June 12, 2006

my neighbors and friends

Monday, June 10th, 6:48 PM

Gus is my dog. Well, my parent's dog, but she lives out on the ranch with me now. She mostly follows me around. Finds a shady spot to keep watch. At night she defends our home from wild beasts with her fierce bark. (Which is why my parents sent her out here actually - more on that in a minute.)

There are also a dozen or so cats around the place. All descended from our recently-deceased siamese, Sara. They are all beautiful cats. One mama had kittens over Eastertime when I was here to visit. Now they are wild, as barn cats should be. But I'm doing my best to warm them up to me. Slowly slowly they are inching closer. I doubt they'll ever come jump in my lap to cuddle. But they may eventually let me pet them. We'll see. I take them a little cat food and food scraps everyday. And a little sour milk when I have it. I always say "kitty kitty kitty kitty" when I go out there. In that tiny little voice that is reserved for kittens and babies. Hopefully they'll start to associate "kitty kitty kitty kitty" will milk and stop being so damn skiddish.

The other day a box turtle trundled into the yard. The hired man's idiot-dog wouldn't stop barking at it, so I moved him over near the pond. He was pretty shy, but peeked his head out while I was carrying him. He'd probably never covered so much ground so fast before.

Other animals I see everyday: horses, cows, deer (though I haven't taken a picture of one yet, a young doe has been waltzing through the yard in the mornings and I took a picture of her tracks)...

...and mourning doves. I think there are mourning doves all over the United States. But they sound a little different everywhere. Just like humans do. I always notice their cooing, whenever (wherever) I hear it, because it is a sound that I associate with this place so much. I remember mornings in Berkeley waking up to the sound of mourning doves and being transported here - in my hazy waking mind I would half expect to open my eyes to cottonwoods, instead of palm trees. The way the mourning doves sound out here on the ranch is particularly unique. Particularly soothing. I used to think that they were "morning doves" and was always confused about how they got their name, as they were just as often singing in the evening, as in the morning.

There is one other animal about the place that I have yet to see in person: a bobcat. The day before I got here, my parents came out and found the screen to the entryway window all tore up. After talking to Matt, the hired man, it seems that something tore off the screen and drug it across the yard. The window had been left open and the big bag of cat food was knocked over. Luckily Matt noticed that the window was wide open without a screen. He walked through the house to be sure whatever broke-in wasn't still in here. A raccoon would definitely be capable of smelling cat food through the screen and ripping it open to get to it. But there is no way a raccoon could have drug that heavy wood-frame screen across the yard. I guess Doug saw a small bobcat one morning a few months ago, walking out of the barn. So that seems the likely culprit. A bobcat isn't likely to attack a human, unless they are cornered or otherwise provoked. The only worry is that I might not see him and could inadvertently make him feel trapped by my presence. But Gus will let me know when the bobcat is about, and protect me if it gets too close. Good ol' Gus.

1 comment:

Azure said...

There is nice light in your trailer. I'm glad about that.

I told you this before, but something about the thought of bobcats eating cat food is depressing to me. It seems very fast-food-drive-thru. Go hunting, child!