Apples and Dahlias and Tiger in the Garden

Today I took a stroll through my garden and this is what I saw.

The Apple

One would think it’s easy to grow apples in Washington State, a major exporter of the delicious crop.  One would be wrong (unless one lives in Wenatchee which calls itself the Apple Capital of the World.)

I planted a semi dwarf apple tree two years ago in my garden, and added another pollinator tree this year.  I was encouraged to see several promising apples earlier in the spring.  See picture below for the only healthy apple that remains on my tree. I’m hoping it will not go the way of the others, scabby and dropping prematurely to the earth.  I will give it a few more days before I harvest it.   I plan to savor every bite.

The Dahlias

The dahlias on the other hand, are at their best this month, faithful and eager to please.

I cannot take credit for them.  These came from my mom’s garden a few years ago and she even planted them.  The (expensive) ones I planted next to them earlier this spring did not come up; maybe they were waterlogged from the record rainfall this year.


This is Tiger with the lone healthy apple.

Here he is again in the barren spot which had been allotted to the aforementioned dahlias that failed to appear this year.

And that is all from today’s walk through the garden.

~ Susanne

The Brotherly Antics of Tiger and Benji

Benji is a very sweet and cuddly kitty. But don’t let that fool you.  The boy is action packed and often full of pent up energy.  When you see these eyes, know that he is about to blow!He flies around the house at cat-speed, over and under, round and round the battered perch.

All this is rather amusing to watch unless you’re Tiger and happen to be in the way.  He may be coming for you next.

“Sue, we’ve got to talk,” he said.

“Sure Tiger,” I said. “What’s up?”

“It’s the boy,” he said.  “He’s out of control.  Can’t you do something?”

Of course I agreed with him, but when Benji gets into one of his fits, I’m not about to reach in and risk a hand.

“I’m hoping he’ll grow out of it,” I told him. “You know he’s not yet two years old.  And he’s good most of the time.”

“Yes, I suppose so,” he replied.

“But Tiger, if he comes after you in one of his whirlwinds, you have my permission to give him a wallop.  It would probably be more effective coming from you.”

“Aw Sue, I couldn’t do it. That’s not who I am.”

“I know Tiger, and I love you for it.  You’re the best, you know?  How about for now I give him the boot outside until he settles down.  Then you and I can visit peacefully.”

“That’ll do Sue,”  he said. “Thank you.”

And so we did.

~ Susanne

One Year with Benji

Hey, Benji, can you move over a bit?  I’m trying to write a story and you’re in my way.

Sorry Sue, he replied.  Let me help; I’m good at typing.

Thanks Benji, you can help but not like that. You see the story’s about you, how you came to live with us a year ago and how happy we are that you did.  I’m having a hard time knowing what to say.

I know!  he said.  Why don’t you post some pictures of me and I’ll narrate!

Great idea Benji.  Let’s start at the beginning.

Aw, look at me!  I was so small! he said.  That collar is almost as big as me!

Yeah, we ditched the collar pretty soon afterwards, didn’t we boy?

Here’s another one of you from the early days, after you’d gotten over that nasty respiratory infection.  You were such a good little kitty taking your antibiotics.

I remember that Sue!  I finally stopped sneezing and was released from quarantine. And I finally got to meet Tiger!  I liked him from the start but for some reason he didn’t like me.  Whenever I tried to play he just hissed and ran away.

True.  I was worried about you two.  But when I saw you sleeping side by side I knew it was going to work out.

And it helped when you shared your mouse with him outside. He really liked that.

It was the least I could do. You know I’m the better hunter.

True Benji, but don’t tell Tiger I said so.

Do you remember your first snow?

Yes I do! It made the world quiet and peaceful, but cold and wet and too deep for me to walk in. I hope I get another chance this year now that I’m bigger.

Me too Benji.  I love the snow!  But I’m always happy when spring arrives and we get to work in the garden.  Thanks for your help, by the way.  I couldn’t have done it without you.

Sure Sue anytime. Always willing to lend a paw.

I’ll remember that Benji.  There’s always plenty to do outside.  But I gotta tell you I was worried when I saw you on the roof. You almost lost outside privileges after that.

Don’t worry about me Sue.  I’m pretty tough!  See?

Yes you are, Benji!   And smart too. Do you remember what you were thinking here?

Cat thoughts, Sue. Cat thoughts. You wouldn’t understand.

I suppose not.  How about this one?  You were in perfect feline form.

Just posing for you in that one.  I saw you with your camera and wanted to give you a good shot.

I appreciate it Benji.  You really are photogenic, especially when you’re sleeping!

I can’t argue with that Sue. I do love to sleep!

Well I could go on and on but I better close here. And just in case you couldn’t tell, I want you to know much we love you Benji, and can’t imagine our family without you!  You’re a special cat and a real tribute to the species.

Happy One Year Anniversary!

Aw thanks, Sue.  I feel the same.

~  Susanne & Benji

The Gone Tiffany Park Woods

I must say that was fast. Not only have the trees and shrubs come down in what was formerly known as the Tiffany Park Woods, but the area has been pulverized into submission (and yes, dirt) with not a single green thing left, except for the few promised patches. Surprising?  Yes.

I knew the trees would go but I guess I held some notion that shrubs and understory would remain.  I mean, why take it all? Wouldn’t new homeowners want that vegetation around their houses? (Obviously I know nothing about construction.)  Anyway, it’s all gone and the land is being leveled for the infrastructure and houses to come. On the bright side, I won’t need an alarm for awhile since the heavy equipment rolls in around 7 and the noise and vibration shake me out of bed.

I’m also happy to report that Benji and Tiger are coping surprisingly well with all the commotion. They still want out all hours of the day and seem content with the new confines of their territory. (No more sneaking into the woods for them.)

I’m sorry the woods are gone, but I’m thankful my backyard still has enough trees on both sides of the fence for shade and privacy. And more sunshine in some spots where the tree cover was heavier.

So it’s time to move on and say goodbye to the Tiffany Park Woods. Still, if I had it to do over again, I would fight a little harder, maybe hug a few trees, to try to get the woods preserved and added to the city’s park system; an urban park where woodpeckers and owls could still live, with access and trails for all to enjoy.

Maybe next time.

~ Susanne