Category Archives: Halvor

Springtime in Effieland and its tenuous beauty

Grass is such a wonderful place. . .

and a wonderful thing to eat!

Outside the bounds of Effieland, Effie’s people have lilacs in bud.

 Halvor hangs out under the spirea garland, which has a few surviving branches in bloom after significant frost damage.

A few sprigs of garland survived.

Now budding are the few tulips that escaped consumption by deer.

Effie seeks shade beneath her chair. It’s a beautiful warm day!



Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Nature, Gardens, Cats, Effie, Halvor, Photo Galleries


p1020604Effie is a slender cat, but she is nonetheless very proud of her tummy. . .

p1020607Waking or sleeping, Halvor knows that his bigness is part of his charm. . .


Filed under Cats, Effie, Halvor, Photos

Effieland and its feudal Lady

p1020589cHalvor has a supervised visit in Effieland. Effie greets him warmly; Halvor greets her in kind.

Moments later, her mood changes. She takes a swipe at him. He hisses at her. It makes me anxious and I miss the shot. I open the gate for Halvor; he is desperately ready to leave. I assure him the tiff was entirely Effie’s fault. I promise him I will work with her on her hospitality.

p1020590“I’m just not a play-group person. . .”


Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Cats, Effie, Halvor, Photos

Things I learn from my cat (when I pay attention)

Our weather is beginning to moderate somewhat. The temperature here at Rabbitbrush and its fenced centroid, Effieland, now exceeds freezing, and rain is expected. Our deck, lawn, and fields, like the hills beyond us, remain covered with high-boot snow. Effie has patrolled her holdings off and on throughout the day, but for the most part has chosen to remain indoors, napping, moving between nap venues, looking out windows, asking to be let out but remaining in while she contemplates the advantages of both sides of the door, and snacking.

Halvor loves his tenancy in the shop, where he has a stack of blankets for a bed, food and water, and a litter box. I check on him and let him out for a while when he desires to go out. When I see him sitting at the shop door again, I let him back in. He has it pretty good here, and I’m glad he seems to know it, because I am happy he likes hanging out with us. He is courtly toward Effie, and she appears at times to adore him. At other times they seem chagrined with one another. Who knows why. . .

The expected rain arrived, propelled by deep-toned gusts of wind. Effie is indifferent; she is indoors, after all, without risk of compromising her comfort. She often finds strange comfort in opening cupboards and banging them shut. It’s a Cat Thing; I wouldn’t understand, not even after a year and a half with Effie and 17 years with Coolidge, her predecessor. There are certain things that cats do, and I have no idea why they do these things.

I am convinced that cats teach in their sleep, and they also teach while their people sleep. Cats I have known have found it most important to teach me who they are, that I am blessed with the incredibly good fortune of having them in my life, and what they require of me. They will also devote a portion of their curriculum to their food preferences.

Cats are really pretty straightforward about the parameters of shared lives. They rule with finely honed claws in soft fur paws. They also possess keen teeth. They also sleep, look out the window, and look up into their person’s face as if they beheld an epiphany.

Don’t be fooled. Just feed your cat when she first yowls near her bowl; lay off grooming her when she first commences shredding your hand; do not administer a playful tummy rub while she is sleeping—and no one gets hurt. . .See how easy life with cats can be? ^-.-^



Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Halvor, Photos

All things snow

A comforting snow–like a blanket–is falling and rapidly deepening.

p1020539The snow nurtures our dormant aspen.

p1020540The snow encourages camaraderie among our hens.

p1020542A quick stolen kiss on the porch!

p1020541“Where is everything?”
And, the snow revives Effie’s sense of awe and wonder.


Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Cats, Chickens, Effie, Halvor, Nature, Photos, Seasons, Weather

Warming trends


So far this morning, our faithful weather transmitter has reported temperatures of 0.9°F, 0.5°F, and 0.1°F. Brisk, to say the least. Nevertheless, the outside beckoned, and Effie went to the door to heed the call, but then turned away from the door to warm her paws on a heating vent.

Halvor has indoor shelter; we have been letting him in and out of my husband’s boat-building, etc. shop to come in from the worst of the cold. He has a bed full of warm covers, and food, water, and a litter box. I visit him there several times a day, and he greets me with the most grateful face ever to announce grace in the world. He has always enjoyed watching my husband work in his shop, and now he is like co-master of the domain.

The other cats come around: Torvald, Gunther, and a new explorer, a feral grey tabby I call Malkin. I have always fed Torvald and Halvor, but with Halvor now indoors, Torvald has to fend with the ferals. I continue to pet him and let him know he’s welcome. Gunther has been doing a sweet-kitty performance, and now I pet him instead of running him off. Halvor is out of his reach, so Gunther can no longer challenge his turf.

One evening last summer, Gunther introduced himself as the new dominant male. Halvor has been in the neighborhood for years. Gunther challenged him; Halvor ran him off and returned to me as if to say, “All clear, ma’am.” I praised him for teaching the stray what dominance looks like, and he hugged my ankles with his head.

Effie and Halvor are both dominants, and warm toward each other to the point of touching noses and wrapping necks. I wish I could bring Halvor into the house, but his mass is at least twice Effie’s, and the allergen flood would overwhelm my immune system.

Ah, well. The meadowlarks may not return in January this year as they have in the past; but warming and cooling, and all else, are in God’s gracious hand.


Filed under Action & Being, Cats, Effie, Halvor, Photos, Reflections, Seasons, Weather

Such a breeze to be a Cat

Effie, our Northern Idaho-born cat, does not like the current wind chill factor of 29°F. The plucky prairie native has had to take up indoor interests, when she would doubtless prefer to be in Effieland, her fenced garden dominion, menacing juncos and finches. But she is not big on wind.

We had a pretty active catnip-mouse toss going while I was doing a couple of homekeeping tasks. Then she demanded to be let out and let back in several times, her favorite interactive activity with her people; and finally, our Feline Recreation Director indulged in her favorite indoor activity.


Well into her nap, a startling thunk! hit a dining room window. It sounded like a small meteorite. There was Halvor, leaping at the window, begging desperately to be let in! Our well-favored red tabby neighborhood cat looked desperate, but he had never before been interested in an indoor-cat gig.

Earlier, I had given him a bowl of kibbles on our back porch, close to the house and out of the wind. He finished them off, and I thought he had left. But here he was, demanding and bold!

I called my husband to ask him whether I could let Halvor into his shop where our dory is under construction. Halvor loves being in Vic’s shop with him and watching him work. He has his own blanket on a shelf, where he can doze and observe. Lately Vic has even let Halvor spend the night alone in the shop. He has been fine and has left things alone. Still, I wanted to make sure it would be all right and clear of hazards.

Of course Halvor could stay in the shop, out of the wind. We don’t know how old he is, but he seemed old and rheumy six years ago when he started hanging out with us.


Not to be outdone, Effie demanded to go out in her yard. Then she balked, but got close enough.



Filed under Action & Being, Animals, Cats, Effie, Halvor, Weather