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Friday, May 8, 2015

The Cat is Out of the Bag

Three significant things happened yesterday.
  1.  I saw a new wildflower.
Star of Bethlehem that opened May 7, 2015

                   My friend Krys identified it as a Star of Bethlehem ( Ornithogalum umbellatum ).

  1. The tulip tree opened its blossoms for the first time this year. 

Tulip tree flower that opened May 7, 2015

  1. And when I checked on the kitten in the afternoon, it greeted me at the door to the barn. It was no longer confined to the stroller.

The cat is out of the bag now! I thought. Of course, it was bound to happen. I could not expect that kitten to remain in the stroller forever. The fact that it decided to explore a little further shows that it is healthy and growing. But for whoever is responsible for it, this opens up a whole new can of worms. How is the kitten going to be kept safe now?

And that's where I have to trust that Mother Cat is going to do her job, as I have too many other responsibilities to be babysitting a kitten all day long.

This moment comes with every baby. It happened with Sword, and it happened with Bow. They went from being totally helpless and dependent to being mobile little walking disasters who had to be kept out of harm's way without crushing their independence.

Sword and I on October 17, 1999 in Taiwan
Sword went  from this helpless being who was not much bigger than the logbook into which three people wrote down everything she ate in three languages -- Chinese, Hebrew and English ....

Sword was six months old at the turn of the millennium
... to this very active toddler when we moved to this property just after she turned two.

Sword and Teyman when we first moved here. Notice how small the forsythia bush is!
You can see a small part of the tulip tree in the top left corner of the photo
And then Bow was added to the mix,

Sword supervises Bow in 2002
He learned to walk early, but Bow, despite this, was so dependent for the next few years that he did not like to stray far from me.

Bow becoming mobile
He stayed as close to me as my fanny pack through the early years.

In the old hammock in the sun room

He had lots of fun, both indoors and out, and did not need to be confined, because he was way too attached to us to go anywhere we did not go.

He stuck very close to us, indoors and out, so we did not have to worry that he would wander away.

Hanging off  the dogwood tree
It's not the fence that kept Bow in the yard -- it's that he wanted to stay close to Sword
I could take him for Easter egg hunts off our property, and there would be no danger that he would wander off and get lost, because he was sticking close to the people he loved,

During an Easter egg hunt on another property
Bow always found the ones higher in the tree

Bow was always careful to keep us within sight, and the best way to prevent him from wandering off would be to walk in the opposite direction of where he was headed. He would make a piercing "I'm about to be abandoned!" sound and scamper onto my back every time he sensed I was getting ready to leave.

Let's go explore without Mommy

If he wanted to go exploring away from Mommy, Bow would recruit Sword to come with him, holding onto her hand tightly.

But the day eventually came when Bow felt confident to do things on his own, things we could not do.

Bow overlooking the yard

And that was the day when my job of keeping him safe got much harder.

Bow hanging off the liquidambar tree
That is the last photo I have of Bow unconfined. I continued to carry him on my back till he was five years old. As long as he was on my back, he stayed out of trouble, But the day came when I could no longer support his weight, and he objected to being left in the pen when I ran errands, so I had to confine him to the pens permanently. Which is how we got to be where we are.

I still have to be with Bow in the pen most of the hours of most of the day, which is why I cannot possibly afford to baby sit a kitten. I will leave that task to Mother Cat.

I left the food and water and scrammed. It would have been nice to stay a while and play with the kitten, but I am allergic, and Mother Cat is watching. So I went to look at the tulip tree, instead.

Several bees share a tulip tree flower

As most of the tulip tree flowers are still closed, the bees were crowded several to a flower.

That works fine for smaller bees, but if you are a bumblebee, it can get too crowded.

The accommodations for a bumblebee are considerably less commodious.

Depending on their size, you can fit at least two wasps in a flower, though.

However, the bigger the wasp, the more room it needs.

So, that was yesterday. Today, we have  a bleak and rainy morning.

The cat and the kitten, the birds and the bees will just have to fend for themselves for the time being.

 Bow is asleep on his blanket, and all is right with the world.


  1. Thank you for sharing the lovely pictures from Bow and Sword's childhood, Aya! I've been curious about the events that led to Bow's confinement. Of course, his safety is primary, and I couldn't imagine the neighbors' reactions to finding a chimpanzee at their front door.

    1. No,I think the neighbors would definitely not appreciate that! This is a different era, and people are really afraid of chimpanzees. A couple of generations ago, though, according to an anecdote I heard from the breeders, a couple could wake up in the middle of the night to find a chimp had broken into their house and had opened a can of cherry pie filling (using their can opener) and was sitting there in the kitchen at their table eating it out of the can with a spoon, and they would not be phased at all. They would just phone their neighbor and say "Hey, come get your chimp." But that's not something that could happen today. So Bow is safest under our current arrangement, restrictive though it may be.