A cat’s-eye view of gardening. By Eva Kosinski
Tinkerbell first started visiting last year, when her owner (if cats could be said to have such things) moved in two houses down. She’s become the darling of the neighborhood, our little wanderer. Her fan club includes families four blocks away. She makes sure to check in on everyone at least a couple of times a week. We may elect her mayor. When I told her about your magazine, she was delighted to write a bit about her experiences.
The first thing you need to know is that all the stories about me have been exaggerated. Yes, I did bring half-dead mice onto the porch, throw them up in the air, and then chase them around the house. I did jump into the car when it was time to bring the kid next door home from school. And I did almost get on the school bus once—because it seemed like they were going somewhere interesting.
But I don’t do these things all the time. I just can’t stand to be bored, and I love to visit people. One of my favorite places, however, is Eva’s garden.
You know how it goes: The sun is up, the sky is blue, and the lady of the house (who fancies herself my owner) is off to work, so out the cat door I go. I love this neighborhood—especially the leash laws for dogs (smirk-chuckle).
First, let’s jump up to the window near the steps and see if Eva’s home. Yep, she’s got her cup of coffee and cereal, and she’s watching the news. Won’t be long before she’s ready to hit the garden. Look! She sees me and is waving, as though to say, “OK, hold on, I’ll be there in a bit.” So I go to the side of the house, jump the fence, and go around to her patio door to wait (these humans can be quite slow). Oh, look, there’s my reflection in the patio door. Gorgeous! Eva says I have “Cleopatra eyes” because my eyes are green-gold and I look like someone went nuts with the eyeliner. I’m pretty darn cute, with my little pink heart that says “I go home” on one side and a phone number on the other. (I won’t talk about the stinking bell around my neck that scares the birds before I can get them.) Eva calls me a “mush bug” because I’ll even roll over on my back and let her pet my tummy. But only if I’m in the mood.
Here she comes! She’s got the hat. She’s got the gloves. Yippee! She’s going to the garden. Oops, she almost fell. I’m not trying to trip her, but she walks so slowly and seems surprised when I brush by in my hurry to get there.
She’s opening that little building where all the intriguing smells are: fertilizer, bags of dirt, old pots from last year, rakes, and hoes, and all that. I slip easily under the wheelbarrow and look for spiders to chase. Now she’s bringing out little pots, I see. She’s not going to the garden yet. She’s going to the patio.
She’s got baby plants on the back patio, and she’s going to put them in bigger pots. Yuck—she’s got the hose out! I move way over here while she rinses the pots: I’m not a fan of unexpected showers.
Ah, now she’s sitting down to work. I leap onto the table to have a closer look. This flat is empty. Yup, I just fit. I can lie here and watch her put the baby seedlings into trays and bigger pots. She waters them not with a hose but using the watering can with the big long snout. That puts the water where she and I want it. Now she’s taking some bigger lants and putting them into the wagon. She’s going to go to the garden! If I run really fast, I can beat her there—see? Now she’s digging holes! Let’s get my head in there to see what’s what. Hey, watch where you put that trowel—I’m looking here! Nothing interesting in this hole. Maybe the next one…nope.
I think I’ll go over to the curbstones, they are so nice and warm in the sun. I can just sit here and watch as she takes the plants from their trays, one after the other, and puts them in the holes she dug. I love garden work. I could watch her do it all day. Every once in a while, she looks up, so I go over and get a few pats. I deserve them.
Oh—sorry! I have to leave now. I just saw something move in the day lily patch. Scrunch down and sneak, slowly, very, very slowly, so that bell doesn’t give me away. Yep, it’s a mouse. I am Tinkerbell, the mighty hunter. This is going to be fun!