A Season of New Things

Spring Has Sprung and So Have the Cats

Our cats are so happy to be released from their long winter’s confinement. We’ve had some lovely weather lately and they’re making the best of it. Other creatures, too, are popping out of hibernation.

Yesterday afternoon I looked out and saw Pookie sitting on his haunches on the lawn, with a magpie facing him about two metres away and another one standing about that far away on his right. Lying between the three of them was the limp body of a full-grown gopher. (Aka, thirteen-striped Richardson ground squirrel.) Whatever it was once known as, the dead critter had become the object of a property dispute.

Magpies are thieves; we see it all the time. If the cats catch something and haven’t eaten it yet, there’s usually a magpie peering hopefully from the garage roof or strutting in the grass nearby. And they often work in pairs. Like: “You distract the cat and I’ll grab the corpse.” Even if there’s no loot magpies often work in teams to torment cats.

So when I saw this standoff I opened the window and shooed the magpies away. With the birds gone Pook went back to playing with the thing awhile, even if it offered no exciting resistance. As soon as he got tired of the game and wandered off the magpie was back, snatching bites of the prize, which Pook didn’t tolerate. He rushed back to reclaim the gopher, then a few minutes later our black cat Angus sauntered up and began gnawing on it. Pook went back to wait beside the gopher hole for another one to pop out. Poor gophers. It’s a hard life at the bottom of the food chain.

Angus likely caught the thing in the first place. Pook is a bit of a thief himself. As I said in an earlier post, he’s an invasive species; he has this habit of pushing his nose into whatever interesting meal Angus is eating and slowly takes over the dish. Or mouse. Or whatever. Anyway, an hour later all trace of the victim was gone, so I imagine whatever remains remained when Angus left the magpies snatched.

Tuesday en route to the city we saw ducks in the ponds. This morning my husband opened the window and heard a meadowlark singing. Bliss! I went outside a bit later and heard the honking of a goose. I looked up and saw a line of snow geese headed by what looked like a Canada goose and he was the cheerleader. So spring has returned to our land.

A New Home for My Stuff

Since spring’s a time of beginning again, I’m going to catch that wave and move to a new blog home.

I’ve been contemplating this for awhile, wanting to bring all my writings under one roof but not quite sure how. I shut down Swallow in the Wind a few months back, but still have Christine Composes for my fiction, plus this site. Now I’m going to bring all my writing to Christine’s Collection’s new home. I contemplated a major renovation, but the categories and tags on my posts would all need reworking to fit the new plan. Easier to start from scratch, I decided.

I’ve had a “spare” private blog for a couple of years, using it to test out new themes before going to all the work of installing them on my public sites. Last week I enlisted the help of Bruce at WordPress Support and he’s been guiding me through this move, bless his heart.

Bruce says it’s no problem to switch the domain name for both active sites so that anyone who types in christinegoodnough.com or christine composes.com will land up there. All subscribers from both sites will be switched to the new one. And I will only have one better-organized blog to contend with. This sounds great to me now, given my health issues.

So I’ve been going back and forth for a few days now, carrying and unpacking a few files, scheduling future posts and generally preparing the site for visitors. I’m delighted with the new look, though I’m sticking with this basic layout. I’ve learned how to build Categories into the main menu, now my category “closets” are easily accessible and every genre will have its proper place in the grand scheme.

I thought I’d give you this heads-up a week or so before I do the final move and open the new site for public viewing. But the only difference you’ll find is that this current site will revert back to the pre-domain address of christinegoodnough.wordpress.com, so if you want to check out some post in these archives you’ll need to type in that address. Christine Composes will go back to christineevelynvance.wordpress.com.


Of Fish & Feelings

It’s afternoon here on the prairies and we’re having a beautiful spring day. When I got up at 6 am this morning the sun was just starting to stretch out, sending its first glow across the horizon. How I appreciate these longer, warmer days!

The cats and I were out romping a bit ago — well, they were romping. I was tromping. I decided to take a walk down the road. In the yard it seems so warm, but once I was out of the shelter of the woods beside us and onto the gravel road, a wind from the SE robbed me of my deception. I had to come back to the house for a warmer jacket and scarf before going farther.

Bob asked me yesterday how I was feeling, mainly because I’ve been dealing with an infection in one salivary gland this week. I’m getting over that, so in one sense I’m feeling better, but I’ve been pondering his question, trying to come up with a description for my general health and state of mind.

I was thinking about the poor female salmon at spawning time, swimming against a strong current and making slow progress. As you probably know, they go back to their spawning grounds in the mountain streams to lay their eggs, which means they must swim upstream for hundreds of miles, leap waterfalls, navigate wild rapids, dodge rocks and debris en route. Unless they find a sheltered pool, the minute they stop to rest the river current will carry them back toward the ocean again.

That’s how I’m feeling lately. It doesn’t help that I’m dealing with an infection right now but I’m frustrated that I get so little accomplished. I wish I had more energy; I wish my mind was clearer and I could remember more; I wish I could make more progress in the stream of general homemaking. I’d like to accomplish so much; it feels like I have a thousand miles to go and in short bursts I gain a few yards, then I’m weary again. And I feel so fuzzy-brained at times!

My mind bounces over the many possible solutions. Would it help to give up sugar? Chocolate? Coffee? Reading? Blogging? All of the above? Forget everything else and spend hours outdoors getting exercise? (I have good intentions, just no hours!) Memorize and repeat the Prayer of Serenity?

Lacking any definite answers, I just keep swimming along, thankful for the short bursts of energy I do get. These past two weeks I’ve been cutting strips and piecing a blanket top — the Rail Fence pattern for those of you who know about quilt-making — which I plan to donate to our church ladies’ Sewing Circle. On Tuesday we went to the city and I sat in two doctor’s offices; from one doctor I got antibiotics for my infection. During this time my husband took the car for servicing and they discovered about two cups of bird seed in the air cleaner. Wretched mice! We keep our birdseed in the garage and they get into it.

On the Up-side, I am enjoying the arrival of spring, the songs of the earliest returning birds in our woods. On Monday I get a new number in my life: I’m leaving “three” behind and moving on to “four.” (Next year at this time I’ll be contemplating how to spend my very first pension cheque. 🙂 )

I haven’t posted anything here this week, but I did write several short stories for my Christine Composes blog. One of them you can read here: Buckwold House. I wrote this as my response to the Friday Fictioneers photo prompt and it raises the question of when an individual’s wishes are more important than civic progress.I find being limited to 100 words is a great exercise in what editors call “trimming the fat.”

I hope life is going well for all of you reading this. I wish you boundless energy and all kinds of time to do what you must and/or the things you enjoy. Thanks for visiting my blog and for being interested in what I have to say. Hopefully my next post will be more upbeat, but I find writing about how I feel really does help me sort things out. And when I think of the recent tragic events in the news, I realize my woes are very minor ones.

Raylene & Winnie Weather Florida

As part of my Friday Fictioneers tales I’ve been posting a story about two cousins from Moose Knee who take a tour of Florida. It’s supposed to be a great time of year to go, but their plans have been derailed by the weather. In case you’re interested, here are the links to the three segments I’ve posted so far:

1 Winnie’s Views
2 Better Weather on the Way
3 More Weather Woes

Pookie: Our Feline Invasive Species

Right from our first encounter with Pookie, we knew he was a different sort of cat. We’d never laid eyes on him before we opened the door one night to let Angus in and this white Siamese-looking kitten walked right in, too, totally without an invitation. this was about three years ago — and he’s been here ever since.


Pixabay photo

We live on an acreage a quarter of a mile from the highway. So where did this little kitten come from and how did he get to our back door? And why did he walk right into a stranger’s home? Our first thought was that someone dropped him off, yet we could tell he wasn’t used to being handled. He moved freely around the house, he was friendly if we petted him, but he didn’t like being picked up.

Our stray kitten from the year before, Angus, had settled in nicely and grown up. Angus is all black, so I named him after the Angus cattle we see so much of, but he’s very Siamese in nature, nervous and yowly. Very much a one-person cat and I’m his person. He loves to be beside me or curled on my lap. He sits outside the bathroom door when i’m taking a bath, that kind of thing.

He also loves to go exploring in the woods beside up and is a great mouser, ratter, gopher-er. Anyway, the day Pookie came Angus had been out in the woods and I’d observed him watching something intently. Then in the evening he went out again and when we called him in, here came this kitten not far behind him.

It was a cool fall evening and the kitten spent the night here, but the next day he headed off to the next-door neighbour’s farm yard. He came back in the evening again and spent another night then left again for the day. This pattern continued for several weeks.

We knew this cat didn’t belong to our neighbours, but they told us they’d noticed a pale-colored Siamese-type mother cat around in the summertime, sheltering under one of their old farm sheds. So we concluded she’d had this kitten and he was visiting her in the daytime. But he knew a good thing when he felt it, so he came back here where it’s warm to spend his nights. Then winter set in and we had a really cold snap; after that Pookie stayed here all day. As near as we could tell, he never went back to the neighbour’s yard so we concluded that his mother had either perished in the cold or moved on to some warmer place.

We decided he’s got lynx-point Siamese genes and the characteristic blue eyes, but he’s very docile in nature. He was so pale and when I got up in the night for something he’d kind of drift along the hallway after me, so I took to calling him Spooky, but later we decided on an official name: Pookie. He liked to be near us or on our lap, but always on his terms. He did NOT like being picked up.

We were initially going to give him away after having him treated and neutered. (It’s pretty hard to give away an un-neutered cat.) But that didn’t happen; he just stayed and wormed his way into our lives and affection.

Pookie’s always been the quiet one of our three, never fussing openly with our other two. Still, every now and then our other male, Angus, will eye him suspiciously as he drifts by and next thing we hear this squawk and Angus is dashing off. Angus is a nervous cat to begin with, but Pookie is a sneak. Angus will be sleeping peacefully and suddenly Pookie pounces, nips at him, and Angus dashes away. Or off they both go. The peace between them is always tenuous, but it’s Angus that does the protesting.

Often when I’m sitting in the recliner after dinner, trying to grab forty winks, Angus, our black male, will get up on my lap and settle down for some quiet repose. But before long Pookie comes along and gets up in my lap, too, then proceeds to park himself in front of Angus and silently take over. He either shoves Angus over so far that Angus leaves, or Angus is nervous enough that he leaves for fear of being pestered by Pookie. Thus Pookie ends up with my whole lap to himself.

When one of the other cats is eating and Pookie isn’t, he’ll sniff at the other cat’s dish, closer and closer, until he has his head into the dish. Panda, our Queen Bee of the cats, a hefty 14-year-old black Maine Coon, won’t tolerate Pookie’s invasive moves, and he knows he can’t push her around. But poor Angus lets himself be shoved out and wanders off. Pookie likes to go out hunting as much as Angus does, but I’ve observed he’s apt to snitch Angus’s mouse rather than get his own.

And when he is left outside, he never cries or scratches to be let in. He sits quietly waiting until you notice him. Bob says he accomplishes his requests by mental telepathy. He sits and looks at the door and you get the message to open it for him. 🙂

Perhaps the way Pookie most makes a pest of himself is by hogging my office chair. I may only leave the computer long enough to make a cup of coffee, but when I come back Pookie’s curled up in my chair. I may dump him off a dozen times in an afternoon and he makes no protest when evicted — but quietly leaps back in the minute I get up and makes a furry puddle of himself on the chair until I get back again.

Anyway, now that I have my chair back again for awhile, I’ll post this about him.


This little story was included in an e-mail one day from a friend in Missouri.  Not sure where he got it, but I’ll pass it on in case you haven’t heard it yet.

It was very early in the morning and we were transporting horses to a show in our horse trailer.  Weather was nasty; rain was falling.  I pulled into a gas station at 5am to fill up.

Another traveler at the next pump inquired,  “Where are you going with those horses?”

“To the horse show,” I answered.

“You horse people must be crazy, going to something like that in this kind of weather,” he commented.

“What brings you out so early on such a nasty day?” I asked him.

“I’m going fishing,” the man replied in all seriousness.

Word Press daily prompt: seriousness


Personal note:

I’m closing down my blog, Swallow in the Wind, where for several years I posted poetry and anecdotes like the one above.  For the next month, while I’m occupied with my spring sewing, I’m going to be reposting these here.

The Food Critic

A just-for-fun verse in response to today’s Word Press prompt: criticize.

The Food Critic

The hawk sat on a signpost
beside a busy highway, his eyes
on the ditches below, hoping for
flushed-out gophers and mice.

He eyed the carrion lying about,
but he disdained stale road kill,
preferred his food on the run,
a challenge for his grabbing skills.

Moving target practice always fun,
plus he relished that last little squeak
as his talons sank in, and the added
adrenaline spiced up the meat.

At this moment he was frowning,
down his curving beak at those ravens
picking at that stinking dead skunk.
Some creatures have no self-respect.