19 May 2019

Un après-midi dans le jardin avec les animaux

The weather forecasts for today and tomorrow say we should expect scattered showers and maybe some thundershowers. High temperatures will be in around 60ºF (between 14 and 16 in ºC). The radiators in the house are warm, so that means the boiler is running. I guess the weather could be worse — we'll muddle though. Yesterday morning a hard rain fell for a couple of hours, but it tapered off over the course of the day. This morning it's raining only lightly.

Here I'm posting two pictures each of the vegetable garden plot, of Bertie the black cat, and of Natasha the Sheltie pup. I took thephotos on Thursday afternoon, May 16. It was a beautiful moment, and I felt good about things because I had finished tilling up the garden plot in the morning. Walt had finished mowing the grass. Those are Swiss chard plants on the left in the photo, and the green mounds on the opposite end of the plot are clumps of oregano.

The garden soil will need tilling one more time before we can set seedlings out in it. This won't be the first time we have had to wait until about June 1 to do the planting. In our area, the last danger of morning frost is May 15, they tell us. Problem is, May is often pretty rainy. We need to wait until we've had a few fairly dry days so the soil won't be so muddy to work in.

Bertie the cat has lived here since 2010, after his British "guardians" moved back to the U.K. and left him with us. He's now just over 13 years old. He's an outdoor cat and sleeps in our garage, but he spends a lot of time in the house and back yard these days. He has free access to the house in the daytime, but not at night because he likes to bring in dead and even live rodents, which we don't want to step on during the night or have scurrying around. He's pretty nocturnal, I think, and likes to be outside at night. The vet says the fact that he's still an active hunter means his health is pretty good.

Bertie and Natasha, who's now two years old, get along well. The cat was already 11 years old when we brought the new puppy into the household. Earlier, between 2010 and 2017, we tried in vain to get our now deceased border collie named Callie to play nice with the cat. Bertie could have run away in frustration with the whole situation, but from the day he arrived here, he just settled in and has never wandered far. He once disappeared for three or four days. It turned out he was trapped in our neighbors' garage, who hadn't noticed him when they locked up and left for a long-weekend excursion.

We bought Natasha, a Shetland sheepdog, from a couple who breed them over in Chinon, an hour west of Saint-Aignan. That was in 2017. We figured we'd have two dogs for a few years before Callie, then 10, reached the end of her life, but that wasn't to be. One Saturday afternoon two months after Natasha's arrival, Walt found Callie lying in the entryway of our house, paralyzed. She had to be "put down" (euthanized) 48 hours later. It's just not possible keep a dog that can't stand up or walk.

For Natasha, Bertie the cat was just a fact of life. She had never seen a cat before she came to live here. While Bertie had been afraid of Callie, or at least wary of her, for all the years they lived here together, but he wasn't bothered by the new puppy at all. He had in fact grown up with a small dog between 2006 and 2010 because our U.K. friends had adopted a puppy and a kitten at the same time back then. The fact that Callie the collie was twice as big as Natasha might have been a factor in Bertie's wariness.


  1. Your garden looks magnificent in its readiness for plants....And Bertie and Tasha are looking great, too. I'm glad they get along so well.

  2. Oû sont les oies, les canards, les poules, les lapins...

    Bertie is a sweet cat, glad he is friend with Tasha.

    1. Il y a souvent des canards dans la petite mare à la sortie du jardin, sans parler du héron, des crapauds, et des grenouilles. Il y a des lapins, des lièvres, des blaireaux, et des chevreuils dans les vignes et les bois autour de nous. Couleuvres, taupes, hérissons, chaves-souris et une fouletitude de petits rongeurs vivent parmi tous les autres animaux. Il ne manque que oies et poules (on entend le cocorico d'un ou de plusieurs coqs tous les matins mais on ne les voit jamais). Walt vient de me faire remarquer que plusieurs oies, canards, poules and lapins passent souvent du temps dans notre congélateur !

  3. LOL! Toute une ménagerie, en somme. I was wondering if ducks visited that small pond outside your property. Evelyn suggested the heron you pictured the other day could also be a visitor to that pond. It might well be.

    For several years I had a couple of pigeons ramiers nesting in the bushing ivy in my small yard in Paris. I don't see them this year. Ramiers are not as common and should to be mistaken for bizets the pigeons you see all over the place in the streets.

    This year, also, I didn't see any mouse either. May be they died of old age? Or of sorrow because I was away?


    1. Of course, it is shouldn't be mistaken... I had written first not to be mistaken then changed my mind and messed it up...!

    2. Pas grave. J'ai tapé "chaves-souris" au lieu de "chauves-souris" comme tu as dû voir. Et "fouletitude" au lieu de "foultitude" — c'est compliqué, une langue qui n'est pas notre langue maternelle. Je suppose que toutes les langues sont aussi compliquées que l'anglais et le français. Il nous faudrait des versions "new and improved" LOL.

  4. I'm so glad that Bertie and Tasha are buds!


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