Critters in the Yard

One of the fun things about gardening is it attracts all kinds of creatures, good and bad. Reptiles, insects, pests and friends. There's the little green tree frog in the gutters who occasionally treks across the lawn (usually in front of the lawn mower); the wren that decided a good place for a five-egg nest would be the grapevine wreath on the back patio; the bunny that keeps a couple of my burning bushes pruned so that they barely reach one foot tall; the mockingbird singing gleefully from the old walnut tree; the robin who is nesting in my old leaning garage in which I can't shut the door, the hummers that have been buzzing me in the evening and the mysterious masked bandit of the night that robs the bird feeder of oriole jelly (I see the footprints up the feeder pole). 15-2134toots And, last but not least, the killer queen. My outside cat will go after anything that moves. Tootsie has her own shed and is locked up at night, but has free reign over the yard during the day, using her cat door to drag in any prey to be tortured before meeting their demise. Now, I'm a cat lover. If I lived in the country, I'd have a lot more cats, but it's truly disturbing to witness her methods. If she catches a mouse, she acts very nonchalant and looks away until it moves, then she pounces on it, only to go through the whole thing again. Over and over, until the poor thing gives up. I've had to hasten the end when it was too disturbing to watch or even sense it was happening. I once saved a hummingbird from her grasp. Yes, she's quick. The neighbors have a small dog that is also fair game. Tootsie hangs out on the property line, watching it walk by and if it crosses the line, she dives at the dog, causing it to yelp and jump in fear, though not touching it! It's hilarious to watch a dog wimp out to, of all things, a cat. wren nest Tootsie is smart enough to know what not to mess with. The neighbors raise pheasants and somehow one escaped and used to hang around in the yard, and the neighborhood, hassling people. I called him Fred. I think Tootsie was scared of that big bird. She would investigate enough to make him fly straight up into the air, but nothing ever came of it. He scared me, too. He stalked me, kind of creeped me out. Dove at my legs to keep me from getting back to the house. Was forced to use him as a football at the end of my foot a couple of times. Then, in the spring he disappeared. Every once in a while I think of him and miss him. Interesting times. My yard might be small, but there is a lot of life in it.

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