The Uninvited Guest
I like living alone. I like doing my own things, when I want to. I like not having to weed my garden, that only I see, or dust my house, that only has company when I know they are coming. Sometimes I am lonely, and friends say, “You should get a pet,” but I decline. Having had a dog for 14 years in the past, I know that they provide joy, but also a lot of work and worry. But now I find myself in a situation with an animal living in my space, and most likely it won’t cause me any work, and probably not much worry either.
The animal sharing my space was not only not invited, but I don’t for sure even know what it is. All I know is that sometime from Saturday at 10 pm until Sunday at 5 am it moved in and made itself very comfortable.
Now, I expect you are thinking mice. I am not at all silent when it comes to sharing my house with a mouse, and might even have put it up for sale by now. Certainly I would have called in the pest control people.
And I have shared my house in the past with a bat or two – which I wasn’t comfortable with, but as I was wanting to sell it at the time, I thought telling someone might make the whole situation more complicated than I wanted it to be.
A cat belonging to the neighbours visits from time to time, and if I see it, I make my desire for it to go home very clear.
Birds I have apleanty, even some wood pidgeons nesting in my big tree – and effectively sharing space with the newcomer. The end result of that remains to be seen.
When I realised that the new home had been built, I consulted google as so many of us do, and was given the impression that there are two main possibilities – and I’m not as of yet too sure which would be the worse case scenario.
So let me give you some more details. My garden is small, and rather wild. I do mow the lawn, and trim the hedge, but I not only turn a blind eye on what most people would consider weeds, I often encourage them. So not the typical garden. I have a corner plot, and the upper right hand corner there is a banked up area, with a tree planted in it. It’s an evergreen, and quite tall. I have a few other much less important trees but this one is what you see as you approach my house from any direction. I trimmed all the lower branches off, so that the sun and rain can more easily get into the garden and that has encouraged the flowers and shrubs and weeds in that section of the garden to flourish.
I get up early, and on Sunday I was keen to get my clothes washed, dried and put away before I left for my daughter’s house (where I am right now). I looked at the raised bit by the tree, and was struck by the fact that it looked different. I throw my grass cuttings under the tree, but now those same grass cuttings were spread over a larger area, and mixed with mud and made into a shape – sort of like a small cave. And indeed, the grass cutting cave had an opening – quite large – maybe 5 inches by six, slightly oval shaped with the larger dimension being to the sides. The cave includes part of the flower patch that is mostly weeds, and extends well into the area close to the tree trunk – but doesn’t obstruct the peony plant which has two valiant blooms open, and another two hoping to follow soon.
Google tells me that I might be hosting a badger, and I might be hosting a fox. Now, I know badgers have visited my garden in the past, because on the one night last winter when we had a reasonable amount of snow, I saw large paw prints going to various parts of my garden. They came from the road, and went straight ahead and then turned around and went out again. Another set turned upon coming in and went the length of the yard, and turned again, and went the width, seemingly crawling under the hedge that separates me and the other half of the semi-detatched property. That didn’t worry me. I suspected there were badgers living nearby. We had lots of them in our previous home, and other than occasionally tipping over the dustbins, they never caused us any worry.
Google says that badgers nearly always build their dens on a slope which gives them easier access, but occasionally they built a nest in a quiet secluded place. It said they prefer sandy soil, but can cope with clay – which is what mine is. Some of the websites seemed to think I was very lucky to have been chosen, and reminded me, if I was thinking of getting rid of my guest(s) that badgers are a protected species.
The fox came up as a possible but unlikely contender – but again, the advice from the net was to feel pleased that he or she had chosen my garden as a spot of refuge in a difficult world.
I rang my friend Clare who has a house with a very large garden in the countryside. She said this was not a good thing. She said both badgers and foxes could be nasty and were not very nice to have around. My grandkids who are still very young play in my garden, and have a great fondness for hiding things in the very spot that the animal has chosen to call home.
So Clare offered to see if she could find some animal deterring chemical which she would put in my garden in my absence. I only needed to leave a half full watering can full of water.
So I wait and wonder what I will find when I go home.