Since today is National Respect Your Cat Day, I thought it only fitting that I invite Katya, my Maine Coon, to tell you about our life out in the Alaskan bush from her own perspective.
You'll have to forgive my Person, she means well, but I'm sure all of you, like me, have thought since I first appeared on her blog that it would have been better written by me from the start. Better late than never. That is one thing I have to praise my Person for. She may be slow, but she always gets there in the end...with lots of encouragement. And some discipline.
For instance, I have trained her to recognize The Back. When she has done something inappropriate, like ignore my announcement that it's time for a treat, or to have my bedding changed, I will find the most prominent position in front of her--sometimes on a stool at the kitchen table, sometimes in front of the couch, sometimes in front of her laptop--and sit with my back to her. I can keep this up for an hour. I'm happy to report that, after a little training, she is now fairly prompt at recognizing that she has misbehaved in some way once she sees The Back. She will then, with pointed help on my part, figure out where she has gone astray and correct her behavior.
This is good, because my Person is worryingly dense when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, she's always trying to stay up past her bedtime. I can't tell you how many times I've had to resort to giving her The Back until she realizes her shortcomings and will get into bed and turn off the light. Sometimes I have to go to the neighbor's house and nearly rupture my vocal cords informing her that it's time to quit jibber-jabbering and head for bed.
She is so helpless that I've made it my business to escort her about her business whenever she leaves home. I try to educate her by encouraging her to take paths through intriguing, dense undergrowth, but she boringly sticks to the well-traveled paths.
If her blogs are bland, it's through no fault of mine, I assure you. When she's taking pictures of a scene, I always try to spice it up by putting myself in the frame. I have a better understanding than she does, apparently, that every picture is improved by having a Maine Coon in it. I'm sure you'll agree.
I take no joy in exposing my Person's faults, but it has to be said that she is sadly ungrateful. Sometimes, when she has been especially good, going to bed on time, giving me treats when they're required, changing my bedding daily, if not hourly, I will bring her a little something.
Sad to say, but she was badly brought up. Despite all my later attempts to straighten her out, she has never learned the gracious way of accepting a present, perhaps preserving it and mounting it on the wall. She could at least take pictures of myself and my trophy and post them on her blog. I'm sure all of you would have a proper appreciation for my prowess as a verminator. Instead, her response, every time, is to dispose of my gifts as quickly and squeamishly as possible. It embarrasses me to say this since she attempts to project an image of a tough bush woman, but it's true.
Here's another issue I have with her related to my graveyard shift on the vermin eradication duty (code name: VERAD): there are times, like night before last, when I am so focused on my job that I lose track of where the tide is. On this occasion it cut me off so that I couldn't return to the floathouse where I keep my Person and where she maintains my bedding and food dish.
Naturally, I took up a position as close as I could to the house and informed her of the situation. And I kept informing her, as loudly as I could all night long without taking any breaks. Until about four a.m. when the tide finally went back out and I could return to the house. I immediately went to my Person's bed to let her know the situation had been resolved (no thanks to her), but she was amazingly cranky. Apparently, she didn't realize that I was the one who had something to complain about.
It is spring now, which is when life becomes interesting. (I tried to get my Person to realize the insanity of snow, but she refused to put an end to it when asked nicely. Even The Back had no effect. There is nothing she likes more, apparently, then shoveling snow all hours of the day. I worry about her.)
I'll have to end here. I've noticed that there are ravens swaggering about on the beach like they own the place and since my Person won't do it, I'll have to go out and set them straight. Also, there is gravel to be rolled in to help dispose of my winter fur. Then there are the mink that need to be chased, vermin to be eradicated, small, hopping, scratching birds that obviously want to be stalked. Who am I to disappoint them?
See you later, vermin haters.
Special thanks to Terry for the idea and for many other reasons.
If you're not tired of reading about animals, my next column at www.capitalcityweekly.com, appearing Wednesday 29, 2017 is titled: "Twenty-Plus Dogs."
I just came across a treasure trove of early writings by me, my brothers and sister, and our village bush school in a dusty old dairy crate. (The crates are frequently beachcombed around here and are handy for storage, and the perfect dimensions for files.) I thought I'd put a new category on my blog: "From the Dairy Crate," and every now and then I'll put up a short blog post featuring one of the finds in it.
This time it's a true adventure I wrote up when I was probably twelve, accompanied by illustrations in pen. Here's what I wrote, misspellings, bad grammar, missing punctuation, and excessive exclamation marks included:
I remember that day very good. All five of us kids went up in the woods in late fall to play with our wooden swords. We set out to climb the biggest hill (mountain to us) in the woods. And there it was.
We climbed and we climbed turning to fight our companions once in a while when we needed to catch our breath.
Up that mountain of moss we climbed and believe you me that little hill surely put up a good fight. By this time we reached what we thought was the top we were tired. But wait! There in front of us was this other little part of the mountain! We hadn't reach the top yet! It was a green mossy mound with three trees growing out of it. We moved tiredly forward until we saw them.
Until we saw the green eyes of something big and dark hiding under that mound of dirt and moss.
We ran back down the mountain and to the house so fast you'd think our britches had caught fire.
We told our parents who then had one heck of a time getting any of us out there to show them what we were talking about. But Jamie finally went. With a gun. But when they got back we found out that what we saw were just some bright green rocks!
My second youngest brother Robin, who makes my Internet access possible, works at the shipyard in Ketchikan and he sent me the following photos of the kind of snowfall they're dealing with as they do their best to keep up with the ships they have to work on. Above is the M/V Kennicot, one of ferries in the Marine Highway System fleet that caters to coastal living Alaskans, and keeps Southeast Alaskans connected.
A mountain of snow at the shipyard with snow-covered mountains in the background. The snow-covered mountain is across Tongass Narrows on the island where Ketchikan International Airport is located. Below is a photo of what the jets looked like when Robin went to see off a friend. He had to cross on a ferry to get to the airport.
Below is the view from Robin's front steps. Time to go to work...yay!
Thanks for the photos, Robin!
He said that he's hoping to come out here on Memorial Day for a visit, which we're looking forward to...barring weather complications. I plan on interviewing him and sharing the results on here, so stay tuned for more on the shipyard.
Tara Neilson (ADOW)