Yellow Pollen or Pandemic?

 

I watered the garden yesterday and this is the pollen that washed off the drive.  It is everywhere and each year the residents in our little forest cough profusely.  The yellow pollen is from the Pine trees but Oak pollen is around at the same time to add to our misery.  Tree pollen is larger than other types and tends to get stuck up your nose (on your clothes, hair, car…)

I washed the deck yesterday…

Once the news of Covid 19 reached us my OCD habits kicked in and I stocked up on reasonable amounts of disinfectant and cleaning products.  Over the last month or so, I have been really depressed and anxious.  I stopped all my work and volunteering which was unnecessary as for the foreseeable future, I will have no work as it relies on people traveling.  I laugh wryly.  Then I increased my anti-depressant and feel much better.  But I am stuck in the house with Teddy…  He had flu a couple of weeks ago or at least we think it was.  I disinfected every part of the house and really wanted to spray him in a light bleach solution but I know that is unreasonable (but I really wanted to).

The PERP

This morning I went to Kroger at 8 am and the locusts had descended.  I considered asking one woman why she needed to fill her WHOLE trolley with toilet tissue but thought better of it despite a devilish thought about how big her butt was.  Three hurricanes gives you plenty of experience of mentally unstable residents in supermarkets.  During Hurricane Ike we had fully armed officers in supermarkets to keep control – where are you when we need toilet tissue??

So, during this low period I have been hunkered down in the house, square eyed from watching too much TV, unable to write blogs and now I want to PLAY!!!  Talk about timing.  I am ready to go back to work, go for lunch or go on vacation. After the stressful supermarket expedition, I looked in the mirror and saw my gray roots.  My hairdresser cut my hair really short in case I couldn’t see her for a while.  Think GI Jane, except older.

Sally Beauty won’t be busy, I thought.  It was wonderfully quiet until a lady (with the same gray root situation as me) needed to look at Clairol hair colors.  We were being terribly polite and trying to keep our distance.  Then I felt a yellow pollen tickle and coughed – loudly.  Both of us looked at each other in horror and I shouted, “ALLERGIES!” and we burst out laughing.  Then we started talking about realities of catching COVID 19 and agreed that we could catch it anywhere.  Even in a beauty shop, because nobody wants to be in isolation with your gray roots showing. 👩‍🦳

Furry Tails from the Woods

A rather well fed feral cat…

This is our outside feral cat, Katniss.  Yes, she of the wooden palace…  She is a solitary little soul and I often wonder if she is lonely or am I anthropomorphizing?  At 7.30 am she is usually waiting for her breakfast and 6 pm for suppertime.  Although she is one claw short of a paw, she has finally figured out that the new wooden house in our garden is for her to shelter in.  Monsoon season is here and she has been inside the house, peeping out, looking for her human.

On a tangential note, our street has had a variety of feral cats; some fools have rescued them and others have disappeared.  One particular black and white tom cat, named Adolpho in our street, was quite a character.  He looked like he was wearing a scruffy leather jacket and smoking a tote.  One of my neighbors noticed that there was a poster of him in the street.  He was well known in every street and each had a different name for him – Bud, Tank etc.  A text chain started and we all sadly found out that he had been killed on the road.  RIP Bud, Tank or Adolpho.

Back to my black and white beauty, Katniss – a few weeks ago she was asking for food more often than usual.  I accused her of being pregnant but she just stared at me with those round green eyes.  Then Teddy and I figured out what she was doing.  I had noticed a very small mother raccoon, slightly smaller than Katniss, who had swollen teats.  Presumably her kits were nearby or under the deck.  Katniss was leaving some of her meals for the raccoon and just sitting happily with her.  Do cats make friends with other species; apparently so?  It was so lovely to watch them.

We didn’t want to encourage the raccoon to join the family so we cut back on the food.  Life went back to normal until Griff, our surviving feral tomcat, gray with pretty crossed eyes, started lurking around and made Katniss very skittish.  I chased him but he was quite determined to get Katniss’s meals.  To tempt her to another part of the garden I put out some human salmon – just a spoonful.  Before Katniss could find it, the little raccoon sniffed out some delicious food from heaven.  She was tucking in when Katniss appeared, outraged!!  She went straight up to the raccoon and hissed in her face.  The raccoon was cowering but she had never tasted anything quite so wonderful and she had to keep eating it.  Then Katniss biffed her on the head with her paw but nothing worked.  Laughingly, I went out to give Katniss a different plate but she was sulking by then because the delicious human salmon was in the raccoon’s tummy.

I haven’t seen the little raccoon for a while but she has probably moved on with her kits to a more prosperous garden, full of grubs and mice.  Every so often I open the window with the net down so that she and Toffee, our old inside feral cat, can sniff each other.  Toffee is also solitary and loves to watch Katniss from the top of her condominium.

My new camera gives some lovely detail to Toffee’s beautiful little face with her hooded owl eyes. She is 15 and a half years old, born in Cairo, Egypt.

The Scary Green Thing!

SCARY GREEN THING 002
Last summer I was out in the front yard when I noticed a commotion in my neighbor’s yard. Mr. Fluffs, our elderly feral street cat, was very interested in some activity. My neighbor’s dogs were barking through the window at the cat so I walked over to see what was going on, just as the householder came out. She was then dive-bombed by a very small titmouse who was screeching at us, the cat, the dogs and anyone else who was preventing her catching her lunch. ‘Lunch’, mortally wounded, fell to the ground under a tree. Neither of us could figure out what it was because it was bright green and looked like a leaf. When I got close, I screeched (along with the angry titmouse) as it was a gigantic moth or butterfly. It looked bigger than the tiny predator. I ran inside and got my camera to evidence the titmouse’s lunch. As I have mentioned in older blogs, I have no fear of lions, tigers or bears but moths will send me screaming off in a panic. As soon as the photograph was taken we all retreated, including Mr. Fluffs and the titmouse finally got it’s prey (a Luna Moth). At this stage, Mr. Fluffs was geriatric and had lived in the street for at least 10 years. This was the most animated I had seen him in years. It was hard to imagine who would let loose a beautiful Himalayan cat but perhaps they lost him? In his retirement one of our other neighbors took over his care, fed him, took him to the veterinarian and brushed him lovingly. He suddenly became ill and like many cats disappeared off to die. We searched all over our area but it is dense brush and forest and impossible to find a cat that wanted his grave to remain secret. Our house backs onto the reserve and I asked the neighbor who looked after him to go up my ladder and shout for him. At the top of the ladder, she let out a scream because she saw a Momma skunk and her two babies just sauntering around ‘over the hedge’. This is what happens when you live in a forest… Below is a lovely photograph I took of Mr. Fluffs basking in the sunshine at the back of our garden.  The reserve, with it’s colony of sexy female cats, skunks, snakes, raccoons and a not very dry creek, is right behind him.

RIP Mr. Fluffs

RIP Mr. Fluffs

Thanksgiving

bedias view2 This is a view from our favorite forest and lake close to our home in Texas. It was a beautiful day today, sunny but with a little chill in the air. We rarely get the fall foliage that is common to the north of us but sometimes Mother Nature gives us just enough rain, not too much sun and a gentle autumn to turn the leaves into gold, red and copper. If we are unlucky enough to get a hurricane it blows all the leaves off before they get a chance to develop autumnal tones. A quiet walk through this forest on Thanksgiving morning with the possibility of seeing an alligator or a giant Woodpecker gives us so much reason to be thankful. Click on the red link to see more fall photos. THANKSGIVING