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.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Moving On Up

by Tanner the Kitty

I recently decided to relocate. My old residence, where I have lived for  over a year, was just too small.

And it was too junky. All kinds of stuff was left from the previous tenant, who was Dylan. He liked to collect string and junk which he kept in the downstairs part. 

On the stoop were old cars on blocks and old appliances. It was not a nice place for a refined cat to live. See?

I didn't have any room to entertain or to keep my stuff. So I started looking around for a bigger and nicer place. I finally moved into a high-rise condo on a wooded lot.

I now have a place to display my art—like this which hangs next to my roof-top terrace: 

Since it is art, the bird ain't real. He wouldn't last long if he was. The cat ain't real either, but I like his stripes. From the fourth floor, I can watch the real birds outside. It is almost like I am in a tree-top.

I can lean way out if I want to get a better look.

Now I have room for visitors. Right after I moved in, my bestest friend Chloe climbed up to visit. She is a girl, so I let her go first because I am a gentleman kitty.

Hanging out with Chloe was fun.

We had a nice visit and did some bird-watching together. Chloe likes my new place.

After Chloe left, Dylan came snooping around.

He just stopped in for a minute, but he didn't stay long.

Next Jim-Bob came along and explored all over the place. 

He even came part-way upstairs.

I tried to get him to come up to the roof, but he wasn't interested.

Then George came along and invited Jim-Bob to go with him, so they left. They could at least have asked me if I wanted to go.

 I waved good-bye as they left. It was fun to look down on them.

If you're in the neighborhood, come up and see me. 

Remember, I no longer live at the old place.

I have moved on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky.


Sunday, March 23, 2014


After my house was built in 1978, the owner put in a line of white pines between the house and pasture to act as a windbreak. Because the property is on high ground, the west wind can sometimes be fierce.

 At one point, an ice storm must have damaged the pines because the tops are missing from quite a few. Nonetheless, the pines have done a pretty good job during the fourteen years we've lived here. Every so often, though, one of the pines dies. And it needs to come down. Here's what happened Saturday.

The dead pine was between two living ones. At some point, the damaged top had broken off and was hanging in the upper branches.

The first step was to determine which way the pine should fall and apply the chain saw. The first cut is in the intended falling direction. Another cut will be made on the pine's backside to fell it.

So far, so good . . . .

. . . and then the chainsaw got stuck in the tree.

A wedge was pounded in to open the crack to get the saw loose.

And then the back cut was finished. But the tree didn't fall.

It really should have come down.

That's a big cut.

Next step: Attach a chain to the tree.

And pull. 

The tree starts to lean. 

Will it fall on the tractor?

No! It jumped off the stump and is standing upright. Won't this tree ever go down? Another pull and it does. Notice how close it came to the tractor.

Finally, the stump stands alone. (It will be cut later.)

And the tree is cut up.

For this pine, the whole experience was a downer. Finally.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Where's Chloe?

Do you see Chloe the kitty in this picture?

She's easier to spot in the following pictures:



Monday, March 17, 2014

Icy Day

Yesterday was springlike. Flowers bloomed and birds were everywhere, including more robins than I've seen before in these parts.

But a winter storm had been predicted for today. We were expecting anywhere from an inch to five inches of snow. However, we only got a dusting.

But it was a frozen dusting. Instead of much snow, a lot of sleet fell last night, and this morning the vehicles—and everything else—were iced over. The road was a ribbon of ice, but some robins were out nonetheless. Can you see them in the photo below?

Birds flocked to the feeders, which I'd filled late yesterday afternoon.

I couldn't refill the feeders today because the tops were frozen on, so I scattered some seed on the ground. Tanner really wanted to get himself a bird. When the occasional bird came onto the frozen deck, he leaped at the glass.

Jim-Bob was mad that he couldn't do his cat-work, which involves de-mousing the property. He went out several times, but had to come back in to dry—or maybe thaw—out.

Finally, he decided to sit watch on the front porch. But he wasn't happy that he couldn't go on patrol.

Meanwhile, Tanner gave up bird-watching. . . 

. . . and George decided to settle down for a late winter's nap.

I'd hoped that the iciness would melt by afternoon, but temperatures didn't get above freezing.

Except for venturing out to feed the barn and kennel critters, we didn't go anywhere. Looks like Tanner and George had the right idea.

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