The Longer I Run

The window beside my desk overlooks a huge thicket canopying a substantial ditch. Six months ago I noticed a tiny bobbed tail cat using a small passage through the brambles to sneak around to the back porch and steal Pickwick’s food. The first time I saw him I opened the window, said “Hey ki…” and the cat bolted. Weeks went by and I repeated the process until finally he stopped running.

The next step was to sneak outside before he got to the back yard. More often than not he would hear the door squeak open and run back to the protection of the thicket. Occasionally I’d manage to get outside without him noticing, but as soon as he rounded the corner and saw me, he’d flee. More weeks passed with me sneaking outside and frightening him with horrifying hellos and terrifying offers of food. He eventually stopped running but would just sit at the corner of the house until I went inside, never getting any closer.

I don’t know what prompted him to come over after being petrified for so long, but one evening, as I sat outside with Pickwick, peripherally I noticed the movement of soft grey fur as he slunk his way to the porch, stopping at the foot of the stairs. I said, “Hello,” and continued to pet Pickwick, picking new burrs from his fur. The little grey cat sat tall, unmoving, head turned to the side, eyes partially closed, but still watching. He stayed there until I stood up to go inside twenty minutes later, then he ran to the corner of the house.

That was the day I started putting more food in Pickwick’s bowl.

It’s been two steps forward and one step back since. Each day he gets a little braver but the whole routine starts off worse than it ended. He’s now on the porch with me, licking the cat food gravy from a spoon I hold out to him, and allowing my hand to rest six inches from his plate. He’s so excited about the new wet food that he’ll stretch his neck to get at it as I’m spooning it out, which has allowed my hand to brush lightly against his ear a few times. We’re getting there.

Now for a name…

Note: Birds frighten the little grey cat, so I can’t imagine a giant black camera is going to go over very well with him, so there are no pictures yet. Instead, here is one of Levee as a puppy, four years ago.

Update: I was able to sneak a picture with my phone this afternoon, moments before it went from 46% to dead. Does anyone else’s phone do that? I want all life to work on iPhone battery time. Forty-six minutes left to work? Leave right now! 46 is the new 0. Anyway, you can see the kitty on Instagram.

Title From:
Longer I Run
by Peter Bradley Adams

I’ve Got the Sky, the World Is My Home

It’s been a while. I’ve been trying to be better about posting more regularly but there are times when I just don’t have anything to share. I’m certainly fortunate to live such a peaceful life but it doesn’t make for very good blogging.

“Today was another beautiful, endlessly sunny day. I watched the mule deer chew their way through a neighboring pasture and listened to the magpies squawk as they took turns stealing Pickwick’s food.”

Repeat daily.

Today I saw something else.

The first time we pulled into the driveway, to decide whether or not we wanted to rent this place or buy a camper and make that our home for a year or two, the “yard” was nothing but grasshoppers and weeds. The ground shimmered, like heat off asphalt, with the movement of thousands of insects. It was unnerving. We were given a week or two (I can’t remember which) of free rent because it was so overgrown and the work it would take to fix it was going to be extensive. Well, fix it we have. We’ve maintained the grass from the very moment it started sprouting again. Now, where long tangles of weeds once stood, green has begun to spread. I never get tired of pausing by a window to marvel at the change.

Unfortunately, the few spring showers we’ve had have come on the weekends, which is the only time the yard can be cut. So for three weeks the grass has been growing untrammeled. It’s like a long shaggy green carpet with random bursts of bright yellow dandelion heads. Dandelions are my favorite flower, weeds or not. I’ve never stopped to stare at an unblemished yard but I have, on multiple occasions, stopped to admire a hillside covered with dandelions.

With flowers come bees. I’m not as fond of bees as I am dandelions. I understand their benefits and I don’t wish them any harm but I’m very uncomfortable with them. My first apartment had a hive in the bedroom wall and our cohabitation did not result in many years of happy memories. It did result in the 100% confirmation that I am not allergic to bee stings and that bees, surprisingly, do not enjoy being sat upon.

Today, as I walked outside to refill the magpies’ Pickwick’s bowl, the yard was once again shimmering, this time with honey bees. About one of every five dandelions had a visitor. I cautiously made my way (the long way) around to grab his bowl and knock the beetles from the remaining nuggets of food before pouring a fresh helping. Then I ran inside and grabbed my camera to bravely attempt to photograph at least one of the dozens of bees, hopefully without being stung.

I made it! They were so engrossed in what they were doing, they didn’t seem to care that I was there. It was interesting and oddly enjoyable to watch them go about their business. Still, I can’t wait for this weekend and a fresh mowing.

Title From:
Beggarman
by Gaelic Storm

Stand up When You Hear Your Name

Right now our new friend seems to respond to tongue clicking, the rattling of the food bag, and “Hey, good boy!” I couldn’t very well refer to him as SHUSH-SHUSH-SHUSH here, and I didn’t want him to get accustomed to Good Boy as his name either since there are quite a few wild cats around, and if another happens to start enjoying my company I’ll probably say “Hey, good boy” to him as well. We can’t have everyone thinking their name is Good Boy. This isn’t the Foreman house; everyone here gets their own moniker. So, after nearly three weeks of going back and forth with names, we finally settled on Pickwick. Hopefully he’ll acknowledge it in time. If not, I still have SHUSH-SHUSH-SHUSH to fall back on.

What made you think of Pickwick, you didn’t ask?
Well, let me tell you…

I came across the name while doing research on my genealogy. I resumed working on my family line a few months ago, after pausing for our year without internet in Connecticut. I’m trying to make as many connections as I can on my own. It’s very easy to link the wrong people when 96% of your ancestors are named Mary, so I don’t want to depend on someone else’s research. However, occasionally I run into blocks and grabbing someone else’s tree information helps steer me to the path of making the connection (with sources) on my own.

Unfortunately, the lineage that led to my discovery of a ship christened Pickwick, was not my own. I followed a lead from someone else’s tree and spent an entire evening researching the wrong family history. Luckily, I noticed the error before setting the names into my own family tree. The same can not be said for the fellow whose research I went by.

Title From:
Look How Far We’ve Come
by Imagine Dragons

When I Win You Over

The other day, when I was writing the About page, I mentioned “a friendly little orange cat who runs around the fields nearby.” This is that cat. I don’t think he’s accustomed to being touched but I think he likes it? I’m getting mixed signals. He’ll rub on my legs, purr, swat me with his insanely sharp claws, and then resume purring and rubbing.

I am what I am. I would tell you what you want to know if I could, for you have been kind to me. But I am a cat, and no cat anywhere ever gave anyone a straight answer.
– Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn

Title From:
When I Win You Over
by Miner