"So one day a cat walked onto the place, and got herself a spot in the local commune..."
"Unfortunately, I think that was just the opening salvo from our neighbors," Dan said.
It was dinnertime a few days later and Peter, who was now becoming a frequent guest of the commune, agreed. "If they don't like you, I doubt that they'll stop with calling the cops once. You'd better watch yourselves from now on."
"Oh, great," Luna said. "Our cash flow is drying up and we have to watch out for the neighbors."
"Why is your cash flow drying up?" Peter asked.
"We're about harvested out and winter is coming up. I believe in Five Season Harvesting, but that requires hoophouses, greenhouses, and cold frames."
Dan looked at Sal. "I think we'd better get building," he said.
"Fine with me," Sal said. "We're not selling much produce these days."
"I can manage the stand," Marge said. Then she turned to Peter. "Not to change the subject, but do you know anything about a tabby cat that seems to stroll around the neighborhood? Does she belong to anyone?"
"I think she belonged to the people who used to live across the street from you," Peter said. "These days she wanders around, scrounging food at various houses. I think she's looking for a home."
"Maybe we should adopt her," said Nancy. "We need a commune cat."
"Fine with me," said Viv. She looked at Peter. "Does she have a name?"
"Not that I know," said Peter. "As far as I know when the folks across the street left, they took her name with them. You could call her whatever you like. You could call her Cat."
"That name's taken," said Cat.
"Oops," said Peter. "Sorry. I forgot."
"I like something with a 'C' sound for a commune cat," said Marge. "Carla, Kitty, Katy..."
"Carrie," said Nancy. "I like Carrie. It was the name of one of my gerbils back in Georgia."
"Yeah," Viv said. "Carrie."
"Wait," said Marge. "We need to do this by concentration. Does anyone have any objections to Carrie?"
Most folks shook their heads. No one objected.
"Carrie it is," said Marge. "I'll bring her in the next time I see her."
"Ken said, Carrie you met your match..."
Carrie was soon roaming the house. Marge and Nancy fed her regularly and she rubbed ankles with everyone when they were eating dinner. During the next (and basically noncontroversial) house meeting, she sat quietly on peoples' laps and appeared to listen.
The biggest question at the meeting was what to do about the neighbors.
"I don't think there's much we can do," said Dan.
"We could make prank calls to them," Ken suggested.
"Yeah," said Luna, "I'm sure there's lots of things that we could do to annoy them, but that's really not going to be helpful."
"We could go over with a loaf of my Raspberry Maple Walnut Bread," Nancy said.
"Somehow," said Sal, "I don't think they'll be won over that easily."
"I'm wondering about their plans to create a maple syrup industry," Cat said.
"That's a good question," Dan said. "I suspect that Peter will keep us up to date with that one."
Things at the farm were really quieting down. It was mid-November. The leaves were turning. There wasn't much in the fields except some hardy kale and a few root vegetables. Luna and Viv were working with Dan and Sal to build cold frames and hoop houses to grow winter crops in.
And one day, Carrie discovered Ken's room.
Ken had been keeping his door closed to keep the cat out but one day he left in a hurry and forgot. Carrie noticed the open door and went in to investigate this interesting room. Marge was walking down the hallway and saw Carrie stroll into the room. She went and found Ken.
The two of them ran upstairs and into the room. They found Carrie involved in a staring contest with the gecko.
Harry seemed to find the cat quite interesting. When he moved closer to Carrie, she tried to take a swat at him. Unfortunately, since Harry was in an aquarium all that happened was that her paw bounced off the glass. This was very frustrating for Carrie. She started swiping the glass, again and again, with the same result. Harry put his head right up to the glass and watched as Carrie tried swatting harder and harder.
Finally, it seemed to stop amusing Harry and he went back to investigate his log.
Marge and Ken broke out laughing. Carrie looked at them for a moment and then began licking her rear paw. A moment later she sauntered out of the room with as much dignity as she could muster.
Ken left his door open from then on.