Mimi and I have our work cut out for us!
A tree service knocked on my back door yesterday and said they’d be cutting apart the tree that had fallen from my neighbor’s yard. I showed them the edge of my garden and a few other things, then went back inside.
Not too much later I looked out to see the entire portion that was in my yard was cut up and organized. I had had some ideas about what I might do with some of the wood if was to be left and went out to talk to the guys. Years ago another tree had fallen, and I used branches six to eight inches in diameter cut in short sections to edge my gardens. Most have rotted away by now, so it would be time for new ones.
And then, back in the 90s when my mother had had our big old elm tree taken down, I took slices of the trunk for a table, and sections of the branches for the most logical thing of all—a scratching post! I let the log dry out and left the bark on, and cats from Sally and Kublai to Fawn to Lucy to Mimi today hop onto it for a good scratch.
The photo below shows it from above with Mimi having a good scratch, and you can see much of the bark has been worn off in that area. They also sit on top and scratch downward, rub their faces on the branch stubs and leap up onto the step stool next to it They can sit here to watch out the door, and Mimi actually stops for a quick scratch every time she goes through this doorway. It’s difficult to photograph because of the angle and the lighting.
I mentioned to the guys cutting the tree that I’d like some pieces of it for the garden bed edging, and noted some thicker pieces of branches that looked wide and stable and said I’d love a few of those for my cats. They didn’t bat an eye at the mention of cats, just said they’d cut up a few sections for me that were stable and not too big for me to lift and carry around the house.
A little later I heard another knock and the guy was really excited they’d found a fairly large branch that was hollow inside and about nine feet long, just a little rim of wood and bark around the outside, and he was sure my cats would love that, did I want it? You bet! Most of the branch was too small in diameter for my cats to climb through, but there is a section they could safely use.
In the meantime, those hollow pieces too small for my cats would make nice posts for a cat tree, wouldn’t they? Those three logs in the back are tall enough for even Giuseppe to have a good stretch, and because they are hollow they are much lighter—this is solid maple. I can also add some supports inside if I mount them on a flat board base which will make them more stable than others I’ve done in the past, and put a shelf on the top—when I’ve done this before the wood shrank repeatedly and I couldn’t keep it stable.
I can see it already! I can also feel myself stubbing my toes on it! I have so little space here for things like this. But my goal is to move the file cabinets currently in front of the side window where the bird feeders are and create whatever kind of a kitty jungle gym with a big sturdy base and these logs and shelves and some other creative things so they can watch the birds in style. And I can save my toes.
Mimi already had a few scratches on these, so I know they pass inspection. They need to sit outdoors for a while just to begin to dry out, and I may try drying them in the sun over the summer before I begin to build.
That big ugly tag on Mimi’s neck is for the latest harness I’ve tried on her. She doesn’t like them, she says they make her walk funny, but I don’t want to use just a collar. You may not see it in every photo, but she always wears her breakaway bell collar, and when she’s outdoors she has a regular collar with a long leash. She rolls her eyes and decides as long as she gets to go outside she’s not concerned about the terms, but she hates these things that go through her armpits. I may need to make something since I’m not finding anything (not made in China) in any stores. Unfortunately, none of my artist friends who make collars and leashes make harnesses in the type Mimi wants.
And here is what the backyard looks like with the tree removed—you can see from this post how large the tree was and how much of my yard was covered. The area that’s left at the end of my yard is just my compost pile and some brush piles I always keep for small critters to live in.
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