1. On the bright side: turns out our 10 month old cat is a tremendous mouser. I would not like to be a small animal anywhere near him.
On the dark side: he’s a house cat. Meaning, we have (or had, one fervently hopes against all experience and wisdom) mice. In our kitchen. In the pantry.
Back on the bright side, I was able to give a still slightly twitching mouse to the cornsnake last night – win win! Back on the dark side, that meant that I couldn’t give the snake this morning’s even more alive mouse that Razor (that’s the cat’s name – prescient, it seems) was playing with when I got up.
And on the darkest side: I’ve now got to employ the full anti-mouse protocol, which will involve a lot of crawling around, dragging out and inspecting stuff, throwing stuff away, cleaning up droppings, etc.
Which is no fun.
2. Our house was built 70 or so years ago in what was then walnut groves. After the fashion of home builders, the walnut trees that were not in the way were left as is. When we looked at the house 20 years ago, there were 4 trees – one in the front, 3 in the back. One of the back trees was worrisomely close to the house and had damage at the base, so we took it out before we moved in.
Two days ago, we had the tree in the front removed. It had begun to look less and less healthy in recent years. It had a huge cavity in its base – used to have a beehive in there, until a skunk ate it a few years ago – and leaned toward the house. Toward the room where my wife and I sleep. Soooo, we had it taken out.
I was able to find a local urban wood guy, who collects wood from trees taken down in cities and towns and mills them into something useful. I’m to get back a few boards. I’m thinking maybe I’ll make a predieu, unless he gives me enough to make something larger.
The circle of life for a big tree – and this sucker would have crushed the house had it fallen on it – is also a circle of life moment for the critters that live in it. This includes what might have been some voles living among the gaps and roots – good riddance, they were tearing up the yard. The squirrels, I trust, just moved to the other trees. But, sadly, this morning I noticed a piece of a branch, neatly sawn, sitting on a pile of bricks near the house. It was largely hollow. In it I saw a nest with a number of tiny dead birds in it, just reaching the point where their real feathers were coming in.
Did the workers notice the nest, carefully cut the limb and place it there hoping the parent birds would return? I don’t know how else to explain it. It’s comforting, on some level, to think that men who cut trees could be soft-hearted enough to do that.
But mom and dad bird did not return. I will be thinking of the little birds as I plant stuff in the yard. Circle of life.