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Hermitage Letters

Writing on this blog again!

willow_(22).jpgWillow hopes we'll be writing on this blog - after all, she is the first to have her photo here. Actually, she was glad to pose for a photo, since a peppermint treat was soon to follow! Changes are coming - please stay tuned!

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Sarah Hall

It was 143 years ago today that Sarah Hall died . . . we didn’t really know Sarah Hall of course, but her grave is on the Ascension Hermitage & Sanctuary property, and her headstone says this:
SARAH wife of Tubman L. Hall, daughter of Lazarus & Sarah Maddux. Died April 28, 1874. Age 68 years. From a child she was a consistent member of the M.E. Church, her end was peaceful and triumphant. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints. Ps. 116:15. [That’s verse 15 in the KJV Bible – in the more modern English version it’s verse 13!]
Mom said Sarah Hall wasn’t very old, but peaceful and triumphant sounds like a good way to die . . . I just hope she had a kitty or doggy waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge. This morning Mom trimmed the grass around the gravestones and said a prayer for Sarah Hall – we hope she watches us from heaven. Maybe one day we will meet there!

Mom has other errands today, so we have to turn the computer off. I’ll write again soon.
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Beginning to write again!

After so many weeks – months really – we are back to writing! As you might have read our in our newsletter we have been very busy with visiting doggies, ducks, and chicks, and as Mom’s first cat assistant, I am trying to help. Our beagles Abby, Doll, and Ella left for the Rainbow Bridge, and beagles Talley, Willa, Maggie, and Thea came to fill those spaces. Talley, Willa, and Maggie are senior girls, but Talley already has a job – she was approved by Pets-on-Wheels of Delmarva, and she often goes with Mom on errands – I don’t know exactly what she does, but I know she has a special collar . . . and I know she gets to eat chicken nuggets on the way home, so I guess her job is important!

Willa sort of has a job too – she is the best companion for Chrissi who is a very old beagle/basset doggie. Chrissi used to be very grouchy, but now that Willa lives here Chrissi is much happier. Maggie came to live with us because she was lost for a long time, and no one ever came to find her at the county shelter. Maggie is tiny – she’s a pocket beagle – and she loves Mom as though she had known her forever. Thea is a very different story. She is only 6 months old, but she was beaten and kicked by an awful person . . . Thea is afraid to stand up when a person is near her, so Mom has to carry her in and out. The good thing though is that Thea does love other dogs, so we’re hoping she learns to follow them. I don’t understand why some humans are so cruel – they are a mystery, a horrible mystery. Thea is only a baby – why would someone beat or kick her? [Her name is pronounced Tay-ah.]

But that’s enough about dogs! We have watched some cats go to the Rainbow Bridge too, and I was especially sad on Wednesday because my good cat friend Lily left us. Mom said Lily had kidney failure. Lily always loved canned cat food, but one day she just said “no, not today” and the next morning she didn’t wake up.

Jackie our horse is very happy because he is no longer alone in the pasture – Sonny came to live with us . . . Sonny belongs to our neighbor, but the horses just know it’s best to have a good buddy! The ducklings have grown up and will be moving to Rikki’s Refuge in May – that will be good for them because they will have much more room to quack and swim and play. And the chicks are growing up too – Mom put the two bigger chicks, Edie and Evie, out in a special pen yesterday, but she brought them in for the night because it was very rainy and chilly. The other chicks, Pipi, Penny, and Cindy, are still too small to go out.

We’ve got to go to work now! Mom says if you say Morning and Evening Prayer every day here is an easy way to have all of the prayers, psalms, and readings in one place:

More later,
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Thanksgiving Day

Blessings for Thanksgiving Day! Actually we are celebrating on Saturday because Mom has to go to Easton to work on Thursday and Friday, but celebrating later is OK because we kitties and doggies are thankful for every day. We celebrate life everyday no matter what the calendar says – but we do like to have Mom home with us! Mom might take our beagle Doll to work with her today because Doll is very old and Mom worries about leaving her home – sometimes the other dogs forget that Doll is not able to run and play with them and they knock her down. Cats, of course, are much more sensitive!

Here is a prayer for Thanksgiving Day:
Almighty and gracious Father, we give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make us, we pray, faithful stewards of your great bounty, for the provision of our necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. [BCP, p. 246]

Everyone have a safe and happy day,

PS I hope you are NOT eating our friends – turkeys, ducks, chickens, pigs, lambs, sheep or any other animals. There are plenty of delicious foods without killing animals!
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Enough about politics!

Well, at least the election is over – not that our candidate won (I voted for Opie at Rikki’s Refuge, but I don’t think he got many votes!). Some people are very happy, and some are very angry – and Mom says President-elect Trump has too many business connections that are complicated and convoluted, and that people did not consider that when voting. And those of us from interracial families aren’t feeling good either – I’m a gray cat, but I have friends and relatives of all different colors, even calico! You can’t just say “let’s be united now” when you’ve said other horrible, hateful things to and about people – it takes a long, long time to prove that you are really trustworthy. But enough about politics!

Mom has been painting our upstairs bathroom – so far it’s white and blue, but I think other colors are going to be added. And we have a new car! It’s a black Subaru. I haven’t ridden in it yet, but the beagles were barking and barking at it. At first they thought someone was coming to visit, but finally Mom convinced them that the new car is here to stay. The doggies usually like riding in the car – cats, not so much! Cats like to stay at home and mind their own business. Riding in the car almost always means a trip to the vet and we definitely don’t like that!

The last week has been sad and glad for us – just like most of life, I guess. For the sad part, our beagle Abby left for the Rainbow Bridge. Abby was very old and tired, but I bet she is running and playing now, probably with her good friend Artie. On the happy, glad side, our foster beagles, Sammy and Hallie, are much less afraid. Mom used to have to take Sammy out to the yard on a leash – now he just runs out and back in on his own. And Hallie has decided that she really loves Mom – she lets Mom pick her up and whisper in her ear! In a few weeks Hallie has to have surgery on her eye and also be spayed on the same day . . . so it is good that she trusts Mom to take care of her.

It’s time to feed our horse Jackie and the upstairs cats . . . and then Mom will want to clean or paint, so I’ll write more another time.

Stay safe,
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All Saints' Sunday

Today’s good news is that our heater is all mended and back to work! Two men came on Friday to replace the broken part and almost all of the beagles – especially George – helped them by barking and shouting directions! I think all of that help made their work go more quickly so they were only here for about 20 minutes.

And now we come to the end of Daylight Saving Time. Mom thinks this is a ridiculous change to make twice a year, and apparently Bessie and the other doggies do too, because they started barking almost an hour early today. Mom says a country that can manage to legalize pot should be smart enough to get rid of Daylight Savings, but as you probably know, not many people listen to Mom. As a cat I don’t really care about pot or Daylight Savings, but I always listen to Mom! I don’t always do what she says, but I always listen.

Today is All Saints’ Sunday – I bet all of the saints are marching around heaven having a great celebration. Our kitty Ellie died this morning, so she must be marching with the other saints in heaven, glad that we on earth are remembering them. Ellie had kidney disease – it is sad for us that she is gone to the Rainbow Bridge, but I bet she is running and playing there, waiting for all of us to catch up with her. Rest in peace, little Ellie, and one day we’ll all rise in glory!

I’ll write again soon,

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All Saints Day

So here’s the update on our heater – the problem was NOT beagle fur or beagle dust, and it wasn’t cat fur either . . .actually Mom had cleaned the filters the right way – but the real problem was a mouse! A mouse chewed right through the wire for the temperature sensor! So now we’re waiting for the company to order the part and then come to replace it . . . good thing we are supposed to have a few days of warm weather.

Today is November 1st, All Saints’ Day. It is the day for singing one of Mom’s favorite hymns – here are the words written by William Walsham How:
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.

Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might:
thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
thou, in the darkness drear, the one true Light.

O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
and win, with them, the victor’s crown of gold.

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.

The golden evening brightens in the west;
soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest;
sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
the saints triumphant rise in bright array;
the King of glory passes on his way.

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
Alleluia, alleluia!

Mom says, “Yes, Gus, there are millions of animals in the countless host of saints!” I’m already named for a saint – St. Augustine – and I’m hoping to be a saint too, of course, I’ll be St. Gus!

I’ll write again soon,
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Last week of October!

Well, here we are – almost to Halloween – and so many updates! No one thinks Meg’s eggs are going to hatch now, except once in a while Meg still moves them around and sits on them for an hour or so, but she leaves them at night. I’m sorry for Meg because I’m sure she wanted goslings, but Mom said this is not a good time of year for baby geese, so maybe it’s better that the eggs just remained eggs.

Dottie, one of the dogs at Somerset County animal control, has now moved to her forever home at Rikki’s Refuge in Orange County, VA. Dottie is happy there and we are very happy for her!

Sammy and Hallie, also from Somerset County animal control, are now living at Sanctuary House – I think they’ll live here forever, but that’s not sure yet. Sammy is not so afraid any more, in fact he likes to play in the yard with the other dogs; but Hallie is afraid of everything and everybody. And Casey, the very old beagle from South Carolina, is still at Penny Angel’s Beagle Rescue in NJ, and I think she’ll live there forever. This isn’t what Joan and Mom had planned, but you know people make plans all the time and then have to change them.

Two days ago, when the morning was very cold, Mom turned on the heater switch, and . . . NO heat! So we are hoping the repairman will come tomorrow – probably the heater just needs to be cleaned (because the beagles shed so much!). The heater has only worked for one winter, so it is practically new . . . except for the beagle fur and beagle dust. We cats groom all the time, so you know the problem with the heater is NOT cat fur. I’ll let you know what the repairman says!

More tomorrow. . .
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A week in October

October 10th

Guess what – we got a brand new washing machine! Mom is happy now that our laundry room is back in business.

We had a lot of rain and wind at the weekend, but were fortunate that Hurricane Matthew did not come here. Suddenly our warm, end-of-summer weather is gone, and it is much cooler – Mom said it’s almost cold, and since she doesn’t have fur or feathers like we do, she’s wearing a sweatshirt! Everyone is hungry, and this morning Jackie came to the pasture gate when the sun first made the sky light to call to Mom because he wanted his breakfast. Overnight the leaves on the big oak tree in our back yard have begun changing from green to golden brown.

Meg the goose is still on her nest and no eggs have hatched . . . the boys, Crockett and Desmond, are keeping careful watch on her and sit close to her all day. Early in the morning Meg leaves her nest to eat and drink, and all of the geese talk excitedly to each other. But when Meg goes back to her nest and everyone is very quiet, and the boys sleep with their heads under their wings, and wait.

October 18th

So much has happened in the past week that I hardly know where to begin. Maybe the biggest thing is that the two scared beagles, Sammy and Hallie, came to live with us, at least for now. . . . and the other old beagle, Casey, is living with Joan for now. And for another good dog story, Mom is helping rescue another dog named Dottie – Dottie is probably a pointer mix and she is a total escape artist! But now she will be going to live at Rikki’s Refuge in Orange, Virginia. Kerry, who runs Rikki’s Refuge with her cat helper Opie, said Dottie could live there forever and ever. They are the best, Kerry and Opie are, and we thank God for them every day. . . in fact, I learned to write this blog because Opie is a blog writer too! Opie helps Kerry a lot, just like I help Mom.

Last Saturday Mom sat down on the outside steps into our house and discovered that they were rotten on one side . . . yep, as you can imagine, she spent Sunday going to Lowe’s and rebuilding the steps! Now I think she’s imagining a new handrail too. Good thing we are having a few warm days if she wants to have outdoor projects.

And one sad thing happened at the weekend too: our sister cat Belinda died. Belinda had lived at Sanctuary House for a long time – she came with her three kittens. One of the grown up kittens still lives with us; her name is Bisou. Belinda was a dark gray kitty with white paws and a white milk moustache – Mom always said Belinda was asking “Got milk? Or other cat treats?” Belinda loved to jump and climb when she was younger, but when she got old she mostly sat on the window sill or on the climbing towers. Belinda loved other cats more than she loved people, but on the day she died she wanted Mom to hold her and then she went to sleep leaning against Merwyn, a big black cat. We miss Belinda a lot. I’m not like Belinda – I want Mom to hold me every day . . . and she does!

Until next time,
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St. Francis' Day

Blessings on St. Francis’ Day! Mom and her friend, Joan, have been on the telephone all day trying to rescue a 14 year old beagle named Casey. Casey is in South Carolina – she is safe now. She may get adopted in South Carolina, but if not she will come to stay with Joan and then come to Sanctuary House. I can’t imagine how sad Casey must feel since she lost her person and her home, but I am glad there are other people who will take care of her.

And Joan and Mom are also trying to rescue two beagles here in Somerset County. Mom is going to meet them tomorrow and take pictures – they are a very young brother and sister, and the sister is very, very scared. Our friend Cindy who works at the animal control office is taking care of them for us.

This is a difficult time of year for beagles – some of them are not such great hunters and some of them get lost, and too often the hunter people do not take care of them.

Here is a poem for today, written by St. Francis and translated by Howard Chandler Robbins (Mom hopes and believes it is in the public domain!)

Most High, omnipotent, good Lord,
to thee be ceaseless praise outpoured,
and blessing without measure.
From thee alone all creatures came;
No one is worthy thee to name.

My Lord be praised by brother sun
who through the skies his course doth run,
and shines in brilliant splendor:
with brightness he does fill the day,
and signifies thy boundless sway.

My Lord be praised by sister moon
and all the stars, that with her soon
will point the glittering heavens.
Let wind and air and cloud and calm
and weathers all, repeat the psalm.

By sister water be thou blessed,
most humble, useful, precious, chaste;
be praised by brother fire;
jocund is he, robust and bright,
and strong to lighten all the night.

By mother earth my Lord be praised;
goverened by thee she hath upraised
what for our life is needful.
Sustained by thee, through every hour,
she bringeth forth fruit, herb, and flower.

My Lord be praised by those who prove
in free forgivingness their love,
nor shrink from tribulation.
Happy, who peaceably endure;
with thee, Lord, their reward is sure.

For death our sister, praised be,
from whom no one alive can flee.
Woe to the unprepared!
But blest be they who do thy will
and follow thy commandments still.

Most High, omnipotent, good Lord,
to thee be ceaseless praise outpoured,
and blessing without measure.
Let creatures all give thanks to thee,
and serve in great humility.

Yes, let us all give thanks to God, and serve in great humility!

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