The killing season commences. The first sign of sunshine and movement in the garden and they are out there sloughing off their winter sloth and slaughtering every thing that moves, frogs, bees, leaves... they are not so good on birds.. yet!
No longer can I slouch sleepily in my study following my morning ritual of tea and emails, coffee and online papers, more tea as I head for the blogosphere. As my computer chair is next to the window I can just see, out of the corner of my eye, the suspicious milling around of cats that means some poor frog, with flippers across its head in surrender position, needs rescuing from their prodding, patting paws. I fall downstairs and out into the garden where, despite the thickness of my dressing gown, a freezing blast of icy air chills me through as I rush out to grab the frog before a cat seizes it in it's mouth and high-tails over the wall. If this happens it will necessitate a struggle through the bushes at the back of the neighbouring garden in pursuit of the fleeing culprit, squashing slugs and snails into the soles of my indoor slippers as I go. A rude awakening indeed.
Rescued frogs are gently placed into my pondlet where they invariably swim quickly down to the bottom. Some of them never break the surface again... And those that live will be forever in fear of the 'great eyeballs in the sky' - Luka peering endlessly into the water in his obsessive hunt for them.
This is not the only damage my precious pussbabies wreak. There is another routine to be followed before I even get my first cup of tea.
I am softly slumbering but it is 7.00 a.m. and no gentle release from dreams for me. A fat catpaw pats my mouth and ignored is then shoved up my nose! As I start to emerge slowly from my sleep a cat sneezes directly in my face to hasten the process! This tactic invariably works as I shoot out of bed and fall into the bathroom to wash off the cat snot. We troop downstairs in a procession and the cats are immediately let out the kitchen patio doors after their night time incarceration. They rush towards my crocus and iris pots and nibble the long stems. I rush out and boot them off but as fast one retreats another is taking its place.. this is too much I am barely awake so a smack is administered somewhere around the cat's backside and they disappear off around the corner of the house. I stumble back into the kitchen to get my tea and their breakfast. But what is this? Before they have even eaten a cat has proudly puked up a little pile of what was once the new libertia 'goldfinger' I bought at the RHS flower show. Later inspection shows that this is now ruined. The slugs have already got the more expensive of the hepaticas I bought.
All is not gloom however. For the first time ever I've spotted a goldcrest in the garden which has visited over the last few days pecking around my euphorbia 'blackbird'. (You can just about see it in the picture below - excuse the quality it was taken through the closed window).
I watch over my little visitor ready to ward off any marauding cats. I wonder why this tiny bird has honoured my garden with his presence. A few days later I discover the reason - the euphorbia is covered in whitefly.
Cats, frogs, slugs, snails, rosemary beetles, miscellaneous insects, caterpillars, seagulls not to mention the maggotry... the garden battle season begins!
Unbelievably I just found a vine weevil sitting on my desk - this really is war!
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