Monday, September 21, 2009

Around Here Last Week [the nicely edited version.]

Marbled Salamander.

[photo from the web by John D. Wilson]

My neighbor, who has lived in Wyoming for her lifetime, tells me that these creatures are locally called "mud puppies." They are amphibians, probably dwelling in our pond, but this is the time of year when they venture out in the cool of the evening and make little forays on land. With J. doing limited hops between bed/bath and his seat in front of the TV, I have to remember to shut up the garage last thing at night. It was 10:30 p.m. Thursday when I went into the garage. Near the door was a salamander who looked very like this. I didn't want to put on gloves and carry it out into the night, was too lazy to fetch my camera. I put a clean cat litter pan over the sally, thinking to deal with it in the morning. Come morning it had slipped away, perhaps slithered under one of the doors and crawled back to the pond. Strangely, our son-in-law announced the next day that he found one in his cistern. Since the cistern is only uncovered during fill-ups, we can wonder how the salamander came to be there. Can we imagine that it spilled into the water tank from the "village pump?" Did it plop into the cistern in a moment when M.'s back was turned? No, I didn't carry it up the hill, wrench off the cistern cover and deposit it within for a joke.

A recent sunset. Everything below the skyline has blended into black against the fading red glow behind the mountains.

The view from the west porch this morning at 8:30 a.m. In case you're wondering, that really is snow on the foothills! The wind came up last evening and when I pulled the curtains shut for the night I saw raindrops on the glass. The house was cool this morning and the cats were piled on the foot of the bed. I opened the curtains on the south facing windows first. Gazing toward the pond I could tell that fall has arrived--the leaves are still green, but even from inside the house there was a perceptible change. When I saw the snow, I thought of outside winterizing which "wants done"--and which J cannot do on crutches. I tried not to think of the winter ahead. The change of season is right in sync with the calendar page--the autumnal equinox tomorrow.

The rescue kittens are now a year old. The vet considered them to be about 8 weeks old when I brought them home at the end of October last year. That is Jemima on the left and Chester on the right. Chester celebrated his cathood on Friday by getting out the porch door and spending the next 48 hours--somewhere--outside. The storm/screen door has one of those spring-things which doesn't work properly and it had gone into warp mode after I wrestled in a chair from the cabin. [An old upholstered desk chair with wheels which I thought might be an option for J. The chair was heavier than I remembered and dragging it over the rough ground between cabin and house proved a tiresome chore!]

Chester's dad, Charlie, and Raisin, also took advantage of the partially opened door to have a walk about while I was at work. J. saw them and managed to hobble to the door and call them. Charlie and Raisin obliged by returning, while Chester, true to his anxious nature, skittered off. We left the window open in this small room, keeping the door closed to the rest of the house. I crawled along the edge of the porch in the dry stubble trying to see beneath. I went to the cabin and peered into the dim crawl space. I slept in here [or tried to!] getting up hourly to poke my head outside and call the wretched cat. His sister prowled the house, crying and pleading with me to produce him. At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday he plopped through the window. When I had stumbled groggily to close it, he flung himself on me with purrs and small mewings. I let the other cats into the room. Mrs. Beasley snarled at him ungraciously. Jemima sniffed him from whiskers to tail and said that he smelled "funny." As I lifted him to my shoulder I took a whiff of his fur--dead grass, dried leaves, dust.

The truck from the raspberry farm has been in town twice this week. The farm is about 40 miles from here. We usually go at least once during the season to pick berries. It is pricey to buy them by the flat, but that's the only way we'll have them this year.


  1. Jemima and Chester are beautiful ... I cant sleep if some one is out all night but if it were one that escaped ...I'd be sitting and calling all night.
    The night and day shots from the same place are brillint.

    Cats do let you know when the temp drops ...they huddle together and their fur fluffs up.

    Yet another enjoyable post. Hope J's leg is better soon ...for your sake lol

  2. How clever of you, Angie--I hadn't noticed that I placed the night and day shots from the porch in sequence--I always get muddled trying to do the upload arrangement of photos. Thank you for admiring Chester and Jemima. J. pointed out today that Jemima has become an enthusiastic "greeter". He noticed that she heard my car drive in after work and immediately headed for the entry. I think some of the greeting routine is inspired by catly thoughts of afternoon "tea." One can't say "tea" without a feline throng heading for the kitchen.

  3. Those two kittens are gorgeous. The old fashioned Siamese. My last cat was the same kind and he was the best of all the cats we've had.

  4. Chris, would you beleive that the parents of the kittens have long hair? We took them in as well when their time at the shelter ran out. All 8 [!] of our current cats are some variation of Siamese--there seem to be many cross-breeds in this area. This particular family of cats aren't very bright--so good thing they are pretty!