2013 June Hoosegow (Mr. Gow), approx. 1 year old

Hoosegow Matley, confirmed rebel and official April Fool

A lot of crazy things have been happening on our 2.05 acres. When I looked at the calendar, I realized these disturbances must be a cosmic build-up, set to culminate on April Fools’ Day.


Here’s an example: Hoosegow, a handsome and winning tabby cat with Maine Coon ancestry, has lived peaceably in our house for almost 3 years. Recently, he’s taken to (1) vaulting over the back yard fence and (2) spraying (Yuck!). There are no new cats or people in our house, we have not moved and are not packing suitcases, the kibble and wet food is the same as ever and he happily trots into the office every evening to be sequestered overnight. Bruce has worked a brutal R & D schedule to fox Hoosegow from getting over the fence (the most recent iteration, involving Plexiglas and additional fence wire, seems to be working- -fingers crossed). We’ve always had to install extra escape-prevention hardware for him when he’s in the back yard (something that can easily be removed so Piebald, the truly feral cat who never misses a meal, can come and go when he wishes). For years- -years!- -this set-up worked fine. Maybe it was the early spring weather that motivated him, some kind of kitty wanderlust that hits them between 3 and 4 years of age? The other skill we’re working on: trying to talk Hoosegow down from spraying episodes, rather than shrieking, “Bad kitty!” Helpful hint: laundry detergent with enzymes is good for spray removal and white vinegar diluted with water kills the smell. I’m hoping Hoosegow is just fooling us with his recent rebellious behavior. We’ll see if he relents on Saturday, April 2.


Crazy things are happening in my writing, too. I’m (still) wrestling mightily with the first draft of volume three of the Small-g City series. This process is crazy in a good way, in that my characters are forcing me to learn more about the world (real and imagined). One of them now thinks that Herod is his father. Which Herod, I had to know? Upon further investigation I’ve learned that it is not Herod the Great (of Massacre of the Innocents infamy) but Herod the Great’s son, Herod Antipas (the one associated with the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth). Understandably, the character is upset about his assumed parentage, and so am I because I had to figure out where Herod Antipas was in the year 10 AD. Yes, yes, I know he was mostly in Galilee, but where in Galilee? Today, halfway through my third book on the history and artifacts of the Holy Land, I finally found the location I was looking for: the city of Tiberias, famous for its hot springs. Boy, are we gonna have some fun with that!


Springtime is a challenge for me because our 2.05 acres is surrounded by thousands of acres of wheat, to which I am allergic. You’re right, it’s crazy to live here, but who thinks to have themselves tested for allergies in advance of moving? Lesson learned, and I’m pretty sure I am by now the majority shareholder in the company that makes Allegra-D. Eight years ago I parlayed this life experience into a song, “Allergic Cowgirl Blues.” Here’s the chorus:


I’m allergic to cattle,

I’m allergic to sagebrush,

Oh-de-lay-hee, oh-de-lay-hee,



Speaking of poetry (hah!), next week I’ll stop with the fooling and highlight some of my poet friends. Because April 1st is not just April Fools’ Day, it’s the first day of National Poetry Month. Stay tuned for rhymes and reasons.

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