Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Conversation with a clever lady

Love these old black & whites.

My grandmother with three of her daughters. My mom is on far-right. 1960

My mom

My grandmother lived on a farm in Manotick, Ontario. She was a widow, a mother of 5 and a grandmother of 20 when I would spend 2 weeks of my summer with her .  I loved it there. I was a 'city kid' and going there spelled 'FREEDOM' & home-made everything. I could write a book about my grandmother but since this is just a 'post' I will say that we were kindred spirits where cats were concerned. Now, we are going back awhile and at that time it was not the thing to 'spay' your barn cats so there were always many to feed. Granny had 1 house cat named Maggie. She was a short, stocky, brown tabby and she was usually nursing kittens when I would arrive with my suitcase. One morning, I may have been 7, I was sitting in the summer kitchen having coffee around the wood-stove (my grandmother let me drink coffee in a tea-cup unbeknownst to my parents) as I watched my grandmother fill a large tin bowl with meat scrappings, vegetables from the garden, bread and then gravy & milk over top. This was going to the barn for the cats, I found out. I learned something that morning.

"Granny, why do you feed the barn cats when they have mice to eat?" I asked between slurps.

"Well, if I do this they will catch more mice." she said never looking up.


"Think of it, wouldn't you go faster and think clearer if you had energy from good food. The barn cats need energy so that they don't make mistakes while hunting. If they are really hungry they don't wait for the opportune time to get the mouse, they do stupid things and don't use their brains. They jump out too soon and the mouse takes off. This way they wait and wait and wait.......and then they get 'em. I have not seen a mouse since I have been feeding the cats every morning. My cats use them for snacks & my barn is mouse-free."

I never forgot that. I can still hear her voice telling me this. She was so clever, I thought. She loved her cats and carried them around as she did her gardening and tending the hens. They were very lucky barn cats & not a fat one in the bunch.
Porch cats

My greeting cat

A fridge photo

Found this one in a magazine. It is in my kitchen.

A painting of my cat, Charity

                 A photograph taken by well-known photographer Susan Fisher of Carleton Place.This is on my staircase.

Cat-tip-for-the-Day - Feed your barn cats. They will catch more mice...guaranteed.


  1. What wonderful photos!

    Why can't you live closer??? My poor cat Winnie was treated horribly at the boarding facility a couple of weeks ago, I could have used someone caring like you!

    Have a wonderful Friday!

  2. Love the story of the barn cats! Grandma's are wise women! Love your photos and cats around your home.

    Poor Anne! I hate her cat wasn't taken care of!! I will only trust Charlie to someone who will come here.

  3. I love and relate to the story of your grandmother; what a wonderful and wise woman she was!...I too was very close to my grandmother, spent summers with her (actually lived with her for awhile) and she adored cats as well...She also made hot tea and to this day, I drink it every morning instead of coffee...As a young adult, I would always arrive with bags of cat food for her many outdoor cats; she kept bowls of food out, but she liked to sit on her front porch or back patio and feed them every morning and evening...I miss her terribly and she was a great influence on my life...Take care Deb.

  4. Your grandmother was a wise woman!

    Loved your cat collection, especially the painting of Charity.

  5. maybe I'm not feeding daisy enough? She hasn't caught a mouse in the 14 years I've had her!

  6. What a wonderful woman your Grandmother was. You were blessed indeed to know her. My cats are well fed and they never fail to catch and eat trophies all the time...yesterday's take included a lizard, a mouse, two beetles (that I saw) and numerous crickets.

    Loved seeing your "Cat things"! I'm going to do another post and show some more of my trove soon.

  7. What a lovely post. I loved reading it . You are so right. A clever woman.. Hugs GJ xx