The Seventh Bed

Garfield bursts through the just-opened front door.  “Why-why-whyyyyyy?” he meowls. It’s pouring rain, and he feels poor and homeless.  This is the third week the house has been torn up by my annual, end-of-summer cleaning, painting, and general reframing, and now his paws are wet.

He makes eye contact with me and continues.  It’s so wet there are birds bathing in the potholes.  Where is a cat to go for a bit of dry peace and quiet?

“You have six beds!” I say, and head back up the stairs where I’m cleaning the library shelves.  His first bed, a black fleece basket in the cat condo which he just bypassed, is crowded between paint cans.  But he’s got a great bed right here in these shelves.

“Meeeeeee-owwwww.”  The warble cues me that he is quoting the Bearded One from a political discussion earlier in the week.  “Everyone gets to define their own wealth.”  What do I know of his suffering?

“I’ve finished the pink wall in the bedroom,” I say to Garfield, implying that his penultimate fifth bed, the Bearded One’s pillow, is available.

“And the living room has been finished for a week.  Your little brown fluffy kitty bed –” I point to his second bed on the relocated coffee table by my rocker — “is just waiting for you.”

“Nope.”  He shakes his paw.

“And remember, your food is up on the freezer now.”

He pads over to the window sill and hops up.  “Yowwwwwww.”  The request for treats is always unmistakable.

“Okay,” I say and return — I’m just to the landing anyway — to grant his wish.  He hates his food being placed on the freezer, plus he’s been off his treats for the past couple of weeks, perhaps in protest of the transition and changes, and I want to show my appreciation.

As I walk to the window, I see the goats up the hill.  There’s a lull in the rain (3 inches in the rain gauge this weekend) and they have finally ventured out of the barn.  Pearl makes eye contact, and then Sage and finally LaLa.  They are a lot like cats — they hate rain and love to ask for treats.

I see the cornstalks have fallen over in the rain, and the biggest pumpkin, half orange now, pokes up out of the dying pumpkin leaves.

We have a list of Edible and Poisonous Plants For Goats but it says nothing about the pumpkin leaves we now have in abundance.  The internet says pumpkin leaves are supposed to be edible, but ours won’t touch them.  We guess it’s the tiny spines covering the entire bottom surface.  The goats love corn and eat everything but the stalks.  I tell them I’ll come out soon.

“Meow-meow.”  Garfield noses one of the treats I just gave him, then licks it.  Then looks up at me.

“What?” I say.

“Nope.”  He hops down and then trots over to the stairs.  “Meeeee-owwwww.”  He is a very vocal cat.

And I am a patient cat woman, I say to myself.  Perhaps I misunderstood His Majesty.  No, I understand.  Everyone gets to define their own treats, too.

I continue working on the built-in bookcase.  Books flocked with dust, which were once treats, get nosed again briefly, sorted, rearranged.

The new Pink Peach wall in the downstairs bathroom and on the west wall of our bedroom make me happy now.  I love to lie in bed and just stare at the color as the rain pours down.

Garfield yowls when he gets to the top of the stairs and sees beds number three (under my computer) and four (the chair in the second bedroom) are blocked by plastic drop cloths and piled high with clothes for Goodwill.  He has just about had it.

And then he sees his sixth bed, the shelf, is now blocked by a ladder.

He turns and bounds back down the stairs, thumping out his displeasure.

“I have work to do,” I say, officially calling off this cat servicing session, and take a small limp toward the stairs.  My hip is getting better since I’ve stayed off the ladder for several days, but I still favor it.  I’m glad I just have the ceiling fan left to clean.  Once a year whether it needs it or not.  And it needs it.

Garfield crosses quickly in front of me, expert tripster that he is, and I see him at the last second.  I look up at the ceiling fan, then at the cat, and I go sit in the rocker.  He leaps into my lap — the seventh bed.

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12 responses to “The Seventh Bed

  1. I love The Bearded Ones quote “everyone gets to define their own wealth”…so pertinent to what I was talking about in our post this week :). “Wealth” means so many different things to so many people. To us, its the ability to get up in the morning and bath ourselves in sunshine and look out over the sparkling river and have a plethora of choices of things to do that day. We can head out and go bums up in the garden to effect positive gardening change…we can work on creating something for our home, we can forge ahead with some studies, we can cook something new together, we can choose what we want to do (within reason and monetary constraints of course lol) and we are some of the luckiest people alive. Wealth? Certainly! A wealth of knowledge, experience, understanding, care, feeling and most importantly, the elusive “Happiness” that girds your loins and greases the cogs of progress to keep you moving forward AND sideways and that makes life a precious experience, rather than something that most people seem to want to rush through at a ridiculous pace.

    I feel Garfields pain. I am that slow cat that just wants things to stay the same. Bezial is our Garfield. If he sees a paint pot, or ANY furniture moving or any sort of “new” thing happening he gets upset and won’t eat his tea. He sees change as disruptive and unnecessary and sometimes I am with him. Earl is always up for a change and so is Steve…racing about all over the place effecting change whether we need it or not lol. I wish I had 5 beds. I only have 1 that keeps getting invaded all through the night by wayfaring dogs that jump on me and that sneak into my warm spot when I blindly wend my way to the loo in the night and come back to a hulking black set of pleading eyes (that I can’t see but I can certainly FEEL) asking me to sleep down at the end of the bed so he can be near his “Pa”…sigh…luckily I put a pillow at the foot of the bed just for such eventualities…and its VERY lucky that we bought a king sized bed!

    Bezial must be a goat/cat. His sole reason for existance is to bask in the sun and eat treats. He sits next to the pantry door waiting for unsuspecting treat bearers to pass and open the door and feed him something. You would think that he was starving if it wasn’t for the size of his rump! He looks at the treat jar… then he looks at the nearest human…then back at the treat jar and sometimes adds an impatient little whine to let you know in NO uncertain words that “I am waiting!”…

    I ADORE pumpkin! I have it just about every single meal and way back when I was foolish about food and lost a lot of weight I existed on pumpkin and carrots and a few other veggies and my skin actually turned orange. I didn’t care…pumpkin is amazing and I envy Garfield and his massive pumpkin friend. Could you shred and dry the pumpkin leaves to make them more palatable for the goats? If they didn’t like them, at least its a good source of free mulch for your garden. If goats (who eat anything) won’t eat them…most probably nothing else will and you will get good soil moisture holding capacity out of the mulch till it rots down into your soil. I LOVE that bookcase. It links us more than you would think. Reading has always been my passion and my chief escape. In my childhood I loved to read because it took me far away from my limitations and gave me wings. I, too, have many book treats that I haven’t nibbled for a while but they sit like old friends who refuse to give up on me and my inattention and steadfastly wait for me to return to the fold and allow them to envelope my mind with their pages. Garfield is a clever cat. I hope and pray that Earl doesn’t see this picture of him in the bookcase because my own bookcase might not recover from Earls attentions (or, God forbid, his habitation!)

    The seventh bed is always the best 🙂

    • They are Magic Lantern pumpkins, with seeds from Territorial Seed, of Steve Solomon fame. They’re oranging up, and I’m hoping we get enough more sun to finish the job. Last year I cooked the pumpkin and froze it in 1 cup ziplocks, but I didn’t use very many of them. Mainly muffins. I must look into more pumpkin recipes!

      The Bearded One has given me free range to paint and move things as I desire, which I sooo appreciate. He has a full veto — he nixed the windsock in the bedroom — but rarely uses it, even when I put my red boa on the wall in the shape of a heart. I took it down the next day because it made the wall red. Cheap dye.

      Bezial and Garfield would be great buddies. Ruby just tolerates him; she wasn’t raised with a cat and finds him cloying. And Garfield would keep his distance from a wild thing like Earl. He weighs just 7 pounds! Earl could send him flying with his tail.

      Cheers to cherished books! And friends!:)

      • WOW on the pumpkins! Here in Australia we eat pumpkin as a savoury thing. I can’t imagine eating sweet pumpkin dishes. We have it roasted with roasts, as soup, in dishes like roasted pumpkin and pesto risotto, as a filling in cannolini and all sorts of other delicious things. Its much like sweet potatoes, we eat them like pumpkin and not in sweets. Fingers crossed on the sun so that your beautiful pumpkins ripen magnificently and you can experiment with some savoury dishes as well. One of our old State Premiers wrote a cookbook with his wife and used all sorts of pumpkin recipes including recipes for pumpkin yeasted bread and pumpkin scones (you call them biscuits) and I remember buying round tank loaves of pumpkin bread from the bakers when I was a young girl (last centure lol!).
        I never get to preserve pumpkin as I just eat it as fast as we buy it. We buy 2 large pumpkins a fortnight and they are gone in the first week and Steve HATES pumpkin ;).

        Steve tricked me when we painted the house in town. I had gone to Melbourne (another state on the mainland) with my daughters and he picked out the paint including Mediterranean blue for the hallway, Burnt orange for the kitchen and loungeroom (with sage green trimmings) and Poinsettia red walls in the bathroom with white tiles and black floor tiles. It all looked wonderful when we redecorated and despite the shock of the colours I loved it. I didn’t have a feather boa to put on the walls but they were so bright the cheap dye wouldn’t have mattered or been seen!

        Steve gave me free reign on the colour scheme for this place and I went with the same colour throughout as its quite integrating and leads the eye. We have a lot of wood going on with the doors and window trims all being stained wood and so I thought a nice light blue colour would give us what we wanted which was harmony and relaxing vibes. Earl does his best to eliminate the relaxing vibes and if a cat EVER dared to set foot in his home he would eat it. He struts up and down the deck with his hackles up and his tail in the air muttering under his breath at the cats meowing below and lord help them if they get too close to his personal space (which apparently surrounds the house by about 20 feet in all directions) as he lets loose with a barrage of barks that would terrify a gang of bikers. The cats are no longer afraid of him so his barks are impotent. Poor Earl :(.

        Bezial would explore garfield and being the good dog that he was he would be fine with him so long as Garfield didn’t try to eat his food…then it would be ON! Bezial might accidentally squish Garfield when he rolls around onto his broad back as he is 40kg worth of solid “treats” ;). Earl is about 35kg of solid muscle and barks. He is getting a whole lot better BUT I don’t think that he is ever going to be allowed loose amongst anything other than humans because he seems to have an instinct to hunt and kill things. That makes me a bit sad as he would love to frolic around with Bezial but we need to keep him on a lead at all times as he keeps looking out of the corner of his eye for something to hunt, play with and then kill which is totally NOT what we are going to let him do. Oh well…different personalities for sure! Cherished books are like cherished friends, they don’t let you down and every time you revisit them, they welcome you with open arms and an experience that makes you feel loved 🙂

  2. I saw that coming . . .

  3. Christine Widman

    Here I’m involved in top to bottom re-group clean-up re-fill perk-up from our week of wedding wonderment.
    We went from wedding to B&B – instant shift.
    I’m in a necessary cleaning frenzy too. Laundry piled so high I almost need a ladder to sort it.
    But no cat to meow me into a rocking chair.
    Last night my love meowed and decided we needed the soothe of sunset. We took a mile walk and then headed to the Dairy Queen for our shared chocolate-dipped cone.
    Watched the sky turn deep pink and purred.
    C
    Love the book shelf cat cartoon.

  4. Does downsizing a storage locker count? No kitty here, either, but I can relate to Garfield’s meowws. A rocker sounds very cozy right now, with a view to those pink & peach walls – or a sunny pumpkin patch.

  5. Extra points for storage locker work, Pierr. I call that Deep Cleaning. Hope you found a rocker.:)

  6. I love these stories …. and feel like I get to visit your farmlet every week.
    It’s a wonderful treat …..

  7. Better yet I just downloaded your book on smashwords …. and now I can enjoy a bit of farmlet living whenever the urge strikes. 🙂 Thanks!

    • Thank you, Sherrie! It’s interesting you say that about downloading THE FAVA, SUN, AND HOLY GOAT even though you have access to all of the first year in the archives of the blog. I recently read a blog complaining about the “blook” — a collection of blogs grouped into a book format — http://jkkelley.org/2012/10/17/the-blook-todays-publishing-trend/ — and I understand his point. I intended my blook to be exactly as you’re using it — free, just as the blog is, and just a different format for reading. By the way, I now have access to a Nook! My Kindle died, and my daughter offered to share her Nook which she hardly ever uses. But it’s her boyfriend who does the downloading of books onto it, and I have no WiFi. So I tried my Kindle USB cable which is how I downloaded your novel Y1 the first time. It didn’t work. I’m going to Seattle today and will try to download Y1 again at a WiFi hotspot. I’m really ready to finish your book! Okay. So now you know how marginal my computer knowledge is! Thanks for commenting:)

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