I can train a cat to come when called, to ring the bell to go outside, to fall over when I say bang, to sit, to tap the ball.
But I can't train him to differentiate between the songbird and the starling, or the dandelion and the dill.
Trick the Barn Cat has made the garden his summertime home.
It's the perfect home for a curious cat. The fence protects him from rambunctious Border collies, yet offers him a view of the chickens and sheep and humans.
The sleeping choices are abundant. I've found him lounging in the shade of sunflowers, on the straw around the potatoes, or in the dirt by the tomatoes.
Best of all, it's the one spot where he can get my undivided attention. He rolls in front of me while I'm weeding, twirls in the rows I'm trying to plant, and walks on the newly-sprouted beans. I pick him up, move him, pet him.
This morning, when I entered the garden with a hoe, I didn't see him. Maybe weeding could be a 20-minute job.
But within a minute he was trotting from the barn to the garden. He strolled in front of me and the hoe, rolled and mewed.
And I realized I'd train him perfectly to do what I didn't want.