When you live on a 1/2 acre lot that is plentiful in plant life and that backs up to undisturbed wooded lots you cannot be faint of heart. With all this glorious nature come critters.
We have critters of our own that roam among the splendor. We have Sadie the Catahoula mix. We obtained her from a park ranger who had found her abandoned in one of her parks. After we had her a month I understood why someone might abandoned her. She is a lively and energetic dog who needs lots of exercise and because of her we have made the dog park one of our favorite places. Sadie loves her home. She protects us, all of us, her herd and alerts us to things that are out of place. She always keeps a watchful eye when she’s not playing.
We have Rocky, the cat that came with the house. A massive creature that has the heart of a lion. He is our guard cat. Whenever our gate is open and we are away he makes it his duty to hang out and guard the gate. He is unafraid of large dogs and before they decided they could tolerate each other he would torture our poor dog. I clearly remember one incident not long after we had brought Sadie home where Rocky pounced on her and rolled her down the porch steps because in his eyes she was an uninvited guest invading his turf. In reality, though, he is a large baby of a cat who just wants to come in the house and sleep on big fluffy pillows (he especially likes to displace Sadie from her dog bed).
We have Smudge, a rescue from Texas Litter Control. My friend Deana who works there knew he was the cat for me and prodded me to come meet him. I feel in love and brought him home. I intended for him to be an inside cat, but when he learned there were other cats outside, he was most insistent that he must be let outside to play with them. Over time he grew to stay outside more than inside. He is one of the most cat-like cats I have ever owned. He climbs, chases, hides. He is fearless and above all, he is a hunter.
The other evening as I called him to come in for bed, he just sat in the yard staring at me. He had been cleaning himself before I called for him, a grooming like that after a meal and I suspected that he may have brought me a present that he wanted me to come acknowledge before he would join us inside. I went out into the yard to collect him. It was dark and my eyeglasses were in the house, but even in the dim I could tell there was a dead rodent nearby. I complimented Smudge on his prowess and brought him inside.
In the morning we got a better look at the kill, it was probably the biggest rats Smudge has ever brought home. Life with a serial killer can be unpleasant. What he views as gifts, I find as unpleasant pieces I have to clean up before the child lays eyes upon them. I can no longer keep track of how many gifts we have been brought by our outside hunters, squirrels, cardinals, a mole, mice, rats, unidentifiable birds, maybe even a snake.
As much as it grosses me out to find the remains of such gifts I understand it is part of the circle of life. It is part of life on a small homestead. It is getting to experience nature up close and personal, even if it is not the most pleasant part of nature. It reminds you of how nature works and when you love nature you do not get to choose to love just the beautiful parts. You must love and appreciate all nature.