The In-between. We’ve all been there. That phase where one project ends and the next has not yet begun, or as a writer, you finish a book and then wait for the final proof copy to arrive on the doorstep. That’s where I am right now … waiting. Morosa is done, available online already (you really should read it), but I have not yet held the print copy. I am not a good waiter (in the non-serving meal sense of the word, although I sucked at that too – more interested in eating food than serving it). The truth is, I lack patience. I prefer to live in the now or more to the point, which is less viva la vie, namaste, ai carumba; I want everything now. Some may call me impulsive, but I just stop talking to them if that’s the case. I don’t need nay sayers, or negative Nancys so to speak (not to be taken literally, Nancy).
Back to my current ‘in-between’. To pass the time, I have been studying my garden. Well, that’s not entirely accurate either. I have been watching the gardeners, with coffee in hand, from the couch. We are just at the tail end of having our garden landscaped professionally. There are still areas that will require my ‘special touch’ but I will wait for them to finish before I begin. I don’t wish to show them up and I’ve been tired, no busy. I’ve been busy.
Some of the plants in the new gardens are small and fit nicely underneath my St. Bernard’s paw. But, if they are hardy they should survive. Only the strong flourish around this place. It’s like Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in these parts and the life of perennials is non-exempt.
In a similar vein, this week I discovered, while inbetweening, that red squirrels are the most carnivorous of the squirrel family. Not to be confused with carniferous, which I erroneously called them when describing the critters to my husband. Carniferous would be more of a meat-eating, cone bearing tree. Something to think about for sure, but that’s for another day.
Anywho, I had no idea squirrels ate meat? I thought they just enjoyed nuts and seeds and chattered in high voices, but no, they also like bird eggs and baby birds. How did I discover this fact you might ask? Well, on a rainy day last week, when there were no landscapers to supervise, I took a walk to the barn. No, not really. I drove the golf cart to the barn. Either way, I went to check on the progress of the baby swallows nesting in the rafters of the barn. I like swallows. They eat a colossal amount of bugs and they swoop and dive at the neighbourhood cats, which I won’t deny amuses me immensely. Every year I try to talk to the swallows about the way they overcrowd their nests, but they don’t listen, they just swoop and swoop and swoop. Simple birds, swoop, swoop, bug, swoop, swoop, bug. Each year inevitably some of the babies fall out of the nest or learn to fly before they have wings (not literally – creates quite a cigar-like visual though doesn’t it?).
A couple of young’uns had done some cement diving the day before but survived. We swept them into a safe place while the parents supervised from the rafters. In a regular less carnivorous time, this method of bird face plant, sweep and tuck would work out just fine. In time, they would learn to fly and the families would flourish and the poop in the barn would multiply ten-fold, but not this year, no, this year would be different.
I entered the barn slowly, carefully looking underfoot to make sure I didn’t inadvertently end the rescue with a flattening, when I noticed that there were no parental birds swooping at my head. All was quiet, not a sound could be heard, except for a faint, crunch – crunch and then a swift scurrying of clawed feet. I gripped my coffee cup tighter, instantly regretting my decision to leave the house, and on tenterhooks flipped the light. Feathers were strewn from left to right and right to left and left to right. (Feeling faint, I soon stopped with the back and forth head thing.) Hand over mouth, I turned slowly, no, slower than that, towards the scurrying sound preparing for a beast of epic proportions, only to find a tiny red squirrel perched on the arm of the chair, flossing his gargantuan teeth with a bird feather. He was not pleased with my arrival.
This was no Disney Chip and Dale happily chattering away in a high-pitched sing song melody.This was a smaller version of Cujo, wrapped up in a red squirrel suit, and I was not convinced he would stop at small birds. After securing my coffee lid, I ran from the barn, jumped into my trusty ride and beelined for the house. My mind turned to the many happy hours I’d enjoyed watching the red squirrels gleefully eating and drinking at my bird feeders and bird bath (I am just that busy). It was all a charade. They weren’t actually happy. They were stuffing their chops with seed while secretly wishing I’d toss them a chicken leg. All this time, when I thought they were pleasantly co-existing with my feathered friends, they were eyeing them up like roasters.
I could never look at the little critters the same. I made a decision then, well after having another coffee and a small non-meat snack. I would stop feeding the birds for a time so these carnivores in red furry pants would take their vagabond lifestyle and move on.
Their eating regime didn’t mesh with my bird viewing. There is an organic farm next door, they could go there where the air is pure, the grub is free range and sans antibiotics. Probably more granola too. And cheetos, there’d definitely be cheetos.