Posts Tagged ‘ice cream’

We are in the midst of a battle with squirrels.

No, it’s not that they are attacking our bird feeder; although, we once had a nifty squirrel-proof feeder that gave them the ride of their lives while twirling them off into the lawn. It was hysterical! The problem with our urban species of rodent is that our soffits, attic space and walls have become home base to an extended family. The previous owner of this new/old house planted a gorgeous redbud tree outside Bob’s office, and it serves as the perfect launching pad for the little, grey critters.

Yes, while Bob was insulating the attic, he tried a Havaheart trap and spread peppermint oil around suspected points of entry. We never caught one, but it did seem to cut down on the noise above our heads. Until one day last week, I was making the bed and heard this scratching in the closet wall. Maybe one fell down and couldn’t get back up? That was the tipping point for Bob, he called in the big guns.

By “big guns” I mean two guys and a truck who wrangle squirrels, raccoons and anything else that wants to set up shop in your home. I told Bob I wanted nothing to do with their methods. Then I made the big mistake of walking out the front door.

You see, a mama robin is sitting on her nest in the corner of our porch ceiling. She used to fly away every time we opened the front door, which wasn’t much since we normally use a side door near the garage. But now she’s either gotten used to us or this is a critical point in egg development; she’s staying put! The front of our house faces south, so I’m sure the robin likes her warm, shady corner. I do see her perching on the side of her nest and moving the eggs around.

Y’all know how I feel about birds. Catching a glimpse of the Great Blue Heron who swooped over our garage in Rumson every morning to fish in the river; the woodpeckers gliding around our Cville property; even the doves lined up at our Germantown farmhouse brought me out of whatever doldrums I might be in that day.

“Oh no ma’am, our traps won’t bother that bird,” the young man said. He proceeded to spill a yarn about how they capture squirrels in the city and relocate them out in the country. They have to learn how to live in the wild, he told me, no more garbage cans and easy city pickins. It sounded vaguely like sending a cat to a “farm.” Then the older wrangler chimed in, he assured me that squirrels can chew through wires and actually cause a house fire!

Between rabbits eating wires in our HVAC unit, I thought maybe Mother Nature was out to get us. I mean I loved watching a flying squirrel take up residence in one of Hudson’s bluebird boxes, and I didn’t complain when we had to have SO MUCH honey and bees removed from our chimney in Pittsfield. The beekeeper simply relocated the queen bee. But I draw the line with a rodent who wants to move inside our house, I mean it’s Spring! Why not pick a tree for a nest like all the other squirrels?

I didn’t feel sick until the ice cream truck started winding its way down our street, playing a catchy tune. This is not your mama’s Good Humor truck, it’s a white van like every white van you’ve ever seen in kidnapping documentaries (even though the Bride assures me he’s been around for years and is harmless). As the young guy placed traps on the roof, his partner said, “I wouldn’t let my kids buy ice cream from him.” And before long, I learned that he used to be a cop, and he’s seen a lot, and the only answer he could find to why there is soooo much evil in the world was THE DEVIL.

And he meant it.

So while the robin was bringing new life to our yard, the squirrels were destined for a different fate. To everything there is a season, and my season of discontent, I hope, is over. The splint on my hand should come off next week. Like a race horse, I’m entering the homestretch. Here is our little devil on guard!

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I hear small pieces of news from the states, like a dream I cannot remember all the pieces. Did Mika and Joe get engaged? Did Congress actually dismantle the ACA? Did somebody win the voice?

But I woke and forgot these snippets of memory to listen to coffee being ground and birds singing. My back is still tender, so after a rainy, magical walk around Aix yesterday we have decided to hang by the pool today and worship the sun. There is a medieval city across a field of wild thyme, and depending on our mood, we may take a stroll after lunch. 

Some people travel to live, and some live to travel. Like food, one can let it consume your life. And I have never been a good traveler, I’m more of a stay-at-home, non-traveler type. Maybe it was Nell and her agoraphobia, or maybe it was my semi-homeless upbringing, never feeling at home with one mother or the other, always between two families.

But our new “family” for this trip is a happy and healthy bunch staying in a secluded villa. It all started on Facebook with one of the Big Chill’s sister. Barb is a retired physician and organizes groups of friends who love food (check), love to cook (check), and love to hunt fungi (um no). Well at least I’ve never gone foraging for mushrooms, and wouldn’t know a real one from a poisonous one, but this group does. We are eleven Americans, nearly half in health related fields.

This is a different kind of trip. No traipsing through the forest on a fungi treasure hunt, just visiting open-air markets and sightseeing in the South of France. At the end of each day, our chefs have prepared fabulous meals with local ingredients. For instance, this area is known as Luberon and it is famous for wine of course, and melons! Last night we had melon ice cream for dessert and it was the freshest most delicious ice cream I’ve ever tasted in my whole life!

We are too early for the fabulous fields of lavender- that happens the end of June and early July, so as Bob likes to say, “We must return.” Because soon Bob will be getting his wings back, and I know he will want to fly away whenever and wherever the Mistral wind blows him. 

Today we miss the flower and farmers’ markets, the Roman ruins and the wine tasting at Chateauneuf du Pape. Maybe tomorrow we will be ship-shape for our trip to Avignon. I will stretch and I will swim, getting stronger every day. But right now, reading by the pool would be divine. On Sunday the French will decide their future, so who knows? Maybe Bob and I will be stranded here in Paradise. 

I had better brush up on my French, n’est ce pas?  

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