Footsteps on the Dance Floor

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Well, maybe not. But now I won’t be the only one with a 1980s song stuck in my head.

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A Christmas Cactus Tale

christmas cactus closeup Sometime during the summer I spotted a Christmas cactus in our neighbour‘s garden. It was just lying there on the lawn without a pot, looking a bit worse for wear. I figured she had put it there to be rinsed off by the rain before she would repot it, and it had fallen over. I put it upright and forgot about it. A few days later, I saw it again, still in the same spot. “Don’t forget to repot your cactus”, I reminded her. “Oh, that old thing, that was meant to be on the compost”, she said.

Anyone who knows me knows what happened next. I marched back to the cactus (next to the compost, indeed), took it home and treated it to some fresh soil and a pot and put it out on our roof, where it got watered when it rained (other than during very hot weeks, I’ve found that benign neglect works wonders for a lot of plants).

A few weeks after taking the plants inside for the winter, I noticed lots of buds on my little foundling, and not too much later, it looked like this:

christmas cactusNot sure if there is a moral to the story. But I definitely recommend taking in stray plants and cats. You’ll be glad you did.

 

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Random cat post VI

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The Squirrel Days of Summer

Fall is upon us and there is a nice crispness in the air in the mornings. Some weeks ago, however, temperatures were reaching 39° C (102F). Too hot for me, and clearly too hot for what we have come to think of as “our” squirrel.

Squirrel in the summer heat (2 of 2)

You know it’s hot, when …

I was worried when we first spotted it on the tree like that as it didn’t move for a long time.

Squirrel in the summer heat (1 of 2) Eichhörnchen

I made sure to put out a bowl of water and some walnuts.

Luckily, temperatures dropped, and a couple of days later our little friend was back to his usual pursuits, i.e. climbing around on our roof and driving Isla crazy in the process (apologies for the bad cellphone shots):

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July

Zitronenfalter (3 of 3)Yes, I know. But better late than never. And I also know that I’m repeating myself, but that’s part of the point. (And this year’s photos are better, so there is that.)

Look at this trunk (or whatever that’s called in a butterfly):

Zitronenfalter (2 of 3)

The husband says that this sweat pea’s colour is ugly. I’m not privvy to the sweat pea’s thoughts about the husband’s colour.

Zitronenfalter (1 of 3)But she totally wins.

 

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General wildlife update

It has taken almost two years since this post, but I’m happy to report that the rumours are true. Last night, coming home from an event in the “I’m in way over my head” category (not a particularly pleasant experience* but I’m still trying to convince myself that I’m in it for the challenge), I finally spotted the neighbourhood raccoon. It was sniffing something quite intently and I managed to get fairly close before it noticed me and hightailed it up our very own street.

The hedgehogs are doing fine as well but since the evenings are general still rather cold (the weather having been very strange this year, with one-digit night-time temperatures until pretty much this week), we haven’t been out enough to see a lot of them. We have had repeated fox sightings (and a very healthy specimen with a particularly luxurious tail among them), and the husband seems to keep running into frogs in odd places on his walks.

Not quite in our neighbourhood but on a motorbike outing the other day (and still within city limits), we saw a deer happily munching on some leaves before gracefully bounding off. Plus, the husband has packed our diving boxes and we will be off bothering some fish in a new-to-us lake the weekend after next.

When everything seems to get a bit much, it’s good to remember that there is all this life going on all around us.

*And not helped by the fact that I was the oldest person in the room — not something that has happened to me before. The husband helpfully told me that I had better get used to it as it will be happening more and more. Thanks, I think. But anyway — I saw a raccoon!

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More new visitors

Stieglitz / European GoldfinchWe have never had goldfinches in the garden before, but now there are at least four. I hope they’ll stick around as I adore the colours. A goldfinch is a “Stieglitz” in German which is supposedly what their call sounds like. I have yet to hear it — so far they seem too busy stuffing their faces to do much calling.

Stieglitz / European GoldfinchAngry Hungry birds. The tits will just have to share.

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