Friday, July 13, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 33 - What the Heck?

As you know, I had planned to put up posts from Guest Bloggers in strict chronological order of their arrival in my inbox - so as to ensure total fairness and not promote any author or poster above any other - but just lately this intent has been sabotaged by some importuning from the prickly quarter.

Some people - ahem - some creatures are not best known for their patience, it seems, and I have been getting messages demanding to know where the Heck their post has gone. Officially, they should have a week to wait, but as I know in my experience hedgehogs - yes, this post is from the Hecks - the hedgehog family at the bottom of the garden! - can get a bit uppity when they are tired of waiting.

That, after all, is how I discovered that we had hedgehogs here in the first place. We had just moved into this house - July 7th 1989, so just about exactly 18 years ago - and we had no idea that, along with the house and the garden, we had acquired an extra 'lodger' or two in the small, prickly form of the hedgehogs who were used to being fed by the daughter of the family who had previously lived here.

So used to being fed that they were decidedly peeved when their extra rations were not provided by the new ownersand they marched out on to the lawn, snuffling and grunting loudly in protest, very nearly banging on the french doors with their snouts, demanding that their diet of slugs and snails should be supplemented by cat crunchies and left over cat meat.

And so we met The Hecks .(They were named that way by Anne McAllister when she finally got to see them after a couple of visits with the promise of but never a sighting of a Hog in the prickle)

Where the original family of Hecks - who knows just how many generations of Hogs have inhabited the twilight world of the far end of the garden - lived, we were never quite sure, but we ended up not daring to risk digging too far down in the compost heap for fear that the spade might slice into a sleeping Heck. But these days they do of course inhabit Hedgehog Towers, the lovely and snug little detached dwelling that we bought for them. We simply left this at the far end of the garden, surrounded by straw, woodshavings and leaves, and the Hecks moved in, taking the offered bedding with them, and built themselves the cosiest of nests, all wrapped up into a ball. As a result of that, this year we were delighted to see one of the Greater Hecks (no idea if it's Ma or Pa Heck) bringing the Littlest Hecks out onto the lawn for their share of the cat crunchies and the meat that the magpies had condescended to leave them

And now the Hecks have - with a little help from someone ( the initials A McA might fit here) have penned a post for the Blog Party and are impatiently demanding that they see it posted now! As I have experience of the amount of noise and fuss a frustrated Heck can make (believe me - if you'd ever tried to sleep through their snuffling, grunting, snorting and muttering courtship rituals, you'd not want it to happen too often) I am conceding to prickly demands -

and so dear readers - I give you The Hecks

We are unfamiliar with the concept of BLOG. We know about LOGs and DOGs and FOG and we know that MOGGIES are cats. But BLOGS are . . . strange.
Several cats who live beyond the glass door in the big building where the lights go on at night have told us that a BLOG is requested on account of The Cat Food Lady having written a lot of Books. We are not sure what Books are, either. A hedgehog's life is somewhat limited. We have an oral tradition, not a written one. Nevertheless.We are most grateful to The Cat Food Lady who brings us treats many nights. She does not mind that we have children that scuttle away without saying a proper thank you. She understands that they are shy. She knows that they will become accustomed to People in time as they are already accustomed to CATS. And she trusts that they will continue to enjoy her hospitality for generations to come.
We, the elder Hecks, wish to assure her that this is the case. We also wish to tell her readers ( the cats say that readers are listeners who listen to pages. We aren't sure about pages either or how you listen to them, but we are doing our best. Also we are not sure how this message is being communicated to you. We are telling it to a cat called Sir Sidney and he is relaying it to someone somewhere who is doing the writing thing -- like The Cat Food Lady does -- but which is all beyond us. There is a reason some of us are writers and some of us are hedgehogs. We expect you know that).
Sir Sidney says that The Cat Food Lady's blog (whatever that is) does not paragraph well (whatever that is) and so we should use Nevertheless to indicate that there is a new paragraph (whatever that is). We aren't sure what "nevertheless" is, either. Like we said . . .
We wish The Cat Food Lady (we know what Cat Food is) who is called Kate (Sir Sidney told us that) a very happy time celebrating (we know how to do that, too) her many books -- because obviously they are worth celebrating. So . . . felicitations, dear Cat Food Lady. Come and visit us at the Bottom Of The Garden whenever you wish. We will always be happy to entertain you. And we do hope you will continue to provide lots of Cat Food. It's scrumptious. Far better than whatever it is we are supposed to be eating.
With kind regards, deep esteem and all good wishes,
yours truly,
Great Heck
Middle Heck
Little Heck
Lesser Heck and
the Least Heck of all

Being Hedgehogs, the Hecks have no idea of a giveaway prize either - they did offer a couple of tasty worms and a nice fat slug but I thought that those would be difficult to package and perhaps not appreciated in the right spirit in which they were donated.
So I'm going to raid my book box again and offer the same prize as Sir Sidney gave away - namely one of my backlist titles together with an extra book from Anne McAllister (after all, anyone who can write as a Hedgehog must be worth reading!)
It had better be a critter questions - so - excluding cats and d-o-g-s (yes Sid, even you!) What other animals - wild or tame - do you have in your home or see regularly in the garden? Extra point will be awarded for the most unusual ones.


Nell said...

We have bats fwapping by to visit. Tiny pipistrelles that appear at dusk and swoop over the patio looking for food.

Biddy said...

Does the drunk who sits on my front door step count??
Other than that I have a coterie of M&B writers that are seasonal visitors to my flat :-)

KimW said...

Not any in my home, but we have a lot outside. Our regular visitors are a big bunny, two chipmunks, a family of crows (who peck at my screens and knock at my front door), bats on ocassion and a big daddy long leg spider on my pretty sunflower. ewww...

Donna Alward said...

WE have a white tailed hare, otherwise known as Fuzzy The Bunny.

CrystalG said...

We often see deer, oppossums, rabbits, and raccoons around our home.

lidia said...

We have a "beta" -- Siamese Fighting Fish; a cockatiel and two turtles.

lidia said...

Those were inside our house. Outside we always see deer, squirrels and chipmunks. Sometimes we get to see woodchucks, raccoons and a fox.

Lee Morrison said...

Goodness! I'm happy to say we have no Hecks in our back yard, (at least that I've seen) lol.

We do have deer, wild turkeys, racoons, rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, a skunk (...which my kitty, Titan, learned to leave alone...the hard way...cost us $85 at the kitty ER and he had a swollen eye for two days after. Not to mention my hubby's car wreaked for a week even though Titan was in the kitty carrier. Yep, He got a little too close to the bugger.)

Oh, where was I--sorry. We also have an assortment of colorful birds-blue jays, cardinals, robins, and even a rare baltimore oriole this year.

Hmmm, my son left the garage door open a week or so ago and a chipmunk scurried in the basement and into our house. I opened the back door and he ran out, thank goodness.

Saw a peacock a year ago, but only once.

I guess that's about it.

We're always amazed that we see all these beautiful creatures since we live only fifteen minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. I guess they like all the hills, valleys, and trees we have around here.

My sister lives an hour north of us and they had a bear in their back yard a couple of weeks ago. He ate all the food for the humming birds as well as some of her flowers, lol. She can keep her new friend. Yikes.

Have a great day!


Anne McAllister said...

Hi Hecks,
Nice to see you. You didn't need to worry. I'm sure Kate would have got your blog up in due time. And no doubt there will be crunchies and other good stuff forthcoming. She told me she appreciated your effort.

As for our local fauna, sadly no hedgehogs. We do have lots of local raccoons and skunks, though. And when we are in Montana we have bear and elk and buffalo and moose and wildcats (and presumably wolves though the only one I ever saw was in Yellowstone Park -- wild, though. You would have to watch where you were around them. Some of them would step on you and others would think you made a tasty lunch.

I, for one, like the drunk on Biddy's doorstep the best! Or the M&B authors (which is what you get when you inhabit an area that was at one time inhabited by someone in a towel).


Linda H said...

Hello Kate & Everyone,

No animals at home. Outside I always see those nasty smelly skunks LoL, Raccoons, Birds, Black Crows, Deers, Cats, Squirrels and a neighbor has a Hamster & a Ferret as pets :-)


Minna said...

Frogs, bats, minks, mice, hares, squirrels, hedgehogs, birds, usually small ones, but there have been a couple of swans and cranes, too, and hawks and eagles, neighbours cats and dogs, wasps, snakes, foxes, moose... I wonder if I have forgotten anyone?

Kate Hardy said...

We have a hedgehog too (Byron occasionally picks him up and brings him indoors... I think he's trying to tell us he wants a pup to come and live with us, but DH will not budge!).

We also have pretty blue dragonflies (they live by the lake on the other side of the field at the bottom of our garden, but sometimes pay us a visit).

We have ponies (OK, they live in said field, but they do come to sneak the odd carrot or two from my daughter).

(And are you *sure* I can't sneak in my Springer? He's such a lovely boy...)

Cherie J said...

Well, when I was living at home we had an iguana, two guinea pigs, a turtle, and a bearded dragon. Since I moved away, the guinea pigs passed away due to old age and the turtle went missing. We are hoping it was not eaten by one of the alligators that show up in the canal on occasion (We live in Florida). My mom went to put the turtle out to eat some grass and could not find her later. She was very heartbroken about losing her. The iguana and the bearded dragon are still alive and kicking and a cat has been added to the mix in the last couple of years.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

We have a grey fox, a red fox, coyotes, bears, a bobcat, wild turkeys, rabbits, possums, skunks, coons, and great blue herons that visit regularly. Deer are here also. One time a fawn mistook our dog Rosie for his mommy. :D

I have to take pepper spray when I go for the mail because the bobcat has snarled at me three times and I've found myself outside with the bears and coyotes. LOL Once a deer was chased by coyotes and crashed out of the woods and almost on top of me. We eyed each other up and headed in different directions.

Wild wave to Kate. I posted a pic of DH's log building he constructed all by himself on my blog if you wish to see it.

Hugs, JJ/Blue

Joye said...

My neighbor has some beautiful prize roosters (I think they are Bantam roosters) that I have made several paintings of

Eva said...

Lots of cardinals, ducks, woodpeckers, rabbits, squirrels outside

Pam said...

I'm in a condo, so no animals around, but my sisters have plenty. One has a large apple tree in her yard,and a family of gophers, or is it chipmunks, live underneath. They have furrows all around it and last year some babies came out. Also the usual squirrels scampering around the yard with them too, the occasion wild rabbet, Nell she has those bats at dusk from a neighbor's house, too, at dusk. They aren't so bad now, but a few years ago they came out every night flying low around the yad in circles. She wouldn't even sit out on her porch, neither would I, lol. My BIL just walked right aroundthem, not me.

Another sister had a squirrel get in her house through the chimney one year. Took them a week to get it out, no agency would help and she was nervous then with my nieces being young and worrying about diseases. She'd make everyone laugh every time it came out from hiding chasing it all over with her broom. Finally my BIL trapped it, then they put a screen over the chimneytop.

But the funniest was when I was a kid and a small field mouse got in our apartment. My mother was coming down the stairs and spotted it scooting around the bottom step, shrieked and we found her with her arms and legs wrapped around the banister. I still don't know how she managed that, lol. Our next door neighbor heard her scream and came over, grabbed a broom and chased it out the door. We all had tears streaming down from all the laughing at the sight of her wrappe around that banister rail.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Kate, I had to stop back to tell you I laid THE SICILIAN'S RED-HOT REVENGE on my chest last night and asked DH for a goodnight kiss which was sensual. After it reluctantly ended he asked me if I just read about that kiss in your book. I had to say uh-huh! Giggle.

Hugs, JJ/Blue

Sue A. said...

Grey and black squirrels and an occasional raccoon have been seen around our neighborhood.

Virginia said...

Hello Hicks, It is really nice to meet you. I live in a small town in KY. We have a Koi pond in our back yard, which has had a visiter by the name of Blue Harring, not a good visiter for the Koi. I have a groundhog that is taking bites out of my tomatoes outside. We have all kinds of birds,rabits,cats,dogs and a few snakes in my neighborhood. We also have a fish tank in the living room.
It's been really nice blogging with the Hicks family. I hope to meet you someday.

Ally Blake said...

Hey Kate!

I live in a veritable menagerie at my place! We have a miniature Fox Terrier called Squiffy. Two goldfish (unnamed as the seconde we name them they expire). Four chickens: Laverne, Speckled Jim (who is a girl thank-you very much), Captain Janeway and Vera de Milo. Two lovey dovey turtle doves have come to stay since the chickens moved in and they are the only outside birds who don't get chased away. I think the chickens must be romantics at heart ;).

And... two black-headed pythons named Mary and Frederick after the Prince and Princess. Hubby hopes to mate them one day so if they have a girl and a boy themselves the names won't be hard to come by!

Sid will be sad to know we don't have a cat. That's next, we promise!

Ally ((waving to the adorbale Hecks)

Anonymous said...

I saw a tiger in my neighbor's backyard..does that count? I live in Greensburg (PA, USA) and apparently my neighborhood is zoned for things like that.

As for in my own home, I had a boa, and then I had a pet squirrel for about two days. Got him to eat out of my hands at my window until he got squished by a car.

Lois said...

Alas, the only wildlife in my immediate vicinity is my Kitty. . . and until a couple months ago a blue parakeet named Popeye. Outside that immediate vicinity, we just have birds of two or so types, squirrels, flies, ants, bugs, butterflies, cats, and once or twice there was this large rodent of somekind roaming around. I don't know my rodents, but an armadillo or something? Not sure. :)

Then you have the crazy people. . . ah, which would include me too. ;)


Ilona said...

Bats and hedgehogs are known to frequent our garden, when Lucy Dog doesn't scare them off. :D

Oh and of course we have a whole (what does one call a lot of cats?) plethora ofcats wander through whenever Lucy Dog is kept inside :)

Anonymous said...
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