Monday, 23 January 2017

Wrongfully Accused

In my previous post, I pointed an accusatory finger at a coyote as the chief suspect in the sudden disappearance of feral tom cat, Ginger Tom. I was wrong. My sincere apologies to the coyote, to his family and to his friends for any embarrassment I may have caused.

When I returned from a grocery run this morning, what did I behold? Sitting on my deck was the missing Ginger Tom. He appeared unharmed and in fact, was not even very hungry after his absence of almost a week. What was I thinking? I've seen this orange tabby in the neighbourhood for quite a few years. Sometimes he would be hunting in a field and sometimes he would be sitting a couple of miles away in a ditch, waiting patiently for a mouse. There are nearby dairy farms where he can likely score a dish of milk. His territory takes in miles and I'm sure he also looks for opportunities to pass on his genes. Ginger Tom has been around the block more than a few times and is nobody's fool.

Where have I been? That's for me to know!

You don't own me, lady, and yes, I'm a man of mystery!

Also being accused--rightly or wrongly--is my roost box visiting screech owl. As it tries to get some shut-eye before it's nightshift of hunting begins, neighbouring birds gather and hurl screams of, "Murderer, murderer, murderer!!" 

The screech owl was using a roost box and trying for a little sunbath.

But local bluejays had formed a mob and were intent on an eviction.

Come on out of there you low-down varmint! Your kind ain't welcome here!

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Watch Cat On Duty

...or, who needs a watch dog when one has a perfectly good watch cat?

In the Spring of 2014 my faithful sheltie dog, Henry, passed away. He had reached the very senior age (for shelties) of nearly sixteen. Because I'm now a senior myself, I decided it would be unwise to sign up for more pet responsibilities so I'm unlikely to replace him.

But I'm not without a furry informant. My cat, Ellie Mae, is handily filling that position. She has excellent hearing, and of course, first-rate night vision. Her suspicious nature verges on paranoia. She is ultra vigilant and certainly lets me know if anything is afoot.

Last summer there was evidence that she got into a skirmish with what I expect was a coyote. Wisely, she now spends most of her time indoors. At night while I sleep, she is always on my pillow and on top of my head -- a sort of deluxe night cap. Her two favourite daytime hangouts are padded cat beds, each one located beside a different facing window. With her tense body language and deep growls, she lets me know if there is anything unusual outside. I appreciate her snitching service.

Ellie Mae at one of her lookout stations. Halt!!! Who goes there!?!?

Late yesterday afternoon, she made quite a fuss about something outside. It turned out to be a runaway farm wagon. My neighbour was hauling two wagons in tandem behind his tractor. Each wagon was loaded with white plastic covered round hay bales. While turning the corner into his laneway, the rear wagon became unhitched and rolled across the road and onto my property. Thankfully, no one was injured and there was little damage, other than a dent in my young cedar hedge. This morning my neighbour removed the hay and then the wagon. Ellie Mae has settled back down but still remains vigilant. Thanks for the report, Ellie!

Ellie Mae was growling at something unusual on our property.
A red hay wagon had gone A.W.O.L.

On a sad note, feral tom cat, Ginger Thomas has been missing for several days now. He never became tame but since the summer, he has been a regular fixture at my back door for a morning handout. There are very large coyote/wolf tracks in the snow around my yard. Ellie Mae, you are wise to stay inside!

Friday, 6 January 2017

Garden Feature

This morning was sunny but bitterly cold. The thermometer failed to register much above zero degrees F. But I was delighted to find that my frozen garden had acquired a new feature.

As I prepared breakfast, I noticed an unusual movement in the view from my kitchen window. It was a fox. In the far end of my garden it selected a sunny but secluded spot, turned around a couple of times to make a little bed in the snow and then settled in for a morning's nap. It slept there all morning. Around noon when the sun's rays no longer reached it's bed, it got up and stretched, had a good scratch, a roll in the snow and then moved off to a sunnier location a few feet away.

To my eyes, garden features just don't get any more charming!

Furry ears point in the direction of my kitchen window.

Pawing the snow and turning around to form a bed.

Settling in to a sunny spot for a morning's sleep.

Afternoon shadows have crept over it's bed.

Time to stretch and follow the sunshine.

Ah yes, there is a warmer spot over there!

This is a good bedroom for a little fox -- very private.