'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Monday, 31 December 2012

Things that Go Bump

I'm up and it's 5.01am on the last day of the year.

I was awoken a few minutes ago by a familiar light tread, and sure enough, when I peeped out of the kitchen window, sitting on the roof and looking in at me was another of my nocturnal visitors.  It was a clear sky after all the rain we've had, and I could clearly see two ears dark against a moonlit sky.  I got my camera, set it on flash and pointed in the general direction:


As I sit here in the night's silence writing I can hear a tui outside begin to sing its monotonous territorial call even though there's only a faint lightening of the sky in the east.  The first car moves along the road.  The wind gently moves the top branches of the oak.  Otherwise all is still and quiet.  I love this time of day.

The possum is now faintly scritchy-scratchy in the ceiling, going back to bed for the day.  Might make myself a cuppa and start mine.  At least it's cooler now than it will be later.  I could always have a siesta when it gets hot.  Still have all the Christmas cards to write, but they will have to wait until I've finished my painting commission.  I'm nearly there and I'd show you, but it's meant to be a secret for a while yet.

12 comments:

  1. I still find it amazing that it's the last day of the year where you are; we've got another one tomorrow! I suppose that's a challenge to use it well... Happy New Year anyway!

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    1. Here at the end of the world even time is upside-down :-)

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  2. Happy New Year to you. Can you scare the possums away with pyrotechnics...?

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    1. Thank you Monica. Probably not. In any case, they have to go period.

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  3. I had an acquaintance who lived on a small farm. One possum got round her usefulness with a shotgun by living by day in her rose trellis on her patio. He knew she couldn't shoot him there without destroying the roses. She was a patient person. He couldn't stay there all night. End of possum. It's a good job you are patient and have a trap. Did I say in response to an earlier post that poisoning has been going on in our area and there has been a huge increase in the smaller birds - notably blackbirds and thrushes.

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    1. I thought I answered this...

      What a great story - 'The possum in the Roses'.

      If we got rid of all the rats and the cats too, the birds would reach their species population limits and it would be marvelous! Apparently you could hear the bush dawn chorus well out to sea:

      "Botanist Joseph Banks travelled with Captain James Cook on his first expedition to New Zealand in 1769–70. This journal entry describes the dawn chorus he heard on 17 January 1770, while the Endeavour was anchored in Queen Charlotte Sound, Marlborough Sounds:

      ‘This morn I was awakd by the singing of the birds ashore from whence we are distant not a quarter of a mile, the numbers of them were certainly very great who seemd to strain their throats with emulation perhaps; their voices were certainly the most melodious wild musick I have ever heard, almost imitating small bells but with the most tuneable silver sound imaginable to which maybe the distance was no small addition. On enquiring of our people I was told that they have had observd them ever since we have been here, and that they begin to sing at about 1 or 2 in the morn and continue till sunrise, after which they are silent all day like our nightingales.’

      These forests are mostly silent now, as predators such as rats and stoats have exterminated many bird species."

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  4. What I actually meant to say in my comment was none of the above but simply 'Christmas cards? Aren't you a bit early? Or late?'

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    1. All right, all right. Late. As you well know.

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  5. Katherine, I think it's time you plugged the hole in the roof where the possum is getting in! You'll never have a good night's sleep until you do. Before long you'll have several in there and they'll keep you awake with their mating hi-jinks !!!
    Look forward to seeing the unveiling of your secret commission.
    Happy New Year!

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  6. Good thought Helsie. Unfortunately the possum gets in under the house and up inside the wall. I suspect it's a huge job to block it up, but may resort to that. I think this is the last one, I've been eliminating the family one by one...
    I'll wait until I've caught it and then do the blocking job... otherwise it has to be done at night, or have the possibility of walling in what will quickly become a very Bad Smell in this weather.

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  7. I would put money on the secret picture being an oil painting of a giant brush-tailed possum being attacked by an enraged axewoman as hundreds of possum eyes look on from the dark Dali-esque undergrowth. I am impressed by your forward planning re. Xmas cards - only 359 days to go to Christmas.

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  8. Happy New Year to You down there. Here in Denmark we still have 11 hours left of 2012.

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