Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Well-rounded Property Report


Oh, please don’t use the “fat” word, or any flavor of “tubby,” “chubby,” adjectives. Definitely not phrases such as “tum with feet” or “jelly belly.” I am a chunky, rotund cat, a solid citizen of catdom, deserving of proportionate respect. Night is an expansive entity and so am I. Thus my name Yotur Na’Atira, Night during Day. There was a very long ago time (believe it or not as you may) when I was labeled “slim.” Indeed, I was starving. That memory scrapes my stomach even after thousands of brimming full breakfast bowls. Now I can while away an afternoon hour admiring the amount of area I take up on Brenda Biscuit’s bed. Nevertheless I still hone my begging skills, despite Malka’s disapproving gaze. Does he think himself such an aristocrat as to never need to utilize the pathetic paw and pitiful beggar’s mew I have perfected? Don’t demand your right to be fed, cajole, I advise. The result is a much tastier tidbit on the tongue, Malka.

Sorry, I was distracted from my required property management report. I just couldn’t resist justifying my expansive approach to life, which I will defend against clawed comments and Collective dietary legislation. Actually my idea of property management originates with what’s in my stomach.

However, to get back to Collective business, we have an adequately stocked summer pantry despite having to feed at least eight additional mouths. The Collective voted 4 (cats, of course) to 3 (dog and birds, naturally) to take on this charitable burden of providing shelter and food to two indigent miri families: the Tatamiru and Pelagiamiru or the heads (front yard) and tails (back yard) clans as I like to call them. Already this very charitable act has had unpleasant consequences. No more front yard outings for Mr. Whiskers and myself. The Tatamiru being streetwise toughs, pack hefty paw punches, claws out, when challenged. I’m definitely not the possessive type. You can share my kibbles and I’ll share yours. Just be aware I eat faster. Territory, even a cat cushion, isn’t worth a dispute. Malka, Mr. Whiskers, and Esmeralda believe in an extended claws plus visible teeth policy, deriding my open screen door and pacifist preferences.

It is grudgingly agreed that the outside miri keep away pooping pigeons, pilfering raccoons, and unhygienic possums. The Tatamiru also serve as somewhat attractive porch ornaments and doormen, always ready with an obsequious greeting. The Pelagiamiru put on amusing wrestling matches, execute miscreant mice, and supply us with neighborhood gossip. But I miss those pigeon watching outings.

Since Uli Var’s eyes have ripened from brown to white, I’ve volunteered as her sighted companion, nudging her away from furniture, escorting her to her begging bowl or the back door, and encouraging her to do roll and rise exercises instead of simply sprawling supine hour after hour. My efforts are not always appreciated, but I suppose the caretaker of a senior should expect some grouchy growls.

Midsummer is just a few days away and we anticipate being very busy with catnip processing, then harvesting lavender and oregano. Next comes the now traditional grape picking fete, and our famous applesauce cookup. Hey, outside miri, are you going to put your paws to helping with our tasks? “It’s payback time,” says Malka, displaying his long tooth smirk. He wants the Collective to post the same ABCD Collective entrance fee sign on our porch that was tacked up on the Seventh Street front door. Our fee for admittance to house and grounds was one appropriate edible treat per Collective member. He also strongly recommends visitors be warned that outside miri are definitely not legitimate members. Malka’s suggestion will be discussed and voted on at our upcoming Collective meeting. I am in favor of the proposal.

Submitted by Yotur Na’Atira

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Meet Us, The Pelagiamiru


Yes, this is our first collective report although we, the Pelagiamiru miri (cat) family, were brought here to this garden 11 moons ago by our mama, Pelagia. No, we weren’t invited, so, of course, mama hid us in the dirt, spider-space between the garage storage building and the fence. After a while we got offered tasty food and better sleeping quarters in the storage building's roofed patio. Then all of us, first mama, then my sister Euphrasia and I, and finally my brothers, Aegidius and Theophanes, were enticed by chicken chunks to enter a wire box and briefly abducted. It was a very unpleasant experience that I won’t describe. Amazingly, one by one, we were returned by way of uncomfortable plastic boxes to our garden. Reunited we settled in for the chilly, sometimes wet, winter moons.

I’ve included a portrait of our family from the days before our ear clips. Mama was slimmer, less fluffy. Aegidius and Theophanes look like mama but sleeker. Aegidius has a stylish white patch between his eyes, Theophanes an especially cute pink nose. Euphrasia and I resemble our absent papa. She is grayish, while I am brownish. Fortunately, I prefer earth tones. Much better for sly slinking and hurried hiding. Don't strain your eyes trying to find Euphrasia in the picture. Only a luscious tidbit got her into that trap.

Initially the only direct contact we had with the ABCD (aka Willis Avenue) Collective was with Miss Uli Dog, who on first meeting made sure we understood we were just squatters, tolerated until the collective could vote on whether we should be given provisional garden privileges. She stressed that no outside animals ever would be permitted full membership with house rights and duties. However I have heard cat gossip through the back screen door that Mr. Yotur, Mr. Whiskers, and Ms Esmeralda were originally yard miri. Therefore we sprawl ourselves among flower pots, on wood benches, under the persimmon or grapefruit tree, in any spot where one can be easily spotted, and hope for that desired invite. Surely this big building with an upstairs house and an underneath storage space must have room for 4 or 5 more occupants.

When spring breezes began to whisper in our ears, Euphrasia and my brothers began to make excursions out into the world of Willis Avenue and beyond. I went along a few times to the full moon socials we miri enjoy, never mind where. Euphrasia met some interesting toms and decided to move out. She drops by occasionally to say hello. However my brothers like this easy life, always showing up again after a night or two with pals. Theophanes gave me a bit of a fright when he disappeared at claw moon, reappearing at half belly moon almost as thin as his tail and dragging a bitten leg. He’s nearly his old self now. Food and rest as prescribed by mama and me have aided his recovery. But he still has to hop a bit to keep up with our breakfast rush and prefers reclining on his left side to eat.

Since I’m the one always around morning and evening, I was recently approached by Miss Uli, now completely blind, to accept the position of Willis Avenue Collective Junior Assistant Protection Officer, responsible for patrolling our vegetable/fruit garden. Actually, the suggestion was made after I was bumped into a number of times as Miss Uli was descending the back stairs. She mentioned I seemed serious about guarding the grounds from riffraff. Too right!

To date I can report that possums are avoiding our property. Several mice have been executed for trespass and, although crow gang members spy on our crops, we’ve had no raids. Neighborhood miri, even if our cousins, must apply at the collective’s front door for passes to visit the garden. Pigeons, oh well, what can I say. They’ve been taught from the egg to peck up anything they can get a beak into, even if they lose a feather or two in the attempt. At least they have brains enough not to use our bird (really cat) bath. When the grapes ripen, Aegidius and I will probably be very busy up in the arbor. Theophanes hopes to join in the fun. He was better at climbing than I am. We all are polishing our claws, anticipating the harvest moon.

Submitted by Kyriaki Pelagiamiru

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Keep Your Paws and Feathers Out of Our Yard


See these long handsome white whiskers, very efficient pigeon radar when policing our front yard, one of the several jobs which keep me in cat kibbles. These efficient whisker tools are how I got my street moniker Mr. Whiskers. Better curl up in a comfortable chair like Brenda Biscuit does while you read my post because I always have a lot to talk about after my frequent patrols. Perhaps you've noticed me crouched in the regulation cat sentry alert posture on the grass by the wire fence keeping out unlicensed four paws. Believe me there's a lot to be learned from grass if you know how to question it. For instance: What acrid scent am I sniffing on your blades? Or, Is that pigeon poop you are trying to hide? If a patch of grass doesn't cooperate, I can chew it. That usually gets results.

Now, trees you have to scratch up a bit. Then they will drop the goods faster than a leaf can flutter down. If I were a birdie, I wouldn't trust a tree branch roost as far as the end of my beak not to inform on my comings and goings. However plants aren't my only sources for news. In my wander cat days, I picked up quite a bit of pigeon lingo. In fact, I've rather a good ear for pooch slang and human chatter. Probably because neighborhood gossip is such fun. Why would any creature want to fill their ears with TV box sounds when there's the noise of exciting happenings to tune in to when sitting outside in a front yard?

By the way, the harness and leash I wear outside is an official sentry outfit, symbolic of my responsibility to law and order within the confines of our Collective property. Yotur also wears one, but in a junior officer capacity.

So what's the scoop on Willis Avenue now that summer has chased out spring? Uli tells me that our vegetable crop is coming along nicely in the back yard: beans, squash (she nearly squashed a zucchini plant), tomatoes, peppers, eggplant. None of this very interesting to cats. Grapes, apples, persimmons, no thanks. I perk up when she reports a bumper harvest of catnip. Perhaps I can get a pass to visit the back garden to sample the catnip in the interest of quality control. One of our suggested money-raising projects is to create felted wool balls filled with catnip. Esmeralda has been playing around with several to find out how long a ball will last before it spills its catnip.

Crow scouts are spying on Willis backyards but they don't seem excited about pickings on a street without stone fruit trees, corn stalks, or spilled garbage. At least that's what they caw about. Pigeons, what's to say about pigeons but yum. Strutting mouthfuls, excluding feathers. They seem quite unconscious of their culinary appeal. On the other paw, they probably have been informed by parrot broadcast about our Collective's law forbidding hunting on Collective property. This law was passed despite several dissenting votes before I became a member. Wait a few weeks until those feathered gluttons discover a ripe grape crop on the front fence and let's see if that law doesn't get repealed!

Time to head out for an evening patrol so I'll end my post with a last tidbit: a new dog on the block. Max the Poodle, just my idea of the right size for a pooch, no bigger than myself. The right color - black - for appearing well groomed without making an effort. Like myself he has been hired into a home after several years of rough living outside. However, appearing not to resent past misfortunes, he is ready to discover folk to be friends rather than enemies. By the way it seems sensible that only small dogs are living on a small street like Willis. Less crowding, fewer canine disputes over territory, more chance for local government by cats. This is important if you don't belong to a more-or-less democratic animal collective.

Posted by Mr. Whiskers

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Tell Fortunes


Hi, I'm Esmeralda Gypsy Cat. In case you think otherwise, it's okay to have grown up in the streets, so be careful how you speak about my parents or you may get a paw slap, maybe with claws out.

Are you wondering how a wander-cat like me got to join this collective? It was after the Paw Mistress, Douglasina Prickle Puss, got promoted to Ancestor Spirit. Sweet, I say, but not when I know she's squatting up there on top of our kitchen cabinets, glaring at me with those hexing black-cat eyes. Hey, Miss D. that glare isn't so spell-binding now you are a ghostie.

Oh, back to my history. While Miss D. was still prowling around, the Collective let me bed down in its shed. Free board for keeping rats and mice out of their herb stores. They published an ad saying I was looking for a job as a house cat and could be easily trained up for typical inside duties. Not strictly true, but what cat won't fib to catch a meal? But I guess human employers were wise to my wiles. Moon after moon no offers.

Then this position of Paw Mistress for the Collective (Property Manager is my official title), became available and, of course, I leaped at the opportunity to move into posh digs even if I was going to share them with two arrogant dogs, two monster birds, and two toms (no need to give them an adjective).

Willis Avenue requires less property maintenance than Seventh Street since I am not supposed to patrol our living room or Human Hilary's quarters. Fine by me. More nap time. Just a hint: if you are going to check out what's happening in the kitchen, the best view is from the kitchen table. Scan from this spot when humans are elsewhere. My other watching posts are: Usually the sheepskin covered bench next to the kitchen window. Comfy and handy too for a inspection of our back garden. A second favorite is Brenda Biscuit's fake fur bedspread when I feel like tom company. By the way, my street friend Whiskers got a post with the Collective at the time we moved our headquarters to Willis Avenue. He's tough, out-spoken, and sometimes fun to chase a toy with. Malka still gets his whiskers in a snit if I lie less than a tail length from him. It is his misfortune that I appeared in his yard. Yotur's paw reading is to find a claw in his puss if he doesn't keep his nose out of my dish.

Got to go and see if Yotur has borrowed Uli's bssket overnight without permission. More later.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Frost Moon Activity Report


This is our first Moon cycle Activity Report from Willis Avenue posted during the present Frost or Biter Moon, covering events happening during the previous Moon. But as the Collective is behind in reporting, I'm putting in everything important from the last time Lord Sun paused in his pacing before falling back to that dark den in which all dogs begin to feel life.

Mist MagicWe have been very busy entertaining human visitors. Usually the cats provide amusements, but Birdo and Varna have developed a repertoire of clever but noisy bird tricks. I provide protection from neighborhood pigeons for our visitors' cars while performing my routine patrol duties. Yotur Cat points out, that although our efforts have made visits enjoyable for these humans, our collective's request for treat gratuities has been ignored. A large sign should be posted on our street door informing would-be visitors of Collective Policy #23: At least one treat per human (or other animal) for a bird or cat or dog is required as an entry fee to our Collective. There's been some discussion about this proposal. Presently, it's on the Collective Manager's agenda.

Whiskers and Yotur are continuing to patrol our front yard on leashes. As junior members of the Willis Avenue Protection Agency (formerly the Caballero P.A.) they aren't permitted to evict or pursue trespassers. This is my job, although if the mailman brought a dog treat I might make an exception for him. Yotur recently slipped off his leash to disappear, he says, in pursuit of a criminal possum. But as no witnesses have come forward to collaborate his version of the event, we think that being a nosey kit, he got a possum nip and fled to hide. Well, cowardice has had it's reward in a vet visit, pills, and extremely unpleasant wound treatment. Think again, Yotur, before investigating possums.

Rain has finally arrived to freshen the air and revive our parched noses. The back garden is being pruned of leftover growth. This gets dumped out on the street and eaten by a large truck. Since the days have been warmed by sun, many pruned plants have put out buds and baby leaves. As you might expect, plant plans for spring got frosted by this new Biter Moon which bit off growth. Chilly paws are no problem for me; being an American Eskimo dog I have snow booties. The apple trees also look pleased with the nippy weather. More apples for our famous Collective Applesauce. Dogs pick, cats wash, and birds crunch up the crop to make our special recipe. Write us if you'd like a copy. At the moment I'm keeping an eye on our brocholi and cauliflower bed. There's a rumor of rats. Birdo suggests I sharpen my teeth just as he sharpens his beak. He'll have more to say about good animal habits in his next broadcast. Listen up, Willis Avenue.

Report successfully submitted by Uli Var

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wake Up Willis Avenue, the ABCD Collective Has Arrived!


The ABCD Collective is at last ready to open its gate to the birds, cats and dogs of Willis Avenue. If you are flying over from City Hall as our falcon friends do, just wing past the little meadow with the silent metal animals, dart under the road bridge, up past the fire truck home, and turn left into Willis. There's a cherry tree waiting perch in our front yard and public bird bath. Give a squawk to let us know you've arrived. Cats, you can take neighborhood fence paths to reach our back door. Yotur will take down your name and issue you a garden pass. Dogs, you are expected to bark at our front gate. Uli Var will then come out to check your license. She will issue a reprimand and you won't be admitted if it isn't current.

Please note that Humans are also welcome provided they observe Bird Law and behave in accordance with traditional cat and dog etiquette. Treats are not obligatory for admittance to Collective grounds, but Humans are encouraged to make this donation.

Birdo gives his morning news broadcast a short while after our neighbor rooster perform his Sun Crow Up. If you want to submit a news item for broadcast, please turn it in to one of our Collective members before moon rise. If you'd like you can request it be added to our weekly blog post. Remember, Humans also read this blog, so don't submit anything you wouldn't want them to read about.

We are very excited about this new year. Lord Sun's birthday was celebrated with a delicious meal (yes, we know you Cats attend Moon rituals). The sun hours are growing longer and our garden's life is stirring beneath its damp coverlet of earth. It's time to chew off old growth, paw up soil to get it ready for Lady Moon to loose her hair in showers. We smell wonderful promises soon to bud. Fix your feathers, Birdo. Let's get ready for a soaring Spring.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Two Orphans Looking for Employment and Lodgings



There's always an extra bowl out by our shed for the needy stranger limping in on weary paws. Long warm summer days bring a procession of homeless creatures hopeful they will find employment and lodging before winter can soak their fur. Here are our latest hopefuls. If you, our reader, have heard of any situation that would suit them, please contact the Collective with this information.