Secret Magical Places

I had one of those places in a wood behind the house I lived in when I was 14. It was county park – a large well maintained woodland.  Not particularly mysterious or dangerous.

But deep inside of it was a stand of very tall pine trees, who through many years of shedding pine needles had smothered away all the underbrush. There were giant lower branches that had sagged down in spots so you had to duck under them.  But once you were in there and under the pines, it was like being inside a house made by trees.  I would sit down on a towel on top of the pine needles and read a book.

It was very far from the path and I got lost several times going to and coming from it. But I adored it, so I kept seeking it out.

I wish I could go to visit that magic place now.  Although, I wonder if I would even be able to find it now.  Or would it still be as magical?  Perhaps it’s magic was connected to the person I was in those moments.  A day dreamer.  A awkward teenager, looking for solace.  Actually.  Maybe I am still the same, just change teenager to 55 year old and…

 

 

Ferguson Cat – the gift of happiness

FC was not around when I arrived home to feed him yesterday.  I had an extremely bad day, that had been the nadir of several bad weeks.  And when he didn’t trot out to meet me or come when I called, I decided he was dead.  And the tears that had been falling down my face fairly consistently all day, started again.  Welcome to my broken brain – always focusing on the worst outlook.

As I leaned over to put his food down, I caught sight of him.  Under the truck – eating a chipmunk.  And he was not even considering the fine Fancy Feast cat food I was offering him.  He clearly prefers fresh to canned.

I was soo relieved.  On all levels.  Not just because he was alive and well, but because he is clearly able to hunt well and feed himself.  And while I don’t plan to stop feeding him, it’s just a comfort somehow.  He’s a wild being.

This morning he came trotting up to me to lead me to his dining area so he could have his breakfast.  He’s too wise to ignore a gift of food.

 

FC – Ferguson Cat

He’s been given a proper name, so now he is not FC – Feral Cat.  He is FC Ferguson Cat.

FC is getting closer to making full on friends with me.

It used to be that he was only there 1 in 4 times when I went to feed.  Then it was once a day.  Now it’s everytime.  I put out food 2x a day.

It used to be that when I showed up, he would run to the spot under the truck where he knew I would place the food.  Now he runs toward me and then proudly leads me to his spot under the truck, with his tail high.

It used to be I didn’t know his gender because I never saw his tail up in the air.  Now it’s a happy flag pole when I arrive.

On Saturday I put the food out in the open, in front of where I was standing.  And he walked right over and ate, without showing signs of anxiety.

I have not made any attempt to touch him.Since he is no longer hurt, I feel no need to hurry this process.  I want him to feel completely unpressured to be my friend.

This is his spot under the truck.

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I don’t keep the water under the truck because black flaky yuck ends up falling into the water.  So it sits just outside the truck on the ground.  It gets plant debris in it, but I’m not as worried that plant leaves are going to give him some form of cancer.  Who knows what sort of horrors are lining the bottom of that truck.  They certainly shouldn’t be ingested.

I’d like to move the food to a different spot, but it’s problematic about where to move it.

I’ve been giving serious thought to moving to the empty apartment below me.  Most of my worries about this cat would disappear if I did.  He can come and go from that balcony with ease. But I really do like my apartment.  Which is just slightly larger and also more private because it’s on the second floor.  And also – moving!  Yuck.  Yuck.  yuck. sigh.

But all of that is kind of selfish of me.

The alternative is a cat house.  Like this one.  I’d have to get permission from my landlord to place it against the building in the backyard.  But would it be enough?  And would he even go in?  Both my indoor cats were trapped ferals.  Neither will even sit in a shoe box and absolutely abhor the cat carrier.  I’m wondering if FC will go into anything that resembles a cage.  I wish I knew.

 

 

 

Surprise Turtles

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That is a turtle on the path. Just hanging out. Being cool. Like a turtle.

Three mornings a week, I walk with my friend in a local park.  Last weeks we walked right up to a turtle, who apparently was going to cross the path at some point, but had decided it needed thinking about as we approached.

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If you look closely you can see he has red eyes. Which, apparently, is not a sign of a zombie turtle. So There You Go.

That is an Eastern Box Turtle, for your information.  A male of the species. You can tell that he is a male because he has red eyes.   She said all eruditish, because she googled it and read half an article and looked at lots of turtle pictures.

There is something utterly delightful about seeing an animal in the wild.  Particularly one which you rarely see.  We have often seen deer in this wood.  Last year a doe had twin fawns.  They were so beautiful and lovely to see.  I’m afraid my picture of them isn’t great.

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There are two fawns there. the one on the left is fairly obscured by the foliage.

The walk was initially a prescription by my doctor for stroke prevention.  Because I had the stroke and didn’t know it.  It turns out that’s bad and a sign of poor choices and a good indicator of future strokes.  So instructions were given to start moving.  I started to walk.  And it has been such a boon to my mental health.   Honestly, I have quite forgotten that I’m doing it to prevent strokes.

I may have planted too much insurance

So, what with buying 2 tomatoes, and finding a volunteer in my balcony pot, I was already assured of tomatoes.  I mean, surely?

But then as I was planting, I cut off the bottom shoots so I could bury it nice and deep.  And well – there they were – excellent cuttings.

So I planted one cutting of each of the bought seedling and had to actively talk myself out of planting all of them.  It’s insurance.  You never know what could happen, you know.  It’s best to just take out a bit of insurance.  And now I have back ups of the two main tomatoes.

Also I have 5 tomato plants and I’m a single person living alone with two cats, who are obligate carnivores.  I honestly don’t know what I am going to do if all of them thrive.  Perhaps someone at work will want a late seedling… Or maybe I could do two plants to a pot.  But I don’t like to stress my babies.

I’m going to the bait shop this afternoon to buy some worms to put in the pots.  Because tomatoes deserve worm friends.  I’ve crushed up all the dried  up plants from last year and I’m going to put that on top of the soil as a feed for the worms.  Although the soil is pretty rich – so I think they are likely to be OK, in any case.

Balcony Gardening has BEGUN!

I spent many years in an apartment without any outdoor access and when I moved here there was a marvelous south facing balcony.  And I immediately started a tomato. It grew like a marvel but had terribly disappointing tomatoes.  Just slightly bigger than a cherry.  They were OK tasting.  But just not quite anything size wise.

The following year – a friend gave me one of her seedlings and it got a fungus and was generally not producing anything due to the disease.

The next year I fell into a mental health hole and my cats chewed my seedlings to bits and I just didn’t have a tomato.  It was a sad year.

So this year I bought seedlings online from Laurel’s Heirloom Tomatoes.  She has a 4 plant minimum so I bought 4 and gave 2 to a friend as a housewarming present.  They arrived yesterday.

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It’s all VERY exciting.

I know what you are thinking – what does one person need with two tomato plants.  But it’s OK.  They are different tomatoes.   One is Green Zebra and one is Paul Robeson.  So.  Don’t judge.

Anyway – today I started to clean out the pot that I grow tomatoes in.  And there was a damn volunteer!

img_20200523_162721-1 So now I’m going to be growing 3 tomato plants, which I admit, is perhaps a bit much for one person.  But I can share.  Everyone loves tomatoes.  It’s a pandemic, dammit.  Tomatoes are the only good thing a person can look forward to, you know.  I’m just saying.

The real question is – where I am going to put the third one?  There’s one good spot for sun on the balcony because it’s a covered balcony.  There’s a second reasonably good spot and everything else is basically very bright partial shade.  It’s a dilemma.  It’s gonna take up some of my thinker space to figure it out.

I consider my volunteer to be an excellent omen.  It’s going to be a very good crop of tomatoes.

 

Reading old friends

There are a couple of authors whose books I have read so many times I know some passages by heart.  Georgette Heyer is one of them.  Pulling out one of these books is like sitting down with an old friend.  They are comforting and good company.

I know what is going to happen, but it doesn’t matter, I’m never bored.  I’m just happy to feel the familiar company.  To visit places I love.  To hear the words in my head, that I’ve read so many times, is a delight.

I’ve spent the last couple of weekends reading these books again.  It’s like being cuddled in a down comforter.  Warm and snuggly.

 

FC – Prisoner Release Scheduled

So FC was captured.  His wound has been tended.  They are keeping him over night and are releasing him tomorrow.

Part of me wants to just take him into the apartment.  But that is not a good idea for FC, my cats, or me.  Or it’s probably good for him to recover inside, but since he’s already pretty traumatized and my preference is for him to trust me, I don’t think putting him in a tiny bathroom in my apartment is going to encourage trust.

Or am I thinking too hard?  Shit.  I don’t know.  It’s just that I had this ideal in my head that FC and I would learn to trust over time and he would choose to come inside.  I would  not have to imprison him.

But…

Still.  I don’t think the vet would let him go – because the plan has always been re-release – if he thought it was going to be dangerous.  Poor Ol FC.

I’m glad he’s coming home so soon though.  I missed him.  🙂

The Plot against / for FC

FC continues to limp.  And continues to avoid being touched.

Tonight when I went to feed him I found another neighbor out there and a trap set up.  Apparently she very occasionally feeds him and saw his paw.  So she called a friend with a trap.  And so now we are plotting together to get FC to the vet.

I left them to it, since I’m a very regular source of food for him and he knows it.  And I don’t think he’s going to risk that cage when he knows I have food.  It’s awful to think of this from his perspective.  He’s hurt.  He’s hungry and he’s about to trapped.  Then go to the vet.  Imagine how scary.  But he needs his paw looked after.

It’s for the best.  I know.  And honestly this was a timely intervention.  Because I was at my wits end trying to get him to come to me.  If I could have grabbed him I believe I would have.  I’m not afraid to be bitten.  But he’s too wise for that sort of shenanigan.

So.  This is good.  I just hate worrying about his emotional state.

Snow in May

It did not snow here, but did snow a bit north of my location.  In the 2nd week of May.  On the one hand, it’s does seem like Mother Nature was showing her Schadenfreude at watching us all wither under her whim of a virus. A small smug smile on our collective misery.

Some Southern New Englanders see snow in May | WJAR

But I’m a bit perverse.  I find the oddity of a snow in May quite charming.  Mostly because I haven’t got any plants out yet, so I was not disconvenienced by the dip in temperature.  And of course it didn’t actually snow in my location.  So I could just lean into the marvel of a late snow.  Lots of pics were posted.  We live in an age where one can enjoy a thing without actually experiencing it.

I did worry a bit about FC.  But since he was out and about, eating hearty meals, I tried  to remember that he is in fact a feral cat and must have managed with far worse weather. But not this past season.  That’s when he was allowed into the apartment downstairs during cold days.  sigh.

Yesterday he let me get quite close but still refused to be pet.  He still limps but it seems to be improving.  Perhaps just a sprain from a bad jump?