Tuesday 31st January
Hardly a stunner to celebrate a month of sunrises.
Thirty one down, three hundred and thirty five to go.
I have now seen every sunrise in January 2012, though the sun did not make an appearance every day. I have come to realise that the beauty of the sunrise lies not in the sun itself but in the light and sky effects which it produces. The best are when the rays and radiance of the rising sun bounce around in the clouds, though some clear sky is needed for this to happen. Often the most dramatic photo or view is obtained not at sunrise itself, but as the sun pokes its head above the layer of cloud which so often sits on the horizon. (Or is it just that you are looking through all the thick, moist air which is just above the ground?) As the year progresses, I have decided to try to learn more about the sun and the factors which change its appearance and make the sky turn such an amazing range of colours.
Time for a proper introduction to Geronimo, aka Gerry. He is very vocal and is often heard to emit a distinct war cry, hence the name. Gerry was acquired from a local farm along with his two half-brothers. They were supposed to be feral and we expected hissing and flying claws. What we got was three extremely cute kittens, but still extremely good hunters. Unfortunately we have since lost the other two on the road, victims of their own sense of adventure. This remains a cause of great sadness to Sue and myself. So Gerry is pampered!
Gerry, a vital tool in our anti-rodent toolkit!
As a kitten, Gerry did once slash my fingers with a pawful of razorblades which went extremely deep. However, it was only a panic reaction when I surprised him one day. He had taken to catching rabbits by the time he was six months old, eating the whole carcass from the head down. He is a prolific catcher of voles - Short-tailed Field Voles which are not supposed to be so common. He has been known to catch up to seven in a day - obviously not so rare round here, as he is still catching them, even in the deep midwinter. At the right time of year he is partial to a wide selection of birds too, though he can only catch the young and unfit. I would like to control what he catches and what he doesn't, but he was brought onto the farm to hunt and that's what he does. Amazingly, he has even brought two dead weasels to the door. It is not great that he has taken another skilled hunter, but populations in nature have a habit of finding a balance and replacing the lost very quickly.
Gerry's other function is as a last stage in our recycling machine. Very little goes to landfill from our house. Most importantly, we are not great consumers of packaged goods. Secondly, we re-use and recycle everything we can. Anything that can goes to the compost and any vegetable matter from the garden goes there too, or to the pigs. In the olden days, kitchen waste would have gone to the pigs too, but of course that is not permitted today and would never be allowed to happen on a responsible smallholding. Gerry's role is to demolish any meat waste. As a kitten, he did this admirably. However, as he has advanced to the grand old age of nearly one and a half, he has slowly spurned every form of meat going. He no longer likes chicken, fish, pork, lamb or beef. Not even eggs.
Just a thought, but why don't they make mouse and vole flavoured cat food?