Merlin

Seeing Merlin the lion at the National Tiger Sanctuary in Missouri was magical. The big cat was rescued from life as a prop in a magic show. For a while, all he knew of life were the hard walls and floors of a concrete basement. Our guide told us that when he was first turned out into his new home, he was afraid of the grass; afraid the ground would collapse under his paws. Today, the handsome cat looks very content with his life and very unafraid of his big bright world.

Lion in the sunshine with fall foliage behind him.

When doughnuts fly

Threw a couple of stale doughnuts out in the yard early this morning figuring fox, coyote, raccoon or possum would take advantage. Surprisingly, the first on the scene for breakfast al fresco was a small murder of crows. Each snagged a pastry and headed for the trees. (Oh, the big thing is a leftover Halloween pumpkin, which the crows raided for seeds and everyone else is enjoying the rest of the fruit.)

SHAKE DOWN — Crow fidgets with the doughnut until he has it just the way he wants it in his beak.
OFF WITH YOU — Strictly carry out this morning.

Gosh darn it! Squirrels are cute.

No two ways about it. These little rodents have a lock on cuteness. This array of white, red and gray squirrels was found in the same back yard in Minnesota. Some years, there there have been solid black squirrels alongside the white, romping around the yard’s many trees. The white squirrel is a true albino with red eyes. We hope he can evade the hawks and coyotes.

Hard for this fellow to hide in any season but winter.
Red squirrel scampers for corn and seeds dropped from the bird feeder. This l’il guy had a red friend with whom he played tag. (or whatever squirrels play.)
Peek-a-boo!

Memorial

Many moons ago a scared, injured tortoiseshell showed up at the door. Cats have that way of knowing. That yard. That door. Those people. We took her in.

She was one of those beautiful torties whose face was half black, half caramel.  Dad named her Eurydice, after the wife whom Orpheus was able to bring back from the underworld. She was gentle and not meant to be feral: her hunting harvests usually consisted of insect parts and leaves. When we took in a stray kitten, she mothered her.  As with all our cats, she had other names, but came to be called “Momcat.” She remained with us 23 years.

While dad still had his sight, he lovingly painted a memorial stone, which overlays her remains in his back yard beneath a towering bougainvillea. 12-24-2018 MomCat 2.jpg