I hate gardening. It's a pointless activity as far as I can tell. As a result my back garden looks pretty wild, wild enough that I really should get around to doing something about it.
In the meantime we've stumbled onto having a little nature garden, with more songbirds in the garden this year than we've had in over a decade of living here. This spring I've seen goldfinches, robins, coaltits, and chaffinches. We have a big magpie nest at the top of the ash tree in the back garden, which is hardly heartening but at the same time a sign that something must be going well to make them think its worth the bother. Hobbes used to climb the tree frequently, but he doesn't any more and Dita has only ever got part way up the trunk, using it as a jungle gym more than anything else, leaping up and hanging with her fore claws until she feels the need to drop down.
For the past few years we've had a fox too. Well I say 'had a fox', but I mean, we have one that comes up to sleep in the garden, usually under the tree. At one point there was a family but that seems to be old news, though we think there may be an earth out the back in bramble country. Last year we saw cubs, which was lovely but I admit I'm glad we only seem to have the one fox hanging about. When the first one moved in I was worried about the cats, and very much played the situation by ear. Weirdly there seems to be an odd truce between all of them though. My two are largely unbothered by the fox's presence as long as he behaves. I have seen Dita sleeping in the garden on a sunny day, with the fox a scant three feet away.
I've also seen Hobbes, the daft old sod, chase a fox off if he thought it was out of bounds, not bad for an old boy. So it really does seem as if the cats are in charge. I imagine next door with their brace of tiny tom cats, one black and one mackerel tabby, find much the same situation.
The situation with the other cats is perhaps the oddest thing, where my two are concerned anyway. It's something that's been highlighted by the arrival of two new cats in the close, one silver tabby and a cat who seems to be a mog with Siamese and tabby in their make up (and who has the most beautiful blue eyes). They've been making their presence felt and Hobbes and Dita really dislike them.
The difference in their attitude towards next door's black cat is hard to take because of that. He let himself in the other day and neither of our cats was at all bothered. They just let him get on with it and, as if to underline how comfortable he was with everything, next door's cat just let himself out of the cat flap when he was done. It was as if he was family, and I suspect that's how the cats view each other, as just a big, extended, tribe. I really like it, it makes it feel as if there's a real community for them. I jokingly say they have meetings under the ash tree, sitting on the stone that's been there since before we moved in to hold little parliaments. I say that it's Hobbes' classroom and that late at night he's holding seminars on how to vex the humans. One morning they all chased the same mouse, rushing out to hunt, with no time for humans or anything else. It's beautiful to see how close they all are, and I hope in time the new girl that lives next door will be included in the tribe, and that the interlopers, Ronnie and Reggie as I've taken to calling them, will make peace with the rest of the neighbourhood.