Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Meet Rocky


I've been meticulously pruning our Orange tree the last two days, trying to shape it and encourage its productivity on into the future. Last time I pruned this much, the following season's crop looked more like basketballs than Oranges. But after that the fruit was incredible for the next five or six years. I think trees regard a good pruning like you and I would feel if we let our hair, finger-nails, and toe-nails grow grimy and unchecked for a couple years, and then finally had the perfect trim, manicure, pedicure ...and massage. (Blatant hyperbole... and I don't really know how any of those things feel...)

Citrus seems to respond favorably no matter when you prune, but now seems like a good time since the last fruit is coming off and the flowers are just appearing. Of course, around here, it's too late to work on any deciduous fruit trees because they're already blooming and growing leaves. Gotta love Southern California!

So what's with the picture of my cat? Well, as I've been up in the tree obsessing over one branch or another, he's been hanging out nearby and keeping me company. But it turns out it wasn't really me holding his interest. You see, the neighbors have a chicken coop just across the fence from our Orange tree, and a family of mice live underneath it. Out of reach and out of sight save a tiny gap in the fence, much too small for a cat. So Rocky sits and waits. And waits. As long as it takes.

Then the payoff for his patience... a youngster made the fatal mistake of wandering just a bit too far and Rocky the normally-sloth-like cat struck like a Cobra. Lightning quick.

Tail high with prey clamped in his maw, Rocky pranced on by so I could see his handiwork. All it took was a couple minutes of smacking around before the poor little thing was twitching, and then totally paralyzed. So Rocky gnawed on the skull and ate half its body, then apparently decided it was too gross to finish so he wandered away to take a nap. I buried the lower half under the orange tree.

Kind of our own little tract-house-neighborhood eco cycle: chickens attract mice, which get killed by cats, then buried in dirt, rotting and nourishing Orange tree, so we can trade Oranges for eggs. Or something like that...

2 comments:

Mrs. Fanelli said...

I hope you give Lily her own blog article also. Can't play favorites with the kids....

Marco Fanelli said...

Ha-ha! About 30 minutes ago I saw Lily had a mouse too, but then she lost it when she tried to play with it. Not quite the killer instinct Rocky has. She'll have to do better if she wants her picture on this blog.