Right, so we entertained my mother-in-law for the long weekend. She was visiting from Toronto and has decided she wants to move to Cornwall to be closer to us. We're glad, because when we broached this idea in December after my father-in-law died, she was not ready. But now she had decided of her own accord that she wants to be closer, which will make it easier for all of us. Gordon is going to start looking for an apartment for her.
Many other things have been going on, apart from me being up to my ears in work.
For starters, the local red squirrel population is not pleased with Julius...
One day last week, I went out to retrieve Julius and Naomi from the Kitty Palace, only to find them on the highest shelves, with Naomi meowing pathetically. When I looked down, I saw why. There was a rotting, maggot-infested red squirrel corpse on the floor of the cage. May I note that it has been 30C or more here lately, plus humidity? Anyway, somehow Gordon and I managed not to notice this atrocity for several days. Much as I would like to blame Gordon, we both somehow missed seeing it. No wonder the cats were upset! What kind of cat parents are we, locking our felines up with a rotting corpse? When we stopped laughing at ourselves, we did feel kind of bad.
And we all know who the mighty hunter is. Yep, the fluffy orange killing machine: Julius. He is the master of rodent assassination, all carried out within a few square feet of cage. The squirrels have 86 frigging acres of land to roam on here, but for some reason they consistently choose to frolick through the bottom of the kitty cage. While I have never seen Julius in action, I suspect he waits patiently on a shelf above the prey, and when the squirrel is perfectly positioned below, he leaps down and delivers a one-fanged death bite. Horror from above!
Yesterday, Gordon went out to fetch Julius, who had been relaxing out there for a couple of hours. As Gordon approached the cage, he thought he saw a pretty red blossom on the floor of the cage. "Where did that lovely flower come from?" he wondered to himself, noting that the cage seats beneath a mountain ash that bears small white flowers. But as Gordon neared the Kitty Palace, he became confused. Why did the flower have a red tail? And a foot?
Yes, dear readers (if you are squeamish, skip over the next bit!) It was of course not a flower, but the rear hindquarter (yes, one quarter, not plural!) of a red squirrel, and the "blossom" was the entrails. Everything else had been ingested by the Mighty Orange Hunter, who had the grin of a cat in the throes of squirrel satiation.
I am now afraid to look down when I go out to get Julius from his cage.
On a brighter note, my beehives are doing well. The girls were quite hot the other night and were bearding on the front of their hives. I need to improve their hive ventilation a little bit. This is the bee equivalent of hanging out on the front porch in an undershirt while drinking beer on a summer night:
In other news, Naomi, who is very affectionate and friendly, all but disappeared for three days of my mother-in-law's visit. She usually likes to sit on Mom's lap, but for some reason, she was out of sight for most of the weekend. I finally figured out why. She had found herself the ultimate nest in the basement:
Blink, blink! "Can you please turn that damn flash off and leave me in my cardboard splendour?"
And you've already met the new ducks, but here are some of them on the day we picked them up from our friends' farm. The guy at the front left stayed behind, but the brown-backed duck behind him is MacGregor, and the lady duck on the front right is Eugenia, named after my friend Eugene.
Here's another duck (left) that stayed behind, resting in the shade with the piggish Charlie Sheen, who came home with us and has been getting his groove on with the ladies ever since.
And finally, I present for your viewing pleasure a duck video with a small surprise at the end:
Never a dull moment around here!