Noll Directs You to "Kitten Wars"

It is with immeasurable pride I announce that the magnificent mugs of Luigi and Squeaker were recently added to the ranks of battling kittens. Kitten wars are continuous. Perhaps you'll see them pop up when you visit. To see how they have performed thusfar, enter their names in the search box.



Noll Introduces Luigi, the Big Dawg

Luigi's beginnings are truly feral. Born and found in a nearby field, Luigi came to live with My Own's family in 1995. His domain is grandma's room. The chair he cleaves to (see photo) is the most prized seat in the house. This irresistible accommodation has been a feline favorite since the 1970's. Poor grandma gets booted from her chair several times a day!

Luigi is no-nonsense. With two large black spots on his back and a half butterfly over his lip, he easily fools you into believing he wants to be fussed over. He does not. A formidable presence, he alone is permitted outside unattended; for which I seethe with envy.

Most embarrassing secret: A little brown bear - He totes it around and 'loves it' when he thinks no one is watching.


Noll Shares Some Family Secrets

Meet the oldest living member of the family, Squeaker, a.k.a. Uncle Keaks circa 1993. A tiny poof of a kitten. Now, 15 and counting.

Keaks acquired his spanking good looks from his mama, Precious: same markings on the top of his head; same pipsqueak of a meow.

Uncle Keaks is very mannerly. Never crowds you when you're eating. Always gives you a second chance to revisit your bowl before honing in and devouring whatever morsel is left. My Own says he doesn't eat, he plows.

Squeaker's intelligence is profound. His demeanor calm and submissive - but to a point. He guards the pantry door like a soldier. Keaks acts like a sloth most of the time, but can burn out like a race car driver.

Most embarrassing secret - Squeaker 'pretend nursed' until he was around 5 years old. A Milksop! (just kidding).


A Glimpse at Noll's Life List

My Own is a birder. We share this interest. Nonetheless, as I am travel-challenged, her list is more extensive than mine. My Own has seen the red crested cardinal in Oahu, the American bald eagle in Alaska and the roseate spoonbill of Sanibel Island.

La-di-da! I say. Personally, I would rather “feel” the bird than “see” the bird. But that is another subject.

Close to home, our life lists are the same.
We have seen a flock of horned lark one cold, dismal winter when fields were long blanketed. For once and only, this coy little flock ventured close to seat and feeder. It was a magical sighting!

One fall, a bird as big as brother Tiggy stumbled upon our deck. A rarefied moment where 'crazed' does not begin to describe our cat emotions! My Own frantically thumbed the blue bird book. “Chukar” came for several weeks; then vanished. Likewise, the pheasant that crossed the road using the drain pipe for safe passage.

Each summer, the red-bellied woodpecker and flicker feed reliably on suet cakes; the ruby-throated hummingbird, in an endless loop, stops at the feeders every few minutes. When heads form on catnip, goldfinches ride the tops back and forth as they peck out the seeds. Sparrows of every sport – white capped, song, house, chipping, pore out of the landscape. Finches hide in the bittersweet. Mourning doves coo from the eaves. Mockingbirds do impersonations.

Heralded by red-winged blackbirds, spring arrives and birds take up residence in the most unlikely of places: a house wren’s dwelling in a grocery bag, or a barn swallow’s nest assigned with perfect engineering sense, mud and straw over the spotlights. Nestled in trees and bushes, birds blossom, their perfect homes hidden until autumn's passing.

Only then did My Own find the tiny nest lined with the blond hairs of Clyde, our departed canine friend. It is a treasured relic. Clever things these birds to make nest and memory in one fell swoop!

Swoop! The very word reminds me why birding is a favorite pastime.


Noll: Life's Hidden Drama Plays Nightly

"Night Victim"
pond life
pond life

in the middle of the fight
through the thicket, fogging strife-
the chorus sings with cricket rife and
cattails swish the pestly sight.

pond life
sly life

water lilts ands shimmers bright
by the moon’s incessant light-
while the nighters whisper fright
whimpering with appetite.

pond life
cry life

mighty lies the jawing bite
stealing breath, airing tight in
lifting with the music’s smite-
echoes ring amidst the blight.

pond life
bye life


sighing quitter
in the night.
Kareen 12/08


Noll Ponders the Predator/Prey Relationship

It has come to my attention that I am cat, and therefore, I am predator. It is my nature. In the natural world there are two types of being: predator and prey. It is an inexplicable thing.

My Own exhibits a paradoxical confliction when forced to recognize this inexplicableness. Certainly, I admit we cats do not help. We find pleasure in sniffing out mice, waiting and pouncing on them. We ‘play’ with our prey. We toss. We lightly hold them between our paws and wait on their attempted escape. One of us truly relishes (Relishes!) the chewy bits – tail and feet. Perplexly, she’ll praise us for the dead trophy; but scold us for enjoying a well earned gnaw!

Though My Own prefers these little beings remain afield, she knows they seek out warmth in winter. She just doesn't want to know they are about. Unfortunately, if we do not restrict our pleasure to the veiled night or basement and if she comes across our pleasure, it is game over. Many a time, she has interfered. She catches, then releases, our tired prey back to the field. She is so naive. Mice home!

Alas, we cannot change our nature nor can she. Nor can mice. It is winter…game on!


Noll Wishes You a Closet Full of Well-Worn Shoes

May your travels be myriad and exploits as kaleidoscopic as the desert abloom in spring. May you encounter many a curiously wild and unchartered way. May your days at play in the field, creek, woods, paved or dusty road be unnumbered and exhausting. May you always run, skip or jump to your joy. And, in the end, may your shoes resemble the muddy hole or craggy cliff you conquered: for clean shoes sadly speak of an uninteresting life. Do not settle for uninteresting! Live, love your life. Kick up the dust, toe the earth. Nevermore sidestep, but immerse in puddles; and give your soul and shoes delighted memories.