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)

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


Photograph close up of a deep red-colored peony in full bloom with other red peonies in the background. The red peonies have lots of deep green leaves.

A Mother’s Day to Remember:

Cali Cat Has Kittens

A photograph of a pregnant female, short-haired, mostly calico cat, tricolored with white, dark brown, and caramel markings. The cat is outside walking towards the camera and is captioned "Cali Cat." Gardens at Effingham
Cali Cat

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 dark and the birds stopped singing. The sky erupted in rains whipping sideways on gusts of high winds.

The peony bushes whipped this way and that, turbulent skies covered the gardens in darkness, and hard rain quickly transformed most of our young gardens to mush. Early flowering bushes cowered to the ground. Spring flowers (daffodils, tulips, hyacinths) toppled over.

And while unbeknownst to us at the time, Cali Cat was birthing her kittens in the peonies’ gardens. Yes, when the storm was fiercest. Yes, when the peonies whipped this way and that. Yes, when on what seemed an idyllic day, a harsh storm decided to unleash its fury. Early May ushered in particularly harsh weather this year, and great gusts of winds blew in heavy downpours of rain.

Poor Cali, a first time mama cat, delivered her kittens in an area without shelter, the low-lying peony garden, of the gardens in the suddenness of the storm.

Cali Cat Has Kittens, Gardens at Effingham

Cali Cat Seeks Higher Ground

But Cali Cat knew instinctively to look for higher ground, a place to move her kittens where they would be protected from the storm. The storm ceased as suddenly as it had begun, and at this point, Cali left her tiny, eyes-tightly-shut kittens (three kittens in all) to seek more secure lodging.

We could see the tiny kittens, huddled and rounding up and over one another, by looking out the window and casting our gaze directly down to where wet, soppy leaves, pulpy stems, and peony buds served as a canopy over the kittens. The kittens were wet, but also newly birthed.

And while the storm had passed for now, heavy rains began again to fall that evening. The next few days would bring drenching rains and more high winds, and as for Cali? She had already relocated her kittens once, trotting each tiny kitten, one at a time, by the scruff of the neck to beneath a shrub that was on higher ground.

The storms persisted, day and night, three days consecutively, and Cali cat, ever the faithful mama cat albeit a young, first time mama cat, moved her kittens yet again.

Elm tree severely damaged in storm on Mother's Day, Gardens at Effingham
Elm Tree, Storm Damage, Mother’s Day, Gardens at Effingham

Cali Cat Moves Her Kittens

We couldn’t find the kittens after she moved them from the shrub. She didn’t want us to. We’ve only seen Cali cat once since that fateful week during Mother’s Day, and even then, a good distance away.

She’s moved on from the Gardens at Effingham, though the gardens will always remain imprinted with her memory. From the whimsical delight of her kitten-hood to the turbulent night she delivered her own kittens, Gardens at Effingham bore her love.

I can still see her sitting atop the wall, looking out over the gardens as we tended the flowers. Cali cat lives on—just not at Gardens at Effingham anymore.

Calico Cat sitting on brick wall, Cali Cat from Garden at Effingham
Cali Cat, Gardens at Effingham
Most Beloved little white indoor cat at Gardens at Effingham
Most Beloved, Gardens at Effingham

Old-Time Peonies

Pink Peony Blossom, Gardens at Effingham
Pink Peony, Gardens at Effingham

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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…

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