orange and white cat lays on a table

Russell Sprout has a Message

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Russ draping table
Russell Sprout, casually in charge

He invites me with a wiggle of his hips and the come-hither look in his eyes. As I near him, he stops and gives a sharp sound of delight. “Welcome to my garden,” he says, “thank you for tending it for me.”

IMG_1469Russell Sprout was born feral and fostered as a young kitten before we adopted him at three months old, but he still loves being outside. We eventually found a safe way for him to be in the backyard, which was imperative for him. (Special adaptations to our wooden fence with Cat Fence-In does the trick. See the link*)  We’re in a drought here, so I must hand-water my garden daily with local watering restrictions. Whenever I go in the backyard, Russell shows off his domain.

He finds the peace and serenity here that can be hard to find indoors. It’s a fairly small yard, with quite a few aspen trees, some grassy areas, and tiny garden. Potted plants here and there sit on the concrete patio. Russell looks around and tells me how important my work is in the yard. I spend so much time with intellectual pursuits that he wants me to spend more time enjoying my environment. When we get to the grape plants, he always gets a soft look in his eyes; he jumps into my arms for petting and purring. He’s in his element here, and wants me to enjoy it the way he does. He knows that I’m helping the plants, but even more, he knows that the plants are helping me.

We won't have apples this year, but look at our baby cherries!
We won’t have apples this year, but look at our baby cherries!

I learn things in the garden. We pruned our apple tree this year, for the first time since we planted it ten years ago. I was afraid that if we pruned it, it would die rather than come back stronger – but I needn’t have worried. It came back very strongly and feels happier, somehow. There had been so much growth that it was moving in too many directions. This year, the pruning made it focus. We won’t have apples this year, because of the late snows and continued freezing weather into mid-May. There weren’t any apple blossoms, so we know there

won’t be fruit. But I can hope for next year, because the tree appears happier and healthier. It thrived with the focusing of its energy and the attention we paid. It’s almost as if it needed to know we cared.

I should examine my own projects. Are there some things that I need to trim? Some places where focus is needed? Are there some things that aren’t going to come to fruition this year, but might next year? I definitely think some pruning is in order, but which of my activities don’t serve me?

*No, this isn’t a sponsored message for Cat Fence-In; I just think this is so nifty I wanted to share. We’ve had our cat fence about 7 years, and Russell Sprout loves getting to go out. We love keeping him safely in the yard. Everyone’s happy with this product.


    1. I’m much better with animals than plants, but I’m trying a garden for the third year . Each time I learn something that refines my garden the next year.


    1. Nope. That seemed unsafe in rain or snow. It involves a stretchy plastic net the acts a bit like an inverse trampoline when they try to go over the top. Pretty ingenious.


        1. My post has the link bedded in it, or go to We got it from their website after researching other options and after receiving positive feedback from others via the Cat Care Society. It seemed the safest alternative. Besides the HOA and Animal Control, we must protect our cats from cars, coyotes, and foxes — all of which roam our suburban neighborhood.


    1. Yes, he’s a great cat. Very masculine, despite having been neutered. I’m glad you’ve had cats like that in the past. Everyone should!


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