Thursday, August 04, 2005

Look Back In Anger...

Note to self: next time you let the Japanese honeysuckle along the canal road get a little out of control, and you find an ordinance citation in your mailbox from the Town Marshal telling you to cut it back, do NOT go out in a fit of irritation (both at yourself and at the marshal for citing you without trying a phone call first, which would have been nicer) and hack at the honeysuckle with your tree loppers at 8pm when it's starting to get dark. First off, you'll do a crummy job of it; second, you won't be able to see the poison ivy mixed in with the honeysuckle until it's too late; and third, when it's 80% humidity and 85° out after sunset, and then you come back in the house dripping with sweat and try to cook dinner over the stove, you're going to be courting death by heat exhaustion. All I'm sayin' is, next time, THINK, stupid.

Living in a wooded idyll as I do, putting up with invasives like Japanese honeysuckle all over my freakin' yard is par for the course. The poison ivy is even par for the course. So are the mosquitos.... and the massive ant colonies... and the mice... The upside, of course, is the canal and its denizens. I regularly see three or four different kinds of turtles in the canal; on my birthday I saw 35 of them (an omen?) between here and the grocery store. A few weeks ago the pumpkinseed sunfish were nesting along the bank; the males collect stones and shells and decorate an area about 8-12" across, and then hang out there, undulating against the current in a "hey baby" sort of way in hopes that a female sunfish will deem their nest worthy of some egg deposition. They guard their own little nests, but they'll put them right next door to each other so three or four males might all be hanging out within a foot or two of each other. "Seen any babes?" "Nope. You?" "Nope." Right after we got the leftovers of Hurricaine Dennis, the canal was clear of all wildlife, except the nesting sunfish who seemed totally unperturbed by our 7" of rain. People eat them, but I don't know why--they're pretty damn small. I also see wood ducks, and great blue herons, and muskrats. I heard a wood thrush the other night, and I sometimes hear owls. A weasel ran in front of my car a few weeks ago; it was dark, but I can't imagine what else it could have been but a weasel. And biking home from the river the other evening, I came face to face with a deer who seemed not at all alarmed by my presence. What I mean is, citations and poison ivy aside, I'm really glad I live where I do. Now I just need to remember where I put the bottle of calamine.