More Weather Woes

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The next morning did not look promising for our two foiled tourists. Raylene and Winnie stood by the window frowning as they watched the advancing storm drench the city.

“I don’t wish for the wind, but we could use some heavy rains like this back home,” Raylene commented as another gray cloud dropped yet more water on the streets below. “It would do the crops a world of good.”

“Don’t be silly, Raylene. If we got a rain like this back in Moose Knee it would flatten all the crops for a thousand miles around.”

“Not if it came at the right time, like in March before the farmers started seeding.”

“If it came in March, it’d freeze and the whole country would be one big skating rink.”

“I suppose,” Raylene admitted. “And we’d never want a wind like this.” They watched as another branch fell from one of the trees in the park beside them.

“I declare! They must not use enough fertilizer around those trees if the branches break so easily,” said Winnie. “I’m going to mention that to the Manager next time I see him.”

“Remember, this is a hurricane. It would take an amazing tree to stand up in this gale — and we’ll see a lot higher wind yet before the day is out. The Manager said the hurricane may knock out our power and we’ll be without until they get the generator running.”

“He’d better give us a discount for that.”

Raylene rolled her eyes. “It’ll only be for fifteen minutes or so.”

“ ‘Every penny counts,’ is what I always say.”

Right then the phone rang. Raylene picked up the receiver and recognized her daughter Naomi’s voice.

“Hi, Mom. How are you two managing down there? We hear Hurricane Celestine is moving into that part of Florida.”

“We’re watching its arrival right now.”

“And how’s Cousin ‘Thistle’ enjoying herself? She hasn’t blown away yet?”

Raylene sighed. “I wish…”

“Well, you knew…”

“I’d hoped…”

“For a miracle?”

“I guess.”

“Dream on! Cousin Winnie will never change. She delights in disaster.”

“But I thought…”

Winnie interrupted. “I wish; I hoped; I guess; I thought. Are you paying by the word? Long distance rates are too high for that kind of babbling. Say something sensible or hang up.”

“Cousin Winnie thinks we’re babbling and I should hang up,” Raylene told her daughter. “I guess neither of us are feeling very cheerful this morning. We may spend the whole day in this room watching the rain fall.”

“Poor Mom. I’ll have your martyr pin ready when you get home. Would you like it engraved? How about Semper fidelis or Veni, vidi, vici Florida?

“Maybe just Mea culpa.”

Naomi laughed. “Bye, Mom. Have a great time — once the storm is over.”

Raylene said goodbye and turned to her cousin Winnie. “Come on. Let’s go down to the lobby and see what everybody else is doing. We can’t just sit here and ooze gloom all day long.”

Winnie’s face brightened. “Maybe we can have tea with that nice widower from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Love his accent — I could listen to him all day!”

Raylene smiled. Miracles do still happen, she thought as went to her room to grab her purse.

A Whiff of Smoke

snowy-lane-rail-fence“Even if Mason did walk down this lane, you can’t see anything now, the way it’s drifted in.” Rick shouted over the snowmobile’s engine. “Anyway, there’s nothing at the end but that old homesteader’s shack. I don’t see much point in us going in there.”

Jerry, lifting his snowmobile helmet visor, leaned toward Rick and said. “Frankly, I don’t hold out much hope of finding him alive at all. At -25 with a 65-klicks-an-hour wind he would have died of exposure in minutes.”

“Crazy fool should have stayed in his car. He knows this country, these March storms.”

“He’d had a few too many at the bar, so he wasn’t apt to be thinking so clear when his car hit the ditch back there. He probably fell and got buried by snow.”

Rick gritted his teeth. “That server’s going to be held responsible for this guy’s death. He should have never let a drunk leave the bar.”

“But he claims he warned them — and Mason promised he wasn’t driving. The guy with Mason said he was the DD — and he was sober — so the server let them go.”

“So why wasn’t he? They get in a scrap in the parking lot and now we won’t be finding Mason until the snow melts in spring.”

Jerry lifted his head. “Hey, Rick. Do you smell something?”

Rick sniffed the air. “No. Wait… yeah, I am getting a whiff of something.”

“Wood smoke?” Jerry sniffed again. “And not far away.” The two men gunned their snowmobile motors and zipped down the old lane.

The afternoon new carried the miraculous rescue story. Mason Horwich wandered away from his vehicle in a storm and managed to follow an old lane into an abandoned farmyard. Thanks to a supply of firewood the previous owner had stacked up against his shack and Horwich finding the matches the farmer had stored in a glass jar to stay dry, the thirty-year-old father of four was now safely at home with his family.

“I’m so thankful to be alive,” Horwich was quoted as saying as his children clustered around him. “I don’t deserve this.”

He especially thanked his rescuers, Jerry and Rick, who’d gone for shovels and dug him out of the old shack where he’d taken shelter. Mrs Horwich told reporters she’d been praying all morning, fearing the worst and had wept with relief when she got word that he’d been found.

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Word Press daily prompt: exposure

Jack Miner’s Discovery

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Photo courtesy C E Ayr

Friday Fictioneers — for details about this group, see Rochelle’s blog.

My response to this photo may be WAY off from the general scene. However, I did see a Canadian grain hopper car in this picture, which reminded me of an incident Jack Miner related in his book, Jack Miner and the Birds, copyright 1923. Read this book years ago, so am retelling the episode as I remember it.

Solomon says, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard…” One could also take a tip from these ambitious field mice.

In the northern Ontario woods Jack and his fellow hunters made camp one autumn afternoon. Needing firewood, they felled a towering dead pine. Halfway up the trunk they discovered a field mouse nest with a quart of wheat cached inside.

Puzzled, Jack set down his axe and looked around. Where on earth… Ah!

Several miles north they’d seen rails. Grain cars from the prairies, carrying wheat bound for Thunder Bay terminals, bumped over rough spots. Kernels sifted through cracks, falling onto the tracks. These industrious mice were making that trip day after day, stocking their larder for the winter ahead.

Over There, They Say

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Over there on that island you see the sun is always shining,
the old folks say. All kinds of exotic fruit trees grow, they tell us.
You just have to reach up as you pass and pluck the juiciest fruits dangling in front of you. And the birds, some say, are almost tame.
You can stand and watch as they flutter among the branches all day.
Perhaps even reach out and have one land on your hand if you stay still.

Over there, some declare, are magnificent caves one may explore,
secret spots where pirates in olden days may have stashed their loot.
A vein of silver may be uncovered with just a little digging, they say.
Or gold nuggets might gleam in the streams, just waiting to be picked up.
A man could soon get rich over there.

Ah, if we could only get there, they sigh.

But think of the dangers over there, others remind.
Fierce beasts with razor-sharp claws and teeth, ready to tear a body to bits.
Venomous snakes hanging from every tree and slithering through the tall grass. Moreover,
what if some hostile tribe has already discovered that paradise?

Perhaps, as we stand here gawking, they are busy
sharpening their spears, preparing to defend their island against all invaders.
They’d boil us in coconut oil and eat us for dinner.
And even if they’re peaceable, their customs would surely be bizarre.
Who knows what kind of clothes they wear over there?

So here we linger on the beach, speculating
and dreaming of that land. Imagining its beauties,
quaking over its terrors. For better or for worse,
how can we know, except we go?

Who’ll be the first to build a boat?

Avalanche — Part 3

I clench my fists and scold that whimpering coward inside. Come on, man! You can’t just sit here and die!

I never have been one to just lie down and let circumstances run all over me. I’ve never looked to others — or to God — for help. When life gave me a kick I tried to kick it right back. I’ve always depended on my own wits and I’m going to do that now.

I’ve got to make a hole in the snowbank outside so I can get some fresh air. So I grab my pick, but know right away that’s a silly idea. There’s no room to swing it. I toss it aside and dig with my mitts until my hands are almost frozen. I shove at the snow, demanding it to move, until the futility of it all hits me in the face again. I may as well try digging through the mountain.

I flop on the cave floor and accept the truth: there’s no way I can dig myself out of this grave. I’m going to die here — maybe in a couple of hours.

What’s so fearful about dying anyway? You just lie down and close your eyes, and it’s over. Or is it?

Some folks say you wake up to a whole new world: some say it’s heaven or hell. I’ve had some preachers tell me God’s keeping records in a big book and when you die you stand before Him and are judged by what’s written in that book. What will He say to me? Have I been good enough to get a pass for Heaven?

Some tell you your whole life passes before your eyes just before you die and you get to review all the things you’ve done in this world. All your failings and mistakes. I lean my head back against the cold stone and contemplate what that procession might look like. Scenes of the past pop into my mind, decisions I made, things I’ve said, people I’ve loved, some fights I’ve been in.

I think about my lust for gold. Yep, I see it now for it what it is: lust. For me it’s been like an insatiable thirst. I wanted lots of it, I wanted to get it before the other guy, and keep it for myself. I wanted all the nice stuff money could buy, the security of a fat bank account that would keep me through my old age.

I think of a Bible verse I heard one time: “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul.” I sadly shake my head. No, I probably haven’t been good enough to join them saints when they go marching in.

For an instant I contemplate bargaining with God. I tell Him, “Lord, if you’ll just get me out of this situation, I’ll serve you forever. I’ll become the best Christian there ever was; I’ll be in church every Sunday, give my gold to the poor, become a preacher. Hey, Lord, I’ll even sing in the choir if that’s what You want.”

I remember other men who’ve made those same promises when they were in dire straits, and kept them, too. But I can name a few others who’ve have gone back on all their vows as soon as the circumstances changed.

Yeah, I could promise God all that, but what if there’s no miracle for me anyway? What if this is simply going to be my last day? A kind of acceptance settles into me. I need to make peace with my Maker now, if I can, because I’m going to be looking Him in the eye right shortly.

Even in the blackness I shut my eyes when I start to pray. “Are you there, God? Do you hear me? Do you know me? What’s going to happen when I die? Will you let me into your heaven? Will you — can you — forgive all the sins of my life?”

Soft as sifting snow, a few Bible verses slide into my thoughts. “God sent his only Son… whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Songs I learned as a gaffer at school, rehearsing them over and over for the Christmas program. Never would have dreamed I’d remember them here and now. “Peace on earth, goodwill to men… Unto you is born this day a Savior, which is Christ the Lord…” I contemplate the Good News we sang about then and wonder if it could be for me, too.

Another verse came into my mind, one I heard in a fiery sermon one day: “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

I sigh another prayer. “Lord, is this an offer you’re making me, such a selfish sinner as I have been? You know I have nothing to give You in exchange. Except maybe this gold — and I guess it’s really Yours anyway, seeing You put it into the rock in the first place. But if You are hearing me and giving me this verse, if You can wash me pure as this snow outside today, and if You’re willing to do it, then I accept. I’ll give You whatever life I have left in this world and all my days in the next, if You’ll only clean me up and make me fit for Your heaven.”

I can never completely explain the peace that pours through me in that instant. I feel so light I could float, and so free. Suddenly I needed to be in the light so I fished a candle out of my pocket, lit it, and set it up on a chunk of wood. Symbolic, I guess.

For maybe an hour — you lose all sense of time in a place like that — I talk with God about my past, the people I knew, all the places I’d been. And He lets me know He’s been there with me, has seen and felt it all. Then He washes my past, forgives it all. I feel so new — like the fresh buds that pop out in springtime, even on an old tree. I’ve scoffed at the term a lot, but today I understand what “born again” really means.

Then I start to feel cold and sleepy. I stretch out on the floor and tell Him, “Thank You, Lord. I’m ready to go now, whenever You want to come for me.”

A few minutes later I hear a sound, another rumbling above me. I feel vibrations and hear thuds like falling rocks. Another avalanche! The noise is so fierce now I start shaking. This time even the cave seemed to shudder; instinctively I roll onto my belly and curl up, using my parka hood to cover my head. Is this the end, I wonder? My last minutes?

Suddenly I’m aware that the cave was filled with light. I lift my head, realizing the snow has tumbled away from the opening. I listen as the avalanche makes its way to the valley below. Finally all is silent. I crawl to the entrance and look outside, shutting my eyes against the dazzling sun. The clouds have almost all drifted away now; it’s a beautiful day.

Yes, it’s a glorious day to be alive!

Avalanche

I was happy when I looked out my cabin window this morning and saw the huge flakes coming down soft as white rain. And no wind. This was my chance to slip up to the little cave and grab another bag of gold nuggets.

Searching for gold last summer in the ‘Caribou country’ of British Columbia, I’d come across a small cavern a few miles west of my claim. Poking around with my pick inside I uncovered a vein of gold. I’d struck it rich! So I staked that claim, too, and built my shack in a valley nearby.

However, I knew I’d have to be careful. Lots of other miners are nosing around these days, paying attention to anyone who comes into town with gold nuggets and following them to their claim. I can’t guard the vein twenty-four-seven and leaving bags of gold stacked in my cabin sure isn’t a smart plan. A fellow has to use his head. So I dug this little cave in the mountain a mile or so from my cabin, stored my gold inside, and covered it all up carefully. Now that it’s winter I only hike up there when I know my steps aren’t going to show. Just in case.

So once I’d had my breakfast this morning I threw on my overalls, boots and parka, grabbed the pick I’d need to move a few rocks. At a whim I stuffed a box of matches and a couple of candles into my pocket, too. Out here a person needs to be prepared; never know when you may have to start a fire. Then I headed out as those pure white crystals swirled around me. We’d already had a few good dumps of snow, so the world is a pretty place in the morning light. I looked back and saw that my steps were disappearing in the sifting snow. I nodded. No one’s going to follow me for long.

Now I’ve climbed up the side of the hill to my cave and raise my eyes to the cliffs above. Pretty white up there. We’ve had a lot of snow all right. With my pick I move a few loose rocks from the entrance to my cache, then get down on my hands and knees to crawl through the opening.

This isn’t a big cave, but roomy enough. Last summer I found and took advantage of a natural gap in the rocks so I didn’t have to move all the dirt out myself; now the rock walls give the place enough support I needn’t worry about it caving in on me while I’m here. I wiggle myself through the opening and pause to rest a minute.

In the dim light I see the bags of gold I’d stacked against the rock, and take a deep breath. There’s enough gold stacked up here to make me a rich man back home. I can live comfortably for the rest of my days. But I want to get as much as I can from that vein before I pack up and go home next fall.

A shadow seems to fall across the cave and I glance through the opening. Snow seems to be coming down by the bucket now and the wind is picking up some, so I’d better shake a leg. As long as I can see the summit of West Ridge I’m all right, but I sure wouldn’t want to get lost in a snowstorm.

Suddenly I hear a rumbling from high up in the mountain, getting louder by the second until it sounds like the whole mountain is crashing down. An earthquake? Can’t be. The rocks around me aren’t shaking; it’s all just noise. I crawl to the opening and see snow falling by the ton in front of my eyes. Before long I see nothing anymore. My cave is black now, the opening blocked by a wall of snow. I push at it, but it isn’t budging.

The darkness feels like ink. Sinister, like you’ve just been swallowed by some monster and are in its belly waiting to be digested. Instinctively I pull out my candles and matches, but hesitate to light them. Do I want to use them up so soon? How thick is that wall? How long will it take me to dig myself out? An hour? A day? I slip the things back into my pocket.

I try moving some of the snow away from the entrance, putting forth a lot of effort and accomplishing nothing. So I sit for awhile, feeling stiff from the cold but grateful I wasn’t outside when that snow came down. I’d have been buried alive! I give thanks for the rock walls that are holding up around me. Had this cave been dug out of the dirt, it might well have caved in from the force of the snow.

I think about lighting a little fire. I did stack a bit of wood in here in case I’d need some dry stuff sometime. Sure glad I brought those matches!

I get up on my hands and knees and feel around; my hand touches a piece of kindling and I pull it towards me. Then remember a fire will use up oxygen. I toss the kindling aside. How long will it be before I run out of air?

To be continued tomorrow…

For awhile now I haven’t given myself permission to sit down and write a long-winded story. It takes so much time! But when I read today’s writing prompt, I decided to forget the clock and just let my imagination take me where it would. This three-part story is the result — hope you enjoy it.

Part of the Family

Part II

Tyler ran into the park, avoiding the playground where other boys would be having fun with their dads. Instead he followed the path that led down to the creek, to watch the ducks and swans swimming.

Suddenly he stopped. There on the path ahead was the Canada goose. He had never been able to get this close to it before!

He watched as it pulled at strands of grass and ate them. I’m going to chase it into the water and watch it swim, he thought. In the water the goose was really neat; it looked like a sleek grey boat with a long black flagpole.

But the goose would not be chased. It waddled over to the edge of the creek, right in front of a duck family that was swimming around in the water gobbling up bugs, and there it stood, calmly watching Tyler with his tiny black eyes.

Tyler stepped closer and waved his arms to shoo it into the water. But the goose just raised its wings, stretched out its long neck, and honked a warning.

“Silly goose!” he shouted at it. “Get in the water and swim.”

The goose stood its ground at the edge of the creek, eyeing him warily.

Maybe if I had a stick, Tyler thought. He looked around beside a nearby bush and found a long one. But when he waved the stick at the goose, it stretched out its neck again, hissed and flapped its wings as if to say, “Look out, kid!”

A little girl came skipping along the path with her mom and dad following behind her. “Why are you trying to hit that goose?” she asked.

“I just want it to get in the water. I want to watch it swim, but it won’t go.”

“Do you see that duck family?” the man asked. “That’s why it won’t go in the water.”

Tyler looked at him, puzzled.

“This is a father goose–a gander,” he explained. “He has no family of his own, so he’s adopted this duck family. He always stays near them, watching that nothing hurts them. He’s put himself in between so you can’t get near them.”

“But where’s the ducks’ dad?” Tyler asked.

“We don’t know,” the lady answered. “He just went away–or maybe he got sick and died.”

Tyler nodded, feeling a lump in his throat. He knew all about dads getting hurt and dying. He studied the gander until the lump went away.

“But why does he stick around when he’s not their real dad?”

“Maybe he’s just lonesome and wants to be part of the family,” the man replied. “Maybe he sees that the mother duck needs his help to take care of all those busy babies. What do you think?”

For a minute they watched the many duck babies zipping this way and that to snap up water bugs. Yes, she might need help to watch over them all.

“This gander will fight anything that tries to get near his family,” said the dad. “When he flaps his wings and hisses at you, he means, ‘Look out! One more step and you’re in for it!’ His wings are strong and could give you a few good bruises and if he grabbed your leg with his beak, you’d feel it!”

“But if you want to watch him swim, go sit down a bit,” he suggested. “Once he knows the ducks are safe, he might get back in the water and join them.”

The people walked away. Tyler threw away his stick and sat down to watch; pretty soon the gander did waddle into the creek and swim over to the ducks.

As he watched the unusual family, a thought came to him. What if one of the ducklings decided he didn’t like the gander and tried to chase him away? Tyler smiled as he pictured a tiny duckling chasing a big goose.

“Like you’re doing to Paul?” The words popped into his mind, surprising him, but he realized this was the truth. By refusing to like Paul, by being crabby to him, he was trying to make Paul give up and go away.

So why did Paul stick around? Was he lonely, too? Tyler knew about lonely, about the ache inside that never went away since Dad died. Many times he wanted to cry and there was nowhere to go with his loneliness. If he told Mom how he felt, she might cry, too, and that was worse. Did Paul sometimes feel like that? Did he want to be part of their family so he would not be alone anymore?

Did Mom really need Paul’s help to raise her family? He thought of one little duck trying to look after the whole family. Silly! The gander obviously could do a much better job. He was big and brave enough to stand up for them.

Maybe Paul feels like that, too, Tyler thought. Maybe he thinks we need him. He sat and pondered the idea. And maybe we really do, he finally decided.

Tyler jumped up and started for home. Paul would be there now and might play ball with them. Maybe they could be friends. Paul wasn’t Dad, but having him there might not be so bad after all.

The End

And He Can’t Even Fly

One morning Skunk was in his burrow brushing every last straw out of his fur with his claws. He did want to look his best before he took his walk in the woods. It wouldn’t do to go about like a ragamuffin. Skunk wrinkled up his nose; some of the woodland creatures showed no sign of self-respect. Like the porcupine. What a mess!

He hoped the broad stripe down his back was spotless. After all, no other animal had such a neat white stripe that contrasted so pleasingly with the blackness of his fur.

The raccoon had that silly mask – and the rings on his tail that he often bragged about. Skunk didn’t find them one bit appealing, but he always agreed with Raccoon that his tail was attractive. No point in being rude.

He left his burrow and ambled along the path through the woods; soon he met up with one of the rabbits.

“Hey, Skunk. Where are you off to?”

“Just taking my morning walk. Good to get some fresh air you know. Keeps a body in good form.” Skunk fluffed his tail and waved it front of Rabbit. He knew all the rabbits were jealous of his beautiful long tail.

What a pity rabbits had only a stump. Oh, well, some of us have it and some don’t, Skunk thought to himself. I must be charitable.

“I’ll join you,” said Rabbit. “I haven’t been around the woods this morning myself.” So the two wandered along the trail together, though it took Rabbit some effort to plod at Skunk’s slow pace.

They came around a curve in the road and there they saw Grouse preening himself in front of his three sisters. When Grouse saw them, he spread out his tail fan and strutted around quite vainly.

“Are you ever beautiful today,” Rabbit told him.

“Well thank you! I think so, too,” Grouse replied.

“Good day,” mumbled Skunk, and kept right on walking.

“Disgusting display of pride,” he thought to himself. He was rather annoyed at Rabbit for his silly gushing. After all, Rabbit hadn’t said anything nice like that to him.
Once they were out of earshot of the grouse, Skunk told Rabbit, “He’s not so beautiful at all. He’s just a bird – and the way he shows off is repugnant.”

“Well… maybe you’re right.”

Fox happened by right then. “Where are you two off to?”

“We’re just out for a walk. It’s such a nice day, even if some creatures do spoil it with their obnoxious vanity. If you continue down this path you’ll come across the grouse clan and see his Highness strutting his stuff.”

“Oh, really.”

“Acting like a peacock, isn’t he, Rabbit?”

“Well, umm…”

“Rabbit thinks so, too,” said Skunk. “He’s just too mousy to say it.”

“I should run along then, and see what you’re talking about.”

“Here comes Groundhog,” said Rabbit. “I wonder how he’s doing with his new burrow?”

“Hi, fellows. What have you been doing this morning?”

“We met up near my place and decided to walk together. Then we came upon a very interesting sight.”

“Oh? What am I missing?”

“Grouse parading around and crowing about his beautiful self. We couldn’t watch him for long; it was too nauseating.” Skunk rolled his eyes.

“Well, maybe it wasn’t…” Rabbit began

Skunk cut him off. “Anyway, soft thick fur like we have is better than feathers any day.” He fluffed up his coat and swished his plumy tail emphatically.

Two crows were sitting in a tree above them eavesdropping. One of them croaked to the other, “How revolting! Do you think we should warn Grouse that Skunk is saying nasty things about him?”

“No. Why ruin his day? And what could he do anyway: run around and tell people they shouldn’t believe the stories Skunk is spreading about him?”

“I guess that wouldn’t accomplish much.”

“Skunk’s harsh tongue will tell on itself. The woodland folk know the truth, or will find out soon enough. They say it’s those who are vain themselves who find it so repulsive in others.”

“Isn’t that the truth,” the other replied. “And for all that, poor Skunk can’t even fly.”

Home Invasions: the Furry Kind

Spring Brings new Life to our Yard

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day today! After snow and more snow Sunday and Monday, we have bright sunshine and a nice wind to keep the afternoon at a perfect temperature for me. It was17° C (63° F) this afternoon – that’s about as warm as I can comfortably handle.

The birds are almost all back now; a flock of blackbirds has been scavenging under my bird feeder this week. And this morning the swallows returned.

Yesterday afternoon when Bob and I were puttering outside there wasn’t a tree swallow to be seen. I climbed our ladder to clean out the swallow nest, thinking they’d be back before long. This morning around 9:30 am my daughter came, bringing Evan, their youngest, for me to babysit. As we stood outside talking I noticed a bird fly over. The very first tree swallow!

It was around by itself for awhile, then six more were twittering around. A couple of them came swooping and twirling around me, as if to say “Hi” to their old friend. One swooped so low it was almost at eye-level with Evan, which delighted my grandson. They soon went to the nests to check them out. They seem to understand “First come; first serve” and have already staked their claims.

Perhaps I could say spring has robbed us of our sleep this past week. Last Thursday night in the wee hours there was a bit of ruckus in our house; Bob got up to check and discovered the stray cat in our hallway! He told me I must have let the cat in when I let ours in but I was certain I hadn’t.

This cat, black like our Angus, normally stays at the neighbour’s yard but comes here quite often to hunt mice in the stubble beside us. I have sometimes mistaken him for Angus, but he wasn’t anywhere in sight when I let the cats in just before midnight.

Bob put him out…and before long he was in again. We got this sinking feeling…

Bob went out with a spade and filled in a hole at the back of our trailer. Ten minutes later the cat was in again. By this time it was almost 4 am and sleep was gone, so I got up, filled in the hole and put firewood logs on top of it. That kept the cat out until the next night, when we had to get up and fill in another hole.

It was 2 am Saturday night when we heard the cat meowing in the house again so I gave up on sleep and went outside to deal with a fresh hole dug right by our side doorstep. I covered it with a chunk of plywood we had around, with a rock on top. Then put the “not-our cat” out. I was up until 4am; about 3:30am I looked out and saw the real culprit – as I expected – a black “kitty” with a pointy little nose and a white stripe down its back and plumy tail. It was digging furiously, trying to make a new hole beside the one I’d covered.

The last thing you want is a skunk coming and going where you are coming and going! I certainly didn’t want to alarm him, but had to do something, so I opened the window and said softly, “No-o-o, Moufette, no-o-o.” He paused, then started to dig again.

“No-o-o, Moufette, no, no.” This time he gave up and went away. Nevertheless the stray cat was in again the next morning and Moufette was likely snoozing snug and warm under our trailer for the day. In the morning light we could see he’d come back later and finished his excavations.

The cat is an opportunist; where there’s an opening, he’s in where it’s warm and dishes of cat food are sitting around for him to polish off. But he isn’t the digger. Our trailer is surrounded by a hard-packed ridge of gravel; it takes a determined invader with claws to dig through that!

Anyway, yesterday Bob went out and filled in holes, sprayed Critter Ridder around and we slept peacefully last night. The skunk will have to find a more secluded place to doze away his days. (We went through this last fall, too, if you remember my posts from back then.)

As to my health, I’m feeling okay except for being hot and sweaty a lot. It’s my “thinker” that gives me the most problem; I forget so easy and I have a harder time concentrating than I ever did. Feel sort of tired mentally, don’t have much enthusiasm for projects — even getting my children’s book ready for publication. But I am working at it.

Saturday was our His Imprint Christian Writers Conference. that took a lot of my attention this month; now that this event is out of the way I plan to focus more on my own writing.

Colourfully Created Crawlies

crab-298346_640“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.”
Genesis 1: 20-22

Just think how much fun He must have had designing this one!

(Reblogged from Swallow in the Wind)
Crab from Equador; Photo from Pixabay