January 2022

Tribute to Macallan

“If you want a lap cat and a purr machine, then get an orange male cat.”

That was what a vet friend said to us when we were considering getting a second cat to keep Camille company. Later that summer, Macallan was found, a little kitten in the middle of a road, rescued and put into the foster home of that very same vet friend. He hung out with the feral litter that had been found earlier, and in August 1996, we brought him and his foster brother, Duncan, into our home.

Such a tiny thing he was then. And, sure enough, he was a purr machine. Duncan’s purrs were barely audible, but Macallan’s purrs could be heard by everyone. And he always wanted to be up on laps. But he was always so polite. He never just jumped up on someone’s lap. He would position himself and just look up at you, and, with his eyes, ask “Can I come up?” During the last few months of his life, he would never let me sit at my desk without asking to come up and lie on my lap. Not only did he like to lay on laps, he also wanted to touch fur to skin. In bed, he would seek out an arm lying outside the covers, and snuggle up so that fur was touching bare skin. When I was working at my desk, or reading, he would sit on my lap and drape his front paws over an arm. Another favorite spot was on Pete’s outstretched legs.

Macallan was also a very mild mannered cat. Even if he got angry at another cat, he would lift his paw rather halfheartedly and give a mild swipe that never did any harm. He quickly befriended both kittens, Whidbey and Gretel. But Whidbey became his very best snuggle friend. They were quite inseparable.

As a kitten, Macallan didn’t play a lot. And, of course, cat toys seldom interest the cats they were designed for. Instead ordinary household objects can become playthings. A bag of bags could become a fine cat bed.

Bags are such interesting things. A open paper bag, lying on the floor, could hide all sorts of things. So, of course, a cat must investigate. One day, Macallan decided to investigate the bag we had left open in the kitchen, unaware that, in sticking his head in the bag, he had also stuck his head in through one of the handles. When he found nothing of interest in the bag, he tried to back his head out. But it was stuck in the handle. Panicked he skidded across the slippery vinyl kitchen floor, crashing into the wall at the other end, while we, laughing, tried to rescue him.

Ceiling fans held a particular horror for him. He would get very worried whenever we would turn on. We wondered if he had been terrorized by a bird of prey while he was lost in the middle of the road.

In spite of being rescued from the wild outdoors, Macallan still would go outside, though not so much when we moved to Goshen. Illness made him brave again and he was always asking to go outside these past few months, up until the day before he died. He never wandered far, but he enjoyed the grass.

We will miss you little boy. May your gentle spirit always glow.



Garden in the Dry Summer of 2012


This year’s garden (showing what I planted and where I planted what I planted).

What this does not show is what is actually in the garden. I used the seed I had, some of which was pretty old. By the time I did my planting, it was already pretty hot and pretty late. So not everything germinated. Some beets did germinate, but none of the cabbage. None of the peppers came up. A few edamame did come up and I have a full row of green beans, which our local resident rabbit is finding very tasty. Last year, the rabbit (maybe even this very rabbit) ate the leaves of every single bean plant that sprouted. I’m hoping that it diversifies its diet this year.

The radishes, which should have been planted during the coolness of spring, are, nonetheless, making a valiant attempt at growing. A few winter squash look like they are going to make it. There is a volunteer plant which I am not sure of, so I’m letting it be, and I will someday discover what it wants to become.

The tomatoes were planted from plants and are doing well, in spite of the heat, or maybe because of it.

As you can see, we are in the midst of a drought. The grass is brown and crunchy. The soil is dry and hard. But I have a natural tiller going through my lawn and garden, rooting through the dry earth and popping out every so often to check its handiwork.

The potatoes either are drying out from the heat or they are getting done (I’m a little afraid to check at this point.) The kale, which looked a bit pathetic after being neglected during all our trips in June, looks like it will recover nicely.

But it has been hot here. Very hot. And very dry. Temperatures this week were up past 100 in the shade. The cardoon does not really like the hot weather and the plant itself looks quite withered. But its flowers are gorgeous.