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Spring has fully arrived and the lockdown is ending

Time flies as always, even during the lockdown and while we’ve all been under lockdown, spring has fully arrived here. The trees have blossomed, the first spring flowers have come and gone and now everything is turning green and lush.

And more flowers and blossoms from the garden in the following slideshow

The weather has been lovely and warm for the most part during the last couple of weeks. Of course, the cats love it!

Now that the sun is rising higher every day and it’s getting quite warm, I need shade for our balcony. I fenced in the balcony on all sides with netting that adds about 1 1/2 meters on top of the railing. Therefore, I can’t use my parasols like I did in previous years, as they’re too big to fit into the fenced-in area.

The safety net around our balcony

I was thinking about all kinds of things you can do, but the easiest way was to get a shade sail, which I’ve ordered yesterday. I’m really looking forward to having shade again on our balcony.

Before Hero and Lisa, we didn’t need to fence in our balcony so high, because the older cats didn’t care to jump onto the railing or do anything silly. With young cats like Hero and Lisa however, I knew I have to make sure they are safe and can’t do anything to get themselves hurt or lost, if they were to jump off the balcony.

Pollen everywhere!

While the cats have been enjoying their time on the balcony, I noticed that the amount of pollen increased over the days. It’s gotten so bad, that the balcony and everything else is covered in yellow pollen. Heaps of it even on the sidewalks and on cars. Even though I kept wiping the balcony floor down every two hours, it was no use. The air was absolutely saturated with mostly Birch pollen, as well as some Ash tree pollen.

Lisa after rolling around on the floor. It didn’t help that it was windy and all sorts of plant material was being added to the mess.
Hero and Lisa

I gave them all a good long brush a couple times a day and tried damp towels to get them cleaned up. It was really difficult to get it out, as the pollen mess went deep into their fur and stuck to it.

Thankfully after a couple days with heavy rain, it seems a lot better. The kitties fur is also clean by now.

The lockdown is ending now

After Easter, our government announced that by the beginning of May, the lockdown will be lifted gradually. There is a huge difference in how people acted in the beginning of the lockdown and now. People were actually rather stepping into the street than pass you by too closely and everyone was very conscious about everyone else’s proximity and tried to avoid it. This is quite different now, as people are acting almost completely normal again.

During most of the lockdown, the streets were empty and quiet, as were the buildings. There was nobody visiting anyone and hardly anyone was walking around outside. Now I can see people starting to visit each other again and the streets are becoming more lively.

Last week, as I went to pick up Samantha’s medicine from the Vet, I saw that the streets were full of people again. It looked just like before the pandemic.

The Government numbers say our state of Styria is by now the 2nd worst affected with 382 active cases, after Vienna, which still has 567 cases in Austria.

Ralph, the cats and I are all well!

How are you all doing? How are things where you are?

Lots of love from us! Big hugs and purrs!

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My medication worries are gone – Update Part 2 March 23

Hello dear friends!

Even if we’re locked down and stay at home for who knows how long, I will always be happy and content with my lovely little family!

There’s no getting bored in our home anyway. Not with the 4 cats and each other, and the internet, which lets us connect to our friends and lots of entertainment.

Every day is a lovely day with our cats

As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, this is usually what I see…

Hero on me, Sonic farther down to the right
Lisa is usually all up in my face, once she realises I woke up

Hero, Lisa and Sonic usually sleep on top of me, or cuddled up on my tummy, my legs, arms, or my side, depending on the way I’m lying. It’s usually these 3 in any order that are all over and around me. Samantha loves to either be curled up next to Ralph’s legs, or she watches the birds from the bedroom window (that’s where Samantha was when I took these photos).

It’s impossible not to smile first thing when I wake up with my little family of Ralph and the cats all around me. No matter how anxious I feel, or how bad my migraine is when I wake up, I still wake up feeling happy thanks to them.

Spring

Spring is definitely here with flowers everywhere and birds who are building their nests again. The temperatures before the weekend were amazing! Almost like summer. Unfortunately, it got really cold again over the weekend.

Especially today, the wind was awfully strong and ice cold. I really hope it will warm up again soon, the cats and us really missed the warm sun.

Despite the cold, Lisa and Hero always enjoy some fresh air and love to watch the birds for a few minutes. Also, Lisa and I have a little game where I throw one of the toy balls out onto the balcony and she will run out to bring it back in every single time! She usually carries her ball to the same spot, there she’ll wait for me to get it and throw it again.

This video has clips from yesterday and today. I could have kept going for much longer too, she just loves it. Here is the link to my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCK1Ls5UurAYojCxqRRveVw

But at long as it’s sunny, the cats are getting their fill of sunshine inside as well. With every day we’re getting closer to summer, the sun will shine into our apartment longer.

Hero fast asleep in the sun
Sonic and Lisa at the bedroom window
Samantha and Lisa on the balcony last week, a day before it got cold again

A small earthquake with the epicentre in Croatia

Yesterday, there was even an earthquake we slept through (at 5:24 UTC). Well, I’m sure the cats noticed, but Ralph and I didn’t. Here in Graz it wasn’t anything serious. The epicentre was in Croatia, a little less than 200km from us, where earthquakes aren’t anything unusual. I’ve experienced a couple of them when I was in Croatia myself as a child.

The purple circle is Graz, where we are. The other markings show the earthquake. More details to this earthquake at: https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/us70008dx7/executive

Small earthquakes with the epicentre within Austria are not unusual either, as the African plate meets with the Eurasian plate in the Alps. Especially our region is rather active for these little earthquakes.

Since it’s almost midnight again, I will go to bed in a bit. I’ll hopefully feel more rested soon, as the day seems way to short when I need more sleep than normal.

I keep thinking of everyone, hoping that you’re all safe and well, and have everything you need.

Sending love from Ralph, the cats and myself!

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Life at the moment – Covid Update March 11

I really wasn’t sure if I should write regular updates about how things are going here in Austria and in general, since Covid is now unavoidable and it’s all that’s being talked and written about in the news and on all social media site and I didn’t want to add to that as well. As people are already getting fed up with hearing about it and nothing else anymore.

But then I thought it’s going to be a record of our life, and it’s the details that I would otherwise forget about.

Update for Austria, March 11, 2020 at 3pm

246 cases so far in all of Austria.
Cases for each state: Lower Austria (45), Vienna (50), Styria, our state (25), Tyrol (57), Upper Austria (35), Salzburg (14), Burgenland (4), Vorarlberg (13) and Carinthia (3).

New temporary emergency laws and recommendations during the Corona Pandemic in Austria

  • Anything with gatherings of more than 100 people indoors (which also includes any staff) is temporarily forbidden.
  • Outdoor gatherings with more than 500 people, including staff, is temporarily forbidden
  • Universities and any schools for higher education are being closed
  • No entry into Austria from Italy, except with an up to date document that proves the person is not infected with the Coronavirus
  • Austrian citizens still in the now locked down Italy will be brought home by the government, but they have to stay in quarantine for two weeks in Austria
  • People should avoid private contacts and gatherings and stay home as much as possible
  • Older people and people with compromised immune system should not receive visitors if it can be avoided

Life seems as it always is, in the city and of course at home

While the media is full of panic and fear is spreading from it everywhere, it’s very calm and normal here in Graz and Austria in general. Austrian people usually don’t panic quickly. It has to get really bad before there would be widespread panic.

The late afternoon sun, seen from the balcony with the cat safety net

Today was a wonderfully warm and sunny spring day, with temperatures over 20°C / 68°F. As I went out this this afternoon around 4pm, people were out in the usual numbers. The large park in our neighbourhood was filled with people sitting on the grass and taking walks, enjoying the warm sun. The outside seating area of every Cafe I saw in the city was quite full and the streets were just as busy as always around that time.

Just like last year, the spring flowers are everywhere, the birds are building their nests in the garden, the neighbourhood kitties are walking around in the garden. Hero and Lisa saw two of the neighbourhood kitties yesterday and got all excited. Unfortunately it was past sunset and too dark to take pictures of them.

It was a mostly sunny afternoon yesterday, and you can feel that the sun is getting warmer and warmer now, as the northern hemisphere is getting closer to the summer. Especially this year, we can hardly wait.

The kitties are crowding in every sun puddle, especially on the bed.

Hero, Lisa and Sonic. Lisa is giving Sonic a friendly nose greeting and a few licks on his head.
Lovely warm sun! Samantha is hardly visible, but she is in the top left area of the picture, in the shadow, lying on a white mat under the side table. The sun had been there a while ago, but was now gone.
So Samantha decided she would try to get into the sun puddle on the bed.

Our life is going on as always

I’m sure there will be many changes and restrictions soon, like everywhere else. They are already talking about measures that might need to be taken.

Thankfully, my doctors office, the pharmacy and the health department are all working as usual. I haven’t heard of any more closed doctors offices for Austria and haven’t heard of any pharmacy or other larger health care provider closing down. And there is no atmosphere of panic among people. I hope it’s going to stay that way.

There are just as many people around as always, from what I can tell. People are still sitting in Cafe’s, stroll through the city and stores, people are still doing they’re daily runs along the Mur and the parks, and you don’t really see any panic buying going on in the stores (yet). But the sanitizers, disinfectants, and tinned food are still sold out for the most part, although they’re being restocked.

We still have enough toilet paper in stores.

Even in the smaller stores, like the one I took this photo in, there is no toilet paper missing.

There was more toilet paper stored at the top of the shelf and even more around the corner.

Plans for next week

I will try to talk to my doctor on Monday, to use all my vacation allowance to get a month’s worth of my pain medication, instead of having to go to the pharmacy every day. Because I don’t want to suddenly stand in front of closed doors at my pharmacy one day and have no pain medicine for God knows how long. I’d rather have a few weeks worth of medication right now, while they are figuring out what to do. At the moment, everyone I ask at the pharmacy, or even at the health department, they have no idea what will happen. None of them could reassure me that I would not end up without my medication soon.

Please stay safe, as some people tend to go crazy in times like these and others are bound to try and use the confusion for their own gains.

Lots of love from us all ❤

Everything · Nature · Pictures · The Cats

The Seasons in the garden

On Saturday I noticed just how low the sun already sits in the sky as it slowly sinks below the roof of the house across from us at 4:55pm (summertime). During the summer, the sun is still high in the sky and the tall tree gives us shade from it in the late afternoon, early evening.

Here are a few photos of the sun’s positions

On October 8, 2019 at 5:17pm (summertime) the sun was already vanishing behind the roof. Now, the sun is going down behind the roof much farther to the left, and at 4:55pm (summertime).

October 8, 2019 at 5:17pm
October 8, 2019 at 5:17pm – The sun going down behind the roof of the house across from us

On September 5, 2019 is still reached the tree before it sank behind the other houses at 6:14pm (summertime).

September 5, 2019 6:14pm
September 5, 2019 6:14pm

In the summer, on June 25, 2019 the sun was high in the sky at 5:06pm (summertime) and it would stay sunny for many more hours during that time of the year.

June 25, 2019 5:06pm
June 25, 2019 5:06pm

It’s amazing how quickly the seasons change and it’s interesting to see the seasons change in the plants and trees of the garden. So I thought it might be interesting to post a bunch of pictures showing the different seasons in the garden.

I was worried the number of photos would be too much for one post, but considering I decreased the size of all the photos a lot, it should not cause a big impact on loading time and bandwidth.

Over the two years we lived here, I took a lot of photos of the garden. Many times when it was cloudy, because I just love to photograph clouds and cloudy skies. So it might look like it’s often cloudy here, even though it’s not 😉 Also, the photos are from different years, so things are looking different in some photos, like the small tree in the middle, which was destroyed more and more over the course of a couple of storms.

The season’s changes in the garden

January

January 1, 2019 3:40pm
January 1, 2019 3:40pm

January 23, 2019 8:24am
January 23, 2019 8:24am

January 23, 2019 08:24am Murli
Murli – January 23, 2019 08:24am

February

February 22 2019 2:00pm
February 22 2019 2:00pm

March

03 29 2019 5-27pm
March 29, 2019 5:27pm

March 3, 2019 3:11pm Samantha
Samantha – March 3, 2019 3:11pm

April

April 15, 2018 12:49pm
April 15, 2018 12:49pm

April 28, 2018 Samantha and Murli
Samantha and Murli – April 28, 2018

May

May 28, 2019 9:44am
May 28, 2019 9:44am

May 8, 2019 5:29pm Murli
Murli – May 8, 2019 5:29pm

June

June 4, 2019 1:38pm
June 4, 2019 1:38pm

June 7, 2018 5:22pm Sonic and Samantha
Sonic and Samantha – June 7, 2018 5:22pm

July

July 21, 2019 12:39pm
July 21, 2019 12:39pm

July 9, 2018 9:41am Murli
Murli – July 9, 2018 9:41am

August

August 16, 2019 4:43pm
August 16, 2019 4:43pm

August 24, 2019 9:55am Murli
Murli on the bathroom window – August 24, 2019 9:55am

September

September 9, 2019 6pm
September 9, 2019 6pm

September 20, 2019 Sonic and Samantha
Sonic and Samantha – September 20, 2019

October

October 18, 2019 11:17am
October 18, 2019 11:17am

October 24, 2018 10:36am Murli
Murli – October 24, 2018 10:36am

November

November 13, 2017 10:27am
November 13, 2017 10:27am

November 26, 2017 11:14am
November 26, 2017 11:14am

Sonic and Samantha November
Transported Sonic and Samantha in with the chairs from the balcony, because it was just getting too cold to have them stay out there for long, despite the sun.

December

December 15, 2018 09:09am
December 15, 2018 09:09am

December 2017 Samantha
Samantha on the bedroom window – December 2017

Time change to Wintertime

The cats and I aren’t used to the daylight savings time change. Sonic comes up meowing for me to come to bed at 9pm, because to him, it still feels like 10pm. He doesn’t care that silly humans have silly time changes twice a year. Murli and Samantha don’t care either, they want their breakfast at about the same time. So, of course, they feel like I’m late in getting up. Therefore, I’m getting up at 7am at the moment, since it would be 8am normally.

Just like with the cats, my feeling for the time is screwed up and exactly an hour wrong too. I keep feeling as if it’s exactly an hour later than it is.

Today I had to use my bicycle light again for the first time since last winter. It was completely dark by the time I was on my way home from the pharmacy and grocery shopping at 5pm. It was a dark day anyway, with thick overcast and rain all day. The temperatures are a lot lower now.

In another sign that winter is definitely coming now, they are starting to put up the Christmas lights in the city. Usually, I saw them mount the lights near my old home on November 1st. Though they have probably always started earlier in other areas of the city and I just never noticed it. The huge Christmas tree on the main square will be put up around the 1st of November as well usually and the Christmas markets will be opened soon after. The Christmas lights remain dark until the 1st of December though.

I really can’t believe how fast time goes by. I’m not feeling any Christmas vibes at all yet, but I’m looking forward to decorating our home in a few weeks 😉

Also looking forward to the long weekend! Hope you all have a great week ❤

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Lots of Autumn pictures, the kitties and a cute hedgehog

By now it really looks like Autumn here. Back in the beginning of September, it was just a few leaves here and there, while everything was still green. But within the last two weeks, the leaves really started dropping fast. The temperatures we’re having are great though! Very warm in the afternoons. 20°C / 68°F to 25°C / 77°F and sunny every day. Only the mornings can be quite foggy, and the temperatures overnight and the mornings drop to around 10°C / 50°F or 7°C / 44.6F.

During the day, I don’t even put the heating on.

Foggy Morning October 18, 2019
Foggy Fall Morning

This is one of the foggy early mornings these days. But as soon as that clears, the sun comes out and we have beautiful sunny Autumn days.

Since the afternoons have been so warm, we put everything outside for the cats and us of course, and we’re able to leave the balcony door open and the windows too.

Autumn afternoons mid October 2019
Murli, Sonic and Samantha

Murli loving it in the afternoon sun
Murli loving it in the sun

Samantha and Sonic
Sonic and Samantha

Sweet Sonic enjoying the warm sun
Sonic

But even if it’s too cold to be out, the cats still have sunny spots to hang out at if they want.

Murli in the kitchen
Murli enjoying the sun in the kitchen. The door was only open for a little when I took this pic. It was too chilly for Murli outside.

Samantha on the Cat tree
Samantha loves the little cat tree by the bedroom window. She’s lying on a valerian root cushions. It’s barely visible underneath her front legs.

Samantha_Sonic_SalonWindow
Samantha and Sonic at the living room window in the morning

We have a sweet little hedgehog we often see wandering around in the garden at night, so it was always too dark to get a pic or video. But I was lucky on Saturday and got a lovely video of him/her digging for worms and looking for slugs/snails. He found quite a bit and I hope this sweetie had a nice full tummy afterwards. Unfortunately, the video always loses lots of quality once it’s uploaded to YouTube, even though I record it in full HD.

I picked up the kitties meds from the Vet and I always go through this park to avoid the busy street with my bicycle. This awesome and huge tree is so lovely! It’s so big, I can’t even get it all into the frame (I also can’t go back much farther either…). This tree already looked huge like that when I was a little kid (I was born in 1980). I really wonder how old it really is. When this park was founded sometime in the late 1800s, there were only fields and farms with lots of trees already in place. So this tree could have easily been there before the park.

Autumn_Park_02

October 18, 2019 Park near the Vet
Another area of the same park

The sunsets we’re getting in fall are stunning as well! Here’s a little slideshow of the sunsets in the last couple of days.

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Love from the cats and me ❤