If not now, when?

One American woman. Twenty acres and a 1650 farmhouse in Tuscany. Random introspection and hilarity, depending on the day.

16 May 2006

This episode with PICTURES!

And now we return you to your regularly-scheduled program, Italian Wildlife:

It's spring: birds are singing, bees are humming, ant invasions abound and the oh-so-irritating crabgrass has found its way back up from China (where its' roots obviously start since I can never dig quite far enough to kill them) into my gravel path.

Friday is my one-year anniversary here! A year later, I have definitely made my peace with most of my wildlife. The wild boars tear the hell out of my lawn, but taste so divine roasted; the lawn is a small price to pay. The birds only occasionally fly through the house and I can sleep through most of the calling - I even recognize a few now! The cuckoo remains supremely annoying, and I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to make that into a clock. (Yes, they really sound just like that. All the time.) The bats don't look so scary up close - cute and little and fuzzy even - by the light of day. I've decided they must not really be interested in sucking my blood. The butterflies are spectacular, watching their flitting can easily consume giant lazy chunks of time.

The most irritating, by far, are the carpenter bees. They are enormous, loud, and black: the cacophonous Hindenbergs (sans flame) of the bee family. I have no idea if they sting, but their sound alone is enough to make me lose my train of thought when they find their way through my open window. They seem like part-bee, part-fly (that's a Euro Cent tucked under his wing for scale...) - and though there is such a thing called a "beefly," this is, according to whatsthatbug.com, a carpenter bee. The iridescent blue of their wings looks like something I wore to the junior prom, but that's about the only redeeming quality I can find.

I have lizards galore, who I find rather endearing in their fleetness. Just a flash, corner of the eye, and they're gone. Though my lizards are special: nearly all appear to be some sort of Darwinian breed of tailless lizard. This quirky fish-on-legs look is actually is a result of their "detachable tail" feature, often sacrificed to become the afternoon snack of the two sweet and quick-but-not-quick enough farm cats. (The one in the picture must be TOMORROW's afternoon snack!)

It's another story altogether, but I've become fascinated with snails of late. I know the Italian word - chiocciola (pronounced key-OH-cho-la) - for snail, because it's also the word they use for the "@" symbol in an email address! The attempted-gardener in me knows I should smash them, or just turn the keys to my garden over to them entirely, but I find something quietly intriguing about them. I'll yank the shells off my roses and smash them, but rarely see one "out and about" of his shell. Last evening, after dark, this one crossed my path. He stopped and we were eyeball-to-eyeball (he was up on a ledge, I was sitting.) I swear he looked at me, his 'feelers' wagging with interest at me (amazing, those feelers - incredibly sensitive and pliable, reminding me of the column of water-slash-face in the movie The Abyss.), and I simply couldn't bear to crunch him.

Last week I saw my first snake! Renaissance Artist had told me we had some - especially by the pond - and even a few "Vipers" (the bad ones!), but needless to say I had never gone looking for them. But there one was -- sunning himself on the gravel in my drive.

He was a beautiful coppery-green color, depending on which angle you looked at him. The professor identified him as something I can't remember, but he was really pretty. This all seems a bit scary, until you remember the concept of "scale" in photos - this darling little guy was maybe the size of a double-long earthworm, not much more. And he was none-too-happy with Professor's attempt to scooch him out of the 'main drag': here he is getting all puffed-up and 'snakey' with us. Cute, really.

So I have snakes and snails.... and if I could just find a few puppy dogs' tails, I bet I could whip myself up a few little boys, too. And if THAT logic follows, do you suppose if I start with full-grown DOG's tails instead that I might get a late thirties-to-mid-forties-something man who is gainfully employed, living independently of his mother, and can make me laugh?

Hah!! This from the woman who is self-confessed average on a good day in the kitchen: THAT recipe has trouble written all over it. Seems to me finding a prefab model that can be returned to the factory for exchange or warranty repairs is a better idea.


Blogger Annika said...

that lizard is cute!

And I think that snake is technically not a snake but a legless lizard - it looks just like what we call 'copper snake' or 'copper lizard' and they are totally harmless.

That carpenter bee looks scary though...

8:32 AM  

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