Cats & Winter with George

thWe had a warm spell that inspired portions of my pussy willows and lilacs to bud. Not good. Those false springs really knock the trees and shrubs for a loop. I’d prefer my seasons come in an orderly fashion and stick around for their allotted time. I sure hope we don’t get a replay of last year’s arctic misery.

Today I find the cold weather has returned. Too bad I haven’t yet managed to trap the cats. We have two cats living in our shed and I’d really like to catch them and get them to a shelter before the cold of deep winter sets in. I have a cardboard box for them to curl up in and I’ve been feeding them each day so they expect the food is there to eat without reason to be wary of my offering. My task this weekend is to get them used to eating inside the trap before I set it.

A surprising plus to this pair of outdoor cats is for the first time in nearly 30 years I don’t have winter mice in the house. But the downside to outdoor cats, beyond their horrible stink that invites other cats to come leave their scent too, is the havoc they wreak on wildlife. These cats aren’t feral animals, they’re house cats. Both sit on my porch and leave me headless mouse carcasses and make the little dog insane by their presence. If we have another super cold winter like last year, the cats will suffer outside. I have to get them gone and the sooner the better.  I won’t have a baby bird, bunny, squirrel, or chipmunk in the yard come spring. I feel for homeless animals in general but in the winter months especially. Were I an author with JK Rowling fame and cash, I’d champion animals. I donate food and toys to shelters now, but it’s not nearly enough.

You can help animals in need just by stopping at this click site~
Click sites like this get sponsor dollars by how active they are. The more clicks showing people stopped by, the more dollars to the animals and other worthwhile causes. Poke around this site. They also sell fair trade goods and the money goes mostly into the hands of the people who make them. I’ve been clicking here for at least 15 years, back when it was only for animals, rainforest, and literacy. Now there are tabs for many causes and you can click as often as you like to help. It’s a small thing with big impact.


Speaking of winter…
On this day in 1777, Washington settled his troops at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania for the winter. The British had taken Philly and planed on a comfortable winter there. Washington’s army had been trounced that fall. Some historians believe had General Howe washington-and-committeejust pressed his winter advantage, the war would have been over with England the victor. Instead Howe enjoyed the Philly social scene and waited on word of his retirement.

Meanwhile…Washington wanted to keep the screws on the redcoats through the winter. The spot chosen for Washington’s 12,000 men was on the defensible high ground above the Schuylkill River approximately 20 miles from Howe and his Philadelphia night life. The encampment wasn’t the cold tent city often depicted in paintings. That’s part of our beloved American mythology along with George chopping down his father’s cherry tree. Valley Forge’s encampment actually consisted of 2000 small log cabins laid out in military streets, with full trenches, redoubts, and a bridge over the river for resupplying the troops. It was true that some men were poorly outfitted –miserably so. It was also true there was scarcity and deprivation. Though the men had meager rations and were often hungry, the greatest impact on Washington’s army wasn’t starvation. It was disease off all sorts that spread through the tight living quarters.

I remember reading once that the British were practicing biological warfare by sending infected people out into the countryside in the hopes smallpox would meet the armies before they did. I also read that after George Washington’s wife described for him what she had read about inoculation, he had his surgeons inoculate the men. This forward thinking would later become an advantage.


Here’s the clip shown at the Valley Forge Museum


Vintage Greetings

As mentioned earlier this month, my husband and I are building a vintage postcard scrapbook — one postcard at a time. The album covers 100 years from 1860 to 1960 and has many slots yet to be filled. In the spirit of the season from now until New Year’s Day, I’ll share cards from my collection. Scroll down to see previous posts. Subscribe to get them in your inbox!








Here’s one from 1902.  Cute card with a weird dusty feel. Like the lithograph inks were gritty.



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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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2 Responses to Cats & Winter with George

  1. treknray says:

    Close quarters still spread disease. The US Army used infected blankets to spread smallpox to Native Americans. I once served on a ship with a crew of 1200. Over 500 came down with flu like symptoms including nausea and vomiting. There was a group of us who ran every day after dinner. The runners and members of the Deck Dept. that worked on the weather decks never became ill. I kept track of that fact as the disease was spreading. I don’t recall any epidemics on the Military Sealift ships because everyone had either a one or two person stateroom instead of a large berthing compartment like the Navy.

    Could the myth of Washington’s men living in a tent city that year have spread the way sea stories do today? “I remember such and such incident like it happened yesterday.” And then there are those who tell them so everyone knows it is a tall tale. “I came under fire as we were surrounded.” “What happened then?” “I died.” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that one.

    • Romanticism was huge in the later half of the 1800s. When a bunch of ladies got together and made a crumbling Mount Vernon their priority, George Washington became a superhero. To make his army even more ragtag than they were was a nod to his determination and perseverance. Out of this time came that marble statue of him wearing a flowing toga suitable to Mount Olympus.

      My dad was a WWII vet and a stickler for washing hands well. He used to say one pair of dirty hands could take out a whole platoon. Very true.

      “I came under fire as we were surrounded.” “What happened then?” “I died.” lol 🙂

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