Unusual Visitors

One of my neighbor’s has taken to feeding the stray cats in the area.  At first he put out a few dishes of food out near the trees where the cats can sometimes been see.  He’d collect the empty dishes and set out new dishes full of food on a daily basis.  This went on for a few months before he decided to do something different.

He moved the food dishes to his back door to make it easier for him to ensure there was always food and water available for the stray cats.  He also started setting out little catnip toys for them to enjoy.

And naturally we started noticing more cats in the area.  We also started noticing that some of the birds were disappearing as well as the squirrels.  Logically it made sense, increase in cats means a decrease of small animals.  It was a tough choice, let the cats starve or realize we might have fewer birds and such.  I couldn’t say the cats were eating the birds, which another neighbor suggested, but naturally birds and cats will keep their distance.

The four-footed one didn’t attempt to make friends with the cats.  Instead she kept her distance.  But when the skunks and foxes started coming into the neighbourhood, well she couldn’t resist these new beings.  Thankfully the foxes were too shy to play.  As for the skunks, they clearly are used to dogs as they let the four-footed one come up and sniff them.  She also tried to play with them.  They weren’t interested in play, but thankfully they also didn’t spray.

The neighbor who thought he was helping the cats didn’t believe us about the foxes and skunks.  That is until one say when he was setting out the food and a skunk walked right into his house.  Of course the skunk didn’t stay, it walked back out of the door which wa still being held open due to shock.

We now have more birds and squirrels on the neighbourhood.  And the skunks still visit now and then.  As they as passing by.

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The Hunt Is On

Some people have Easter Egg Hunts in their backyards.  At Easter time. But that’s not how it works at my house.

It isn’t that I planned to have, or not have, any type of hunt in my backyard.  It just sort of happened today.  The four-footed one was the one doing all the hunting.  For peanuts.  Which were hidden by the magpies and crows.  Except I don’t think the birds actually meant to hide anything, rather I think the peanuts were inadvertently dropped by the birds.

And my job?  Well my job was to get the peanuts away from the four-footed one before she ate them.  None of this however was what I had planned to do today.  Of course none of that matters to ether the four-footed or the birds.  And so my plans suddenly included a half hour adventure of hunting for dropped peanuts in our lawn.

After that, well it was a bit of rushing around to get back on schedule, but at least I managed to get extra steps in today!  And yes, it goes to show that our house is a bit unconventional, but that’s okay.  We like it this way!

Chipmunks And Me

When I was younger, I used to feed animals bits of crackers and such. If you were a duck or a goose, chances are I would throw the cracker your way.  If you were a squirrel or a chipmunk I would place the bit of cracker somewhere near me for you to come and nibble on.  I might also have nuts or seed grass pieces to hold out to you if you were cute and fuzzy.

My all time favorite to feed was chipmunks, you see I loved how they would pack all the offered food into their cheeks which would get chubbier and chubbier.  I guess back then I adored chubby cheeks, and to a degree I still do, just not on me.  And unfortunately as part of my lupus treatment I take a steroid called prednisone which just happens to give me chubby cheeks.  Well actually what it does besides giving me chubby cheeks is an incredible appetite, which results in the desire to eat all the time.  Eating all the time can lead to more than chubby cheeks.  And chubby cheeks on me are not cute, not like they are on chipmunks.  Thankfully I do not stay on prednisone all the time!

Squirrelly

A friend has moved in with Beloved temporarily. The friend’s  house has become infested.  And no he isn’t referring for to the four sick children that are his own.  They too will need to be relocated for a while.  Because the house is infested with squirrels.

Now I’ve always joked about wanting a pet hippo, raccoon, monkey, alligator, sloth, owl and a bat.  Okay fine, you are right dear reader, this is just a tiny portion of my list.  But you get the picture. I’m not sure about if I ever really wanted a pet squirrel.

I’m all for having a nice comfortable nest, erm bed, and a warm safe place to call home.  I’m just not sure that I want a squirrel chewing up my furniture for a nest.  Running through my walls to create special squirrel highways.  Leaving squirrel poop here and there.

I can’t imagine having to remove most of my belongings to see if they can be saved or if they must be thrown out.  I can’t imagine the feeling of seeing people walking into my house in special coveralls and breathing equipment to clean up the mess.  The same house where I’ve been sweeping the floors and breathing the air without any specialized equipment.

And I can’t imagine how one little squirrel can create so many issues.  Of course the squirrel may doesn’t want to be lonely.  So the squirrel does what any other squirrel would do, he brings back his girlfriend, they have baby squirrels.  The house becomes the house for all the other nearby squirrels to hang out at.

And I can’t imagine having all these animals in my house without me knowing it.  That’s sort of creepy.  And after hearing about the issues our friend and his family will have to deal with, well maybe I won’t be so quick to get a wild animal for a pet.  Other than a sloth or a hippo! 😉

A Find In The Garden

Two dark, shiny and wary eyes peered at me through the brush.  A dark, quivering nose which was attached to a pointed snout seemed unsure of my scent.  Was I danger?  Friend?  Foe?  Or could I be ignored?

The glorious red coat looked so soft, I was tempted to reach out s finger or two and try to touch it.  But the animal was skittish, and very young.  The dogs had found the kit earlier in the day, or at least the rough location of the wee thing.

When I had released them out into the garden they had causally sauntered along to answer the call of nature before picking up something in the wind.  In true dog fashion the two of them had followed their noses, held high in the air, as they made their way to the brush.  Then it was noses to the ground with mad snuffling which involves their sides heaving in and out with great gusto.  Whatever they had smelled they were unable to get to, so they guarded the area.

Beloved had gone over to see what caused all the fuss, if there was anything to see, after we managed to get the dogs in the house.  He came back to inform me there was some sort of smallish creature out there and from the looks of it, the creature had set up home.  Which was just horrible news to him because it meant that the dogs would follow the same routine as long as the creature was there.  Or worse they’d try harder to get to the intruder.

I went out a bit later to see what I might find.  What I found was the face of a very young fox staring intently at me.  I never realized before how quickly and easily it is to see things in an animal’s eyes.  Fear and curiosity both seemed at play.  As did some sense of old knowledge.  Surely the mama would be around soon for babies need feeding and all that.  Plus I couldn’t make out a den in the brush.

I kind of like the idea of a garden fox, our own little be of nature.  But that’s the thing, it isn’t really natural.  A fox here n the city, set up in the brush of our garden.  No sign of mama, which can’t be good.  Beloved recalls seeing as fox that had been struck by a car just up the road.  Maybe the mama, which would mean this little one is an orphan.

Beloved says we should just let nature do whatever it is going to do.  The kit may make it, or it may not.  But this is our garden and thus surely our responsibility.  So I call the vet who informs me the kit is probably too young to be on its own, but no doubt has sharp teeth so it must be handled very carefully.  In other words, she is coming over to rescue and nurse the poor thing until it’s old enough to be nice its own.  But it’s our kit and part of me wants to look after it.  The part that says it can stay with us forever and be a part of the family.  The other part of me knows that it’s in the best interest of the kit to be looked after in a less domestic environment.

So reluctantly I watch as the vet manages to take the impossibly tiny bundle into a carry-all.  I stroke its soft fur and watch as they drive off.  And inform Beloved that since we don’t have a garden fox I will need a gargoyle.

Yeah don’t ask.  I at least stand a chance of getting some gargoyles.

No Guanratees

They almost promised we’d see whales in the brochure. When we boarded the boat the captain assured us he had not had a dry spell of no whales in years. Well, the brochure lied and the captain pressed the odds a bit too much.

I wasn’t horribly disappointed when we didn’t see the whales because they aren’t really my thing. I’ve seen them before, granted in captivity and always with a rather large barrier between myself and the animal. I’m okay with this kind of distance. I’m not so sure that the small boat we were in would be able to out run a whale, nor did it appear to be anti-tipping. And in case you are wondering, whales are huge! Massive even!

I understood then, as I do now, that when you take a trip that is about seeing wildlife, there is a chance things won’t go as you hoped. The wildlife tends to not follow human schedules etc.

I recently read that someone was seeking to be compensated for having one of these nature trips not live up to expectations. Specifically the whales refused to cooperate and the eagle that they saw stayed a huge distance away from the people.

I’m pretty sure the fine print on these trips does not guarantee that a person will see wildlife or that if said wildlife is visible that it will stay still for that perfect picture or video.

Sometimes you can’t please people no matter what. If the eagle was closer and decided to make a deposit on someone, a law suit would probably be considered. The whale surfaces near the boat? Well you might get wet and there may be an issue with that.

Then again, maybe I’m just being cynical and snarky.