So much and so little going on up here on Zen I thought I’d put up a couple more ( based on real events) short stories.
Any and all short stories I write are based on what actually happens up here; interactions between us and the wildlife on Zen…
With the heat wave that came through for those several days ( triple digits +, which is unheard of up here ) I was having to spot water every morning, something I hate doing as we are in 24/7-365 drought conditions up here…
I would hit the newer trees, anything less than 7 years old, the brand new garden in the apple “orchard” That I layered fences to keep pretty much everything out.. until it doesn’t. We have our sauce tomatoes and our peppers in there this year. It has worked out well enough that I am going to grab the niece’s better half to help me move the raised bed that ruined Ma’s back permanently when she tried to help … I want to try to get as much packed into the somewhat sheltered area as I can. I also HAD the zuke bed.. which four times I replanted and they were destroyed each and every time by the crazy weather this year… After the Heat Wave came a cold snap, I have totally lost count of the flips this Summer.. actually since Winter… Every few days we get a flux of 30 degrees.. The Heat went up above 100 with lows in the 80s.. The next day we had a high in the 60s and low in the 40s… a few days later we were in the 90s again.. on and on. At the bottom of Lil Eden, I have the potato garden… So I run the rounds each morning for each garden.
I was hand watering the Thyme garden; lower Eden, when some six inches from my foot was a snake curled to bite me; Sieva; a yellow bellied grey racer.
Sieva was irritated with me as I had almost stepped on her… Too close for my buggered eyes to catch easily.
“HEY! Look out! Hunting here! Man, you ruined everything.” The little snake hissed. ” I am sssssssssooooo going to bite you.”
I looked down at the curled, pissed off snake. ” Sorry dude. I didn’t see you there.” aaaannnnd about that time, my hose spit water on her head.
“ Really? Seriously? Rrrrealy pissssssed off ssssnake here.”
“ Hey, that was the hose not me. Awwwww.. you’re wagging your tail. See you like me. “
“ I am ssssssssso not wagging… Spike taught me this move! He said it makes you squeal like a little girl.”
I squirted her with the hose.
“ Hey ! Stop that! I am sssssooooo..”
I squirt her again.
“ You are really pissssssing me off no…”
I got her again.
Sieva finally uncurled, watching me as she peeked out from under a Lavender bush. “ Jerk!”
I watered the lavender. I could hear her grumbling and finally started giggling.
“ Ssssstop. Sssssstop. Sssstop. I give up.”
“ So whatcha hunting?” I grin down at the little wet snake.
“ Wait… You’re hunting Rema?”
“ Ummmmm…. No? “ She said, attempting to look innocent .
“ Uhhuh…. You do know that snakes can not pull off puppy dog eyes.. right?”
“ Fine , fine… Maybe…I thought she was suppose to be in the house.”
“ She got bored and snuck back out. You know how them crickets like to party.”
“ Wait a minute… Cricketsssssss Party? Sssssssoo like lotssss of cricketssss together?” The little snake asked, hopefully.
I laughed. ” I don’t know. It just sounds like it..Friggin sound like a herd of them under our windows at night.”
“Ssssssssooo annoying you? Oh I can totally fix that. I’ll get on it tonight.”
“ Umm not exactly what I was saying..”
“ No no, I can read between the linesssss. I am sssssssooo on it. I’ll ssssssssee you later.” Sieva said as she headed off towards the bushes under the bedroom windows.
“ Ummm.. Well.. Ok then…” I waved the hose at her, then called out. “ IN coming sssssnake . “
Sieva looked back at me as she started into the brush, a pout on her face.
I shrugged. “ Hunting. Not shopping.”
During the heat wave, even the hummies were scarce. No idea where they headed off to but we didn’t see much of them for a few days. I know town would be even hotter so I doubt they went that way.. They must have headed to the river for some Hummie rafting parties.
Once the heat broke, we were inundated once again with the Hummie clan, plus several other hummers passing through.
Every day, I was filling feeders. Not out of the norm, but I was going through nearly a gallon of juice a day…also not uncommon during certain parts of the summer.
Another thing common to summer are the nasty earwigs that somehow make their way into the juice, and just in the last day or so, yellow jackets.. hordes of them.
With the nasty bugs getting into the juice, the best thing I could think of was to put less into the feeders and fill more often…which keeps me hopping, but keeps the hummingbirds happy with fresh, lesser bug juice.
Ma and I were sitting in the porch area, predawn, when our little horde of hums came in to have breakfast with us. The swarm was larger than our normal horde volume so I figured they had cleared out the feeder in the Hummie Garden on the North end of Lil Eden on the other side of the house. About that time one of the little hummer girls flew in my face, hovering.
“ Well good morning little girl. What’s up?”
“ Mornin Da.. How are you this morning? Feeder is empty on the other side.”
I laughed. ” Yeah. I figured that out. I’ll fill it in just a bit.”
“ Ok.. I’ll wait.” She said as she stared at me, some foot from my face….hovering.
“ You could just have breakfast on this side with everyone else you know. Lots of feeders.”
“ That’s ok.. I’ll wait.” She smiled….hovering in front of my face.
“ So….Now then.”
“ No, no..Take your time.” She said as she continued to hover in my face. I could feel the current from her wings.
I chuckled to myself. Ma looked up from her WAFA page and grinned. “ Feeder empty on the other side?”
“ Yeaaahhh.. and someone is impatient.”
“ Nope. I’m good. Enjoy your morning juice. I’ll just wait for mine until you are done.” She said, putting on a sad little pouty face…then hovered closer.
I finally just shook my head and rose. ” I’ll be right back. I have a feeder to fill.”
The little hummer cheered and flew around the house.
I stepped out of the front door to see her hovering above the empty feeder. ” Yup empty.”
“ So.. yes, still empty. You fill it now?”
“ Walking as fast as I can.” I opened the gate and lifted off the feeder. The little hummer sat on the fence….waiting.
Taking the feeder into the kitchen, I emptied the remains and found an earwig in it…yuck. Cleaning the feeder parts, I refilled the juice about a third of the way. I knew it would get filled with bugs if I filled it any more.
Walking back out through the gate, the little hummie watched me from above my head as I rehung the feeder, then back out, locked the gate and made my way back to the porch area… Where I met up with the little female hummer.
I sat back down in my chair only to have the little hummer back in my face again. “ Sup little one?”
“ Thanks Da. Feeder is all full again.” She said, then she went to the feeder just above me.
“ Sooooooo…. Now that the other is filled, you have no problem eating with everyone else?”
“ Yup. Nope. All good now.” She said between sips. She flew back down to hover in front of my face again.
“ Um.. Hi.”
“ Hi Da.” She said as she continued to hover.
One of the new grand babies flew up to join her.
“ Hi little one.”
“ Hi grumpa Da. Did you fill my feeder?”
“ Yup. All brand new just filled and bug-less.”
“ Fanks!” she said as she flew off to go check on my work. Her siblings, sitting on the fence watched her fly off, then turned to look at me, then back to her as she stopped, mid air, hovered and shouted, “ Well? Coming or not?” The other tow took off after their sister.
The little girl hovering in front of me, watched me for a moment more, then said, “ Thanks Da. Easier for the babies.” and she took off to follow the kids.
“ Lil poops are here all the time on this side whenever the others come over to visit with Ma and I… but .. sure, easier for the babies.”
Lass sat on her perch at the fence, watching me, rolled her eyes. “ You are so easy Da. Always fun watching you do stupid pet tricks.”
I chucked my tea bag at her. She stepped to the side, watching the bag pass by. What she didn’t notice was that the string had caught on the fence, right behind her. The bag spun around from the inertia created and smacked her in the back of the head. I sputtered tea as I was also caught off guard.
Lass did a belly dive towards the Rosemary bush, catching herself just above the herb, flying back to the fence top. She glare down at the offensive tea bag, then to me. Shaking the tea remains from her back, she blew out of the side of her mouth at an errant drop of tea that was making its way down her forehead . “ You know……I WILL get you back..Right?”
“ I will definitely be on guard next time I see you drinking tea.” I laughed.
“ Oh… It’s Totally On!…..Totally.” She grumped at me, shaking herself once again, orange spice tea drops flying in every direction.
The new kid
I was sitting in my office working on some files when I saw a tiny coyote padding by… Tiny by our norm… Limpy’s and Wraith’s packs both have some wolf in them, making them quite a bit larger than a normal coyote.
With the longer ( normal ) ears ,and at about two thirds the size of what we are use to seeing up here, I had to stop what I was doing and watch. The camera was in the other room so I figured watching was plenty fun enough.
The little guy made his way to the wood shed and the fire wood still stacked off to the side to be recut; the guy that we got it from cut it WAY too long. Our wood box is 15″ by 17″ ..three cords are over 19″ and some are wider than they are long… I was not happy. So, anyway, I stacked them off to the side for the day I break down and re cut.
Wood rats like to climb up on top of the wood pile to see across the meadow and fields for trouble…Dumbass….
We had been rat free for quite some time as I had wiped out the last invasion in a couple days… This last week the next batch showed. They were at the south lumber pile, the south brush pile, and as I had removed the north lumber pile before it got too hot and dry to run a rig in the fields, they now only had the firewood pile to climb on… With in a couple days, I had removed seven or eight.. I forget already. I had reworked a .22 cal. pellet gun I have had for some years, but as I couldn’t see to shoot and it had crapped out, there was no point until this spring. Now it is generally one shot one kill… Well… One had climbed up while Ma was on break from work, she told me, I dispatched it…and a second that was dumb enough to look up trying to figure out what happened to his buddy. The pellet gun, unlike so many with that power is silent. It was there and then it wasn’t..as was the second.
The little coyote had the scent and climbed up on and through the pile, then trotted off with his prize, which was bigger than his head.
I sat in my office grinning. Clean up on Isle 5
The next day, here came the little guy again. Obviously not one of either of our two packs, running Limpy’s lines.
“ Hey little guy.” I called out from the porch, where I just had happened to be looking for more wood rats.
He stopped suddenly, startled. He looked around until he saw me, in the porch area, relaxed and watching. He turned around to run off.
“ Dude. Chill. You’re fine. I haven’t gotten any more for you yet, but you might want to check the lumber pile. Not sure if the CawCaws got them all yet.”
He had stopped while I talked. His shoulders relaxed, watching me. He look to the wood pile, then down to the lumber pile. Raising his muzzle into the breeze, he closed his eyes and sniffed. Opening his eyes again, he watched me as he slowly turn to make his way to the lumber pile.
The little coyote climb up on the pile, occasionally turning to watch me, and dug about until he found his breakfast. Bracing his back legs, he tug until he got what he wanted out. He shook himself and leap to the ground. Shaking himself once again, he drop the breakfast to the ground and stared.
“ I wont bite if you don’t.” I said, grinning at the coyote.
Cocking his head to the side, you could see him thinking. He look to his meal, then to me. “ Hi. You do this?”
“ Well, yup. They cause trouble. … and well you coyote kids and CawCaw kids gotta eat, so win-win.”
He nodded his head slowly. “ Ok. and I can eat here?”
“ Fine by me. Course if no one in Limpy’s pack knows you, you could run nto trouble with them.”
“ Oh, I know Dennis.”
“ Course you do. “ I laughed. “ Everyone knows Dennis.”
The little coyote grinned, nodding his head. “ He’s funny.”
“ Mmmmmmm.” I said grinning.
“ So… What time is lunch?” He inquired, grinning from ear to ear.
I laughed again, “ Oh about half past a rat’s ass.”
The little coyote snorted.
“ You have a name? or am I going to have to refer to you as little coyote for the rest of your life?”
“ I’m not little! I am the biggest one in our den.” He huffed.
“ Yeah, ok… You know Dennis is not the biggest coyote kids up here right?”
He blanched, eyes widening. “ Really?”
“ He is almost the smallest. Wraith and Limpy are both much bigger. Even Rhey, his sister is bigger.”
He mouthed WoW …. ” Oh… right.. my name is Teary.”
“ You mean Terry?”
“ Uh, No… Teary.” His face setting.
“ Why? Because you cry a lot?”
He growled softly at me…to which I rolled my eyes…. “ Teary because I am so fierce , I bring tears to my enemies’ eyes.”
“ Ah…Well, ok then. Good to know I am not an enemy .”
“ How do you know that you are not an enemy?”
“ Ok well ONE; I set out food for you…. and B I am trying not to laugh, let alone cry.”
He glare at me for a bit, a grin slowly forming on his mouth. He shook his head and began to laugh.” Yeah, ok, pretty funny.. don’t do it again.”
“ Okie Dokie, artichokie.” I replied, grinning.
Teary just shook his head. “ Lame.. You are just Lame. You must be Da.”
“ Wait, what?..Exactly? I am lame so there fore I am Da?”
“ Hey just going by the description I got from some of the other kids around here.”
“ Like who?.. Precisely..”
” Oh me, in part.” Chirped Lass, who had snuck in behind me while I was chatting with Teary.
“ Ahhhh… That explains it…” I grumped.
Teary sat, nodding his head. “ Hi Lass.”
“ Hi Teary. Da give you grief about your name ?”
“ I told you he would.”
“ So did you,” Teary growled at her.
Lass shrugged, waving it off with her wing.
“Well…. I have breakfast…well lunch now…getting cold.. I’m off.” Teary said as he grabbed up his meal and trotted off.
“ Seriously? You don’t think you’re a little lame? Ok..ONE; you talk to animals…”
“ Well, it would just be rude if I didn’t.” I interrupted.
Lass pursed her lips…” And B; you write about talking to animals.”
“ You guys are pretty funny.” I grinned….” But looks aren’t everything.”
Lass rolled her eyes…” And on that note, I’m out as well.” She said as she took off.
“ What? I’m funny…….I am…..critics…Everywhere critics.”
You and your little frog too
To this day, the brush pile is a mystery . Every day, the CawCaw kids make their way to it. Whether crow or Raven, they flock to the pile and come away with some prize…
Muninn sat at the pond, staring at the brush pile while she drank.
“ Whatcha doing?” Huginn asked as he swoop in . Landing next to Muninn, he began to drink from the pond.
“ There is something in the brush pile.”
“ There ALWAYS is something in the brush pile.” Huginn replied.
“ It’s bugging me.”
“ It ALWAYS bugs you. So go look.”
Muninn, turn to Huginn , shrugged and flew to the pile, her mate watching from the pond.
“ Who’s in here?” The raven croaked.
“ Nobody’s here.” came a voice from deep inside, followed by a bunch of whispering and a tussle .
“ Show yourselves.” Muninn said imperiously.
“ I said, No one is in here.” came the voice from within again
“ Shut up shut up shut up.” came a whisper followed by a slap.
“ Don’t make me get Ginny. She’ll come in after you.”
A tiny dirt clod spiraled out to bounce across the branches Muninn was perched on. She look down at the wee bit of dirt, rolled her eyes and called back in. “ Ummm.. you’ll have to do way better than that.”
A second clod roll across the twigs.
With a sigh and shake of her head, Muninn turn to look at Huginn. He just shrugged his wings. “ Seriously. I’m going to get you. my pretty. and your little frog too.”
Another voice popped out, ” Hey! I am not part of this.” The little toad peeked out from the pile, making a mad dash towards the lumber pile .. right up until Huginn made a fly and hop to catch it.
“ Not any more.” Huginn said , his head tilted back as he swallowed.
” Ok… Now no one else is in here.” Came the voice.
Muninn look down to the pile closing her eyes, shaking her head and look to her mate again. Huginn licked his lips. Muninn stuck out her tongue at him. “ Look. This IS gonna happen. Let’s just get it over with. My tummy is growling.”
Yet another dirt clod flew out of the pile, this time gaining enough height to at least bounce off the twigs.
Huginn made his way to the edge of the pile while Muninn started cawing at what was inside.
Ginny, flying overhead at the time, spiraled in to see what was up. “ Whatcha got?”
“ Lunch,” Huginn answered.
“ Cool. What’s on the menu?”
“ Some jerk.” Muninn said from above. ” We’ll share if you can get it out.”
“ Sweet! Just pull me out if I get stuck again.”
“ Sure, sure.” Muninn said, waving her off.
Ginny, being smaller, hopped around the pile, looking for an entrance.” Found it. Here I go!”
Noise started coming from inside as the new residents were getting ousted .
Muninn dove. Huginn lunged while Ginny pulled herself out.
All three stood, beaks full of, I couldn’t tell you what, as I was watching from the Master Bath window.
The disturbance brought in nearly a dozen more crows that began going nuts at the pile yet again.
Muninn and Huginn, took their prizes back to the nest while Ginny argued with the other crows over her treat.
Soon several more crows were fighting each other over other prizes. Once again, The mystery brush pile had a cornucopia of goodies for our predator kids.
Well, another week into summer.
Ma still not fully healed up from whatever I had brought home from shopping. I am fighting the whatever as well, though no where near what Ma had.
To add insult to injury; hornets and yellow jackets are swarming bad these last few days. One of the yellow jackets stung Ma, literally the moment she sat down yesterday. Flying directly at her and sting her arm in an instant…. Ma’s arm swelling and bruised, itched all night for her.
We put on seasoning salt, which always helps a lot.. didn’t help enough…Ma now is going out the front instead of using our porch. The bugs swarming the hummie feeders, making life miserable for them as well.
I went out, going primeval on the bugs, taking out as many as I could and disrupting the rest for some time as they swarm around the biggest feeder. I haven’t seen where their nest is , if I do find it, it’ll be a bad day for them.
Finally, after a couple weeks waiting for the bed part for my side, Ma called Sleep Number, and funnily enough, suddenly the part was heading to us…Pretty sure someone dropped the ball on the order. Ma had said the second person she talked to was no where near as good as the original… Not like she doesn’t deal with that at work every single day.
Friday eve, it showed up and we put the bed back together again on my side. Night one, not sleeping in my chair was pretty rough. Little sleep and though my neck appreciated the change, my back; not so much.
Night two… every bit as bad as I sit here stretching out aches every few words… I know I’ll get use to it soon, just as I did the chair…No spring chicken anymore, my body complains about just about everything…
Ma, working on her projects for the Tour De Fleece , puts up new treasures every day and posts them to several different areas that sponsor the event, along with her FB page.. Every so often I do as well. I figure at the end, I will do a post on Ma’s adventure this year.
Ma has run into a few new to us Shetland breeders that she has sent messages to , including one right below us…We haven’t heard back from her yet, but then, I am horrible with Email as well, and no telling if she is doing the live fests now that things are opening back up.
I find myself burnt out on the outdoor stuff with so many fails due to the weather…I can’t do any clean up due to how dry it is, and now with the yellow jackets, I could very well hit a nest without knowing and get hammered…. Let alone that Spike and his buddy rattlers are out and about , loving that I don’t have things cut down due to fire dangers.
I do my watering and that is pretty close to it outdoors. I just let the winds blow and the temps jump all over the place.
I have plenty to keep my mind occupied indoors as well as my couple runs I have to make to towns.
This is one of the roughest summers for growing we have had in a long time, all the while, I see folks I know, not that far from here having record crops…. Trees and water make a lot of difference…On a summit of a stone hill, little water and lots of wind really changes things….But… Next year is all new once again and the peppers are doing well, if slow as are the tomatoes…though battered from the winds…
Though I do get depressed about it some days, which isn’t a first, it is all good when it balances and we get herds of elk, groups of deer , our hummies, coyote kids, hawks, eagles, wolves and so many more that visit… It’s all
Just another day on Zen Mountain