Shared Greenery

“It’s time to cut the lawn,” our neighbor told us today. We agreed it was looking a bit furry, but we thought it gave the front of the house some character. Plus it looked like we do, two months without a haircut.

“Let’s wait til May,” Alf said.

“By then you’ll need to hack your way to the front door,” he said.

“Come on, it won’t be that bad,” Alf said.

“Yes it will, it’s all the watering you do every morning that’s causing the jungle to spring up.”

Truth is our neighbor keeps his lawn as short as a barber’s haircut and ours was irritating him.

So after a lot of back and forth, Alf allowed the mower to come across our driveway and into the front lawn.

Our neighbor did a fine job of hair cutting. The equipment made all the right rumbling noies and the blower whined throughout the neighborhood. It was done in less than fifteen minutes.

He was satisfied with the results and took his mower back to his house, went inside and we won’t see him for another month.

We guess this is his way of coping with the lockdown. Every leaf has to be a certain height and no higher. He turns on a fountain every day with a yellow rubber ducky bobbing on the surface. The basket of flowers at his front door are artificial and look grey around the edges. Everything else is real, including a rhododendron tree that explodes with purple flowers every spring.

Three fig trees line up tall between his property and ours. He doesn’t like figs so we get the harvest. I love them. We in turn give him oranges and lemons from our trees. A polite exchange.

Calvin says, “How can he not like figs? I like figs, and that’s crazy because beagles hate fruit.”

Maybe a Thank You

We have a rodent in our roof. He moves in when the sun dips below the horizon and scratches all night. It sounds like he’s digging the Panama Canal in there. We’ve had the pest control people out to investigate, but this critter is smart. Or they kill one and another comes in to take its place. It’s been particularly cold this season so I don’t blame him for seeking a warm spot. But the word’s gone out. My roof has become a revolving door.

Alf has put traps up there with peanut butter, but that hasn’t worked either. The thing eats the food, tip toes out of the trap, and laughs. I hear him snickering in between scratches.

Lately I’ve noticed a neighborhood cat around our house.

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A light grey beauty with yellow eyes. She looks strikingly familiar and then the other day it hit me. She looks identical to the kitten Alf and I rescued a year ago and is now thriving in a new home. This adult cat must have been the mother.

 

So mom cat is patrolling our grounds. One afternoon I found her on the roof, soaking up the afternoon rays by what must be the hole the resident rodent climbs into every day. She’s on it. In the last few nights we haven’t heard any scratching. Could it be she caught this nasty rat as a thank you for fostering her kitten and finding her a great family to live with? That would be utterly delightful.

Calvin says, “Don’t get sentimental over this. Cats are savages. They’ll eat anything.”

beagle

 

A Reality Ride Home

Last week’s subway train was late pulling into the station. The crowd shoving to get on board reminded me of a stampede of cows racing down a hillside before an earthquake hit. A few stations later, a commotion between two people began at the back of the car.

“Don’t touch me!” a woman yelled to a man who had pushed his way onto the car.

“I didn’t touch you!” he screamed back.   Christmas2

“Yes you did! Don’t you touch me!” she bellowed back.

Their voices intensified as we traveled through the tunnel to the next station. At this point everyone was straining their necks watching them.

A reality show was unfolding before us.

Next the name calling began, followed by obscene language, and then tempers erupted.

I didn’t want to be witness to a homicide. I prayed. I asked God to calm them down. He did, but it only lasted until the next subway station. Then both parties detonated again.

“Don’t you remember they taught  you in kindergarten to keep your hands off of other people? Did you learn that?” the woman said.

The man said nothing. He drew a knife.  The woman screamed even louder.

The subway was now parked at the station.  Seconds later the police showed up and stepped on board. They handcuffed both parties and escorted them out of the station.

The rest of the ride home was in eerie silence.

Calvin says, “What they need are sniffer dogs to ferret out eruptions like they do drugs at airports. I’m game. I’ve had lots of practice.”  beagle

 

Noises in the Night

We’ve had a bit of trouble in our roof these past few nights. Probably because the temperatures have dropped into the low 30’s and everybody is freezing, critters included.

We’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by scratching noises. Sometimes they’ve been in the kitchen area, at other times in the bathroom. At no times have we been happy about it.

Alf went into the attic with his super-powered flashlight to startle the intruder.     Rat

“Nothing,” he said as he climbed down the ladder.

The next night we heard the noises again.

This time Alf went into the attic and sprayed it with a horrible smelling liquid that makes them gag and hack.

The noises were back again the following night.

Then Alf asked our neighbors. Their fixes ranged from throwing poison pellets into the attic to setting killing traps.

With our luck, we’d end up with a rotting carcass in a corner somewhere that would stink up the house for weeks.

That’s when Alf struck on an idea.

He pulled out the trap he uses for squirrels in the backyard, filled it with peanut butter and shoved it into the attic.

Sure enough, the next morning we had a very fat and happy rat in it.

“What are you going to do with it?” I asked.

“Export it,” Alf said.

He put the cage in the trunk of the car and let it loose at the foot of the mountain where he hikes every week.

It just so happens the foot of the mountain is in the most expensive part of town.

“Upscale housing,” Alf said.

Calvin says, “What a genius fix. I wonder if you’d export me to a rabbit habitat if I bayed once too many times.”beagle