My mother called her grandma “Grandma White,” obviously because her last name was White. My grandson called me “Grandma White” for the first time the other day. I thought that was quite peculiar, since he had never heard of his great-great-great grandmother before. Until he explained:
“You know, Grandma, if you keep feeding the animals in your yard, they will call their friends, and soon your yard will be full of animals. You will be just like Snow White. Grandma White, that is your new name.”
I could see his point, I guess. I have one cat. Actually, Quinten was Michelle’s cat when she was twelve. I never was a cat person. Personally, I prefer dogs. But I bought Michelle a cat. When she moved out, she left Quinten behind. Lucky me. Quinten is not the friendliest animal around. He’s been known to go after my sister’s golden retriever and every other animal that has been over to visit.
I happen to have a pretty large deck, close to the ground, which makes for a nice hiding place for outside animals. Last winter, I noticed a black cat spending a lot of time in my yard. I felt bad for it being out in the cold, but he wouldn’t come near me. He would eat the food I left for him, though. Quinten made the most unusual noises when he saw the black cat. He began to mark his territory. Unfortunately, that territory happened to be my curtains and carpet in the front of the house. It took forever to get rid of the odor. You’d think I would have learned my lesson. But I didn’t. I had a very friendly kitten come around this last summer. He would walk right up to me, even pushing past me to get into the house. He would eat Quinten’s food, and play with his toys. He looked a lot like Quinten, only smaller. Most of the time, Quinten would snarl at it, and the cat would leave. The last time he visited, my daughter’s dog was here and ran after it. I’ve never seen a cat jump a 6 foot fence with the speed and agility of this one before. I haven’t seen it since. But Quinten didn’t seem to mark his territory then. He waited until the black cat came back again this winter. And a gray one followed. With this winter being so cold, I made a little shelter for them out of a cardboard box surrounded by insulation set within a plastic bin. This I placed in the shed with the door slightly ajar.
The gray cat likes to eat in the morning. The black cat meows for food in the evening. I am a bit leery of putting food out after sunset, though, for fear of the neighborhood mother raccoon and three babies coming onto the deck. I prefer, instead, leaving food for the cats in the morning, along with peanuts for the two cardinals, one male, one female, and two male bluejays. I thought the squirrels would prefer the Honeynut Cheerios, but they scramble to reach the peanuts before the birds get them. Who knew? I guess they got used to eating the peanuts from my hand over the summer and didn’t like the switch. The sparrows finish whatever is left. Sometimes, I throw out a few breadcrumbs, and maybe the kid’s leftover pancakes.
Maybe there’s a reason the squirrels ate a hole through my roof and raised their babies in my attic last year. One day, I may get tough on these varmints. But I think I will wait until it gets a little warmer.