Sunday, June 28, 2015

Free is Good

Mopsy is always begging for pieces of grass or dandelion leaves to eat. You may wonder how I know this. Whenever I go outside and come back in, she is waiting at the door with that look in her eye that says, What did you bring me? If I have the aforementioned greens in my hand, she promptly snatches them away and chows down. Seed sprouts scattered by the birds are some of her favorites, very tender.

Sometimes I grow the stuff they call "cat grass", but she chomps away until it is gone in no time. And it's expensive and takes times to grow.

Recently, I saw something on Pinterest that gave me an idea. It was a pin of an eaten-down romaine stalk with the caption, "Don't throw out your old lettuce." The romaine is placed in a squat container with about an inch of water in the bottom. I looked up the safety of romaine for kitties and found it is their perfect greenery.

Now Mopsy has her own window garden.

There are three little glasses of romaine at different stages of growth. It is amazing how fast it grows. You can practically see it! And Mopsy crunches away at the tender tops whenever she wants. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How to Save a Lizard (from a cat)

Mopsy, the great huntress, is waging war on lizards. If there is a lizard season in Florida for the little speed demons, it must be now. They seem to be everywhere. Of course, Mopsy is a house cat and has to make do with what is available on my back porch. The porch is screened but lizards seem to appear out of thin air, and Mopsy is not content with biting off their tails as normal cats do. No, she uses them for playthings, tapping them with her paw to make them go, the torture queen. She never tires.

I have roll-up blinds all around the porch and have to keep them rolled down to keep Mopsy from climbing the screens. Otherwise, the screens would be hanging in shreds. She sits underneath the blinds, watching and waiting patiently and is always rewarded...dumb lizards. I keep the inside house door open to the porch, and, usually, she and the lizards keep their activities confined to the porch area.

But earlier this morning when I came in to turn on the computer, this shadow darted in front of me and I knew I had company of the wrong kind. He (or she) darted behind a chair leg and froze, normal for lizards. I peered down at him and saw that he had been wounded on his side (something red there), but it didn't seem to have slowed him down any. Mopsy was busy elsewhere.

Now, I am usually of the attitude of live and let live when unwanted critters get into the house. I try to capture or shoo them back outside where they belong. Normally, I can accomplish this with my "herding technique". Even wasps can be herded. I open the screen door (after making sure Mopsy is locked inside) and wave the flyswatter (just in case) so the airflow pushes the wasp toward my intended destination. But lizards do not herd well. You try to make them go one way and they go the other.

So thinking about this, I remembered seeing a jar being placed over a varmint and cardboard sliding underneath. I secured my tools and began my search for the victim. It wasn't hard. He was still in back of the chair leg, traumatized by the cat. Of course, when I moved the chair, off he went.

Now, if you can picture this, me creeping up on Mr. Lizard throughout the house, slowly lowering the glass jar only to have him dash off again and again. But, in the end, success. I'm sorry to say I traumatized him some more. When I finally got that jar over him, he was frantic, bouncing off every point of the inside from top to bottom. It took nerves of steel for me to slide that cardboard underneath and then to lift it up with him raising such a ruckus! With trembling arms I carried him outside, placed the jar on the grass, and lifted it up. Free at last.

Do you know that crazy lizard froze again and would not move. I watched for about five minutes and finally had to get the broom to shoo him off. He darted away through the grass about two feet and froze again...and I said good riddance and got on with my day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Air, Grass, and Birds

I just returned home from my early morning walk. Even though the temperature is in the 70's, the humidity makes it seem more like 90. Blue jays were screeching and crows were laughing, water was dripping from the overhanging limbs of trees and the storm drains were gurgling from the late night rain.

I still huff and puff a little while going uphill, but I purse my lips and blow out all the air I can to make room for new and fresh, hopefully oxygenated. The air in Florida smells like hundreds of others have already breathed the good part out of it...not like that sweet-smelling air in Delaware of maturing wheat and corn and soy beans. I guess I will always think of Delaware as home.

Now, as I sit here and sip my morning coffee, I wonder if the grass will have time to dry before our daily thunderstorm. Yesterday I managed to mow the front yard, but showers drove me back into the garage after one swipe around the backyard. I can still smell the cut grass as a slight breeze drifts in.

There is a cute little black-capped chickadee at the bird feeder. Oops, the tiny one has been booted off by a big old fat bluejay.

In the last few days I have seen doves sitting on the porch railing waiting for smaller birds to slosh out seeds onto the porch floor so they can swoop down to nibble. And there have been lots of purple finches. Here comes a cardinal and its new little one. She's feeding it seeds. It's a magical movie, free for watching.