty little white feet, called gloves on the front, and laces on the back of their feet.  The Markings Fairy is in charge here - she determines whether you get pretty little show marked kittens, or if you get 'runners' (blazes of white color extending up the paw past the ideal point), or other little quirks like white chins and nose blazes, all of which are no-no's for showing Birmans.  Of course, these little color faults have no effect on how wonderful Birmans are as pets!!!

The Sex Fairy is in charge of whether you get girl kittens or boy kittens . . . and boy, has she been hard on me the last couple of years.  I mean, randomly, in any given litter or time period, you should statistically get fifty percent male and fifty percent female, right?  Well, I'm here to tell you, the Sex Fairy eats statistics for brunch, and laughs while doing it! 

Song (BumbleBe If Songs Could Be Held) and Dreamy (TGC BumbleBe Impossible Dream) had four kittens two weeks ago, on the 5th, three little boys, and one little girl.  I figured out pretty quickly that all three of the boys were either red or cream, since all are still white as the driven snow.  But I was having the hardest time figuring out what color the little girl is . . . I was guessing a lilac tortie (although that would have been a REAL long shot, genetics wise), but she almost HAD to be, since she was still snowy white, too.  I was just glad to have ONE girl out of the bunch.  (For the last two years, I've had a HUGE majority of male kittens, so girls are a happy outcome for me.)

Then last Friday, Maggie had her two kittens, both - you guessed it - male.  Sigh.  Oh, well, at least everyone is healthy!

Well, the Song's kittens are two weeks old, and starting to show little pink ears . . . and I took another really close look today . . . and lo and behold!  The Sex Fairy has visited . . . and my one lonely little girl kitten is now a boy.  Yep, four little red/cream boys.  But all healthy, so still blessed to have them.  Man, when do you think she's going to decide it's my turn for girl babies?!?!?   So far this year, we're now running a total of 14 boys, and 6 girls.    At some point, the Sex Fairy has to decide she likes me again!  I hope.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

An 'Eggcellent' Adventure in Sewing . . . or, how I forgot everything I used to know, lol!

So, a few months ago, I bought some of these egg shaped "pEi pods" that I thought would be great for 'mommy beds' for my girls having kittens.  (I hate it when they want to crawl in the litter box with kittens, but I know they do it because of the high sides, which make them feel safe.)  So I thought that being enclosed in these might make them happy - and I'm all about making my mommy cats happy, lol!

Anyway, the pods are pretty cool - looking like big pink eggs, and anyone who knows me, know I loves me some pink!  They came with these cute little yellow pads, which are pretty thick, and I was concerned about them not working well for babies, since I was afraid they might get kind of 'lost' under the pad, especially as newborns.  Plus, these were too thick for my little 'heater' to work to keep new babies warm.

I've got seven Spring kittens on the ground (that's a whole 'nother blog, though, lol!) but no new babies coming up for a while, so I wasn't in a big hurry to find a solution.  Until my friend Char asked if I'd kitty sit her Spacey (Starghatts HyperSpace) who was due anytime, while Char was out of town on a business trip to Washington, D.C.  Now, I've done this before . . . for Spacey as a matter of fact, who was quite frankly a huge pain in the ass as a first time mom.  So, sure, Char would do anything for me, so of course I'll watch her!

So Char dropped Spacey (who was HUGE, but supposedly not due for a while) off a couple of weeks ago, and I settled in for mommy watch.  She fooled me, and had the babies 3 days later, well before we expected them, not in her nice little pink pod, of course, but in the litter box . . . just like last time.  She did however, accept these little guys right from the start, and figured out how to at least clean them up . . . maybe she'll discover cords and placentas on her next litter?   At least, things went smoother this time, lol.  Progress has been made!   However, I digress . . .

Anyway, back to the pEi pods, and the need for liners for them.  So, since I'd not accomplished anything in the way of a small pad for the pEi pods (screw it, I'm calling them 'eggs' from here on out - deal with it), Spacey and her littles got a towel.  Functional, except when the babies crawled between the folded layers, or she squirreled it out of the egg.  Cage pads for the thing were obviously a priority at this point!

I was in Hobby Lobby today, and saw this terrific flannel (on sale, no less!!!) and had an 'Aha!' moment . . . I would SEW me some cage pads in this weird shape my own self!!!  How hard could it be, right???

Now, a bit of backstory here . . . I grew up sewing, thanks in large part to my Aunt Jesse Lee, who raised seven (yes, 7!!!) kids on pennies, and who could make ANYTHING.  I was never on her level, but I did sew quite a few of my own clothes, including a wedding dress!

                   (Cut me some slack on the hat . . . it WAS the 80's after all!!!)

But unfortunately, that was long ago, and far away, and I really hadn't sewn anything more than a hem (and that a long time ago) since my sister's girls were little (and they're in their late 20's with kids of their own now), so that should give you a pretty good indication of how little I've sewn for years and years.  

I am, however, a woman with little concept of my own limitations, so I KNEW I could do it!  What's that word that applies here?  Oh, yeah, I remember . . . HUBRIS, lol!

So I got the fabric, some batting, and thread (who the hell knows what I did with all that thread I used to have???  I couldn't even find some to sew on a button, a few months back!) and made myself a little pattern.  I laid my pretty, soft, kitten friendly flannel out, and cut out (not one but TWO - again, I have issues with limitations remember) sets of the fabric for the egg pads.  Found some pins (I knew all that jewelry making crap would come in handy!!!) and pinned my little egg pad layers together, pretty flannel, batting, and pretty flannel.   Oh, these are going to be so GREAT!!!

It only took me 20 minutes to remember how to THREAD the sewing machine . . . cursing my trifocals the whole time, of course.  So I popped those layers of material in the sewing machine, and buzzed those egg pads up in no time at all.  Boy, was I about to dislocate my shoulder, patting myself on the back . . . right up to the point I started to turn the first one right side out . . . and remembered that when you're making something with an inner layer, you have to put the right sides what will be the OUTSIDE of the finished product face to face, with the lining attached to the BACK of one of them . . . not between them, as I'd done it up.

Sigh . . . back to the drawing board . . .   so I repinned the 2nd one (thank goodness I was so impatient to see my wonderful finished product, that I turned the 1st one, before I sewed the 2nd one up!!!), and lo and behold, it WORKED!

So, Spacey and her littles are now resting comfortably on the first successful egg pad, lol.  It's a bit small, so I'll need to adjust my pattern size a bit . . . and probably my expectations of my sewing prowess a lot!!!