things that came with the house

Several weeks ago after a windstorm, we noticed these things lying in the backyard by the fence. From the kitchen window, they looked like pieces of bread and we figured that maybe some squirrels had dropped them there, or that the neighbors had put them on top of the fence for the birds. But we didn’t bother to pick them up, because it was cold and we figured the critters would be back for them.

So they stayed there for a while until J’s mother came up to visit with her boyfriend and their dogs. Ben and Cowboy, when let out in the backyard, ran around in circles and then poked their noses into every corner and pocket.

Sniffing around under bushes is very tiring for our intrepid explorer Cowboy. Ben never gets tired, which is why I don’t have any pictures of him.

The dogs of course did what dogs do in yards, which is what brought a person with a baggie to that corner of the yard. Who discovered, much to our surprise, that the two slices of “bread” were actually honeycomb.

We have bees in the willow.

I don’t know what type of bees they are; I picked up the combs and didn’t think about photographing or trying to render them until after they’d already gone away with the trash truck. They looked like classic bee combs; sheets of hexagonal cells made from very soft wax, slightly sticky, and had a few dead bees stuck in them.

They’re high enough up that I can’t actually see the bees. J’s seen them go in and out of various holes in the tree (which appears to be hollow), so it could be a fairly large hive. They haven’t attacked anyone, though, so I’m inclined to leave them alone.

So that’s the bees. The mysterious fascinating-to-dogs object under the bush I didn’t discover until last week, when my father brought Sadie over to explore and get used to our house.

Sadie, who boldly goes where lots of dogs have gone before.

Being a dog, the first thing Sadie did in the backyard was poop. The next thing she did was poke her nose into every possible nook and cranny out there, because Sadie’s second reason for living is smelling things. Her primary reason for living is eating things, which will be important later.

It didn’t take long before Sadie discovered the same bush that fascinated Ben and Cowboy so much, and not long before she came out from behind the bush carrying something.

In Sadie’s world, there are only two kinds of objects: edible and non-. Since everything is by default in the edible category until proven non-, it’s generally a bad sign when she has something in her mouth because it won’t be long until whatever she’s got is in her stomach. My first thought was: Poop. My second thought was: Dead thing. I almost knocked the bench over jumping up and running over to get it away from her.

Sadie did not want to give up her prize. I’m not strong enough to pry her jaws apart– I’m not even able to get the cat’s open– but since I’m smarter, more patient, and marginally faster I just held onto her face until she tried to get a better grip on the thing and then I shoved the fingers on one hand into her mouth and pushed The Object away with the other. Then I shut her in the house and went back out to investigate.

Sadie’s prize.

It appears to be a raccoon. The rest of Rocky is still under the bush, getting snowed upon but otherwise remaining undisturbed. At some point I plan to haul the rest of him out and strip the bones, but that’ll wait until it dries out a bit more.


  1. Karen

    No need to risk your fingers. Most dogs will accept a trade for something else that they covet. Now that Yoda is getting older and does not see so well, we use trade more often if we want him to give something up Charlie (whom you have not met) learned to skateboard in his class tonight. Great Sadie picture!


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