Life In Progress

I will not confuse my career with my life.


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We Aim to Please

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Mr. Wonderful is an indoor-outdoor cat. Likely a Maine Coon mix, he adopted us over eight years ago by living under our porch and terrorizing our other cat at the time. He wouldn’t let us touch him for nearly six months and even after that we weren’t permitted to inspect him to see whether he was a tom or a female. So, because he reminded us of another cat we knew, Miss Kitty, we sort of assigned him to the female category. His first trip to the vet was quite enlightening, I should mention, when we finally found out “Portia” (so-named because of her/his time under the porch) was a male! The name stuck and occasionally my husband reverts to calling Mister a “her” (I suspect just to goad me and of course my reaction never disappoints!)

Now we mostly call him Mr. Wonderful and he’s made himself a very dearly-loved member of our family. We love him so much, we grow wheat grass for him and his indoors-girl cohort, Chitra. Even though he has the run of the place outside during the day and a whole field of grass behind the house, he knows we aim to please. Mister-mister gets his wheat grass fed to him one succulent blade at a time.


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Decidedly Better

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It’s that time of year when I feel quite ready for the seasons to change. We’ve had our big snowstorm —we officially got 29 inches here in South Windham, Maine—Fat Tuesday’s hangover has taken the cure and I uncovered a hulking dust bunny while searching for a pair of shoes in my closet. I resisted the (faintest) urge to Spring Clean. If I were to continue along this line of thinking I would likely need therapy and antidepressants, so I’ll stop my whinging right now.

Lately, Mr. Wonderful, our indoor/outdoor boy-cat, has been craving greens. As usual, I had anticipated this and bought a couple of small flats of grass in December. The cats duly appreciated the gesture but were never very happy with the short, thin blades. They would nose around in the grass but never really get to chomping. Problem is, that grass is a lawn grass variety and these felines are accustomed to premium greens—specifically, wheat grass. A few days ago, I noticed Mr. W standing by the sorry looking flat on the kitchen windowsill, kneading his paws with exaggerated motions and staring a hole through me. I got the feeling he was trying to suggest that his heart desired decidedly better greens. Fortunately, I am an experienced cat whisperer: immediately, I set a cup of wheat berries to soak in a big jar and planted them in pots just when the roots started to emerge. A couple of days later, the seedlings are approaching two inches tall and are nearly ready to be ravaged.

These greens will be a far cry from the luxurious pot of grass I transplanted from the garden for Mr. W and Chitra a while back. During the growing season, that’s the way to satisfy Chitra, who, unlike Mr. W, doesn’t get to forage for her emetics outside.


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The green fang

Chitra has a craving. Greens. Magic elixir for the indoor-dwelling feline’s digestive health. The sorry container of wheat grass she’d been grazing on has all but died back. She would sniff it and make a weak attempt to chew on the sparse blades, but her heart just wasn’t in it.

This morning, after scolding her for repeatedly attempting to reach the attractive stringy ends of the ponytail palm houseplant, (stashed on top of the tallest cupboard in the kitchen,) I remembered the pot of grass wintering over in the breezeway with some other plants. Brilliant.

I immediately retrieved the sacred vessel of grass and presented it to her in the sunny dining room. Soon, there were sounds of scissoring teeth, gnashing and tearing, as she chomped happily on the greens.

Funny, last fall, she rejected this very pot of thin-bladed lawn grass. Maybe it wasn’t as satisfying to gnaw as was the pot of tender, thick-bladed grass that had sprouted from straw I used to mulch the squash bed. Fortunately, it seems this pot will now handily appease her insatiable green fang.

Soon, I will thaw the frozen bag of potting soil sitting in the barn and sow some wheat grass seeds. This auxiliary pot of grass won’t last long.

I also need to start checking around the house for the, er, rewards of her consumption of copious amounts of this magical emetic material.