Gardens at Effingham: Where Cats Write the Tales

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  • A Mother’s Day to Remember-Cali Cat Has Kittens

    A Mother’s Day to Remember-Cali Cat Has Kittens

    Mother’s Day Surprise A glorious May Mother’s Day, replete with brilliant blue skies and wisps of sun-drenched clouds, became gardens requiring enormous clean-up once the storm had passed. We had walked in the mid-afternoon, savoring the sun and remarking on the cerulean blue sky. But we had no longer returned home before the skies grew […]

  • “Okay,Who Gave the Cat a Pen?”

    “Okay,Who Gave the Cat a Pen?”

    Ah ha! Captured! That stray pen–twirling, whirling, edging ever closer its way towards me. And Paper? Well, that’s a given. I’m already sitting on top of a stack of papers. ’Tis my place (always) to sit atop her papers, especially when she’s writing, especially the papers she’s trying to use.  And besides, what use does she […]

  • When Peaches Meow: Musings with “Most Beloved”

    When Peaches Meow: Musings with “Most Beloved”

    The Orchard Years I look up and above to the picture Mom gifted me of my 11-year-old self, hand across the back of our Labrador Retriever’s shoulder, and Dusty (our rescued groundhog) pulling at his jaw. I was sitting, plaintive smile, faraway look in my eyes even then, blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, […]

  • Three Ways To Know When Summer Ends and Fall Begins (According to the Cat)

    Three Ways To Know When Summer Ends and Fall Begins (According to the Cat)

    #1. The cat is subsumed by melancholy “Oh yet to relish, to sleep, to bathe in the heat of the midday sun–” –sighs the cat Oh yet to languish, to sip, to savor a cup of catmint tea–” –bemoans the cat Act 1, Scene 1: Bay Window in the Breakfast Room. Most Beloved upon seeing […]

  • Hungry Hawks and Plump Kittens

    Hungry Hawks and Plump Kittens

    The kittens, at 7 months now, flush beautifully with their full winter coats. Poofy and gorgeously striped, they frequent the food bowl together, an inherent pecking order amongst them, one often under the forsythia while the other one eats.

  • Cat Naps and Winter Dreams: Is it Spring Yet?

    Cat Naps and Winter Dreams: Is it Spring Yet?

    Winter Daydreams Eagerly await mail for seed and flower garden catalogs to arrive Bring in mail and start an ongoing (and ever-towering) stack of winter dreams Pile up all garden books, magazines, journals, and catalogs Gather a soft, snuggly blanket (preferably one that looks good against all my white fur) Get excited and open several […]

  • A Cat Sleeps in Our Garden

    A Cat Sleeps in Our Garden

    A Cat Sleeps in Our Gardens Days fall short now, time cutting across day’s light, night coming too fast—before supper, before work can be done, before we are ready. Gardens have been put to sleep—by us, or by nature—and while inside we work by light, outside, this early darkness awakens late fall’s chill.  Against this […]

  • Celebrate the Seasons! Gorgeous Garden Photos by Most Beloved

    Celebrate the Seasons! Gorgeous Garden Photos by Most Beloved

    A Note from Most Beloved Sometimes, I journal my cat tales. Sometimes, (okay, quite a bit of time) I nap. Oftentimes, I munch and crunch on num-nums while journaling. And the rest of the time? Time when I’m not napping, paw-printing my way through my cat tales, and snacking on num-nums? I snap photographs of […]

  • Ode to Joy of Being a Cat

    Ode to Joy of Being a Cat

    From the Journals of Most Beloved: Ode to Joy of Being a Cat From the Journals of Most Beloved Ode to Joy of Being a Cat Scherzo. Forte. Crescendo without dénouement. Succession of notes, days metered in the click-click of 4/4, key of A (for August heat), unstable and trilling, repetition the same and in […]

  • Meet More Cats

    Meet More Cats

    Gardens at Effingham: Daddy Cat in the Rose Garden Gardens at Effingham Watch catsfrom your inbox

A Cat Sleeps in Our Garden


Maine Coon Cat Named Tessa at Gardens at Effingham
Tessa Cat

A Cat Sleeps in Our Gardens

A Cat Sleeps in Our Garden

Days fall short now, time cutting across day’s light, night coming too fast—before supper, before work can be done, before we are ready.

Gardens have been put to sleep—by us, or by nature—and while inside we work by light, outside, this early darkness awakens late fall’s chill. 

Against this vague, ambiguous drift of days between November and March, skies sketch a steady kind of gray.

Tigers crush where Lilies sleep. A cat sleeps in the gardens today. He’s tucked in and around himself right now, curled up on a large, flat stone between a rose bush and a forsythia bush. His markings flank and imitate this late fall day around him. 

Leaves are mostly fallen from the black walnut trees behind him, the roses lie dormant and sad after an early heavy frost last week, the mulch, well withered and now covered by brown crunchy leaves, work together to provide just the right amount of camouflage for his heavy tiger-striped frame.

Chokeberry Changing Colors in Fall
Red, Orange, and Yellow Chokeberry in Fall

Meet Daddy Cat

He is a large cat. Daddy cat, perhaps, of the feral cats in this area. A show cat with markings parallel and perfect. He is a traditional striped cat, though with tufted fur, tufted ears, and a tufted chest. I remember the first time I saw him sitting on the brick path leading up to the garden gates. Stunningly beautiful, striking in that he just sat for the longest time, square on his haunches, front paws tight and connected, dark ribbons of stripes at perfect intervals up his legs. And that face. A large, perfect stare, eyes wide open, unafraid, as if saying something, but what, exactly?

He seems tended to, a house cat let outside, an un-neutered cat left free to roam where might he may. I’ve only seen him twice, this tomcat unafraid. Unlike the feral cats who run skittish and fast, this tiger lumbers up our long drive, sauntering past the Weigela, passing by the just-last-summer planted dwarf-mounding chokeberry bushes, brushing past the dwarf cameo flowering quince. His haunches define his fearlessness, his size alone big enough to take down another male cat foolish enough to enter his territory, his domain, these, our Gardens at Effingham. 

Daddy Cat in Red Rose Garden
Daddy Cat in Red Rose Garden

Most Beloved Cat is enthralled with Daddy Cat. She does, in fact, seem to have a crush on him. Most Beloved stares out the music room window, watching, waiting, tail swishing slowly, to and fro and back again. She’s thinking about going outside to meet him, then remembers she’s an indoor cat, the only indoor cat, at Gardens at Effingham.

Most Beloved Cat Gazes Out the Window
Most Beloved Cat Gazing Out the Window

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Recent Posts

Celebrate the Seasons! Gorgeous Garden Photos by Most Beloved

A Note from Most Beloved Sometimes, I journal my cat tales. Sometimes, (okay, quite a bit of time) I nap. Oftentimes, I munch and crunch on num-nums while journaling. And the rest of the time? Time when I’m not napping, paw-printing my way through my cat tales, and snacking on num-nums? I snap photographs of…

Keep reading

Ode to Joy of Being a Cat

From the Journals of Most Beloved: Ode to Joy of Being a Cat From the Journals of Most Beloved Ode to Joy of Being a Cat Scherzo. Forte. Crescendo without dénouement. Succession of notes, days metered in the click-click of 4/4, key of A (for August heat), unstable and trilling, repetition the same and in…

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Daddy Cat in the Rose Garden

Meet More Cats

Gardens at Effingham: Daddy Cat in the Rose Garden Gardens at Effingham Watch catsfrom your inbox

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Finding Spring in the Snow: Happiness is the Color of Daffodils

Daffodils in Early Spring With their creamy yellow centers surrounded by snow-white petals, Daffodils bring smiles of joy and unbridled happiness in anticipation of spring. Saturday and I’m dilly-dallying the day away. Frivolously, I might add, and contentedly I must add, for I am alone with she who loves and adores me. Just the two…

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