Willow’s Top 5 Things That Make Her Really Cranky

Steph, Willow, and I have been at Ticoba Blueberry and Avocado farm for 7 weeks now. Our plan to beat the summer heat in the mountains of Comboyne was a success but what we didn’t count on was the 600mm of rain that fell upon us.

In December, the East Coast of Australia was met with the wrath of La Niña as storm after storm thrashed the land. We were safe on our plateau hideaway as the rivers down the mountain swelled and burst their banks, and we sat in our van listening to the thunder and sky light up the valleys below us.

We made the most of the few sunny days to pick the berries, discarding the fruit that had been damaged by the storms and placing only the most prized specimens in our buckets.

Now it is nearly the end of January and the storms but a memory, along with the wonderful meals we had with the other workers in the shed. As the rain fell on that tin roof Willow would find a spot to curl up when we got the playing cards out.

It’s nearly the end of the blueberry season now as the last of the premium berries are harvested and the fruit that remains unpicked falls to the ground.

After work I wake Willow up from her mid-afternoon nap so that we can explore outside together. Willow gives me the look as she rouses and I realise I should have given her another 20 minutes.

But this isn’t the only time Willow gets cranky so as I take some snaps of Willow exploring the farm on this sunny day I think I’ll share with you Willow’s Top 5 things that make her really cranky.

1. Not being fed at the exact time she would like to be fed.

There is a schedule and it is with great importance that that schedule is upheld. Willow skips breakfast and lunch in favour of a two dinner system commencing with first dinner at about 5pm and second dinner at about 7pm. If Steph or myself miss these times we will be confronted with a scornful look and expectant meows.

2. All is not well in suds and water.

Our camper van is Willow’s world and every laundry day that world is turned upside down as Steph and I gather up the blankets and clothes ready to take to the laundromat. This poses a problem for little Willow whose day is near ruined by this selfish act as she loses her comfy bedspread and hiding spots.

As I remove the sheets from the bed I can almost guarantee I’ll get a little warning swipe reinforcing Willow’s position that taking all the blankets out of the van for an hour every week for no good reason is NOT okay.

3. Neither a night owl nor early riser be.

When it comes to bed times in the camper van one could only describe Willow as firm – an early night makes for a refreshed kitty, so they say, and a refreshed kitty is ready for the arduous sleep-in that a good night’s sleep follows.

So, when it is found to be that Steph and I have not organised ourselves sufficiently and 9pm passes without us making movement, Willow pounces into action. She will run from one end of the van to the other, giving us the eye as she does so. It is not until we resolve to settle under the covers that she ceases her bedtime performance and curls up by our feet – the sleepy cat purring as she falls asleep content that her humans are where they need to be.

4. Time to come in, Willow.

After Willow has spent a peaceful morning admiring the lushness of a forest or the flow of a stream it may come to be that it’s time for Steph and I to get somewhere else. Unfortunately for us, Willow (and most cats, for that matter) know that there is no better place to be than to be right here, so it is with some difficulty that Willow is returned to the van.

Willow knows the signs of departure, be it the sight of the stove being put away or the clang of the van keys, and if Willow deems the day not had she will endeavour to take it as she hops under the van where we can’t reach her. While Steph and I return to admiring that stream or forest it is only when Willow is content that our time has been well spent that she will hop back into the van looking at us expectantly (generally around dinner time).

5. Time spent together is time spent well.

Cats are social animals and Willow is no exception. When it comes to her nature appreciation time, she understands that it is time best spent together.

However, there are times when life catches up to us and a day is spent without enough quality time together. Willow is the first to let us know that this is unsatisfactory, and will communicate this by giving me a quick nibble on the toes as I’m hopping into bed. Point taken, Willow. Point taken.

So that brings us to today – exploring the farm together at the end of a sunny afternoon on the plateau. Willow is a happy cat as she checks out all the weird and wonderful farm things (I’m sorry I called you cranky!). She jumps up onto the back of the old caravan as I take a some snap of her with the blue hydrangeas forming the perfect backdrop to the scene.

Steph will be finished packing berries soon and then we can all spend some time together before dinner – and hopefully get to bed before we are told off!

* * *

Thanks for spending the afternoon with us. I find it interesting how there is always meaning in every cat’s actions – but careful those who do not heed their message! We are very lucky that we have this level of communication with Willow, that we can attend to her needs and travel comfortably together.

Did you see those big yellow crates? They are used to transport the avocados to market..

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