Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


A couple of weeks ago, I posted about barn cat Spotz and her strange health problem that meant she had to spend a few weeks as a house cat until she regained her balance. Last week, I started taking her out for a while each day. Then I let her spend whole days outside but nights inside. Finally, a couple of days ago, she returned to her barn life and her family.

Mama Twiggy and brother Sherman welcomed her back.

Spotz has a wobbly moment or two, but she can run pretty fast if she has to. Her head still tilts slightly, but it's hardly noticeable.

She seems glad to be reunited with her family and her preferred way of life.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Smith Mountain View

From sunrise, late afternoon, & evening:



Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Cat Tale

What's captured Jim-Bob's attention?

He certainly is focused on something. What?

He moves in for a closer look. Something on the wall. . . .

Ahhh! He sees a lizard. 

A lizard that's missing a tail. Technically, this lizard is a five-lined skink which has the ability to shed its tail when caught by a predator. If the tail were still there, it would be blue.

Something else that's missing are pictures of what happened next: Jim-Bob jumped, the lizard fell to the deck, Jim-Bob grabbed it, I grabbed Jim-Bob, Jim-Bob dropped the lizard, the lizard ran under the car with Jim-Bob in hot pursuit.

Thus endeth the tale.


Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23 Morning

This morning, I watched the day begin. The sunrise was lovely.

Some of cats watched it, too.

From the gazebo, I watched the cats.

Later, Olivia and Eddie-Puss joined me in the gazebo.

Spotz, who's been recuperating inside for the last two weeks, went out to enjoy the morning.

Jim-Bob (the little white blob in the background) came out to see Spotz.

Spotz enjoyed watching the morning begin.

Then Spotz and I went back inside.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) came by the other morning and added some signs to the road. The stop sign in front of my driveway used to look like this:

The post was wooden, so it was likely to snap off if anyone ran into it. The sign was pretty scarred up where various farm-related vehicles had scraped it.  Plus, it didn't work very well. Only a few people actually stopped at it. Some didn't even slow down as they made the turn.

Now we have a shiny new sign on a metal post that will likely put a serious dent into any vehicle hitting it. The road number signs have been relocated to a separate metal post across the road—and beside the wooden post that bears the road names. 

The sign didn't stay shiny for long. It's only been there a few days, and already it's accumulated some scrape-marks.

VDOT added a bunch more signs along the road, too. Can you see a new one in the picture below? Look just above my mailbox.

Maybe you can see it better in the photo below. 

Farther down the road, on both sides of the Hainted Holler turn, VDOT posted signs that lowered the speed limit to a reasonable—and much safer—level. 

Otherwise, the rest of the road now seems to have a 45 mph limit, which is actually a bit faster than what we're comfortable doing. Around here, you never know when you're going to encounter a tractor or manure spreader or horseback riders or wild critters, so it's best to err on the side of caution. 

Below, a new sign has appeared in the same spot where I encountered a big bear crossing the road two summers ago. If I'd been going as fast as 45 then, both my truck and the bear would have been history—or at least a big mess. 

We have several folks in the area who seem to think the road is a speedway. I wonder if they'll slow down now. Maybe they'll at least slow down for the new stop sign.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lotsa Clouds

For the the last several afternoons, clouds have pile up in the sky. While they've promised rain, we've gotten very little. Here are last weekend's clouds:

One of the above pictures had a bird in it. One picture had a dog. Did you see them?