To Foster: to promote the growth of, to nurture and/or to help develop

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I believe that my animal fostering started with my turtle, and my second cat, Maurice. I adopted him when he was 1-year-old and it always saddens me to not know where he was for that first year of his life. (Vinnie the Turtle is a Gulf Coast turtle and she is in her 60s.)
Vinnie (female) and Maurice the Cat hanging out together last winter.

Macavity, the eldest of our 3 black cats,  is geriatric now, but don’t tell her that. She is loyal and sweet, but fiercely independent. Odd though that she is the cat who adores the foster kids. I appreciate that since Maurice is terrified by them. In a sense, I think that Macavity fosters some of the kids too by being there with them when they visit. Some cats just have hearts I guess.

Due to territorial disputes, Macavity’s natural outdoor range is currently the front porch.
After the cats, I started to foster plants. Growing them from seed became a great passion of mine. I ordered them from anywhere I could, and I guess I still do now, but I have mellowed that passion a little bit. I also got starts from any plant I could, and I took in freebies. Plant cultivation was a skill I’d learned as a child from my Grandma Virginia’s neighbor, Mr. Palm. He was a trained engineer, but plants were his passion too.
New England Aster growing in the gutter from seeds that spread from three houses up the street. I planted those plants for my neighbor after I’d grown them from seed. This kind of makes me this plant’s grandma. At least that’s what one of the foster children said.
And now I foster children. The little white arm in the photo below belongs to one of my part-time foster children. This child loves flowers, and was laughing when she discovered that these lovely garden weeds had spread from my garden.
This same foster child loves spiders and when we last visited together, the garden was full of them.

She even wanted to pose with this spider, and I took the picture, but she wanted to foster the spider herself in her bug box. Children desiring to foster insects is something that fascinates me. But what they often think of as fostering, is not. I think that weekend we had a few insect funerals.

The Cats vs. The Birds

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Most gardeners are lovers of animals, and for some reason, the two almost always seem to go together. I have heard that in Great Britain, it is most frequently the moggie cat that is much beloved, but here in the US, it seems that we may have just as many dogs digging in the dirt with their owners. Here at our home, we have three black cats, but in addition to Macavity, Maurice and Mona, we also have another black cat neighbor named Meng. There are tons of other cats that come and go too, but our hearts, and garden, belong to the first four, and for the most part, these four seem to tolerate one another.
Like other soil toilers, I also adore birds. This can be a bit difficult though if you also care for cats. Every year we try to make their collars louder, but I still worry about my feathered guests. In general, I have tried to design a garden which encourages bird-watching, and not bird killing. During the last four years, only one bird has been killed–as far as I know… This may have something to do with my pets’ penchant for napping on the job. (See Above: Mona on an average day.)