Yesterday it all became clear.
The clouds have moved on. It was a warm sunshiny day to walk around the yard with the dogs and a glass of ice tea to plan spring trimming and planting.
The good part about this climate is that we can do gardening and yard work in March. The bad part is that we have to do gardening and yard work in March. Without a heavy frost, evil stuff grows all winter and if we don’t start now, by April it takes a machete to get through it.
Suddenly anything resembling serenity came to a squawking halt. From behind the fence came the high decibel squawks that have become so familiar for the past three weeks. Then a blur of feathers came hurtling onto the fence and flew into the tree. And just as suddenly an orange blur plunged over the fence and landed at our feet.
Freeze frame. It’s me and the dogs surrounding a very startled large orange cat, with Charlie cheering from the tree.
The cat recovered first, back flipping over the fence, barely escaping the jaws of Chamois the generic dog who always forgets that she can’t climb. From her perch in the tree Charlie cheered us on.
That’s why she chose this yard. It has a large tree and here she is safe from cats. Cats hunt with solitude, stealth, and silence. When dogs hunt, you can hear it in the next county. The end game in the cat hunt is death. Dogs just enjoy the hunt.
Our cat, Taki, has stayed in the house as far away as she can from this whole Psycho Chicken episode. It seems to give her a headache. (I might mention that Taki came to us off the streets one day when she was a juvenile and never left. She did clear out a couple of mice that the dogs seem to have befriended.)
In her tiny Guinea brain, Charlie must realize this yard is her sanctuary. As long as her big tree is here and the noisy dogs and crazy broom lady stand sentry, she is safe from any predators who have a chance of actually catching or harming her. She wasn’t looking for a quiet yard; she was looking for a noisy one.
I don’t know much about birds, but they seem to be social animals like dogs.Without a flock, little teenage Charlie seems to have made herself a member of our human-dog pack for her own protection and companionship. Can a bird really be this smart? Charlie is the Mensa of birds, but still.
I have put up a makeshift feeder for her, but Guineas seem to prefer live insects. Since I don’t use pesticides, I have a smorgasbord of assorted bugs in the yard, which I have no plans to use.
We have a weird symbiotic relationship going on here.