After he got over the initial disappointment that forrest moss couldn’t be eaten, Herman found that it could be useful in other ways. For one thing, because it was softer it was easier to burrow in. He also found that the moss made a nice, if temporary, hat.
Yesterday had been a very long day for Herman. He did not want to get up when the lights went on in his home and, unexpectedly, the guardian did not seem inclined to make him. What he did not realize, what he could not have imagined, though, was that his reluctance to rise and greet the day would mean that the guardian would leave his food bowl empty that morning. Actually, that wasn’t entirely true. Mocking him, in the centre of an otherwise empty dish, was the new cuttlebone the guardian had been trying to convince him to try the night before. Although he didn’t have any specific objections to cuttlebones, he did have a strong objection to missing breakfast.
Being the resourceful fellow that he was, Herman spent the morning digging around looking for food. He felt that although the dish was empty (as far as he was concerned), it didn’t necessarily mean that there was no food available. The new moss floor had a tendency to cover up leftover lettuce, so Herman felt optimistic that with some work he could find an overlooked, almost fresh piece of escarole or radicchio if he dug around a bit. The majority of his time was spent focused on his food dish, but he also searched the pond, the climbing rock and all around his tree trunk. Around noon, the search improved dramatically when the guardian appeared and fed him.
Herman had quite enjoyed the home decorating he’d done yesterday and, although it hadn’t been successful, his enthusiasm for the activity had not diminished. However, he took such great care to keep his route over the pond wall to his food area clear that he ended up blocking the basking area from the rest of his home. He could have easily scaled the pond wall, but having the cactus in his way distracted him and he forgot. Fortunately, he’d made sure to eat breakfast before rearranging his home, so he was perfectly happy taking a nap at the base of his climbing rock. But he did decide that he’d leave all future home decorating to the guardian. She seemed to enjoy that sort of thing anyway.
With the addition of the climbing rock, there was now less space for Herman’s cacti and the guardian was having a hard time figuring out where they should go. Since it was his home, Herman felt that he should contribute by offering some suggestions. When the guardian returned home she discovered that Herman had managed to move the round cactus to the other side of his home. After a brief consultation, however, it was decided that the new location would impede Herman’s pond wall scaling activities and it was agreed that it should be moved back until a better location was found.
(pictured above: where the guardian put the cactus; below: Herman’s suggestion)
Every home needs to be freshened up from time to time, and Herman’s home was no exception. After initial efforts to maintain moderate levels of humidity in his home failed, the guardian sought expert advice and it was decided that forest moss was the solution. The new flooring was softer and, though his exploratory mouthfuls proved that this new green stuff was not edible as he had hoped, Herman approved the change. Although he didn’t particularly care much about the flooring, the change included a new climbing rock and he was quite excited about that. Unlike the pond, the climbing rock had an easy and a difficult slope that he challenge himself with. It also gave him an excellent vantage point to stare back at Lucy, who often spent her mornings watching him from her perch on the bed.
As the dark days of January and February slid quietly into March, Herman noticed that the prolonged winter seem to be wearing the guardian down. In the morning, her usual greeting was becoming less cheerful and when she pulled the blinds down, she would sigh at the thin, weak light coming in. Herman felt sad about that and wished that he could somehow explain to her his secret for thriving during the long winter months. He knew that guardians felt that remedies like bundling up and engaging in winter activities or traveling to somewhere warm were helpful in making the season less arduous, but he felt that he’d discovered the true secret to winter happiness. And that secret was kale. Also, endive, radicchio, and sometimes escarole. The guardian didn’t seem to eat much lettuce as far as he could tell, and Herman was sure that if she ate more lettuce she would be happier.