Thursday, February 14, 2013

Phenology: Crocuses and Raccoons

Quick phenology post, for those who may be wondering about the previous post. Why didn't I sleep last night? My conscience is clear. I'm not seriously ill. Lying down, closing my eyes, and turning out the lights felt good last night. So why didn't it last?

Because we have a new animal at the Cat Sanctuary, and it has to be Walt Kelly's original Rackety Coon, only it's full-grown and even more rackety.

Here's what went on all night. I'd lie down, close my eyes, and turn out the lights. Five minutes later I'd hear what sounded like burglars. It was not, technically, a burglar. It was Rackety Coon yanking clumps of insulation out of walls and trying to pull off doors in the cellar. It was also the cats, all very discontented with this situation. I'd turn on the light, grab a lethal weapon and flashlight (stars but no moon), and go out to confront the possible burglar, and see: nothing. Until morning, when I could see those tiny little hand-shaped prints on the path.

And meanwhile, while I was chasing away the burglars, the kitten Iris would have jumped on to my shoulder and be riding around purring like mad in my ear, and when I tried to detach her and go back to bed she'd lock her claws into my clothes and force a cough and beg to be allowed inside...and I can report that, although she's still fighting off bronchitis, Iris is no longer sick enough to cuddle up and sleep at night. No way. She's learned to curl up on my knee and rest when I'm typing. I wasn't typing; I was lying down, so to Iris that apparently said "Let's play! Kiss me on the nose! Scrub my face with your tongue!"

So I'd get up and throw Iris out, and she'd cry and scratch at the door, and finally she'd stop. Because she was bored and had found something else to do? No, because she was hiding from Rackety Coon, again, and here came the next assault on the cellar walls...

So after 4 a.m. I just stopped trying and started doing useful things around the house, knowing that by this time this afternoon I would be feeling brain-dead. And I am. I don't have a fever but I do have an acute case of sleep deprivation.

Crocuses are blooming in the yard at the Cat Sanctuary...and at some point during the night I stepped on most of them. Fortunately crocuses are hard to kill.