The Gall Bladder Mystery

24 Jul

A row of green beans needs to be picked every two or three days or else the beans will too large.  Intermittent picking, two to three feet at a time, interspersed with other weeding and harvesting is best for the lower back of yours truly.

This morning  decided to thin the bean plants as I picked, pulling some to increase the spacing between some plants.  We had about 2.3 inches of rain yesterday; the prospect of gray fungus on the beans looms.

As I was weeding the carrots, Pounce was on the other side of the row, indicating something was up to no good.  He was correct.  Several thumb diameter carrots were chewed off even with the soil, presenting themselves as orange coins.  I pulled them up and encouraged Pounce to find the culprit.

The closest I will get to being an archeologist is  digging in the soil where I live: the old glass containers in the 70+ years old refuse mounds in the woods, the pieces of broken blue and white pottery that come up in a flower bed.  This morning it was those carrots and harvesting a potato hill.

The hill was the last in the row and blocking the cucumber vines which are spreading at a rapid pace.  Not that they have any fruit yet.  The soil this morning was dark and friable from all the rain.  Digging the potatoes out with my bare hands was like excavating eggs from a dinosaur nest.  Sweep away the topsoil–a potato!  Then gradually feel around, moving soil, finding the pale ovals and heaping them along the edge of a distinctly deep nest-shaped bowl.  I kept finding more the deeper I dug; a momentary frisson pretending they were the eggs of an extinct creature warm and waiting on the side of the nest its mother abandoned after the thunderstorms of yesterday and the fierce harassment of the local tiger.

The haul?  Over seven pounds of potatoes.

Isabelle went with me over to the neighbor’s spring-fed pond to unclog the drainage pipe.  I had deconstructed the tallest bird scare in the blueberries so the 12 foot+ long pole of joined strips of wood could be used ream out the pipe.  Success!  And a visit from two neighbors while we are there.  And a dragonfly larva: they swim with their hind legs and a curious inverted swimming motion of their abdomens.

More bean picking, then over to check out how Pounce is doing.  As he came towards me a vole scurried amongst the carrots.  Pounce was true to his name, but the rodent seemed to escape, maybe into the lawn.  Bummer.

I notice with joy there is a Swallowtail larva in the garden eating dill as I continue on the beans.

A few minutes later Pounce is very busy with something in the lawn thirty feet away.  It is a vole.  The vole.

The creature is panting from exertion and abuse.  Pounce looks at me when I speak to him about that, then carefully picks it up by the head and starts eating.  I guess that is the quick way to go via cat: head crunched and then decapitated.

I run into the house to tell Isabelle and realize watching Pounce eat this vole may finally answer my long wonderment about the series of small gall bladders left on the sidewalk: how?

When I return Pounce has eaten the forequarters.  The guts are hanging out as he strips away the skin and eat the hindquarters and tail.  He then delicately eats the offal.  All of it.  Today there is no sorting through for a gallbladder.  Only a very small smears of blood on the grass are visible.  Pounce had had his vole and his carrots, too.

But now it is clear he is able to leave the viscera until last.  Alone on the sidewalk Pounce probably sorts carefully through it.  Especially if the meal has not just been eating something sweet.  Mystery solved.

Upon reflection it seems to me that Pounce drove that vole out of the garden, the more easily to dispatch it.  Something to watch for in the future.

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One Response to “The Gall Bladder Mystery”

  1. sandysays1 12 August 2010 at 7:21 AM #

    Cats are such fastidious eaters. I trend to gulp. THere’s no evidence that way.
    Sandy
    http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

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