Tag Archives: cats

Coming Soon-My Very First Newsletter!


With much appreciated help, I’m putting together my first ever newsletter, a mix of gardening, geese, the farm, my furbabies, books…new release…If you’d like to be among the happy recipients please message me your email at bctrissel@yahoo.com or fill out the form on the left side of my blog. A $20.00 Amazon gift card will be awarded to one of the recipients for coming on board. I’m too busy herding cats, geese, Puppy Cooper, gardening, and that writing thing…to get a newsletter out more than quarterly so don’t worry about being bombarded.

This announcement is brought to you by my publicists, Peaches and Cream..

My Cats Are Super Helpful with Christmas Preparations


christmas-cat-siamese-tabby-mix-with-bow

The holidays can be hectic. Thanks heavens, I’ve got the cats to help me: Peaches, Cream, Pavel, and Percy. Kitty Pavel likes to assist with decorations and gift wrapping. Little escapes his notice. He gets excited when the tree goes up and the wrapping paper, boxes, tissue paper, and bags come out. He likes the crinkly sound paper makes and exploring inside bags and boxes. Also hiding. He’s all about Christmas, unless you have catnip and then he’s easily distracted.

Peaches and Cream are Christmas lovers supreme. They are, however, disappointed that we switched to an artificial Christmas tree (because of my allergies). They will still crunch on the fake branches, though. I hear them ‘crunch, crunch, crunch.’ And ascending the artificial tree is not impossible. Heck no. I’ve greatly reduced the number of ornaments I put on it, and anywhere else in the house within their reach, or I would have camels and wise men carried all over the place. And have. I was constantly retrieving Creche figures and ornaments. Peaches and Cream are what some might consider ‘naughty’. Because of them, far less goes up so they’ve saved me work. Less decorating.
Peaches and Cream

Our older curmudgeonly tabby Percy ignores most of the festivities and keeps my spot warm on the couch. The only problem is that he complains when I want to sit in it, however, he will compromise by sitting on me. Preferably my chest, when I’m trying to write on my laptop. All very helpful. Peaches adores Percy and hangs out with him as much as Percy will tolerate. Even more.

percy-and-peaches-happy-in-a-sunbeam
(Percy and Peaches curled together in a sunbeam)

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” ~Robertson Davies

“People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around.” ~Susan Easterly

“Cats can be cooperative when something feels good, which, to a cat, is the way everything is supposed to feel as much of the time as possible.” ~Roger Caras

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

Christmas cat--Siamese Tabby Mix.jpg 2

(Pavel exploring Christmas packages)

“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not. Mine had me trained in two days.” ~Bill Dana

“If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up.” ~J.A. McIntosh

Peaches and Cream opening gifts.JPG1
(Note this tree only has lights on it….)

peaches-cream2015-jpg1

(Peaches and Cream into everything)

“Kittens believe that all nature is occupied with their diversion.” ~F.A. Paradis de Moncrif

“What greater gift than the love of a cat?” ~Charles Dickens

cream-into-the-presents

(The look on Cream’s face when I caught him in the act.)

“It is in the nature of cats to do a certain amount of unescorted roaming”. ~Adlai Stevenson

“Every life should have nine cats.” And several dogs.


Cream peering down from couch

The dastardly duo, my Siamese/tabby mixes Peaches and Cream, patrol the house seeking for anything to get into. They thoroughly enjoyed ransacking Christmas presents and the glorious tree. Big fans.

When in a calm mode, Peaches is a lap cat, as is our curmudgeonly older tabby, Percy. Between them, they manage to share me, though I’m hard-pressed at times to find space for my laptop.

Insatiably curious Cream sits by my head, purrs in my ear, and nibbles my hair. He’s also box mad. Loves Amazon box day (pictured below).

Cream loves him an amazon box

My tiny pom-poo Sadie Sue resides at my feet, and rescue dog, Jilly, on the love seat by the couch.

Two more kitties, Siamese mix, Pavel, and our elderly Minnie Mae prefer to perch overhead on the couch like vultures.

Sadie saves my seat for me when I get up. All of these furry friends aid in my writing. Some not as helpful as others, but each are faithful supporters. On those occasions when Peaches and Cream go coo-coo kitty, Sadie and I attempt to regain order, with little success. Cat herding is a thankless job, as Sadie will attest. Except for the odd scolding, Jilly mostly ignores the pair.

Sadie waiting for me

(Sadie Sue saving my seat)

jilly lou 2

(Jilly Lou being shy)

“Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies

“Cats choose us; we don’t own them.”—Author Kristin Cast

“If you want to write, keep cats.”
—Author Aldous Huxley

Sleepy kitty

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work … the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp … The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding.” ~ Muriel Spark, A Far Cry from Kensington

“You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.”
Jane Pauley (journalist, The Today Show)

“I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
Edgar Allan Poe (author, “The Raven”)

Cream insdie tree“Books, Cats, Life is Good.” ~ Edward Gorey

“I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” ~ Joyce Carol Oates

“It is very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that, whatever you say to them they always purr.”
Lewis Carroll (author, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

(Cream loves him a good Christmas tree)

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”

Hippolyte Taine (critic)

“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.” ~Mark Twain

“Cats are rather delicate creatures and they are subject to a good many ailments, but I never heard of one who suffered from insomnia.” ~Joseph Wood Krutch

My beautiful Cream“As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat.” ~Ellen Perry Berkeley

“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” ~Paula Poundstone

“Cats can work out mathematically the exact place to sit that will cause most inconvenience.” ~Pam Brown

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” ~Tay Hohoff

Sleeping kitty Cream“I like cats a lot. I’ve always liked cats. They’re great company. When they eat, they always leave a little bit at the bottom of the bowl. A dog will polish the bowl, but a cat always leaves a little bit. It’s like an offering.” ~Christopher Walken

“A happy arrangement: many people prefer cats to other people, and many cats prefer people to other cats.” ~Mason Cooley

“Every life should have nine cats.”

***Fortunately, Peaches and Cream take a lot of naps, or this house would be in worse shape than it is. Images by daughter Elise Trissel

Our Summer Garden in the Shenandoah Valley


pink bee balmFlowers bloom and veges grow in a riot of beauty, despite the heat, humidity, and rampant weeds I make efforts to contain. Feeble efforts compared to the power of Mother Nature. My goal is to have more veges and flowers than weeds, but the pretty weeds stay. Even the marginally pretty ones. Beds stretch like islands in our yard, filled with reseeding heirloom flowers, wildflowers, and perennials that return from bulbs and roots. Herbs are interspersed throughout. We also grow heirloom vegetables.

Salad garden.

Being an organic gardener means we have a lot of bugs, good and bad. Occasionally, I spray organic brews around to discourage rampant bugs and leaf fungus’s, but the cats were licking seaweed/fish emulsion fertilizer off the leaves. Not a good idea when it’s mixed with the brew. So I’ve quit using fish based fertilizer.. We also have our own farm compost to put around plants to mulch and nourish them. Worms are a gardener’s friend and they thrive in it.

flowers near garden

Our goal is to have a wildlife sanctuary. Butterflies flutter from blossom to blossom and we have bees. Not as many bees as we used to have, but some murmur on a summer’s day. Bumble bees buzz happily and hummers dart. Our resident fairy expert, my niece, Cailin, says the flowers fairies love our garden(s). So do the kitties, both the inside cats gazing out windows and the outside felines stalking around like miniature jungle cats.  Gold finches sing and eat seeds from the sunflowers that reseed each year. Most birds survive, despite the cats. Maybe because I feed the kitties, and they’re on the lazy side.

Siamese tabby mix cat in the window

This spring the local cat rescue people humane trapped and spayed our barn kitties, many of whom were dumped on us, and then reproduced. They fixed and returned 19 cats of various ages, and found homes for the kittens. Some cats claim the old red barn as their domain. Others love the garden and eat from the bowel outside the back door. I mix lysine with their food to boost their immune systems. They’re much healthier now. I’m also buying little cat houses to provide extra shelter in bad weather. Cats hide among the garden plants and shrubs, but when winter comes, they will need more cover. They love the kitty houses.

I think the secret to enjoying the garden, is to not let the failures outweigh the many joys found in the beauty amid the imperfections. ~

Siamese barn kitty in herb bed

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897 (Thanks, Jessica)

“No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.” ~Hugh Johnson

“I think the true gardener is a lover of his flowers, not a critic of them. I think the true gardener is the reverent servant of Nature, not her truculent, wife-beating master. I think the true gardener, the older he grows, should more and more develop a humble, grateful and uncertain spirit.” ~Reginald Farrer, In a Yorkshire Garden, 1909

Barn with wild flowers

“Let nature be in your yard.” ~Greg Peterson, www.urbanfarm.org

“A garden is always a series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.” ~May Sarton

“I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.” ~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

Cone flower

“Many things grow in the garden that were never sown there.” ~Thomas Fuller,Gnomologia, 1732

“Despite the gardener’s best intentions, Nature will improvise.” ~Michael P. Garofalo

***This is true. Nature improvises all over the place here.

Sunfower in back garden

Images taken by my daughter Elise. Pink Bee balm, Queen Anne’s Lace, Purple cone flower, heirloom lettuce, marigolds, zinnias, daylilies, coreopsis tinctoria, parsley, sunflowers, Siamese tabby mix cats.

Consider Catnip–Cats Do


catnipCatnip is native to Eurasia, but is naturalized over much of North America and the world, including my garden(s). During the Middle Ages, catnip was used in the treatment of nervous complaints, for colds, to sooth upset stomachs, and as a sleep aid. Catnip was rubbed on meats before cooking (possibly to disguise the flavor if it had gone off) and the leaves were added to salad. Early colonists took catnip to the New World, and it spread from there. (Image of catnip in our garden)

Colonial Tea TimeIn The Family Herbal,  English botanist John Hill says, “Catmint (another name for catnip) is common about our hedges, but of very great virtues.” He recommends it, “Be gathered just when the flowers are opening, and dried. It is an excellent woman’s medicine; an infusion of it is good against hysteric complaints, vapours, and fits, and it moderately promotes the menses.”
 
In Colonial America: A tea brewed from the leaves was used to treat stomach ache and head colds. Catnip was also steeped in wine and imbibed that way. If a woman wanted to increase her fertility she might soak in a catnip sitz bath. Catnip will take over the garden if you let it, but I like the scent, and the plant, though kind of weedy, is appealing in full flower. Very cheery.
Pavel: Siamese tabby mixOur cats, particularly our Siamese Tabby Mix, Pavel, love catnip. He rolls in it and chews on the leaves when I sprinkle some on the climbing perch. Even if Pavel is upstairs, he appears in seconds when I get out the catnip. I’m not sure why cats are so besotted by it, just that many are. Though not all. Percy doesn’t care one way or the other. Our kittens, Peaches and Cream, are fans. This summer, daughter Elise and I gathered seeds of various plants to save, including catnip. We put them in an envelope and left it on the counter, only to discover the contents scattered and Pavel’s mouth suspiciously covered with the leaves of catnip that had accompanied the seed gathering. He claimed to know nothing about it, with that innocence felines can conjure. 
 worried kitten

When the going gets tough, the tough get kittens


kittens in the basketSo, this sweet tortoiseshell kitty was dropped off on us, as often happens when living on a farm, and last month she had six kittens. Then, she adopted the two tiny orphans brought to us by my daughter-in-law. That makes eight.  I have what we call ‘kitten corner’ on the sun space where people love to gather and watch the kittens play and play with them in turn. It’s a happy spot. Our tiny pom-poo, Sadie, is kitten mad. Our rescue dog, Jilly, doesn’t care about them either way. She was told firmly on her introduction here not to chase cats, and she doesn’t see what else of interest is to be done with them.

mama cat and happy kittenSadie will really miss these little guys when they’re gone. So will I. Meanwhile, I’m doing my best to take care of the brood, along with the help of the very able mama kitty. I’ve decided to call her Miss Kitty. Don’t tell my DH, but she’s staying. Miss Kitty is such a quiet little cat he may not notice. She’s also quite pretty. It is my wild and crazy hope that maybe on down the road I can breed her to the gorgeous Siamese male who has taken up residence on our farm, and she will have amazing kittens. But I haven’t worked out the details yet, given that he’s on the wild side. I’m also thinking it’s possible I may create a new breed, or she may birth my long awaited orange and blue kitten. It’s possible I’m also kitten mad.
“You can’t help that. We’re all mad here.” – The Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland

Sadie with the kittensI can dream, right?

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”-George Mikes

As every cat owner knows, nobody owns a cat. – Ellen Perry Berkeley

But we can try.

**Sadie with the kittens. Images by daughter Elise.

Cats and Writers Go Together like PB and J


Little shop cat with kittens resizedHappiness is a box full of kittens.

With rare exceptions (no one comes to mind) authors love cats. Dogs, too, many of us, but invariably cats. I’m besotted by them, always have been. I’m wondering when a reader will notice the orange tabby I’ve included in many of my stories (Somewhere My Love, Somewhere My Lass, Somewhere in the Highlands, Enemy of the King, my upcoming release, Traitor’s Legacy….I would have included ‘the cat’ in my Native American sagas but we were too much on the go.

Beth Trissel and friends resizedAll of our cats are rescues. And now, housed in my sun room, are a mama cat and her six newborn kittens. We came by this kitty, as we have so many felines, after we discovered her dropped off on our farm. That happens a lot to dairy farmers. Something about milk and cats. This lovely tortoiseshell is very sweet and at home in her new abode. She’s also an excellent mama. Thank heavens. I don’t want to raise all her offspring myself. That last go at caring for a newborn kitten didn’t end well. Tiny kittens really need a mama in these first vital first days. We’ve been calling her ‘The Little Shop Cat’ because she took up residence in the farm shop, with increasingly frequent trips to the garage and kitchen steps after she found I’m a softie and would feed her. I’m thinking of naming her Serenity, because she’s so serene. But then no one will know who I’m talking about. (Image of Sadie and Pavel as a kitten)

PercyIt’s gonna get pretty lively around here in a few weeks when these little guys wake up and start exploring. Our senior lap cat, Percy, will take offense at their frolicking. Pavel, our two-yr-old Siamese tabby mix, will be intrigued, and likely join in the fun. Shy Minnie Mae, will watch from the corners and hide. My, and I do mean MY, tiny pom-poo Sadie Sue is fascinated by kittens, as long as they don’t occupy her spot by me on the couch. And our recent rescue dog, Jilly, is learning that kitties are not for chasing, but may need a reminder. She and the mama are already pals. Yes, we shall be seeking homes for (most) of this adorable litter when they are old enough. (Image of Percy)

sleeping tabby kitten“A catless writer is almost inconceivable.  It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.”  ~Barbara Holland

kitten Cedric look alike.jpg1

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.”  ~Doug Larson

“There has never been a cat
Who couldn’t calm me down
By walking slowly
Past my chair.”
~Rod McKuen

Sleeping newborn kittens.jpg resized“I had been told that the training procedure with cats was difficult. It’s not.  Mine had me trained in two days.” ~Bill Dana

(Sleeping newborn kittens)

“If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up.”  ~J.A. McIntosh

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.”  ~Leo Dworken

“Kittens believe that all nature is occupied with their diversion.”  ~F.A. Paradis de Moncrif

Cats seem to go on the principle that it never does any harm to ask for what you want. ~Joseph Wood Krutch

Authors like cats because they are such quiet, lovable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons. ~Robertson Davies 

kitty pavelWhat greater gift than the love of a cat? ~Charles Dickens

People who love cats have some of the biggest hearts around. ~Susan Easterly

That would be authors.

(Kitty Pavel)

*Images by daughter Elise