Posted tagged ‘Bird’

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.”

April 22, 2017

At 7:15 a couple of banging sounds at the window woke me up. It was a bird. It flew at the window a couple of times more then I whacked the window with my hand, and the bird flew away. I tried to go back to sleep, but a robo call at 7:45 was the end of my sleeping. Gracie, though, sighed and went back to sleep. Maddie never even woke up.

As for today’s weather, ditto yesterday’s. As for my plans for today, ditto yesterday’s.

I missed the first Earth Day. It happened during my time in Ghana. I read about it when the New York Times Week in Review was sent to me by Peace Corps Ghana. It was their way to keep us connected to what was happening at home. I admit I wasn’t all that interested in Earth Day. My daily life revolved around my students and Bolgatanga, my town, but in retrospect, I realize Ghanaians saved the Earth every day. They repurposed everything. My sandals had soles from old tires. My rice was wrapped in the New York Times compliments of Thomas who worked for me. Tin cans were recycled. My meat from the market was wrapped in leaves. Mammy lorries and buses never left the lorry park until all the seats and even the aisles were full of passengers though that always irritated me, the waiting time.

When I was a kid, we never thought twice about throwing everything in the trash. There were no recycle centers because none of us knew about recycling. The trash was put out on the curb once a week, picked up and willy-nilly thrown into the back of the trash truck. I liked to watch the trash being compacted by the truck. That was my only interest in trash.

My town encourages recycling, and I do my best, but I still feel helpless. So much is way beyond my control. Mr. Trump is not a friend of the Earth. That scares me.

“I never thought I’d hear myself say it, but safety first!”

April 12, 2013

The bird’s beak rat tat tatting against my house woke me up this morning, but I’m getting so used to it I fell back to sleep. When I woke up, I looked out the window, saw the gray skies and decided to lie in bed a while and finish reading the James Patterson novel 12th of Never (Women’s Murder Club). Patterson must grind out a book every month which is probably why his novels are getting shorter and shorter like Mary Higgins Clark’s did with all the blank pages between chapters. I stopped reading Clark. I fear Patterson is next.

When we were young, most kids used their nicknames. Ours were never cruel or mean. Mostly they were just shortened versions of our own names. James was always Jimmy and Robert was always Bobby. I was Kathy except to my family who always called me Kat, the name I preferred. Once in a while, in an argument, you’d hear four eyes for a kid with glasses or cry baby if someone was brought to tears but that was about as mean as kids got. We never swore. Even someone saying hell would make for huge gasps from the crowd at the horror of it all. I never saw a physical fight when I was kid except between two adults; however, I admit I did punch someone in the school yard when I was in the fifth grade, and when I was 17, I punched someone at Fenway Park, but those are my only transgressions. Both of them were deserved.

Our innocence lasted a long time. We walked or biked all over town and not once did we wonder about our safety. We didn’t know about all the bad guys out there. We were afraid of the bomb but knew we were safe under our desks. Even though I knew it was only a story, I was a little afraid of the man with the hook so a branch against the window sometimes gave me pause. My mother taught us never to talk to strangers or take anything from someone we didn’t know. That was her only worldly advice. I guess she figured it covered just about everything.

“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.”

March 9, 2013

Enough! Enough! I have endured too many sunless days. Today is cold and cloudy. I can deal with cold, but I’m sick and tired of cloudy. That last storm with its snow, rain, slush and wild wind was just a walk in the park on a nasty day, more like nasty days as the storm lasted close to three days. Nobody complained. Most people just shrugged. That’s the way it’s been. I am, however, out of shrugs. I’m complaining. Give me some sun!

When I lived in Ghana, we went months without rain during the dry season. The sky was blue every day. The grasses were dead, browned by lack of rain. The fields were empty. Any leftover millet stalks had been burned away. Every day was the same. We used to joke by saying it looked like rain knowing full well rain was months away. That never got to me. I knew what to expect. I knew the rains would come as they did every year. It was just a matter of patience.

This morning I filled the bird feeders. It was from guilt because when I looked out the kitchen window I saw a house finch and a gold finch sitting longingly at the empty feeder. I filled a bag with sunflower seeds and went out and filled all three feeders. It was cold out there, and I expect the birds to be appreciative. A thank you banner wouldn’t be amiss.

A few of the daffodils I bought the other day have finally opened. The flowers are beautiful, and their bright yellow has helped a little to satisfy my need for color.

Winter clothes should be colorful. We should be wearing bright blues and yellows and pinks and any other colors which catch our eyes. It is the season most in need of color and the one with the least. Next year I will wear colors all winter.

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”

December 31, 2012

Today being the last day of the year and all I took a leisurely morning. First of all I woke up late, we’re talking 9:45 late, took my shower and then had an extra cup of coffee while reading the papers. I watched the birds from the window. It was like a convention of birds. One feeder had five goldfinches while other birds hovered just outside of it waiting for their seats at the counter. I felt bad for the doves as I had nothing for them. I have to go to Agway later to get Gracie food, sunflower seeds and thistle so I’ll also pick up a bag of assorted seeds to throw down for the doves. I’m so glad I filled the feeders the other day as the birds aren’t likely to find anything to eat with the snow.

Nope, I haven’t made a single resolution. Last year was a great year, and I didn’t make any resolutions then either. I’ll just let my life meander. That seems to work just fine.

I would like a trip this new year, but I have to go somewhere close and cheap. The last two Ghana trips depleted my savings, and I need some time to rebuild. Also, I’d like one more trip to Ghana, probably my last, in a couple of years, and that’s another reason for close and cheap. My friends Bill and Peg are going back to Ghana and Bolga in the fall. They mentioned that Duane, another volunteer with us from way back, would also like to go Ghana but he hasn’t yet planned the when. He was posted about 100 miles from us in Tamale, and I used to see him on my trips there, to the “big” city. He’ll have a bit of culture shock when he sees how big Tamale has gotten. It even has a store which sells real cheese.

I have no plans for tonight. My sister and I were laughing about that. In the old days, neither one of us would have been caught dead at home on New Year’s Eve. We’d be partying some place or many places, and we’d be wearing those silly hats and blowing horns. Tonight I’ll celebrate at home and be quite content. I’m thinking a bit of champagne and maybe even some shrimp. Just because I’m home doesn’t mean I can’t spoil myself!

Happy New Year, my friends. May this year be the best year!

“The cold cut like a many bladed knife”

December 28, 2012

The rain is gone and so too is my sloth day. Today I have to do all those errands I’ve been putting off including the dump. I couldn’t go there in the rain, but now I have to weather the Siberian steppes for that’s what the dump feels like when the day is cold and the wind is blowing, a day like today. I have no choice though. My trunk is filled with cardboard, papers, bottles and trash. Gracie will be thrilled. I will freeze.

The birds are especially active today. All sorts are flying in and out of the feeders. I saw a flicker at the new suet feeder which is meant for larger birds with long tails, and the flicker looked comfortable. The small birds seem to enjoy the suet feeder where they eat upside down. I saw a wren or at least a relative of the wren this morning at the sunflower seeds. By the looks of the crowds, I’ll have to refill a couple of the feeders later today. I’ll also have to look for my bird bath heater in the cellar.

My friends gave me a new feeder and peanuts for that feeder. I have been hesitant to use it, though, as I fear it will attract every spawn of Satan for miles around, but I’ve come up with a solution. I’ll put the new feeder with the peanuts on the feeder pole below the deck. The pole has a spawn baffle so they can’t climb up, and it is nowhere near a branch from which they can drop down. Spawns of Satan 0-me 1.

The sunlight is winter sharp and the wind is blowing. The creaky top branches of the scrub pine and oak are bending. One pine tree looks so unsteady all the way down its trunk that the whole tree seems to sway. Already the backyard has fallen branches from pines, victims of the wind from the other night. The brown leaves still clinging to the oak seem impervious to the wind. They sway but never fall.

When my mother was dressing me to go out and play and before I was old enough to remember to hold the cuffs of my shirts, my mother used to have to reach up my sleeves and pull down the cuffs so the sleeves would unscrunch, all because she was a believer in layering. First came the long sleeve shirt then the sweater then the winter coat. On my feet were two pairs of socks then my shoes then my mother straining to get the boots over the shoes. I remember thinking it was fun to walk with the boots half on. I don’t think my mother was too amused.

I think today is a day for bundling, for wearing layers to keep the cold at bay. No boots though.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

April 13, 2012

The house was really cold when I woke up this morning, 60° cold. I turned up the heat and nothing happened. I cursed a bit then decided to check the red on/off switch: it was on. I next checked the thermostat, and it was off. Glory be, no repairman needed! I turned the switch to heat and the furnace responded. The house got warmer than outside.

I know radiators aren’t the most attractive decorations for a house, but when I was a kid, I always took comfort from the hissing of the steam as the water coursed through the radiator at the foot of my bed. When I was cold, I could put my feet under it, and they’d quickly get warm. Mittens drying on the top of the radiator would steam a bit as they dried, and you had to remember to turn them over or the top side would never dry. The radiator was noisy so the house at night was never quiet, but it was always warm.

Today is Friday the 13th. I’m not suspicious so it is like any Friday for me. It’s a pretty day with the sun bright in the sky. Lots of birds are in and out at the feeders. I have a new feeder for Baltimore orioles that has yet to go out, and I’ll do that later. When I looked them up, the Audubon site said around the first of May for orioles, but all the birds were early this year so the orioles may already be here looking for their jelly. I need to get mealy worms hoping I can attract blue birds.

I don’t think I noticed birds when I was young. Seagulls at the beach and pigeons in the city are all I remember. Every morning when I woke up, I’d hear birds greeting the day, but I have no idea which birds were in my neighborhood. I assume robins as they’re everywhere but can’t think of any others. Nobody had bird feeders so there wasn’t any reason for the birds to drop by to visit.

When I was in Ghana, my family moved off cape to the same town where I had grown up. My mother put bird feeders in her yard. She got pigeons. We used to laugh and call them country pigeons. She wasn’t amused.

“An optimist is someone who gets treed by a lion but enjoys the scenery.”

January 2, 2012

Winter is in the wings. The weatherman says single digits by tomorrow night. As soon as I finish here, I’m going to fill my feeders so the birds won’t go hungry. The bird man on NPR this morning said the birds would be at the feeders even more when it gets cold. I’m also going to hunt for the heater for the bird bath as that same bird man said birds need water this time of year even more than food.

Yesterday I was far busier than usual: the list of those accomplishments is long so today I have declared a day of rest as my back is a bit sore, and I’m tired. Today I’ll hunker down and watch the Tournaments of Roses parade and maybe read a bit later, but I suspect by late afternoon I’ll be a bit antsy and will probably haul up some bins to put more of Christmas away.

The new year has me thinking about my life. I don’t think I’d change much about it.

On summer mornings, I stand outside with the papers in my hand and listen to the birds, smell the flowers in the front garden and let the breeze touch me.

The star filled night sky awes me. At the ocean, the sky almost runs out of room for any more stars. I like to lie down in the cool sand and look at those stars in all their wonder and glory. I still wish on the first star I see.

A few snowflakes, then a few more and I run to the back door and turn on the light so I can watch the snow fall. I see the individuality of the flakes highlighted in the light. Sometimes I stick out my tongue and catch the snow.

I love to take a ride with no destination in mind. Out of curiosity, I take streets I’ve never been down before and sometimes I’m surprised by what I find: an old house, a field of flowers, a graveyard hidden by weeds and even a few horses, heads bent munching the grass. Sometimes I take all rights and other times I take all lefts.

I am still hopeful about the world, and I believe the best of people. I don’t think I could live my life any other way.

“How sweet I roamed from field to field, and tasted all the summer’s pride.”

June 20, 2011

The day is warm at  71°. My birds have been busy at the feeders all morning. The chickadees, my stalwarts, have been replaced by a catbird, goldfinches, cardinals, titmice, Baltimore orioles and nuthatches. A blue jay drops by and scares away the smaller birds so I shoo him off once he’s had his fill. Sometimes I think I must be watching a Disney cartoon. Yesterday I saw a nuthatch fill up on seed then he flew to a nearby branch and fed another nuthatch, just as large so probably not a baby. The cardinal pair are the same. He feeds her the seed. I keep expecting music and ribbons and the sounds of tweeting birds and fluttering wings.

IGNORE THIS (EXCEPT FOR THE NEW PICTURE PART)! Coffee has a new look because the other theme was too difficult to work with when saving pages. The old posts didn’t appear in their entirety. This header space is too short for the other picture so I used a another one, also sent to me by Morphy. He was kind enough to do three or four different pictures for Coffee when I moved to WordPress. All that’s new is the picture, but I’m still looking for a theme which allows me to copy the posts without spending hours.

This morning has already been far too busy for me. Usually I loll around with coffee and the papers then I switch to coffee and a book. This morning I have already changed my bed, done a wash, put the trash in the car and swept the kitchen floor. I’m exhausted.

School is finished here for the summer on Wednesday, and I don’t have to imagine how those kids will feel as I still remember celebrating my last days of school. They always filled me with a sense of freedom, with an I can do anything I want feeling. The whole summer was mine, at least it was until the summer after I graduated from high school when I got my first job, and I would have one every summer after that until I graduated from college.

I spent those kid summers sweaty and dirty and loved every minute of them. I rode my bike everywhere. I was gone from early morning until near dinner time. The uniform of the day was always shorts, a sleeveless blouse and sneakers. Gas stations were pit stops and so were the woods. The town had lots of woods back then, and we’d ride on the pine needle covered paths with trees shading us on each side. I remember a spring in the woods where people brought bottles to fill. We’d put our sweaty heads under the running water to cool down then we’d jump back on our bikes. We still had much more world left to discover.

“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”

April 12, 2011

The weather is the same as yesterday with clouds, but the sun has been playing some peek-a-boo and might just surprise us. It’s 56°. I never did go anywhere yesterday despite my good intentions; I just played at being a sloth, but this morning I have already been to a meeting and gone to have my blood drawn. Three more errands are on the list, and I’ll leave as soon as I finish here. I never can pass up these bursts of energy.

The birds are back. I am forgiven for leaving the feeders empty for so long. There are my usual visitors: titmice, chickadees, goldfinches and nuthatches. Did I mention the red spawn of Satan? It gets into my smaller feeder and settles in for a lavish feast. I tiptoe over and scare it to the ground. I did leave more peanuts for them yesterday and watched as the red spawn dined al fresco. I filled the suet feeder but the woodpeckers haven’t been there yet. They seem to prefer the wood on the side of my house.

In Marrakesh, cranes nest along ancient walls. I sat one afternoon having coffee and watched them coming and going. It was fascinating. Strangely I don’t remember seeing many Ghanaian birds except Guinea fowl and vultures. The vultures made me think of all those movies where they circle the dead bodies and wait for dinner. I remember sitting at the compound of my Ghanaian father’s wives and seeing vultures walking around. I was mesmerized, but after a while, they just became part of the landscape.

Every morning, when I go get the papers, I can hear the birds greeting the day. It is such a welcome sound that I always stand and listen for a bit. They make me believe that soon enough the days will get warmer, and I’ll sit on the deck while the birds swoop in and out over my head to get to the feeders. They make me feel optimistic. If I could whistle a happy tune, I probably would. Come to think of it, I may just anyway.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”

February 21, 2011

The snow is gently falling in tiny flakes. It’s leaving a coating on the lawns but not the roads. I think it’s pretty. Today is cold but without a wind it seems warmer. Finches have taken over my feeders. Most are goldfinches, but I did see a house finch. A nuthatch flew in quickly, grabbed a seed and settled on a branch to enjoy it. I haven’t seen a chickadee in a while. They used to be my most frequent visitors, and I miss them. The suet feeder is empty. I’ll have to brave the elements later and fill it. I have a couple of woodpeckers who drop by all the time to dine at that feeder.

Today is called Presidents’ Day. It didn’t exist when I was young. We observed Washington’s birthday, February 22nd, as a holiday and always had it off from school because it usually fell during our February vacation. Lincoln’s birthday was February 12th, and we had that off from school too. Later, the powers that be tinkered with the birthdays and decided a Monday holiday combining both was the best idea so today unofficially celebrates Lincoln and Washington. There is no official federal holiday called Presidents’ Day. The federal government celebrates today as Washington’s Birthday and that’s it, nothing else. The other presidents were tossed by the wayside.

I’m okay with recognizing Washington. He was, after all, the first president, and there are some great myths associated with him like his wooden teeth and the chopping of the cherry tree. I went looking and found some facts I didn’t know about Washington. He was the only Founding Father to free his slaves; he is credited with introducing the mule to America; his second inaugural address was the shortest ever given, and he grew marijuana on his farm, never smoked it though, didn’t even inhale. He used it for hemp.

I figure lots of presidents belong by the wayside and ought not to be celebrated so, like the federal government, I’m sticking with Washington.

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