Saturday, June 20, 2015

Five Photos, Five Stories: Day 2

Bootsy the Barn Cat came with our lease at Elmira Pond. The first few years, she remained an enigma, slinking through the grass and eating kibble in the garage unseen. I occasionally wrote of Bootsy sightings as if she were Blue Heron or a moose.

This past winter she decided to stay and we see her every day. I enjoy coffee with Bootsy in the morning, and bird watching with her under the apple tree. She's a tad unsettled with Grendle's new off-leash lifestyle. A remarkable transition has occurred since he was injured by a bear on the Pack river -- he no longer wants to run off! But he will still run after the cat, to her disgruntlement.

When it comes to a balanced eco-system, I'm skeptical of cats, especially feral ones. Cats kill songbirds. I reluctantly accepted the cat that came with the lease. Yet time and observation leads me to believe that Bootsy does not hunt birds. She has subsisted on rodents and does was a barn cat is supposed to do -- she keeps our outbuildings rodent free.

Better than that, Bootsy is a gopher killer. The problem with killing gophers by recommended methods of poison is that poisoned rodents then kill higher up the food chain, including bald eagles, hawks, owls and coyotes. Ranchers have long held biases against coyotes, but if you observe their actual nature, they keep down the populations of rodents and rabbits that can destroy pastures and eat crops. It's all about understanding the balance.

If you've tried to lead a balanced lifestyle, you know it can be a challenge. The weather can be like workplace stress. It tips the scales. My workplace stress these days is the result of a dry spring and summer. My cherry tree died; my apple tree just dropped all its marble-sized apples; my garden plants look tattered; not all my seeds are germinating and my magnificent spruce tree has some sort of invasion.

While these things are not the direct result of a dry season, they are responses to a weakened state. Just as we often catch a virus or strain a muscle when we are under stress. I look at my property and understand that its immune system is challenged by the weather. I can water, wait and hope.

Bootsy is a good companion for waiting. She doesn't roll her kitty eyes at me or offer opposing opinions. She offeres me a comforting rub against my legs, a lap sitting and a greeting chorus of meows when I water. She just is and she lets me be. What more could I ask for? Oh, yes, the daily gopher head to show she is keeping my gardens and yard free of pests. And she doesn't harass the birds so we are good.

This is Day 2 of a photo and story challenge offered by fellow blogger, friend and hopefully (one day) a visitor to Elmira Pond,  Norah Colvin. Today I nominate Yinglan who is a blogger at A Simple Life, engineer, accounting student and a creative photographer to take up the challenge if she is so obliged to participate.

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are:
1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!


  1. Bootsy looks like a gentle cat with killer instinct! I soooo wanna hug her <3

    1. She is both and she is also a lap smuggler. I'm just on my way to have coffee in my garden with her.

  2. Bootsy has found a comfortable place in your heart. I agree with your dislike of feral cats for the devastation they do to wildlife. We have problems with feral cats and others over here as well. Glad Bootsy is not like that and knows her place, fulfilling her role. Glad to hear some positives about coyotes too.
    Sorry to hear about your garden under stress. I hope the weather behaves itself soon and sets your plants back to rights. Nature out of balance is not good for anyone.
    Thanks for joining in the challenge. I am enjoying your posts.

    1. Coyotes are actually important for eco-balance. They can help my garden by dining on rabbits and rodents thus keeping those populations in check. My garden is overcoming whatever has had an early nibble and my daughter posted a "bug spray" of coffee. Hmm...I don't mind sharing coffee with my plants!