Posted tagged ‘birds’

“Poor, dear, silly Spring, preparing her annual surprise!”

April 3, 2016

“In the lane snow is glistening…” We got a dusting of snow last night. It is wet and heavy. I know this because I went out and made a snowball to throw at the spawn of Satan eating from the suet feeder. The snowball was the perfect heft for an accurate throw, and I hit the spawn dead on. It sort of jumped in surprise then took off on the deck rail down into the yard.

The sun has just appeared backed by a cloudy blue sky. The wind is dying down. The day is beginning to have possibilities. We didn’t go to the dump yesterday as it rained all day, but it looks as if today might just be the perfect dump day. Strange, I never imagined myself talking about the perfect dump day or any dump day for that matter. It seems I’ve turned into such an odd conversationalist.

The snow is dripping off the roof mimicking the sound of a rain storm. I can see small clumps of snow falling from the branches. I filled the bird feeders the other day so the birds are many and varied. My usual gold finches, chickadees, titmice and nut hatches are here as are house finches, woodpeckers and a sparrow of sorts I don’t know by name. I’m sure the doves are here as I did throw seed on the ground for them.

Getting ready for spring takes more time than getting ready for winter. The outside furniture has to be uncovered and cleaned. All the decorative items like the fountain, the painted tables and the tree candles have to be brought from the cellar. The three bins filled with summer I keep stored under the deck have to be emptied then filled with the furniture coverings. The pictures have to be hung on the house wall facing the deck. The gnome and the flamingo are last on the deck. They formally announce the beginning of summer.

In the front and on the side, the gardens need to be cleaned and the dirt overturned. Two branches too close to the house on the front pine tree have to come down. The lawn needs tending. When the weather is warm enough, flowers need to bought and planted to fill any empty spots. The annuals in the herb garden need replacing. The window boxes for the deck need to be repainted this year then filled with flowers and herbs. The small vegetable garden will only have tomatoes as they seem to grow best there.

In winter the furniture gets covered and all the gardens turn brown. The front yard gets its last cleaning. The dead flowers are cut. The deck is bare and abandoned. Only the feeders are left. It never takes long to ready the house and yard for winter. I always think it’s the saddest day, the day I have to admit fall has finished its course, the day the gnome and the flamingo come inside.

It is so easy to love spring.

“Cats are a mysterious kind of folk.”

October 8, 2015

Yesterday will not go down in the annuals as a good day. First one of the cats avoided the litter box for the floor. I guessed my cleaning of the box did not meet her high standards. When I came downstairs, I found one of the cats had been sick on the dining room floor, a common occurrence with cats. I then noticed Maddie was limping, her front paw was being held in the air. When she got on the table, I check her paw; she howled, bit me and ran. That is the first time in all her nearly 17 years that she has bitten me so I knew her paw was quite painful. I saw why: a nail was growing into a pad. The vets said they could fit us in at 11 so I went looking for Maddie. The last time I had seen her was around ten when she howled, bit and ran. I started a search of the house. By 10:45 I had to give up and cancel the appointment. Maddie didn’t reappear until 5:30. I had made an appointment for this morning so I grabbed her early and put her in the crate. She was really good in the car and let me pat her the whole way. The vet thought she looked healthy for an old cat though sort of skinny at 6 pounds, but I disagreed as she is such a small cat anyway. I decided to have Maddie take the old cat physical at $198.00 which included today’s visit. I wanted to made sure Maddie is nice and healthy inside and out. The vet cut the nail and another one in the exact same place on the other paw. Looks like Maddie will be getting her nails done more often. I also signed Fern up for her old cat physical.

Fish are good to look at. They have that calming effect as they move back and forth through the water.  A bird sings and its song brightens the house. I knew a guy who had a tarantula as a pet. Some people have turtles. Pigs are now in vogue as house pets. I guess I’m just old fashion. I’m sticking with cats and a dog.

We got our first cat when I was a junior in high school. Before that we were a dog family. My father hated cats just because. He gave no reason other than they are cats. He was only home on weekends that year as he had been transferred to Presque Isle Maine, and we would be moving after school had ended. It was while he was gone we got the cat. My mother broke the news, and he said get rid of it before I get home. We didn’t. When my father first saw the cat, it licked his hand and his face. The cat stayed. My father had become a closet cat man.

“Knock Knock! Who’s there? Tibet! Tibet who? Early Tibet and early to rise!”

August 27, 2015

Delightful is the first adjective that comes to mind to describe today. It is cool and dry, magical words. The windows and doors are wide open. Sitting here in my room, I can smell the fresh air, the cut grass and the flowers. I can feel the cool breeze from the window. I can see the sun shining through the branches and glinting off the leaves. I can hear the birds singing and the boys down the street yelling to one another as they play. I have reconnected with the world all because it is cool and dry.

I am guilty of procrastination. The morning filled my senses but left my brain blank of thought. I knew I had nothing to talk about today. I made my bed, sat on the deck, took my time reading the papers, checked the TV Guide for the next couple of days, read my e-mail and finally faced the inevitable: it was time to write, to compose, to imagine, to start Coffee.

If I could reorder my life, I wouldn’t change much right now. I have been retired for eleven years and have recently entered the what day is it phase of my retirement. I thought today was Friday until I remembered it wasn’t. I don’t live high on the hog (I’m thinking maybe today can be idiom day), but I do believe in ease and comfort. I have my house cleaned every two weeks though I am forced to do a bit of cleaning in between, as little cleaning as possible. I have my lawn cut and tended to all season. In the winter my yard is plowed and shoveled. My groceries are delivered though I do go to Ring’s, a bit of an extravagance, where I buy gourmet foods, pizzas and even organic dog biscuits for Miss Gracie. When I’m out, I sometimes stop to treat myself to lunch, usually my favorite sandwich with avocado, bacon, cheese and horseradish sauce. I have season tickets to the Cape Playhouse.

How do I keep body and soul together? (still working on idioms here). I don’t go out to eat much, don’t go to movies except on my deck, seldom buy new clothes (“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes”) and use the library for new books.

I haven’t traveled in a couple of years, and the itch is starting, but I need to build more of a nest egg (number 3 if you’re counting). Rome was not built in a day (4) and my trip won’t be either. I’m thinking next year back to Ghana. My friends too are going back, and we are working on going back together. We lived side by side in Bolga and traveled together often. It’s time we did it again!

“Every morning a new sun greets us and our new life begins.”

August 13, 2015

Gracie and I are out on the deck. She is sleeping in the shade of the oak and pine trees. It isn’t quiet. Inside my house Roseanne and Lee are cleaning, and I can hear the vacuum and conversations in Portuguese. My next door neighbor is back from Brazil. I can hear her yelling at her kids, but she too speaks Portuguese so I have no idea what the kids are doing. The ever-present birds fly in and out. They eat at the feeders and wait in line to use the fountain as a bird bath. Gracie thinks it’s a water fountain. All of us appreciate it. The day is lovely, warm in the sun but cool with a nice breeze in the shade. I am in the perfect spot.

Yesterday morning I was up early. When I went to get the papers, I could feel, hear and smell the morning. That probably sounds strange, but I swear early mornings are different. It doesn’t matter where you are. Ground fog rises in the morning and lingers until the sun holds sway. Birds sing louder than during any other part of day. On city streets, outside the small cafes, sidewalks are swept and chairs and tables are arranged. Some places serve eggs and bacon but others serve cold cuts, rolls and cheese. The bread is always fresh, soft. In other places the smell of wood burning fills the air as breakfast is cooked over the flames. Smoke curls above the fires. There are fewer people out and about in the early mornings. They always look a bit sleepy to me as if they have yet to find the day.

I am also drawn to the night. I love staying up late and being the only one still awake. The houses around me are dark except for the one behind me. He leaves his back light on. I think of him as the unpleasant neighbor. If Gracie barks more than three times, he yells which makes her bark more. He plays his country music so loud on Saturdays I have to go inside the house for a bit of peace. I don’t yell, one in the neighborhood is enough.

Last night I went outside to try to see the meteors. I was barefoot and walked tentatively as I didn’t turn on the light. My feet got wet on the grass, but I avoided the pitfalls and made it to the road without incident. I stayed for about 40 minutes, saw only two, got discouraged and went inside.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”

August 6, 2015

I think I know what heaven may be like. It’s a deck high up in the trees. Birds fly in and out of feeders filled with sunflower seeds and hanging from branches. The round glass table is in the shade. A red fountain constantly flows and sounds like a brook with water cascading over rocks. Birds stand under the flowing water as if it were a shower then shake their feathers dry. Other birds stop and take a drink. The humidity is a memory and there is a cooling breeze. Pinwheels stuck in flower pots spin and spin in the breeze, and their colors run together in whirls of red and blue. The only sounds are birds, chattering red spawns and a few planes flying overhead almost close enough to brush the tree tops as they make their way to Logan. Welcome to my deck.

The neighbors across the street seldom venture out of their house. They used to weed the front, but when they replaced the ground cover with mulch, they don’t have to weed at all so I don’t see them much anymore. They were city people so locks and closed windows keep them safe. I never see the front door opened to the screen. If I have to go over, I hear my neighbor ask who it is then I hear her unlock several door locks. Her husband has Alzheimer’s but always waves and says hello to me. Once he thought he was locked out of the house and came here for help so I think he still remembers me.

My street is on its second generation of kids. The first generation has kids of its own. Four houses still have original owners, mine included. We have all improved our houses with backyard decks, patios and, in one case, a swimming pool. We sit in those backyards and take joy from the quiet. I read or listen to music. I leave my phone inside. I sometimes hear it ring but I don’t care to answer caught up as I am with the deck, the day and the beauty around me.

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.”

July 24, 2015

I hear insects buzzing, the sound of a summer day for me ever since I was little.

When I was a kid, I walked everywhere. In the summer the roads shimmered when I walked on a really hot day. I knew it was a mirage caused by the heat, but I still found it a bit mystifying. The shimmer always stayed the same distance away from me in front of where I was walking. It made me think of the desert and of water which wasn’t there.

Sidewalks were so hot they’d burn my bare feet. I’d do that silly dance every one does of quickly raising one foot then the other ahing out loud in pain the whole time. The grass was immediate relief, cool and lush.

Drinking water from the gushing hose was an easy way to feel a bit cooler. The water ran fast and hard. The front of my blouse always got wet. It didn’t matter because the sun dried it quickly.

My mother always yelled when we looked into the fridge for what she thought was too long a time. “Close the door. Do you want everything to melt?” She never understood that looking was the best way to find what you didn’t know you craved on a hot day until you saw it. Always in the fridge was the aluminum pitcher filled with Zarex, usually orange. Everyone liked orange. My favorite was cherry, but I bowed to the orange contingent.

My mother had aluminum glasses to match the blue aluminum pitcher. They were the best for cold drinks because you could feel the coolness through the aluminum to your hand. Ice cubes were too difficult to get from the trays. You had to pull a lever to release the cubes and most times the lever had also frozen. Waiting for the water to get hot then putting the tray under the faucet was the only way to loosen the lever. All of it was far too much work for a few ice cubes.

Today is a wonderful summer day with a breeze and a sunny blue sky.

“I have cats because they have no artificially imposed, culturally prescribed sense of decorum. They live in the moment. If I had an aneurysm in the brain, and dropped dead, I love knowing that as the paramedics carry me out, my cats are going to be swatting at that little toe tag.”

June 26, 2015

The morning is dark, wet and chilly. It is the sort of weather which dampens energy and enthusiasm. I heard one bird loudly singing and hoping, I think, others would join him in a morning song. None did, and now he is gone and the day is quiet, almost silent. The leaves on the oak tree ruffle a bit but not enough to make any sound. The silence is a bit eerie.

It rained earlier this morning and looks as if it may rain again. The rain must have been more of mist as the deck under the furniture never got wet. It is a good day to stay home.

Fern woke me up this morning. She was meowing over and over. I pretended to be asleep. She jumped on the bed and head butted my arm then licked my hand hoping for a response. I ignored her and she finally fell asleep beside me; however, she is still restless, the only one of my pets not asleep on the couch with me. This is their morning nap time, not to be confused with their afternoon or evening naps, but Fern is now standing in the doorway outside this room and meowing.

We always had pets when I was a kid. We had goldfish which never lasted very long. I always figured they were bored with life in a glass bowl. We had a turtle from Woolworth’s which lived for years. His plastic enclosure had a fake palm tree and a little island. We loved stunning flies to feed him as he preferred them alive. We’d put the fly in the bowl and watch it skimming the water while the turtle was swimming over to dine. We had a parakeet, a green one, and a couple of chameleons, whose color varied based on surroundings. I had two hamsters, both males according to the pet store. They had a litter. Go figure! Duke, our boxer, was around the whole of my childhood. He died when I was in college. Duke is the reason I love boxers. We had cats, Gideon, being the first followed by Luther and Josh. I don’t ever remember a time in my life when I didn’t have a pet to love and be loved in return.

“I like dressing in all seasons. Every season has its own character and charm.”

April 13, 2015

Today is such a glorious Cape spring day with the usual bit of a chill in the morning air, lots of sun and a deep blue sky. My small dafs have bloomed, and my hyacinth has broken through its greenery and stands tall. The birds are at the feeders in big numbers. I love watching them. Dare I say winter has finally skulked away?

As a kid, I wasn’t all that attentive to the changing seasons until spring gave way to summer and vacation. I always saw the seasons as their events. Fall was the start of school and Halloween. One event was dreaded while the other meant weeks of chatting with friends as we walked to school about what we’d wear and where we’d go. Halloween was a countdown event. Winter was Thanksgiving and Christmas, the best holiday of them all. It wasn’t just the arrival of Santa which made Christmas so special. It was everything about it. The anticipation made us giddy. We had a tree and house to decorate, window lights to turn on every night, cookies to bake, wish lists to make and shopping to do. We had a ride to see the lights. Christmas was the best countdown event of them all.

It was a good thing Christmas was so busy as the rest of the winter was sort of empty of all but wishes. We wished for snow and a day off from school hoping to break the tedium. We ice skated on the town rink and at the swamp, my favorite spot. We were in the house early because the dark came so quickly. I didn’t have the sense of winter I do now. Back then it was filled with possibility. Now I mostly feel cold and complain a lot.

Spring had Easter and new clothes, new shoes and Easter baskets. It was riding my bike. It was color returning to the world. It gave me a sense of freedom. I think that’s what I remember the most.

Marching in the Memorial Day parade as a brownie and later as a girl scout was the first sign of summer. It was always sunny and warm that day or at least that’s how I remember it. The end of school was close.

Summer had July 4th but it didn’t really need it. The summer had long days to fill and Sundays at the beach and that would have been enough, but having July 4th was like adding hot fudge sauce to ice cream.

I am still loving the coming of spring with its warmth and color. Spring is filled with anticipation. Summer is still long days to fill but it’s movies on the deck and barbecues.

Now I see the seasons as their own events, as changes, as us moving in a circle. I think my favorite change is this one, the coming of spring. Every day brings surprises. How wonderful is that?

“Silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet moon.”

December 11, 2014

I may have seen the sun a bit earlier, but I can’t be sure. It’s not raining-that much I can say with certainty. I watched Gracie from the back door after I let her out and noticed birds in the side yard and one woodpecker on my back step. The birds were juncos, and there were many. I had a mixed seed bag so I threw some into the yard in case the juncos come back. They haven’t been around much so I figured I’d give them some incentive. Today is a one errand day, for dog food, and a wrap like crazy day. I need to get the Colorado gifts wending their way westward.

The old tinsel controversy has reared its head. My family called the silvery garlands tinsel. They were wound around the tree and draped for effect. We also had a red tinsel garland and a construction paper one we had made once. It was the worst for wear, but it was part of the tree tradition. The tinsel was put on the tree just after the lights. My mother did the honors as she knew exactly how the tinsel should look from branch to branch. The ornaments were next. The big breakables were put around the top by my mother. We always thought of them as the fancy ornaments, the untouchables. We all put on the rest of the ornaments including the small glass ones. I have some of those and I have one fancy ornament. My mother gave each of us a box filled with the ornaments of our childhood including one fancy ornament I still put high up on the tree. Last of all to be put on the tree were the icicles. We’d each take a handful and drape one at a time on a branch. After a while draping became boring, and mayhem ensued. We’d take handfuls and toss them on the tree to get rid of our piles. My mother would yell,”One at a time. One at a time.” We didn’t care. We were lost in the throwing frenzy. Finally my mother stopped us and took all our icicles. She then removed the piles on the branches and put the icicles on the tree one at a time. We watched television.

Now, were they icicles or were they tinsel? What about the garlands? Were they tinsel too? I say there is no question, no confusion. Those silvery strands were icicles because that’s what they looked like hanging from the branches. They looked like the real icicles which hung from the edges of our roof. I do admit the real ones never hung in clumps.

“I go running when I have to. When the ice cream truck is doing sixty.”

September 28, 2014

Summer has stayed another day. The birds are flying in and out of the feeders, the red spawn has been soaked by the hose a couple of times, kids are riding their bikes up and down the street and the insects are singing. It is a wonderful day.

When I was a kid, my street was visited by so many people doing so many different things. There was the milkman whose bottles clanged in his metal holder as he walked to the back door, the sharpener man who rode a bike with a pedal driven honing wheel and who stopped to sharpen knives and scissors, the trash men who came once a week who carried their barrels behind their backs with one hand, the garbage man who also came once a week, the summer ice cream man who came every day, the junk man who shouted for rags and newspapers from his horse-drawn wagon and the mailman who knew everybody and always stopped to talk. The only name we kids knew was Johnny the ice cream man.

My favorite was the sharpener man. I loved to watch him sharpen knives as the wheel whirled. He pedaled fast and turned the knife from side to side then checked sharpness using his finger across the blade. He never cut himself. That amazed me.

Only the mailman is left, and he uses a truck. I take my own trash to the dump and the newspapers get recycled. My knives are quite dull, but I just bought a new sharpener so I’m hoping for the best. I’m also hoping I don’t cut myself prone as I am to self-inflicted injuries. There used to be an ice cream truck with bells playing a tune, but I haven’t heard or seen one on a while.

My neighborhood is a good one with lots of kids, friendly neighbors and dear friends, but I bemoan the loss of these men from our childhood. They provided services but most of all they provided color, smells and sounds to our lives. I still remember the sound of the wheel and the knife, the clop of the horse on the street and Johnny’s bell, that last one most of all.