CLOROX AND SUNSHINE

It’s a beautiful fall morning in Kentucky although the leaves have not yet turned from green to russet, gold, and red. I add a tat of bleach to the soapy water in the sink before washing the cat’s dishes. The kittens are now five weeks old and still cute as buttons. All but one, the girl I’m calling Little Sister, are eating tiny amounts of kitten kibble mixed with Natural Choice moist kitten pate. Willie and Puff Daddy (so named because Willie has marks like a W on his head and Puff Daddy has Persian looks—he’s the only long-haired kitten—eat the most. Duffy—a beautiful solid gray with round blue eyes—is the most gentle. He likes sitting on laps. Dude is white with gray spots and has a mark on his chin that looks like a tiny goatee.

Last week I started their litter training. At first the kittens just played in their private sand box before clever Willie showed them what the box was really for. I was relieved—no pun intended.

This morning, I brought Willie upstairs to treat his eyes—he has a slight drainage. It’s the first time my Maggie has met one of the kittens. She was sweet about it. Little Willie who had been protesting loudly as I wiped his eyes with wet cotton balls, froze in place when I put him on the floor. He was happy to get back downstairs with his brothers and sister.

Big Sister has been a wonderful mother to her kittens. She has been taking short breaks in the garage—I know she misses being outside, but I don’t dare let her out. Once the kittens are weaned and she is “fixed,” she can be an outdoor/indoor cat. It’s good to know she’ll be as safe and loved. Dottie has already bought her a collar so folks will know Sister has a home. Did you know there are break-away collars for cats so they won’t get trapped? I didn’t.

I’ll have the kittens for a few more weeks before they are old enough for adoption. It will be hard to give them up, but I know they will soon become cats and they won’t want to live in my basement. Please pray that Willie, Dude, Puff Daddy, Duffy, and Little Sister will find loving and safe homes.

AN UNEXPECTED GUEST

About a month ago, a stray cat began to stalk my son. Stephen lives on a pretty street near downtown Lexington. When he’d come home from work, the cat would meet him on his porch meowing—begging for a bite to eat or a scratch behind the ears. It wasn’t too long until the cat was inviting itself inside for short visits—kind of getting the lay of the land.

At first Stephen and his girlfriend, Dottie, wondered if the cat had a home—maybe it just liked to hang out with people. They asked around—someone made sure it had water—someone else put out food—but no one claimed it. No one took responsibility. One night, during a phone call, I heard my son call the cat by name, Sister. She was working her way into his heart.

Soon it became apparent that the small-framed, white and black cat had a serious problem. She had no home but she needed one desperately, for she was going to have kittens. Dottie was worried about Sister’s health. She was so tiny and still so young—would she survive delivering kittens? Dottie called various cat care facilities. They advised a termination of the pregnancy and immediate spaying of the stray.

The night before the procedure, Stephen borrowed my Jack Russell’s carrier. The vet said to keep the cat inside overnight so that he wouldn’t have to try and find her in the morning. We were all sad and upset about what was to come for Sister—and all because someone did not care enough to spay/neuter their pet. Sister and her unborn babies would pay the price.

I prayed for Sister before I went to bed that night. I asked God to watch over her, and I apologized for what was to happen to the kittens. I prayed if the little things were meant to be, that God would have nature take its course. “Now is the time to pity her, now is the time you promised to help.” Psalms 102:13

Dottie was up early the next morning so that she could get Sister to the vet before going to work. On the way there, Sister had her first kitten. During the course of the next few hours, she had four more. Her little body was more than up for the strenuous job.

For the time being Sister and her off-spring are living in my basement. They are healthy and cute as can be—three gray and whites and two solid grays. “He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies.” Psalms 103:4

Sister is a fine mother—happy to be safe, and loved, and fed all that she can eat. Her water bowl is always full and her litter box clean. Twice a day, I give her an oral antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection.  She doesn’t like to take it, but she tolerates me, and enjoys the bite of cheese she gets as a reward.

The kittens are up for adoption. Sister will remain in the family. We’ll make sure all are spayed or neutered. It’s the least we can do. “And the King will tell them, ‘I assure you, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40

CHANCE FOR A FREE COPY OF TATTLER’S BRANCH

Today I received my first copies of Tattler’s Branch. Like magic my words have become lovely books that I can hold in my hands and offer to my readers.

It takes a very long time to go from the first line, (in this case: “Armina Tippen’s muscles twitched like frog legs in a hot skillet.) to the final, “The End.” But after a year of writing and research, weeks of editing and polishing with my editor, then copy editing, typesetting, cover print, and so forth, the book went to the printer and then I waited. Finally, the UPS truck brought the treasure to my door. Lots of work nicely rewarded.

For a chance to win a free copy of Tattler’s Branch, check out my interview on Lena Nelson Dooley’s blog site.

http://lenanelsondooley.blogspot.com/2013/08/tattlers-creek-jan-watson-one-free-book.html

 

FREE BOOK

Friends-

For a limited time (7/21/13-7/27/13) you can receive a free e-book download of SKIP ROCK SHALLOWS on Amazons Kindle and other e-Reader devices.

The following links will take you to the page for a free download of Skip rock Shallows from the respective sites.

 

ChristianBook.com  free ebook

Amazon free Kindle version

Barnes & Noble free Nook version

Here’s a bit about the book: Lilly Gray Corbett has just graduated from medical school and accepted an internship in the coal camp of Skip Rock,Kentucky. Her beau, Paul, is doing his residency inBostonand can’t understand why Lilly would choose to work in a backwater town. But having grown up in the mountains, Lilly is drawn to the stubborn, superstitious people she encounters in Skip Rock—a town where men work hard and die harder and where women know their place. Lilly soon learns she has a lot to overcome, but after saving the life of a young miner, she begins to earn the residents’ trust.

Torn between joining Paul inBostonand her love for the people of Skip Rock, she crosses paths with a handsome miner—one who seems oddly familiar. Her attraction for him grows, even as she wrestles with her feelings and wonders what he’s hiding.

I hope you enjoy reading about Lilly and her adventures. Please let me know what you think. As you can see above my next book Tattler’s Branch (available next month) is a big hit with Cubby the cat. My Jack Russell, Maggie, is a bit jealous.

SLIPPEREY SPIDER (Some things can’t be saved.)

Why do spiders like bathtubs? It’s not as if they want to take a bubble bath or a quick refreshing shower.  I frequently find one lurking in my tub. Today I was cleaning the tile floor in the hall bathroom when I spied a daddy longlegs. I always save this type of spider. I have fond memories of playing with them when I was a girl. If you caught a daddy longlegs and said, “Where are the cows?” he would point in the right direction with one of his wavering appendages—a tiny GPS system as far as cattle was concerned.

I no longer live on a farm so don’t need any directions from spiders. I caught this one in a tissue and carried him towards the front door. You must be careful with these long-legged creatures or they will shed one of their legs in order to get away.  That must be what this one did because when I got outside to shake the tissue over a geranium plant no spider fell away. How frustrating. I’d gone to all that trouble to save the silly thing, not to mention picking a lovely place for him to live, only to discover this daddy longlegs did not want to be saved.

I searched the foyer and the hallway but could not find him. He is probably making his way back to the bathtub.

I’m not so nice to other creepy crawlers. I can’t bear those bugs we call thousand legs or those hairy jumping spiders. When I see one, I spray them with hairspray so they can’t see what’s coming and then smash them with a shoe, but spiders that will tell you where the cows are worthy to be saved.

My son took this picture of a writing spider that was living in my flower garden catching bugs and being useful. He lived there all summer. Some spiders appreciate a beautiful home—others are satisfied in bathtubs.

Happy 4th of July!

FLAG DAY

Are you flying the flag today? Mine is out. I display it every day when the weather is appropriate. Sometimes, I leave it out even at night. I’ve read that it’s okay to do this as long as the flag is lit, so I leave my porch light on.

Today is a multi-tasking day for me. I’m reading e-mail, posting this blog to you, doing laundry, and making sauce for lasagna. My youngest son’s birthday is tomorrow—thus the lasagna. I’ll have a big salad to go along, Sister Shubert yeast rolls, and banana pudding for dessert. Yum. I use a recipe of my mother’s to make the pudding and it is the best. Instead of vanilla pudding, I make a brown-sugar pie-filling, and I substitute graham crackers for vanilla wafers. Top it with meringue—so good.

I just got up to stir the tomato-based sauce, and it splattered all over the stove. I’ll add cleaning the stove to my list of tasks. (Smile.) A woman’s work is never done.

Sometime soon my publisher will be offering a free download of Skip Rock Shallows to Kindle. I’ll let you know the date just before it becomes available.

Tattler’s Branch will be released in September, and I’ve started book 8. Whew—lots to do. But for now, I’d better go clean that stove.

Please pray for the folks in Colorado Springs. Some people I know are evacuating their homes as they are in the fire’s path. I always think of the animals and pray they are spared. Lord be merciful.

MAGGIE TAKES A SICK DAY

I knew something was wrong when Maggie refused her breakfast. She sat on my lap most of the morning, but was more than ready for her mid-day walk. Those of you with dogs probably know how ominous that raspberry jam looking diarrhea stool looks. Maggie had that symptom once before when I had wallpaper removed and drywall refinished. She licked the dust from her feet and became very ill.

I brought her back in the house where she begged for a treat. The treat came back up. I let her drink and she kept the water down. She walked around the house with droopy ears and a tucked tail.  A trip to the vet was in order. She started trembling before we even got out of the car. I let her snuggle under my coat as we waited in the reception area.

Oh, the indignity of what a vet-tech will do: First the scales—10lbs-9oz, then the reluctant retrieval of a stool sample.  Poor little Maggie, I’ve never heard her cry like that. A word to the wise: Take a sample with you to the vet’s office.

When the doctor came in he listened to her heart and gave her a basic exam. He recommended an allergy shot (she’s allergic to grass and budding trees and who-knows-what else) and a bitter-tasting pill to be taken twice a day. He tried to make amends by offering her a soft chew treat, but she was not going to be wooed into forgiveness so easily. She will never take treats while she’s in the office even if all she’s been there for is a nail clipping.

Exam finished and pill bottle in hand we stopped by the receptionist’s desk to get a treat from the biscuit jar. Maggie nosed it from my pocket as soon as we got in the car. I went by McDonald’s and bought a plain cheeseburger. She ate a bite of burger and bun, medication hidden inside, with relish. I let her have a few more bites. Her ears perked up and her tail waved.

Eighty-four dollars and a cheeseburger later she’s right as rain.

DIAMONDS AND DUMPLINGS

That which was lost is found! Saturday morning I began preparations for a feast. My youngest son was coming by to take my bathroom sink apart and hopefully find the diamond earring I had carelessly lost down the drain earlier in the week. The feast was to reward his effort.

I started the chicken early and put the Allen’s green beans on the back burner to simmer with a chunk of cured bacon. (That’s how we cook green beans in Kentucky—and they have to be Allen’s.) And I had to have mashed potatoes—all home-cooked meals call for mashed potatoes. But the best part of the meal was the fluffy, tender dumplings–Chicken and Dumplings, a real southern treat. It was a perfect meal for a cold Kentucky day. I also opened a jar of the pickled beets that my friend, Mandy, canned last summer.

The meal was excellent, and Stephen found my earring! He fished it out of the overflow channel with a guitar string. Amazing.

The Oscars will be presented later tonight. What if one of the actresses dropped her earring into the sink? It would probably be too big to go down the drain. For sure, none of those lovely ladies would be able to fit into her gown if she ate chicken and dumplings.

DOWN THE DRAIN

Years ago my husband gave me a lovely set of diamond earrings. I wore them almost daily. Yesterday, I decided to wear them with gold jackets. I noticed when I put them on that they didn’t seem very secure (the jackets are heavy).  I was standing at the bathroom sink blow-drying my hair when one of the sets: diamond stud, jacket, and back fell into the sink. I gasped as I saw them slide down the porcelain toward the drain. Quickly I captured the set with the curve of my palm and drew them towards the lip of the sink and up onto the counter.  With a sigh of relief I turned the hair-dryer off so that I could put my earrings back on. But, to my horror I’d saved the jacket and the back, but the diamond had disappeared. It was then I noticed the three little circular openings at the top of the sink. My precious diamond had fallen into the overflow channel.

Maybe I wouldn’t have been so upset if I’d carelessly lost it at another time, but eight years ago this week my darling husband died and now, through a moment’s inattention, I’d lost his gift to me—a sign of his love and care.

I chastised myself. Why hadn’t I stopped to secure the back? Why had I decided to wear the jackets when I was only going to the mall to take a walk? How could I be so careless? The small loss of the earring seemed a symbol of the larger loss of my husband. I didn’t cry. Instead I picked another set to wear and went on out to take my walk. But, oh, I was so disappointed.

I was in Macy’s when it hit me: If my husband were still here he would find that earring if he had to take the whole bathroom apart. He could fix anything—literally. And so I called my youngest son. Saturday, he’s coming over to take the sink apart. I’m betting he finds that diamond. I’ll let you know.

“My grief and pain are mine. I have earned them. They are part of me. Only in feeling them do I open myself to the lessons they can teach.” Anne Wilson Schaef. From the book, “Healing After Loss,” by Martha Whitmore Hickman.