Sunday, August 23, 2015

a pea picklin’ diary with energy: grab your hats, folks, there may be bat eggs

This week brought to mind my Animal Energies book by Gary Buffalo Horn Man and Sherry Firedancer. Anything set off in italics is from it, unless otherwise noted, for example, this explanation.

Sunday Last – Bat
There is a bat clinging to the side of the cabin, just underneath the crawlspace vent on the west side, by the gravel patio. This is a bad place for Bat to be as Elliott could easily get ahold of him. I try to move Bat by coaxing him onto a branch (I get this advice off the Internet), but he only moves around a bit, arches his back, makes an ugly face at me. So I leave him. Try later. Leave him again. Try later. And now Elliott, who has been inside napping all day, wants out.


I get a board from the garage, one much like the board the bat has been clinging to, and hold it flat against the cabin while prodding the bat lightly with the branch. Bat moves up onto the board, which I carry over to the garage, hold under the eave until Bat crawls off the board, underneath the eave.
The power of Bat is its adaptability. … If Bat has come to you, its message may be to examine your surroundings to discern what bounty is being offered to you, and then alter your patterns so you can receive it.
Four years ago, before being fully moved into this cabin, my old dog Buster and I slept here some nights on a futon in the living room. One August night we were in bed, looking out the window at a nearly full moon, when a bat swooped around the room. The flap of the bat’s wings was sudden and startling. Seeing a bat flying in front of a nearly full moon while sleeping in a derelict cabin out in the middle of nowhere, well, it felt kind of like being in an old black-and-white monster movie. I ducked under the covers. Peeked out. The bat swooped around again. I drew the covers over my head, unsure what to do. All I could think of was this episode of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Andy and Helen and Barney and Thelma Lou are in a cave and Barney, in all seriousness, says ridiculous things about bats. I peeked out. Monster movie. I took hold of myself and came up with a plan. Quietly I crept over to the door and opened it. Once again the bat swooped through the moonlight, then out through the doorway! I slammed the door, waited for applause! Buster snored softly.

Monday – Frog
I am renewing the frog candle listing on Etsy, and that gets me thinking about old froggie. While on the morning walk I get this idea to post a picture of froggie on Facebook with a quote from Princess Sweet P. Pickle: “I have kissed a few princes, I have kissed a few toads.” I get to this shortly after noon when the first of several beeswax frogs that I’m making for a shop downstate pops out of its mold. Moments after posting the photo with the quote, I get an order through Etsy for five frog candles …
Frog is the caller and cleanser of the emotions. In some traditions, Frog is the spirit keeper of the element of Water, which represents and connects to our emotions. … If Frog has jumped into your awareness, look at your emotions at that moment, and see if they are in harmony with the rhythm of nature or if they need cleaning.

Tuesday – Mouse
It’s that time of year when mice begin sneaking into the cabin, and if they weren’t holding noisy scrabble parties in the middle of the night leaving behind all those black rice turds, I would not necessarily mind.
The power of Mouse truly lies in illusion. These small mammals have somehow elevated themselves to an amazing status of popularity. … (Think Mickey and Mighty.) … Although Mice  are highly destructive to the houses they invade, they have somehow become a symbol of cuteness, fun and play. If Mouse has come to you, it is asking you to pierce the illusion, and see the way things really are.
Before I moved in, this cabin had been little used for several years and indeed was still being cobbled together. No doubt the field mice considered it their winter home and with the first blush of fall would start moving in, start making it cozy.

Then, one year, interlopers! Not that the mice paid much attention to me or the nearly blind old Buster, no, they just worked around us, at night, every night, all night, the sound of little saws and chisels chipping away at whatever they felt the need to chip away at, the click-clicking of knitting needles as they knitted together whatever they needed to knit together, the rumble of little trucks with their loads of kitchen crumbs, the grumbling and grunting of the blue-collar mice as they stacked and stored those crumbs, and the the scritch of quill pens on rough birch bark paper as the white-collar mice with their paisley ties and polka-dot ties and 401(k)s and three-martini lunches kept track of it all.

Oh, the noise! The industry! The ambition!

Being the soft-hearted boob that I am, or was, I constructed an elaborate trap using an oatmeal carton with a cardboard ramp attached by duct tape that the mice could walk up, lured onward by pieces of dog kibble, straight into the hole cut in the plastic top of the carton, a hole partially covered with a piece of flimsy paper. Aha! Trapped alive! How clever am I? The next morning I would take the carton full of mice way over by the river and set them free, unharmed. Aha! How humane am I! But, despite constant refinements to the trap, I caught only one mouse. The rest of the mice simply hauled the kibble off to storage while avoiding the trap door. I’m sure they made points with the boss. Thank you very much.

Now I use inhumane snap traps and this year have not yet caught any mice but have snapped my own fingers once or twice.


Wednesday – Cat
This morning, on the doormat, a splotch of red, about the shape of the continental U.S. The remains of Elliott’s midnight snack. Cat will always be a mystery to me.

One morning I found this on the doormat.

Thursday – Dog
An all day drizzly day, and in the afternoon Josie takes me for a walk, lures me off the usual trail and we meander through the meadow brushed full of light purple and white aster, black-eyed Susan, goldenrod, Queen Anne’s lace, dried head of clover. Some grasses have turned coppery, gold, and wheaten, have arched their stems gracefully back toward earth.
Dog is good at knowing the way. (I just made that up.)

Friday – If anything, Cow
Everything still this morning, heavy with the dew of last night’s rain, leaves silvery-edged, almost like frost, it is 40 degrees and the sky is a pale washed blue, awaiting sun. From the south, a soft moo. I find the sound soothing. Josie ignores it. He is watching for deer, for wolves, listening for a bark, a yelp, a howl, something, anything he can react to. But not Cow.

Lately I find myself longing for winter, that unbroken white landscape, that fire blazing on the hearth. Tiny white lights sparkling in the dark. This has nothing to do with Cow, of course … or does it?

Saturday – Bat
Shortly after 6 a.m. I am waiting for Josie to handle his bit of business before we leave for the farmers market. No sun yet, no moon, but enough of a grey light to see by, barely. I am on the porch step, waiting. It is still. Bat flies by, flits by, up this way, back that way, off one way, around another, in and out of my field of vision. Bats are a bit disconcerting, I think, because of the odd way they maneuver. Not fluid, but jerky, like a kitty toy on a stick. I had heard that bats up here were succumbing to white nose virus, and that is why we had so many mosquitoes the past year or two. This year, the mosquitoes seemed not so bad. I am glad Bat is in my world, or maybe I in his. Anyway, good morning, Bat. Please don’t lay your eggs in my hair.


  1. Yes, we have been wondering if the loss of bats in the region is related to the plague of mosquitoes this year.... glad you have some bats, and fewer mosquitoes.

    1. Kind of like that Joni Mitchell song "you don't what you got til it's gone." We need those bats!

  2. Most enjoyable read once again...complete with Barney video! Love your verbs :) And the animal energies quotes...perfecto!

    1. Thelma Lou has the best line -- What are you worrying about? You got on a hat.