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Tuesday, 30 August 2011

It’s a cool, clear, quiet morning. At least, that’s how it is outside. In here I am plagued by the trilling of the crickets. I see plenty of them on the floors and worktops, and can generally mash them with the fly-swatter. Treading on them is harder: they are pretty agile. But if they decide to start singing their love-songs to each other, they generally find a quiet little spot where they can’t be seen. I’ve had one – at least one - going at it since six o’clock, and it’s now seven. Every time I get anywhere near where it’s hiding it stops. If it can see me I would think I ought to be able to see it, but I can’t. It’s very frustrating.
Until yesterday I had viewed these bugs as fairly friendly little things, just a mild nuisance. Didn’t Disney create a chirpy little fellow called Jiminy Cricket who sang uplifting songs? Ha! As of yesterday morning, I know the full sordid truth. I was out and about when I came across a dead rat. And there was a little cluster of these things, sucking the juices out of it. And that’s not all. Grasshoppers were also involved. I certainly never knew that they were carnivorous. But… live and learn. And, with apologies, here’s the evidence.

I didn’t collect my tent yesterday. I kept putting it off all morning, and then in the afternoon it started raining, and carried on, more or less, until dark. We had about an inch, which washed the debris off the  new roof. I did, however, manage to get a couple of jobs done outside, one of which was to paint the old milk can that stands by the door. Before I go home – five weeks today – I hope to paint three more downstairs windows; and I shall dismantle the disaster area that was my vegetable garden.

Matt will be pleased with the rain. I certainly was. This time, rather than chase around the attic with buckets, I was able to put on my waterproof and sit out under the trees for a full half-hour, savouring the coolness and watching the drips off the eaves. The temperature never got above 74 all morning, and after lunch dropped to 63. For an hour or so it felt like a wet summer’s day at home, with the rain falling gently. Then, after a few rumbles of thunder, it came on a bit heavier, but there was little wind. Quiet suddenly, around seven, the sky started to clear and we had yet another of these infinitely variable evening skies.

The young birds that hatched out in the little tin nest have all flown. It’s deserted, but I did manage to get one slightly blurred snap-shot of them before they took off. I guess once they can fly they have no need of the place. I have no idea whether their mother continues to look out for them or whether they have to survive on their own.

This week I’ll be getting back to writing. Next week, after the Labor Day holiday, I’m  getting a ride to Rapid City to pick up a car. I have one or two expeditions in mind  which might push Mercy over the edge, so I’ll be renting a little sedan for the final four weeks of my stay. I need to go to Valentine and Ainsworth, and I think it’s time I went out to Alliance to visit Old Jules’ grave, which I’ve never seen.

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