Now what?

posted 30 May 2005

It could be anything. We pull in through the gate and up to the door of our gîte at the end of the day, and we just never know what we'll find. One day this week it was a small pet-carrier all by itself in the shade of a bush next to the vegetable garden. I peered inside to find a domestic rabbit, which filled most of the carrier, peering back out at me. Surprisingly, Roxanne the dog was ignoring it. (Although later, when I went out to move the cage because the sun was beginning to shine on it, Roxanne got extremely excited and spent several minutes staring through the little grating, barking loudly, although the rabbit didn't seem particularly concerned. Apparently, she'd been doing this periodically all day.) When I asked later, Patrick told me the bunny belonged to a friend who was visiting his daughter Melissa. I don't know why it spent the day outdoors. It was still there when we went to bed, and I thought of it with concern while the rain pelted down during the night, but it wasn't there in the morning and had apparently gone home before the rains came.

MixloAnother day, a tiny, chubby (well, spherical) gray and white kitten wandered by the door as I was fixing dinner. I was just wondering what it was doing there all by itself (and how it got into the yard with Roxanne standing guard) when Melissa came around the corner of the house and picked it up. The family cat was killed on the road a few months ago, and Mixlo, the gray and white kitten, is the replacement, new this week. Melissa and Felipe came up with the name between them—as far as anyone knows, it doesn't mean anything. The kitten is unbelievably cute.

On Wednesday, when Patrick didn't work because school was out, he came home about the same time we did with one bucket full of "araignées de mer" (big spider crabs) and another full of "étrilles" (little bitty crabs). The latter are apparently considered the best-tasting, but Patrick says the only practical way to eat them is to put everything in your mouth, chew it up, suck out the meat, and spit out the shells! Among the crabs was one six-inch fish (a "loche") that he'd brought home for Mixlo (just right for an eight-inch cat).

This morning, it was a white pickle bucket, face down in the driveway, just where we would have to back up to get our car out of the yard. I think it was one of the ones the seafood came home in. No problem, since I was sure no one would mind if we moved it aside, but it disappeared while I was out buying the morning's bread.

Last Sunday, it was Felipe on the roof, straddling the large dormer over the front door, using large metal tongs to remove shards of broken glass from the edges of Melissa's bedroom window. The same gusty 40-mph gale that had driven us nuts all afternoon on the golf course had eddied so suddenly in the yard that it shattered the outer layer of the double-glazed sash!

Tuesday, it was a lost chick. All through our supper preparations and during the meal itself, we heard the nonstop frantic cheeping, now under our car, now under Patrick's, now in the weigelia hedge, now under that strange bush with the orange pompoms, now in the bean patch. Finally, David spotted it making a break across the lawn, cheeping loudly and desperately, darting surprisingly rapidly from bush to bush looking for mom, who was nowhere in sight. Fortunately, neither was Roxanne. I went out to try to catch it just as Patricia and Melissa did the same. It seems Patrick's chickens have several broods in various stages from incubation to half-grown, and this one chick (one of those ones with the brown pattern on its back and head, only a couple of generations removed from wild jungle fowl) somehow got out and couldn't find its way home. We finally cornered it, and Patricia went to reunite it with its family, while I went back in to finish dinner.

Every day, it's something. We just never know what.

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