"We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike." ~Maya Angelou

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Rains, Cats and Blessings

What a difference rain makes! 
      Friends have been nudging me via the internet: "Are you okay? You haven't blogged in awhile."
      I'm fine. It's Summer, and a rainy summer at that, and I am outside most of the time.  When is doesn't rain, gardens stand still and then regress to a crispy brown wasteland. They do not need me to witness their dying. But when the rains come regularly, weeds as well as tomatoes thrive and demand attention. Early morning is best for work in the garden and my breakfast of choice has recently become a handful of cherry tomatoes eaten one by one while wandering through this lovely blooming sanctuary where bees are frantic for pollen and nectar and brown and green lizards slither quickly out of sight. I do not eat tomatoes in the off seasons, only in Summer.  I have been soaking in the beauty of these days and have not sat down to type. A hiatus of sorts. I'm here now.

     My cats crack me up, as usual.  Here is an example of their humor.
When I am gone for a day or two…or sometimes three…at a time, working in the City or watching grandkids and the like, the cats fend for themselves.  They are both great hunters, prowling the gardens and Maggie's Wood in search of mice, rats, baby rabbits, and birds to eat.  I see them out there, tails low, heads down, ears forward, watching something close at hand.  They sometimes bring a mouse up onto the porch and play with it there for awhile before chomping it down.  
      This past week or two I have been here and gone, here and gone, with no long stretch of 'here' in which to feed them well and to spend some quality time with them (read: out watching the stars or sitting on the porch swing together).  That being said, yesterday morning I slipped out to have breakfast on the porch so I could listen to the bird chorus singing-up the sun.  The cats were nowhere to be seen but there, right in front of the swing where I would be sure to see it, was the head of a mouse.  Cat's are soooo not subtle.  I got the message loud and clear:
"Do you see this tacky thing? This is what we have been eating more often than not recently. What is going on? Have you forgotten about us? Are we nothing, LESS than nothing to you? 

    Don't listen to the cats. They are fine, believe me. If anyone has reason to complain it's the chickens. They really are slightly neglected. Oh, they have food and water, shelter and safety, but they don't get to run free as often as they would like (every day). Still, they gift me with their yummy eggs and the music of their voices, regardless of their freedom or lack of it.  They're such good girls. (I do wish they would quit pecking on the gray hen though. They are merciless with her. I don't know what she did to deserve that kind of treatment but something happened. She is the lowest on the totem pole for sure. Poor thing.) 
However, I have learned that I can not dictate ethical behavior within the flock. That is their domain and I am just the food lady, the one who opens the gate. They still eye me with suspicion each time I open the door. 
      I could open those doors for good and let them fly free as a bird, so to speak, but we all know where that would lead don't we. The coyotes are watching and waiting. They are immensely patient and one night I will be late getting home from town, or too distracted to remember about shutting the chicken house door, and they will glide in, silent as shadows, and snatch all four  hens off their perches. I've seen it happen. All that I will find the next morning will be a trail of feathers leading toward the creek. That is when I will be done with chickens. (I've said this before but I really mean it this time.)
     The Fourth of July week-end approaches and with it comes lots of time with family here at the farm.  I'm sure there will be tales to tell soon enough.  For now, here is a list of things that have blessed my soul during the past couple of weeks.
1.  Little Rowan wanting to cuddle me for a couple of hours yesterday after I picked them up from day care early.  What a treat!
2.  In the crush of A Taste Of Edmond, (a huge outdoor tasting event in where thousands of people stand in long lines, waiting for tiny bits of food, while others wander through the lines in search of their own repast) my eldest grandson, Brendan, allowed himself to take my hand so we wouldn't get separated from each other. He is normally too old (already???) to be holding my hand in public. *sigh*
3.  Lying out under the starlight in the cool of a summer evening with just enough breeze to keep the mosquitos at bay.
4.  Wandering through an elegant little tea shop with Maggie and her cousin Kayden, looking at jewelry.  Little girls go wild over sparkly bracelets and rings. What fun!
5.  Watching Brent's sister, Jamie, being so content to be carrying her last sweet baby boy. 
6.  Seeing Zane, red faced and teary eyed, running to give me a big hug when I came to pick him up from school.  We had missed each other mightily while he was away.
7.  A quiet evening meal eaten outside on the prairie with dear friends last week.  I do love those women…we love each other. Friends are important. They are worth the risk.
8.  Receiving a real live card in the mail from another friend, Christal, just when I needed it.  
9.  Having breakfast with my Able one morning last week and loving how happy he has become, now that he has Kari beside him to stay.
10. Hearing my dad's soft, gentle voice over the phone line late at night, sharing laughs and news. 
11. Having lunch with some old friends in Enid, a chance meeting gone right. 
Good things all around.  



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