It's been a busy week here on the farm. What with basking in the record-breaking hot temperatures, chiding Herself into womaning the keyboard and taking turns with Jack in removing each others fly masks, I'm on the go from dawn to dusk. Not too busy, however, to notice the other entities whose activities cross over into our lives.
The first is a young bear. I have not met him personally, yet, but our paths may cross as he roams the area in search of room and board. He ran into, almost literally, a friend of ours when said friend was driving to work a block away from here. The young bear ran up out of a ditch, clutching a fish in his mouth. Human and bear veered frantically in different directions as they tried to avoid each other. The fish was dropped and each of them staggered off, rattled by the near miss. I feel very badly for the bear. He's new to the concept of making a living in the wilds and who knows how long he had to work at it before he caught dinner. I hope this doesn't discourage him and drive him into the arms of the local garbage cans (wait, do garbage cans have arms?). One more thing for me to brood about.
Next we have a frog. We know it is a lady frog because she had her four or five thousand children in our water trough. Of course Herself discovered this as, without her spectacles, she was emptying the water preparatory to scrubbing the trough. OoooooooNooooooo she wailed in her usual grating tones. As she stared at the puddle on the ground, a handsome frog hopped out from under the tilted trough. Although I was a distance away, I spotted it immediately and made my way over. Meanwhile, Herself was apologizing to the frog for the misunderstanding about her extensive family and offering her a light misting with the hose. The frog looked unconvinced and lay flat on the ground but as she felt the water droplets she sat bolt upright, blinking slowly and gulping.
I eased over carefully so as not to scare her and sloooooowly lowered my nose. Imagine my surprise when she suddenly sprang upwards with a mightly leap, nearly lodging herself in my left nostril. I leapt backwards, sitting down with an abrupt thud. The woman made strangled gasping noises which might have been a crude attempt at laughter. I stalked off, my dignity in tatters. Since then, the frog comes out every day for a shower and the woman makes a large puddle in front of the trough for her to lie in. Herself has strict instructions to move any further tadpoles into a safer setting. I will keep watch.
The third new player is an arachnid with argyle-patterned hairy legs who has spun a web of such engineering genius in the run-in door that it will soon be blocked entirely. Of course, it's an ideal place to snare a fat fly or moth and the spider is growing stouter by the day. When an insect lands, the spider rushes over and snips the victim out of the web, folding it neatly and carrying it away. Later the holes are darned over and the integrity of the web restored. Now he/she is spinning out long guy wires that anchor the web even further afield.
Between the frog and the spider, my days are overflowing with scientific field work. I don't mind. Soon enough the landscape will be white and frozen, with nothing stirring but the wind. Jack and I have at least half our winter coats grown in in anticipation.