Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Making Hay, etc.

My husband has been working in the hayfield the past few days. Another guy cuts and bales, but my husband uses his elderly tractor to rake. Because of the dry winter and spring in our part of Virginia, everyone's hay crop is much less than usual. The grass is too short and too thin. Our small field on our Polecat Creek farm down down the road that usually makes a dozen round bales made only four. We still have several more fields on two other farms to cut.

A few days ago, I was cleaning the horses' watering tubs. When I turned one tub over to empty it, I saw a little blacksnake coiled up asleep. The way it was coiled, it looked like the eye on a stove. After we petted the snake, my husband carefully picked it up and placed it near a mousehole. The snake went down. A barn snake is a nice thing to have. Supposedly a black snake will keep copperheads away, but I don't know if that's true or not.

Yesterday, after our Polecat Creek side field was cut, we drove down the road to check the property. A dark shape was in the field not far from the woods. Was it a groundhog? A dog? A cat? My husband walked out in the field to check. The shape—a hen turkey—rose up and headed for the woods. A dozen or so very tiny babies followed her. At least they were safely in the woods before today's raking and baling.

This evening, as we drove down the road to check the fields, I saw a fuzzy white thing digging in the pasture on a neighbor's farm. We stopped to look. The critter looked up—a skunk with a black head and front legs and a white body. I was going to take a picture, but before I could get my camera out of the bag, the skunk took off. Best looking skunk I've seen in a long time!

I wonder what interesting critter I'll see tomorrow.

Speaking of interesting critters, Maggie the border collie is spending the night in the house after being in the kennel with the other dogs for three days and two nights. She knows that when she comes in, she has to have a bath to get the red clay dust off her. As soon as I brought her inside the house, she headed for the bathroom and was sitting in the tub when I got there. At least she knows the drill.

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