bunt sign

Saturday, October 11, 2003

As I walked out to pick up my mail this afternoon, I saw the entire Quail family nosing around in the middle of my driveway. Papa Quail, as usual, was surveying this family expedition from the top of a fence post. I didn't want to disturb them, and I especially didn't want to chase them out toward the road, where the danger could be greater. My driveway doesn't get much action on a Saturday afternoon.

So I froze. I could tell the quail were mildly disturbed by my presence. It wasn't serious enough to cause them to take flight, but they were definitely moving away from me. I stood as still as possible for a few minutes, to give them time to settle down. Then I slowly backed off and went into the house. I knew I could get my mail later.

But I began to think about it and wonder if I'd done the right thing. Maybe I could have found a way to chase them toward safer ground. Still, I didn't want them heading in the wrong direction. After about fifteen minutes of pondering, I walked back out toward them and saw that they had really settled in. I mean, really. They were sitting comfortably all over the dirt driveway, looking quite relaxed.

Well, you know me. I didn't want to bother them, and I wasn't expecting anything particularly important in the mail. The phone rang, so I left them in the drive and gave them some time to themselves.

Shortly after that, I was sitting inside and I saw them pass through the side yard, away from the driveway and away from the road. They were heading toward the empty field where they usually go this time of day. I knew I'd done the right thing by leaving them alone.

It was kind of by default that I'd done the right thing, because if the phone hadn't rung I might have accidentally chased them under the hawk's nest or out into traffic. I should try to remember that. Sometimes the best thing you can do is leave things alone.

After the Cubs took a 6-0 lead in the third inning tonight, I determined that it was time to go outside and water the garden. It was just about 6:00 pm, and it was much nicer outside than inside anyway. More air, or something like that. Besides, the playoffs had been keeping me indoors way too much, and I hadn't watered in several days.

The cream-colored cat was lying in his usual spot at the end of the fence, no more than fifteen feet away from me, blithely paying no attention to my presence - until I sent a plume of water in his direction. Then he looked up and winked, so I squirted him again and he reluctantly moved off into the high weeds outside my yard (because there are no high weeds inside my yard, don't you know).

I was just playing, though. I swear. Everybody knows a cat is deeply amused by a sudden blast from the hose, right? Because they're such good-natured, easygoing creatures. Cats love it when you mess with them. (And a few minutes later he was drinking coolly out of the birdbath.)

10 October 2003

Vapor trail, above and beyond.

Actually, I hardly ever do anything to keep the cat out of the yard. If I see it molesting the birds, I'll chase it away. The rest of the time I just let it be, hoping it will at least take care of the real pests, like rats and moles. I've never seen any evidence that it's done me any good in that way, though. In fact, I don't know what it lives on, because I haven't found any bird carcasses either. I certainly don't feed it.

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As I was cleaning the house (again) today, I was shocked at how much of the trash I was throwing out was packing material. It seems so wasteful. I guess that's another good reason to shop locally rather than on line. I was ready to start a letter-writing campaign when I looked more closely and found that the "inflatable packaging" used by Amazon is recyclable. That's not the whole answer, but it helps a little.

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: Local Color
"I look as if I might be wearing a hat from the Russian steppes or the Argentine pampas. Or as if I just took one of those hats off."

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