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Thursday, June 30, 2005

I wonder how many creatures Iíve killed in the five years Iíve lived out here in the country. I can remember one that I killed on purpose, with the blunt side of a shovel, but that was a rat who had decided to live under the camellia bush just outside my back door. Sometimes desperation overwhelms compassion.

And of course, I never met an ant that I thought had the right to share my house with me. If theyíd just stay outside and run back and forth and up and down, I wouldnít have a problem. Spiders, on the other hand, are usually safe with me. Iíve flushed a few, but only when there was no alternative. Most of the time I relocate them.

As I was walking outside to mow this afternoon, I saw a flash of a small creature leaping through the high grass in my garden. It was about the size of a lizard, but it didnít move like one. It moved like a rodent, maybe a baby mouse. I poked around in the bushes to see if I could identify it, and while I was doing that I noticed another one (its brother or sister, I assume) leaping out of sight. I still donít know what they were, but if there are many of them living in the high grass, surely some have been cut down by the mower.

Then as I was mowing the center strip of the driveway, I ran over a snake. This was a big one, too, compared to the others Iíve seen. It might have been three feet long, stretched out. Why it just lay there and let me run over it I donít know. But I only went over it with part of a wheel before I saw it and backed off. The blade never came close to it. It slithered off under the fence and out of the way, still in no particular hurry. I donít think Iíve actually killed any snakes. I would have noticed. But they seem to be asking for it.

Yesterday I found another dead gopher, just lying by the side of the driveway. I know I didnít kill it, because it wasnít flattened by my car and I would have known if Iíd done it any other way. There was a time when I tried to flush them out. When I first moved in, I would often stand with the hose poked into one of their holes. I would gladly have drowned them all, but it did me no good whatsoever, and eventually I gave up and decided to let them dig up my yard to their tiny heartsí content. Which is what they have done, for four years now.

18 June 2005

Rim of clouds.

I donít really want to kill any living things (except ants). I donít get all weepy over a gopher carcass, but I would have felt bad if Iíd done any damage to that snake. I do regret every bird who has hit one of my windows (only one fatally), but I donít know what else I can do to prevent it. And I still feel sorry about that starling that starved to death in my dryer vent, but it was making an awful racket before it expired.

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I donít know what happened to the Giants team that limped out of Oakland Sunday night, but the one that showed up in Arizona this week has been more what I expected this season. Theyíre hitting well (nine runs tonight, most of them early) and pitching beautifully (one run on three hits in six innings for the starter, Noah Lowry, and a three-inning save for Brett Tomko). Theyíre going into a little bit hotter frying pan when they head for San Diego over the weekend, so theyíd better enjoy tonightís 9-2 win over the Diamondbacks.

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