Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘cat

Swift Switch

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We were not expecting to wake up to such a wintery scene yesterday morning as the one that greeted us as darkness faded enough to reveal whiteness covering our deck.

Ever one to playfully re-interpret reality, before Cyndie opened her eyes, I told her that it didn’t rain overnight like we had expected. The early dose of measurable snowfall made about the same impression on our Japanese silver grass as it did on us.

It felt like a great day to stay in bed a little longer than usual and be warm under covers but duty called and we dug boots from deep in the closet, spilling a pile of things out in the process, and took Delilah for a walk before feeding the horses.

Speaking of horses, yesterday we had a visit from the nutritionist from This Old Horse who measured each of our Thoroughbred mares and issued a pleasing assessment that they all looked really, really good and healthy.

They have gained weight as hoped. We’ve been giving Mix an extra serving of feed pellets per day and we will begin doing the same with Mia to keep them on track toward a goal of optimal robustness. Mia, especially, could use a bit more body fat to cope at this time of year. She was pretty shivery at the start of the day. We are going to get a moisture-wicking blanket for her to help during these in-between weeks of cold precipitation.

Their winter blankets would be a bit much at this point. She just needs a raincoat.

Mix likes using mud for a covering. She rubbed her face firmly to paint her cheeks thoroughly and looked proud of her appearance after she stood up again.

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By the end of the day the snow had disappeared and this morning there are areas of blue sky overhead. We are feeling a new urgency about finishing a few projects that require we be able to see the ground, including one that involves digging dirt before it freezes.

We also still need to shut down and pull the pump from our landscape pond. It looked strange to see the water flowing with everything covered in snow. I pulled a snow shovel out to clear the steps yesterday morning, feeling it was way too soon to be doing so.

Time marches on. We are having our grief over Pequenita’s passing poked by continuing to find her toys tucked under or behind furniture. Even a dust bunny of cat hair becomes a tear-jerker at this point. Thank you to all who have conveyed your support. We truly appreciate the love. ❤️

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Written by johnwhays

October 15, 2022 at 10:09 am

Sad Goodbye

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We are sad to announce that yesterday afternoon, Pequenita departed this Earthly realm for kitty afterlife under the tender care of Dr. Jenni at Kinnic Veterinary Service in River Falls.

Pequenita, or “Nita” for short, remained a wee one throughout her very active eleven years. We’ve been medicating her for a thyroid condition for a few months but she really didn’t like the pills, regardless the multitude of methods we concocted to finagle her acceptance.

This week she stopped eating, drinking, or using the litter box, signaling that her little body was calling it quits.

We have nothing but wonderful memories about the ten years she allowed us to be her human companions. One of our favorite stories is the time Cyndie cooed from the darkness as we were about to fall asleep, that Nita was giving loves on her face.

“I was just going to say the same thing,” was my response, “because Nita’s face is right in mine.”

Cyndie quickly came to the realization that she was getting her loves from the butt end of the cat.

Pequenita is already missed and indoor life around here will never be the same. We are relishing all the fond memories of the years she preciously enriched our lives.

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Written by johnwhays

October 14, 2022 at 6:00 am

Autumn Views

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Picking up where I left off yesterday, here are four more wonderful photographs Cyndie captured revealing the colorful autumn views we have been enjoying this year.

Standing in the labyrinth, first, the view looking out…

Then, she turned around to capture the view looking toward the woods…

The one thing we didn’t take a picture of was the crime scene in our kitchen when we got back from feeding the horses in the afternoon. I saw it first and put up a gate to keep Delilah from going in. Cyndie was outside tending to our landscape pond and without blurting my shock over the scene, I hinted that something happened in the kitchen.

I asked her if there was a cover on the wine bottle. She didn’t take the bait and simply said, “Yes.”

I told her I thought Pequenita had been up on one of the kitchen counters.

It was the short counter between the stove and refrigerator where some onions and potatoes are stored. Obviously, an opened bottle of wine with a stopper in it was also there.

The basket of onions had fallen off the backsplash and probably tipped the bottle over. The stopper was on the floor by the center island and red wine was splattered all over the tile floor. I asked if it would stain the tiles.

It didn’t. Cyndie said it didn’t look like the cat had lapped up anything spilled on the floor. She must have leaped and run away in a panic. There were no visible paw prints in the mess. I found Pequenita curled up on a blanket on the couch up in the loft, acting as if nothing had happened.

As we were falling asleep last night, I asked Cyndie if there was any way that basket could have fallen on its own and knocked over the bottle.

Without hesitation, she convicted ‘Nita, despite the lack of incontrovertible proof. Yeah, I’m okay with that. That was my first impression, after all, upon discovering the unexpected autumn color splashed all over our kitchen floor.

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Written by johnwhays

October 10, 2022 at 6:00 am

Fireworks Alarm

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Yes, we have a dog. Her name is Delilah. This was my night last night:

Fireworks pop in the distance.

Delilah: BARK! BARK BARK BARK!! BARK! GRRRRR. BARK! BARK BARK!!

7:35 p.m. Firework reports.

Delilah: BARK! BARK BARK BARK!! BARK! GRRRRR. BARK! BARK BARK BARK!!

7:45 p.m. Fireworks.

Delilah: BARK! BARK BARK BARK!! BARK! BARK! BARK BARK!!

8:00 p.m. Fireworks.

Delilah: BARK! BARK BARK BARK!! BARK! GRRRRR. BARK! BARK BARK!! BARK BARK BARK BARK. Heavy panting.

8:23 – 9:15 p.m. Fireworks.

Delilah: Pretty much non-stop BARK! BARK!! BARK! BARK!! BARK! BARK BARK!! interspersed with some occasional panting and growling.

9:28 p.m. Fireworks.

Delilah, in her overnight crate with fabric draped over it: BARK! BARK BARK BARK!! BARK! BARK! BARK BARK!!

Meanwhile, our cat, Pequenita, never made the slightest sound.

I’m just sayin’.

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Written by johnwhays

July 4, 2022 at 6:00 am

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Just Starting

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We are just starting to find out how much work lies ahead to clean up all the downed trees left by the guys we hired to do all the cutting. After completing the willow, I set my sights on the next biggest mess of trees and branches just beside the labyrinth.

I cut and stacked the biggest chunks to be split for firewood.

I started a stack of branches that will be ideal for turning into chips.

The smallest branches will be hauled to our northern property line where we are making a “fence” by piling up brush.

After making just one trip with the ATV trailer filled to overflowing with branches, I’m thinking we may need to alter our plan. There is going to be a lot more brush to pile than there is space to pile it.

There is still a couple of days worth of clean-up to do in this spot.

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From here, I move on to roughly fifty more trees on the ground throughout our woods waiting to be processed. At least none of those will be as big as the two trees I’ve picked to do first. There’s a method to my madness. I hope it will keep getting easier as I work my way through our woods.

On a follow-up note about Pequenita’s diagnosis… We received confirmation on her hyperthyroidism and will treat her with medication. No other problems were detected in her blood analysis. She has lost five pounds since the last time she’d been in, which was a few years ago. Our wee one is living up to her name.

She is one tiny tortie.

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Written by johnwhays

May 25, 2022 at 6:00 am

Cobweb Covered

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They accumulate in every nook and cranny in our utility room. Cobwebs that rival haunted-looking abandoned buildings everywhere. That room in our basement is neither abandoned nor haunted but you couldn’t tell by looking at it. Admittedly, the fact that we have been keeping two annoyingly dusty litter boxes in that space has contributed greatly to the ambiance of abandonment. There is a layer of that cement-like dust on every surface. It even clings to the cobwebs to augment their visibility.

Well, it was time for some serious spring cleaning yesterday. The washer/dryer set Cyndie ordered last January is to be delivered today. Tomorrow, our geothermal furnace will receive its annual inspection. We don’t want the service people thinking we are complete degenerates who tolerate the presence of cobwebs in our living space.

I disconnected the old washer and dryer and pulled them away from the wall so we could clean the floor beneath them. As nasty as that was, being covered head to toe with dust and cobweb fragments was more annoying.

We ended up dumping money into our failing clothes washer last year when the lead time for a replacement was teased as being out to 2023. A short time later, the bearings on the drum of the dryer wore out and Cyndie renewed her search for new washer/dryer sets. She found models she wanted available in March of 2022!

We milked the remaining bits of functional life out of the dryer drum as we waited for this day to come.

Best of all, it forced us to get down and dirty, cleaning out the utility room to almost make it a pleasant place to be.

I’ve lobbied to move litter boxes to the basement bathroom since it gets little use these days. Let’s see how much dust gets kicked up in that smaller space.

Showers after yesterday’s utility room cleaning project was complete felt more refreshing than ever. I remember now why we let it get so creepy looking around the edges down there. It’s because it is so unpleasant to clean it up. We tend to repeatedly put it off for some future day.

I hope Pequenita knows how much dust and scattered litter we tolerate to have her live with us. It’s kinda like the number of my messes Cyndie tolerates in letting me live here, too.

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Written by johnwhays

March 30, 2022 at 6:00 am

Chaos Ensued

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It wasn’t a stellar start of the day for my unnecessarily grumbly countenance yesterday morning. We are ensconced in a pattern of dry, cold winter days that can tend to chip away at a person’s stoicism against the elements. The temperature reading began with a minus sign once again and we steeled ourselves as usual for the “spacewalk” to exercise Delilah and feed the horses.

It was a wonderfully calm morning and the only sound from the trees was occasional cracking in response to the cycles of freezing and thawing we have had of late. My mood was perfectly balanced between not wanting to be out in the cold at the crack of dawn for another consecutive day and being thrilled to witness the beauty and wonder of a new and beautiful winter morning.

Under the barn overhang, I was met by evidence the horses had been under there all night. If they spend time out in the fields, I don’t scoop up the piles. Under the overhang, we try to remove their manure as fast as they produce it. Maybe it was because there was poop everywhere that one of them decided to do their business over one of the hay boxes.

Half-frozen to a wrought iron corner bracket, it defied convenient clean-up. While dealing with the mess I discovered the box has been kicked enough that it is barely holding together. It kind of took the wind out of my sail of cheerfulness.

Once back in the house, I recovered nicely with a spectacular breakfast of perfectly poached eggs on toast that Cyndie served and I was reclining under a lap blanket absorbing the stories in the daily newspaper. It was deliciously serene when Delilah leaned into my chair to request some scratches.

While I focused on what I was reading, Delilah would rotate her body to move my hand where she wanted me next.

Suddenly, she yelped and snapped at me when I inadvertently pinched her in my overzealous massaging/scratching. I jumped and professed my apologies.

Before we had barely begun to settle ourselves, Pequenita showed up out of nowhere, attacking Delilah with punches and swipes while hissing in anger. Delilah instantly responded in kind with growls and glaring canines. We bumped the side table next to me and knocked my full tumbler of ice water to the floor where the top blew off and cubes and water went everywhere.

Cyndie was on top of Delilah instantly to scold her to get off the cat. She pulled Delilah away and was making the dog lay down in submission and the cat showed up again in full fight mode of hissing and swinging paws at the poor pooch. I was yelling that it wasn’t Delilah’s fault and Cyndie was hollering at both pets.

We have never, ever seen this type of aggression from Pequenita. It seems most likely to us that she was reacting to defend me from Delilah’s reaction to my having pinched her.

It was unprecedented madness of a surprising degree.

Helped me totally get over the angst of the busted, pooped-on hay box.

I got the water and ice cubes cleaned up and both pets calmed down and found themselves separate corners.

Ultimately, our calm serenity was restored, but geesh! Took me a while to get my pulse back to restively reclining mode.

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Written by johnwhays

February 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

Blanketed Horses

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Blessed with excellent supporters to care for our horses while we are away, we arrived home yesterday afternoon to find everything perfectly in order at Wintervale. It was the first time we have seen the horses wearing blankets. That was accomplished by two people as the temperatures were about to drop to the depths.

When we showed up to feed them in the late afternoon, the straps on Mix’s blanket were dragging on the ground, but all the others were in good position on their backs with straps appropriately attached.

I calmly reached under Mix’s belly and pulled the two straps across to hook them up again and she didn’t even flinch.

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It is a relief to find them coping so well with the extreme cold that gripped our region over the weekend.

After dinner, Delilah put herself to bed in her crate earlier than we would have dictated. I think she was worn out by all the adventures we enjoyed up north and the day of travel returning home.

Pequenita was very happy to have us around again, even though it appears she was receiving over double her usual ration of wet food servings from the stand-in caregiver who was feeding her while we were gone.

There is no denying that as much fun as it is to go away on adventures, it is always nice to return to the comforts and familiarity of home. Especially, when you find everything in perfect order upon settling back in.

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Written by johnwhays

January 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

Twenty Questions

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I’m not going to number them, so you’ll have to count if you want to find out if there really are twenty. It’s just that a question came to mind during my morning commute yesterday and I found myself mentally careening down a rabbit hole of not-necessarily-related questions that went on for so long –pretty much the rest of the way to work– I figured it deserved to become a blog post.

Now, if I could only remember what it was I was pondering so deeply in that westbound commute at almost zero-dark-thirty. Oh, that sentence triggered a memory of feeling really grateful to have been able to drive west in the morning and east in the afternoon during most of my working life. I’ve avoided fighting the daily glare of sun in my eyes while driving.

Speaking of being triggered, a song lyric during the morning commute got me to wonder, do people know who it is that taught them how to love? Or how come some humans can play instruments faster than my ear is able to discern? Have you ever heard Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper play Tall Fiddler? Wow. Seems pretty fast, until they suddenly go even faster.

How come I’ve never been able to get my left and my right hand to work together at breakneck speed to hit the correct notes at the correct time on the strings of my guitar? That’s just black magic to play that unrealistically fast and actually produce recognizable melodies with every note presented, if only for a micro-fraction of a second each.

When it appears like our dog is trying to bite the cat, is it possible to know which of the two was the instigator? Does Delilah suddenly start barking at something outside our house because of a sound she hears or some canine sixth sense that tells her there is an invisible thing out there that needs to be barked at?

Actually, I think it’s become a learned behavior that she is unconscious about. There was once a squirrel up in the big tree towering above her kennel outside. She barked up at it, logically. Unfortunately, now she barks up at that tree every time we put her in the kennel, regardless of any squirrel sightings. Does she associate being in the kennel with needing to bark up at the tree? Apparently so.

Are digital HD subchannels radio’s best-kept secret? Is it weird that one radio or television station is actually multiple stations?

Is there a general age break where the reference of something being bigger than a bread box no longer makes any sense? Maybe it has been replaced with, “Is it bigger than a video game console?” Of course, I have no idea if game consoles have a general size at this point, but I have seen pictures of people opening wrapped packages of the latest impossible-to-get hot item that have me thinking there might be.

Have you noticed how Cyndie’s photos have been more interesting than mine for the last few years? I am very lucky that she shares them for use on my blog.

Does it matter if I don’t offer answers to all the questions I am bringing up? Can you tell when my posts run a little long? Who’s counting words, anyway? It’s all about how long it takes to read, not how many words there are. You just skim the sentences like a speed reader after all, don’t you? What words catch your eye enough to slow you down and really read a full paragraph?

Without knowing any of the answers, it still just boils down to the question that started it all, do you know who taught you how to love?

I heard the question in a song.

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Written by johnwhays

November 18, 2021 at 7:00 am

Mouse House

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If you have ever heard anyone who owns a log home say their place is sealed tight against rodent intrusion, feel free to question their grip on reality. We could crawl around our foundation day and night, scale the walls to inspect every inch around the soffits, and climb to the peak of our stone chimney and still, I wouldn’t think we’d identified every teeny space of potential access.

We are well into the season of incoming mice and Pequenita is only doing her bare minimum to fatally “play” with the surprise toys. The other night it was hour after hour of romping around our bedroom floor, talking to her latest playmate while Cyndie and I feigned solid sleep in maximum avoidance mode. I was just sleepily aware enough in the morning to only step partway onto the cold, dead remains before catching myself and stopping.

Two nights ago, just after lights out in the bedroom, some busy rodent started making its presence known with repetitive scratching/chewing in the attic space above our ceiling.

Last night, as Cyndie was working on her laptop at the dining room table, something fell from one of the log beams in the ceiling by the front sunroom. It was a mouse.

From my position in the bathroom shower at the time, I heard muffled stomping and banging that instantly had me wondering what in the heck could be going on out there. Then, the sound of Cyndie saying something affectionate to Delilah. I assumed they were engaged in an energized activity to drain some dog energy before the end of the day.

Soon after, Cyndie pops in to announce, “I have a story for you.”

She grabbed a fly swatter and garbage bin that were right there and tried to capture the mouse. Delilah noticed what was going on and jumped up to help. It was Delilah who caught the mouse. Then, our canine carnivore wasted no time in consuming her prize before Cyndie had even a second to decide what to do about it.

I think that was the moment I heard Cyndie offering the dog a kind word.

After my shower, I came into the bedroom to find our cat contentedly curled up on the dog bed, clueless about being one-upped by the dog in the mouse control department.

Cyndie has contacted our pest control service again. “No, it’s not another woodchuck. Nope, not a nest of bees in the ground. Uh uh, not raccoons again. Not bats. Not this time, anyway. Now it’s just a plain old mouse problem.”

They won’t need directions to our house.

Is there such a thing as kevlar shrink wrap? If it came in a wood grain pattern, that would be cool. Just cover our whole house like the blue stuff they stretch over boats to winterize them.

You’d think the multiple prowling neighbor cats would do a better job of controlling the mouse population around here. Come to think of it, that could be increasing the incentive for mice to find new ways inside.

I’m sure pest control will be happy to invoice extensive time and effort to de-mouse our log house.

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Written by johnwhays

November 4, 2021 at 6:00 am