Archive for July, 2009


Friday, July 31st, 2009
Traveler on the prowl

Traveler on the prowl

With 8 cats on the farm (and 5 that are sociable), I’m finally getting my FPD (feline-petting-deficiency) under control. All the cats  have very distinct personalities. There’s Silky, who’s 21 years old and Doodle, who fancies herself the heir apparent. Then there’s Purrsica, who’s almost pink and seems to be a loner & whose hobby is sleeping in the shale road which she almost matches. And Hannah, who loves to be petted, but shrinks down flat to the ground under your hand before you can start.

But my favorite is Traveler. She’s a young adult tabby, and doesn’t quite fit into the pecking order of  the pack. She’s got other things on her mind, and definitely has her own agenda.

First of all, if any car is left with an open window, Traveler is likely to jump in and go along. Over the years, several farm visitors have had to make a return trip , to deliver the little stowaway. She doesn’t seem to care where the car’s headed; she just wants to see what’s out there in the big world. (Sounds like somebody I know…)

Then there’s the food thing. Silky & Doodle get fed special VIC (very important cat)  food on the porch, while all the others eat cheap-o food out on the lawn. (Silky by virtue of her ancient-ness, and Doodle b/c she was ill this winter & now seems to think that it’s her due.)

Traveler is not taking this sitting down. (The other yard cats don’t seem to notice or care that they aren’t getting the VIC food.) If that porch door is left even slightly unlatched, Traveler will claw it open, slip inside & eat every bit of the special cat food.  Each time someone comes in or out the porch door, she checks it for access.

Obviously, we started being very careful to latch the door behind us. But good old Traveler figured out that she could go around the house, open the kitchen door, go thru the kitchen, out the kitchen/porch door & gobble up all the food. Which she did several times, before we figured that one out.

The best part is when you catch her with her face in the bowl, eating that last piece of kibble. Instead of looking guilty or apologetic, she gives you a look that says, “Yeah, I’m a porch cat now. Didn’t you get the memo?”

There’s a cat who knows what she wants, and is going to get it, if it’s at all possible. I have a feeling that she’s tunneling under the porch floor as I type.

All the world’s a blog

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Talking w/my dear friend DB yesterday, we managed to solve some of each other’s problems & then a few for the world in general. We’re good that way.

So I woke up this am & found that she’d twittered me that I’d ended up on her blog post for yesterday. Hmmm… This is starting to get weird. It’s almost like the old chestnut wherein women made extra money by taking in each other’s laundry.

Now that nearly everyone has a blog, do we need to start our conversations with  “Off the record” or “Deep background only”? At any rate, most bloggers are pretty careful to preserve their source’s anonymity. After all, you may end up on their blog tomorrow.

Love you, DB!

Purple Beans

Monday, July 27th, 2009
Purple Beans

Purple Beans

Aren’t these just the cutest things? I have to admit, I do love beans, but only the kind that begin w/”B.”

Until now, my favorites were yellow wax beans, which we also are growing. And the haricots verts may be taking over the world. So far, I’ve picked & frozen (and trimmed & blanched) about 6 qts.

But these little guys are so darned cute~ and the vines & flowers are purple, too. I’m told that if cooked w/an acid (vinegar or lemon juice) they stay purple. Otherwise, they turn green when cooked. Where’s the fun in that?

So I picked about a quart tonight, and also did some weeding in the yellow wax beans. (I plan to enter the next Olympics in the chickweed toss event.)

Anyway, I can hardly wait to eat purple beans. And maybe try them out in a 3-bean salad.

Invasion of the Hite-Bowman Clan

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Whew! One of the downsides of living on a historic property is that all the descendents think they need to revisit their roots.

The guy (Isaac Bowman) who built this house in 1812 had 80 grandchildren. So you can imagine, when they have their reunion every two yrs, how many people show up.  (And this is VA, where every conversation starts w/a pedigree.) The other local properties are handled by foundations & the commonwealth of Virginia.

Until this yr, Mt Pleasant has not been on the tour, for various reasons. But we decided this yr to allow them in. Thank goodness for cousin R.U. (Edward  Randolph Underwood) who directed parking, and friends M & S who handled the upstairs. The mater handled gardens & I did downstairs.  There were Hite-Bowmans from all corners of the earth. One had even written a book.

We were working until wee hours getting the house in order. I spent the day pointing out mantels and elbow-latches & the original hearth. Oy, I don’t have much in common w/British royalty, but one day of ppl traipsing thru the house, pointing out woodwork just about did me in. I don’t know how they do it. I wonder how many B-H’s will return home, discussing the Brad room, the Martha room & how to get heartwood pine floors.

And then in the last group, someone asked me if we were open every weekend. FREAK OUT does not cover it. “This is not a museum. We LIVE here. It’s a working farm!  We opened the house to descendents who had legitimate interest, but the next public access will be sheepdog trials in November. That will be the grounds, NOT the house.” I’m sure one of the Hite-Bowmans caught my panic, b/c he very seriously thanked me for allowing them access.

The funniest thing is that we really are FFV (First Families of Virginia); my mother is a Randolph. But we have absolutely no connection with Bowman/Hites, beyond owning their house. (Except that I think one of my Beatty forebears fought in the same unit in the Revolutionary War. See, I’ve caught Virginia fever.)

So now it’s back to normal, after I pour myself a very, very  stiff Screwdriver to savor on the screen porch & watch the rain pour down. And then start blanching beans.