The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Cat standoff

Huckleberry hiding from StriderSaturday --- time for Strider to come play with the big cat.  I carry him inside through the rain and instantly both cats are terrified of each other.  Huckleberry hisses and flees to the top of the north futon.  Strider meows mournfully and flees to hide under the south futon.

I lie between them, reading about dragons and sailors.  But the cats' war wears me out, and I slide into sleep.  I wake to more standoff, and eventually I put Strider back out in the barn and coddle Huckleberry back into his usual slug-like state.

Sunday morning.  The creek has risen again and is lapping up against the bottom of the footbridge.  Huckleberry won't come to breakfast, so I bring Strider inside again and he settles into the nook between my arms and book.

I feel guilty, the way I've felt all week --- as if I'm sneaking off to tryst with a lover behind Huckleberry's back.  So I go out into the wet and holler his name.  "Huckleberry, Huckle-BER-ry!"  Eventually, as Mark and I start to chop wood, he shows up, wet and unwilling.  He won't raise his back to my stroking hand, and once he runs inside and sees Strider he instantly runs back out.

Over lunch, I lock Strider in the bathroom and pet Huckleberry.  Strider moans, seeming to throw his voice down the hall, but eventually Huckleberry subsides.  That afternoon, as I cuddle up with the last 150 pages of a 1800 page trilogy which has leaked into my life over the last week and a half, Strider falls soundly asleep beside my head and Huckleberry eventually leaps up to lie carefully at my feet.

The peace lasts only twenty minutes until --- with only ten pages remaining and my hero and heroine still at odds --- Strider loses control of his bowels and poops on the floor.  Who ever said it was easy sorting out the differences between two cats?  Only in fantasy worlds do massive differences resolve in the last ten pages leaving everyone to live happily ever after.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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