Saturday, December 31, 2016

Timothy's Garden


Timothy's grave

We named our garden "Timothy's Garden" after a very special cat. This is his story:

Timothy was about four or five months old when he arrived at our garden cat habitat. He didn’t come alone. He brought a dead squirrel and a very live little brother (I guess) who could leap from the roof of our house to the roof of our garage, a distance of about six feet.

After the two kitties ate the squirrel and made a nest inside the shed wood pile, they came to me to see what was for supper. Instead of feeding them, I took Scooter to our vets to give away and kept Timothy in our garden. Both cats went into serious loneliness and did nothing but mope around in deep sorrow. Nobody wanted to adopt either of them and after a month of watching them go into deep despair, Grampy and I brought Scooter back to the yard. Talk about a family reunion! This was a classic. Both cats ran into each other, jumping and playing, chasing each other, climbing trees, and eating the best cat food money could buy. Once word got around the cat kingdom, our cat population reached four with half a dozen day visitors.

A few weeks later, a mamma cat and her four kittens moved in with us. I think Timothy had put up a “Welcome!” sign by our front gate. Regardless we didn’t try to adopt them out; we just enjoyed them. Life was good that summer in spite of the heat and humidity.

Timothy was a Class A plus feral cat but learned little about houses and vehicles. He had no idea what a cat door was and ran from it every time I tried to push him through. Finally, in desperation, I held him one day then grabbed the door with one of my fingers, pulled the flap back and pushed Timothy through. After months of this exercise Timothy finally pulled back the flap with one of his claws and walked through.

Timothy loved his mamma and kitten cats, playing with them and watching over them faithfully. I pitied any poor animal who tried to approach them without Timothy’s permission. But all that changed one hot summer night when a wild dog got into our yard to go after Mamma and her kittens. Timothy fought valiantly but he was too small and the dog too big. We rushed him to animal emergency where he died an hour later.

The cats were in total shock that day as they searched for their big brother. Winston and Little Bit wandered over all the yards in our neighborhood, crying and calling out but Timothy never replied. Scooter hugged the fence not only for that day but for many days to come. Mamma cat and her kittens sat on our window sills and cried. It was several days before they gave up their search except for Scooter who refused to stop.

He walked around the yard as if in a trance, constantly searching for any sign of his big brother. He looked under bushes, climbed trees to search the branches, crawled under our sheds and inside our garage but his efforts were useless. Sometimes he sat in the middle of our yard and howled long sorrowful mawo's as if asking Mother Nature why she hadn't helped Timothy win that fight. Apparently he never heard an answer since he then plodded from yard to yard, mewing in those soft trills cats make when calling to each other. Getting no reply, Scooter returned home, crawled into the porch and stared out the windows, hoping and maybe praying for Timothy to return.

At the end of the second week, when I thought Scooter was at death's door, he wandered aimlessly to the southwest corner of our yard where I had set up a manger scene with life-sized statues of Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus sitting in an open space surrounded by small bushes under an oak tree that created the illusion of a shed for animals. I hadn't been able to find any camels or sheep, wise men or shepherds so I had added plastic geese, squirrels and a cement puppy.

The animals had never paid any attention to this spot before but Scooter seemed drawn to it. He sat down near it, taking in every bit of the scene. After what seemed like an eternity, Scooter got up, trotted to the house, ate his food and slept on a table in the yard. His morale improved and every day for the rest of his life he first visited our little tree chapel. He took over Timothy's job of watching over the other animals and protecting them when necessary.

Then, two years later, Scooter died protecting some kittens from an aggressive feral tom cat. I like to think that there is a heaven for animals and that Timothy greeted Scooter at the gates to Cat Heaven and said, "Hey Little Brother, you did good." And Scooter said, "I was just imitating you, Big Brother." And that was how we named Timothy's Garden."





Posted by Diana for Margaret

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Little Bit


Merry Christmas from Little Bit and Friends


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Disobedient Cow


In 1911, Grammy and Grampy lived on a farm filled with wheat fields, corn fields, apple orchards, four cows, two pigs, dozens of chickens, one very proud rooster, and Mikey the plow mule.

Grampy's job was to take care of Mikey and the pigs and make the wheat and corn grow. Grammy's job was to take care of the rooster, chickens, and cows. Grammy named all of her animals. I don't remember what she named the rooster or chickens but she named the cows Eenie, Meenie, Miney, and Abigale.

The barn and pigpen were next to each other at the edge of our large yard that went up a small hill to a meadow.

Early every morning, Grammy milked the cows, then let them go to the meadow. At night, Grammy stood at the foot of the hill and called "Time to go nighty night, girls."

Eenie, Meenie, and Miney obediently obeyed but Abigale waited until Grammy called to her again. Then she came down, not at a casual trot like her sisters but running with head down toward Grammy. Grammy stood firm, never flinching and Abigale always stopped three inches from Grammy, then went into the barn.

Well, Grampy was getting pretty annoyed at Abigale and insisted that Grammy should teach her some good manners. Grammy replied that Abigale refused to be polite. Grampy said he would have to teach Abigale how to be polite.

The next evening, as Grammy stood aside. Grampy took her place at the bottom of the hill and yelled, "Get down here, cows."

Eenie, Meenie, and Miney obediently trotted down the hill and into the barn

"Get down here," Grampy yelled but Abigale did not move.

"Don't yell at her," Grammy told Grampy.

"Who's doing this, woman?" Grampy said and turned back to Abigale. "Cow, get down here this minute!"

"She doesn't like to be yelled at," Grammy said.

Grampy puffed out his cheeks and yelled as loud as he could, "Now listen here, you walking hamburger, I said get down here. Right now!"

Well, Abigale lowered her head, snorted and scratched her hooves in the ground, raised her shoulders, and came flying down the hill. Grampy - like Grammy always did - stood his ground with his hands on his hips while he stared at Abigale. But Abigale didn't stop for him like she did for Grammy. She ran straight into Grampy, flipped him up with her horns into the air where he flopped like an acrobat and then landed in the pig pen. The pigs snorted in surprise at their visitor and Abigale trotted over to Grammy.

"Abigale, you were not nice," Grammy scolded the cow.

Abigale rubbed her head against Grammy as if saying she was sorry.

Grammy sighed and petted the cow, then said, "All right. It's time for you to go nighty night now."

While Abigale trotted into the barn, Grampy crawled out of the pig pen and grumbled all the way into the house. Grampy never again tried to tell Grammy how to take care of the cows and Abigale continued running down the hill every night to meet Grammy.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Monday, December 5, 2016

Cat Attacks Dog!


Most of our neighbors around here have dogs and cats. For some strange reason, there are few times when the dogs attack the cats. It does happen but that is part of nature. What is not part of nature is when cats attack dogs.

The cats in our yards are mostly ferals who fear almost no one. Even pit bulls have been known to bow before the regal feral cat looking for a helpless canine to brutalize. Take, for example, George - a 25 pound gray tabby - who hated dogs with a ferocity only other cats could understand.

There was this one day when a snoopy puppy, probably a golden retriever, saw George sleeping on our front door step. Running to George and barking little yips that said, "You'd better be scared of me," the puppy stood his ground at about a half foot from George's face.

George opened one eye, stared at the offending pup, then drew his left paw back and sent it flying across the puppy's nose. Puppy ran off crying more in humiliation than pain while George yawned, dropped his paw, and shut his eye to return to his peaceful sleep. The puppy went home and I am sure he told his owner that he'd been attacked by a vicious monster.

Then, for entertainment, George would go to our neighbor's yard where they had a pit bull chained up. The dog was a full size barrel- chested behemoth who kept everyone away from his owner's house.

The chain keeping him tethered to his dog house was twenty feet long. Whenever George entered their yard, he sat twenty feet, one inch from the dog house. The dog's food and water bowl sat nineteen feet from the dog house. Whenever the dog fell asleep, George crept to the bowls and very quietly pulled them back to one inch beyond the end of the chain where he ate and drank to his content while the poor dog went spastic trying to get to George. The dog's owner thought this was funny and had many good laughs at his poor pet's problem.

When George got tired of the pit bull, he went to another neighbor's yard, entered their shed and climbed up in the rafters to sleep. This neighbor had two dogs, a pit bull and a collie. Seeing George on the rafters stirred up their indignation and they barked furiously. George slept peacefully until time to leave. I never saw him climb up to the rafters and never saw how he left the yard after he climbed down.

George seemed to save some of his attitude of contempt for us humans. These were the years when women still hung their washing outside on clothes lines to dry, then carried the large basket full of dry neatly folded clothes, etc. into the house. After I set the basket down in our living room, George climbed into it and dug himself a hole until he disappeared among wind swept towels, sheets, pillow cases, and various forms of clothing.

Not until I reached into the basket would George reveal himself by popping his head up, growling and yawning at the same time. This first experience was startling and gave me many smiles when my grandchildren would reach into the basket to be suddenly greeted by George.

There is a saying among us Florida gardeners: "Never put your hands where you can't see them." Originally a warning to keep an eye out for hidden recluse spiders and coral snakes, among the list of "don't touchables" it soon became a neighborhood warning to include "Pop-up George" in the basket.

George lived to be seven years old which is ancient among feral cats. We've had more gray and white cats but none or them torment dogs and the clothes lines have been replaced by dryers so George's only inheritance given to his descendants is one great appetite.

Let me put in a disclaimer here. Don't try to teach your cats how to attack dogs, especially pit bulls. George was the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of cats follow the teachings of Mother Nature when confronted with any canine - "Dog! Run! Every cat for himself!" Excellent advice even for us humans.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Cat Ghost


When Grammy was a youngster, she and her friends were sure they had found a ghost when a large white sheet floated down the porch stair steps to her house. The sheet billowed and made strange eerie sounds as it floated closer to the now frightened children. Only when the sheet tumbled over itself and went thumpity thump thump down the steps did they realize the ghost was a neighborhood dog who wandered in and out of the porch.
    
While it was easy to explain that event, Grammy and her friends are still wondering about a different ghost. It started the night before Halloween when George - the cat who had become a surrogate father to Grammy's kittens Winston and Little Bit - saw the neighborhood bully cat attacking Winston who was valiantly trying to defend Little Bit.
    
George charged his 25 pound body into the fracas, allowing the kittens to escape while George fought to his last breath, saving the kittens from a horrible fate. We buried George in the garden and Winston and Little Bit grieved as only cats can do.
    
That night of Halloween, Grammy awoke to strange sounds in the back yard. The full moon shined splendidly, allowing Grammy to see the bully cat walking across the yard.  But he wasn't walking in his usual strutting. Instead he was crouched close to the ground, looking behind him every few seconds, then letting out caterwauling shrikes before moving on. Grammy saw nothing else but she heard the long angry yeeeeechhhhh!!!! of an animal in anger. That was when the bully cat jumped two feet straight up, then came down hard and fast, his feet moving before he'd even touched the ground.
    
When he did hit the ground, he was already running toward the fence, leaping over it in one panicked hop. The sounds ended.
    
Grammy never knew what that noise was and she never heard it again but she never saw bully cat again and the kittens lived to be twenty years old. Grammy still believes that night George's ghost came to tell bully cat to leave his kittens alone.  Strange things happen to people who own cats.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Computer Cat


Little Bit at computer, Timothy lower left pic, and Winston lower right pic


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Kitty in Cupboard


Chrissy


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Toys or Cat?



Paco (gray cat) curled up with toys


Posted by Diana for Margaret

The Bird War


Our neighborhood on the wooded edges of Dunn Creek in Northside Jacksonville, Florida, has been an unofficial bird sanctuary for at least four decades.

The most spectacular display of wildlife around us is the multitude of birds. Blue jays, cardinals, ground thrashers, mocking birds, doves, quail, titmice, chickadees, goldfinches, nuthatches, sparrows, redwing blackbirds, humming birds, grackles, and woodpeckers are only a few of the many birds we see during the year.

Along with the song birds are Cooper hawks who invade the neighborhood to snatch some hapless birds for dinner. At night, owls do their part in controlling the rodent population. Sometimes ospreys arrive to build their nests in tall trees and catch fish in Dunn Creek where alligators bark their "ahh-ruuumph" mating calls. Every spring and autumn, flocks of geese fly in their migration route which is directly over Interstate 95, less than a mile from our neighborhood.

The one group of birds who never land in this sanctuary are crows. The reason for this goes back fifteen years. The air was crisp that spring morning with dust fairies dancing in sunbeams as three crows flew into the neighborhood. Instead of being ignored like some arriving birds or facing the wrath of an indignant sparrow or two, these crows were confronted by angry blue jays, screeching and squawking on the branches of scrub pine trees. The confrontation was close to Dunn Creek more than four hundred feet from our yard. I paid little attention to it and went into my house, expecting the battle to end in minutes with the crows retreating to the woods.

A half hour passed and then an hour went by with the angry bird language never stopping. I left my housework and returned to the yard to discover that mocking birds had joined the blue jays circling the treed crows. While it is common to see individual birds or a pair of birds - normally sparrows - chase intruders from their nests, this day the crows either could not or would not budge from their treetop stands. I continued watching and, after a while, I noticed ground thrashers, sparrows, and wrens joining the blue jays and mocking birds, forcing the crows to backtrack to the next yard.

Concern about my housework vanished as I waited to see what would happen next. Blackbirds and woodpeckers eventually joined the song birds still circling and darting at the crows in quick hit and run tactics. The crows retreated to a large oak tree in my yard.

With the birds so close to me, I tried to break up the fight. I walked around my yard and slapped my hands together, a successful tactic that often scares hawks and other invaders from the yard. This neither inspired the crows to retreat nor prompted the song birds to return to their nests and babies. I clanged two metal garbage can lids together. The birds only shrieked louder and fought with more fury. I picked up a garden hose, turned on the faucet and sent water out in a twenty-five foot stream, then I squirted the water in direction of the birds. Those who got wet ignored it. Those who were too far from the water were never aware of it. The crows were too far up the tree for the water to reach them and inspire an escape.

I checked my watch and realized I had been outside with the birds for almost three hours. Common sense told me to go back inside, eat lunch, and finish cleaning the house but common sense was not ruling this day. Entranced by the birds' bizarre behavior, I continued watching them.

In only minutes, birds who had established nests in my yard began to join the melee. Cardinals who normally do no more than chirp angrily at intruders flew up to join the attackers. Docile chickadees and nuthatches flew past me and darted to the battle fringes to chirp high-pitched protests before withdrawing. To add to the chaos, birds from undisturbed yards flew in to lend their support. I estimated that at least two hundred birds were attacking the crows.

More hours passed and I could not force myself to stop watching as the song birds never relented in their fury. The most devoted and protective parents abandoned their nests and babies to join the fight. Fledglings ran in wild circles across the lawn, squawking and hopping in attack gestures. Doves and quail scurried from bush to bush, shrieking in anger. Titmice and finches spiraled high above protective honeysuckle vines to squawk and then dart back to the ground. The pandemonium was so severe that all neighborhood dogs and cats dashed for cover and cowered in fear. My two cats hid under a picnic table where they trembled and huddled close to each other.

By mid-afternoon, the crows showed obvious signs of exhaustion but they refused to retreat from the song birds' continual attacks. Wondering how the birds could maintain their high energy level for such an extraordinarily long time, I watched them closely and noticed something I'd never before seen in the animal kingdom. They were working together with some sort of intelligence that I thought was beyond their level.

To keep their strength, the song birds had separated themselves into three groups; one group attacking the crows, a second group resting, and a third group eating. Every few minutes, as if obeying some command, these groups rotated, thereby keeping themselves refreshed while the crows had no chance to rest or eat.

After eight hours of battle, the crows made a mad dash to a sixty foot high maple tree in our neighbor's yard while the song birds swarmed after them. The crows, sitting precariously on the top branches of the maple tree, could no longer defend themselves. The song birds charged full force into them.

Two of the crows made a successful dash for freedom in the woods with dozens of birds following to make sure they stayed there. The largest crow remained firm, apparently never considering retreat. He stood on the tree top branch, fighting in desperate self-defense as the birds pecked him without mercy. His body battered from hundreds of wounds, one of his wings broken and dangling uselessly at his side, he cried out in one final defiant shriek, then fell to his death in our neighbor's yard.

Immediately, the song birds became silent and returned to their normal routine. Cats and dogs cautiously crawled from their hiding places and furtively looked around, then resumed their normal routine. Evening arrived and our sanctuary remained quiet and peaceful.

When I described this event to several naturalists, they said they had never heard of such a thing and did not know why the song birds had acted so strangely. They explained about "mobbing" which is done by chickens who at times will, for unknown reasons, attack a single chicken in their group and peck her to death but song birds attacking crows was something new to the naturalists.

The song birds don't seem the least bit concerned with our lack of knowledge about their actions that day. They apparently knew exactly what they were doing since the story of that battle seems to have spread throughout the crow population.

Crows still arrive here in springtime but as soon as they start circling our neighborhood, they are greeted by resident crows flying from the fragmented woods and squawking warnings that must say in bird language, "Get away! Get away from there!"

Without questioning their motives, the new crows obey, leaving our neighborhood sanctuary to the song birds. Never before or since have I seen anything like that war. I still have not found a naturalist who can explain the phenomenon.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Cat


Cat arrived at our home early one spring morning forty years ago. He didn't stagger to our doorstep as a fragile kitten whimpering for food and love. He didn't play the part of frightened stray or cautious vagabond. No, not Cat.

Cat strutted alert and proud into our yard, demanding respect from me and my husband Bob. A full-grown tom among toms with his square head and Don't Give Me Any Trouble eyes, Cat was all muscle under his tabby yellow fur. He stood tall, at least two feet at the shoulders, and weighed heavy, at least twenty-five pounds.

"He's one of the neighbors' pets," I decided.

"He must have wandered off during mating season," Grampy decided.

"He's on his way back home," we agreed.

We ignored Cat. We gave Cat no food.

Cat gave us no argument. He hopped atop a hard wood table on our porch and took a nap.

With the arrival of dusk, Cat disappeared.

"We will see Cat no more," Grampy decided.

"Cat just stopped at our home for rest and relaxation," I decided.

"Because he'd been too tired to go all the way to his home," we agreed.

Next morning again on our porch sat Cat, still ragged, still dirty. Cat peered through our kitchen window, watched us eat eggs and bacon. I gave the left-overs to Cat. Cat ate the food with the fineness of a gourmet sipping fine wine. I waited to watch Cat bathe himself. Cat did not bathe himself. He did spread his body across the rough porch table and he did fall asleep.

That night Cat left again and the next morning Cat returned again in an even more ragged condition.

I told Cat, "We'll let you in our home as a pet if you clean yourself."

Cat stood in the open doorway and scanned our living room with its overstuffed couch, comfy recliner, big fluffy pillows, and scattered afghans. He returned to his hard wood perch on the porch. He went asleep without bathing himself. Cat was a poor excuse for a cat.

Cat was also a poor judge of character. He ignored me, a devout feline lover. He showered adoration on Grampy who cared little for cats. The more Grampy grumbled at Cat, the more Cat trotted after Grampy.

When Grampy went to work, Cat sat at attention on his porch perch. There Cat slept until four p.m. when his eyes popped open and turned toward the road. At the sound of our puttering Volkswagen, Cat ran to the edge of our driveway. Wagging his tail like a dog, Cat jumped like a dog in excited little hops around Grampy's feet.

Grampy said, "Hey, Cat, how's it going?" and walked past Cat into the house.

Cat strode back to the porch, returned to his perch. With narrow eyes, he denied having compromised his sophisticated feline behavior. Once again arrogant and aloof, Cat resumed his routine of ignoring both of us.

Cat didn't like visitors. At every salesperson or solicitor or animal who stepped into our yard, Cat growled fierce threats. His ferocity sent these unwelcome beings running from our yard.

Summer that year brought an unusual storm grabbing hundreds of tiny frogs into a beach-side waterspout. Inland came the spout. Over our house the spout broke. Rain and frogs fell to the ground. For an hour, Cat became a kitten chasing amphibians through puddles and across soggy grass.

Summer ended and autumn moved toward winter. One shivery morning, Cat looked at me with momentary affection. He jumped from his perch, trotted out of our yard. He went into a nearby woods and out of our lives.

At his disappearance, I realized he had never eaten any cat food at our home. Even more shocking, he never did take a bath.  
Was Cat a ghost, I wondered, on holiday with us, I considered, until time to return to his phantasm home for Halloween?

That was forty years ago. The wooden table where Cat sat has rotted away. Cat probably is not coming back, still we keep looking for him just in case. Wherever you are, Cat, we’re glad to have known you.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

When Your Spayed Cat Goes Into Heat


When Grammy’s cat Little Bit suddenly showed almost no interest in food and changed from her normal placid personality to an agitated cat prowling the house and screened-in porch, her owner Grammy took her to the veterinarian for a check-up. This satin black feline in her fifth year was in excellent health Dr. Williams informed Grammy and then concluded that Little Bit was going through one of those mysterious cat phases.

Grammy relaxed at the news but Little Bit didn't. The next day, when Dan--Grammy's husband--stroked their pet's neck, Little Bit raised her back end and tipped her tail to one side. Grammy and Dan laughed about their Little Hussy. The next day they didn't laugh when an unneutered grey tom left nearby woods to enter their yard and try to get through the porch screen to Little Bit gesturing an invitation.

Several nights later, Grammy awoke in the darkness of their bedroom to see four round yellow eyes staring at her. Tommy--as Grammy had named the persistent stray refusing to leave their yard--had successfully entered the house and mounted Little Bit.

For the next two hours Grammy and Dan chased this twenty pound cat who easily eluded them or else fought with enough fury to make the humans keep their distance. Tommy apparently had determined how to enter the house but was confused at leaving it even though Grammy and Dan held the outside doors open for him. Not until the humans also opened every window and then hid in their bedroom with Little Bit, did the frightened Tommy escape.

Little Bit returned to her normal personality the next day but two weeks later she once again resumed her bizarre antics. Tommy, who had made roaming the yard his daily routine, once again returned to the porch windows.

This time, Little Bit managed to escape to the back yard where she urinated in several different areas. Standing close by, Tommy faithfully rolled in near-euphoria over each urine spot as Little Bit moved on. Normally fearful of this alien situation, Little Bit evaded Grammy's efforts to capture her and pranced closer to Tommy. Then, when Tommy attempted to mount her, Little Bit snarled and backed away, sending her front paw with claws extended toward the surprised tom's face.  After several more attempts, Tommy snarled back and lunged for Little Bit with determination to have his way.

Grammy squirted both cats with the garden hose and caught Little Bit while Tommy raced off. An hour later, Tommy with his fur still wet once again sat at the porch window.

This episode, while extremely unusual, is possible with any spayed cat. Just as female cats can have false pregnancy, they also can have false heat.

Since the ovaries are the primary source of the hormones which cause heat-like behavior, one possible consideration for false heat is the incomplete removal of the ovaries. Performing an ovariohysterectomy, especially on a young cat, is major surgery because of invasion of the abdominal cavity and the small size of the uterus and ovaries located inside layers of fat and muscle tissue. If a veterinarian does not remove all of the ovaries, the cat can still go through symptoms of her heat cycle. If only a fragment of an ovary is left behind, this cycle can be created due to the fact that, unlike humans, in animals the primary target organ of estrual hormones is the vaginal tract, not the uterus. In other words, bleeding associated with estrus in an animal is vaginal in origin as are the pheromones, that is the scent which attracts males.

The only cure is for the veterinarian to perform a second operation to locate and remove the fragments of the remaining ovary. The longer this operation is delayed, the more difficult it is to do since the surrounding muscle and fat tissues grow over the evacuated area, making it almost impossible to locate any fragments. Fortunately, this was not Little Bit's problem since she would have shown signs of false heat right from the start rather than waiting until her fifth year.

A second cause for false heat may be a urinary tract infection. When Little Bit had been two years old, Grammy had taken her in for symptoms of early stages of heat. That time Dr. Williams discovered a urinary tract infection. With treatment, both the infection and heat symptoms went away.

Another cause for false heat is the presence of a tumor or overactivity of the adrenal gland which is capable of producing estrogen, the hormone responsible for the onset of estrus. With a personality of extreme shyness earning her the reputation of being the original scardy cat, Little Bit frequently showed signs of fear at anything new or different. Even with this production of estrogen through fear, Little Bit's heat symptoms should have ended when her fear subsided.
 
Grammy took Little Bit to Dr. Williams for an examination. Little Bit had no urinary infection or any hint of a tumor but she did have tape worms. Such infestation would have been from a flea which feeds on the tapeworm eggs or from Tommy when he and Little Bit had been together. Treatment for this was simple, one pill destroyed the worms and in turn the eggs.

Dr. Williams was concerned since there were other, more difficult-to-treat diseases Little Bit could have received from Tommy. Because Tommy was a stray and belonged to no one, Dr. Williams encouraged Grammy to bring the cat in for an examination.

Grammy found it impossible to capture the streetwise Tommy who came to no human. The closest Grammy could get to him was fifty or sixty feet. Only when Tommy was pursuing Little Bit did he lose his inhibition and allow any human to get within five feet of him before he ran off.

Grammy decided to put Little Bit on a leash and leave her at the far end of the porch with the door ajar. Then, when Tommy came in, Grammy would shut the door, pull Little Bit inside, and let Dan put Tommy into a cat box for transportation to the veterinarian's office.

This did not work out at all. Tommy came through the door as Grammy had planned but when she moved to shut the door, Tommy yelped in panic and darted the fifteen foot distance to freedom before Grammy could take three steps to the door knob.

The next day, Little Bit was back to her normal personality and Tommy showed only slight interest in her, preferring to spend the days snoozing in a sunny spot by the back fence.

Since Grammy couldn't lure Tommy to Little Bit, Dr. Williams suggested Grammy tranquilize Tommy. Grammy set out a dish of sedated food for Tommy who quickly gobbled it. The tranquilizer had a reverse effect, making Tommy all the more agitated and elusive. After chasing him around the yard for two hours, Grammy helplessly watched a docile but suspicious cat hop the fence and wander back to his woods. Two days later, as fate would have it, Little Bit's heat symptoms disappeared along with Tommy. Grammy relaxed, thinking all had returned to normal.

In another two weeks, Little Bit once again showed every symptom of wanting to mate and Tommy again sat in adoration by the porch windows. Desperate, Grammy checked out a live animal trap from the city's animal control unit. That night she set the trap by the porch windows and placed the best of cat food inside the trap. The next morning, she found Tommy--totally oblivious to the delectable food--sitting on top of the trap with eyes of love for Little Bit mewing and pawing at the screen in hopes of another escape.

The second night, Grammy moved the trap to bushes at the far end of the yard, again filling it with savory food. The next morning, she found a raccoon in the trap.

Night after night presented defeat and Grammy was becoming concerned. Little Bit grew increasingly agitated and determined to get outside. She ate almost nothing, slept only in short spurts, and paced along window ledges where she yowled in pathetic sounds.

Tommy displayed a greater determination to enter the house for Little Bit. He ripped a small opening in one screen and, on three separate occasions, almost dashed into the house when Grammy went outside. Tommy also showed more aggression toward Grammy, lunging his paws in her direction whenever she approached Little Bit. Besides the inconvenience of spraying the outside walls of the house in a dozen different areas, Tommy was becoming something of a threat to Grammy.

Grammy knew by now she had only another day or two left to capture Tommy since Little Bit's false heat paralleled the real thing almost perfectly, even in the length of time. On the final morning, Grammy watched Tommy rubbing against the screen which separated him from one of Little Bit's favorite beds. On impulse, Grammy decided to lure Tommy to the front yard while Dan sneaked out back and tossed Little Bit's blanket into the trap.

Grammy went out the front door. Tommy followed her and hopped to the roof of their garage. There he howled and hissed at her and flexed his leg muscles as if getting ready to jump on her. Grammy circled the yard while Tommy remained at a safe distance with threats to attack. When she saw Dan carry the wailing Little Bit into the house, Grammy wasted no time joining them.

From her kitchen window, Grammy watched Tommy sniff the air and wander toward the trap. Meowing in adoration and confusion, Tommy circled the trap, then hopped inside. The trap door clang shut and Grammy ran in triumph to claim her prey. She found Tommy snuggled up to Little Bit's blanket with his eyes displaying both fear and disappointment.

In spite of all his troublesomeness, Grammy felt a sense of sympathy for this cat hugging a torn flannel blanket while his exceptionally long tail dangled outside the trap door. Grammy pushed the door open enough to let Tommy claim his tail, then she transported the hapless cat to the veterinarian.

"You're lucky," Dr. Williams told Grammy upon completion of Tommy's examination. "I was concerned he might have Feline Leukemia. If he did, he would have given it to Little Bit when they were together."

Since Little Bit was a house cat, Grammy had not seen the need for getting her vaccinated against this disease. Now, Grammy changed her mind with realization that even the most watchful cat owner can find her pet dashing outside and into trouble. Some trouble can be fatal.

Because Tommy did not belong to anyone, Grammy was able to place Tommy with a farm family that lives a good distance from Little Bit. There Tommy is able to retain his natural ways and not be a disturbance to anyone.

Grammy learned a number of lessons from this rare affliction. First, she had Little Bit vaccinated against Feline Leukemia just in case a less lucky escape might happen. Grammy also learned that this problem won't resolve itself. Just as in real heat, when Little Bit did not become pregnant (which was impossible), she continued the false heat cycle again in another two weeks. Grammy determined that Little Bit was in her fourth cycle when Tommy was captured.

A big and powerful cat, Tommy was becoming a hazard to Grammy with his growing determination to get to Little Bit. How much he would have fought to mate Little Bit cannot be answered. Grammy doesn't want to go through another experience with another cat to find out.

Apparently there had been some sort of bonding between Little Bit and Tommy during this experience since Little Bit displayed signs of loneliness at Tommy's absence. The smallest sound from the area next to the porch windows brought Little Bit running where she sat and searched the yard. Not finding Tommy, she laid down only to stare through the screen. Every day at the approximate time when Tommy had arrived in the yard, Little Bit sat in the windows and watched the area where Tommy had hopped over the fence to present his overtures of romance.

When another tom cat of less than a year in age wandered into the yard, Little Bit managed to escape her house. She chased that frightened young tom around the yard and up a tree. There, on a flimsy branch while the tom screamed in panicked yowls, Little Bit flaunted herself until Grammy intervened. Fortunately, Grammy knew the owner of this cat and--after rescuing it--she returned the still trembling feline to a concerned neighbor. It took Little Bit almost three months to return to her normal personality.

False heat is not a common occurrence but it is something to consider when a female pet exhibits strange behavior for no apparent reason. Most cases of false heat last a short time, such as with Little Bit's urinary tract infection. The long time span of false heat that afflicted Little Bit is extremely rare. In his twenty years of practice, Dr. Williams had seen only one other case, that one involving a dog.

Now, at seven years of age, Little Bit still goes through irregular periods of false heat, none of them lasting more than two or three days. A cause for Little Bit's continuing false heat has never been determined.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Opossums


Out of the 65 different species of opossums, only one - Didelphis Virginiana - can be found in North America. Opossums are non-territorial, exceptionally non-aggressive and non-destructive. They do not hibernate. They have a thumb. Although armed with fifty sharp teeth, they harm neither people nor pets and prefer to “play possum” whenever challenged. Mother opossums will defend their babies if threatened.

More immune than dogs or cats to many diseases, including rabies, opossums also seem to be immune to poisonous snake bites. While some people consider opossums to be ugly and stinky, these nocturnal creatures are in fact very clean and constantly grooming themselves. Because opossums breed rapidly, their species has a high survival rate. In natural settings, they choose stumps or hollow trees, haystacks, vine tangles, or abandoned burrows of other animals.

They have adapted quite well to life in urban settings where they homestead in attics, garages, road culverts, and under buildings. The opossums’ ability to eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, small vertebrates, and insects also helps them survive in urban areas. They do not raid chicken coops nor turn over trash cans, dig holes or destroy plants in gardens. By devouring garden pests and preying on shrews and moles, these helpers of the environment should always be welcome in your garden or yard. If lucky, you might see these reclusive marsupials carrying bundles of leaves and stems with their prehensile tails as they build a nest in the boundaries of your property.

http://www.squirrel-rehab.org/opossum/facts.html


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Our Resident Opossums in Timothy's Garden




In front of the Manger scene in Patches Woods is an old bathtub filled with dirt, then covered with pine straw and small branches. Enterprising opossums have dug tunnels under and around this tub for their own little homes.

One afternoon, as I busied myself with raking the paths in this area and doing other noisy tasks, a somewhat grumpy opossum stuck his head out of the entrance to his home and chattered sharp sounds to me. Then he snorted and went back inside. I think he was saying in his language, “Hey, can you keep the noise down? How’s a hard working night critter like me going to get any sleep?”

I apologized and tiptoed to another area.

The first time I saw an opossum in Timothy’s garden, I was shocked at this large creature staring at me. In panic, I borrowed our neighbor’s live trap so I could return the opossum to the woods across the street from our house. I set the trap after supper that night, then went to bed.

When I checked the trap the next morning, I saw the opossum inside it. He was so big that he almost filled the insides of this trap. He was not in a good mood. Seeing his sharp teeth, I was too scared to try to relocate him by myself.

I phoned my neighbor and said, “I’ve got that opossum in the trap. Can you help me get him back to the woods?”

“Not now,” our neighbor said. “We have to go to the doctor’s and won’t be back until late.”

“I can’t keep that poor creature caged up all day,” I said. “What can I do?”

Our neighbor replied, “Kill him. Cook him. Eat him.”

Horrified at that suggestion, I called the City Zoo to see if they would come out and get an opossum, maybe for their petting zoo. They explained that they were not allowed to do that. I asked them what could I do with the opossum.

The person on the other end of the phone replied, “Kill him. Cook him. Eat him.”

I called the Humane Society. Certainly they would help me. They said they’d be glad to accept the opossum if I brought him to them. I explained that was impossible and asked what I could do with the opossum.

The person on the other end of the phone replied, “Kill him. Cook him. Eat him.”

I called Animal Control. Certainly they would come and get the opossum and relocate him. They informed me their job did not include rescuing wild life. I asked what I could do with the opossum.

The person on the other end of the phone replied, “Kill him. Cook him. Eat him.”

I went out to the trap and looked at the poor creature by this time starting to panic because of the growing daylight and the cramped conditions of his entrapment. By now, he looked helpless and frightened to me. No longer was I scared of him.

“Poor guy,” I said. “If no one will help you get back to your home, then I will do it.”

I brought over my wheelbarrow; fought and struggled to drag the trap into it. Twice the wheelbarrow tipped over, spilling the trap out to send it rolling over the ground but at last I had it precariously balanced and was wheeling my captive across our yard. Carefully, I wheeled him through our gate and across the road to the ditch. Two more times, as I struggled into and out of the ditch, the trap tumbled out of the wheelbarrow. Two more times, I returned the trap to its position.

After the ditch, I faced three rows of heavy wire that made a sort-of fence to keep cars out of the field in front of the woods. I tugged and pulled the wires apart and nudged the wheelbarrow through it. The opossum seemed to have shrunk until he huddled in the back corner of the trap. With every bump and bounce, he shrunk even more. A half-hour passed before I got the wheelbarrow across the field to the edge of the woods. With a shout of triumph, I set the trap on the ground and opened the door.

“Okay, Mister Opossum,” I sang out. “You are free! Go!”

The opossum huddled deeper inside the trap. I frowned, thinking that he was in too much shock to realize he was almost home.
I grabbed the back end of the trap and lifted it up to let gravity pull the opossum out. Mr. Opossum clung to the sides of the trap and whimpered. Desperate, I picked up the trap and shook it. Mr. Opossum clung harder and began screeching. I set the trap back down, the door clanged shut. I looked again at Mr. Opossum.

“Don’t tell me you want to stay in Timothy’s garden?” I asked.

Mr. Opossum stared at me. His body trembled. His eyes seemed to beg me for help. With a sigh, I made the long and awkward trip back to where the trap had originally been.

“Okay,” I said to Mr. Opossum. “I don’t know where you will live in here but you’re home.”

I opened the trap door. Mr. Opossum made a frantic dash for our hedge of Ligustrum bushes and honeysuckle vines. He scrambled up some branches and disappeared into the thickness of the hedge.

Isn’t it interesting how we humans so often reject the best things in life because they look too ugly or don’t meet our approval? How much happiness have we missed because of our prejudices?


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cat Escape Artists



People are amazed at how talented cats can be in getting away from us. Besides picking up their feet and running, they can fly, burrow, crawl through tiny spaces and even tear apart their surroundings to get away.

As soon as I took Timothy into our home, I had to take him to our vet for shots and a check up. I got out the carry case and set it on the porch table. One quick grab of him as he studied the carry case, I shoved him inside and slammed the door shut. Timothy looked at me, grabbed the wire mesh of the door with his claws and shook it violently until the door came off its hinges and flew across the room. He sat still for a few seconds, snarled at me, then trotted off. I never did get him in for his shots.

Our cats love high places for hiding, such as the eaves of our house and garage. Somehow, they reach the roof by climbing up trellises or hopping from a small building to a larger building to the house roof. Then they take a running start, literally fly from one roof to the other simply for the fun of the experience.



It is important to not let your cats hide in some areas such as a washer machine, dryer, stove oven and any electronic items. Cats find it easier to get into things than out of things. Make sure the little hiding places have escape spots.

Hiding outside is as easy for a cat as for the smallest animals. More than a few times, I have been searching the yard for our cat only to find him/her walking along behind me. One morning I heard a kitten meowing and searched high and low before finding him hiding under a magnolia leaf.

If cats can’t find hiding places on their own, they can go to cat school and take lessons, such as the kittens in our garden who faithfully observed an old feral cat show them how to escape from a live trap. Cats are not just talented at hiding, they are elusive and smart. If you happen to catch a cat, it’s because he/she wanted to be caught.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Saturday, August 20, 2016

The Cardinals' Dinner


I once read that Daddy cardinals are the original male chauvinists, teaching their babies or fledglings how to survive in the world while Mamma cardinals remain bound to the nest with perpetual pregnancy. I don’t know if this is true or not since I witnessed cardinal tradition being broken once in Timothy’s garden.

One spring day, instead of Daddy cardinal arriving, a Mamma cardinal brought her baby to the feeder. She taught the baby how to eat, how to run from predators, and how to use a bird bath, then she let him go alone. The next day, Mamma cardinal brought another baby to the feeder and trained him in likewise manner. The third morning, she brought another baby to the feeder. While she fed her little daughter, the first two fledglings returned to watch. On a branch above the feeder sat Daddy cardinal like a sentry watching for danger.

Mamma cardinal fed the baby, then began to eat. The baby cried and flapped her wings for attention. Mamma ignored her. Daddy made no move to leave his observation post. Both brothers hopped down in front of their little sister and began eating. She watched them, then squawked in temper at their lack of attention to her.

Mamma brought some more seeds to her baby and fed her, then returned to feeding herself. Little sister cried again, and again her big brothers fed themselves in front of her. She looked first to her brother at her right, then to her brother at her left. She let her head fall into the sunflower seeds and raised it with three or four seeds balanced precariously within her beak. Her eyes opened wide with excitement and the wonderment of what to do next. She flapped her wings, turned from
brother to brother to mother for help.

Mamma stood in front of her daughter and slowly ate. Little sister began to move her beak. Some of the seeds tumbled out but she was able to grind open one seed, eat it, and swallow. She hopped in tiny steps, flapped her wings in happy success, and grabbed another seed. Daddy cardinal spread his wings and flew off. Mamma cardinal flew after him. I wonder if female cardinals became liberated that day.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Mocking Birds New Song


About thirty years ago, when Grampy and I were in our sports car mode, we bought a bright red sports car that came with everything new, even a new fangled alarm system. When we set the alarm, the car said, "Beep beep."  When we turned off the alarm, the car said "Beep beep beep." We parked the car under a large tree that, for obvious reasons became known as the mocking bird tree where mocking birds quickly imitated the car horn's music. All summer long, the mocking birds sat on the tree branches and sang what we called "The Beep Beep song." One bird sang out "Beep beep" and the other replied "Beep beep beep." This went on all spring and summer, up until the autumn days when the birds again departed.

The next spring, the mocking birds not only sang their Beep beep song, they taught it to their babies. I never realized until that time that mocking birds apparently have to teach their fledglings how to sing. Their teaching techniques were impeccable. With their babies lined up along a branch, Daddy (or Mamma) sang out a length of trilles and cheeps and twitters, then watched their babies expectantly. The fledglings puffed up their chests and sang out, a chain of squeaks and squawks resembling the wails of a badly played violin. Daddy or Mamma mocking bird never gave up and soon the fledglings were singing as good as their parents. I guess the baby mocking birds graduated when they were able to sing the Beep beep song. I wondered if the mocking birds had created a new love song or did they just happen to enjoy electronic music. They never did answer my question and their song died out when we bought a different car.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Grammy's Big Dog


Beaver is only one of the few dogs we ever owned. When we found him, he was a five pound puppy crying and running along a busy six lane highway in Jacksonville.

Somehow Grampy was able to rescue the little tyke and as we rode to our vet’s hospital, I asked: "What will we do with him? We have five cats and none of them appreciate dogs."

"His name is Beaver," was all Grampy said and I knew I had become the surrogate mother to a pit bull/golden retriever who grew to 100 pounds.





Well, neither Grampy nor I knew anything about raising dogs and our vet told us, "Just care for him the way you care for your cats." Now Doc was telling us to be kind with Beaver and give him lots of love. Of course we did that and to be sure we were doing things right, we fed him cat food, made him a soft bed of downy pillows, put him in our old baby play pen and when he cried, I held him on my lap as I sat in my rocking chair and rocked him to sleep.




Of course, our cats didn’t share this enthusiasm. And the first moment when I set Beaver down on the floor and said, "Look what I got for you," our five 20 pound cats circled poor Beaver and growled unmercifully at him. That was when I put Beaver in the play pen. Poor Beaver cried and cried and cried until our yellow tabby cat named Yolkie sighed deeply and jumped into the play pen to approach Beaver. Before I could grab Yolkie, he grabbed Beaver, dropped him to the floor and laid down beside him. Beaver snuggled next to Yolkie and they went peacefully to sleep.

Somehow, cats and dog survived the next 12 years with Beaver and Yolkie being Best Buddies. As sometimes happens with friends, they both died at the same time, Beaver in the house, Yolkie in our garden.

The next night, I dreamed that Yolkie was running through the house shouting, "Wait for me Beaver! Gangway. Gangway! I’m a-comin' Beaver. I’m a-comin'!" Then Yolkie ran through the front door to catch up with Beaver waiting in the yard for him, then they walked together up into Heavenly clouds.

Now remember, that was just a dream. Or was it?


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Night Time Prayer


Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray thee Lord, my soul to keep

Watch and guard me through the night

And wake me with the morning light

Amen

Posted by Diana for Margaret

Friday, July 8, 2016

Community Feeding Time




We arrogant humans think that we are the only community-minded creatures but this is not true. Take, for example, the birds who live in Timothy’s garden every year. For about five years, there was a large bush outside our kitchen window. In the center of the bush, I had set a feeding platform.

The birds loved to visit this spot. Young lovers arrived for quick meals during mating season. Mamma and Daddy birds made many round-trips from their nests filled with fledgling babies to the feeders and back again. When the feeders became empty, the parent birds sat on my kitchen window and stared inside our house until I came out to replenish the supply.

Fledglings on their first trip sat shyly on nearby branches, flapping their wings until Mamma or Daddy fed them. Slowly, the baby birds crept closer to the feeder until at last they were able to feed themselves.

Sometimes, one little bird would be pushed aside as his or her fellow fledglings scrambled for the food. Most often, this introvert sat and waited and hoped food would still be there when the others were gone.

One little woodpecker, after being pushed aside, refused to accept such a fate. With a squawk of indignation, he flew into the feeder, sat down in the middle of the tray of sunflower seeds and began eating. Every time another bird tried to get a bite, the woodpecker pecked him. The fledglings who had chased him away had to sit and wait until he finished eating.

The sparrows seemed to be the most sociable. I could hear them arriving long before I could see them. They chattered and chirped like the Vienna Boy’s Choir as they flew across the yard and landed on the bush. These little birds did not fight for food nor did they push any of their companions away from the feeder.

They lined up on one branch, then waited their turn. The first bird hopped to the feeder, ate a few seeds, then flew to the end of the line while the next bird took a turn. This went on and on until every bird was full. Every day, they went through this routine. None of them went hungry. None of them were greedy. There were no fights among them.

Do the other birds ever imitate the courtesy of the sparrows? Do we humans ever have as much consideration as the sparrows?


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Teeny Kitty




On the outside of my bedroom window, I built a perch for our cats so they could sit there at nights when they didn’t want to roam. Every time they got hungry, they scratched on the window so I could let them in. They ate, then scratched on the window so I could let them back out. A cat likes to eat a lot during the night. Five cats eat a whole lot during the night. I wasn’t getting much sleep between feedings.

I decided to put a dish of dry cat food on the perch before I went to bed. This worked fine. I slept beautifully.

One night a week later, I awoke to loud crunch, crunch, crunching sounds outside the window.

“The cats are noisy eaters,” I mumbled and sat up to see which cat was eating with so much gusto. I peeked out the window and saw a raccoon looking back at me.

The next night I set out two dishes of cat food. The raccoons and cats did not disturb each other as they took turns eating on the perch. Eventually, I had to move the feeder because the raccoons tried to come through the bedroom window with the cats.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Brave Cat and the Mocking Bird Song


TIMOTHY

One spring afternoon, as Grammy and I sat at her patio table, eating chocolate chip cookies and drinking lemonade, I asked her, “Who is Timothy?”

Grammy smiled and hastily wiped a tear from her eye before she replied. “Timothy was the bravest, kindest and most loving kitty that ever has lived. He was my assistant who helped the nuns at school teach the children about stewardship. I took him to school with me one day so the children could meet him.  When I carried him into the kindergarten classroom, all thirty children shouted “Timothy! Timothy! Timothy! and rushed to the carry cage he was in, grabbing it and shaking it in their efforts to hug him. Fortunately Sister Angelica and I were able to restore order and keep Timothy safe in his cage. The children had loved his visit but all future visits were done with pictures and stories. Some day I will share them with you.  Now let me tell you how my garden began.”

IN THE BEGINNING

My garden began in 1984, long before Timothy was a twinkle in his Daddy’s eyes. The time was 3:32 in the morning and a mocking bird sat on an electric line outside my bedroom window, his chirps, trills and tweets filling the night sky and depriving me of any sleep. I had to go to my job at Internal Revenue Service in a few hours. I had an important job stacking papers and moving the stacks to other offices where they were put into envelopes and mailed to unsuspecting people. I had no time to listen to the songs of some bird.

I yelled at him to be silent. He sang louder.

I clapped my hands to scare him off. He waved his wings, perhaps to scare me off.

At last he lifted up from the wire to fly off and that was when I discovered that he had only one leg. Sorrow grabbed me as I remembered my science teacher of many years past say that injured animals cannot survive in the wild. I cried, thinking that while I would be at work, this poor creature would fall to the ground and never get back up. I had many years of life left, the mocking bird had only hours left.

Work was long and difficult that day. Night was bleak and black until at 3:32, I heard the familiar song. Laughing, I stared out my bedroom window to see the mocking bird in all his glory. I slept peacefully that night and every night for the next five years of the mocking bird’s life. He faithfully watched over me as I worked at building a garden where he and his friends could live in peace. How I would love to find my old science teacher and tell him “Yes, injured animals can survive in the wild.”


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Cat Fight


Yolkie and Donny having a frank discussion

Face to face the two cats drift,
Ready to start their nightly rift.

Yellow-striped tom, black/white kitten
Done with sleepin', tired of sittin'.

Backs arch up, claws extend,
Doing what the gods intend.

Snarling teeth, lemon eyes,
Furs fluff up, tails rise.

Yowl on the left, howl on the right.
This'll be a marvelous fight!

Dogs start barking, trying to wake us
With their warnings 'bout the fracas.

Meows roar, Hisses spit.
Their weapons grow. This is it!

Human curses go unheeded.
Cat serenades are most needed.

Cat fur sparks 'lectric fire.
Tension mounts. Nerves go higher.

Creeping up in treacherous paces,
Cats mark out ter’torial spaces.

Now the cats grow more intense
As neighbors gawk in suspense.

To watch such  gore is a sin.
What the heck! Let the fight begin!

Teeth to tail! Chomp and bite!
Such a battle could last all night.

But first a pause, folks, if you please,
While kitties stop and scratch their fleas.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Canine Patrol




Wake up, doggies! Today’s the day.
Springtime weather is on its way.
Time for cats to snuggle down,
Time for dogs to run around.

Let’s get started. Time’s a wastin’!
Gotta do a lot of chasin’.
Bite the bushes! Eat the flowers!
Run your path for hours and hours.

Run and jump. Hop and leap.
Tromp new sod grass with your feet.
Mamma won’t care. What the heck.
She won’t even ring your neck.

Round and round the house we go.
Hurry up! Don’t be so slow!
Front yard, back yard, fence to tree
Where we stop to look and see.

Run around with nose to the ground
Look for squirrels who can’t be found.
Snurt and snort, spit and snuffle.
Don’t you dare let your feet shuffle.

Tails waggin’, ears held high.
Look out folks. Doggies passing by!
UPS driver, don’t  you stay!
Mail truck, be on your way!

Mamma and Daddy are in the car.
It’s okay, they won’t go far.
But for us, we must decide
To keep on running or take a ride.

When comes night, we snore and snurf
While the cats invade our turf.
But all is fine; It’s okay.
Tomorrow will be another day.


Posted by Diana for Margaret

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Welcome to Grammy's Garden




Good morning. Such a lovely day today. Who am I you ask? Just call me Grammy. That's what my grandchildren and all the neighborhood children call me. The photo is a picture of the entrance to my garden that I started over thirty years ago. I was young and innocent back then. I thought all I needed to make a garden grow was a hoe, rake and packet of seeds. Well, that was a good start but we all know that it is only a start. So who helped me get my garden off and running so to speak? The animals. It started out with a mocking bird that sang only in the middle of the night and still has no ending.

Posted by Diana for Margaret