Wet, wet, way too wet!

It’s been a long, cold, wet winter in my part of Down Under.

This past weekend it actually snowed. The (supposedly spring) weather in October is notoriously erratic but that’s ridiculous!

Banjo (left) and Star tell me that wet means hungry, too.

It isn’t only me who suffers in the cold weather, my animals don’t seem too happy either.  I have quite the menagerie of pets who are all complaining about the conditions.

Toby looks the picture of wet misery!

Outdoors, the four horses are rugged throughout winter—except for our rescue quarter-horse Star who point blank refuses to wear a rug. He grows himself a thick shaggy coat instead. I think this sounds eminently sensible and wonder why my daughter, the horse fanatic in the family, insists on rugging the others. The reason? Horses competing in shows need to be beautifully groomed with sleek, fine coats—to the point some horses are shaved. No winter-shaggy fur please.

Miss Molly models her new coat

Miss Molly the dog also gets to wear a cold to protect her arthritic old bones. Try getting a coat on a cat? I’ve never had any luck!

Cindy scornfully surveys her wet surroundings

Miss Cindy is more outdoor than indoor cat, and only comes inside in the coldest of weather to enjoy a cozy wood fire. She has a snug little fleece-lined cat kennel to sleep in otherwise.

Ancient Albert and Miss Molly share prime position in front of the fire

And as for my beloved 21-year-old cat Ancient Albert, he gets as close as possible to the heat source without setting his fur on fire. Tabby—also known as Tubby—likes to stay inside too in cold weather, preferably on a nice, warm lap or under the bed covers.

The tail belongs to kitty Tabitha, snuggled right under the bedcovers

Humans do their part, chopping wood for the fire to keep the animals happy.

We burn a lot of wood to keep those indoor pets warm and happy

I realize as I shiver away that I have never written a story set in anything but warm weather. Whether my stories are set in spring, summer or fall, it’s always a pleasant temperature. Cool enough, perhaps, for a heroine to shrug on a hero’s chivalrously offered leather jacket on a spring evening, (Something About Joe) but most of my characters wear nothing warmer than a T-shirt. In The Castaway Bride, my hero and heroine don’t wear clothes much at all. If you were cast away on a blissfully perfect tropical island alone with a hot hunk, would you?

A book set in a wonderful snowy location (trapped in a cozy, snowed-in mountain cabin with a hot hunk maybe) might be in my writing future, who knows? But not right now.

They say to write about what you know, but there’s also writing about what you wish for. The scenarios I’ve chosen up ’til now force me to admit blue skies and a kindly sun feature strongly in my fantasies. Yes, the three stories I’m working on right now are all set in summer!

Roll on spring! (A proper spring, without snow, please.)

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Not a creature was stirring….

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the farmyard, not a creature was stirring, not even a… dog, cat, horse, chicken or cow.


Recently, people have asked me why I talk about my cats and dog but not about my other pets. These are all my animals and I’m sure if they could talk they would join me in wishing all the visitors to my blog the very best for the festive season.

Miss Molly

Yes, there’s a dog under all that unclipped fur!

Cindy-Lou

Cindy is the farm cat who appeared on our veranda one dark and stormy night seven years ago and is still with us, happily helping to keep down the mouse population.

Albert, my Burmilla prince

My ancient Albert just celebrated his 20 and a half birthday (half birthdays really count at his age!), that’s well over an hundred in cat years. He was born in London, England and given a right royal name after Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s consort.

Banjo (front) and Star

Banjo, the pony in front, is my daughter’s beloved Australian stock horse who has won her quite a collection of trophies. Behind him is Star, our rescue horse who only likes to be petted or ridden by women.

Toby and Spud

Toby is gentle and amiable, and helped me get over my fear of horses. Handsome Spud is a gentle giant who just didn’t have the nature to be a race horse.

Thimble and Squirt

Squirt and Thimble, miniature Dexters, are meant to be on our little farm to help keep weeds down, but when they demand equal hay rights to horses, who can resist them?

Tabitha

My daughter called her tortoiseshell Tabitha after a kitty character in a book. Yes, I know she’s a tortoiseshell and not a tabby cat, but who argues that with a seven-year-old?

The hens have names in alphabetical order

Our Isa Browns have the only 5-star hen house in the valley—built by a previous owner to make sure foxes would never get our girls. Thank you, chickens, for the wonderful eggs for my holiday baking.

Galah and parrot visitors

King parrot on the verandah

These beautiful parrots aren’t pets but beautiful wild Australian birds who grace us with their presence. (They also love eating our fruit on our fruit trees which can be annoying–but there is enough for us all.)

Kangaroo visitors

Our little farm adjoins a lot of bushland and we often see kangaroos and wallabies bounding across our property. At moments like this, they seem as curious about us as we are about them.

Christmas, New Year and Hanukkah fall in the summer vacation “Down Under” and I’m hoping to kick back, rest, relax, read and write! Hope you have fun, wherever you are!