Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category


Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

More Owlet

Originally uploaded by Allen Gathman.

We have owlets in our porch. This hole in the porch post has been inhabited over the years by bees, starlings, maybe squirrels, but this year it’s a family of Eastern Screech Owls (Otus asio).

They’re very cute. At night the mother flies up a couple of times a minute with some tidbit for baby — I’m guessing bugs, and I heartily encourage them to eat those up. The mother is maybe 8 inches tall, and the hole is around 3″ in diameter — not big.

This post is just outside the windows in the hallway. Every time I walk by in the evening there’s a cat on the table by one window and a cat on the stool by the other one, rapt. It’s better than Tivo, apparently.

Considering the baby snake Sophie almost stepped on in the living room doorway the other night, it’s like living in frigging Wild Kingdom here.

We’re Baaaack!

Monday, June 30th, 2008

548.66 miles later, we made it back to the car yesterday afternoon about 5:30, after fighting a 15-20 mph headwind the entire way from Manitowoc to Green Bay.  Cabell has started uploading pics, and we’ll be setting up a pool on Flickr with both of our pics in it.

I’ve lacked web access most of the trip, so I’ll be doing a day-by-day recap with photos after I get home.  Right now I’m at Cabell’s apartment in Madison, trying to blog while Izzy jumps on me, and waiting for it to be late enough to reasonably wake Cabell so we can go to breakfast.

Just a quick plug here — we’d never have made it without Patrick’s early morning rescue mission to swap my wheels and get me some new tires at the last possible minute.  Once again, Cape Bicycle comes through in a pinch.

Legba’s Amazing Adventure

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

This morning the alarm went off at 5 AM as usual, and I got out of bed griping about how damn cold it was. The heat was on, too. I looked over at the outside door, and it was standing wide open.

A quick look around the room. The dog was sleeping on the couch. Darwin and Finch were on top of the bookshelves. Legba…


This is Cabell’s giant neurotic cat, who as far as I know has never been outside in his life. Not good. So, I went out into the light rain and 45 degree temps and started calling the cat. Not that he’s likely to come to me, especially when he’s already freaked out. So I went back in and told Robin, and the two of us starting hunting for him.

Robin went out the south door and started calling. I went out the west door, onto the porch. Suddenly there was a striped blur going by toward the north end of the house. I found Robin, and she went around to the east side, while I wandered around the north end of the house calling. Pretty soon Robin called me, because she’d found him in the furnace room (it has a cat door so that Gurgi can get in there), and got him back inside.

Twenty minutes later I was getting ready for work and Legba was yowling at me because I wasn’t petting him enough. He seems to be over the trauma.

Don’t worry, Cabell, we’re actually responsible parents. Your childhood experiences notwithstanding.

Cabell is very disappointed in me

Monday, August 27th, 2007

This morning our friend Dillon came by to pick up Cabell’s stuff to drive it up to Madison for her. Including her cats. We’ve had Cabell’s three cats living in our basement (to avoid conflict with our three cats, living upstairs) all summer. I was looking forward to getting them back to their mommy. However, we should have planned it a bit better. This morning, Robin left for work, and I went downstairs. The cats were milling around meowing for breakfast as always. I figured that this would be the time to get them into the carriers. So, I picked up a carrier and opened the door.

Of course, anyone with cats knows what I saw when I turned around. Disappearing cat tails. I went back upstairs and did other stuff for 15 minutes, then came back down. Two of the cats, Pandora and Bart, were back at the food dishes, and it took only a few minutes to get them into the open carriers. Legba, on the other hand, was lurking in the depths of the basement somewhere.

I waited another half hour, then went down and put food in a bowl and sat by it. Legba stuck his head out of a stack of lumber, but that was it. After a while I went over to him with the bowl and rattled it invitingly. After much coaxing, he finally came out and approached the bowl. I reached out to pick him up.

Devotees of Terry Pratchett will know what I mean if I say that this is like trying to catch Greebo* and put him in a cat carrier. For the rest of you, just imagine you’re picking up a friend’s pet bobcat. This is a BIG cat, and it’s all muscle. And he doesn’t like being picked up at the best of times.

In retrospect, this job should have gone to someone not taking blood thinners. I got most of the blood off the basement floor, although the shorts I was wearing aren’t ever going to be the same. Meanwhile, Dillon has come and gone, and Legba will be residing with us a while longer.

*He’s really just an old softy.

Another milestone

Sunday, August 26th, 2007

Today I went for a 15-mile ride, the longest since I got out of the hospital.   I rode up highway C to just past the Perry County line, and I felt like I could have kept going indefinitely.  That is, if I’d had some food and Gatorade with me.  There isn’t anyplace to buy any on highway C, at least until Altenburg.  And even then I doubt there’s anything open on Sunday morning.  In any case, I’m committed to taking this one small step at a time, so I’ll be keeping it under 20 miles a day for another week.

Meanwhile, in a display of optimism, I’ve ordered parts for my new bike.  It’s a Surly Long Haul Trucker.  The frame is built for touring.  Steel alloy so it’s springy and comfortable.  High stem so you’re more upright.  Braze-ons to attach every conceivable kind of pannier, rack, fender, etc. and for three bottle cages.  I plan for this to be my commuting bike as well, so it should get a lot of use pretty soon.  I can hardly wait.

Meanwhile, I just rented a van so that our friend Dillon can drive Cabell’s stuff and cats up to Madison, then drive Sophie and her stuff from St. Paul down to here.  I’ve loaded the van with Cabell’s stuff, all but the cats.  They’ll go in carriers as far to the back as possible, so that Dillon can turn up the radio and ignore their pitiful cries.  Mainly Pandora’s, that is.  The others give up and sleep, but she can wail for eight hours straight.

And in a final upbeat note, yesterday was the first time in a month that the high temp was below 90, and today looks likely to be relatively cool as well.  I was getting really tired of near-100 degree days.

By popular demand, the MO2NO Squirrel

Monday, August 13th, 2007

Fine, fine.  It’s always something with you people.  Here is the plastic lawn squirrel:

And here, just as lagniappe, the MO2NO squirrel with Finch.

Random stuff

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

No single really bloggable event has occurred recently, so this is just a collection of snippets.  This is the first week of classes for me, and that’s going okay; in particular, my first Science and Religion class with Bob Towner team-teaching seemed very promising.  He’s  pastor of the local Episcopal church, and teaches a few classes for Philosophy and Religion.  We get along well, and our viewpoints are different enough that it sparks some interesting discussion.  The students seemed mostly willing to talk as well.

It’s now 30 days from the anniversary of buying my new bike, and I have 110 miles left to hit 5000 for the year.   This isn’t counting the 16.5 miles that I’ll ride this afternoon to get home.  Looks like I will make 5000 with a fair amount to spare, as I’ve averaged 160 miles a week since March.  Tuesday I rode to work and back, and also went for a ride in the middle of the day with Tom Farden, the gymnastics coach.  I can keep up with him, more or less, although he clearly is easing up sometimes for the sake of the old guy.

Betsy is determined to die by Labor Day, although I don’t know that it’s that easy.  She is getting weaker daily, and she’s in considerable pain.  They have liquid morphine for her, and she’s been taking a lot of it.  I went to see her yesterday and she really wasn’t lucid at all.  She hasn’t been eating or drinking much, so she’s losing weight.

The cats are going through some kind of power struggle.  Bart and Dora have been coming upstairs a lot more lately, and Bart is apparently trying to establish dominance over Finch and Darwin.  He practically knocked Finch off the top of the bookshelves in our bedroom yesterday.   Legba is the only one whose behavior remains consistent.  I see him most mornings on top of the heating ducts in the basement, just before he panics and hides in the laundry room.

I’m driving Hannah to St. Louis tonight — she’s going to spend the night in the hotel across the road from the airport, so she can catch her plane early tomorrow morning.  Back to Boston, where she has to be early so she can help new freshmen move in.

My house is infested with cats.

Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Gurgi:  15-year-old tabby male.  He’s the only one who gets to go outside.  Right now he’s coming in for five minutes, eating, and meowing to go out again so he can get away from all the other cats.

Cleo: 16-year-old black and white female.  She’s psychotic at the best of times.  Now she hides under stuff mostly.

Darwin: 4-month-old black and white female.  She’s having a great time.  Tonight she was eating Cabell’s cats’ food in the basement.  She and her sister Finch are, as usual, rampaging up and down the hallway and annoying the other cats.

Finch: Darwin’s litter mate (I think), an orange tabby with white areas.  She’s quieter than Darwin, but I think mainly to be sneaky.  She likes Gurgi and Bart (see below), which she shows by following them around and sniffing their butts and getting snarled at.

Bart: Cabell’s big gray male cat.  He’s very chummy and likes to roll on the floor so you can rub his belly.

Pandora:  Cabell’s tortoiseshell, somewhat chubby, female.  She comes out occasionally and wants to be petted.  Most of the time she lurks, like in the dish cabinets.

Legba:  Cabell’s tabby male cat.  I’ve seen him twice in the week he’s been here.  Yesterday morning he was hiding behind some shelves in the basement.  When I see him his eyes glow like mirrors.

There could be more.  Who knows?  You can’t see half of them anyway.

Cat update, and a bike ride

Sunday, August 13th, 2006

First of all, all cats are now accounted for, and none are located in the heating ducts. I went downstairs this morning early and was calling into the open duct for Legba, and heard noises behind me. When I investigated, there he was hiding behind a stack of roll-up maps*. Of course, this afternoon Robin appears to have made the executive decision to open the basement door, so Cabell’s cats are now loose somewhere in the house, along with ours. I don’t hear any violence, so I guess it’s okay.

Today I drove the bike down to Patton, MO, where I started a bike ride.

The starting point, on highway A just sw of Patton.


From there, I headed for Marquand. I’d never been there before, although the name is familiar from hearing about high school sports of some kind. Turns out that the 9 miles to Marquand are pretty much of a roller coaster, but the country is very pretty — a lot of it is in the Mark Twain National Forest. The private property along the way gives the impression not so much of wealth as of thrift; lawns are well-kept, houses neatly painted, gardens cared for well. Here’s my welcom to Marquand:

This appears to be Yosemite Sam in a Confederate uniform, a connection I’d never made. Anyway, it’s a pretty town. On the other side is the Castor River.

From Marquand, you pick up highway D, which winds southeast down to Grassy, MO. There you get on highway H. The other roads had really nice pavement; H is very rough and pebbly. I took H to FF, another pebbly road, and from there got on 51 north to Marble Hill. Marble Hill is the home of the Bollinger County Museum of Natural History. I rode up the really steep hill to it, only to find the sign saying it’s open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoons. Not Sunday. However, the same door also had a sign saying “OPEN”, and when I tried the door it was unlocked. So I went inside and checked it out. There was nobody there. The gift shop was open, with merchandise sitting around. The big donations jar, half full of money, was sitting out on the reception desk. I think they didn’t mean to leave the door open. I decided it was a bad idea to be wandering around there, so I slipped out again, after taking a few pics.

Apparently they’ve found some dinosaur fossils in Bollinger county. This is a display of how you prepare dino bones.

Anyway, from Marble Hill, I toook 34 northeast a couple of miles (too much traffic), then B to Scopus. From Scopus, M to state highway 51, and 51 back up to A outside Patton. Total mileage: 60 almost exactly.

*I got carried away at the University’s surplus auction one time and came home with about 50 of those maps that hang over the blackboard and roll up like window shades. Hey, we live in a schoolhouse.

Cabell flies away; Betsy is impossible to live with

Saturday, August 12th, 2006

So I took Cabell to the airport this morning, and apparently she got to her plane okay.  I think that delays aren’t so bad now that most people know that they can’t have liquids in their carry-on luggage.

When I got back it was early afternoon, so I continued on to Cape and stopped in to see Betsy.  June took the opportunity to go out and do some shopping — i.e. to get away from Betsy.  Betsy’s driving her nuts.  She spent most of the time while June was out complaining to me about how June does basically everything wrong, such as putting things in the wrong places, etc., etc.  I did point out that June is the only reason she’s able to live in her apartment instead of the hospital, but she doesn’t seem to see that as sufficient reason to learn to deal with having another person in her home.  Aaargh.

Oh, and Legba and probably Pandora are both in the heating ducts somewhere.  I’m hoping they’ll come out at night.  I’m leaving the lights on in the basement so they can find their way.