Cat thinks he's a bird, takes up residence in tree

Linus defending his dinner. Dogs can't get to it, but other cats, squirrels, raccoons, and opossums can climb or fly up. They mysteriously appear out of nowhere when the kibble comes out. They're usually courteous, and wait until Linus finishes before polishing off his leftovers.

One year, a raccoon learned how to open my screen door with his clever little hands, and would take a swan dive into the plastic bin where I stored 20# sacks of cat food. He got away with it three times, each time with greater brio. The last time, he defiantly chattered at me when I asked him to leave, and took great umbrage when I scooted his rear out the door with a broom.

Opossums are so ugly they're cute. Especially the babies. Mama possums have 2-4 in a litter, and they follow mom everywhere in single file, their little rat tails bringing up the rear.

I hear they're good eating, but I'll pass on killing and cleaning one.

There's an armadillo who lives down the alley, but those guys are diggers. I've never seen an armadillo climb. Maybe some day he'll get curious about our little menagerie and join the fun.

A pair of beautiful, mauve-pink Inca doves live in a nearby tree. More prevalent are the white-wing doves, considered "trash" birds, because they eat up all the other birds' food. We have a whole flock of the white-wings. Waking to the sound of doves "cooing" is most life-affirming. Similar to waking to the sound of waves crashing on the Pacific coastline.

One of my favorite critters from childhood is the Texas horned lizard, or as we call them, horny toads. It breaks my heart that they're on the "threatened" list. We've destroyed so much of our biodiversity I can hardly bear it. All I can say is "STOP IT, DAMMIT!"