The many faces of Hobbes

When I survey my backyard, it’s like Lion Country Safari.  Cats galore.  My backyard is a cat’s Wally World.  A fountain with fresh running water, and because Earnie loves birds, about 20 bird feeders.  We’ve got your finch feeders, your cardinal feeders, your ghords for nesting, your lint holder for making that nest, hummingbird feeders, and I could go on.  It would look like Garden Ridge if I didn’t say no to Earnie every once in a while.  We also have very soft furniture on our covered porch perfect for the 18 hours cats nap.

I spied my favorite feline, Hobbes, the other day loving life.  If there ever was a cat that was grateful to have a home it’s Hobbes.  He’s always fit in, even before we invited him to live inside the house.  When Ruthie, the weinerful, would go outside, Hobbes would greet her and lay down next to her in the sunshine.  He’s very snuggly and loves to purr.  A true testimate to all things Great and Small.

Our neighbors, the Paysons, actually were the first family to take care of Hobbes.  They were grooming him to be the neighbordhood ratter.  They even took him to get vaccinated and “tutored”.  I thwarted their plan when I started letting him in the house.  He told the Paysons…”why would I want to hunt for stinky rats when I’ve got canned frisky’s from the lady next door?”

He has a pretty great routine down…here’s his daily journal entries:

6 a.m.   Eat breakfast, sip some water, lay around watching everyone get ready for school and work.  Occasionally pounce on top of Wilson.

7:30 a.m.  Sit by the door to be let outside.

7:31 a.m.  Go next door to get breakfast from the Paysons.  Be sure to look pitiful like I haven’t been fed in several days.

7:40-10 a.m. Say hi to Cameron and Mitchell, the two stray toms, who have taken up residence on the back porch.  Watch the occasional bird that hasn’t received the memo that cats will eat them if they visit the birdfeeder.

10:00 a.m.  Sun is usually shining on the backporch, perfect time to stretch out for a morning nap on the outside couch.

11:00 a.m.  Yawn

11:40 a.m.  Play with rat I found, flip it into the air to get Earnie to notice me.  Earnie comes outside, picks up rat, puts into a ziplock bag, and leaves on kitchen counter to show Mr. Bee.

11:41 a.m.  Wait and watch through the window for Mr. Bee’s reaction when he sees my bounty on the counter.

11:53 a.m.  Mr. Bee finds rat in ziplock bag.

11:54 a.m.  Calls Mrs. Bee.

11:55 a.m.  Resume nap.

1 p.m.  Wake up.  Get a drink from the fountain.  Stand by the backdoor.  Earnie lets me in the house.

1:05 p.m.  Eat

1:10 p.m.  Take a nap in the chair in the living room

3:00 p.m.  Mrs. Bee comes home from work, greet her at the backdoor, say hi then go back outside.

3-5 p.m.  Sit under bench in backyard.  Still watching for birds that haven’t got the clue about the four cats living in the backyard.

5:01 p.m.  Go back inside the house.  Mrs. Bee is cooking dinner.  Sit on chair and watch her lovingly.

6 p.m.   Go back outside until dark.  Might find a few more rats for the ziplock collection.

8 p.m.  Go inside to listen to Little Miss Bee practice the piano.

9 p.m.  Lay on bed with Mrs. Bee until she goes to sleep.

10 p.m.  Go to sleep in my bed that Mrs. Bee made for me outside her door (because she thought me sleeping on the carpet might be uncomfortable).

Note:  Humans asleep from 10 p.m. – 6 a.m. so they have no idea what I do during this time.  It’s best to keep it that way.

6 a.m.  Start agenda all over again

On the fifth day…

We have a guest post today.  Sister Bee read my blog yesterday and offered up her side of the naming of the Queen.  I thought it was interesting that Earnie never shared the informational snack that it took her five days — in the hospital — to name me.  Here’s Sister Bee’s recollection….

Mrs. Bee,

What a nice little story about your name and the reflection on its meaning for you.  I am glad you like your name. Did Mama (my note:  it’s interesting how all the kids call Earnie something different — Mama for sister bee, Mom for the boys, and I prefer the more formal Queen speak — Mother) tell you that you did not have a name for 5 days?  The man who was in charge of filling out the birth certificate went to the hospital room every days for five days and Mama always said, “Come back tomorrow.”

At age 15, I had finally learned how to corral the boys so I bought a small paperback book with baby names and made them sit down at the kitchen table until we settled on a name.  I started with “A” and it was pretty funny all the comments I received from them.  They did, however, seem to like the idea of knowing what each name meant or stood for so by the time we got to the “M’s” they were really into it.  Day 5 and still we could not agree on anything but possibilities.  We knew we had to come up with something or you would be Mary Helen all your life.  We could not face it.

When we got to “Melissa — Honeybee” we knew we had found the perfect first name and so “on the fifth day” when the certificate man came to the hospital room he wrote “Melissa Kay Reeves.”  It was a good thing.  I am not responsible for “Kay.”  Mama did that one. 

I think I did a good job on your name and on finding Mr. Bee to pollinate your roses.  You have been our precious little bee ever since.


Sister Bee

Simple Gifts

Three weeks ago today, I clipped a sprig of Dusty Miller from my front flower bed.  I was inspired by a photograph I saw in the winter issue of Life Beautiful magazine.  It is a spritual, inspirational magazine.  Even if the content doesn’t interest you, the photography will.

What a simple, rather non-descript plant this is, but what a work-horse in the garden.  It doesn’t scream, “aren’t I lovely” when you walk by like my roses or hydrangeas do.  But, rather says I am the filler, the base to your centerpiece.  In fact they say you should have three things in your flower pot during the growing season — a filler, a spiller and a thriller.  Dusty is a filler.

Despite the 17 degree weather we’ve been experiencing it is still growing strong in my garden.  Even after three weeks in a bud vase on my end table, it still looks as fresh as it did the day I picked it.  It cost me nothing, and yet three weeks later it is still smiling up at me from my $4 vase I picked up in Frederickburg recently.

It is just one of the simple gifts that God gives me everyday, if I just stop long enough to enjoy it.   God is my filler, my work horse, my centerpiece.  If I let Him, he will make all my days easier and lovely.  I just have to choose to get out of His way.

It reminds me of the old Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts” by Joseph Elder (made popular by Aaron Copland)

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,

‘Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,

And when we find ourselves in the place just right,

‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gain’d,

To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,

To turn, turn will be our delight,

Till by turning, turning we come round right.

The Happiness Project — February’s Well Read Bee

This month’s book pick is the The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin.  You can get a look inside at the book at

Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

In this lively and compelling account, Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific research, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Among other things, she found that novelty and challenge are powerful sources of happiness; that money can help buy happiness, when spent wisely; that outer order contributes to inner calm; and that the very smallest of changes can make the biggest difference.

What I like most about Gretchen’s book is that she designates each month to a specific area to work on to achieve happiness:

January — Boost Energy
February – Remember Love
March — Aim Higher
April — Lighten Up
May — Be Serious About Play
June — Make Time For Friends
July — Buy Some Happiness
August — Comtemplate the Heavens
September — Pursue a Passion
October — Pay Attention
November — Keep a Contented Heart
December — Boot Camp Perfect

Here’s a quote in her book from Robert Louis Stevenson that I think we should all try to remember —
“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy.”