Thursday, February 21, 2019

is this day real?

If animal life, sweet sibs, youthful innocence, etc etc are not your thing, read no more! This post is saturated with all of that.

Do you have the kinds of dreams where you are sure that it is a dream because it does not comport with reality and still, you toddle along because you don't quite want to let go of the story line and are curious how it might end, despite the fact that it is, after all a dream?

In the wee hours of the morning, I dreamed that a test revealed that I was pregnant. Still dreaming, I said to Ed -- that cannot be, but here you have it! Must be a dream!

Believe me, it was a dream.

The morning is beautiful! Sunshine! Just below freezing, but with that gorgeous cover of a fresh  snowfall.

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I go out to feed the animals. Stop Sign hasn't returned yet. Gone a whole 24 hours. Where is she? I'm not worried. She has been able to fend for herself for a long time now. But Dance is concerned. I can't speak her language, but she is significantly more cautious when I come into the garage. She is hungry...

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... but when I fill her bowl, she wolfs down just a few mouthfuls, then retreats.

I go out, feed the cheepers, and call for Stop Sign. Loudly. Repeatedly. And I am much relieved to see her coming from whatever far away place she had been to!

Great exuberance on Dance's part! She returns to the food bowl, but mommy pushes her gently away."I'm more hungry. I need to eat first."

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She takes a few bites, then retreats and lets Dance continue.

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Happiness is having mommy back.

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With a smile on my face, I fix breakfast (because of course, there is breakfast...)

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Ed and I talk about strategies for keeping the animals safe. I put out some shiny stuff by the garage to deter hawks, but neither of us feels confident: the cats do roam outside of the garage. Sometimes beyond the property line. Even at a tender age, Dance knew enough to run far and be gone a few days after the garage massacre.

Ed brings up some more info about hawk deterrence.
Hey, listen to this! American crows protect birds and small pets from predators! They swoop down on the hawks and chase them away. You can encourage crows to hang around your property -- here are some tips. (He reads off suggestions about foods, roosts and stuff that actually seems a bit contrived.)
If you put all that out, you'll attract a lot more than just crows.
Ed laughs -- it's like that song about the old lady who swallowed a fly! One thing leads to another and soon you'll have killed off everyone!

We put away thoughts of encouraging crows.

So that's today's animal story?

No, not finished yet.

I glance out and see Whiskers, licking his paws by the writer's shed.

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We think he's been raiding the other kitties leftover foods. It's not that we don't like having him here -- quite the contrary. He's so beautiful and, too, he may be offputing to hawks with his massive presence! (And if he is a Maine Coon, then his disposition is admirable: friendly and smart; a people pleaser.) Still, we're not sure how best to help these ferals eat.

Should we try giving him his own food by the shed?

Yes, that works.

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As Whiskers eats, Stop Sign perks up.  She gets up and starts heading out. What's going on, girl? Do you sense the presence of Whiskers?

She ignores him and keeps going. Toward the road. It's one of her two typical routes, so we don't pay much attention. She seems to be roaming a bunch these days.

But hold on to your hat, Hannah! Ten minutes later she is back. And who should be trailing after her if not Jacket, the second little kitten!

Everyone is pawing everyone else! Reunion supreme!

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Jacket is one hungry little guy!

(Stop Sign comes over to the farmhouse door -- her old way of asking "um, can we have some more food?")

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So what the hell happened??

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All my grieving, who was it for??

Digression: I am at the very end of a mystery novel. I cannot wait to read the last few pages, but so far, the morning has been devoted to animal discussions and one conversation with the Social Security Administration. Really, no time for anything else! In that mystery novel, Monsieur le Commissaire has this habit of writing in his little Clairefontaine notebook all the facts surrounding a case. Eventually, it allows him to reach sensible conclusions.

What are the facts surrounding our apparent murders in the garage?

Well, in January, a hawk did kill Cupcake. That's a fact. We picked up her body and chased away the bird.
We locked up the chickens.
Stop Sign brought her two kittens (less than a month old by our estimate) to the garage.
In the course of the next two weeks I heard a big bird fly out of the garage.
And then, a week ago, all the cats disappeared and we found a sizeable pool of blood, with some tuft, resembling cat fur and a feather. There is no blood outside the garage.
Stop Sign came back after a day and spent the day listlessly laying down on the cardboard where they once hung out. She wailed, she ate little.
Three days later, Dance showed up. A happy reunion followed.
Five days later, Stop Sign heads out, listens carefully, and comes back with Jacket.

So who was murdered, or at least badly butchered on the garage floor? Ed's guessing a squirrel, caught by a hawk. But why in the garage?

I suggest that Whiskers and Stop Sign had a fight but honestly the two seem indifferent to each other and neither seems injured. And there is a lot of blood.

I have no answers. Just four cats that are grateful for food during this cold and snowy winter.

But I must say, it feels like a dream. I could not shake the belief that I am close to waking up. We were so sure that the little guys were the victims of a brutal attack. Were they? If not, who got killed??

We have been so consumed by all this that I insist we clear our heads and go out skiing.

(A squirrel keeps to the track, Ed follows.)

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I needed that!

And of course, in the afternoon, Ms Distraction herself comes over and so I switch my attention from animals to pretend play.

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(Her toy breaks. Ed takes out his pocket tool kit to fix it. She is fascinated by all the sharp and in my view terribly dangerous parts.)

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Toy fixed.

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(I get her ready for gym. In waiting for her dad, she runs non stop. That she still has energy for gym is nothing short of amazing.)

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So this is our day. A beautiful one, if slightly unreal. More than slightly unreal. Completely unbelievable. Except -- I never did wake up, so there you have it: the real deal.