Friday, August 12, 2005


This morning I was out on the deck watching the sun rise into more silence than two ears can hold when all at once it sounded like Chinese New Year over in the green mountainside of rice paddies, which are now filling with heading rice. I looked over and saw a big cloud of smoke; a solo farmer was going around in his truck inside the anti-wild pig/deer/monkey electric fence, setting off firecrackers to scare off the only things that can still get at the granary goodies: sparrows.

I couldn't see any sparrows taking flight, it was so far away, but nearby a small cloud of white herons rose from the lower paddies, slowly flapping high into the air to see what all the to-do was about; the farmer drove on, however, setting off more firecrackers, so the herons stayed up there, complaining in drowsy squawks.

Never saw a farmer do that before around here; maybe he got the idea from us; we use firecrackers now and then to scare off imminent monkeys. Speaking of which, haven't seen any of the spoliating simians since I came back (though I heard some in the trees one evening) and have gotten nearly all of my tomatoes so far (some had even turned fully red!). The monkeys must be slipping; more likely, though, they're just hunkering in the mountains at their training camp, getting better organized.

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