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Quote of the Day: John A. Shedd

October 7th, 2012

“A ship in harbor is safe,
but that is not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd

I have been thinking about this quote as I’ve been letting Dexter take forays out into the garden. You see, Dexter is not an indoor cat. We tried to make him one and he literally went crazy. As much as I’d love to keep him safely inside, I realize it’s not really the healthiest thing for him.

All this week I’ve been taking him outside for little jaunts while I work in the garden. The first day I let him outside, he caught a mouse within five minutes as if to prove his point. Each day, he gets to spend a little more time in the garden with me and gets to wander farther away.

He thrives on hunting mice, rolling in the dust, sniffing the fresh air, eating grass, climbing trees, chasing insects and padding about the garden. Dexter is a much happier cat when he is able to be outside. I can totally understand that, as I’m much happier and healthier when I can spend time outside as well.

Yesterday he even went on a three mile hike with us, running ahead as a dog would and waiting for us to catch up. He was a bit winded by the end, but he thoroughly enjoyed himself.

It’s a dangerous world out there for cats, they can be eaten by a variety of predators and risk injury from other threats; I’m OK with that. I’d much rather Dexter lead a short happy life than a long miserable one.

The same holds true for my life, I hope I never allow fear to hold me back from experiences that could be great but come with risk. I guess if I did I’d still be living in Ohio. I want to live my life to the fullest and to do that I must take risks!

Do you ever let fear hold you back?

25 Comments to “Quote of the Day: John A. Shedd”
  1. Brenda on October 7, 2012 at 6:09 am

    What a wonderful attitude you have, you can see by the photos how happy Dexter is. I hope he lives a long and happy life!

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  2. Marina C on October 7, 2012 at 7:18 am

    We had a cat like that! Musetto would run along with us, and come running like a dog when we whistled for her.
    Sadly she was hit by a car when we moved to a place more like your Ohio environment.
    We now have a cat who come running back in if she ever goes out because we left the door open, usually to move things. She tells the 2 Labs all about it, and runs for the couch!
    She will live a long and lazy life, as a living hot water bottle!
    I am totally with you, though. Dexter has to be out, but if you can get him to sleep in every night, he will less likely be prey to the fisher cats, and other night predators.
    Are you eating a lot of fish?

    Reply to Marina C's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

      Not much fish yet, we’ve been working on eating up the food I made for before/during/after our move. We have plans to get in to the seafood market this week to pick up some lobster, clams and fish for the cats.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. jennifer fisk on October 7, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Both of my cats are indoor/outdoor lkitties except in the winter. The first snow turns them into indoor slugs but in the spring there comes that day when something magical happens and they go to the door as though there had been no break in their out door excursions. They do a pretty good job of keeping the rodent population in check. My ME Coon, keeps me company when I’m gardening and often accompanies me to the hen house. I know statistically they will probably have their lives shortened by an Owl, Fisher Cat or perhaps a Coyote but their days will have been filled with activities that make cats happy.

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  4. Elizabeth on October 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    We have four indoor /outdoor cats and have subscribed to that exact motto for our cats. They belong outside and as the Toyota ad says, so do we. I can’t imagine never going outside, so I can imagine how an animal feels. We have woods on either side of us where coyote live and we always keep the cats in at night. The predators are a worry but I don’t think staying inside and being bored and lazy and possibly overweight (which happens to the bored and lazy) is exactly healthy. Our oldest is 12 and runs around like a kitten. They stay inside in the winter when it is too cold or too snowy. A cat door is useful!

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  5. Annie on October 7, 2012 at 10:43 am

    My motto has always been, “I refuse to tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death.” lol! So to that end I’ve done a lot of things that most women would never experience and had a complete blast!

    Reply to Annie's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

      Love it!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  6. susan ingle on October 7, 2012 at 11:10 am

    What is a fisher cat? I’ve never heard of that term, but then again, I’m a dog person. But, now I’m curious!

    Reply to susan ingle's comment

  7. susan ingle on October 7, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I’m curious…what is a fisher cat?

    Reply to susan ingle's comment

  8. susan ingle on October 7, 2012 at 11:12 am

    oops, double post….must be stuttering….sorry all.

    Reply to susan ingle's comment

  9. Barbara on October 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

    If I realize something frightens me, I try extra hard to embrace it.

    Reply to Barbara's comment

  10. Lynda on October 7, 2012 at 11:22 am

    I have never let fear hold me back and I have the X-rays to prove it! I will be one of those 90 year old sky-diving grannies! My husband just keeps buying me more insurance!

    Reply to Lynda's comment

  11. sharon on October 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I love Dexter!!!….what a cat…My cat likes it outside..then she comes back in a pukes on the rug……Dexter is not appear to miss home …do you? I am afraid of being alone ,having no friends….but nothing else except cancerI have beat it once already!

    Reply to sharon's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      Dexter is loving this vast new garden to roam – so am I. Not missing Ohio yet, except some of my plants and herbs. I keep wanting to head to harvest herbs for dinner only to realize I don’t have any to harvest!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  12. Eliza J on October 7, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Your pictures are absolutely gorgeous. What a great post!!!

    Reply to Eliza J's comment

    • Susy on October 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks so much, Dexter is a pretty good model!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. Lee on October 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Looks like Dexter already loves his new place.

    Reply to Lee's comment

  14. Andrea Duke on October 8, 2012 at 6:34 am

    I let fear get in my way too often, unfortunately. I think this happened after having children.
    The funny thing about that though, is that I let my son try lots of different things and so far he has experienced many things that are usually a first for me as well. I am always giving him positive lectures about how he can do and be anything he wants in life.

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  15. angie h on October 8, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I really try to overcome my fears! I’m very afraid to fly, but I get on there and go when the opportunity to travel presents itself. I find it is worse leading up to flying than when I’m actually in flight. I will admit if it is driveable, I will always choose flying.

    All of our cats are wild and always outside. My husband had a very ornery indoor/outdoor cat when we were dating. He would come and jump the screen on the my husband’s bedroom window to tell him to come let him in! He ruined many screens and often scared the crap out of him in the middle of the night. Sadly, he didn’t come home one night.

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  16. Sarah H on October 8, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I’m glad you let Dexter run! He seems like a happy cat. I wish we could have a cat but my husband is allergic. How does he do with the chickens?

    Reply to Sarah H's comment

    • Susy on October 8, 2012 at 10:38 am

      The chickens are pretty big, so Dexter pretty much avoids them.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. Rocky Top Farm on October 8, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Love your thoughts and the pictures of Dex. He looks like he is thoroughly enjoying his new home! In my life I feel that fears did no t set in until I had my kiddos…. I work at trusting and not living in fear. I want them to embrace life and live it to the fullest. We have also just recently moved and my hubby has changed jobs. It has been hard not to have fears and worry. Honestly I am happy when my family is healthy and together. I don’t want my boys to live in fear and worry either! Life is way too short for that, and I believe someone far greater holds our future and I trust in His love and care for my family!

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  18. Maybelline on October 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Sure I do. Is it fear or intelligence. I don’t know but I’m fine either way.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  19. EL on October 20, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I agree that cats should be allowed out. My cat goes out under supervision and basically stays in the yard (she’s a bobtail and her rear legs are a bit weak so she doesn’t tend to climb much anymore). I certainly don’t mind my cats catching rodents. But what about birds? It’s my understanding that outdoor cats are essentially decimating the bird population.

    There are real Fishing cats, but I think that they live in Asia (They seem real cool and laid back. I’ve met some. But I’ve never heard that Fishers (which are getting really rare) are called “fisher cats”. That’s a new one on me.

    Real fishing cats love water.

    Reply to EL's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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