Meet Chuck

Chuck is worried about climate change

The world outside my window has turned green but my posting on April 25th about “mini-Spring” has been seeming a little off the mark. My experience in recent years has been that the very early, wonderful stage of Spring only lasts but a few short days, after which the whole world explodes once more. Admittedly those recent experiences were in the Puget Sound area of Washington State. But I lived on Long Island for many years and I’m sure we had “mini-Spring” there.

OK, so now I am upstate and things are bound to be different, but I spent some time in New England, years ago. Surely my memory is not that bad? Maybe someone can set me straight about this. Is this Spring, upstate New York, normal?

I’ve said it several times, I am not desperate for the weather to get warm. I am, in fact, delighted that it has remained cool for so long. I am just surprised. Daffodils and tulips in May? Grant says he read somewhere that the climate in New England has changed radically, so maybe it’s not a memory issue.

Whatever the case, I am loving this period because of all the wee friends I have been getting to know. Chuck has his burrow just up the hill. Grant was able to place the trail- cam nearby and we are wondering if we will get to see babies. I assume that Zoomer is a chipmunk, although I’ve never seen one so small. His babies must be thimble-sized! That little creature moves so fast, it’s as if he’s got little rockets for feet.

As wonderful as all this is, there is just one problem. That’s him, looking through the window, nosey-parker that he is. Pancho is a neighbor’s cat and he’s lovely, but he’s a cat. When we were first here he arrived one morning carrying a chipmunk (maybe even Zoomer) which we persuaded him to release. I’ve had long conversations with him about the wildlife and how he should respect all these creatures. But he’s a cat.

So what to do? The neighbor says she tried to keep him in but with so much space to run around, he demanded to go out and that’s not a battle you can win. I tried it once.

Attach a bell to the bad boy’s collar? As Grant pointed out, it wouldn’t be much fun to have a cow bell round your neck all day. Besides, he’s not our cat. The previous owners here were cat people and we suspect Pancho was always welcomed. He’s not unwelcome now.

I guess I shall be busy all summer keeping an eye out for the stalker.

6 thoughts on “Meet Chuck

  1. Oh, my, beautiful Pancho, you are a bit of a bandito. All those interesting creatures to observe, not kill. An age old problem. The towhee is so distinctive, and he is a ground feeder, making him all the more at peril.
    We have a “Chuck,” too. He has a hole in our very high retaining wall/rock garden, and we see hi very often. He doesn’t seem to like the succulents that fill that garden, but when we had a vegetable garden, he cleaned it out. We now have container gardens on the porch and he cannot reach them, so far, anyway.
    Spring will come soon, I think, as I sit here in a down vest. Meanwhile, you have that fun wildlife as distraction.
    So enjoy your writing!

  2. I think a SMALL bell (not a cowbell) on that rascal, Pancho, might do the trick. A lot of the cat collars have a bell attached, which I have always removed for my indoor cats. Maybe your neighbor would be agreeable to that?

    I love to hear about your small visitors, because, down here in Texas, we don’t have the same ones as you. I am dealing with my annoyance this morning because, once again, the raccoons have made off with the last bowl that I place the wet cat food in. I started with plastic “bins” after I had difficulty placing a ceramic bowl on the ground when I had back surgery. Being lightweight, they have disappeared by the dozens. My last resort was a heavy metal pie plate and that stayed for about a month, until last night. I wonder why they do this and would dearly love to find their “stash”.

  3. Is it possible someone else is taking the bowls? I have seen raccoons making off with bowls, but as you say, yours must have quite a stash! How is your back ? I had a multi-level fusion 12 years ago, so I understand your difficulties, but I hope you are doing better.

    1. Carolyn, I really think it is the raccoons and I don’t know how many there are at the present time. They only take the wet food bowl, not the dry food one. I believe it is because it still has bits of food stuck in it and probably still smells pretty good to them. I have been trying to remember to go out and bring the bowl in and wash it each night, but I do forget it once in a while. The plastic ones only cost me a dollar, but it’s aggravating to have to buy them a dozen at a time. I have another huge metal bowl in mind at Walmart that I am going to try next.

      Thanks for asking about my back. I had a 2 level fusion last June and will have a hip replacement in July this summer. I am having a lot of pain in both areas, but am hopeful that therapy after my next surgery will have good results. Each area seems to make the other hurt more. I hope you are doing well with no more back issues.

  4. Let me tell you how I first became aware that I had raccoon visitors to my front porch. When I first started feeding the first of the feral cats, I was using a small plastic cereal bowl and noticed each morning that it was in the yard or the driveway and had small claw marks on it. I thought a dog had been chewing on it. One night (it was late and dark) I went out with a flashlight to see if I could find the bowl and was standing beneath a big tree in the yard, when all of a sudden, the bowl came right down and hit me on the head! I shined my flashlight up into the tree and saw the biggest and fattest raccoon I had ever seen. That was my introduction into my nightly visitors that come to finish up whatever the cats don’t eat. So, I know what the little rascals are capable of.

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