Go and Sing to the Moon

Random picture (Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site, Wyoming) to match the complete randomness to follow.

I finally broke down and purchased a fracture boot. I reinjured the stress fractures when I was cleaning the bathroom. FYI, it’s not a terribly bright idea to stand on your tiptoes with cracks in your metatarsals. The boot is cumbersome, but I can walk without canes now, and I’ve been able to start making dinner again, which I’m very excited about. Take-out here is basically burgers or pizza or pizza or pizza. I am not someone who enjoys the same flavors over and over again, and we’ve had to have take-out since I first injured my legs back in March. Now we’re back to dinners of Peruvian shrimp with rice and kale, spelt spaghetti with anchovies and olives, emu stew, pad kee mao, and smoked salmon with rainbow chard.

The ranch behind our home was sold to the man who was using the property for his cattle. Sadly, that means Pickwick has moved away with the previous owner. He was spending most of his time in her home these days anyway, so we rarely saw him. I’ll miss him. I won’t so much miss being bitten. Should that ever change there’s always Muggabee, who still hisses at me, as well as the cat we’ve named Foosball, because he’s “the debbil” and picks on Muggabee.

The new owner has brought chickens. We wanted to turn our shed into a coop two years ago, but we need the storage for the tools we purchased to fix up the shed and make it into a coop. He’s already given us one and a half dozen fresh eggs. They’re a beautiful variety of sizes and colors. I’ll take a picture tomorrow if you remind me to charge my camera battery. Nevermind, we’ve eaten them since I began writing this post almost a week ago. They were delicious, by the way. The chickens have already made their way into our pasture and yard. They’ll be a great help with the earwigs and grasshoppers. The dogs have mostly ignored them, though Wicket did herd them back onto their side of the fence one morning. It was interesting to watch, but I’m not sure the chickens would agree.

Wildfire season has been rough this year. Over one million acres of Montana has burned. Not only are the fires here bringing horrendous amounts of smoke to the entire state, we’re getting smoke from fires farther west as well. It’s been hard breathing recently, though the poor folks deep in the mountains have it far worse, and I can’t complain about a bit of bad air when others have lost much more than the ability to open windows. If I could rain dance right now, I would.

If you’d like to donate to the fire relief, you can check out a couple links below. You can also do some searching of your own, but be wary of anything coming from a suspicious source.

đź’“ Seeley Lake / Rice Ridge Fire Fund
đź’“ Lolo Peak Fire Fund
đź’“ Garfield County Fire Foundation Relief Fund

Title From:
Sing To The Mountain
by Elephant Revival

On Wobbly Knees

Well, that was fun.

Not long after my birthday, back in March, I woke up from having fallen asleep on the couch unable to walk properly. It started with a tightness in both my calves which felt as if I had run a marathon on my tip-toes. Then, because I was hobbling around, my knee started to hurt. Then, because I was hobbling even worse with my new injury, my right hip started to hurt. When the pain hit my hip I was no longer able to walk without crutches. It took months for things to improve. Right now I have a renewed hip pain because I’ve been walking slightly off because my calf is hurt again. I don’t know what is going on, but I’ve really had quite enough.

I’ve tried resting, spending way too many hours on the couch watching YouTube videos of people falling down. I’ve tried forcing myself to walk properly, regardless of the pain. Now I’m going to try working out on the elliptical. I won’t be vigorously trying to conquer the mountain program, but I’ve got to do something. I’m bored with sitting around. Reminder: I need to recharge my Fitbit since there’s really no point in exercising if you can’t count your steps.

Because I was unable to stand for any prolonged length of time, we’ve had pretty much nothing but take-out since March. Working out a little will definitely be a benefit, even if it doesn’t necessarily get rid of this traveling pain. Full disclosure, I’m writing this while Brian is out picking up our pizza and beer for this evening. Don’t judge.

In other news, the weather here has been amazing. We’re still occasionally getting rain, the river is flooding, and the grass remains a beautiful green. Temperatures have been perfect. Today was 76°F, I believe. Nights are still cold enough to warrant use of the heater; tonight will drop to 47°F. Although, it doesn’t matter that two Mondays from now is forecast to be 90°F because we bought a new air conditioner, which keeps the whole place chilly even on the hottest days. It’s the first time we’ve had truly comfortable, even a little too cold at times, temperatures in the house during summer here. In fact, I think it’s the first time we’ve had truly comfortable temperatures during any summer since we had central air in our house back in Iowa City, Iowa, in 2011.

Pickwick may be leaving us. He’s been loved by the owner of the ranch behind our property. She’s taken him in for the winters, and now he doesn’t want to go outside much. She’ll be moving soon, and he may go with her. She offered him to us, but Levee would definitely kill him. She calls him Billy Bob.

There is another new cat around though – one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen. It has a very Siamese look about its face and body, but its tail is dark and striped like a tabby. However, it runs when I speak to it, and after the years of fussing with Muggabee, I don’t feel like dealing with another skittish animal. Of course, I’ll still put out the food. Someone has to feed the neighborhood.

Title From:
Run For The Roses
by Michael Martin Murphey

If You Get Lost, You Can Always Be Found

I saw the dark, long-haired cat sitting in the middle of the back pasture. I always think of that particular cat as a female because she has an extremely long tail, which reminds me of Stitch’s, the little kitten who showed up the day after Reyka was put to sleep. His tail would swing up over his back and touch the top of his head when he was excited. I like to think of the dark, long-haired cat as his mom. She was sitting, upright and proper, in the crunchy, sun-bleached grass, staring at the house. It’s unusual to see her sitting anywhere. Normally she’s running, her body low to the ground, her long tail streaming out behind her. When I noticed her, I decided to put a can of wet food and a bowl of dry out on the porch. I knew she’d run as soon as the lock clicked but I didn’t care. If she wasn’t going to eat it, the raccoons would get it later.

I know someone out there, four years from when I post this, is going to want to tell me I shouldn’t feed raccoons. Too bad. I like raccoons and they’re not going to break into anyone’s cabin and eat their faces, so I don’t feel any worse about feeding them than I do feeding the 3,247 cats that come around.

As expected, as soon as I opened the door, she was gone. I didn’t even see a trace of her running around the barn or into the long grass of the neighboring field. Of course, I was distracted. As soon as I opened the door I realized I’d knocked Pickwick out of the way, pushing his angry, fluffed, growling body toward the stairs. Normally he’d spin around and start trying to make his way into the house, rubbing his orange fur against my black pants. This time he stayed, hunched and puffed, eyes locked on Muggabee.

Muggabee was back! It has been more than two months since I last saw him. I can’t describe my feelings upon seeing him now. I almost thought I imagined him there for a moment. For weeks and weeks, I would look out the window every time I passed by. Then, as the probability that he’d never return became more likely, I’d look every other time, then less. I never stopped looking entirely, but I did stop expecting to see him. There were nights I cried, thinking about how sick he looked, wondering if there was something I should have done. I missed him.

I’m so thankful he’s back. Hopefully he’ll be returning more often. I don’t know where he’s been but he looked so much better than the last time I saw him, albeit a bit skinnier. His fur was smooth and clean and his eyes were dry. If he doesn’t come back, at least now I know he’s likely with someone else, or at the very least, alive.

Note: The picture at the top is not Muggabee, who you can see here, it’s Stitch. Stitch was named by, and lives with, one our vet’s assistants.

Title From:
Home
by Phillip Phillips

Hoo Yip Hoo Yip Hoo

It’s late afternoon, I’m sitting in our office, the portable air conditioner is blowing a moderately warm breeze into the tiny room. It’s difficult for our portable air conditioners to counter the second half of the day, when the sun beats down on the back of our home, which is lined with windows. Fortunately, we purchased another a/c unit this year, so instead of it remaining as hot inside as outside, we are able to stay pretty comfortable. Not necessarily cool, but not, “Did you know you could sweat there?” either. It would likely be even more comfortable if I’d take my hoodie off and stop drinking hot chocolate.

Not long ago I went outside to check for Muggabee, which is what we decided to name the little grey cat. He hasn’t been around for the last two weeks. Before that, he was looking a bit rough. I hope he’s okay. Occasionally he disappears for a while so let’s hope that he’s just adventuring. He hates the other cats who come around, so it’s possible he’s just avoiding them.

There are a lot of cats now. There is a black tortoiseshell with a fat, stubby tail, a black one with a long bushy tail, a grey one with long fur and a bald patch on his side, a short-haired grey one with a white face, and two giant cats we’ve named The Little Raccoon and The Big Raccoon. I’m done naming them. To name them is to adopt them emotionally and I don’t want to have six cats in my heart. I don’t even like cats.

Pickwick, on the other hand, is here every day again. He’s a little skinnier than when he emerged from wherever he was holed up over the winter. He’s growing on me a bit but his moodiness is absurd. A few days ago he bit me, swiped at my arm, then proceeded to rub against my legs as though he hadn’t just morphed into a fluffy feral monster. Let’s hope he doesn’t have rabies.

The sun is finally dropping behind the hills. The warmth of the day is fading. The weather in Montana is amazing. While it’s occasionally blazing hot, the heat is dry, and the evenings are cool. Tonight, for example, we should drop to 52°F. How can you not love a summer where you can open your windows in the evening and listen to the coyotes howl?

Title From:
Coyotes
by Don Edwards

Little Lights in My Heart

I just deleted nine drafts — nine drafts of posts I attempted to write over the last five months. I am still at risk for bursting into tears, so I’m going to make this return to the blog a list that doesn’t really go into any detail.

1. On September 29th, Reyka was put to sleep. I have to write that out without much thought or this will become the tenth draft.

2. The day after Reyka died, a tiny kitten showed up. His innocent joy and desperate desire for love helped to temper our sadness and pain. I would have loved to keep him around but fear Levee’s chasing drive would have gotten the best of her. Now he lives with one of our vet’s assistants. I think about him from time to time.

3. Pickwick was missing for months. I didn’t know if a coyote got him or someone took him in, but he was missed. A few days ago I heard the familiar thud of his jump from the porch railing to the floor. I was glad to see his pudgy little face. Wherever he was, he was cared for, and I’m glad he was out of the bitter cold.

4. The nameless grey cat is still hanging around but we haven’t made any progress. I’ve accepted that this may be as close as we will ever get.

5. A large black dog has stopped by our place multiple times. The first night it was 12°F. We didn’t have any place he could stay inside, but we couldn’t leave him outside either. We ended up putting him in our well house overnight with the electric smoker running (without wood) to heat the room up. He wasn’t very happy but at least he was safe and warm. He was here again two weeks ago, hanging out on our porch all day. If he comes by again, he might be welcomed as a new member of our family.

6. Why is everything about animals?

7. It looks as though we might be stuck here another year. We’ve been approved for a home loan but cannot find anything that fits our must-have list: twenty acres, a small house, forty-five minutes or less of a commute, all at an affordable price. What can you do?

8. I feel like I have to reach 10 on the list and I have no idea why.

9. I am seriously contemplating chickens. Or a Scottish highland cow. We need more animals in our life and I need more excuses to wear my Sloggers.

10. Pictures will be missing for a while. I can’t bear the thought of looking through them and seeing her face.

Title From:
All The Little Lights
by Passenger