Friday, 15 June 2012

Where would we be without him.........

I thought maybe this is a good time to update one of my previous posts about Fudge, my diabetic cat.
He was diagnosed in July of last year and the last 11 months have proved not only fraught at times but have provided a number of 'ahhhhh' moments.

I have two other cats, brothers, Jax & Jet who at various times have been the bane of Fudge's life, ganging up on him when they were kittens, sleeping with him when it's cold and generally plaguing the life out of him but all in all, it's a happy home and Fudge has taught them a thing or two along the way.

Not long after Fudge was initially diagnosed, and we were still at that delicate stage of balancing food intake with insulin, I noticed that Jax in particular was hovering around him a lot more and when he wasn't there Jet appeared to be.

Now Jet has a finely tuned attention span, which means he doesn't really have one and although he took on his new role as nursemaid willingly enough, you could see his heart wasn't entirely in it.  He would wander off to watch something more interesting and then forget to come back.
Jax on the other hand was Fudge's almost constant companion, taking it all very seriously, faithfully following him around and sitting close by.

One morning I was working in the office and Jax appeared with his usual plaintive cry for biscuits (for a large cat he has a surprisingly small meow) which I ignored telling him he'd already had them.  He turned and walked away, going back downstairs and I thought no more of it until he appeared again about five minutes later.  We went through the whole process again and again he disappeared only to appear again almost instantly demanding attention.  Frustrated but knowing the only way to appease him, I followed him downstairs and offered him a few more cat biscuits which he very pointedly ignored and went outside.
Amused more than concerned I followed him outside only to find Fudge collapsed on the decking, having his very first hypo.

Jax in favourite position outside my office
Has he got more than me?

I have no idea what was going through Jax's mind but I do know that he sensed something was wrong and he doggedly (excuse the pun) kept on at me until I realised it too.  I dread to think what would have happened if he hadn't and to this day whenever Fudge isn't quite as he should be, his faithful black shadow is sure to have something to say on the subject - and now? -  well now I always listen.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Rainy days........

Yesterday was one of those days when the rain didn't stop and the cloud cover was firmly stuck overhead with not even a glimmer of light shining through.

Having said that Paddy (a Tibetan Terrier) and I firmly put all feet forward and trudged determinedly out onto the river bank for his afternoon walk.

Of course like any walk, it's what you make of it, and once out and dressed accordingly (well I was anyway) it really wasn't so bad.  Rainy days are great for having somewhere to yourself and we didn't see another soul from start to finish.....

By the time we'd covered half a mile along the top by the river, the rain was horizontal and gluttons for punishment though we are, it was actually beginning to impress upon both of us that perhaps it wasn't quite the wisest course of action to continue in the same vein.

Paddy was looking particularly sorry for himself as he squinted through the drizzle, walking just that bit faster towards the usual halfway point where we either turn into the farm track and walk back behind the animal enclosures or carry on round to the point where the speedboats live. Now certainty has always been Paddy's middle name and he's nothing if not tenacious but continuing on would have been nothing short of fool-hardy and Paddy is certainly not that. Besides which we were both of the same thought and practically jogged down the slope in our haste to get out of the worst of the weather, being wet of course meant it was slippery but with no one to see us what did it matter if we fell rather than ran down it!!!

Crossing to the side of the track we walked close to the bushes which provided some shelter from the driving rain and almost began to enjoy ourselves again when suddenly out of nowhere appeared two beautiful  foxes.

One was a lot darker than the other but they were both in fine condition and clearly intent on stalking a flock of pigeons that were gathered for a communal bath.  So immersed in the hunt were they that they passed within a stone's throw from where we were now standing, rooted to the spot.  Paddy moved not a muscle as he watched them creep nearer and I'm sure he let out the breath he was holding at almost exactly the same time that I did.  Whether it was our combined movement I'll never know but one of the foxes turned and saw us and then they were moving, running and jumping over the stockade fence, looking back only as they reached the river path and then they were gone.

A day in the life.........

How many times do we take for granted, all the small things in the world around us.

I was gardening at the weekend, quite a rare occurrence at the moment due to the weather but it was warm and overcast and as I worked I gradually became aware of the number of bees around me.  There is one particular bush near to the kitchen door and it is covered with tiny white flowers which the bees seem to particularly like and I stopped to watch them as they carried on regardless of my interest - and the subsequent memory they reminded me of so vividly.

Three years ago I was busy weeding the veg patch  when I became aware of one or two bees floating around nearby, I didn't pay them too much interest but carried on until very gradually over a period of about an hour, they were joined by four or five others.  It was almost as though they were sussing me out and reporting back.  In the end I stopped to watch them and found that they were investigating an old, rotten bird table that I had stored, meaning to recycle when I had time, and were in fact going in and out of the nest area at the top.  Over the following few days I continued to work in the same area and each time was joined intermittently by a number of bees until by the end of the week they had obviously decided I was no longer a threat and started to treat me as a potential food source instead.  It was a particularly dry and sunny month (hard to imagine I know) and I started to put a small container or sugar water out for them (you might also remember that bees were dying due to a mite infection and their numbers were falling at an alarming rate) and took great pleasure in watching them feed.  In then end they decided it was a good place to call home and stayed for the summer........returning for two subsequent years.  I have since found out that they are called Solitary Bees and often make their home in one place for many years unlike many of their species.

 and finally, some interesting facts about bees I'd like to share:-

One in three mouthfuls of food we eat is dependant on pollination

A bee can fly as little as 1mile or as much as 5 miles a day for food

Bees can fly as fast as 15-20mph when flying to a food source - but only 12mph when laden with nectar, pollen or water

Bees can see colour

Bees collect about 20kg of pollen every year

and finally...........

Honey Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just 1lb of honey  (that's the equivalent of one and half
times around the world).  

Worth remembering when you have honey on your toast tomorrow morning!