Google: How do I cover the smell of decomp?

The Garden of Earthly Delights by H Bosch

I hope my husband does not die under mysterious circumstances because my computer history will lead the cops to me.  On Sunday, I noticed a strong skunk smell at the front of the house.  I searched but saw nothing.  Then I went to the neighbors and asked if they had seen anything.  They thought their car had gone over some roadkill and took it to the carwash to no avail.  We laughed and I said, prophetically, “At least, I won’t have to go looking for a dead critter…” 

To set the scene, we are having a wee heatwave so it is hotter than hell and twice as humid.  Yesterday was 97F/36C and the humidity was 68 % – it has been the same for a week with no rain.  After my chat with the neighbor, I went out to the back yard and spotted them.  Decomposition flies – Gah!  They are so pretty with their sparkling iridescence.  Curiously there was no strong smell in the yard – the balmy breeze was taking it to the front.

This is not my first dead critter rodeo, so I knew that we had to remove some of the deck planks.  Teddy went out with his drill to unscrew the deck screws.  He got about half out and then had to go to the hardware store to get a special bit to yank them out.  Then we borrowed another neighbor’s drill.  Nothing was working.  Teddy looked like he was about to have a heart attack, soaked in sweat, working in Hades.  As we approached nightfall (early in the subtropics), I texted our faithful handyman to ask if he could come out on Monday.  Thank goodness he said yes.  Then I poured a full bottle of bleach on the deck and between the planks.

We both slept very fitfully and I drifted to the other side of the bed to get away from the smell coming in the closed windows.  The next day we tried all over again to remove the planks and I used every scent possible in the house which was now skunky, too.  Air fresheners, carpet fragrance, washed floors in eucalyptus, incense – it smelled like a temple or church with a dead body…  Carlos came at noon and I have never been so happy to see anyone.  This is the second time that Carlos has come to remove deck planks in our necropolis.

He struggled to cope with the scent the last time, so I said I would retrieve the corpse.  I was all set up with many bags, bleach, gloves, garden fork and very old clothes – there are silver linings to OCD!  There are also benefits of decomp flies as they lead you to the evidence.  I got straight in and pulled out the poor wee soul – it was a beautiful little skunk.  With the heat and humidity, it wasn’t all in one piece – Carlos and Teddy looked at me in disgusted awe.  “Only one of us could work on a farm,” I said.  Carlos was delighted to leave after 15 minutes and we arranged for him to come back in a few days to replace the planks.

Eventually I Googled ‘How do you get rid of the smell of decomp?’  I used bleach again, then vinegar with baking soda that makes a very satisfying chemical reaction.  Then I took bags of dirt out of the crime scene along with larvae.  I was fascinated that the beautiful dragonflies were drawn to the flies and happily ate them.  Maybe they like spicy food??  The volatile scent was still wafting to the front so there were little incense sticks were all over the yard – Nirvana.

Then I remembered my time at the airport.  Drug smugglers use coffee to hide the smell of drugs to foil the drug sniffing dogs, so the instructors get the dogs to react to coffee too.  I watched a customs dogs get excited about some luggage on the flight from Amsterdam to Houston.  They took the bag off and thoroughly searched it, only to find some regular coffee.  The passenger arrived later, none the wiser.  So, with this lightbulb moment, I went into the pantry to find some coffee to put in the grave.  It helped somewhat.  Then I went back to Google who suggested an enzyme cleaner.  We still had some left from our cat days and I liberally poured it in.  That might have helped the most. 

Skunks have an incredible defense with their notorious spray.  It is full of complicated chemicals that last for weeks and months.  They are easily predated and I have recently heard the great horned owl hooting in the backyard.  They have no sense of smell so their favorite meal is skunk.  CSI Kerry concluded that from the corpse that the owl had attempted a kill but the injured skunk sought sanctuary under our deck.  May she rest in peace.

The smell is so pervasive that I felt guilty for stinking out the neighbors even though it was not our fault.  Our houses back onto a reserve where myriad critters live in peace – usually.  My mental health started spiraling downwards.  Teddy noted that he hadn’t seen me so anxious since our time in Egypt.  On one terrible occasion we went to a fancy hotel at the pyramids to escape the eternal water/power cuts in our house.  We arrived in this verdant oasis only to find their water was off, too.  It’s laughable in retrospect but at the time I felt broken.

A few days later and my equilibrium is returning to normal.  I love my Garden of Earthly Delights and this is nature at its rawest.  Everything has to eat.  All the incense sticks gave the garden a funerial vibe and I have mourned the little skunk.  All in all, I was proud of myself for taking control and not diving into a bottle of wine to relieve the stress.  A recent bone scan showed some reduction in my bone density but normal for my age.  The doctor suggested all the usual stuff including weight bearing exercise.  I have certainly have had plenty of that this week…

Fancy Women

One of the many aspects of Texas that I love are the signs. This one tickled me and I wonder what constitutes a fancy woman? This is actually a sign from our next door neighbor, Louisiana. I noticed plenty of ‘fancy women’ in New Orleans….most were drunk as skunks and flashing their boobs from balconies in Bourbon Street.

I like to think of myself as a fancy woman but in the nicest possible way… This is the ‘skirt that disappeared’. Just before the Pandemic started I ordered a maxi skirt from American Eagle. After some weeks they got in touch to say that the skirt was no longer available. I completely understood given the chaotic situation but eventually started to wonder when I would get my refund. Just as I was getting ready to complain, my skirt arrived in the mail three months later. I had absolutely nowhere to wear it but finally it came out on my birthday, one year later.

This sign was on the Cantina next to our Cajun restaurant. It reminded me of a sign on a major toll road in Houston that made me laugh every time I saw it. It was a ramshackle old sign with mismatched letters leading to a very insalubrious bar in an industrial area, along the train tracks. “Our beer is colder than your ex wife’s heart…” I imagine that only ‘fancy women’ would ever dare go there!

As for the Cantina, all margaritas make you sexier. They didn’t reference the type of meat – that’s always suspicious…

I love marinas and this one at Lake Conroe has got way fancier as the decades have passed. Last year there was a Trump rally in boats on the lake – there was another on Lake Travis in the north of Texas where 4 of the boats sank. I will leave you to imagine how I felt but let’s just say schadenfreude was involved. Before you ask, no one died – there was too many boats on the lake at the same time. The Devil looks after his own…

Gas Lighting

‘Gas Light’ Image courtesy of Vox.com

Britannica definition of Gaslighting:

An elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or “gaslighter,” on a single victim over an extended period. Its effect is to gradually undermine the victim’s confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.

Although the term ‘Gaslighting’ is frequently used in modern parlance, it originates from a stage play named “Gas Light” produced in 1938 in the UK, followed by a British movie and then the more famous American movie in 1944, starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer, pictured above.  In essence, the husband is trying to persuade his wife that she is becoming insane by a series of deceptions including deliberately dimming and brightening the gas lights.  I won’t reveal anymore of the plot but it is an excellent movie with twists and turns.

In real life, gaslighting can exist in sexual and marital relationships, working relationships and friendships.  When writing this post, I wondered if I had been gas lit by boyfriends or my husband.  There were elements of manipulation in one or two relationships but I am not sure if it was truly deceptive or intended to undermine me.  My husband certainly manipulates me to get his own way and vice versa.  Before I learned to drive, he tried to persuade me that he was an excellent driver and that I was just an anxious passenger.  I am surprised his pants didn’t burst into flames…  Occasionally, I will use a sugary sweet voice to ask for something but that is just a normal part of married life.

Truthfully, I think I was only gaslit by a colleague in a work situation.  We started to work together after I had been very successful with a grant application.  It probably grated on her that I was being praised about that accomplishment.  I had some years working in the community sector and she did not.  Over a period of six months, she criticized every element of my working pattern until I doubted my own skills.  She instinctively knew that I was vulnerable to being bullied – it was like a cat with a mouse.  Part of me realized that she was making unfair criticisms of me, especially about my writing skills!  Despite that, it wore me down and I eventually resigned.

Sometime later the gaslighter did the same to a new colleague who became unwell because of the unfair treatment.  At that stage, I was asked to help with an intervention.  I hate confrontation but I was also very angry that I was not the only victim.  At the meeting, I snapped and yelled at her which is very unlike my work persona.  She burst into tears and curiously admitted the truth about our relationship.  She was insecure and jealous of my success and that was her excuse for gas lighting me.  I felt no validation just sadness and guilt that my earlier intervention may have helped.

On reflection, I think she had left her previous employment under a cloud but I am not certain.  It would have been even worse for my mental health to confront her in a timely manner – I needed some time to decompress and evaluate what had happened.  Sometimes gaslighters get away with their behavior because it can be subtle to detect but she was asked to resign.  Later, she and her husband divorced and I wondered if she did the same to him.

One would think that I learned a lesson about believing in myself, wouldn’t you?  Sadly not.  The very next new colleague did something similar.  This was even more complex as I thought we were friends.  I perceived that her jabs and criticisms were part of a jokey friendship.  She called me her minion, even though I had been offered her job (and turned it down) and was part of the interview panel.  This time it was infinitely more subtle and I was beginning to think I had a problem communicating with my colleagues.  The reasons for the gaslighting were EXACTLY the same!  What is wrong with my self-esteem – perhaps my psychiatrist could tell you?  I was so embarrassed and confused that I blamed myself.  This time I had the perfect excuse for resigning – Teddy had been offered an overseas posting and I escaped to Egypt.

For many years I kept in touch with this colleague who had become a ‘friend’.  There was a part of me that admired and liked her despite everything.  Finally, my common sense kicked in and I ghosted her (but that’s a topic I will leave alone).  What provokes this behavior?  In my situation (but not the Gas Light movie), the gaslighter’s insecurity made them try to undermine me.  Did my seemingly confident persona get on their nerves?  I can be very tactless and laugh too much at work.  My theory doesn’t follow through as the perpetrators continued their gaslighting behavior with a variety of other people with different personalities.  Does needlessly criticizing people give them pleasure or is it a form of sadism?

Goodtherapy.org states:

One of the most common reasons people gaslight is to gain power over others. This need for domination may stem from narcissism, antisocial personality, or other issues. Like most cases of abuse, gaslighting is about control. … Over time, the abuser may convince the target that they cause the abuser’s aggression.

I hope that none of my readers have been victims of a gaslighter but please share your experience if you have been.  During these experiences, one friend and colleague reached out to me asking me if anyone was treating me badly.  I regret not telling her the full facts but I am not sure that I was aware of what was happening.  In other words, the gas lighters were successful.  Now that I am older, I hope that this won’t happen to me again.  On two occasions I was offered jobs by people (in Egypt and America) that I thought might be possible gas lighters or bullies, so I demurred with an excuse about my mental health.  It helps that I am now more open about my vulnerabilities and mental health disability. 

Finally, I questioned if I could have gaslit any of my employees or colleague.  My flaws are many; dogmatic, disinclined to delegate, obsessive but not a gaslighter. Clearly, I can have poor judgement in interviews, given my last experience.  The only thing I am sure of is that I didn’t act with malice in the workplace.  Be kind to your colleagues.

The Circle of Life

Teddy and I decided to go to the Lake for my 29th birthday. There is a new boardwalk development with a rather nice Cajun restaurant. I don’t eat much fish but LOVE blackened catfish so we both had that with dirty rice. Most of the catfish is farmed locally and has a delicate flavor. The spices are blackened in the fry pan and the rice has herbs and chicken sausage in it. Then we had Beignet…

Not our usual ducks – a family of Mallards. In Scotland we used to call them Muffy Ducks because they looked like our brown tabby cat.

As we walked along the boardwalk after our delicious Cajun repast, I spotted this sign leading to a little fenced hole on the deck where you could feed the various fish in the lake. Texas Children’s hospital sold fish food and the proceeds are donated to the hospital. As you can see from the sign, the lake has grass carp, catfish, bass and bluegill. Catfish and Bluegill are native Texans. A long time ago, I rescued a much larger Catfish that was stuck on a lure – Kerry and the Catfish.

Look at those hungry little catfish with their maws gaping – such cute little whiskers! That’s were the title comes in – the Circle of Life. I thanked them for tasting so delicious and wished them a long life. I was the Red Tailed Hawk and they were the Squirrel.

The Non-Ducks are back!

Above are Whistling Ducks who migrate to our pond every summer. They are really neither geese nor ducks but a sub family – Dendrocygninae. It’s a bit of a tongue twister so we call them non ducks. They live in Latin America in the winter and we think they are Catholics given the amount of ducklings they have.

This is a male Needham’s Skimmer dragonfly They are common along the Gulf Coast and give a lovely flash of crimson in a sea of blue and green Pond Hawk dragonflies. To me, they are beautifully colored fairies that cluster around humans because we attract mosquitoes. These little predators are quite precocious and will sit on your hand or head.

This is Mr and Mrs Puddleduck, a pair of Muscovy ducks who live here year round. Mr Puddleduck has a glorious blue sheen to his feathers. They wag their tales like puppies when you talk to them…awww! We have had so many thunderstorms around these parts that we have puddles in the ground around the pond. These are full of slugs and worms that these fat little omnivores love. Their feathers have been covered in dirt with their muddy foraging. I tell them to go bathe in the pond to no avail…

These are two mud encrusted red eared slider turtles – what is it with the mud this year? Perhaps it acts as a sunscreen in turtle world. Sometimes they ‘turn turtle’ and we have to wade in and rescue them before the sun bakes them. They are indigenous to the southern Gulf but people have released unwanted pet sliders into other areas and then they become invasive.

OUR IDYLL

If you look really closely to the right of the most northerly pondweed, you will see the head of a massive turtle. He splashed into the water like a hippopotamus when I approached.

This is a Delta Flower Beetle, a beneficial migrant from the Florida Everglades. I was really trying to capture the Lantana blossom but then spotted the Delta which is also a type of Scarab beetle – happy memories from Egypt.

Mature Conversation

Teddy asked, “What’s the difference between Queer and Gay?” Kerry scoffed, “Gosh, you really are old, aren’t you?”  She then Googles it because she doesn’t know the difference either.  Later she explained the difference to Teddy who said, “What does the plus stand for in LBGTQ+?” “I have no idea” she responded. “I don’t think we need to know at our age…”

“Good morning, Kathleen” said Teddy referencing that Kerry looked like her mother while staring vacantly into the middle distance in her beloved lilac dressing gown.  “Feck off” responded Kerry.

“She’s nae bonny, is she?” said Teddy to Kerry while they were watching a dreadful reality show.  The girl was a tad plain. “Do you remember your mum and that poor girl’s prom dress?” responded Kerry who was referencing an incident back in the 1970s when Nessie, a skilled seamstress, persuaded a girl, quite overweight, not to choose a white fabric.  “What was the expression she used”, asked Kerry. “She would have looked like a galleon in full sail”  And that was her trying to be kind.

“Would you like a savory snack, Sir?” asked Kerry, with her best impression of a British Airways flight attendant with a London accent.  “Yes please, Miss!” responded Teddy in a high-pitched dweeby London accent.

Teddy grabbed his wife’s delectable ass while passing her in the kitchen.  Kerry laughingly responded with the expression she has been using for 40 years, “Don’t touch what you can’t afford!”  This evoked a play chase around the house with Kerry screaming for her husband not to touch her.  Over the years, the chasing has become a bit more sedate and they both collapse on the bed with no further action.  Sometimes Kerry begs, “Don’t squeeze me – something awful might happen!”  Teddy responds, “We don’t have to bring up your family’s bowel and bladder problems…”  Hysterical laughing followed by a rushed trip to the bathroom.

Teddy starts a monologue, “I need…blah…Amazon…blah…cable…blah.” Ad infinitum.  After he finishes, Kerry says, “You have just wasted another five minutes of my rapidly diminishing life cycle.  Do whatever the Feck you want.”

“Can you get me the industrial vinegar from the garage, Ted?” asked Kerry.  Some time passes with clattering in the garage.  Kerry shouts “If I have to come in and find it, you are in so much trouble!” “It’s not here!” he exclaims.  Kerry walks into the garage, opens the first cupboard and it is right in front of them.  Teddy is futtering about in the second cupboard – every shelf is labelled.  Kerry sighs in exasperation.

Teddy and Kerry are watching a French movie on Netlix. “Ecoutez!” booms the French actor “…et répétez!” shouted Teddy and Kerry in unison.  Their shared experience of the Scottish education system sets off some familiar phrases.  “Ma tante ouvre la fenêtre!” says Kerry.  Teddy responds, “Mon oncle trouve la plume!”  They lose track of the movie.

With no segue, Kerry states “I haven’t found a foolproof way to kill you since they put bittering agent in anti-freeze”.  Teddy gives her a withering stare and she cackles.

Kerry is doing something in the bedroom when a hulking creature appears at the doorway.  She screams, “Stop creeping about the bloody house!” “I live here, too” he responds sadly.

“I think we need to cut down the wine” said either Kerry or Teddy.  A few hours later, “Are you still not drinking or would you like a glass of wine?”  “Yes, please!”

Kerry is reading while on the toilet, against her gastroenterologist’s advice.  Teddy walks in and says, “There you are! I have been looking for you everywhere.  The back door was unlocked but the front door is still locked and I was worried”.  Kerry shouts, “I miss my privacy since you retired.  GET OUT!”

Teddy, “ I love you to Pluto and back!”

Kerry, “I love you to Alpha Centauri and back!”

A leopard hopped…

This is a Southern Leopard Frog.  Isn’t he perfectly camouflaged in the mulch beside the Blue Lagoon (former Infinity Pool)?  Teddy and I were so excited about a new garden pet and ran for cameras.  ‘Leo’ sat patiently and posed for the paparazzi.  Then we Googled him.  They are indigenous and live in the south east portion of the US.  There are 23 types of Leopard frog in the Americas – who knew?  I loved the names of the unusual species such as Bigfoot Leopard Frog, Vegas Valley Leopard Frog and my favorite, Montezuma’s Leopard Frog.

They need to live by water so I guess the containment pond is close enough.  He has a very distinctive call – Their croaking, chuckling call has been compared to the sound of rubbing an inflated balloon.  That is one of the many reasons why I have to wear earplugs at night…  Judging the cacophony outside my window there are thousands hundreds living in our reserve.

National Geographic states:

Leopard frogs will eat just about anything they can fit in their mouths. They sit still and wait for prey to happen by, then pounce with their powerful legs. They eat beetles, ants, flies, worms, smaller frogs, including their own species, and even birds, and garter snakes.

WOW!  That is an impressive little predator with quite an appetite – and most welcome in our well stocked jungle preserve.

Then Teddy and I realized we had seen a leopard frog before.  When we first moved into the street, I was enchanted by all the pumpkins you could buy in autumn.  It was a very hot, steamy October and we kept hearing frogs outside the front door.  Later we realized that the wee pumpkins had rotted with delicious larvae inside, attracting all the frogs.  Even Tim Burton couldn’t create a Halloween scenario like that one!

In retrospect, we wonder if this little green tree frog was hopping away from the gluttonous leopard frog near the pumpkins… It really is a jungle out there!

This is our delightful Frog Lady guide on a trip to El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rica. The Coqui Frog is the symbol of Puerto Rico and sings all night long. This is a link to my post about El Yunque.

references – National Geographic, USNF and Wikipedia

Blue Lagoon

It’s official – Infinity is a bust!  More precisely, our Pyrex Infinity Pool was not appreciated by our garden critters.  We watched as they walked cautiously around it, looking at it suspiciously. “What did the People do with the old bowl???”  I think they couldn’t see the bottom of it or the edge and it made them wary about how deep it was.  The critters had spoken and we trekked off to our favorite ‘antique’ shop in Tomball  to replace their pool.  We enjoyed our antiquing but you know it is time to stop when you wonder if they would like our stuff…  The precious bowl Blue Lagoon was actually found at the church shop and cost $2.

Infinity’s a bust!

I was tickled that it was a genuine ceramic from the Coushatta Casino Resort in Louisiana. The Coushatta Tribe moved from their home base in south west Louisiana to Alabama to avoid Spanish explorer Hernandez DeSoto after an encounter in 1540.  They relocated back to their homelands and some live in East Texas.  Gambling casinos are illegal in Texas despite a recent bill in the Texas Senate.  Teddy felt that we should have made some miniature roulette tables to our lagoon but it is too hot to be bothered now!

The new Blue Lagoon is a hit with the garden critters as you can see at the top and below with the infra- red camera.  That is an indigenous pack rat sitting on the diving rock.  Given his occupation, he would have loved rummaging through the antique shop.  My favorite find was a George Bush doll! 

Perfect for a pack rat!

Does anyone else remember old school desks that still had the inkwell in them?  By the 60s we had stopped using the inkwell but I do remember having a few fountain pens.  It was a really hot sticky day so Teddy and I enjoyed a wee glass of Pinot Grigio at this lovely outside bar.  Afterwards we realized we hadn’t had any breakfast – we are turning into retired reprobates.

Cheers!! Sláinte!! Salud!! Prost!!

Toxic Positivity

That’s an oxymoron, isn’t it?  I am fascinated by this new post pandemic phrase – can positivity be toxic?  I think the answer is yes but with some caveats.  When I first started blogging on WordPress, most of the blogs were literary (poetry/writing), travel based, humorous or healthy living (mental and physical).  Over the past year there have been a huge increase in blogs with a ‘Positivity’ focus.  I follow several blogs that fall into that category and I write posts that are positive, too.

No matter how many ways you say it, however, there was really few silver linings about this last year.  It was, what it was – a Pandemic.  There is truly no way to fully prepare for it and all the consequences that include unemployment, isolation, illness and death.  Like many of my readers, it became too much at times and I stopped watching the news or anything pandemic related.  I found some succor in my Fairy Blight stories.  We gravitated to lighter TV programs and movies and that is natural.

Positivity becomes toxic when it is insistent, leaving you no room for feeling bad or empty.  We should feel very sad and grief stricken about the great loss of life.  We should be on edge about the political and other divisions between us during this stressful time and be prepared to take action (in a non-violent legal way).  There is nothing positive about all the mass gun shootings in the USA this year alone – we need a cultural change along with a legal one.

In day-to-day life, I have noticed that some friends only want to talk about upbeat topics.  That can leave the friend, who wants to share their angst, feeling alone.  There is room for both.  You can chat about how crappy you feel and then start laughing about a shared memory or plans for the future.  Real friends are there for you in darkness and light.  Be assured that there is light ahead – every morning there is a new dawn with endless possibilities.  Was that the cheesiest phrase I have ever written?  At least I can laugh at myself and my toxic positivity…

When I was growing up, my mum had a major depressive breakdown with a hospital stay and electroshock therapy.  I inherited the genetic disorder but also struggled with a mother who couldn’t see anything positive in life.  As a result, I did everything I could to make her happy, until I got angry.  After I married, I would call my mum every night at 6 pm.  In an instant I could tell if her mood was low.  If it was, I panicked, wondering if she was going to drink that night, then I went on to MAKE her feel positive.  It’s possible that I had a remarkable skill with my poor mother or she just pretended to be okay so I would shut up!  Sometimes she felt so bad that she wouldn’t answer the phone.  Then I phoned her next-door neighbor…  I think that is the essence of toxic positivity and my intentions were so good.

In retrospect, I should have given her some space, and allowed her to feel bad but I was full of fear.  When I worked in mental health, I took a couple of courses in counselling skills and was mortified that this was not my forte.  The excellent trainer pointed out that I was trying to make the client feel better rather than truly listen to them.  That taught me so many lessons but I also knew that training to be a fully qualified counsellor was not for me.  To be honest, I am much better in a triage or stressful situation giving sensible advice.  That’s why I worked so long at an airport.  My desire to overwhelm passengers with positivity and happiness was appropriate in that small time period of contact – and mostly appreciated by stressed travelers.

Many years ago, I worked with the colleague from hell – she was the epitome of a gas-lighter.  Eventually I left the job with a vague excuse although my co-workers thought the gas lighter was the reason.  She was full of fake toxic positivity and plastered the walls of our office with those awful 90’s motivational posters. I wanted to deface them all with the opposite word as well as hold her down and write SOCIOPATH on her forehead with one of her black markers.

ACHIEVEMENT – FAILURE

FOCUS -APATHY

EXCELLENCE – MEDIOCRITY

Being positive is a wonderful quality but you can’t force it on yourself or other people.  Balance and moderation are in short supply currently but hopefully life will improve.  The mask mandate is lifted here because there are so many fully vaccinated people and what a joy it is to smile at random strangers.

Here is a definition from VeryWellMind.com

Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how dire or difficult a situation is, people should maintain a positive mindset. It’s a “good vibes only” approach to life.

This is the second in a series of essays; the first was Cancel Culture or Consequences and the third will be Gaslighting.

The Scream

Mama – I need lunch !!!

This delightful young red-tailed hawk has been waking me up every morning, YELLING for breakfast.  It was such a lovely day seeing the baby close up – they have a huge nest in a pine tree behind our neighbor’s house.

Later that day, we set the night camera out and some squirrels came up to us looking for peanuts which we readily provided.  We looked out at them snacking on their peanuts on the top of the fence.  I turned away and Teddy, gasped “Oh no!”.  The enormous (4 foot wing span) Red Tailed Hawk mother snatched one of the wee squirrels off the fence.  I was distraught and convinced it was my fault although objectively I know it is just the circle of life.

We lived on a farm many years ago and woke up to dead sheep or cattle when they had died in the night.  The farmer would drag the carcass onto the drive next to our house so that the knacker man could pick it up.  It couldn’t go for human consumption.  I adapted to farm life but still grieved each loss as I knew them all personally and had named them (Pal, Ilford, Ermentrude, Toffee, Fudge and Moo were my favorites).  Eventually they all went to market anyway.

I struggled to sleep after the squirrel kill but laughingly realized that we have been running a small farm in our backyard.  The stock is fat and healthy – excellent food for a beautiful hawk.  I won’t put any more peanuts out until winter as they have plenty of food.  Someone else is eating every bud off my hibiscus plant…

Teddy took these fabulous shots of the juvenile, about 60 foot up, with his Canon camera that cost more than me – no dowry from a council house! He was offered many camels for me in Egypt, however, and very kindly turned them down.