Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Birds Are Singing and The Snow is Melting

     Yesterday, I took the dog out to a buddy's woods and creek to visit a younger doggy friend. It was a brilliant day with March snowflakes, flowing water, and ice jams piled up along the banks of the creek.

     There were many herd paths leading out to the creek itself and around and through the woods.

     The two dogs had a great time digging holes in the snow and playing. The pictures of them playing together did not come out well enough to post them. The younger dog that we visited is a very balanced and stable dog. She knew enough to know that Blondie is very old and adjusted her play style accordingly. 


     Being a yellow lab, Luna was ready to play fetch and also to investigate bits of ice melting into a nearby stream.

     Blondie for her part was alert and happy.

     She enjoyed her time there investigating the smells around the creek and woods. When it was time to go home, she was ready for a nap.

     This morning, Blondie and I went to a small creek and some cleared land where there is a jogging path. Since the snows came, there have been few joggers or walkers there. Absolutely no one else was around when we showed up.

     Blondie was happy to be there and flopped down to do a doggy snow angel-- I really do have to take a picture of this-- so I knew that she has been feeling better. We walked near the jogging path [which indeed was covered by snow] and watched various birds doing what birds do. 

     The cardinals have been out in full force, singing from trees all over the place. I think it must be mating season for them. The cardinal "whistles" were predominant. I spied one hairy woodpecker tapping a dead aspen for insects. She was pretty fat. There aren't so many over-eaters in the bird world so I figure she must have been pregnant but I don't really know for sure. The year-round robins were flying around from their copse of trees to what grass could be seen. Looking for grubs? Maybe. I don't really know. I don't know the life cycle of grubs well enough to know where they are right now. I didn't see the resident blackbirds or the crows there this morning. That surprised me.

     The agency that "owns" the part of the creek [and the jogging path itself] decided last summer to not mow near the creek anymore. And it also arranged to have gray stones put down in the water channel of the creek itself. Both in my view were sucky decisions. The minkies and the greenies and the northern leopards [all frog species] had been doing fine in and around their creek before the agency messed things up. 

     I figure that after the ice and snow are gone, I will drop by the creek several times a week and move one stone at a time out of the water channel over to the sides. At least then the frogs will be happier again. If I move one stone a day, folks won't notice for awhile.

sapphoq n friends

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Your Sweet Cat

     Your sweet cat that you allow outside to roam at will defecates on the properties of others and kills wild birds. Cat poop does not smell good. Like dog poop, it is too acidic to use as "fertilizer" for garden plants. Cats kill birds. Cats have been killing birds for eons and will continue to do so.

     I came home today to find that your sweet cat has killed a song sparrow and left it on the snowbank near the bird feeder. That the bird was whole is indicative of the fact that your sweet cat killed the song sparrow with no intention of consuming it. You feed your sweet cat well-- that is too your credit-- and maybe you even take your sweet cat to the vet for shots and wellness visits. The thing is, you sweet cat hunts and kills birds in spite of not being hungry.

     My grandparents had a farm and ergo a barn and a clutch of barn cats. The barn cats killed mice. They never strayed from the barn. They were not a danger to the local bird population and they had a job to do. In return for rodent control, my grands fed the cats. 

     But those cats are not your sweet cat. Your sweet cat is pampered. In thinking that you are doing the best thing for your sweet cat, you have created a four-legged ecological disaster. Your sweet cat hunches down by bird feeders waiting for birds to kill.

     Besides that, your sweet cat has a pretty good chance of dying younger than if kept as a strictly indoor cat. We live by a road. The road has cars. The cars have drivers who hit roaming animals. Your sweet cat may wind up squashed like a pancake one of these days. You will cry about the big meanie driver who ran over your cat, forgetting that drivers have a responsibility to follow safety rules. It is not always possible to break for an animal dashing across the road. Period.

     There are feral cats who live in some building up the road. Some of them are fighters. Your sweet cat runs a chance of a beat down by one or more of the feral cats. Your sweet cat may come home requiring the attention of the local or not so local animal hospital. Or your sweet cat may not survive the run-in.

     Some kids may tease and hurt your sweet cat. Someone may use your sweet cat as target practice. Somebody may decide to pick up your sweet cat and turn it in at the animal shelter, an animal lab, or bring your sweet cat to a new "home" someplace else.

     If you really love your sweet cat, you will not allow your sweet cat outside. 

     ~sapphoq and the dead song sparrow