Posted tagged ‘Gracie and the squirrel’

“This squirrel is inadequately afraid of humans! Squirrel, I am a threat to you! We are enemies! Please get off my bench! Oh, god! Oh, god! Don’t touch me—oh, god!”

September 14, 2013

Okay, it’s as if I were a kid again. I’m watching a black and white science fiction movie on TV. This one was made in 1957 and is called The Night the World Exploded. The hero, a scientist, is flying with some air force types to check out a newly formed volcano. On the plane, they are sitting in regular chairs at a card table. The radio operator is on a folding chair. I hope it was a smooth flight. Our heroine, call me Hutch, froze on a ladder going into a cavern. Our hero talked her down by asking if she wanted her mommy and daddy. I’d have punched him. He is now, of course, in love with her, and yes, they did save the world, but it was a close call.

Baby spawn has much to learn. Late yesterday afternoon I heard Gracie prancing about the deck. The spawn was in a tree near her, and Gracie was trying to figure out how to get to it. I brought Gracie inside. A few hours later, I let her out and then heard all sorts of noises. I went out on the deck to check and saw Gracie in the backyard. She had the spawn cornered and was picking it up in her mouth then putting it back down. I went to save the spawn. I was barefoot and was walking in Gracie’s poop part of the yard carefully picking my way through the mine field. I got to Gracie and she took off away from me. The poor spawn ran only a little bit up a tree. It was soaked and mewing. I didn’t see any bites, just saliva. Gracie came to me finally, and we went into the house. That night I took her out twice but on a leash. This morning I checked before Gracie went out, and the baby was gone. I only hope that three run-ins with Gracie were enough for it to stay out of the yard.

I’ve never seen a baby pigeon. I figure they just arrive full-grown, and it’s the same with mourning doves. Baby squirrels, though, have been around the last couple of years. Before that, I would have assumed they too arrive full-grown though in the pine trees are old squirrel nests, huge nests built between branches. Last year I saw a mother squirrel trying to wean her baby. She kept lying on the branch so the baby had no access. The Gracie targeted baby squirrel is on its own, no mother in sight. I think there should have been one more lesson: how to avoid a dog!

“And in this moment, like a swift intake of breath, the rain came.”

September 13, 2013

The rain started when I was sleeping but wasn’t unexpected. It is still raining but hardly, only drop by drop slowly, and I can hear the drops falling on the umbrella. The day has a calmness about it despite the rain. The house is dark and quiet. Today is a favorite sort of day.

Yesterday Gracie had a run-in with a baby spawn which sounds a bit redundant so maybe spawnette would be a better word. Anyway, I heard a bit of a commotion and went into the yard. Gracie had the spawnette running through and around her legs. It was the safest place, a spot where Gracie couldn’t get at it. Gracie kept trying but wasn’t too successful. Finally the creature started to run and the paw got it, sort of flattened the spawn which then ran between Gracie’s legs again. It tried running away a few times but each time Gracie got it. I yelled for Gracie to come, and, as usual, Gracie ignored me. Here’s the irony: I used the hose on Gracie who ran. The spawn went underneath the outdoor shower for safety. I went into the house: mission accomplished. A bit later Gracie came in: her nose and mouth were covered in dirt. I knew she’d been digging. Sure as heck she’d dug a hole under the shower. I didn’t find a dead spawn so it must have gotten away. Much to her consternation, I washed Gracie’s face and cleaned her mouth.

The dry season in northern Ghana lasted half the year. We used to check out the morning sky and say it looked like rain, knowing we had months before it would rain again. The water was often turned off for two or three days most weeks, but we usually knew in advance so we filled our metal buckets with water and lined them up against the wall in the shower room. We also filled every water bottle. At night I’d take a bucket bath and then use the remaining water to flush the toilet. Without water, the grasses turned brown and the soil became dust. Any traveling meant dust in you mouth and all over your body and your clothes. Mammy lorries traveling on laterite roads were followed by dust clouds. I always thought of the old west and stagecoaches when I saw dust billowing behind the lorries.

I loved the start of the rainy season when the storms were most dramatic with thunder shaking the house and lightning bolts hitting the ground where you could see them. I loved the rain when it fell in Bolga.


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