Monday, November 29, 2010

Why Can’t I Go Out Today? Huh? Huh?

A Guest Post By Murphy The Labrador

Mama is not walking me. Why? Why? Where else can I eat frozen rotten apples? Where else cat poo? Where else can life have meaning until dinnertime? Nowhere, that’s who.

She says we are not walking because I am the size and shape and color of a deer. Eat your carrot! Chew your treat! Go! Lie! Down! This is stupid. I am always this color and shape. And we always walk.

I am full of resentment. I will nap.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Owl Together Now, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving night I was flopped in front of the fireplace with a book, overstuffed and much relieved to be home and out of the slushy weather. Some while later John returned from visiting still more kin, and he reported that there was a little owl in the hemlock at the foot of the drive. We got the flashlight and trekked down there, and sure enough, a screech owl was perched on a low branch, not troubling to hide its irritation at our presence. Owls really do not care about your emotional state and how excited you are to see them. They wish only to eat mice and be left alone. Our little fellow had dramatic great ears for someone who was only eight or nine inches tall. The guidebook shows him also having magnificent two-prong feet, which I wish I had noticed in situ. Our little man was from the red clan, but he looked a lot like this gray individual. Thank you to Cornell Lab of Ornithology for the loan of their screecher, and for all their excellent work in the field.

Monday, November 15, 2010


Fall has sped by in a blaze of cider and art openings, and the house now has more wooden storm windows on it than it has had in probably 80 years. We are hoping this will make us toasty warm on less oil this winter. Now I am getting ready to settle in for a long, snug winter at my desk, getting lots of writing done in between cooking meals, walking dogs and cats, and feeding barnyard folk.

In the photo above, you will see all the modern conveniences required by a writer, ie a big monitor, a laptop and a cat basket to keep the cat off the laptop and out from in front of the monitor. Yes, the basket has cut down considerably on my work surface, but since the cat was overheating the computer and using his sharp little elbows (even through the closed lid) to delete important emails and highlight long passages of the New York Times while I was reading, thereby rendering it impossible to scroll down to read the rest of the article, the cat basket is an acceptable compromise.

The other black cat, btw, sleeps on the printer on the opposite side of the desk, for symmetry. This is not super convenient, because if you forget and start a print job, the printer ingests the nearest part of the cat, but it does promote thrift in the use of paper and toner.

You are probably wondering why I don’t just close the office door and lock the cats out. And the answer is Ha! Because cats (also dogs, sheep, hens, children, husbands, etc) are the great annoyances that, like Keats’ flowered chains, bind us to the Earth.