A homecoming should be a relaxing affair, shouldn’t it?


I just spent two weeks in Rome Italy which was wonderful and still being in vacation mode; the house didn’t quite look the same upon my return. It seemed a foreign place, although that could have been the jungle of lawn that had grown to eleven inches high in my absence, along with the numerous twigs and branches dropped from a storm that gave it the feeling of an abandoned, unloved abode that floated aimlessly in my neighborhood where my house should have been.


At the front porch I was greeted with the sad remains of a mangled coleus strewn about the steps, the pot they once resided in empty of bright colors and most of the potting soil. I suspect that since the bird (squirrel) feeder had gone unattended the local wildlife must have decided the flowers were up for drabs. It was a preview of things to come.


I had made my way to through the house, dropped the suitcase to the floor, the dead coleus heavy on my mind, and braced myself as I opened the kitchen door the led to the back yard.


I scarcely recognized it my little jungle as I hiked my way through the branches and tall grass to find another casualty of wildlife gone mad. It seemed the squirrels had decided my glider made a very good place to pooh…numerous times. They also chewed the arm a good bit to match where puppies had munched on the opposite arm in years past. One of the feeders was on the ground, but maybe that was the wind. I decided to be generous in where to lay the blame for that. But the birdbath, that was a different story.


Many of you know I received gifts from my crow family. They drop a little something in the bath. Sometimes a stone, a wrapper of foil, a marble or some other little trinket and once I got a fish head. A Bluegill I think. It was quite repulsive mind you, but in Crow’s world it was probably considered quite a nice prize to leave me. But on this morning the gift had a little different feel….and look.


There sitting in my birdbath, which was filled with rain water that had become a putrid swill of green and stink, was a flattened, road-killed squirrel floating. And he had been floating awhile. Do any of you remember in ‘The Godfather’ when what’s-his-face wakes up with that poor horse’s head in his bed? It felt like that. Not a prize, but a declaration. I picked up one of the many sticks that littered the yard and cautiously poked at it, after all, I could be wrong. Maybe it wasn’t what it looked …. No-no! It’s a dead squirrel for sure! Somewhere out there in the world, Crow was less than happy with my vacation plans and wanted to let me know just how he felt about being abandoned.


I took a moment to survey the damages and found the whole situation was unacceptable. Unpacking, mail, laundry would have to wait, the yard needed attending first.


It took several hours, but I managed to get everything back to bliss. I retrieved sticks and branches from the overgrown yard, mowed twice to get the hay to some reasonable length. Then I procured a VERY long stick, fished the deceased squirrel from my birdbath and buried him proper. Next I swept the sidewalks and picked up the mangles coleus (didn’t bury her), placed discarded birdfeeders back to their original and upright positions and put out a delicious selection of feed so as to save the rest of my plantings.


Then, to make amends to Crow and his family, I sliced some salmon into strips to place around the birdbath. They must have been awaiting my return because five minutes later, while I was scrubbing out the other bird bath, Crow came by and grabbed several pieces to take home to the nest followed by another family member right after and soon I could see I had been forgiven for my unapproved absence. At least for now.


There were still many chores to be done but I was on Rome time and in Italy it was time for bed and so it was for me. I unintentionally fell asleep on the couch at about six in the evening without ever unpacking my suitcase. But with everything in order out in the yard, and all the little critters happy I fell into a dreamy sleep, conjuring up the feral cats we had wanted to meet in the city of feral cats- Rome. But that’s a story for later… right now I have to get myself back on Central Standard Time.


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