Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Blazing a trail through kudzu--not for the faint of heart

 Several weeks ago (months ago?) a storm caused a limb to fall from the tree beside of our house.  Try as we might, we cannot get it to budge off the cable/telephone wires running from pole to house from any vantage point.  Fortunately, it is not the electrical wire, but nonetheless, loss of our Internet would be a sad day around this place.
 It is suspended over a mountain of kudzu, just outside of the fence, on a little hillside with a ravine running through it.  Not terribly convenient as far as access goes.  Yesterday was beautiful, pleasant, calm, so I decided it was a good day to hack my way through the kudzu with the tree loppers and get this limb off the wires before another ice storm.  Now these days, my climbing up onto a wall about 18 inches from the ground, and stepping onto a less than solid surface is dicey.  I carefully got the two step stool, my cane, and gingerly approached the wall, trying to keep from entangling my feet in the kudzu vines just silently stalking me, waiting to pounce and wrap their choking little tendrils around me.

I managed to get up there.  Watching carefully where I put my feet, and using the walking stick for balance and support and to test out what was underneath all the dormant kudzu vines and dead leaves on the ground, I managed to create a fair-sized passage-way to reach the offending limb on the wire…but not be able to reach any of the branches or twigs.  Back down the treacherous path, in search of another tool…ah, yes, the rake should do it.  No, it would not.
 Take a closer look at the "trail" I was attempting to navigate, whilst keeping in mind that on a good day, on flat surface, it is not easy for me to walk, and you will probably be scratching your head asking, "What was she thinking?"  To quote "The Egg and I," I am like a dog with a bone once I get it in my head that something needs doing. (On a side note, in the ravine, I found the missing dog/cat dish, several empty wine bottles apparently pulled from the trash bin by our resident raccoon, and a number of empty food carton containers.)  Undaunted, I found a length of plastic pipe that was long, but not heavy.  It was a great plan, but it did not work!  The limb is too heavy.  I wisely gave it up for the day, however, clearly resolved that I will make an effort another day, with assistance…and a ladder.
 The term "feral" cat hardly seems to apply to the herd that hang out on my hillside, but still, they are outside cats and thus, the accommodations are sparse and utilitarian.  Yesterday after the failure to remove the tree limb from the wires, I replaced their collapsed cardboard shelter with a couple of new boxes, and fixed the cat cozy so they could not sit on top of it and crush it.  Duh, cats, the point of the shelter is to protect you from wind and rain.  Clearly, Bubby got the idea that in the cozy is better than on the cozy--or at least he grasped that he had no other choice now.

One has to learn not to become attached to feral cats, but rather just appreciate their contributions in keeping the mice and lizard population in check (and I feed twice a day, lest you think I am dooming cats to subsistence level hunting).  Some of them are aloof, although not afraid.  A couple are always downright domestic, climbing on my lap or purring while I hold them and scratch ears or tummy.

They are a trade-off.  I finally stopped feeding the birds because it seemed cruel that the cats were able to attack them while they were eating breakfast or supper.  I miss the birds, but after the second one was taken down right before my eyes before me or the bird knew a cat was close enough, I knew I needed to make a choice--at least until there is some other way to feed a bird without a cat being able to climb a tree or leap 5 feet straight up into the air and swipe a bird off a feeder perch.  And yes, one did, as fast as a speeding bullet.  At least for now, my trees are barren--no leaves, no cardinals.

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