Blog: Reflections from Rural Route 2


Wednesday, May 19, 2010, 04:58

A Tail of Loss

I was getting ready to leave for the newspaper office Tuesday morning when I saw my big black tom cat, Rocky, and my little tabby, Bobby-Cat, crouched on the driveway, watching something.

Naturally, I went to investigate. And yes, they were watching something.

It was a salamander.

Or rather, part of a salamander. The front part. He was already so stressed he had lost his tail.

"Bobby," I said. "Was that you who found this poor little guy?"

The only time I see salamanders is when Bobby-Cat finds them and brings them up into the yard. By that time, they have already lost their tails.

I figured it was Bobby-Cat who found the salamander because she's the hunter of the bunch. It was Rocky, however, who was worrying the poor little salamander, letting him crawl away and then flipping him over and over.

"Rocky, stop that. Let him go. You'll hurt him," I said.

"Meow," Rocky replied, looking up at me. Then he went back to bothering the salamander.

I went to find something to pick up the salamander with. (Yes, I admit it. I'm squeamish about such things. Salamanders are too close to snakes for my comfort.)

I found the sod fork on the other side of the house, but much to my disappointment, the salamander kept slipping off the flat tines.

In the meantime, Rocky kept right on letting the little fellow crawl into the grass and then going to find him.

I looked around some more and found two sticks over by the jack pine trees.

I returned to the spot where I'd last seen the salamander, but he had disappeared.

"Did he get away Rocky?" I asked.

The big black tom had his nose to the grass, and a few seconds later, he pounced.

And there was the salamander again.

While pushing Rocky out of the way with one hand, I used the sticks, like chopsticks, to gently pick the salamander. I took him over to some long grass and let him go.

In the meantime, Rocky kept circling around and around where he had last seen the poor little fellow. I don't think he ever did figure out that I picked the salamander up and moved him.

I'm not sure what kind of salamanders it is that Bobby-Cat finds. They are not the black and yellow spotted ones. They are kind of a greenish-gray with dark-gray stripes.

Unfortunately, I have no idea what their tails look like. Bobby-Cat doesn't catch them all of the time. Maybe only a couple of times during the summer. But, as I said, I have yet to see one with a tail. . .

LeAnn R. Ralph


Sunday, May 16, 2010, 05:41

Sky Blue

I started painting the newspaper office today. I chose a nice sky blue to cover the slate blue/gray that is currently on the walls. I am hoping the lighter blue will make it lighter and more cheerful in the office.

So far, so good. I have gotten the south wall painted. Randy helped me by moving furniture and using the shop vac where needed. I intend to get the east wall done Sunday, leaving me with the west and north wall for next weekend.

I managed to get my Dragon's Blood Sedum planted this morning along the house before I started my painting project. I planted one of the rose bushes. I put the sedum where my daylilies used to be. They all died out in the drought. I thought daylilies were indestructible, but apparently, they have their limits. I found what was left of the roots when I was digging up for the sedum. They must have held out for as long as they could but then couldn't hang on any longer. And that's in spite of me watering them from time to time. It's hard to water on a sidehill, though.

Sedum, from what I know if it, is pretty tough. Even if you just pull off a sprig while weeding and then toss it aside, it will sprout and grow.

I have more rose bushes to plant. And some willows and a plum tree. If I'm lucky, I will get time Sunday evening after I have finished my allotted painting for the weekend.

Too bad I haven't figured out yet how to add more hours to the days. . .

LeAnn R. Ralph

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