Posted tagged ‘birds’

“In my South, the most treasured things passed down from generation to generation are the family recipes.”

July 14, 2018

Today is already hot, but I am cool here in the den though I do expect the air conditioner will be needed in the not too distant heat of the day. The breeze is steady. I can see it ruffling the leaves in the backyard. I’ve started a new book so I may relocate to the deck a bit later and read the day away.

My neighborhood is quiet now. I could hear mowers earlier, but they’ve moved on. The birds are singing. My feeders are filled so they’ll be dropping by to munch. I saw chickadees earlier.

I have to water the deck plants. That’s it for the day’s chores. I suppose I could find more to do but I can’t imagine why I’d look.

Yesterday I read a book and munched on Twizzlers while I was reading. An order had come from a candy site. The box had those Twizzlers, anise bears and some candy and nuts for movie night. I love the taste of anise especially those round cookies with white frosting and colored sprinkles. My uncle used to make some for me every Christmas. He did share his baking secret. Use anise oil, not anise extract. He even gave me the recipe.

My mother once gave me a small, three ring notebook. It was for recipes. The cover had pots and pans and kitchen utensils on it. My mother had given some blank pages to mostly relatives and asked them to write down recipes for me and to sign each page. I thought that one of the greatest Christmas gifts. I have made apple cake, the anise cookies, a strawberry dessert, some bread, a grasshopper pie and a couple more. Three of the contributors have passed, but I have this wonderful legacy from each of them.

The clouds have started coming and going though rain is not predicted. The breeze has picked up a bit; maybe it has even become a wind. I can feel it blowing through the back door screen. I may just sit here with my Twizzlers and watch bad black and white science fiction. I’m thinking that’s a perfect Saturday afternoon for me.

 

“Ever director has at least 10 bad films in them.”

September 21, 2017

Jose has found a home. It is sitting right over Cape Cod and bringing rain and intermittent winds. This is day three of the rain. It is also day three of gusts up to 65 MPH. Out my window, I can see my backyard trees bending and swaying and the top branches of the oak trees are whipping back and forth. Jose, now a tropical storm, will hang around for a few days more.

The winds don’t bother the birds. Five gold finches were sharing a thistle feeder and a chickadee was waiting in the wings. I had filled all the feeders a couple of days ago so I’m hoping they’ll last just a bit longer, until the rain stops.

Yesterday was thick with humidity. I turned on the AC for a while just to clear the house. This morning, even with the windows and doors closed, the house is a bit chilly. It is 64˚ out but with the rain and the dampness, it feels colder.

I have to go out later to pick up two refills of Gracie’s medications, and I’m going to get my flu shot. These are the least thrilling errands ever.

The only problem with subtitled movies is I have to pay attention. When I watch TV, I like to be doing something else as well. Right now The Brainiac is on, a 1962 old B&W movie about Baron Vitelius. The movie is from Mexico and is in Spanish with subtitles so I can’t write Coffee and watch at the same time. Vitelius is burned at the stake by the Mexican Inquisition. Before he dies, he vows to return with the next passage of the comet seen as he is burning and slay the descendants of his accusers. Vitelius returns and takes advantage of his abilities as a sorcerer to carry out his threat: he is able to change at will into the hairy monster of the title in order to suck out the brains of his victims with a long forked tongue. He is also able to render his enemies motionless or force them to act against their wills. The special effects are awful at best. The comet is a blurry picture as are the rest of the backgrounds. The telescope looks like a skinny old muffler. The comet lands with a thud and then turns into the creature, Brainiac. The monster’s clothes have burn marks. It did after all arrive in a meteor. I keep getting drawn to this awful movie.

When Gracie was young, she was a runner. She’d take every opportunity to get loose, and when she did, I could never catch her. She played keep away. She’d stop and wait, and when I got close, she’d run. My neighbors, friends and even complete strangers easily caught her. She went right to them, even to climbing into my friend’s car. Now that Gracie is so much older and has unsteady back legs, she doesn’t even need a leash. She walks ahead of me into the backyard and right to the stairs when she’s done. This morning I took Gracie in and out by the driveway as I was afraid the back steps would be slippery. She walked ahead of me and waited by the door for me to catch up. She and I are both too old to run.

“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.”

September 8, 2017

Today is a delight. It will be in the 70’s during the day and the mid 50’s tonight. The breeze is ever so slight. The sunshine has a fall look about it. I stayed outside with Gracie a little bit this morning so I could watch the birds. The goldfinches love the new thistle feeder, and there were four of them on it at once. One got a little possessive and chased a chickadee away. I have a new thistle feeder I haven’t put out yet, but I will in a bit as I have to fill the sunflower feeders again. Luckily I bought new seeds the other day: mixed, sunflower and thistle. I’m ready for the onslaught of the birds. Where’s Alfred Hitchcock?

This has been a busy week for me. I was out every day but yesterday. I even lost track of the days. This morning I had to think about yesterday in order to remember today. I double-checked my guess by looking at the calendar. I guessed right.

My neighborhood is noisy. I can hear lawn mowers, hedge clippers and blowers from next door. They’re probably due here next. What I don’t hear are voices or even cars. The kids are in school, and the traffic has lessened since Labor Day.

My garden has flowers in bloom. They are beautiful. Three of the four front fence pieces are covered by white clematis. I keep the gate open as the flowers have spread and have started covering the gate space. I have to sidle through. When I do, I worry a bit about the bees, but they don’t seem to care about me. They have the flowers. I added red hibiscus two weeks ago to the back of the front garden, the only bare spot. The flowers were on sale so I took the chance. The first few days I hand watered, but then it rained and it rained again. The flowers took hold. The buds have blossomed. They are tall enough to be seen from the road and add a wondrous color to the garden. Now I want more color for the few here and there spots needing flowers, but that will be for next year unless, of course, I find another great sale.

I think I’ll go to the farm stand. I’d like some home-grown tomatoes. I’m also still hoping for Thai food. My taste buds crave coconut shrimp. It is probably not a coincidence that the farm stand is on the way to the Thai restaurant.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

August 11, 2017

The early morning was cool. Gracie wanted out before six so out we went. It was quiet. My newspapers hadn’t yet been delivered. Gracie finished her business, and when we came back inside, both of us fell back to sleep.

The sky is gray for a while then the sun breaks though for a short time, but the grey clouds never quite disappear. The sun does. The humidity is returning today.

Next door is still noisy but not as much as yesterday. The digging has stopped. The rest of the neighborhood is quiet. Even the birds aren’t singing. I figure they feel as oppressed by the clouds as I do. It seems to be getting darker though rain is not in the forecast.

I haven’t anything to do today. My house is clean, the laundry isn’t worth washing, too few clothes, and I don’t need any groceries. I suppose I could clean things like the bookcases filled with stuff, but I figure that’s over the top and good for a winter’s day. The downstairs plants do need watering so I guess I’ve found something to do. Hurrah!

I’m seeing commercials for survival food good for 25 years. I’m going to pass.

Many of the commercials are aimed at my generation because we, the baby boomers, are a bulge on the population chart and are so much older now. Today I watched one for the stair climber. Reverse mortgage is Tom Selleck’s ad. Another one is for insurance to pay off all the bills left when you die. Local Cape ads tout retirement communities with all the amenities including a doctor on call. AARP is all over the dial, okay not the dial but the remote though it doesn’t matter, you get the idea. I chuckle at the commercials for Consumer Cellular. Every actor is older, my age older, as in the older woman who reminds us we had to go to the library to look up stuff. She uses her cell phone for a walk in a field with her friends, a GPS app I figure, and says we can learn new technology. I’m so glad to hear that!

“Interesting fact: a shark will only attack you if you’re wet.”

August 1, 2017

The day is beautiful but warm and getting warmer. Gracie and I spent the earlier morning on the deck. I read the papers and watched the birds. Sometimes, though, I was so taken I put the paper aside and just watched. The chickadees are the most numerous. I saw two chasing each other. I don’t know if they were amorous or angry. A few nuthatches and tufted titmice also flew in for a few seeds. They waited patiently on branches for the chickadees to leave. I could hear a woodpecker at a pine tree. The fountain, filled with water, splashed and burbled. Gracie thinks it’s a bubbler, a water fountain, so I have to keep filling it. The loud sound of a mower from next door broke the magic of the deck so Gracie and I came inside.

I have to leave the house today to do three errands. I’m hoping they won’t take too long. I have mapped the route, a summer necessity to avoid traffic though today is too nice a beach day to expect tourists on the road.

It will be hot today. It is already 82˚ but won’t get much higher. Tonight will be in the 60’s.  If I controlled the weather, I would make today just the way it is and the way it will be tonight.

I brought my camera with me to the deck and took pictures of the deck and the birds. The flowers in the clay pots are blooming. They are mostly on the long rail, but a few big ones are the deck where it ends. I love the look of the clay pots and the wooden flower boxes planted with herbs which are on one smaller rail. When I sit at the table, I can smell basil.

I’m still watching shark movies on Syfy. With most television programs being reruns, I watch baseball or sharks. The Sox won last night and so did the sharks until the end of the movie. We get to watch them devour people before the sharks are blown up which seems to be the only way to kill dinoshark, atomic shark, ghost shark, ice shark, roboshark and so many others, all man eaters. That five headed shark, Sunday’s movie, shared the victims. One head ate a half while another head ate the other half. The front end of the shark had four heads so I felt gypped until they showed the fifth head on the tail. It never seemed to eat but its jaw kept opening and closing.

Jaws was made in Cape waters, and when the first great whites showed up off the coast, there was a sort of Jaws frenzy. Last year 68 various kinds of sharks were spotted off Cape Cod. If they ever start feasting on tourists I may do nothing, but that could prickle my conscience so I’ll explain from my Syfy experience that blowing them up is the only solution.

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“The sky has a huge heart open for all clouds even on the gloomiest of days.”

July 29, 2017

The air is so thick with moisture everything is still, nothing can move. Rain is expected. I’m thinking about changing movie night to tomorrow because, even if it doesn’t rain, the dampness will make the night chilly. Gracie and I have already been out twice. As I sat on the steps waiting for her, I watched the birds fly in and out of the feeders. When Gracie was done, we sat outside for a bit.

The sky is gray, different degrees of gray. I have a light on but only in this room. I’m keeping the darkness at bay.

We are a house of old creatures. Maddie, the cat, will be 17 and Gracie 12. I will be 70. I accommodate all their needs and give them the best food and tons of love hoping to keep them happy and healthy. Gracie actually eats more vegetables than I do. Her can this morning had green beans and corn. Both of them are nap takers, several naps a day, yet they still sleep all night. Life is good for all of us.

I have a list of chores to do around the house today. The laundry is first on that list. It still sits by the cellar door and is growing day by day. The rest of the chores are far less daunting.

The movie night is officially switched to tomorrow night because of the weather, and all my guests can be there. The menu is set. We’re having meatball, sausage or bratwurst sub sandwiches in marinara sauce. I’m also making a salad with all sort of goodies like dried cranberries, candied walnuts and cherry tomatoes. The sub rolls are from the pasta shop, the sausage from the butcher’s. I bought shrimp and cocktail sauce from the seafood store for one of our appetizers. I was all over the place shopping.

I’m surprised at how quiet it is today. Where are the mowers? Where are the kids? Why aren’t the dogs barking? Where is anybody?

“It is beyond the imagination of the menu-maker that there are people in the world who breakfast on a single egg.”

May 4, 2017

Last night was downright cold. I huddled under the afghan wearing my sweatshirt. This morning the sun is shining, even glinting, and the sky is blue. It is still chilly but is, at least, a pretty day.

My back is a bit better. I just can’t walk upright. On the evolutionary chart, I most resemble homo habilis without the hair.

Yesterday morning, Gracie wanted out around 5. Always willing to oblige, I got up and walked her to the gate. The air was filled with the morning songs of birds. What gave me pause and a smile was among the songs I could hear the gobble of turkeys from what sounded like a street away. As the other birds sang, the turkeys kept gobbling. I figure a song is a song.

Yesterday I had Frosted Flakes with a banana for dinner. I used my Animal Cracker’s bowl. I could have been six except my mother would never have allowed just cereal for dinner. It was breakfast. Dinner was meat, potatoes, and a vegetable. Lunch was soup or a sandwich or both.

My father hated breakfast in continental Europe. His complaint was the assorted cold cuts and cheeses were for lunch, not breakfast. He would usually have coffee and some sort of bread and butter and complain between mouthfuls. My mother and I enjoyed breakfast and the different sorts of cheeses and meats. In Ghana, I always had two fried eggs and two pieces of toast. Both were cooked on a small charcoal burner. The bread was leaned against the hot sides and turned so both sides browned. The eggs were fried in peanut oil. Ghanaians ate for breakfast what they had for any meal.

We affectionally called my mother the seagull. She’d eat whatever for breakfast. I can remember her standing one morning at the counter eating a sandwich of a cold but cooked hot dog with cucumber slices washed down with diet coke. If she had eggs, they were scrambled with cheese or whatever else she could scavenge in the fridge. When she visited me, I always had biscotti, a favorite of hers. She didn’t drink coffee but did use it for dipping the biscotti. I still have biscotti. The other day it was anisette.

I have some seagull in me as I am not bound by convention when it comes to meals; however, cold hot dog is out even for me.

“And falling’s just another way to fly.”

October 18, 2016

The morning is cloudy and damp. I could smell the ocean when I went to get the papers so I lingered outside a while. It was quiet. I knew my neighbors were awake as their shades were up, and their paper was gone. I don’t see them much. Thinking about it, I don’t see many of my neighbors. When I do, we always wave.

My groceries arrived right on time yesterday. My fridge is now filled. I bought some plantain hoping to make kelewele. I’m also going to try my hand at jollof rice. It’s fun making something new, especially dishes filled with memories.

I left my windows open last night. I had thought them closed for the season, but yesterday was warm. Today will be even warmer. I got to hear the birds sing when I woke up. They were far less intrusive than that Ghanaian rooster. It doesn’t really matter where I am. I love mornings the best. My dad used to switch to storm windows around this time of year. It took him the whole day. He had to get each window on hooks, and it wasn’t easy because he also had to lean on the ladder for balance. We all watched.

It is from my dad I inherited the gene associated with all my falls. His falls were sometimes spectacular. They were also sometimes funny like the sawing himself out of the tree fall I have mentioned before. He didn’t fall far. He did break his hip on a fall from a high ladder when he was painting his house. He always limped after that. I have been luckier with only a broken bone in my shoulder, and no after effects because of physical therapy. I just accept falls as a fact of life.

Where thou art – that – is Home.

June 6, 2016

Yesterday I chose to do little. I took a shower for the sake of cleanliness, but that was it for constructive. Today I go back to the old list and change my bed and do laundry then I’ll need a new list. I’m not all that enthused about doing anything so the new list will be short. Outside might just be the only item. I have chairs to clean and lights to fix, and being outside might make doing work a bit easier.

It’s noisy right now. I hear hammering and wood being piled. I suppose in the scheme of things they aren’t very loud, but this is generally a quiet place. Dogs do bark and kids do yell but that’s it. The bird songs tend to be the loudest.

Usually all three animals are here with me when taking their morning naps. The only one here now is Maddie and she is roaming. Fern is in the living room and Gracie is in her crate. I can hear her snoring. If I move around, Gracie sticks her head out to see where I’m going. She’ll follow me if it looks interesting enough. Gracie is never far from where I am.

When I went to Ghana, it was the first time I ever lived alone. It took time to be comfortable living alone because I couldn’t just pick up the phone and chat or drop over to visit. Here I was trying to adjust to a new culture and a new country so being lonely and homesick at the same time felt crushing. I had to figure ways to deal with it. I wrote letters, some of which were never sent. They were filled with my feelings, my sense of failure and my wondering if Ghana was right for me. I ached for letters from home and ran to the staff room to check my box at least twice a day. I also concentrated on figuring out how to speak English so I could be understood by my students. I gave myself until Christmas. Come to find out, that was more than enough time. I adjusted to speaking English slowly with an emphasis on letters like t in better or letter. My students were catching on as well. The more they heard, the more they understood. I started going to the market and shopping for food. It connected me to the town and the people. They stopped seeing me as simply the white lady. Now I was madam, the teacher at the training college. I used Hausa, the language Peace Corps had taught me. The Ghanians were delighted.

I began to feel I was home, a different home but still home. I stopped running to check the mail. Sometimes I ever forgot for a day or two. I read in the evenings or wrote letters about my day to day life. Every one of those got sent. I loved being in Ghana.

“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

May 10, 2016

Today is a gift. I’m thinking Mother Nature has decided to stop teasing us with winter and has embraced spring. Not a branch moves in the stillness of the morning. The sun is bright and is framed by a blue sky. The birds are singing, and I hear several different songs. My feeders are getting a lot of traffic. It is in the mid 50’s but will get warmer as the day grows older. Tonight will be in the mid 40’s. It is a Cape Cod spring day.

This is the time of year when I’d ride my bike to school. I remember speeding down the hills and feeling chilly from the wind. My jacket would fill with air. The ride was short, probably about ten minutes, all downhill going and uphill returning. It should have been the opposite.

The bike rack was old and wooden. It was under branches from the tree in a yard next to the school fence. It was painted a dark green and had layers of paint. You could see them all when the paint chipped. I never had a lock for my bike. I don’t think anyone did. The bikes weren’t fancy. They had the back pedal brakes. Most had wire baskets. The best part of riding my bike was getting home fast and having more time to play in the afternoon.

The streets all had sand from winter when the sand trucks would come by and spew their sand on the snow to give cars better traction, but this time of year it was the street cleaning trucks which would come by. They had brushes low to the ground and would sweep the sand to the  curbside. A couple of times I skidded in the sand. Sometimes we did what came to be called wheelies. Our bikes would leave circular skid marks. Braking at the right time and place was the key.

The day hasn’t started well. I had an early morning meeting and nearly fell out of bed when the alarm went off. On the way to the bathroom I stepped in cat throw up. I have to go out but not for anything fun. I have to some x-rays done of my back. I’ve decided I deserve a good lunch, my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie for dessert. I definitely earned it this morning.