I had to leave the karma of my backyard and rescue my father from old age and the clutches of a nursing home. I am bringing him home to live with me and my family. I am currently 500 miles away cleaning out the memories of 23 years in my parents’ house. My Dad is looking forward to a new adventure. He will officially be on vacation now for the rest of his life, relaxing in my backyard and I am so happy to share that vacation with him.
My day started out by rescuing a very large mole that was trying to break the world record on how long it could stay afloat in my pond. He was curled up in a ball and tucked very tightly into a corner. I thought at first I was looking a baby duck and wondering where the Mama was. I didn’t know what I had until I scooped him out. He was still alive just waterlogged. I set him free over the fence that backs onto woods, all the time hoping I wasn’t providing a quick brunch for the Barred owl that hangs around. (see previous post)
Then I ran into a ribbon snake on the patio and had to stop and convince him to relocate – and wouldn’t he be happier by the small pond where he could hide in the rocks? It would be so much better than scaring guests on the patio. I was all ready to help with my broom and dust pan but he got the hint and high-tailed it to the pond.
The heat index had temperatures in the triple digits. I was done with gardening so I jumped in the pool to cool off. I’d been in the pool for a little over 5 minutes floating around on the raft when I opened my eyes and noticed a black vulture circling way up in the sky. I closed my eyes for a few minutes more, opened them again and the vulture was now much closer and making a circle around my backyard. I wondered if the vulture thought I was dead. Here I am just floating motionless on the water. I closed my eyes again and opened them after a few minutes and – suprise – there he was in all his creepy splendor sitting on my back fence, watching me very intently. It was quite disconcerting so I got out of the pool to prove I’m alive and to shoo him away by waving a towel. First, they are big birds, really, really big birds and second they don’t shoo! He hopped off the fence and down into the neighbor’s yard. I could hear him hopping around in the leaves, up and down the fence line like he was looking for something. Later in the day, I was thinking about the vulture’s behavior and it occurred to me that I had put down some animal repellent along the back fence to ward off raccoons who think my ponds are their personal sushi bars. What’s the first ingredient in the animal repellent? Dried blood. Did the vulture smell the dried blood and come down to have look? Was he hopping around in the neighbor’s yard trying to uncover the dead thing he thought was buried in the leaves? I don’t know. I don’t have a clue about vulture etiquette so I’ll leave you with this excerpt from The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts and More Beasts for Worse Children by Hilaire Belloc; illustrated by Harold Berson; copyright 1966. (Do you think my parents were trying to tell me something when they gave me this book?)
“…Work your fingers to the bone and what do you get?
Bony fingers, bony fingers…”
Unless you try to chop them off!
“…And, may I inquire, if you were not pulling weeds this morning, what would you be doing? ‘Oh,’ said Loraine, ‘I’d be in the hammock, I s’pose, reading or thinking’. ‘Idling’ said Queen o’ Weeds, reprovingly.’ ‘Idling, that’s what you’d be doing. So this particular minute I’m saving you from one of the worst faults in the world’…”
Can’t identify this bird/hawk/falcon? Usually working in the yard and abruptly there is silence. The birds and squirrels are completely quiet. Sometimes I will glimpse him silently maneuvering through the trees and just this one time the camera was nearby. Couldn’t get a good shot though. He doesn’t look all that menacing.
My backyard is my sanctuary, a place far away from the front door. When I step out of the front door life slaps me full in the face. Ahhh, but the backyard is my retreat where I can regain Karma. To sit in and feel the cool shade of bamboo; to see it gently swaying and hear the soft rustling does wonders for my soul.
I am not a serious gardener. I do not test my soil; have a shed full of fertilizers or a myriad of gardening tools. And, I cannot wax philosophically about the pros and cons of plant characteristics. I buy plants that speak to me (metaphorically, I am not that crazy – yet) and plant them where they are pleasing to the eye. If they are happy — great! If not, I move them. If they survive –good! If not, I buy a different plant. If they are a vegetable and I’m able to harvest some food – better still!
I enjoy being outside digging in the soil or relaxing while communing with my garden friends (again, metaphorically… I’m not really having a conversation with the garter snake –yet).