10 August 2009
The summer doldrums have struck us at last. The temperature consistently rises to the mid-80s and the nights are barely cooling off (67F last night, 69F the night before, but the air is still and so thick you could eat it with a spoon). Mr. Fuzzy went to harvest blackberries yesterday and even the ticks and chiggers were in a torpor, only one or two rising to the tender flesh presented before them. Until now, the summer here had been unusually mild but now the dog days of summer have come on with a vengeance. The sun and heat are bringing the garden to its maturity; the tomatoes are finally ripening, the melons and pumpkins swelling daily, the zucchinis have nearly worked themselves to death and are fading away. The melon bloom shown is more than eight inches from tip-to-tip.
Last night we finally felt compelled to turn on the air conditioner to cool the bedroom down to a decent sleeping temperature... It must have worked because by 1:00 a.m., there were four cats sleeping with us.
The four kittens (Buster, Fred Tweedle, Ann Tweedle and Beatrice) born in April are now deporting themselves as 'real cats' not kittens; they have remained, and we trust, will remain, extremely affectionate. Buster is very orange, with orange eyes, the Tweedles are more ginger, Bea (as she is known more familiarly) is a color combination that even the professionally-cat-experienced Mrs. Fuzzy has never encountered. She is more or less a red-head under her other more neutral colours, and becomes more red with each passing day (her photo appears below).
The young-uns go charging out the door in the morning, interspersed with the adults. When they are outside, either Jack (most often) or Lily will still keep watch to assure their safety. Perhaps because of their age they are more curious about the Rufus beast than the adults and when Rufus is in his crate, they sometimes tease him mercilessly.
Yet another unfortunate cat has appeared at Stratheden Farm. We have now heard a rumor that one of the neighbors about half a mile away is a cat horder and perhaps this explains the number of cats who come here, nearly all are completely starved. "Hodge" (named in honour of Dr. Sam'l Johnson's favourite feline) appeared yesterday morning; he must be at least eight months old (and in fact, could be one of Jack Tar's siblings) but is one of the scrawniest cats we have ever seen, as if he has been deprived of food. We cannot have another indoor cat, ten is beyond the capacity of both the house and the Fuzzies, but he is in a terrible, critical state... so we are feeding him on the veranda, which he seems to now think of (already) as home. The other cats do not attempt to run him off, as they do other un-neutered males - I believe that they too recognize his dreadful plight and have mercy. His future is uncertain but we will not take him to the county animal pound - that is as good as a death warrant. Hodge has intensely green eyes and when he cries, he can hold a C-sharp longer than any Italian diva...