October 24th, 2006


The Battle Royale

Six eggs this morning and some wickedly cranky hens because I had the nerve to go to the grocery store before letting them out. It is cold. Natural refrigeration for the eggs, I don't worry about getting them right away anymore. Dog and I checked their fence line for gaps as a result of the strong winds the past few days. Looked to me like they were trying to break out of their main area...some very suspicious bare patches right along the fence with signs of recent digging. And I thought 'Chicken Run' was a piece of humorous fiction.

As if the woodchuck in the barn weren't enough excitement, I began to track a smell through the house yesterday. Very odd. Strong odor. What did I cook? Onions? Garlic? What did I leave on? What is wrong with the heat pump and oil furnace? I was able to eliminate the oil furnace as no smell was detected in that end of the house. Still...

One gets used to smells. Then one goes outside and comes back in to be hit by this odd odor again. Musky, garlic, cooking smell? And it seemed it was also outside the house as well. Ah. Confirmed by a fresh nose. Skunk.

I like skunks. J doesn't, due to having a very stupid dog as a child. Skunks are mostly dormant in the winter. J is thinking of skunk babies. I'm thinking it's a bachelor skunk. Useless point to argue. J is the one who kept a huge bag of sunflower seeds available right by the house and knew they were being eaten. J is the one who didn't fill in the mysterious large hole by the garage amongst the azaleas. And now he's talking about ammonia and mothballs. No, no and no. That's poison, as far as I'm concerned. Still, I do wish I knew if we were being visited or squatted on. It does matter...'guests, like fish, stink after 3 days.' Has it been that long? No, only 24 hours so far.

Marital Impasse.

Ok, so here's my plan. First, check woodshop for skunks. Close off woodshop and all access to seed-food preferred by musky tenant. Second, start fire in woodstove and turn off heat in house. Open doors and windows to air house because outside the smell has definitely diminished to nothing. Once the house has aired, close it up again and see if smell comes back. That implies the skunk is somehow partly in the house itself. Where mice can go, it can go, or some such nonsense. Just read that skunks are quite fond of eating mice. Yeah for the skunk. Another mouse eater. Can't say I want a family, extended or otherwise, or a harem. Can't say I want them right up against the foundation for the winter. But they're welcome to the mice.

Frog Out


Immortal morning light comes up over the hills to the east. It spreads its yellow, soft light parallel to the ground, angelic light dancing away from gravity. A narrow ribbon of mortal asphalt runs to the south, defined by the earth it covers. Open farmland rolls off to the left and mature trees whisper their secrets to the right. Morning light kisses the gilded leaves of maples arching over the country road, harsh stripes of black limbs stabbing up and outward, a warning that secrets must be kept. No light will penetrate here. It dances off the edge of the leaves.


Hills to the west are blue and dusky, the unseen Appalachian Trail along the ridgeline, a secret path. Suddenly, the clouds break and the hills are captured in the harsh light of mid-day sun. Colors of red, brown, yellow, green are revealed in all their secret beauty, as if a woman had lifted her skirt and shown her ankles and bare feet to run quickly away. Gone again as the cloud moves back across the sun, returning secrets to where they belong, hidden under her skirt.