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Hermitage Letters

Mourning Tom, elections . . . and rain again!

Today is a sad day for Sanctuary House because our cat Tom died this morning. Tom got sick all of a sudden and even though Mom had medicine for him, he didn’t get better. Last night he went to sleep surrounded by his cat friends – Mom kissed him goodnight and he purred back to her, but early this morning he died. Tom was a big tuxedo cat – mostly black with white toes. I think kitties Fluffy and Belinda will miss him most of all because they were his very good friends – and of course, Mom misses him too.

Politics, politics – that’s almost all that’s on the radio! I don’t know why the humans have to elect a President . . . cats don’t have to hold elections, we have other ways of choosing leaders. Mom isn’t happy about any of the candidates who are trying to get elected – she said she would never, never vote for Donald Trump. Even before he started saying creepy things about women and Muslims and border fences and torture, Mom said “No, never!” When I asked her why she said, “Two words, Gus, Bonwit Teller.” I’m not sure what Bonwit Teller means, but I might Google it later. [http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/05/realestate/fifth-avenue-bonwit-teller-opulence-lost.html?_r=0]

If we have to have a President and Mom takes me with her when she goes to vote we might write in Morris, the 9-Lives cat – he’s good at business; or Opie from Rikki’s Refuge [http://rikkisrefuge.org/] – if Opie can run Rikki’s Refuge, I bet he could run the world! Cats rule, you know!

It’s raining again today – the beagles aren’t too happy about that and neither is our horse, Jackie. Jackie is especially unhappy because Mom put up a web gate to keep him away from the muddiest part of the pasture – of course, that is exactly where he wants to stand. Jackie weighs 1000+ so he can certainly pull the gate down . . . right now he’s thinking about it. Mom has tried to distract him with carrots and treats, but he’s still thinking about that flimsy gate.

Did you know that our Book of Common Prayer has a prayer for rain? Here is a little of that prayer: O God, heavenly Father . . . send us we entreat you . . . moderate rain and showers, that we may receive the fruits of the earth, to our comform and to your honor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. [p. 828] . . . maybe we have been forgetting the word “moderate” – what do you think??


Until next time,
Stay safe; pray always; keep in touch.

Gus

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Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Pentecost!

Thursday
Well to follow up on our last post, we did catch the orange kitty . . . and she is nursing kittens, so of course we let her go. The good news is that she is pretty much tame and let Mom pet her and even put Advantage on her so she won’t have fleas; and we know she will come to eat. The scary thing is that she is outside in an unsafe place – I know that from first paw experience! – and we really have no idea where her kittens are. Mom tried to look under building where Kitty hides, but she couldn’t see any kittens; probably the kittens are in another location because Kitty crosses the street and also goes into the woods and down the street to other houses and buildings. We hope she will bring the kittens to us when they are old enough and pray that they will be stay safe in the meantime.
It rained so much in the night that there are puddles everywhere, but there was a little blue in the sky, so I thought maybe, just maybe we would have a sunny day – but just an hour later and the sky is all gray again! We are on day 15 of rain, but no complaints from me because I am safe inside. There is a warbler in the tree just outside our window – I would rather watch him than eat or play. Of course, I would never catch a bird, but I do love to watch them!
Friday
That was yesterday – and yet more rain today. All of this rain is great for growing grass and vines and for raising mosquitoes and ticks! This morning Mom “rescued” a tree from a Virginia creeper vine. . . she would stay outside all day if we let her, but you know we need her inside to feed us and clean up.
Robin and Hemingway caught a mouse – they really wanted to keep it as a mouse toy or mouse trophy, but Mom said “No!” She just doesn’t understand the reasons we want to keep the mice we catch, and she’s not open to discussion about it either, although she seems glad that we catch the mice in the first place. Sometimes humans are inexplicable!
Saturday
And today, the sun is back! Brilliant light is filtering through the trees and the fence posts are steaming in the warming morning air.
Sunday
Another sunny day – even chilly! Today is Pentecost – 50 days after Easter. This is one of our mother’s very favorite days of the liturgical year. Even though red is the color to wear today, Mom doesn’t have any red clothes – she just wears basic black whenever she goes out. Jackie’s field is full of yellow buttercups and we still have purple and lavender irises at the end of the driveway, but we do have our many red hummingbird feeders and two pots of bright red Gerbera daisies, so we are sort of decorated for Pentecost!
And now that it’s sunny and more like Spring, Mom is starting her spring-cleaning routine. We were surprised to find that mice had made winter beds in two of the china cabinets . . . so all of the plates and bowls are now washed, and the dishwasher is full of glasses and coffee cups. “Just a downside of country life,” Mom said to Zed and Chaelie as they watched her wash and dry the china. Mom always tries to block spaces where mice can come in, but mice are very smart and very tiny! I say that Alice Jeanne, the Eskie, should be helping on mouse patrol in the kitchen, but she would rather play with her stuffed toys, and then she sleeps all night so she is no help at all. We have to give this some thought . . .
In the meantime, here is a prayer for Pentecost:
O God, who on this day taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. [BCP, p. 227]

Until next time,
Stay safe; pray always; keep in touch.

Poirot

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Another rainy day . . .

I, Poirot, am writing today because Gus and Aidan are too busy playing. . . . they are young and love to hide and then jump out to surprise each other. I can tell you that the older kitties who live with us – Dru, Bobette, Lily, and Marla – do not appreciate these games! Bobette is 17, almost 18 years old, and sometimes she just says, “Oh boys, play that game far away from me,” and then she jumps up onto the table out of their way.

I don’t think there is any hope that Mom will write soon, because she is now reading three books at once!
The Tail of the Tip-Off – a novel for fun
The Story of Monasticism – a book she is reviewing for NEHA (NEHAHQS@aol.com)
A New Pentecost? – an old book, now in it’s second reading
I don’t know how she keeps them from running together, but when I asked her she said, “No worries, Monsieur, the characters and plots are all quite different.”

Mom just came in from feeding the outside animals – she is all wet, even her hair is dripping. Right in the middle of her outdoor chores it started to rain, very heavy rain! Breakfast must be good though because Jackie the horse is standing in the rain as he eats breakfast. Mom always puts carrots and an apple on top of his food, and the apple is usually his favorite treat.

Lucy Lu and Maisie, two silly beagle girls, wanted to go out, but they came right back inside when they felt the rain! Now Goldie is barking – Mom will open the door even though we both know that Goldie will not go out in the rain for anything or anybody.

And a sad thing happened this morning – our duck Lewis flew to the Rainbow Bridge. Lewis was a very old Rouen duck; Mom had moved him to a special pen so no one else would eat his food, but he only lived a few days after that. Now we only have one duck, a brown and white duck named Clark. Clark and Neville the goose live in a pen right beside the gate, and Neville calls out when anyone comes into the driveway. Mom calls him the “watch goose,” and most people who come near the gate are afraid of him, which is silly because he cannot get out of his pen – he just makes a lot of goose noises and they are afraid he will bite them!

As you may know, last Thursday was Ascension Day – that is a very special day for us because we live and Ascension Hermitage and Sanctuary. Here is a prayer for Ascension Day – we hope you will pray it for all of us:
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and even. Amen. [BCP, p. 226]

Until next time,
Stay safe; pray always; keep in touch.

Poirot

PS Please say a prayer, too, for the homeless orange kitty who hides under the vacant building next door. She also walks right into the street and hunts in a very wide territory. At first we thought she had kittens hidden under the building, but now we don’t think so. Mom is trying to catch her so she will be safe, but she would rather be hungry – or eat somewhere else – than go into a trap. She is a very smart kitty on one paw, but not smart at all on the others.

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Welcome to our blog!

As you might guess, if you know our mother, I am named for two famous Augustines – Augusta the second cat of Sanctuary House, and St. Augustine of Hippo . . . I might be a saint one day, but for now I am happy just to be Gus the cat. Sister Mary – she’s our mother – was going to write this blog, but she’s really busy with chores, so I told her we’d write the blog most days and she can clean the litter boxes and feed us and wash our blankets and of course open the door a thousand times a day for the doggies who can’t decide if they want to be indoors or in the play yard. Our mother does other chores too – errands to the store and post office, and other things. We, on the other paw, spend most of our time playing, staring out of the window at birds, and napping . . . it’s so much fun to be a cat! I am writing first, but my brothers Aidan and Poirot will be writing too. Aidan is named after a saint too, and Poirot is named after a famous detective. Sometimes we might invite another cat or even a doggie to write on our blog page – and when Mom has time, she will write.

I am an all gray cat, Aidan is all black and a polydactyl, and Poirot is black and white. We are short haired cats and we all have golden eyes. If you read our mother’s book, More Cats of Sanctuary House, you might remember that Aidan is Anya’s kitten and he has five sisters: Beebe, Chelsea, Chrissy, Mavis, and Nora. Poirot and I are singletons – Poirot was rescued when a dog chased him up a tree (not one of our dogs, of course), and I was starving and caught in a trap. But really we are all brothers and sisters here at Sanctuary House, no matter how we first came here.

It has been cloudy and rainy for days. I keep watching for the sun, but I think Cockburn, our red Wyandotte rooster, is not crowing loud enough – I hear him, but no sun, so something must be wrong. Some of the doggies just spend the rainy days sleeping, but Toby barks to go in and out many times. He doesn’t like the rain, but he wants to keep checking to see if it has stopped. I don’t know why he doesn’t believe Mom when she says, “It’s still raining,” after all she can look out of the windows; I could tell him that too, but he’s not very good about listening to people or cats. I hope she’ll give Toby his Kong toy filled with peanut butter then everyone will be able to rest in quiet!

This morning when Mom went out to gather the eggs in the chicken house she had to wear her tall, black and yellow rain boots because there are so many puddles. The poor chickens were splashing in the rain, and even the ducks and geese are ready for a sunny day. Whenever the rain stops, even for a short time, our horse Jackie goes out to the field to eat grass, but when it starts to rain again he goes right back into the run-in shed. “This is a nice Spring rain,” Mom reminded Jackie, but he doesn’t listen any better than Toby does. But Jackie is funny because rain or no rain he sleeps out in the field at night. . . . even when that means he comes to breakfast half covered in mud.

A few days ago Mom hung our hummingbird feeder in the garden – now, even in the rain, we have many ruby throated hummingbirds coming to visit. And we feed lots of other birds too – downy woodpeckers, red headed flickers, sparrows, many kinds of blackbirds, starlings, blue birds, titmice, wrens, cardinals, and pigeons.

And the garden is growing too! There are dark purple irises right at the end of our driveway, and the lilies are growing and growing, but no blooms yet. Tiny beets and potatoes are sprouting and the turnips should be up soon too. . . as you can probably guess, those are veggies that Mom likes – no cats eat them at all! Dandelions, daffodils, and buttercups are growing in the yard and field, and the zinnias should be up soon too and all of us like to look at those! Plus, the zinnias decorate our chapel all summer.

Here is a great prayer for Spring:
We give you thanks, most gracious God, for the beauty of earth and sky and sea; for the richness of mountains, plains, and rivers; for the songs of birds and the loveliness of flowers. We praise you for these good gifts, and pray that we may always safeguard them. Grant that we may continue to grow in our grateful enjoyment of your abundant creation, to the honor and glory of your Name, now and for ever. Amen. (BCP, p. 840, adapted)

Until next time,
Stay safe; pray always; keep in touch.

Gus

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