Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Meet Samantha the Feral Kitty

Meet Samantha the Feral Kitty

Frightened feral kitties like Samantha rarely make it out of a shelter alive.  At Rikki's they have Cat Houses designed just for them and they live in natural surroundings with lots of friends.

Give the feral kitties a chance - help them buy a ticket to Rikki's Refuge.

Meet Mystique the Cat

Meet Valerie and Mystique
Mystique’s family had a disorder that keeps the organs from being able to keep up with the demands of a growing body.  So as the kittens grew their body outgrew the ability of their organs to function adequately to sustain life.  There’s no way to keep them small.  Thankfully Mystique and her brother Osiris, though terribly ill when they reached the critical size where we lost their other siblings, survived and haven’t grown much larger.  Now getting close to a year old and holding their size since they were just a few months old, we’ve got our paws crossed.  For now, they are happy and enjoying life!  And that’s what counts!

Your Support Let's us Save Cats Like Mystique

Memorial to Sam

Memorial to Sam

We only print good news here.  And Sam was a good cat and his story was a good example of exactly why Rikki’s Refuge is here and who we are here to serve.  An old man with glaucoma so bad his left eye seemed about to pop out his head, his owners abandoned him at a pound several years ago.  Somebody at Winging Cat Rescue has a heart for old folks and they pulled him out the pound.  He traveled 800 miles to come to Rikki’s Refuge.

The second his carrier opened, after that long long ride, he took one look at mom, snuggled up to her, climbed up to her shoulders, rubbed her face, and then got down and said, “So could I use a litter box now Please?”  After that, “Where’s dinner served around here?” 

That Friday mom took him to meet our Doctor Meredith Vargas.  She said YIKES look at that eye, we’ve got to try and save it quick.  She ordered several different type of drops and gave mom the run down, this one every three hours, that one every two, this one every four, and so on.  Every hour he was supposed to have one of the drops in that eye.  If you can do it round the clock till we get the swelling down it’d be best, the doc said, can you do that?  Of course we can, said mom, thinking, well who needs to sleep anyway!  How long do you think it will take?  Come back Monday!  Monday, just a few days and we’re expecting a miracle?

And sure enough by Monday the swelling was very much down and the frequency of the drops started to get dropped. After a couple weeks it was only one type of drops, twice a day.  Sam hated his drops.  He’d try to hide, but soon as it was done, he’d be fine.  He didn’t hold grudges! 

 Sam was like mom’s shadow.  He was stuck to mom for the rest of his life.  He followed her around, sat on her lap when she was on the computer, rode on her shoulders around the farm.  Always there with her.  If she was off the property, it’d be hard to find Sam.  But the minute she drove up, there he was, Merow Merow Mom.  He slept curled around her head and when he was feeling extra loving across her face.  She’d wake up with her nose and eyes and mouth full of fur, and he wouldn’t think it was fair to have to move over a bit.  As soon as mom fell asleep, he’d be right back on her face.  If mom was away for a night, he’d sleep on her pillow and sulk.  Often she’d take him with her if she had to be away.

 Sam was the best mouser ever.  He’d sit still in bed, we’d hear one rustle, and Sam would bolt and you’d just hear about three crunches.  He’d even lick the floor clean. Then jump back in bed, wash his face and paws and go back to sleep.  He loved them mousies. 

Some times one would walk thru the blower on the furnace, yikes. It’d be killed instantly and it’d put the blower off balance and then it’d quite and the gas would shut off and we’d all get cold.  Mom would have to take the furnace apart to get the mouse out.  Sam would stand by thinking mom was a great hunter, and she’d toss the dead mouse to him!

 Sam got along with everybody.  Even Snickers let him share her loft.  Just last week he was still climbing up and down the ladder to the loft.  Though it was about Thanksgiving time we saw him slowing down and getting skinny.  His kidneys had been bad since his arrival and he got sub-q fluids daily.  Twice a day since September. 

We think Sam was about 21 years old.  And his last years were very happy ones.  He seemed to have no scars from his early years.  The last few days he just slowed down, until yesterday, he passed over to the Rainbow Bridge, quietly and gently and on his own.  I know he didn’t want to leave mom, but there’s a time we all must go.  These bodies just aren’t meant to last forever.  Mom will be listening out for Sam and knows she’ll hear him from time to time.

And that’s just what Rikki’s Refuge is here for - to offer love and life long haven to those who’ve been thrown away by the ones they loved.   We love you Sam! 

Meet Baby Elliot and Osiris

Meet Baby Elliot and Osiris

Baby Elliot has been with us a few years.  He’s one BIG boy.  And with all that yak like fur you’d think he loves the outside world.  But NO, not Baby Elliot.  He despises the snow and doesn’t think much of the cold either.  He does however love to lay on straw and hay and was thrilled when Ivory the sheep was sick and had to come inside CUZ he got to sleep in the hay and in the warm!!!   

Baby Elliot tests positive for fiv.  Fiv is spread by un-neutered street males.  Most of our fiv kitties are middle aged and older former toms.  They live very healthy active lives and don’t seem to have any health problems negative kitties do.  The leading cause of death for fiv cats is being murdered in shelters cuz they test positive.  We’re working to educate folks that it’s fine to let the fiv kitties live.  After all they’re going to live a purrfectly normal natural life and likely live to be 15-20 years old - if you just let them!!

Osiris and siblings came to us in 2010.  Due to a genetic disease only Osiris and sister Mystique are still with us.  They seemed to have stopped growing and this just might be what’s saved them. 

We never know how long any of us have to live on this planet.  We all want to live for ever and we want our friends to live for ever too.  But sometimes that’s just not the way it is.  Some critters who were born to young mothers who were starving while pregnant and exposed to all kinds of diseases while tiny babies have a lot of problems and defects that will often make them small and make their life span short.  Maybe 1 or 3 or 5 years instead of 10 or 15 or 20.  It’s one of those things you can’t control.

But I’ll tell you how it is at Rikki’s Refuge - no matter how long your life span - we promise to love you and care for you the whole time !!!!   

Meet Ting Ting the Cat

This is Ting Ting
It’s filmed before she came to Rikki’s

We think Ting Ting should be our representative in the Agility Contest at the Cat Show next year.  I thought I did just fine but the hoomans said .....

Meet Sally the Goat

Sally is So Funny

Sally is the fattest goat on the planet.  Like little dogs who think they can rule.  Sally thinks she can fit into small places.  Sally CAN’T fit into small spaces without causing damage or getting stuck.  Last night Sally decided to sleep in a dog igloo.  Sally doesn’t fit in a dog igloo.  At least not without a LOT of pushing and shoving. 

She picked her house and shoved her head inside.  She then shoved and shoved.  And shoved some more.  She simply wasn’t going in.  Though she was slowly pushing the dog house across the yard.  This was occurring about midnight last night.  Finally she shoved hard enough and long enough that she got the igloo against a building and could then get some really good traction to shove even more.

Mom was tempted to set up the tripod and leave it out to video tape.  BUT she knew better.  The camera would end up on the INSIDE of Sally.  And that’s not very good for it’s future functioning.  And mom was just too lazy to stop the chores she was trying to finish up and sit down and film herself.  I wasn’t about to sit out there in the middle of the night filming with my tail freezing! 

Next time mom walked by Sally had the shoulders in the dog house and just stuck out from the enormous belly on. 

A while later there was only a tail sticking out.  And later still her nose.  How on earth she turned around is a total mystery.

About 2 am mom was begging old Sam to eat an egg.  That’s about all he’ll eat now.  He didn’t want his (late) midnight snack.  So mom scrambled it up cuz Ting Ting likes scrambled eggs.  When she walked past to take it to Ting Ting, Sally stood up and burst the igloo apart, separating the top from the bottom, and with the top part stuck on her back, took off after mom to get that egg!

Mom escaped with her life and the egg.  And then Ting Ting was missing!  Mom looked all over and couldn’t find her.  She loves to climb to the highest place possible and mom thought she’d looked everywhere.  She gave up.  But this morning at 5:30 Ting Ting was found sleeping way up high, right near the ceiling on top of a bin on top of the cages.  She stuck her head down when breakfast cans started opening.  Mom gave her her COLD egg then!  And she gobbled it up.

I love eggs too.  I can’t figure out how to open them like the dogs do.  Sometimes they’re lucky to have really big mouths!!!

Meet River Rat the Cat

Meet River Rat

River Rat is one of those I didn’t take "before" pictures of.  I didn’t think she stood a chance of recovery.  I can never bring myself to take pictures of the ones that I don’t think will make it.  It just feels wrong.  River Rat came to us almost three years ago.  She was one of the most pathetic things I’ve ever seen.  Her legs were rotting off from the elbows and knees down.   She was skin and bones.

She’d been found floating on a log with all four legs dangling down in the water in Georgia.  Someone rescued her and she found her way to Winging Cat Rescue where a foster mom started to care for her.  The doctors there and her foster mom worked really hard trying to save her legs.  Every toe was badly infected, the pads almost shredded, infection in the bone had deformed the legs.  Poor little River Rat couldn’t even sit up, let alone take a walk.  She couldn’t even get to a litterbox.

The wounds had gotten better, but were not totally healing.  It seemed no matter what medications were used, the infection would just come back.  She sure seemed like a hopeless case.  We’d just healed Merlin from a horrible mauling where he’d lost the skin on almost half of one side of his body.  And so Barbara at Winging Cat Rescue asked me to please try and see what we could do for River Rat. 

She described it all to me, yet I was still shocked to see this poor little thing.  Did we stand a chance of saving her?  I’ll do anything in the world to save somebody as long as I can believe there is hope.  When I know there isn’t, then I have to let go and let them go to Rainbow Bridge.  What should I do? 

River Rat had the brightest eyes and though she was timid and fearful, something about her begged to be given a chance.  And so we went to work.  Management, care and cleaning of the wounds and helping them to get about without causing any more injury is what it’s all about.  Soaking foot and leg wounds on dogs or horses is one thing.  Cats, who hate water, quite another.  And poor River Rat had to endure long soaks four times a day.

Those of you who’ve dealt with an injury on a cat that required soaking are, no doubt, thinking, but didn’t you get bite and clawed.  Not clawed as her toes were so damaged and swollen she could barely moor her hands or feet.  Bit - you bet ‘ch!  It’s all part of the job.  Fortunately we all understand that it’s just a response out of fear an no evil is meant, and so we soak ourselves, bandage up, and go on.

Eventually River Rats knees and elbows began to heal.  Gradually the infection receded down the legs.  Finally the swelling in the paws went down.  We wondered if the toes would ever heal.  Would some or all end up having to be amputated?  She had begun to walk on the pads without putting the toes down.  Her legs were quite twisted and badly damaged.  But she was virtually pain free and starting to act like a cat.

And one by one the toes healed.  One stayed limp and swollen a few weeks longer.  And then finally healed.  Over the next year the fur grew back to cover the scars and she continued with physical therapy on her toes and fingers and wrists and ankles and elbows and knees twice a day.  She thought of her therapy times as play times.  She began to run and play. 

That last toe healed!  We all sobbed tears of joy!  Her right arm twists slightly out but you don’t even notice it when you watch her play and run.  She’s now a mascot kitty and has free range of the farm.  She prefers to be out most of the time.  We’re making her come in at night now cuz she just doesn’t see to go somewhere warm and we don’t like her just sitting around sleeping on the ground in this snow. 

She’s not really caged in the picture above.  She comes into the 9th Life Center and enjoys finding a bed in an empty cage to use for the night.  She’s just snuggling down for the night.  First crack of dawn, and she’ll be back out playing.

Interview with River Rat

Meet Anya the Dog


Anya really scared us today. She's been here a couple weeks. An elderly gal dumped at the pound all matted and unkempt. She had to be shaved down.  She’s lovely, gentle, loving, gets along with everyone, likes to lean against your legs. She looked out the cage and begged for a home.  And still nobody would adopt her. I cannot stand the seniors just left behind to be offed.  Once loved and cared for and here she sat, now loved by no one.

She's lucky and got to come to Rikki's to spend her golden years. She has to wear a coat when she goes outside till her fur grows back. She wants to be out all the time, but we don't let her, except on warm days, and then she must be in a fenced area or with someone. 

Well this morning somebody took her out to potty. Something happened, they ran for something else, one of those distractions that could happen to anybody, and when they realized it - Anya was gone.

Already too many tracks in the snow to track anybody.  All hands on deck and everybody went searching.  Soon all the 4wd vehicles were on the hunt too.  Then people were trekking in the wood.

She had on a bright orange coat, so she should be easy to spot.  After an hour and a half her coat was found.  And she wasn't in it. It'd gotten caught on branches and she'd wiggled out. Oh no, now this poor old gal, sight failing, not really knowing where home was, maybe trying to go home to her owners who’d abandoned her was alone, lost, no doubt cold, and trekking thru the snow covered woods and fields.  What would become of this poor gal. 

A couple volunteers showed up and started the hunt too.  We circled the perimeter road in case she finally came out the woods.  Thankfully we’re very secluded and surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of acres of woods and at least a mile from any road .... but ....  we were scared.  really scared.

We called all the neighbors. Went to the county shelter to let them know - they’re very close by and in case they got a call or somebody picked her up.  Nobody had seen her.  The nightmares going thru everybody’s heads were really scary.

After two and a half hours Valerie saw her and chased her down and called for a 4 wd truck to come pick them up as close as they could get to where they were in the woods.  Joe zoomed off and soon there was Valerie and Anya climbing out from the back of the truck. 

And what did Anya want to do?  Not go inside and sit by the heater and warm up.  Not dry her feet and thaw her toes.  No.  She wanted to head right back to the woods!  She fought like heck being hauled back inside!!! 

Soon as she was safely inside all the hoomans began to notice their freezing body parts and they wanted to hunch up by the heaters!!!  But no luck for them either!  Everybody’s work was two and a half hours behind schedule and it was time to hop to it!!!  Luckily Anne and Katarina and a group of volunteers were here to help!!!

Oh Anya, I’m so glad you came home
I was really missing my nice soft bed!  Who ever said cats and dogs don’t get along!  At Rikki’s Refuge we’re one big happy family!

Meet Beauty the Cat


Beauty came to Rikki’s many years ago.  She’d already had a long history before she arrived.  She’d been a breeder and lived the first part of her life in a cage cranking out babies as fast as she could.  That was her only value to her owners.  No love, no affection, just a baby machine. 

When the cattery closed down she was sold cheap to somebody cuz she was old and worn out.  She wasn’t very trusting of people.  She was frightened.  She didn’t know how to behave as a pet.  When she’d get upset or frightened she’d reach out and scratch.

So they had her toes cut off. Along with her claws.  The euphemism for this is de-clawing.  They should call it de-toeing, as they take the last joint off.  This causes a great deal of pain.  Not only after the surgery but often forever.  Walking on feet you have trouble balancing on puts weight in all the wrong places and it hurts.  Scratching your litter can hurt.  It’s a serious injury that never heals well. 

And it leaves psychological scars.  Now unable to scratch when frightened, kitties often turn to biting.  That’s what Beauty did.  She bit.  And so she was hit for biting.  Has life been better in a tiny cage, giving birth over and over again and being patted only occasionally or now in a home that “loved” her yet cut her toes off and then hit her when she was frightened?

It didn’t matter, because soon she was in the pound, slated to be killed.  Another rescue group stepped in  here thinking they could adopt out this beautiful gal.  With more trauma behind her now, Beauty was even less trusting and this time she was going to lash out and bite before these hoomans could do anything bad to her.  She didn’t yet understand that there are good hoomans. 

Trying for months to rehab her, the rescue group finally gave up and Beauty was lucky to come to Rikki’s Refuge.  She was a resident of Cat House Number 3, The Friendly Biters.  These are kitties just like her, who for one reason or another, are frightened of hoomans and bite to protect themselves.  Many of these kitties are de-toe-ed kitties.  Somebody cut their toes and claws off to make them soft and cuddly - and not they bite.  Some of them will love you for a few minutes but as soon as they sense something off they bite without waiting to ask questions. 

Beauty lived happily with the Biters for years and years.  Sometimes she’d be loving.  Sometimes she’d bite.  Sometimes she’d walk up behind us and bite our ankles.  Just because she could.  At Rikki’s she was never hit and never told she was a bad kitty.  We knew she had psychological problems that made her be like this. 

Last winter she got sick and had to come into our hospital.  She was very sick.  And she’s quite elderly.  We did not think she would survive.  She needed a lot of nursing care and at first she’d bite.  Then she was too weak to bite. 

But a miracle happened and Beauty started to get better.  And she biting got less and less and her loving got more and more.  By the time she was totally recovered she was a love bug.  Now don’t get me wrong, that fear still lurks in the back of her mind, so a sudden movement or something fearful can still get her hissing and biting.  But overall she’s a wonderful loving lady.

She hated being in the 9th Life Center.  She’d spend years out side in Cat House #3.  But due to her age and problems, including a very bad heart murmur she needed the care of the 9th Life Center.  And so she convinced the hoomans to let her be a mascot and go out.  And she was happy.  And she came back for her medicine twice a day.  And the hoomans were happy.

Now she loves to follow people around.  And she went on the


It was many miles and over the river and thru the woods and when she got tired

What a wonderful day at Rikki’s Refuge! 

From a Hiker:
Hi Kerry and Katarina!   I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the hike today.  It was quite fun and relaxing.   I'll be sure to watch for the next one to be scheduled!   I'm attaching a couple of photos of our mascot , Beauty.    What a sweetheart and a trooper.  :-)  

Good Morning Good News !!!! January 5, 2011

I’m Vincent D. Cat and here to make you happy!  You are HEROES!  You work hard every day and you deserve to smile every day!  Those of you working to save us animals hear so very many very sad things.  And there’s lots of very glad things too and that’s what we talk about here!  All pawsitive all the time!  I want my friends to be happy and smile and know there’s a lot of good - including YOU - in this world!!  Be kind and pass it on!  Please send me your Good New and Fun Stuff to share, personal or global. Let’s keep it fun and interactive!!  After all, if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!

Are you keeping a close eye on the progression of my picture every day?  Keep watching, it changes day by day.  Sometimes it’s very subtle, sometimes it changes the whole message.  Wayne Morris is my artist and his insights are beautiful.  Leave a comment or email and let him know what you think of his work!

My Favorite Quotes, Today

The world is like a mirror you see?
smile and your friends smile back
Japanese Zen saying

Delicious Quotables
Research tells us 14 out of any ten individuals likes chocolate
Sandra Boynton

Stressed spelled backwards is desserts. Coincidence? I think not!
Author Unknown

Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie.
Jim Davis

Only in America

Only in America do drug-stores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in America do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.

Only in America do banks leave vault doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.

Only in America do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.

Only in America do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.

Only in America do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.

Ever wonder why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why don’t you ever see the headline ‘Psychic Wins Lottery’?

Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?

Why is it that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?

Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?

Why didn’t Noah swat those two mosquitoes?

Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?

Refuge News
Lloyd stopped in to visit and to bring newspapers.  We use newspapers to line cages.  Since the economy tanked we had to quite using puppy pads.  We’ve taken every short cut we can with out jeopardizing the health and safety of the animals.  We used to stretch the dollar into about three and now we’re stretching it into about six !!!! 

Got extra newspapers?  Pull out the slick inserts and then recycle the rest with Rikki’s Refuge !  It’s one more way you can help the animals for FREE !

Dennis hauled his trailer out filled with buckets of nums for the pigs !!!!  Thank you Dennis for the food recycling program!!!  For the piggies, it’s the highlight of their day!

Thank you Earl’s Glass for the donation of Plexiglas for windows and all kind of exciting projects that Rene will be making for our animal neighborhoods.  Rene stopped by this morning to show me the goods!!!  WOW WEEEEE.  And she brought banana nut bread and cupcakes, num num.

Mary is here opening letters and packages!!!  Thank you Mary for trekking to the post offices and helping mom do all that hard work!!!

Pamela, got your present today !!!  WOW I love you.  You’re wonderful!!!

Billy and Wayne have just gone out to pick up a donated washer and dryer.

It’s busy out there - a passionate friend writes in: My tally of cats I helped in Dec was 29...all but 7 have been spayed & neutered... many were returned after time for healing...what a brutally cold month we had in Dec...13 are going to winter with me in my office...11 kittens and 2 adults...will send  pics of kittens soon for petfinder...on Jan 15th we have another Voices feral clinic, so will be setting traps again in about 9 days...

Speuter Commuter
Big Hip Hip Hurrah to Dr Meredith Vargas and the team that went to Guatemala for the Speuter Clinic last month.  This is the third year the week long marathon Speuter Clinic has run in Pana and surrounding areas.  Huge congratulations on 217 animals “fixed”!!!  We met a lovely young lady who was a vet student on our first trip there.  Now Astrid is a practicing vet and Dr Vargas got to work with her and other new vets and student vets to help hem perfect their surgery skills!!  And Dr. Vargas is a GOOD teacher, her techniques are great, she has a lot of experience to share and she explains and gives tips.  She was really happy about all the teaching she got to do too!!!  22 of the animals they caught to speuter came from the dump.  And while there catching them, they discovered three families living at the dump and surviving by selling plastic for recycling and barely making enough to be able to buy a little food.  Mayan Families took these three families under their wing and now they have clothes, enough to eat and the kids are in school.  Overall it was the best trip yet!!!  

Katarina needs you early Saturday - can you help?
I was able to get in touch with the people at Miller farm to ask if we could have their pumpkins that have been sitting in their field. They has tons! A couple hundred at least. They said that we can take them but we have to go when the ground is frozen! That means early in the morning. I set up a time for a few of us to pick them up this Saturday at 7:30 am. So far Melissa Felts has volunteered her time and her truck to pick pumpkins. I will also have my truck and my sister has said she would help us load up. If we could get 2 more trucks and a few more people our pigs can have a couple more weeks of pumpkins and that will save us some money. The more people we have the faster the work will go and the more we can feed the animals.

Miller Farm is just past Fawn Lake about 20 mins from the Refuge. The address is 12101 Orange Plank Road, Locust Grove, VA 22508.    Contact Katarina to help out:

Pumpkin tub!
A boy and his grandfather sit in a hot spring bath made from a 229 kg pumpkin at a spa facility in Nyuzen town, in Japan's Toyama prefecture.

If you don’t like pumpkins but want turnips instead
The other place that is helping us is Sneads Farm in Spotsylvania past Belvedere. They have a field of  turnips, some of which are bigger than my fist, and some left over pumpkins. Melissa and I are going to take our trucks out there in the afternoon on Saturday to pick up what we can. We would really like a few more people to come help pick the turnips with us. Again the more people the faster the work and the more we can feed that animals!!! We will be meeting around 2 pm. If you would like to help earlier please let me know.

Sneads Farm address is 18294 Tidewater Trl Fredericksburg, VA 22408.  Contact Katarina to help out:

My Friend from Indy Media Live
Hi, Vincent!

How are ya? As usual, you and all the precious critters at Rikki's are on my mind!  Don't know if you were listening to IML on Dec. 28 but, when I asked Tim, the engineer, on the air which show of 2010 had been his favorite, he said, "RIKKI'S!"

It was an awesome moment for me - his gift to me this year is to add another meatless day to his gift to me last year of meatless Mondays - now it's gonna be Mondays and Thursdays!  My gift to him is a donation in his name to Rikki's -

I was just about to call Orange County Co-op and put something on the bill, but thought I'd check in first and see if there is another place you'd rather use $100 right now.

Let me know, OK?

Luv ya lots -  Any ideas when you'd like to do another radio show? Any events coming up that you'd like to put on the air together?

Your friend - Rebecca

Hey isn’t that cool -- what a gift from Tim huh?  I wish all my hooman friends would pick a day to go meatless!!!

Oh look what I just came across on line!
This is about mama's mama. And look at that, way back then she was dressing cats up! Mom must have inherited this fetish!

Live from Vincent Video
Meet Samantha the Feral Kitty


Did You Know?
What is the world's oldest animal ?
The oldest animal on Earth was born in 1830 Her name is Harriet, she's a Galapagos land tortoise.

Penguin goes shopping

Good Times in the News

Christmas trees being reused in coastal restoration effort
The Times-Picayune By Jeff Adelson

Parishes throughout the New Orleans area are scheduling Christmas tree collections, most in an effort to reuse the trees to help with environmental restoration.  The trees collected are used for restoration projects in Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in Lacombe.  Trees collected in St. John will go to wetland restoration projects in the parish and elsewhere under a program administered by Southeastern Louisiana University’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station.  The trees are used to create fences that dissipate wave energy and result in sediment being deposited in shoreline areas affected by erosion, according to a news release from the university.

In previous years, the trees have been deposited near Bayou Gauche to shore up eroding land.  In addition to helping to protect the wetlands, diverting the trees away from landfills will save residents money in disposal costs in the long run.  “Every year, thousands of Christmas trees are discarded in the landfill — where they take up valuable space and serve no purpose,” Stouder said. “If these trees are brought to one of the collection sites, they will be used to protect our coast and our wetland areas.”

Greenaid: Guerilla Gardening Vending Machines
by Matt Embrey

Greenaid seedbomb dispensers encourage regular people to casually become guerrilla gardeners, helping to add a little green to the concrete jungle  as they are passing through.

Designers Danny and Kim started Greenaid as a way to engage local urban communities to incrementally beautify their environment.  It's a "bottom up"  initiative that involves taking old gumball machines, converting them to dispense seedballs that they sell or rent out to business, organizations or individuals that want to green the gray in their community.
Danny and Kim will develop a custom seed bombs from a mixture of clay, compost and seed and a strategic neighborhood intervention plan in response to the unique needs of the vendor's local ecology.

"You then simply place the machine at your local bar, business, school, park, or anywhere that you think it can have the most impact. We will then supply you with all the seedbombs you need to support the continued success of the initiative."

They admit that it's not a final solution to problems of urban environments but they saw it as a fun and interesting way to place emphasis on the actions of individuals and empower them to make small contributions to the beautification of their city.

"We recently built and placed several machines in the L.A. area containing native California wildflower seeds (such as White Yarrow, California Poppy, Lupine, and Blue Flax) and they've been received with enormous enthusiasm from local residents and businesses. We're enlisting your help to deploy a fleet of 12 more machines in underserved communities across L.A! We are in the process of determining the best locations for them, and as a backer you too can have a chance to help us determine where they'll go!"

Tractor Supply has a two pack of humane traps on sale for $25.  One is a standard cat size and the other smaller and fits inside, works on small cats, kittens, rabbits, squirrels, etc.  That’s a great price!!  Stock up on what you need for feral TNR.  Rikki’s needs a few too, so if you’re going past a Tractor Supply, please stop in and buy a set for us!!  Thanks so much.

I Love YOU whole lots,

PS You tell me what you want!  Email me at with instructions to change your subscription: additions, deletions or modifications!  Subscriptions:    Vincent’s VIPs - up to the second alerts about issues at Rikki’s Refuge for those who care and want to be intimately involved.  Scheduled as needed.  Good Morning Good News - a little something to get you going in the mornings, for those of you who want to keep smiling with us!  Scheduled daily.  Hairballs - so you know what’s coming up at Rikki’s!  Scheduled weekly.

Rikki's Refuge, supported solely by private donations, houses over 1200 animals of 22 species. On line at Checks, money orders, cash, items at Rikki's Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960

Rikki's Refuge is owned and operated by Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Virginia Corporation, tax-id 54-1911042. Combined Federal Campaigns #77674, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #3163, PetsMart Charities #1377.  A financial statement is available upon written request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs.

Learn more and help spread the good word, tell everyone you know about Rikki’s Refuge