Thursday, March 28, 2013

Feeling Catty

It was a very lazy weekend this week. I'm afraid to say that when my alarm went off on Saturday morning, I had no energy to get up for another early morning and work on the house. So in bed I stayed and although there were a few twinges of guilt, these soon evaporated as I cozied back down under the covers and drifted back to sleep.
Later, I met with a couple of friends for a movie and a late lunch, then came home to relax again. It was blissful and peaceful. On Sunday I was still in the same frame of mind so decided to just get in the car and drive.
I found this very old house falling down not far from my house. It's only visible now with the bare trees but will be hidden again soon.
The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
I ended up at Strasburg and drove through not feeling like getting out and walking around stores. It was very cold outside and I stopped for a coffee when chatting with some locals I realized that we were getting snow this evening, and they were expecting 6-8". I left Strasburg and drove past a small sign declaring that a park was on the left. I turned around and drove into a tiny parking lot with a small visitor center.
This was Hupp's Hill Civil War Park, a site that has scars from heavy artillery use in the war. The visitors' center had lots of free information and leaflets but the museum was unfortunately closed due to maintenance being carried out, the changing of light bulbs I was told. But nevertheless, the lady working there was very knowledgeable and informative, and evidently loved the area. We chatted for a while and she gave me some excellent pointers for future visits. I'd also noticed the little cottage above on the edge of the park which looked abandoned. Apparently, the very rich owner of the land had used it as one of his retreats. He'd died at 92 and unfortunately local thugs had vandalized the cottage, but thankfully not beyond repair. It was very cute.
Being a little apprehensive of the oncoming snow, I thought it best to head towards home and not visit the places I'd been recommended, but they will save for another day.
I disturbed a turkey vulture grabbing a quick roadside snack....
...and then met some more at a little cat sanctuary I came across in Front Royal.
This little sanctuary is down by the river near the boat launch and I'd obviously just missed feeding time. The vultures waited patiently for their leftovers but I don't think anything was left for them, the cats were clearing up the bowls rapidly.
I had a little walk through their compound and was taken in with the cleanliness of the place. Despite the large number of cats, the place was clean and no evidence of cat litter anywhere.
I checked out the website,,  which is very well put together and was impressed with their commitment to these felines.
There were some very stylish living accommodations with many containing bedding of some kind.
This guy was gorgeous and very friendly, I could so easily have taken him home but after the kerfuffle I'd gone through while Kota and Rosie got used to each other, I really don't think adopting another would be a good idea. But it was tempting.
Just up the road from the cats was a small pet center called Noah's Ark, which I stopped to check out. It's a family run business and immediately upon entering I knew it was a good place. There were many parrots for sale, many of them allowed out of their cages, and all extremely well looked after. I spent a while chatting with the very friendly and helpful staff and fussed the birds who lapped up being scratched and cooed at. There's also an excellent fish and an exotic pet section, both of which were immaculate.
 Can you spot the baby parrot here on the counter? He's only 5 1/2 weeks old and adorable.
 Apparently these cat treats are made of such good stuff that humans can eat them. But at that price I wasn't going to find out. They did stock a lot of better quality pet foods than you see in chain pet supermarkets so I did get some food for the already spoiled puddy tats at home. And gave a donation to the Quarry Cats because the store owner didn't think it was a good idea to feed them. (Actually that had been requested on the Quarry Cat sign.). But such kind hearts need to be supported in their cause.
Spotted this whimsical house on my way home. That guy has been standing there since Christmas.
The skies were filling up with snow and I could feel it in the air.
Local farmers were stocking up with hay for their livestock although others went a little further than some with their stockpile. As I left Front Royal behind me snowflakes started floating past and fluttering to the ground.
By the time I got home thick flakes were falling silently and I quickly grabbed a few armfuls of wood to stack on the hearth. Doors and cat flap were locked and we all sat in front of the fire and watched the fields turn white.

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