Tuesday, May 19, 2015

War And Peace

The day began benignly.  Overnight, the jasmine under the window had burst into bloom and that heavenly scent wafting into the bedroom.  There was no hint of what was in store.

Going out to feed and milk, I found Tom and Jerry engaged in a noisy fight with the invaders they're sure are hiding in the shiny bumpers of the truck.  With loud war cries, Tom took the front and Jerry took the back (or maybe vice versa, it's hard to tell), striking blows at their reflections in the chrome.  Bess normally ignores the big birds but when she'd had enough, she charged in like the cavalry to call a halt.  In what sounded much like The Terminator, Tom and Jerry muttered, "We'll be ba-a-ck," and headed for the chow line.

Down in the barn, I fought off a persistent ground squirrel who did not want to wait for the grain I put down for the furry ones before I leave.  He wanted breakfast now!  The mouse population has grown so that two piles of chow on either side of the room are necessary.  Squirrel first approached the pile on the right.  I squirted him with the ammo I had at hand.  Again.  And again.  I thought I'd won the skirmish, but no.  Squirrel did an end sneak and came up on my left, not a foot from my foot, close enough to slap.  In fact, I darned near did a couple of times, persistent little booger, but I did win that battle for the moment.

The closer I got to the house as I slogged up the hill, buckets in hand, I could hear the chickens in a panic.  Bess, with her poor hearing, missed the call to battle.  Having so recently lost Ginger, I had a pretty good idea of the cause of pandemonium.  Thanks to Craig's hard labor, there was nowhere for the coyote to hide for a sneak attack when she came back for seconds.  Since I don't "pack heat," my only weapon was my voice and I bellowed at the enemy who stood by the pen fence as if she wondered where I'd come from.  Bessie did hear me, caught sight of the coyote,and took off like a bullet, chasing her down into the woods.  In dog years, Bessie Anne is older than I and two things worried me.  If the coyote was protecting pups on her own turf the fight could get ugly, and two, Bess could have a heart attack from unaccustomed exercise.  I, personally, no longer go down into the woods because I'd never make it back up the hill.  I could follow Bess's barking and knew she'd gone as far as the low meadow.  It was quite awhile before my old girl came home, flopped in front of the wood stove, and lay there panting.  She strained a hind leg and it took the rest of the day to work it out.  I could applaud her valor, if not her good sense.

Ralph and Celeste had fought like cats and dogs, well, like cats and cats, most of the morning.  They finally reached an uneasy detente, together but apart.

I left the war zone and made a quick into town, hoping that hostilities would not break out in my absence.

There was a brief period of rain in the afternoon and then the skies cleared, leaving peace as the sun went down.

What a day.