Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Sage Tales

Sage Grass Cat

Last night I spent a good deal of time fixing the wrongs of Sage. Most of the time he really doesn't mean to break, destroy or tear up stuff, but his klutzy-ness often wins out. I live in an old school house. By old I mean built sometime in the early '60s. The new part anyway. The old part was destroyed in the fire of '72. What this means is very high tile drop ceilings, large (6 x 6 ft) windows and concrete block walls. Most of it the original versions. Which translates into 'nothing is as easy as it should be' when I go to fix things or even hang a picture on the wall. So I tend to let things pile up before taking restorative action. Take the curtain and curtain rod that Sage got tangled up in and now have been hanging half off the wall for a month. Or the screen that Sage knocked off another window trying to impress one of the outside cats. And the light bulb that has been burnt out since Spring (which I cannot blame on Sage, but would like to).

All of these little jobs called for carrying the ladder in the house and setting it up. This is always a disaster. Let's just say "Grace" isn't my middle name either and leave it at that. Once the ladder was set up, I immediately had 'help' and had to crawl around a very large very determined (if not graceful) cat to even get up the ladder. Surprisingly I was able to get the rod re nailed into the curtain board and it stayed! Wow, that was easy. While moving the ladder (after extricating the help), I managed to almost knock one of the low hanging cafe lights down, and I did manage to spill a whole box of small nails. This isn't surprising. What is surprising is that I still always forget and leave things on the top step of the ladder. Think things like pink paint (still finding spatters from that incident), hammers (which hurts)and the like.

Sage and his beloved (and heavily guarded) cat tree

So the light bulb changing and the curtain rod hanging went well. Even the rehanging of the screen went good. But it was hot, and even though things went well, they didn't go smooth, so I was getting a bit testy. When I went to pick up the gazillion nails that had spilled all over the floor, Sage once more took over the ladder. Which was fine.

Now, I think I've mentioned Sage is a klutz, but he is a pretty serious klutz and has very, very tender feelings. While he is big and ornery and sometimes downright mean, he absolutely hates to get 'yelled' at (and his definition and mine of yelling are very different). Especially if it is something that just 'happens' when he is either playing or poking his nose into my business. Things that he thinks it's unjustified for him to get in trouble over.

Sage In A Bucket

So back to Sage on the ladder. By this time he is sprawled across the second to top rung and the little brace shelf. He barely fits. I'm very hot and sweaty and have been crawling around in the floor rounding up tiny nails for ten minutes. I want to get the ladder down and out of the house, so I can move on to outside chores. So I tell Sage to get down. Maybe there was a little bit of a tone, but I thought it was a reasonable request. Nope, he was just gonna lay there, thanks very much. So I reach up and try to lift him down. (No easy feat in itself) I might have said something else in a ' firmer tone'. Okay, I did. Something like, come on Sage get down! Now his feelings were being flayed, and he was sure I was gonna knock him off the ladder, on purpose. He glued himself to it and started growling. I was muttering and prying one paw off after the other. By the time I was done, the growling had escalated in pitch and length. So I had an unscheduled break. Sitting in front of the fan, holding a large, very upset growling cat. We had a long talk, (with lots of you better not bite me comments thrown in) and when he was finished growling I let him down. He was ruffled, his feelings smashed to bits, but he would be okay. I knew this because he turned around and tried to bite my ankle.

So, this is how he copes. Anytime I raise my voice in irritation or anger at him, he becomes this growling, hysterical beastie. It takes him awhile to get over the trauma of it all. I guess sometimes the big guys are the sensitive ones. ;-)

Baby Sage & Teddy Bear

(This little bear looks so much, much worse now...)


Vicki Lane said...

Love this story, Tammy! I once offended our big ex-tomcat, Eddie and he came at me like a Grizzly bear, arms upraised and affixed himself to my thigh. I managed to peel him off and get out of the room, slamming the door behind me and leaving him there till he cooled off.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I think I would be afraid of that cat -- and Vicki's, too!

Nancy K. said...

How lucky for Sage that he has a person who understands him so well! I absolutely love the picture of him in his cat tree!

I've always meant to mention that it took me about three weeks of visiting your blog to figure out that the picture in the upper left, side bar is a close up of a cat's face. I had looked at it and looked at it and couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was. I don't even know how the realization that it was a cat (reclining on it's back) face finally set in...


Kathy said...

What a wonderful post, Tammy. I have a cat alot like Sage...Shadow hates to get "yelled" at too, but he gets back by peeing on something. Eew! Ralph's ready to strangle him, but he's my "bud" and would love it if I took some super glue and joined us at the hip.

Tammy said...

Too funny, Vicki! I once fell on the ice chasing off the neighbor's demon cat, and he turned around and came back at me, all fuzzed up! I was screaming come on buddy! come on--as I lay flat on my back, scrabbling in the ice for something to throw at him!
Michelle--Sage isn't too scary--just a tormented soul. ;-)
Nancy, that is pretty funny about Sage's picture. I did that on someone else's blog--it was a closeup of a goat's face, and I could NOT figure it out for the longest time! :-) (and the cat tree was suppose to be for both cat's but Sage thinks it's ALL his!)