Country Road

Don't Leave Those Kittens in the Road!

Do you ever find yourself taking a strange back road for no other reason than, because? Have you noticed when you do, you sometimes stumble across something unexpected that made you glad you took the road?

Something like this?

And this?

They were in  a little heap in the road (a fourth one lay dead off to the side). I didn't have a crate or box with me so I put them in my hat and took them to a safe, warm place - my friend Ann's house.

Ann is a cat-nut  so I figured I could pawn them off on her. Wrong. She has doctored and bathed them and now she must send them away as she is becoming too attached. Sigh. 

Tomorrow they come to stay with me and I have no clue what I'm going to do with them. What if I can't find someone to adopt them? I don't regret picking them up, I just don't want three cats. In fact, I don't want any cats.

It is a true dilemma. Surely someone out there is looking for a cat, maybe it's you...are you?
Country Road

The Wren ... Again

Pictured below is the hat I wear to protect my head from the sun. Usually. On top are the leather gloves that prevent my hands from getting pickers when I pull weeds. Normally. Both of these are out of order because....

I failed to take them inside despite knowing a Wren uses them for a nesting platform. Annually.   

The bars in the forefront belong to a trellis that should be holding up my climbing Sweet Peas. Rocking chairs, side tables, and a weed eater form a barricade to keep curious canine snouts away from the eggs.

How long does it take for Wren eggs to hatch? Surely not infinity, although it seems that way. I've had to buy a new hat. I no longer pull weeds for lack of gloves (right!) My climbing Sweet Peas are rambling down instead of up, forming a jumble of pink and green vegetation perfect for lurking Copperhead snakes. I am powerless and my life is out of control because of a bird no bigger than a Kiwi fruit.

Today, when I peeked inside the nest, the speckled eggs had disappeared. In their place? Awwww.

Country Road

A Lousy Break

This little fella is called a Chinese Crested dog. Does he look worried or what? I can't figure out if it's because he's waiting to be neutered, or if it's because he's been told that little tuft of fur on his forehead is not up to breed standards.

Seriously, how fair is that? The dude's got about fifteen strands to work with and he gets kicked to the curb because his poof came in with a part across the middle. 

Country Road

Is There No Honor Among Thieves?

Every morning at half past ten a family of deer pass through my yard. Each day they pause to graze and Frannie, who does not allow wildlife on her turf, breaks into a fit of barking, throws herself at the door until I open it, leaps off the porch, and races up the hill. The deer casually  flip their tails at her and bound into the woods.

Cody generally gallops up the hill behind Frannie then stops and looks puzzled. Obviously there's no hunting dog in his gene pool. So...

This morning the deer charged through the yard at warp speed. I didn't give it a thought as I let the dogs out. Not once did I ask myself this compelling question, "What were the deer running from?"

Instead, I picked up the phone and called a friend. As I chatted I heard frantic, barking, growls, and a big yelp. I stepped onto the porch then shouted at my friend, "Gotta go. It's wild dogs!"

They were three of them, mean and ugly and fanning out to surround Frannie and Cody. With my heart racing, I sprinted inside, grabbed my .410 shotgun, and ran onto the porch. I pulled the hammer back as I aimed, braced myself, then pulled the trigger. Click.

What the hell?

It wasn't loaded. How could it not be loaded? I always keep it loaded. Realization struck with the speed of an asp: I'd recently loaned my house to friends who'd taken a few things with them when they'd left: my pocket change, the paper towel holder, my Multi-tool, a shower curtain, an oral thermometer, and other such random items. They must have been playing with the gun.

A stream of invectives issued from my mouth as I stomped into the house for a new shotgun shell. When I returned to the porch the wild dogs had fled.  Okay, so you live and learn. My dogs are safe, my gun is loaded, and those people will never be invited back.  But my self-image took a hit.

I'd charged onto the porch feeling like Annie Oakley, heroine of the Wild West. Now I feel as though I ought to move to Mayberry and change my name to Barnalina Fife. Darn!

Country Road

Rainbows - Either Ya Love 'Em or Ya Hate 'Em

Last week I saw my second rainbow ever and, let me tell you, it was a mighty fine sight. As I gawped in wonder, another rainbow appeared. My third rainbow ever!

They were close enough they could pat my head (if they'd wanted to.) The colors were so vibrant I'm pretty sure I heard them hum - mmmmmmmmm.

And you'll never guess where they ended. At my house.

I cannot believe how happy they've made me feel. At night their colors dance behind my eyelids. In quiet moments I hear their tuneless song. I'm in love with rainbows!

But today a thought tiptoed across my mind that is so outrageous I can hardly put it in words. If there are people who love rainbows, doesn't it mean there are people who hate them? There must be. If there weren't, it would mean everyone on this planet is in agreement about it.

Seriously, how likely is that?

Country Road

Puppy Love

It has been way too long since I've regaled you with a puppy tale. I've decided to correct this by introducing you to Little Man Cody, who was rescued from the brink of death by friends of mine. 

His story begins on a sad note. Last May Cody and his brother, Angel, were found in a ditch, barely alive.  Angel died within a few hours. Cody hung on by a thread, so sick, it didn't seem possible he'd survive.

But he did.

It took a lot of loving care to get Cody on his feet. Three weeks after his rescue he was up and at 'em.


  He chugged along ...

And flourished.

And before too long it was time to send him to a shelter in search of a forever home. But there was a problem putting Cody on the Puppy Wagon - no one wanted to do it . 

"I'll adopt him," I said.

Did I really say that? I already had Frannie, a spoiled four-year old pooch who would never allow another dog into her home. I amended my offer with a wimpy, "If Frannie agrees." 

So, Cody came to meet Frannie. Nice, welcome huh?

As odd as this sounds, that is Frannie's come-hither look. She liked him!

And so it came to pass that the little urchin came to live with Frannie and me. And just like Jack's bean stalk, he and his ears started to grow.

And grow...

And grow until one day...

He morphed. His ears succumbed to gravity, and his tail swept up into a mighty plume. 

I'm totally smitten.

I think he is too.

Country Road

Stop! Thanks.

Snow has come to Northeast Tennessee. Schools and businesses are closed and people are holed up inside their homes, your humble narrator included. 

I do not like snow. Not that the weather gives a hoot. Rain on Monday morning turned to fat clumps of the "s"-word and no matter how hard I screamed at it to go away, it kept coming down.

As you can see below, my yard which normally sports a colorful winter coat of rust, gold, and green, was transformed into a monochromatic setting reminiscent of the Great White North - a place from which I flee every January.


My options were to sulk or make the best of it. The latter won so I put on a pot of soup and settled in to watch the storm. By early afternoon, the snow gave way to fog that shrouded the distant mountains in a cloak of depressing gunmetal gray.

But by late afternoon, the sun burst through the fog. Its light show more than compensated for the dearth of color earlier in the day.

I instantly forgot I was a snow-phobe and begged to be shown a snowbow, a little-known cousin of the popular rainbow. (I suspect these exist only in the realms of unicorns and faeries but I still want to see one.)  So I watched. And I hoped. And pretty soon I relaxed and allowed myself to just be.

Serenity wrapped me in its gentle embrace.

When darkness came I crept outside to see what was going on. A crescent moon beamed its lopsided smile my way. Stars shimmered and winked. Dry branches rustled in the breeze.  I went to bed feeling at peace with the entire universe.

Tuesday morning I awakened to a sight so brilliantly gorgeous, I stood in the snow in my slippers and nightgown and gawked.

It wasn't long  before a gang of dark, roiling clouds tumbled over the mountain top and jumped the sun.

Heavy snow rode in on the back of a fierce, keening wind. Fistlike gusts slammed into my house rattling the windows and shaking the floors.

The storm blustered into the night. It huffed and it puffed and tried to blow the house down. I snuggled into my chair feeling warm, and safe, and lucky.. to be here, to be me.

At bedtime I stepped outside for a final check on the weather. The storm had raged off leaving countless strands of glittery stars strewn across the sky; priceless gems worn, then casually tossed aside.

I breathed in the fresh, clean air then grinned my thanks to Mother Earth, the sky, and the snow for forcing me stop and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me. And for reminding me to be grateful.

Then I laughed out loud. Because the thing for which I'm most grateful is....gratitude. It makes me feel happy. And peaceful. And just plain all right.

How about that?

Country Road

And Why Were You in the Bathroom Together?

I picked up the fellow pictured below. He was in a bathtub. I didn't do it because I like to pick up giant spiders. I wanted to take a closer look at it, and I thought it was dead. (I was also showing off because the two people with me were acting squeamish about it.)

Its leg was cold and clammy.

"I had one of these on my lampshade once," I said.

It moved.

I shrieked and flung it down. The three of us ran out of the bathroom screaming. We huddled outside the door shivering, and shuddering, and quaking in our Doc Martens. In quivery voices we discussed the likelihood of a spider that looked so dead still being alive. None of us had the courage to check.

Was it dead or playing head-games with us?  I'm sure I don't know.

Country Road

Your Wish Has Been Granted

Sometimes when the sky is gray and I'm feeling down, I shake my fists toward the heavens and shout, "Give me a break!"

Today, the heavens answered back.

Okay, so maybe it was the clouds that got the break, at least I got some type of response.

Country Road

This Old World Just Keeps Getting Smaller

Many years ago, I broke my parents' hearts by dropping out of college, packing up my bell-bottom jeans, and moving to Boston with my friend Wendy. Why? I can't remember. I'm sure it wasn't to get a job cleaning rooms at a Holiday Inn, but that's what Wendy and I ended up doing.

The job was pure drudgery; changing sheets and cleaning bathrooms has never been my thing. The Big Moment of that otherwise unremarkable experience  came when Wendy found out the members of the group Three Dog Night, were staying at the hotel. We looked up their room numbers then skulked through the hotel lobby and hovered in hallway near their doors. We were rewarded with a close encounter.

Wendy: You're Three Dog Night!
TDN Guy: Yes. You can clean our rooms now.
Me doing my bobble-head imitation: Okay, okay, okay.
Wendy who retained her dignity: We aren't the maids for your rooms.
TDN Guy: Will you find the maid who is and ask her to do it?
Wendy: Okay

The three men brushed past us and disappeared down the hall. End of Big Moment.

Or was it?

Today Ann and I met with a husband and wife team to brainstorm on fund raising ideas for the animal shelter. The husband is the former drummer for Three Dog Night. Yep, the very same dude who'd wanted his room cleaned by little old me. I told him about not doing his room. He didn't remember. We all found it hilarious.

He and his family moved to this tiny, rural county in the middle of Appalachia for the same reason I did - because.  Since they've been here, he's launched a local  program of Inner City Slickers , which provides a weekend of horses, compassion, and camaraderie for at-risk teens.  And now he's going to lend an advisory hand to the animal shelter board.

Seriously, what are the odds of this City Slicker meeting up with that City Slicker two times under such random circumstances?