Sunday, October 30, 2005

4 inches of snow on ground--1 inch fresh

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Black Cat #4

He's in the house.

I spent a very long night checking on him every two hours, standing on the snow-covered deck in my sleepshirt, holding the cat-flap open with a broom handle and trying to convince him to go inside. On the plus side--it was a clear night and the stars were magnificent. Mars burned down like a huge ember all night long and a few hours before dawn, the cresent moon rose in the east.

On the negative side, under clear skies, the temperatures dropped to the mid-teens and the black cat looked forlorn, huddled in weary shock in the cat condo. I know he has been living outside for years but he must have dens to retire to when the weather gets too bitter. When I went back up to bed, I dreamt all night about the black cat in various scenerios--escaping the pen, turning out to be friendly, etc.

I had a moment of hope this morning when I went down about eight and couldn't see him in the enclosure but as I leaned closer to look, I heard his hiss--he was sitting on top of the litter box on the lower level, not readily apparent to the casual eye.

I had *so* hoped he was inside, being comforted in a warm crush with Grendel and Skinny. That did it--he had been locked up for twenty-four hours and it was time to get him to move inside. I got dressed and collected a curtain rod and a roll of duct tape. From the inside, I taped the cat flap open, then went outside with the idea of prodding him into going through the door.

He surprised me. (Well, he had been surprising me for the last month-and-a-half, but this was sort of special...) When I reached the curtain rod in through the chicken wire to touch him, he rubbed his face against it! That inspired me to run the rod down his back, and he arched into the metallic caress. That de-railed my thought processes enough that I stood by the cage for several minutes, stroking him and speaking to him in a quiet voice. I wasn't going to prod him with sticks after a demonstration like that. Perhaps he isn't as totally feral as we had thought.

So, I went upstairs and talked with Denny and we formed a plan that he would open the cat condo and hopefully prompt the black cat to go through the cat door, and I would use the broom handle to try to keep him from retreating into the far corner. After a small amount of initial resistence, the black cat obliged us by dashing into the spare room. By the time I got inside to bar the cat door from the inside, he had vanished behind the plywood plank and was--indeed--huddled with Skinny and Grendel.

So--he's safe, he's warm and he is among friends, whether he appreciates that yet or not...

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Small Miracles

4 inches of snow on the ground

Went to Soldotna today for another doctor's visit for Denny. Stopped by GF's house before heading back to Homer, where I met his new cats and checked up on Panda. She is a magnificent creature--years removed from the feisty little kitten I found that dark October morning nine years ago. What a string of circumstances led our paths to cross: had I not been working that morning, had she not cried, had I not heard and recognized her cry... Later that morning, a blizzard hit. Denny had to come into town to pick up me (and the rescued kitten) at work. By that point, tummy full and safe at last, she was nestled under my coat and slept the whole way home. Seeing her now, I mumble a prayer of gratitude to whatever destiny caused our meeting.

Such small things can change our lives. Driving in to work the other morning, I thought about RG and how much I had loved him, and yet what a different path my life would have taken if he had returned my feelings. One thing I know--there is a house full of abandoned and unwanted cats that live happily now because of that long ago heart break. I am more than content with the way my life has turned out.

Monday, October 24, 2005

6 inches of snow on the ground

Sunday, October 23, 2005

4 inches fresh snow on ground

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's overcast and in the mid-forties today. Traffic at the airport is quiet. The recent winds have started to strip the leaves off the trees, so the bluff behind town is duller and darker than it was a week ago.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The snowline looks to be at three thousand feet today. It was cold--about forty--when I left for work, with a chilly autumn rain falling.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Thinking of Snow

It's that time of year when Alaskans have snow on their minds. Whenever the clouds lift from the mountains across the bay, one squints and guesses how much further down the side of the mountain the snow line is today than from that last time the mountains were clear. On clear nights there is a decided chill in the air, and frost on the deck come morning.

For the record, the snowline today seems to be about 3500 feet...

Last night, on my way home from work, I saw my first holiday lights of the season. Guess I should screw my courage up and brave the spruce trees out back to get my own lights in good working order sometimes before late November. I mean, I hate to break the tradition of standing on a wobbly ladder in the freezing rain getting stuck with the frost-hardened tips of the spruce needles as I track down the one errant light of the string that isn't working but maybe for just this once I can forego the pleasure. We'll see.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

A cold morning...not only frost on the deck but *ice* on the puddles. Many of my potted plants are still blooming like champs but I definitely need to do some preparation for winter, like moving the perennials into the greenhouse, cutting back the herbs and harvesting the catnip.

Since Denny did the cat boxes for me last night while I worked on some paperwork for him, I had the morning free to do other things--like shower, do some vacuuming, and play a bit on the computer. When the thrill of all that paled, I took a bucket of hot, soapy water out on the deck and washed the bird feeders. The chickadees and nuthatches chafed at the delay but I'm sure they will appreciate the clean, fresh seeds. Lola's Dad hung out at the edge of the deck in the shadow of the alders watching.

Once or twice I heard a strange sound--almost like rattling springs on an old pickup truck--coming from the back of the lot. Finally, I saw the fluttering of wings and realized I was hearing spruce grouse. Denny took a walk out back earlier this morning and startled one--or more truthfully, it startled him. I haven't seen any ring-necked pheasants yet this fall but I heard one crowing before I left for work, so I know they are out there.