delithopia

Notes from the Waxhaws

Cats and roses

with 2 comments

It was 48 degrees this morning when I woke up. Not many more…if any…of these cool nights left. Making the best of this glorious, late Spring day, I took a walk down the road. I could now understand why I had not seen the sentinel rock until this past winter. The trees, and other scrubby vegetation on top of it, and surrounding it…left it in very dark shadows. If I didn’t know it was there, I would be oblivious to that massive hulk of a boulder lurking just off the roadside. But now I know where it lives…and it’s become a somewhat reassuring presence. Something that will outlive me.

Driving down the road the last few days, I had noticed some pinkish blooms, tangled among the trees and bushes. That was my mission this morning…to discover exactly what they were…to help fill in my mental map of my little corner of the Waxhaw woods. When I found them, it was immediately apparent from the thorns that they were wild roses. My best guess…is Rosa Virginiana, which is native to the Eastern United States, and which tolerates clay (much of the soil around these parts is reddish and very clayey).

wild roses

Earlier this morning, sitting out on the front porch with Belle, in the chilly air, I heard a bird that I’ve been trying to identify. I grabbed my binoculars and spotted it at the very top of the tallest Sweet Gum tree (it must be about 70 feet high…with what I’m guessing is a spectacular view of the area). The dark head, white breast, and reddish sides confirmed my suspicions. It was an Eastern Towhee.  I remembered this bird as the Rufous-sided Towhee back in Illinois, but the voice is somewhat different here in the East…which led to some confusion. Even though now, I think, it’s considered the same species. I am discovering, though, that there seem to be geographical variants in the voices and calls of many birds.

My ‘day of discovery’ was capped this afternoon when I went out on the back porch to water my vegetable garden…which consists of one containerized cherry tomato plant that was purchased at Home Depot. It’s doing very well…even has some little green tomatoes already. As I was watering…something caught my eye. A little head sticking under the railing. It was a kitten…followed by three more. They clambered up on to the deck looking pretty pathetic and probably very hungry. I went inside to get a dish of water, and filled up a little dish with some dry dog food (hopefully…that’s ok for cats? We once had a cat for a very brief time…NEO was his name…short for Near Earth Object. But that’s another story). They attacked the food like there was no tomorrow…which for them, sadly, may be the case. They’re most likely feral cats…but they are very cute. Hopefully…they’ll wander away and find a good owner. But…I may end up buying some cat kibble…just in case.

kittens

three kittens

Written by Jim

May 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Oh-h, they are so cute. We used to have cats too and when my daughters left home they remained….seems like children do that a lot – leave their pets to pine for them. We had them both a very long time. The younger one never returned one night and since we live in a wooded area (nothing like yours) we think a coyote got her. Nattie, the older one became so full of cancer til she just peacefully went to sleep. I’m sure those kitties were happy to get kibble of any kind…canine or feline. Wonder if they’ll hang around. Maybe they felt you and Belle needed a little company. Keep us posted.

    Patti Grace

    May 21, 2012 at 1:07 am

    • They cleaned out the dish of dog food. I put out some Meow Mix when I got home from work today…but haven’t seen hide nor hair of them yet. Maybe they were just passing through. Cats are a bit too independent for me…I’d always be worrying about what they might be up to…or getting into. I’ll still be on the lookout for them though…

      Belle and I are missing Tinker quite a lot…it’s just not the same around here without that simple little life-loving soul.

      Jim

      May 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm


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