Two Homes and Four Cats

Our Last House Sit in Sonoma –

At least, for the time being, was back at the first home we’d ever stayed at there. We’d stayed at this home quite a few times but never walked around the complex, imagine that! When we finally did, we found those lily pads in the pond, which was a lovely sight. 

Our oldest friends in the area were these two felines. It’s not easy getting two cats to sit still for a portrait. But they did it just this one time. Handsome fellows, right.

Someone has a thing about shoes. He would crawl inside if he could fit. If you find your shoes, you’ll find this cat. It really is that simple.

“Now, about dinner, it’s time by my clock. Can we get cracking on that?”

We took quite a few walks in the neighborhood and were happy to find some color. It was early in the spring, but there was certainly many signs of an end to winter.

The wisteria was blooming everywhere, what a gorgeous sight!

Musical Chairs

More felines were discovering the joys and warmth of lambskin. Look at that face, he seemed rather pleased with his discovery, thank you very much.

He told his housemate about it, and soon the three of us were vying for the seat. It’s a comfortable and warm place to sit – even though we had to take turns. “Oh, by the way, this stays with us when you go – right?”

Sonoma Regional Park

If you saw this pathway, wouldn’t you want to head up that way? We did. It’s a lovely park north of town, easy trails through the Oak trees, along streams and up to a hilltop with quite a view of the valley.

It was picture perfect – new spring growth, green everywhere, and only a few other humans.

Spring rains had everything looking green and lush; even the ferns were out in the sopping wet along with lots of wildflowers and budding trees.

Before we knew it, our time with these cats had come to an end, and we moved north to visit with two other cats.

Cobb Mountain

A three-day house sit with two cats up in the mountains – what fun! We had ventured as far northwest out of Sonoma as Calistoga, a lovely little resort town in the mountains. This house sit took us further in that direction. The road went through pleasant valleys with lots of wineries and vineyards along the way.  

Soon enough the road turned north and went up into the hills to Middletown. The locals all know this, but we didn’t: The Valley Fire, in September 2015, was the third worst in California history, and that is saying something. (Note – this post is set to publish just as the Thomas Fire is moving north towards Santa Barbara, having burned huge areas already. Given that, and the other recent fires around Sonoma and Santa Rosa, that list may change.)  

The damage was visible on the way in, and was even much more evident in town and on the return trip back to Sonoma, descending the mountain road. Faulty wiring, dry weather and strong winds combined to send the fire from Cobb east through the hills and past Middletown. 

The fire made it up the road to our hosts’ home but luckily for them, it didn’t jump over. It was eerie walking the area. To the left barely any homes still standing, to the right, no damage at all.  Very strange.

This is a common sight for homes in the area, some trees still standing but burned, many trees cut down or fallen, homes in some phase of reconstruction.  A few folks were living onsite in campers or RV’s during construction, but most had to find other places to live. A shocking sight everywhere you looked. This one was just across the street.

That’s Cobb Mountain in the distance on the other side of town. The fire burned most of the area between this home and that mountain.

Another thing visible was the effort going into rebuilding, starting over for many people. We saw construction in dozens, maybe hundreds of locations. It’s easy to see why – even with the fire damage the area is gorgeous and pleasant as can be. Small town, mountain living in California – at its finest.

If you’re looking for an exciting skateboard or bike ride – here’s a good one to try. It starts just outside the front door. And good luck with that first turn!

Our Charges

The two cats in our care were opposites. One always around, the other barely came out for meals. By the second day, they both made peace and hung about, but that took some doing and some treats. 

This home was exceedingly comfortable and a great place to wait for the kitties to come around.

Three days pass very quickly in a house sit- get settled in, hang out with the pets, feed them and then, before you know it, it’s time to pack up and say farewell. That’s how it was here. A lovely place to spend a few days before a night at a hotel and then a week in San Francisco.

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