Simple Gifts

I believe I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world; the Snoqualmie Valley. I get to see amazing things everyday. It's time to celebrate that. (You can view pictures in larger format by clicking on them)

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Flood at Twin Falls

Sometimes life is surprisng and wonderful. I pulled into the Twin Falls parking lot hoping for no crowds. There were people standing by the cars and I was pondering leaving for a more secluded place when I realized I knew them! In fact, one of them is a friend I've been missing since she's been busy exploring the joys of motherhood. So Coal and I got out of the car and wandered over. It was fairly late Sunday afternoon and I figured they were just finishing up. Nope, they were just beginning and asked me to join them. Coal had been especially arthritic that morning and I did not expect him to keep up. That was my second pleasant surpise, my old mutt did just fine. We ambled along enjoying the beauty and the company. There was lovely Spring growth all around including trillium (I just love trillium).





Things just got better though, when we reached the Falls. I knew the Snoqualmie River had been at flood stage and had only crested earlier that day but I did not exepct just how stupendous the Falls would be. We walked down to the lower platform (except for Coal who didn't want to deal with the stairs) and it was incredible. The mist was creating a magical setting and the Falls were huge. It was hard to get any pictures because of the mist.








As I drove away the sun was creating some amazing lighting. I stopped to take a few pictures and then stopped again a few moments later to watch the herd of elk. It's not at all what I planned or expected but it was a mighty fine outing.





Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Grumbles the cat

Grum in one of her favorite poses
8/4/2005



For many years I worked at the Tacoma Nature Center at Snake Lake. Like many urban nature areas, it had a problem with feral cats. We kept trying to eliminate the cats, because of damage they do to native animal populations. I never wanted to hurt the cats which meant over the years I found many cats (and other abandoned pets) homes. Ten years ago, I was out in the park in late Fall when I discovered a group of kittens by the trail. I couldn't believe they weren't hidden away somewhere. They were too young to run away or protect themselves, so I picked up 5 kitties and headed back to the Nature Center. Two of the kitties immediately found homes. The other three went home with me.


Grum delighted with Coal's new dog bed
She rolled around on it and rubbed all over it.
It was days before Coal got to use it.
12/10/2006

They were only about 6 weeks old. I felt guilty for taking them so young, but their chances of survival otherwise seemed slim. Less then two months later there was a severe ice storm and then a flood in the park. I was glad then, that I'd carried those tiny bundles away. They were helpless but very wild. Fancy-cat was less then thrilled with the new visitors. I kept them safely locked in the spare room and she would growl and hiss at the door. I found a home for another kitten and the two remaining kitties gained names. The black kitty had realized that people meant food and cuddles and it purred happily and became Rumbles. The other kitty, still helpless, decided it needed to try to be fierce and it growled constantly. She became Grumbles. Grumbles was a bit confused because she'd growl "fiercely" and give me head butts at the same time. It seemed no one wants a growly kitten. Rumbles found a home and I was left with Grumbles. I thought that was just fine. Fancy objected strenuously. I don't know if it was Grum's fierce act or the fact that she was under a pound, but aggressive Fancy grudgingly tolerated my new baby.

Grum and Fancy don't usually get this close,
but they are in a catnip induced stupor.
12/25/06

It's hard to believe when I first got Grum she could fit in the palm of my hand. She grew to be a big, lazy and easy cat. She didn't want much. She wasn't into people food and didn't care about going outside. Sometimes she'd seem to stare longingly at one or the other but usually when I offered her a treat or the yard she'd look at me with surprise. She liked to sleep with me. She liked to hid under blankets, furniture and occasionally the rug. She was convinced that when she got under the covers she was invisible. It always made me laugh when I'd see the big lump there. She got bullied by Fancy. Most of the time she's just move out of the way or roll over. Every once in a while she'd get grumbly and remind Fancy that she was the bigger cat. She liked to play by lying on her side batting at things. None of this crazy, running around stuff for her. She quite enjoyed catching cat toys I would toss at her. She would lay on her back, with her big, fuzzy tummy sticking up and use her paws to pull the toys onto her stomach. She also had a favorite toy that she cuddled with. As much as she loved to sleep or sit on me, she'd get restless when being petted. In the morning, when the alarm would go off I would hit snooze and start petting her. After a while her tail would be twitching madly and then she'd start biting my hand. The play bites would get harder and harder until I'd finally get annoyed and get up out of bed.



Sometimes I felt guilty about Grum-bum. She was my "easy pet". Coal always want walks, pets, play and reassurance. He's my companion and shares my outdoor adventures. Fancy-cat demands cuddle time too. She is also my trouble maker. She is amazingly intelligent and stubborn. She drives me nuts and I admire her greatly. Grum was usually off someplace sleeping. In January, Grum got sick and I learned she had kidney disease. There is no cure. Sometimes a cat can live a long time with proper care, but the vet said that disease was advanced in Grum and that "she probably had months". The battle had begun. I gave her subcutaneous fluids and tried to keep her eating. She nibbles at her soft cat food warmed in the microwave. Fancy got fatter but Grum lost a pound in 3 1/2 weeks. She still gave me head butts and asked for tummy rubs. It was an incredibly hard time and I am so grateful. We shared so much together. She got the attention, I had worried she lacked. I discovered my relationship with Grumbles was never lacking, just different.
Grum in the "kitty hospice room"
Grum always liked the bathroom.
1/28/07

She had a few days recently I called "remission". I knew it wasn't really a remission but she ate hungrily and acted like her usual lazy, sweet self. Those three days were wonderful. They also hurt because I couldn't help but hope and wish. It didn't last of course. Last week, each day seemed a little harder. The good moments became rare. It is such a hard decision to make, but Saturday I took Grumbles to the vet and ended her struggles. I miss her most at night when I try to sleep. I miss her warmth beside me. It's amazing how much space a cat can fill in your life. Grum taught me that love can be easy and undemanding.

Grum Sept 1999 - March 10, 2007