No Encroaching Here!

The Ragtag Daily Prompt for today is ENCROACH

To me this is such an old-fashioned sounding word, like something Chaucer or Shakespeare might have used. Like the branches of Burnham wood slowly encroaching on Macbeth’s castle. Anyone remember that scene?

According to my book of word meanings, encroach and crochet have a common root. To encroach on something is to try snagging the thing, or attempt to catch it with a hook, coming from the French word, encrochier : “to seize with a hook.” Even more interesting, the French borrowed the root word “croc” from the Norwegian krokr, meaning hook – the word that has streamed off into the English crook, someone who snatches things wrongfully.

We got a little demonstration of encroachment yesterday afternoon. I’ve been feeding a stray cat that somehow landed on this property at some point in spring and likely found a safe place to stay in one of the farm buildings next door. He’s very timid – in fact that’s what I’ve named him. Since he doesn’t belong to the neighbours, they don’t include him when they put out food for their several tame farm cats. So, since I have a soft heart for cats, I’ve been feeding him all fall.

Yesterday one of the neighbour’s cats, a pretty calico, wandered over to our yard and happened to be near the garage when I set out a bowl of food for Timid. The calico took a notion that she could encroach on his food dish. He didn’t attack her, but expressed his displeasure quite sternly. No encroaching of any kind tolerated here!

Image by ArtTower — Pixabay

Had she reached out a claw and snagged some of his food, the calico would have been encroaching in the true sense of the word. Doesn’t work very well with dry cat food, though.

We’ve enjoyed a long mild fall with almost no snow, in fact last week was delightfully mild for this time of year. It has worked so far to feed the stray. But a cold wind is blowing from the northwest today and the temp is dropping steadily, so I suppose we won’t see so much of Timid once winter really settles in. Hopefully the mice around wherever he shelters are well fattened.

Scintillas of News & Views

I don’t know how it can possibly be July already, but want to wish my fellow Canadians a Happy Canada Day.

Awhile back I used the word MODICUM and it was so well received that I thought today I’d do one of its synonyms: SCINTILLA.

The thesaurus gives this list of alternatives:
atom, bit, crumb, dab, dash, grain, mite, morsel, nit, particle, shade, shadow, shred, smidgen, speck, tad, trace

It’s an old word, according to Merriam-Webster, first used in English in 1661 – the same year the word PUNDIT appeared. This was originally the Hindi word PANDIT, a pandit being a learned and highly respected teacher or leader in India. The word when first introduced into English, referred specifically to these men, but gradually came to be applied to other sages and scholars. However, it’s been given a sarcastic twist in modern days, now referring to a know-it-all who voices his opinion boldly and often at length.

Anyway, here are some scintillas, smidgens or shreds of detail about this past month at our house:

I’m afraid the month of June passed with a minimum of accomplishment by me. I’ve kept basins of water filled for the birds so that’s a twice-a-day thing, and now I’m watering my planters frequently. Today it’s like a blast oven outside; a hot dry wind is attempting to dessicate this land and its inhabitants.

I’ve done next to no writing. I’ve simply lost interest in blogging – and I don’t know why. I’m hoping you other bloggers, busy as you all are, will understand. I’ve been trying to get a few paintings finished with the thought of having a little art show and sale one of these days, but have abandoned my artwork this week as well.

On Monday something rather amazing happened: I got the urge to sew. For me that’s almost a miracle – I haven’t wanted to even look at my sewing machine for a couple of years! So, while the mood’s upon me, I cut out and worked on a dress, also am finishing a couple of other dresses I started (blush) several years ago. Since hemlines have changed drastically around here in the past few years, I’ve had to take out the hem I’d made when styles were quite long, and chop off two inches. We’re going on a week-long trip to visit friends in Quebec where we used to live, so a new dress or two will be nice. Our oldest granddaughter, who just got her driver’s license yesterday, plans to go with us.

We’ve had a few trips to the vet with our cats in the two week. Pookie had a sore on his side – likely caused by the claw of another cat – and it didn’t heal until we got antibiotics last week. But he’s been sick today and we’re wondering if the antibiotic has been too hard on his stomach.

Then last week one evening I let Angus out and he didn’t come home. Not that night nor all the next day; he still wasn’t back the next morning. The neighbour heard a serious cat fight in the night – a stray that showed up here, trying to survive. Angus doesn’t welcome visitors. He finally came limping home the 2nd morning on three legs. A bit of clean-up and antibiotics have put him on the road to better days, though he’ll be limping for awhile yet.

I could become a pundit and rant awhile about people who drop cats off on farms or villages thinking they’ll just settle in! We took Tuffy in last fall but he lacked survival skills; the two other fluffy black cats that showed up this spring haven’t fared well at all.

With regular cooks taking vacations or busy about the yard it’s harder to find casual cooks to do meals at the seniors’ residence. I did one meal in June and will prepare supper there tomorrow and Saturday dinner. I’m very thankful that I recovered so quickly from my surgery at the end of May and tried hard not to lift anything heavy that might cause my hernia to pop again. But my four weeks are up now. I see my surgeon next Monday and I think he’ll say I can resume normal activities.

Last week I borrowed a book from our e-library: The auto-biography of Sidney Poitier, titled The Measure of a Man. Haven’t read it all, but his childhood and youth are really interesting! I got curious last night and checked to see if he’s still living; he is, according to Wiki, and he is 94 years old.

And now I’d best get back to my sewing machine. Take care and have a great summer, everyone.


A humorous, familiar tale by Edgar Guest


Janet has a pair of rabbits just as white as winter’s snow
which she begged of me to purchase just a week or two ago.
She found the man who raised them and she took me over there
to show me all his bunnies, at a dollar for a pair,
and she pleaded to possess them so I looked at her and said:
“Will you promise every morning to make sure that they are fed?”

She promised she would love them and she promised she would see
they had lettuce leaves to nibble and were cared for tenderly.
And she looked at me astounded when I said, “I should regret
buying pretty bunnies for you if to feed them you’d forget.
Once there was a little fellow, just about as old as you
who forgot to feed the rabbits which he’d owned a week or two.”

“He forgot to feed his rabbits!” said my Janet in dismay.
“Yes,” I said, “as I remember, he’d go scampering off to play.
And his mother or his daddy later on would go to see
if his pretty little bunnies had been cared for properly,
and they’d shake their heads in sorrow and remark it seems too bad
that rabbits should belong to such a thoughtless little lad.”

“Who was the boy?” she asked me, and the truth to her I told,
“A little boy you’ve never seen who now is gray and old.
Some folks say you’re just like him,” but she looked at me and said:
“I won’t forget my bunnies! I’ll make sure that they are fed!”
And she bravely kept her promise for about a week or two,
but today I fed the rabbits, as I knew I’d have to do.


Image: Engin Akyurt — Pixabay

Remembering Tuffy

We have another beautiful day ahead of us. Our two older cats have been out exploring and just came in for breakfast.

A month since he left us, I’m remembering our little Tuffy on this beautiful spring morning that he would have loved.

such a small creature
such a big hole left
to catch all the rain

Just A Cat

As I wrote in my rambling post this morning, our dear little Tuffy is no longer with us, having been hit by a passing vehicle last night. Here’s another poet who lost a loved pet.

by James Allen

You’ve gone, old pal! No more I’ll hear
your deep contented purr,
nor will my fingers stoke again
your sleek and cosy fur.
No more my feet will stumble o’er
your friendly arching back–
that little trick you played so well
when begging for a snack.

Those trustful eyes so deep and wise
nor more shall gaze in mine;
no more I’ll watch your graceful tread
so lordly and benign.
No more upon the window sill
you’ll sit beside my chair,
to read with me the Daily Star
and show your wisdom rare.

I found a wisp of fur today
where once you laid your head;
‘twas near the spot you loved so well–
the bottom of my bed.
I miss you, little pal of mine,
and heavy is my heart,
for in a life of noise and strife
you played a kindly part.

Methinks I hear the cynics say,
“Aw, shucks, he’s just a cat!”
They do not know, these heedless ones,
a pet is just like that:
perhaps a horse you love to ride,
a dog or maybe two;
there’s something in that bond that makes
a richer man of you.

And so a thought I’d like to plant
amid the selfish din:
a love of pets and helpless things
would make the world akin.
To “Timo” then, I pen my ode
and hope – if I may dare –
that in the Happy Hunting Grounds
he’ll find good hunting there.

This is from an old clipping saved by Bob’s Mom. Other notes on the clipping speaks of Canada as “the Dominion of” so it does back a ways. Maybe even a long-lost relative of mine. 🙂

A Sad Day For Us

The loss of a small creature can leave a big hole.

Last Sunday our pastor mention at the start of his sermon that just about any verse of the Bible might generate a long and meaningful sermon. Which made me think of the shortest verse, “Jesus wept,” and how much ink has been expended on those two words.

“Why did Jesus weep,” scholars have asked. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus, so why did He join the mourners in their sorrow? Because that’s what He does, writers claim. He joins us in our sorrow.

There’s sorrow in our house today, as our beautiful, lovable kitten, Tuffy, was killed on the road last night. I’ve been weepy all morning, ever since our neighbour texted that they saw him lying there, because I know how much we will miss his lovable ways. I’m thankful for every day we were able to enjoy him.

About eight months old now, he came to us one night last November, a day after the big snowy weekend we’d had. When I let our other cat out early that morning, a little black nose and two black ears poked out of the cat shelter. Fearless and friendly, this small kitten scooted into the house and made himself to home. He’d obviously been someone’s loved pet, but he couldn’t have just wandered half a kilometer down a country road.

His lively antics and cuddle-ability made our COVID-restricted winter so much brighter. The grandchildren enjoyed his fun nature, too, whenever they came to visit. And once the weather turned warmer, he loved being outside. Though I worried about predators and wondered how much “street-smarts” he had, it would have been cruel to keep him in.

“The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” This was Job’s answer, after learning how he’d lost so much, including his ten children. He realized that he’d brought nothing into this world; everything he’d gained in life was a gift for him to enjoy while he was here but he could take nothing with him to the grave. Scripture tells us he never accused God or became bitter about his loss.

People do ask, “Why does God allow bad things to happen?” Why COVID, why cancer, why this and why that? We’re so inclined to lament the bad and forget all the good. “Why?” is frequently asked, but no answer comes except that this is life on planet Earth. Life is a rainbow: there’s health and sickness, joy and sorrow, winning and losing, life and death. And we cry because we love.

I could ask why God let Tuffy get hit when he was so precious to us? Why did God allow that vehicle to come down our road? (Our gravel country road gets so little traffic, especially now with the restrictions, and Tuffy seemed wary of noisy vehicles. So I rarely worried about the road being a danger.) Why did God allow that driver to get behind the wheel last night?

I could even go back to, “Why did God allow people to invent motors? Just think how many people have lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents.” What with the climate and running out of oil, etc., surely our world would be a better place if we walked or used horses. But the next time I want to go grocery shopping in town, I want the car.

The only answer I get is to enjoy the life we have, the conveniences we have, and take the risks that go along with it. My own life was saved because modern medicine has come up with an effective cure for leukemia. I could – should – ask, “Why do I have it so good?” or “How did God manage to bring Tuffy into our lives so we could enjoy his unique personality during a season when we most needed him?”

“The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.” Just think how many sermons and funeral messages have been preached about those few words. And because we know “Jesus wept” together with Mary and Martha about the loss of their brother, we know He sympathizes with us in our sorrows and loss, the huge ones and the little ones. He understands why I’m sad today.