Hedge-Sabres And Sky-Mice

We watched Star Wars Episode VII a few days ago.  I’m not a rabid Star Wars fan, yet I still found myself re-enacting the epic lightsabre battle in my front yard for the amusement (or possibly bemusement) of the neighbours.

It started with a shrub.

Our house is one of those crappy layouts with vehicle access from the front, resulting in an unattractive “garage-with-house-attached” look.  Most of our front yard is occupied by the concrete driveway, but we’ve created a perennial bed beside it.  The bed contains a bunch of flowering plants, plus a single cotoneaster shrub that I keep trimmed to a manageable size.

The cotoneaster is not, however, in a convenient location.  The driveway is on one side and there’s a stepping-stone path on the other, but the shrub is smack in the middle, just out of comfortable reach.

Enter me, stage left, wielding an electric hedge trimmer.

I had two choices:  step into the perennial bed to get close enough to use the hedge trimmer with both hands the way it was meant to be operated… or balance precariously on one leg while leaning over to decapitate the cotoneaster with one-handed swipes of my deadly hedge-sabre.

Yeah, you know which one I chose.  (For the record, about the worst time to get the giggles is when you’re balanced on one leg, flailing around with a power tool that’s capable of shearing off twigs the diameter of your finger.  Fortunately I managed to escape a well-deserved painful injury.)

We also have a small decorative pond and waterfall in front of the house.  We take the pump out for the winter, but the piping remains year-round.  Somehow the water in the pipes manages to get stagnant and stinky even though it’s been frozen solid for six months, so we usually restart the pump on a breezy day.  Even so, the area around the front of our house always reeks for a few hours.

The pond last spring. It looks benign, but don’t inhale for a day or so…

The pond last spring. It looks benign, but don’t inhale for a day or so…

So imagine me, surrounded by stink and locked in a duel to the death with the cotoneaster, then add this to your ridiculous mental image: a swarm of frenzied sky mice swooping and chirping around me.

What are sky mice, you ask?  Maybe you’ve heard pigeons described as ‘sky rats’; I call sparrows ‘sky mice’.  They’re just as annoying, useless, and prolific as pigeons, just not as big.  (I exclude song sparrows from this category – I’m talking about Chipping Sparrows, the little brown-capped guys that relentlessly repeat the same strident tuneless chirp from dawn to dusk.  It’s like a dentist’s drill to the eardrum.)

The Chipping Sparrows love our pond, our sheltering trees and shrubs, and the bird-friendly seed and berry plants in my garden.  I enjoy watching them through the window, but outside their incessant chirping drives me nuts.  I once christened a scare owl ‘Rodney’ because he got no respect from the sky mice, but they don’t respect me, either.

Maybe I oughta go after them with my hedge-sabre.  There’s a tiny chance that it might throw a scare into them, but more likely they’d just crack up with birdy giggles that sound just like their regular irritating chirp, only more derisive.  They’re laughing at me, I know it.

Then again, considering my performance a few days ago, I can hardly blame them…

P.S. The Virtual Backyard Book Club kicks off today!  Please click here or use the new Book Club button in the right-hand sidebar to join me on my virtual backyard patio for introductions! (I’m still ironing out the last of the wrinkles, so please bear with me…)

UPDATE:  Speaking of wrinkles… If you tried to access the Book Club site and got stymied with logins and passwords, that was my fault.  I messed up the settings, but they’re fixed now – please try again.  I’m very sorry for the inconvenience! 😦

41 thoughts on “Hedge-Sabres And Sky-Mice

  1. Aw, poor sparrows… cute little things! 😉
    I had visions of you launching yourself into the pond (which is very picturesque, by the way!), Diane, waving your hedge-sabre about… and a backwards-cape sprung to mind also. The fun of gardening!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to agree about the “Fecal Raptor” description. Living at the beach off and on so much when young and a high school practically on the beach, left us all as slow moving targets for those squawking buzzards.
    I missed last weeks post, hectic again, but trying to get caught up again. I just this evening finished #12. I am breathless, as I said in my review, I ended the story with a smile on my lips and a tear in my eye. BTW, I will forever have the visual in my mind of just how you figured out the escape from being cuffed to the bed with Arnie and the key across the room! Somehow, I can just see your husband helping you out with that awkward contortion and I have to laugh out loud just writing it. LOL This story was just awesome. I, like most everyone else, will be checking the progress on #12 practically daily. 🙂
    I will check out the Book Club most likely tomorrow. Early night tonight as we have to be at the VA in Biloxi, MS at an ungodly hour in the a.m. More tests for hubby. Looks like he’ll be scheduled or the Cardio-Ablation for either late this month or early next. sheesh!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Doing odd things in front of the neighbors? Hm. Lemme see here.

    Okay, there was the time we moved into a two-storey house across the street from our business. Had a nice balcony built out over the covered front porch. The little old lady who lived next door said to her visiting brother, “Hey, Arnold! Come look at this! Those new people are moving in next door, and they’re using a big forklift to hoist the upstairs stuff up to their balcony! That bunch oughta liven up the neighborhood!”

    And then there was the time that our mamma cat absolutely shredded the Australian Shepherd of the drunken, chronic troublemaker who lived down the road a ways. I won’t get into the dialogue, but it was colorful, loud, and seriously and creatively profane. The little old lady next door said, “Yep, told ya so, Arnold!”

    There is more, of course, but suffice it to say that you are not alone, sista. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You owe it to your dedicated readers to have your husband video the performance next time. Those electric hedge trimmers are not the easiest to use. Mine went to my cousin’s wife who loved it while I went out and bought a very high quality shears. I miss trimming hedges.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I have this wonderful image of you with your “sabre” alternately slicing at the cotoneaster and the sparrows. I am just hoping you do not cut off one of your smaller or more delicate parts. To rid yourself of both problems quickly I would suggest a chainsaw for the shrub and earplugs for the birds.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Diane- It is a lady’s gender endowed right to change her mind, at any time, in any endeavor, with shovel, rake, or light-saber in hand to change her mind. The neighbors will understand. One additional hint – buy some earplugs and acquire a few (more) cats to solve your “sky mice” problem

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Now I have an image of you hopping around on one leg holding a hedge trimmer and yelling at the birds. You must provide all sorts of entertainment for your neighbors. Probably keep the Jehovah Witnesses away too. It’s a win win for everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sky Mice and Sky Rats? I wonder what seagulls are -they must be in the same rodent world.
    One of my friends complains about Tree Rats. Squirrels by another name. Get them into your roof or garden and you’d agree. The little Tree Rats will steal a tomato off your vine, tasting it briefly, then abandon that tomato for the next, and the next… The shameless females mate with one tree rat, hide from that mate and screw a second mate moments later on the other side of the same tree. Dang things scold you for being too close- they think THEY own your yard, garden, trees and roof. The only benefit they seem to provide is endless thrills for the cats. One cheeky tree rat tried to come into my kitchen screen door when I was baking something wonderful. I had no cat then to even the playing field.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Love to become part of virtual back yard book club,however the world press people are giving me a case of frustration and frankly anger at all of the procedures they want and tell me I am not registered.

    Look foreword to your blog and save them in my email account. Have a good day,,,,

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ken – I’m sorry, I think that was my fault. I had the settings wrong, and I’ve tweaked them so you should have full access now. Please try again – I’d like to have you in the book club! Again, I’m sorry for messing things up.

      Liked by 1 person

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