Tag Archives: animal rescue

Little Orphant Hadley’s Come to Our House to Stay….

December folder 047As children, my sister and I squealed to the strains of Dad reading Riley’s Little Orphant Annie. (Yes, it’s a real poem; no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the movie except I always assumed that’s where the film got its title.)

And now we have our own little orphan: Hadley Hemingway. She came to us with her brothers and sisters on a dark and scary night, exhibiting that absolute stillness of a kitten traumatized into terror. They sat in their blanket, blinking and waiting for what would befall them.

We gave them goat milk. We gave them kibble, we gave them a space heater, we gave them ear rubs. And we gave them a chance to find homes – which they did, all but our little Hadley.

Hadley’s birth sac opened late. Likely Mommy had to rip it open, because our Hadders is a few cells short of a full brain set She is damaged. She knows where the food stays, she knows which chair has the softest cushion, but at night she can’t find the stairs to our bedroom and sometimes she forgets other basic life skills – like that her tail is attached to her body.

nike and hadleyBut Nike has taken Hadley in paw. About a week ago, I said, “Bedtime,” a word all our staff animals know. As God is my witness, Nike walked over to Hadley, licked her, and meowed, “Follow me, kid.” And led her to the bedroom. The next morning, Hadley sat about befuddled until Nike, who had charged up the stairs for breakfast, came back down and got her. Nike licked her and said, “Right, sorry, hadn’t realized. Come with me. I won’t leave you again.”

That morning, Nike seemed to figure out that Hadley was special. She led her to her box, and peed first. Jumping out, she swished her tail and turned to Hadley. “Now you, sweetie.” And Hadley copied her foster mom.

Hadley’s got some challenges ahead, but with Nike’s help, she will turn into a fine bookstore staffer. Hadley tends to race up people’s trouser legs and lick them on the nose. Tiny Hadley also has a mew like velociraptor, primal and piercing. Nike is trying to temper this enthusiasm with a bit of decorum and a modulated, feminine meow, but she has her work cut out for her.Nikes and hadders 1

So next time you come to our bookstore, say hello to our staff cats Beulah, Owen, and Nike–and Nike’s pet kitten, Hadley Hemingway.

Little Orphant Annie
Little Orphant Annie’s come to our house to stay,
An’ wash the cups an’ saucers up, an’ brush the crumbs away,
An’ shoo the chickens off the porch, an’ dust the hearth, an’ sweep,
An’ make the fire, an’ bake the bread, an’ earn her board-an’-keep;
An’ all us other children, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an’ has the mostest fun
A-list’nin’ to the witch-tales ‘at Annie tells about,
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘at gits you
Ef you
Don’t
Watch
Out!
Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn’t say his prayers,–
An’ when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an’ his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An’ when they turn’t the kivvers down, he wuzn’t there at all!
An’ they seeked him in the rafter-room, an’ cubby-hole, an’ press,
An’ seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an’ ever’-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an’ roundabout:–
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
Ef you
Don’t
Watch
Out!
An’ one time a little girl ‘ud allus laugh an’ grin,
An’ make fun of ever’ one, an’ all her blood-an’-kin;
An’ wunst, when they was “company,” an’ ole folks wuz there,
She mocked ‘em an’ shocked ‘em, an’ said she didn’t care!
An’ thist as she kicked her heels, an’ turn’t to run an’ hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin’ by her side,
An’ they snatched her through the ceilin’ ‘fore she knowed what she’s about!
An’ the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
Ef you
Don’t
Watch
Out!
An’ little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An’ the lamp-wick sputters, an’ the wind goes woo-oo!
An’ you hear the crickets quit, an’ the moon is gray,
An’ the lightnin’-bugs in dew is all squenched away,–
You better mind yer parunts, an’ yer teachurs fond an’ dear,
An’ churish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns ‘ll git you
Ef you
Don’t
Watch
Out!

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

K.U.T.E (Kittens United Terrorizing Everyone)

IMG_20141203_165529

Scarlett, Ready to Address her Subjects

Shopsitter Jenny here. I may not have much time, so listen closely. I’ve been taken hostage by a group known only to me as K.U.T.E. I don’t know exactly what they want, but I seem to be completely in their thrall. I’ve been given the tasks of meal preparation, litter box clean up, and cuddling. The strange part is, I don’t mind at all. I’m HAPPY to do it. The hold they have over me is almost…supernatural. All one of them has to do is wave a tiny paw, or sneeze a mini achoo, and I’m ready to do their bidding. I would have written for help sooner, but the one they call Scarlett was sitting on the computer all morning looking at me with big dewy eyes. I was powerless to move her. Fortunately, they seem to nap en masse, so I am now able to send out my plea. Come. Get. A. Kitten. Save me from the overwhelming power of K.U.T.E. I fear that one (or more!) of them will convince me to bring them home to New York, and then, not only will K.U.T.E have the opportunity to spread its devastating culture of kitten kisses, but my mother will kill me!

A quick run down of the players…

Scarlett. Sister to Rhett. Cuteness exceeds tolerable levels with this one. Seems to be a bit of a ringleader.

Rhett. Scarlett’s brother. Rhett’s metaphorical tee-shirt reads, I’d Rather be Lounging.

Henry Dashwood. Dash for short. Exceptionally handsome chap. A little shy, but snuggly and playful when he warms up. Adorable kitten antics, or up to something? You decide.

Hadley. Little, but mighty, with a deceptively sweet face…Oh geez! Here she comes! She’s climbing up my pant leg! SHE’S GOING FOR MY NECK!

She’s…kissing my cheek.

What’s that you say Hadley? You want your prawns peeled and served with caviar? Why certainly. Let me take care of that for you.

 

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Hedley and Hemingway Explain Things Clearly

DSCN1468Hi – I’m Hemingway and this is my sister Hedley–

I can speak for myself!

An’ we’re waitin’ ta get adopted from the Little Bookstore.

Tell ‘em it’s in Big Stone Gap!

They know that, Hed. Anyway, me ‘n Hedley–

Hedley an’ I

No, you’re Hedley, an’ I’m–

(clamps paw over mouth) OK folks, lemme ‘splain this. Hemingway and I need a home, see. We need one pretty soon, ’cause there’s five of us foster cats here at the bookstore an’ there’s five more waitin’ up at the vet’s for a space to open. An’ Wendy and Jack are leavin’ the country in December, so we gotta get everybody where they’re going. So, come visit and see how adorable we are!

Hdlymcntmll– (bats paw away) Hedley, you can’t tell everybody we’re adorable like that! You gotta be humble! Who’s gonna adopt us if we’re not humble?

Humble? Be serious! We’re the cutest cats here! An’ the youngest an’ the fastest!

(sighs) Anyway, folks, come visit us. We might wanna be adopted together (glances at sister, whispers) although that’s not really essential

Wha’d you say?

That we have to be adopted together. An’ that we both like to be cuddled, an’ that we don’t eat wet food, an’ we’ve had our wormer an’ our flea baths.

(shudders) Baths. That wasn’t fun. But yes, we have. An’ we LOVE to climb in your lap, an’ we like to sleep in your arms an’ be carried around like babies.

Speak for yourself; I ain’t a baby.

(pinching him) Play along, eejit; I’m tryin’ ta get us ‘dopted here.

(rubs bruise) SO as I was sayin’ folks, we wanna be adopted together….

Why are you looking at me like that?
DSCN1420
 

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Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, Hunger Games, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, small town USA, VA, Wendy Welch, YA fiction

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot – –

Jack’s guest post this week is all about friendship

Wendy blogged about our friend Barbara Dickson and her husband Oliver last week, but I wanted to say something about their visit too.

Barbara and I sang together as a ‘folk-duo’ in Scotland back in the 1960s, and although we’ve stayed in touch over the years – – – –

It’s often the case that people we think of as good friends we don’t actually see very often and in the case of Barbara, we haven’t spent any personal time together in almost fifty years. So I imagine she was as nervous as I was at committing to two weeks of living cheek-by-jowl here in our house/bookstore. I had no idea if she and Oliver would get along with our dogs and cats or how they’d feel about sharing the floor that the guest room is on with our cafe, cafe manager or cafe manager’s frequently visiting family (also known as our second family).

Barbara is a world ranking singer and actor who’s recording and performing career far outstrips mine, so another concern was how she’d react when, inevitably, our curious local friends would ask to hear us singing again together.

In the event we needn’t have worried!

Barbara and Oliver have become surrogate aunt and uncle to the cafe kids, she carries our latest foster-kitten Small-Fry around on her shoulder, they’ve made space for themselves and we’ve shared our part of Appalachia with them, to their obvious delight.

And the singing? We ended up discovering we still had some songs in common and we were able to re-create the kind of intimate setting that neither of us had experienced for a very long time and share that with our friends here – and we had a ball!

They got to see Carter Fold, The Museum of Country Music and Dollywood, but not all the other places they might have, so already we’re making plans for the return visit, when they will see all the stuff there wasn’t time for this year.

 

 

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, folklore and ethnography, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, Scotland, small town USA, VA

The American Way (again) -

coffee failWhen I first started coming over to the US, as an itinerant folksinger, I was weaned off tea and onto coffee as the standard/regular ‘cuppa’, but was happy to leave the brewing of this brew to friends and hosts. Later, and especially after moving over permanently, I found myself being required to make it myself from time to time.

The complexities of a filter machine evaded my sense of logic so completely – and often – that I joke that ‘I had found more ways to fail to make coffee’ than anyone in recorded history.

Too much coffee; not enough coffee; too much water; not enough water; water not going through the coffee; machine not switched on; etc., etc. Once I left the spout off the machine and didn’t notice, which resulted in a fairly spectacular “caffeine hosedown,” as Wendy dubbed it.

As the years went by and we settled into running a bookstore, we developed a routine: Wendy got up in the morning and fed the cats – and there can be quite a lot of them sometimes, given all our fosters – while I set up the coffee the night before, so that all she had to do to achieve caffeination amidst all those felines was push the button.

A couple of days ago, having congratulated myself on long ago mastering the art of making coffee successfully, I really scored a ‘bulls-eye’ for the other team.

I got up before Wendy, hit the switch, and went out for a smoke while the coffee percolated. I came back in to find coffee was flooding the counter top and down over the kitchen floor. When I organized things the night before, I’d done everything except put the jug back in its allotted place under the filter. Ours is not a pot that stops when the carafe is out.

Of course I find that most folk around here have no idea how to make a pot of tea, so I suppose we can call it (in soccer parlance) ‘a score draw’. Now look at that, I scored a World Cup reference, and I haven’t watched a single game.

 

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Filed under animal rescue, Big Stone Gap, blue funks, bookstore management, home improvements, humor, Uncategorized, VA, writing

Porthos Speaks

athos and porthosHi! I’m Porthos an’ I’m the only girl in this family. We came to live here at the bookstore ‘cos the shelter was gettin’ crowded. Mom didn’t come with us ‘cos somebody wanted to ad- uhdot- adhop- somebody wanted her to come live with them.

That’s what we’re hoping happens to us. My brothers are silly, but I’m very sensible, so I’m sure I’ll get a furever home first. People like sensible cats. Plus I’m really pretty. Everybody says that when they see me, so ‘s okay for me to say so.

My brother Athos is my twin. He’s smaller than me an’ he has a white bit on his neck. HE says it’s a cravat. I says, “What’s a cravat?” an’ he says, “I dunno but it makes me sound smart.”Porthos dances

See? They’re eejits, both of ‘em.

Athos likes to play, like me, an’ he loves to be held. D’Artagnon looks different from us. He’s stripy and he’s more scared of stuff. One time I saw him jump straight in the air ‘cos he saw the shadow of his own tail.

I dunno. Maybe I can’t go to a furever home first ‘cos they’d kill themselves doing stupid guy stuff if I wasn’t here. D’Artagnon dove headfirst off a bookshelf yesterday. Didn’t get hurt at all. He’d hafta have a brain to get hurt, right?D'Artagnon

I love my brothers, but it might be nice to live someplace that had a lap just for me, and not hafta keep saying “Don’t climb that rope; it’s not tied to the ring! Don’t stick your claws in that electric thingee! Don’t put your head UNDER the food!”

Ser’usly, the other day, Athos stuck his head IN the bowl of water. Like he was tryin’ to blow bubbles or somethin’. Then he comes up screamin’ blue murder.

porthosI didn’t touch him. I swear.

You can come visit us at the bookstore. We love feet, follow ‘em around all the time. And we like bein’ carried, even D’Artagnon, but you kinda hafta let him get used to you first. He talks to your feet, and then you sit down, and he gets in your lap, and then you pick him up. Athos an’ me, we just climb straight up to your shoulder the minute we see you. View’s better from there.

athosOur foster mom says after we get our furever homes the boys will get tutored and I’ll get played. That sounds like fun.  Come visit us so we can get started! We’re ready to go home!

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Filed under animal rescue, bad writing, Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, humor, shopsitting, small town USA, VA

FIRE! FIRE!

 Jack’s guest blog post today recounts the great fire of 2014 -

Well, that was quite an experience!

We were down in Johnson City on Monday doing radio shows and meetings and then headed home to avoid the forecast snow, arriving back in mid afternoon. Shortly afterwards I looked out the window and couldn’t see the other side of the street. Thinking it was fine snow I moved to a better position and saw clouds of dense smoke pouring out of a building only a couple of hundred yards from the bookstore. It was a NAPA auto parts store full of paint, oils, tires and other scary stuff and as I watched dumbstruck flames began to appear through the smoke. Within a short time the firefighters and police had all the surrounding streets closed and fire engines and high-lift ladders came screaming in – locals as well as from all the surrounding towns. They worked until 11 pm and then left it to burn itself out.

Next morning I walked across and saw a small fire still burning inside. Hhhmmm, I thought – that doesn’t look good! Within half an hour the whole place was blazing worse than ever and all the firefighters were back with their machines. We took a walk up to look in the evening and despite the enormous quantities of water we’d seen poured on the building for two days, there were still a number of healthy fires burning inside. Finally this morning it looks as if it has really has burned out!

Through the whole thing I was torn between disbelief that this was actually happening, the danger of the  whole place exploding in all directions, and fascination at the scale of it – a great column of smoke, enormous flames, the apparent ineffectiveness of the enormous quantities of water being poured down on it (and how quickly we could evacuate our dogs and cats).

Now that it really does seem to be over, my final thought is for two groups of people – the owners and workers in the business that has gone, and the brave men and women who battled to keep it from spreading to the adjacent buildings (including our bookstore).

Finally, pictures –

and gets worse

and gets worse

It starts

It starts

and even worse

and even worse

Then yesterday morning

Then yesterday morning

Half an hour later

Half an hour later

Last night

Last night

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

Meanwhile Owen is ready to go!

 

 

 

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