Listen to Pilot Light

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cows and bats

If it seems like I am on a roll talking about interactions with animals, it is because I am. Living in a rural place, even if it is a small community, tends to put you back in contact with the creatures we share this world. I enjoy most of it, even if I would be happier if certain creatures (insects, turkeys...) were left out of the equation.

Recently I noticed that Mr. Sau, who takes care of the grounds, using a new lawn mower. This was  a nice upgrade for him from the weed eater they were using to cut the grass. There is a lot of grass now, and that is a slow way to get the job done. Doctor Philippe, the landlord is quite proud of the new lawnmower, and rightfully so. They are not common here.

Nonetheless, I wasn't surprised to look out the other day and see the supplementary equipment at work.

The animal belongs to one of the neighbors, and I assume that Mr. Sau came to an arrangement with him. So every afternoon, this beast is tethered somewhere on the grounds, filling her stomach while taking over part of the lawn maintenance burden.

The other recent encounter was nocturnal. When we first moved onto our boat in the Caribbean, we had no electricity. So the evenings were spent in the dark. When we got electricity sorted out, we found that we preferred spending evenings in the dark. There were fewer insects and you could see what was going on around you under the moonlight. We were an exception and most people turned on lights at night. When we visited other boats, looking out into the black night seemed odd. We preferred things our way.

In our house here, we like to sit in the dark. Habits die hard, and there is still the issue of insects. They love light. Our neighbors turn on porch lights and we watch the mosquitoes plan their attacks. But we have no reason to be smug. Darkness brings like-minded creatures around. In this case, a bat. The bats fly around in the evening catching bugs. They fly through our porch.

One bat, however, was not content with this routine, and on an evening not long ago, as I sat contemplating the universe, I was assaulted with bat guano. Now this is a rather nice form of that substance, and not caustic like that of the fruit bats in Venezuela, and certainly not as troublesome as the vampire bats we had there either.

But I didn't like it. We used a broom to discourage the little guy; I just poked it near him and he flew off. The next night he came back to the exact same spot under the porch roof--directly over my chair. We turned on the light and he left. The next night, he decided the light was okay, and he would stay, but I turned to chemical warfare and sprayed in his direction with bug spray. Again he left.

  Here he is hanging right above my chair. 
So what are you going to do with a guy like that? We like him to come around and eat bugs. He would even be rather welcome to hang around if he would pick a different spot, but he has not shown a willingness to negotiate. So we close curtains at night now and hope he will find a nicer spot. Maybe he can go hang on a roof beam over the cow and they can talk over the craziness of people.