Photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley
Text from Psalm 4
Eh-hem. Cats. Once you have one, I mean a cat has decided you are worthy of serving its needs, you will realize the lengths one goes to to make sure said cat is happy and has all her Highness requires.
Cat patio? Check. Multiple concrete cat patios? Why, yes. Strategically placed throughout garden areas, including under the RV deck, where, incidentally, the Great Hunter loves to gnosh on freshly caught mice and voles. And birds. One never knows when she will gift us with a leftover foot, skull, liver, or fluff of feathers. For certain there are stains we cannot get out.
Cat shelter/cute house to hang out in when the weather is inclement? The Favorite Lap Guy just built her a new pad over Christmas break.
Cat tree? Yes (and quite a furniture saver it is). New cat tree which turned out to be sized for kittens? Returned.
Replacement sisal rope added to decimated anchor leg of favorite cat tree? Just completed. Has she used it yet? Nope.
Fuzzy blankets galore? Check.
Heated blanket for cold days? I mean for the people (but the cat claims it)? Plug it in and let’s get this show on the road.
Favorite cat food (both dry and canned), cat treats, and a special cat toy basket? Stashed in proper cat food basket.
Strategically placed light-weight items on top of the printer to keep the solid-weight cat from sitting there and breaking it? Done. Not you? Well. Princess Monet deems that location perfect for gazing west through the RV window.
Wire fencing placed across winterized garden beds? (You KNOW why.) All set.
Roof added to top of TARDIS garden shed so cat can shelter out of hot sun? Done and done.
Vet on speed dial to order anti-“straw” meds? Definitely. (We prefer to call tapeworms “straw.” Oh, look? Is that straw? Time for more meds. It sounds nicer than the actual term. And. They do look like bits of straw.)
Evening chores are rushed through so the Cat can have her lap of choice for her evening resting pleasure? Certainly. And, BTW, said lap is not mine. She is a Daddy’s girl through and through. Unless food is involved. Then whomever has it is favorite.
Pillows poised to be pulled to the bed edges so the Princess can sleep smack in between Mom and Dad’s heads? Ugh. Yes. Nothing like waking up with someone’s tail-end right up against your chin. Or open one’s eyes to see two alert ready-to-get-up ears pointed right at you. Sleep in? What’s that?
But. Cats. We do it all because we love our kitties. What “special” things do you do for your royal felines? Perhaps Monet needs just one or two more human habits to make her life truly happy, and you know just the right thing. Do share. Her Highness is waiting.
pasture grown fledgling
flightless, injured; parents guard;
frightened, precious. help!
fledgling by Angie Quantrell
This pretty red-tailed hawk is now rehabbing at Blue Mountain Wildlife in Pendleton, Oregon. Visit link to learn more about this wonderful organization. http://bluemountainwildlife.org/
This experimental RV living situation is really hanging on. At (approximately) day 1,339 of tiny living, far longer than we expected, life revolves around creativity, tiny-ness, storage woes, lost or in storage items, and a general lack of wardrobe.
For instance, last weekend we rearranged the furniture.
Don’t get excited. That only means we moved a rug, the cat tree, our box (end table), the couch, and chair. Those are basically the ONLY things that can be moved. Though Donavyn came in to see and suggested we move the stove over there and the table over there…(they are all built-ins). He was trying!
The cat is discombobulated by the move. She is not comfortable. Her cat tree is not by daddy’s chair. She can’t figure out where to sleep. The scratching options have moved. But she does love being the in the slide and having 3 open windows at her beck and call.
The grands appreciate the long line of seating. Enough that the both boys fell asleep, tangled on the couch.
I love the evenings sitting on the one end of the couch in the slide, windows open, listening to the fountain right outside dripping and splashing. TV is off, book in hand. It’s quite like camping in the forest, but for the sounds of distant civilization.
Hmmm. One of my computer keys is making a squeaking noise. That is not normal. Nor is it good.
We have baby goats next door! 4 adorable smaller-than-my-cat stiff-legged bundles of energy and cuteness.
Our neighbors pass on cool items. We take advantage!
Our medicine cabinet is a gallon ziplock bag.
The parking shelter is perfect for outdoor homeschool activities, especially those involving water and/or messes.
The pasture. Swimming, biking, ball games, gardening, wildlife, throwing innumerable balls for the dog. That’s all summer (but winter? Sledding rules.).
We have nesting fly catchers! I’m excited about this. FLY catchers. Just imagine how many the mommy and daddy will catch for their hungry babies. Two adult males in my immediate vicinity can only imagine the bird droppings all over. Where is their sense of nature and adventure?
The cat has been warned off of fly catchers, finches, and quail. She does not listen, but one can hope.
The hawks are nesting. I can hear them peeping and calling to each other. Soon it will be time for them to teach the young ones to fly. And then hunt.
The rabbits who nibbled off most of my spring flowers have moved on. We HOPE. (As opposed to ‘became someone’s lunch’). One wonders how 7 fluffy bunnies suddenly went missing.
Despite it being day (approximately) 1,339 of bumps and bruises from forgetting to look where one moves (we should learn, one would think), life is good in our RV tiny home.
As you can tell, we spent most of our time outdoors. The patio has become our evening resting place, sitting in camp chairs, watching the wildlife antics, calling the cat down from not-our-property, laughing at quail fighting over each other.
Here’s to day (approximately) 1,340.
The pets we have. Let’s call them pasture pets.
Foo-Foo. Not technically our rabbit. Though I have recently informed my honey that this is my rabbit. Not rabbit soup. (No guarantees for others in the bunny market, as it were…coyotes, hawks, eagles, and other larger predators who roam freely. Like the playground cougar sighting at the school where 3 of my grands attend.)
Poor bunny Foo-Foo. Someone released him. Or he escaped. He is quite the digger, as evidenced by the ditch beneath our Mabel Gate. Or she. I feel like it is a he though.
Charcoal. Again, not our pet. I can’t even claim him, because he really belongs to the neighbors on the east side of the pasture. They would know if we adopted this funny guy. Also thought he was a she and hoped for a random egg now and then. But she began crowing all hours of the day. This daily visitor will either help our garden grow (by eating pests and fertilizing) or keep it from growing (by nibbling greens and digging up tender shoots). Either way, not our chicken.
Monet. This one is really our pet. She adores pasture life and voraciously hunts other pasture pets of the rodent and avian varieties. By our pet, I mean she sleeps in at night (to avoid cat/dog/coyote fights in the wee hours), we feed her on a regular basis, and pay her worming and vet bills. We used to have her twin sister, Mabel, until a pack of dogs decided she was snack worthy. Those dogs were definitely NOT our pets. And they are the reason we now have a Mabel Gate.
Ginger. Not our pet. Though we are doggy grandparents. She loves visiting us in the pasture. More for chasing the ball and occasional cat (Monet) or jumping in the ditch filled with mud and water. But still. If we would let her, she would visit inside the RV. What fun that would be! So. Though she is not our pet, technically, we have adopted her as a family member. Neighbor. Just over the fence.
Other “not our pets” include (but not restricted to) hawks, eagles, coyotes, skunks, goats, ducks, quail, geese, voles, mice, rats, woodpeckers, blue jays, magpies, doves, cats, dogs, frogs, snakes, water rats (I really don’t know what they are…but they are big and swim in the irrigation ditch), crows, worms, slugs, song birds, and lots and lots of insects.
Need a trip to the pasture zoo? Come spring, we will be open for business. I mean, the hibernators will be out and about, the frozen will thaw, eggs and litters will hatch, and who knows what else will spring to life. Bring a lawn chair and a camera. We’ll treat you to the habitats and adventures of Pasture Pets.
Our human pasture guests. (not pets)
Be a Ginger. That makes me think of Doctor Who, the one who wanted to regenerate as a ginger. I think it was the Matt Smith Doctor Who.
But that’s not what this post is about.
Ginger is a young chocolate lab with oodles and oodles of energy. BALL is her focus. As in, “You throw the ball, and I will chase it.” All. Day. Long.
She wasn’t born with the ability to fetch and chase. As a retriever, she certainly had the innate characteristics for, well, retrieving. But as a puppy, it wasn’t realized yet. Her interest gradually grew to notice moving balls. With tons of praise and practice, she soon embraced the love of chasing and fetching the ball. Her only motivation became the ball. She chases so she can chase it again.
Ginger doesn’t care if she misses the catch. She repeatedly attempts to get to the ball before it hits the ground. If she misses, so what. She still keeps her focus on the ball, scoops it up, and brings it back to the stick person. That would be whomever is holding the Chuck-It Stick.
Sometimes, Ginger is quick and snatches the ball in mid-air. Most of the time, she does not. But she never quits trying. She keeps playing, chasing, and enjoying the game. In doggy words, with tongue lolling and sides heaving with exertion and joy, Ginger says, “I want ALL the balls.”
I think we all need to be a Ginger. In our writing lives, but also in life.
We need to focus. Practice. Make mistakes. Enjoy. Celebrate the successes. Ignore the oops. And keep showing up to play the game. Every single day. Get in the game. Play the game, our insides heaving with exertion and joy. Maybe we should keep our tongues in our mouths though.
I want to be a Ginger.
second breakfast bath;
after canned dish, free range mouse,
and dry food chaser
second breakfast bath by Angie Quantrell
That’s our girl, Monet. First breakfast is half a can of Fancy Feast. After, she heads out to roam the pasture for a second breakfast on the hoof, er, paw. Next she takes a quick bath and chomps a few crunchy bits of dry food (to wash it all down?) and she is good for the morning.
Pardon the irreverent pose. She IS taking a bath . . .
Happy New Year!
Like everyone else I’ve read or spoken with, I can’t believe how fast 2018 disappeared. I’m not sure which is correct: the older you get the faster time goes, or the older you get the slower time goes. Some days both are true. Or perhaps these sayings are talking about memory. Definitely true.
Welcome to 2019!
For fun, I’d like to introduce you to our three-horse alarm, formerly posted about in this blog as The Three Chocolates.
The three chocolates (white, milk, and dark) live in the pasture next door. I only know 2 actual names, so the chocolates they remain. They are very good watch horses. Excellent in fact.
Not too long ago, I noticed all three stationed facing east (looking our way), heads up, tails up, ears forward, alert and ready to flee (or attack). That’s my alarm going off! Time to see what’s going on.
That time, an entire herd of goats was free from pasture and roaming just above the horses and our pasture. Not causing trouble, other than the possibility of traffic issues if they persisted in grazing west. I called to let authorities know. I knew exactly when help arrived due to the alarm horses. I could follow the drama by peeking out the window to see what the horses were doing.
Other days, with just one glance, I can tell from which direction trouble comes, be it dogs, people, noisy trucks, goats, other horses, yelling children . . .. It’s a pretty fascinating way to spend time, observing my alarm horses. They are used to us, and now we are in the category of boring. Unless we have snacks. But should a new person approach, beware the attention.
Yesterday, two girls had dogs on leashes on the west side of the pasture fence. Oh, the alarm was a three-horse blare! Running, snorting, kicking up heels, and from the white chocolate, preparation to attack. We thought we might witness an injury accident as the girls were oblivious to the danger facing their dogs.
Fortunately, adults intervened and disaster was averted.
What an alarm system! I feel pretty secure knowing three sharp-eared, eagle-eyed equines stand guard in our little community. Combine the three-horse alarm with the five-dog contingent to the east and our hunting cat Monet who is ever alert, and there is not much that can sneak up on us.
Hope your New Year is as entertaining as life in the pasture.