The Pinch of Winter

Good morning everyone.
My journal entry for today will to be “Cold, Cold, and Dry.”

The moon’s almost full but sadly gives us no warmth. The thermometer reads -27 C at 5:30 am. I woke up early from a silly dream, so decided to get up and feed the cats, finish addressing Christmas cards, and now check out internet world.

The first thing I discovered is that we have no water. Not a drop from our taps. We get our water from a local well, so did the pump freeze up? Is it afflicted with some mechanical failure? I doubt the water line has frozen overnight; that hasn’t happened yet and it’s been colder than this.

Have you ever been without water for some reason? One of the first things I notice is that I get really thirsty. I suddenly want to drink lots. Good thing we always keep a Brita-filtered pitcher of water in the fridge so I can accommodate my thirst. And a Keurig machine to supply my coffee — or hot chicken broth — needs.

It doesn’t help that I have a cold and sore throat. Brought on by my own carelessness, I’m afraid. I’ve had a jigsaw puzzle around for awhile; it’s been at my workplace for a long time and I wanted to do it here at home before passing it on. The picture on the box is really nice, a restaurant-front in some Latin land, with attractive big blue doors and a flowering vine draping over. But the puzzle, when I started it Sunday afternoon, proved to be really difficult. By bedtime we barely had the frame and part of the doors together.

I didn’t smell anything while working on it, but yesterday morning I woke up with sinus trouble and a sore throat, my usual reaction to something that carries a bit of mustiness. Slowly I’m learning that I have to be really careful and air out books, papers, fabrics, anything that could be musty. Fresh air is good for almost everything.

I set it outside awhile yesterday morning and worked on it a bit longer, but it was giving me no pleasure so I tossed it. If I were getting paid by the hour, that would be another matter, but life is too short to spend hours on a pastime project I’m not really enjoying.

So I’d best get prepared to face the day now. Unless the pump problem is fixed pronto, we’ll have to fetch water from somewhere — maybe intrude on our children’s routine.

a pale cold moon
over the frigid prairie
chicken soup morning

A Scrooge-Like Compassion

Today’s Ragtag Prompt word is CHARITABLE

There are many people who’s hearts are touched by compassion, who are kind and willing to share when they see a need, and I’m thankful for them all. Unfortunately this trait rarely extends to the animal kingdom. Their policy tends to be, “Me and mine and that’s IT!”

Our poor Angus is nursing a gash on his left cheek because another cat dared to come over and sit on our step — and needed to be taught that such liberties aren’t allowed. Over the past few years he’s had various abscesses that needed doctoring and has notches on one ear — all of which came about during another “physical removal operation.”

I’ve had opportunity in the past to see Angus display the charity of Ebeneezer Scrooge. That crotchety character, when asked for a donation for folks who needed food and shelter during the winter, suggested the poor house. When told that some folks would rather die than spend their days in the poor house, Scrooge mercilessly replied, “If they’re going to die, then let them get on with it. There’ll be less needy people.”

Angus has a nice warm house to live in and lots of food, but he isn’t at all sympathetic to another cat who’d wish for the same. He has come to accept Pookie, who wandered in about five years ago, but should he lay eyes on another cat anywhere near our house now, he communicates his message loud and clear: “What’s here is all ours but YOU, wretch, are not getting ANYTHING. Now beat it!”

Here’s a little poem I wrote once about the subject.

Border Confrontations

Two tomcats meet on my fence;
in a fanfaronade of frizzled fur
they dispute who owns this particular
property. Tails lash, eyes flash fire
as they hash it out – militants
defending self-defined borders,
crouched to spring or flee.
After prolonged discussion one
bows to superior yowl power,
cedes territory grudgingly.
You silly cats! I own this place.
But neither one asks my opinion.

😦

From my book, Silver Morning Song

A Bit of Ruckus

Ragtag Daily Prompt word: EXCITEMENT

Cat & Mouse quote.pexels.jpg

When I saw the above image at Pixabay it took me back to a time when we lived in an old two-storey farm house and had several cats in residence. Having pets in the house does give some excitement now and then, like the morning our black sort-of-Siamese Angus came in from outside, walked into the office, and set a dead gopher right beside my chair. “See what I’ve brought you for breakfast!”

Anyway, back to the farmhouse. My husband was working so I was alone and still asleep. Somewhere about the first light of dawn a strange noise made itself heard through my dream. Half-asleep, I got the impression of someone running down the hall, or maybe heavy footsteps on the stairs. Or was it someone knocking on the bedroom door? But who? Why?

There’d be this thump, thump, thump, followed by a pause, then another thump thump thump thump. I opened an eye, expecting to see someone come running into the room. I held my breath, listening. Thump thump thump…pause…thump thump. I summoned all my courage, sat up and flicked on the light.

Glowing eyes peered up at me from the floor. Our cat, with a mouse tail under its paw. Mouse made a mad dash for freedom and…thump thump thump. The carpet was a type of indoor-outdoor, not firmly attached, so each time the cat pounced its claws went into the fiber… and when he pulled them out again, there’d be this “thump.” So he’d thump thump thump around on the floor, then pause to verify where the mouse was.

Wide awake now, I envisioned the mouse making it to the covers and climbing into bed with me. So I headed for the bedroom door on tiptoes, careful to avoid both parties in this conflict, and left them to it.

Nothing like starting the day off with a mysterious noise and a mouse running around the room.

When Night Comes Down

The Word of the Day challenge for today is TWILIGHT.
I’m going to respond with this thought provoking verse by Edgar Guest:

NIGHT

When night comes down
to the busy town
and the toilers stir no more,
then who knows which
is the poor or rich
of the day which went before?

When dreams sweep in
through the traffic’s din
for the weary minds of men,
though we all can say
who is rich by day,
who can name us the rich man then?

It is only awake
the proud may take
much joy from the stuff they own,
for the night may keep
her gifts of sleep
for the humblest mortal known.

By day held fast
to creed and caste,
men are sinner and saint and clown.
But who can tell
where the glad hearts dwell
when the dreams come drifting down?

.
From his book, Collected Verse of Edgar A Guest
© 1934 by The Reilly & Lee Company

Constable About

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was MICROCOSM

This is a word I’ve never really understood and never used—I find it hard enough to spell — but I dutifully checked it and came up with “a miniature representation” of a greater thing, “a little world” unto itself that typifies a greater society, or  “a community or other unity that is an epitome of a larger one.” (The last being from Merriam-Webster.)

I suppose you could say that “Amazon authors are a microcosm of writers the world over.” And I hope I’m using it rightly in the following example.

I’ve started reading another of Nicholas Rhea’s “Constable” books. I read this delightful series twenty years ago, when Bob’s mom lived with us. I borrowed them for her, along with the Miss Read books, from the local library. Simple fiction stories divided into cases or incidents, replete with amusing, mild and friendly characters, though some are a trial to the poor constable and his colleagues.

The Yorkshire village where Constable Nick Rhea lived and worked was a microcosm of village life in counties all across England in the 40s and 50s. There are a number of books in this series, which, I understand, was made into a British TV series in the 60s:
Constable Goes to Market
Constable on the Prowl
Constable Over the Style
Constable Versus Greengrass (An amiable “opportunist”, poacher & general layabout)
Constable at the Dam
Constable Under the Gooseberry Bush
And more

Prize-winning gooseberry bushes that must be protected feature first in the Constable in the Dale book I’m reading now. This is followed by the vicar’s successful, if sometimes embarrassing, porker-producing enterprise starring the lovely “White Lily.”

If you like a touch of rural England that’s both nostalgic and a great picture of human nature, do check out these books. I’m delighted to discover that the e-book versions are all free on Kindle Unlimited.

The Travels of Two Fleas

Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is PONDER
Word of the Day challenge is ZERO
Daily Addictions prompt word: TROPICAL

And here’s my response, a just-for-fun tale…

THE TRAVELS OF TWO FLEAS

Two fleas went hopping on a mat,
having disembarked the cat
to have a moment out-of-fur
and once escape that thunderous purr.

Their tropical resort gets hot,
with itchy dandruff and whatnot;
sometimes they hunger for fresh air,
to see the world outside that hair,
so they opt for a walkabout.
The mat gives them a good workout.

Some minutes pass; their wandering zeal
is quenched by urge to have a meal
and so they seek their host again —
but puss has moved along by then
which leaves them with an unfilled yen.

And worse! The housekeeper now sees,
has zero tolerance for fleas,
so scoops the mat up from the floor
and shakes it harshly out the door.
They tumble off into the grass
and land together in a mass.

They sort themselves and find some shade
behind the thickest grassy blade
to soothe their bruised elbows and knees
and ponder life’s uncertainties.
So now two fleas hide in the grass
in hopes that some new host will pass.