Zen Short Stories: A Murder on Zen

The weather is warming back up a bit once again on Zen going literally from A fire in the wood stove last night to windows open and fans on today.

Ma spent the better part of the day enjoying the weather while she knitted on the porch and watched the Fleece sales on WAFA.

Me? Well, I had planned on goofing off in the gardens…I ended up starting cleaning the shop so that I could put up the new wood lathe…

What does this have to do with a murder? nothing… It has to do with why I am writing short stories…

A Murder on Zen Mountain

So.. Whatcha wanna do?

I don’t know.”

Ok..So what we gonna do?”

I don’t know.”

“……………Whatcha wanna do?”

“I’m seriously thinking about smacking a crow upside the head.”

We could go check the pit …”

We already checked the pit.”

We could check the wood pile ?”

“I don’t know… We did that yesterday.”

” We could………………”

You could shut the hell up and move away from our nest” Muninn croaked to the murder of crows sitting in the trees around hers and Huginn’s nest.

Woke up on the bitchy side of the nest eh?” Called Knisten. The other eight crows cackling around the trees.

Huginn uncurled himself from his pile he had been sleeping on towards the trunk of the tree, glaring at the crows.

What was that now?

Just funnin’ the Mrs. Me Lorde . Just being a teasin“.” Knisten called back, bowing his head slightly.

Huginn unfurled his wings , powered into the sky, spinning and dove towards the crows.

The sky erupted with the cawing of crows as they burst into the air in every direction. Huginn and Muninn hot on their tails, chuckling in delight as they chased their smaller cousins.


So.. Whatcha wanna do?

I don’t know.”

Ok..So what we gonna do?”

I don’t know.”

“……………Whatcha wanna do?”

Don’t be starting that all over again.” Knisten cawed . “ Lets hit the pond then check out the brush pile.”


I can smell it. Can you smell it?”

” I smell it, I do. “

” I think I see it.”

That’s a bunch of sod.”

No, no. I think I see it.”

Knisten watched his crows staring in the brush pile as he sat at the pond. Muninn gliding in sat at the pond as well.

I didn’t do nuttin.” Knisten protested.

I do not care what you do here. Da might , but I do not. I came for a drink.” Muninn croaked as she sipped water.

The two watched the crows pecking about the brush pile, poking their heads in here and there, chatting back and forth.

Its already gone you know.” Muninn chuckled.

What’s already gone?” Knisten asked, looking up at his larger cousin.

The wood rat. Da shot it for me.. I ate it..Huginn finished it and then Rhey got what was left.” Muninn said slyly.

The two watched the crows tugging at the pile poking their heads in. One getting stuck, trying to pry her head out as another pecked at her tail, “ Out out out.”

I would tell them but this is entertaining.” Knisten said.

Muninn cocked her head to the side.” Well, as entertaining as this all is, I think I will head back up to the nest..Maybe watch the show from the balcony.” Muninn flew off towards her nest , chuckling as she watched the crows below digging through her empty pantry.


I stood in the bathroom, watching out the window at the murder of crows croaking while they stared at the brush pile, then each found a spot and attempted to make their way into it. One crow sat at the pond as Muninn flew in. They chatted for a bit , then off she flew. I watched her land in the nest. Looking back, I saw the single crow was looking into the wood pile... ” Good luck with that” I thought. Our ravens had gone through both piles, followed by Rhey and then Dennis. If there was anything left besides the tail hairs I’d be surprised.

The single crow looked up, seeing me in the window. He cocked his head to the side, I did the same. He croaked and went back to looking through the wood pile. I shrugged , started to turn away only to have a ruckus break out at the brush pile. A crow had worked its way in too deep and was having trouble backing out. A second crow was pulling at its friend’s tail feathers. I had no idea whether it was trying to help or wanting to see what the other had been trying to get to.

Finally, all the crows hopped back out to stare at the brush pile once again before they finally flew into the skies only to circle around , back to the field to look for bugs.

Whatcha doing?

The weather was nice and I was in the asparagus bed pulling weeds. Lass sat on the fence over my head watching me and commenting.

Whatcha doing Da?”

Weeding.” I called up to her.

It already has weeds..” She said as she look down at me , a smirk forming.

I slowly looked up from the bed to squint at the little hummingbird. “ No one else to pick on ?”

Hummie is off looking for trouble. Hollywood is waaaaayyyy over at the buck brush keeping watch.”

What about your sister?”

She has bbbbaaaaaaaabbbies to deal with. She’ll bite my head off.”

Might be an improvement.” I groused.

Whatever. You’re doing it wrong.”

How so?” I asked.

You should throw the weeds over the fence for the deers.”

I was planning on it.”

But , you’re throwing them on the walkway.”

I chucked a pile at weeds at Lass, who simply flit to the side, watching the sod and weeds fly by.

Yes, like that. But next time, not at me, I was comfortable and had to move, and all.”

I chucked a second pile of weeds at her.

Slow , aren’t you.”

” Don’t make me stand up.

Why? DO you throw better standing up? Cause if so, then yes.. Do it.”

I growled at the little hummer….who giggled and flew off.


Whatcha doing?” Called Hollywood from the fence above me.

I nailed him with a clump of sod.

The Magical Mystery pile

Our Girl and Lil Buck watched the crows at the brush pile as they pecked, squawked , dug and fluttered about.

What are those silly crows doing Mama?” Lil Buck asked, looking up at him mom, His neck and head pressed to her chest and neck.

They’re crows. Who knows with crows.” Our Girl said softly as her boy nuzzled under her face.

Can we go see?”

Maybe once they fly off.”

Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan I chase them off?” Lil Buck asked as he bunched his rear legs in anticipation.

Let’s let them go on their own. We don’t want them pestering us in spite. Crows have long memories. If you mess with one, the whole murder will remember…for ever.” She answered kindly.

Fine.” Lil Buck pouted as he stomped his foot. Then stuck his tongue out at the crows when his mama wasn’t looking.


That’s enough fun for now.” Knisten called out. “ Let’s go see what Da is up to. I heard him up by the gardens next to the pit. Never know what he’ll toss over the fence.”

Did you hear about Hollywood?” Lintin laughed.

Good point. Don’t bug Da.. Da has a long memory. If you mess with him, he will remember…..forever..” Knisten grinned.

The crows gathered, flying off as one…with a few midair mishaps.

Bugger off. That’s my air space.”

I was here first.”

That’s my wing you idiot.”

Well stop putting it where I am going to fly.”

Focus!” Knisten called back over his shoulder.

Not an idiot.” Ginny pouted as she flew behind Jutu , eyeing his tail feathers.

………… In coming Da!” Lintin called out as the murder flew over Da.


They’re gone. Can we go now?” Lil Buck asked, Banging the back of his head into his mama’s neck once again, looking up at her.

Yes Dear. We can go now.”

I see what you did there.” Lil Buck laughed.

Our Girl rolled her eyes. “Everyone is some kind of sarcastic comedian .. I blame Da.”

Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe.” Lil Buck called back over his shoulder as he bounced his way to the brush pile.

Our Girl walked up to browse around the pile, the grasses longer where Da couldn’t catch with the tractor.

It’s like a magical mystery pile Mama.” Lil Buck said as he stared at the brush, then walked around the pile to stare again.

Yes Lil Buck…..Magical.” Our Girl said as she browsed…rolling her eyes while her little buck played.

I think I see it.” He called in awe .

See what?” Our Girl asked, her back to the pile, cropping grass.

You know……… It!” He said , cocking his head, staring into the pile.

What it would that be?” She asked as she watched the ravens flying around their grove.

You know.. The crows’ It !”

That’s nice Dear.”

Lil Buck giggled. “ You said it again.”

Our Girl sighed. She was going to have to limit his time with Dennis.. Something was definitely rubbing off.


Jutu cried out, ” See! See?! I Knew it ! See? The deer ! They see it! See ?!? They are going to get It first!”

Chill. The little buck is playing.” Knisten croaked.

Oh no. Nonono. He found It. I Told you! I told you it was a magical pile.” Jutu cried.

Umm… I remember you getting worked up about It.. I remember Ginny getting stuck.: Knisten started

Thanks for that.” Ginny grumped as she watched the deer.


Mama?” Lil Buck asked.


I don’t think It is fun anymore. Can we go see if Ma is out?”

Yes Lil Buck, Lets see if Ma will come out to play.” Our Girl smiled as she watched her son digging at the edge of the pile.

The two deer casually made their way up to the pond for a drink, then up to the mineral block. Lil Buck stared up at the porch , looking for Ma…And there she was!

Ma! Ma! We looked at the magical mystery pile!….and I saw IT!” Lil Buck called up to Ma.

Ma watched the deer at the block. “ Did you now? How wonderful. Hi Lil Buck. Hi Pretty Girl.”

Lil Buck walked up to the edge of the deck, watching Ma. “ Yes! Yes it was. I saw the crows and then we looked.. and I saw It!”

Ma looked to Our Girl who shrugged and rolled her eyes yet again.

Well.. I think that’s wonderful Lil Buck.”

Lil Buck nodded his head vigorously.

Ma turn back to her knitting. Lil Buck watching her.


We should go back.” Jutu called.

No.” Lintin said. ” There is good stuff in the pit.”

But…But…” Jutu pouted.

When Da is done, we will get into the pit.” Knisten said over his shoulder.


Muninn watched from the nest as a flock of many types of birds hit the brush pile. She then looked up to the crows by the pit , watching Jutu going crazy, cawing and complaining as he saw the birds too.


I finished at the upper gardens. Turning off the water and closing the gate. “ Ok Cawcaws. I am done, come grab some lunch.”

Knisten grinned.” See?!? Da said lunch. I know Lunch. Da said Lunch so we go Lunch.”

But….. The pile .. The magical pile. See even the little birds see It! …..The pppppiiiiiiilllleeeee.” Jutu called.

You have been spending time with Dennis again…Haven’t you?” Lintin questioned Jutu.

But…Well.. Yes…. But why?” Jutu asked, cocking his head.

Just sayin.” Lintin said, turning to Knisten. “ I told you it was probably contagious.”

Babies !

I walked out the porch door to see Hollywood on the feeder. He glared around the glass at me then back to drinking.

Mornin Hollywood.”

He looked around the glass at me once more, giving me the evil eye.

Lass flew in, landed on the fence, looked between Hollywood and myself. A grin slowly formed on her face, morphing into a smirk.

Morning Da… Whatcha doing?”

Hollywood spun his head around to glare at her, stuck out his tongue and flew off. Lass just giggled.

Trouble maker.” I laughed softly.

Oh..Just.. Whatever.” She answered back, trying to stifle her giggling. ” He’ll get over it.”

What’s new in the hummy world this morning?”

Selia has been giving her new babies flying lessons and they are getting pretty big already. Lea has a baby too that has been flying with her cousins so maybe they will pop over this morning. I told them they need to come visit Ma.”

….and Me? “ I asked as I tapped my foot.

Hmmmm? Sure , sure.” Lass said absently as she watched to the north.

Sup ? “

Oh those crazy cawcaw birds are at the pit again.” Lass said, nodding with her beak.

I stepped out onto the deck peering to the north where I saw our murder of crows jabbering away as they took turns picking through the new veggie scraps I had tossed the night before.

Ma came out, tea in one hand and I pad in the other . “ Morning Lass.”

Ma ! Hi! I didn’t think you’d ever come out. I’ll be right back.” Lass said as she took off.

It’s barely 5am. What’s her hurry?” Ma asked as she sat down on her swing .

Maybe she is getting the babies.”

Lass had babies?”

Nah. Two of her sisters did. “

Hollywood flew back in, sitting at the feeder by Ma, stuck his tongue out at me and said. “ Morning Ma. Lass and the girls are coming to show you someones.”

Ma smiled.” Some..ones? “

About that time, in flew Lass followed by two more females and three wee grey poofs.

Lea and Selia shooed their babies towards Ma. “ Tell Ma good morning. She is the boss up here. So behave.”

The three babies all chirped “ Good Morning …”

The three swarm about the feeders, trying to decide which they liked best. On their side, where the nests are, there is only a single feeder. This side has five.

One little one made her way through each of the five feeders before she flew/waddled back towards the nest. The other two flew around the feeder by me then landed on the fence to rest their wings.

Lea, following her babe, called over her shoulder.” Bye Ma!”

I stood there, hands palms up.” Really?”

The two babies still at the fence watched then looked to Lass.

That’s Da. He’s the one Ma makes fill feeders. When they get empty, you yell at him.”

The two babies nodded, paying close attention to Lass then looked to me. I shrugged. Lass nodded solemnly.

He’s kinda funny looking.” One of the babies whispered to Lass. She choked down a giggle

You get use to it. One time, I lived inside with Ma and Da.”

The babies eyes grew wide, their beaks open. “ Reeeaallly….”

Yeah. It was pretty fun, but the sky is really low.”

The two babies looked up into the sky then back to Lass.

And then, I sat in Da’s hand.”

Both babies making Oooooooohhh faces.

Lass nodded yet again,” Yup… and Thhheennnn Da and I made a guitar.”

The two nodding their heads until one of them cocked her head to the side, watching Lass and myself, still nodding.” Yeeeaahhh I don’t know what that means but.. Cool.”

Yup.. and thennnn, when I was all warm and drank all the juice I wanted, I told Da I was ready to go back outside. After days inside. And theeenn, Da carried me outside.”

Oooohhhhhhhhhh” The two chorused.

They watched me for a bit then look back to Lass who nodded her head again.

Woooowwww.. Good story.”

Yup!.. I had my own feeder and my own tree.. It even had lights and everything. But, I wanted to visit the other guys. I talked through the windows to them but once I felt better I needed to fly high.” Lass ended her story, wings spread wide.

The kids sat, mouths agape. Eye wide.

Selia , wings on hips, rolled her eyes. ” It was like three freakin days Lass.. You ALWAYS tell this story.”

Lass pursed her lips, looking at her younger sister.” anddd exactly how many days have you lived in the house? Exactly?”

Yeah, well. Kids time to go back to the nest.”

But Auntie Lass?” They pouted, pointing to Lass.

Auntie Lass can tell you the same story any time you sit in one place too long.”

Jealous much?” Lass chirped , sticking her tongue out as her sister lifted her beak into the air then took off, kids in tow.

Sisters.. Phhhtt.” Lass grumbled.

Agreed.” I mumbled.

Final Thoughts

Well, we had a day that got pretty warm; 75F and back to having the wood stove running again this morning. Rains coming and going, which we enjoy very much. The clouds are great on my eyes. The summer sun is just too much for me now, whether from just the surgeries, or because of the horrible fires last year that had the health quality so terrible while I was having and trying to recoop from the surgeries I don’t know. I know Doc has some new meds for me to try to help with my dwindling eye sight. He says that it should make a big improvement.. we shall see….It better.. Before insurance, it is over $700 per bottle. Doc had to go back in to do his magic, as they ( ins ) wouldn’t cover it, to get it covered…

We have been trying to watch the Raw Fleece sales this weekend but FB has completely dropped the ball, as well as the individual’s providers.. We haven’t been able to keep track on any of the feeds today and all towards the end yesterday. Friday while we were watching Jen’s (Whispering Pines ) video, we had to constantly reload due to a FB crapfest…which seems to be continuing all weekend.

Ma has been working on knitting, spinning combing fleece and flicking fleece, to prep for more spinning and then, of course, on to knitting.

Working on another of her designs for a sweater, Ma has been pretty busy lately before and after work, between all of the above.

I got the Irish Wheel pretty much cleaned up and mostly ready to go for another set of projects for Ma as well. She took it for a test spin, if only for a bit and I am pretty sure I saw a spider ,pressed against the window, crying at how thin Ma’s long draw was.. let alone her short draw , which is even finer. It looks like Irish will be in the same league as Mama Wheel in that department though Ma and Mama wheel make a solid team .

I was watching Ma spin on Mama wheel as they tried to put out thicker yarn.. They both have to think about it to make it thicker…Still in the fine fingering …as they cruise at the edge of lace when Ma is spinning and watching vids or TV.

I managed to get a portion of the shop cleaned up for the Lathe yesterday….and then I realized that I need to swap around one of my main benches to make things flow smoother…Oh well.. I am sure I can find a minute or two somewhere to clean up the next area and figure out the game plan to move the bench by myself as it is too heavy for Ma to help. No worries.

Back to town again this week. I have several things I need to pick up, and a couple to look for. I always hate doing the town runs as the fluorescents are worse than the summer sun…plus all of the ungodly perfumes out there that I may not actually smell, but I can taste and they fry my old burnt out sinuses…and of course then there are all of the citiots.. like swarms of flies around a steaming pile of… which brings us back to perfume…

I did manage to find out what was drawing the attentions of the murder of crows… a new wood rat moved in to the brush pile… I evicted it this morning… I am sure the crows or our ravens will enjoy Sunday Brunch.

100% of the Zuke plants in the ground are gone… Between the winds and cold temps, they never stood a chance. I am so glad I moved the pepper and tomato gardens. They are all doing well. There are already flowers on the tomato plants as well as flowers and even an Italian pepper almost the size of my palm in the pepper beds. The pepper plants are almost as big as they were at end of season.. well most every year… So, hopefully, the summer wont be just another smoke fest up here this year.

Yesterday there were a series of fires along the freeway below us..at the mile markers..in a row.. We were told it was the train…which, ccccooould be though.. just at mile markers? AND the last one was no where near the tracks…..hmmmm. Crews were on them, including planes and so far nothing has gotten carried away.

Well.. for the moment, the clouds have , once again, parted and the birds are all going crazy. Hummingbirds; only Hummie’s clan, are flying about, chasing one another. Our deer are hanging everywhere around the house, including standing in my shop with me yesterday.. Elk on the hillside. Coyote kids making their rounds, and Rema, our little house cricket visiting, has been playing about around the floor vents and behind the fridge….Flowers are starting to bloom and we are getting closer to putting out the next wave of veggie plants.. Now if we could JUST find canning lids… I haven’t seen a single one since the summer of 2019….

I watch the kids playing around the edges of the homestead, clouds slowly drifting overhead. Some fine and lacy , some heavy with rain and promises of thunder…. Just waiting for the next round of rains that have been promised. I just smile knowing that today is

Just another day on Zen Mountain

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