Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Invisible Cat

I am the invisible cat
Walking on newly fallen snow
White on white
Paw prints appearing
As if by magic.

I am the intrepid
Explorer cat
As brave as could be
Wandering the
Arctic waste.

(I hope they find me
by dinner time though)

by Pangur - ban White Cat
Visit Pangur-ban's page

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Imbolc is Coming Next Weekend

Imbolc is a Celtic holiday that is also called cross-quarter day. It is celebrated on February 1st or 2nd and falls halfway between the Winter and Spring equinoxes. Imbolc represented a time of the year when food was getting scarce and people were ready to banish Winter and start getting crops in the ground.  Since this holiday was agriculture-oriented, it is related to foretelling the weather, which is the partly the origin of Groundhog Day. It was called Brigid's Day on the old pagan calendar, which was adopted as St. Brigid's or Candlemas Day by the later christians. 

Naturally if you want to banish Winter, you send the chill away by lighting a fire. You can also light candles in your home to light up the dark Winter night.  Imbolc also was celebrated because as the Spring equinox approached, the days started getting longer, which melted the snow and warmed the ground for planting seeds. The candles are also representative of the sun staying up longer and getting warmer as Winter draws to a close.

At this time, animals started giving milk in anticipation of bearing their young in the Spring.  Traditional foods to celebrate Imbolc are milk or dairy products like cheeses, and also seed-based items like whole grains. I don't know if we will have a bonfire or what, but we have wood stacked and ready, the seed catalogs are already being reviewed, and we are ready to head towards the warmth of Spring. 
Happy Imbolc all!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fixed my Comment Feature

Okay so apparently my Comment option on the site here was not operating from the get-go.  I like this green background, but it seems to have messed with some code in the background.  Anyway, Grace at My Year in Haiku was good enough to point out my problem, so I dug in and fixed it.  Apparently comments don't work unless you set them to be in a popup box. Whatever....Thanks Grace! 

Monday, January 18, 2010

The White Cat

~by William Jay Smith~

I have a white cat whose name is Moon;
He eats catfish from a wooden spoon,
And sleeps till five each afternoon.

Moon goes out when the moon is bright
And sycamore trees are spotted white
To sit and stare in the dead of night.

Beyond still water cries a loon,
Through mulberry leaves peers a wild baboon
And in Moon's eyes I see the moon.

The picture is of Zippy, one of our babies, contemplating something in the distance.  Please consider supporting Pawprints and Purrs, a nonprofit that helps homeless animals at   

Monday, January 11, 2010

Animal Communication

Owl ~1989 - January 12, 2009

I know that animal communication is possible because of this cat. His name was Owl and he left us a year ago. Owl chose to live with us in 1994. He appeared in the window of a farmhouse we were living in with 2 little black stray kittens we had adopted in 93. Owl was never territorial, he taught them how to hunt and climb trees. When my young son asked him his name, he said loudly "OWL". And so it was.

Owl took over the guard duties for the house and also became the official greeter. If you have more than one cat in the house, you may notice that somebody usually takes one of these jobs, or both. He had been living in the wild so long that we thought he was declawed in both back and front, but his back claws were just worn way down. He had a very wise look on his face and understood what you said to him. He was also very vocal, and would talk to us, although we didn't really understand him for a long time. Finally we did start hearing him. Animal communication can come in different ways, his was just realizations of what he meant. But you had to really concentrate and accept that whatever came was his message.

Owl was a great teacher, but he was always afraid from his time in the wild that his food bowl might go empty if he could see the bottom of it, so he would protest very loudly if we let it get too empty. He was also very afraid of cars and loud noises. He would wail and pant any time he had to go in the car until I finally sat down and talked to him about it. It seems he was afraid of being lost again, and if he went somewhere in a car, he wouldn't be able to find his way home, because he wouldn't recognize any smells to find his way back. I explained to him that our car rides would always be round trip and only a short distance. That way he could enjoy looking at new things, but not worry about getting lost.

From that day on, he looked forward to going on car rides with me, and he would wait for me in the driveway every Friday when I came home from work so I could take him on his weekly car ride. He would go back and forth to the side windows and stand up to watch everything pass by. We did that for several years and he never tired of it.

Its an ongoing challenge to communicate with my other cats, but every now and then a definite message comes through. Truly mystical.

Grey white Winter chill
Listen! One day I’ll be back.
My work here is done.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Don't Dump on Mother

In our house, we try to reduce our trash load as much as possible. Face it, we live in an over-packaged world. If we can leave a lighter footprint as we pass, it helps keep trash out of the waterways and the landfills and makes a cleaner and therefore healthier environment for us all. We can do that in a couple of ways. First is to try and resist buying overpackaged goods in the first place. Usually overpackaging is done for convenience. But do we really need sliced apples in individual packets or individual salad servings in the grocery store? And what about those indestructible plastic clamshells that you need heavy scissors to cut open? They're not even recyclable.

I sometimes wish you could get credit for percentage of your curbside trash that was recycling rather than just trash. We try to recycle as much as possible. What isn't eligible for curbside pickup, like mixed paper, batteries or currogated cardboard, I end up taking to the county recycling center once or twice a month. I just have a fixation about it for some reason. I've even been known to bring boxes home from work if I know they're just going to get tossed in the dumpster. But that's just me.

My county has a neat feature at the landfill/recycling center where they've established a "Too good to throw away" area. People can drop furniture, building materials, toys, and yard sale castoffs there. A lot of it does get re-used, and thereby stays out of the landfill. We've dropped stuff there and also found some good items. Our metal porch table is from there. It just needed some sanding and a new coat of paint and is good as new.

Anyway, it's time to battle the post-holiday clutter monster. Onward into the new year.
Oh, and don't forget to cut up those 6-pack rings before disposal. A duck or fish will thank you for it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Personalize the Full Moon

People in the past had a close relationship with lunar cycles. They tracked the seasons and the natural rhythms of the earth by the full moon as it arrived each month. If you personalize the full moons through the year, you will find yourself feeling closer to nature. I ran across a weblink a while back that listed what different cultures called the full moon that appeared during each month. Many of the names like "The moon of popping trees" don't really mean much to me, because it doesn't get that cold here that trees freeze through and burst. So I came up with names that mean more to me and where I live. I find it gets you more in touch with the full moon as it applies to your environment. As I've gone through the past year, I made some adjustments. I wasn't sure what to call the June and July moons. But I attended a Lavender Festival in June and we had lavender scent all through the house. Likewise, in July, we foraged for the abundant blackberries that grow wild nearby. So I named the full moons for those plants that bloom or ripen during that time if I have a connection with them. You can read the complete article at:
How to Personalize the Full Moon to get Closer to Nature

So for now my moons are--

January - Snow moon
February - Hunger Moon (It's an Indian moon, I just like the name)
March - Mud Moon
April - Planting Moon
May - Cat Shedding Moon (adapted from the Indian Pony Shedding Moon, it's what happens in my house)
June - Lavender Moon
July - Blackberry Moon
August - Corn Moon
September - Harvest Moon
October - Spirit Moon (Samhain!)
November - Frost Moon
December - Cold Moon

Hey, it works for me. Give it a try and see what works for you.