Once the cats are taken care of, it is time to feed the fish. These are big gold fish that live in the pond during the summer. When you tap on the side of the pool, they all rush over, sticking their heads out of the water while making kissing gestures. I drop their little pebbles of food into the water and it’s like a mini-feeding frenzy for a few moments.
Now we’re down to the plants. Leave it to Jan to have orchids. It is one of her claims to fame that these delicate plants flourish and bloom abundantly in her care. She couldn’t have tough old philodendrons like anybody else. Even I can usually keep a philodendron alive, black thumb and all. I stare at the orchids every day, praying not to find a wilted stem or a yellow leaf.
During the last snow, there were deer tracks across Jan’s yard. She was thrilled when I told her. She said they must have been drawn to the corn she put out for the squirrels. She told me she’d tell me where the corn was if I wanted to continue to feed the deer.
“No, Jan,” I told her, “I’ll take care of your cats, your fish and your plants — but the deer are on their own.”
Vicki Williams is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached through the newspaper at firstname.lastname@example.org.