Posted tagged ‘feeders’

“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.

 

“Never fire a laser at a mirror.”

October 17, 2017

Last night was seasonably cold. When I woke up, the house was down to 64˚, too cold for me. I grabbed my sweatshirt and turned on the heat to warm the house. Coffee helped to warm me.

The day is beautiful with a bright, squint your eyes sort of sun and deep blue skies. A few thin branches high in the oak trees are swaying. Dead leaves are falling, some slowly, some far more quickly to the ground. The bird feeders need my attention. I also need to fill the suet feeders.

I took my time this morning. Usually I am quick to get my papers and to take Miss Gracie out to the back yard. Instead, I sat inside for while finishing a book. When I finally did go out, I met my friend Tony walking Darcie, his westie. We chatted, and he helped me empty my trunk of seeds and canned animal food. I saw a dead rabbit in the space between my house and my neighbor’s house. Sadly, I think it is rabbit I came to know. It visited my yard all summer. Tony offered to bag the rabbit so I could take it to the dump, but I knew I’d have trouble doing that so I thanked him and said I’d bury it or have my neighbor bury it. I’m going to miss my rabbit.

YouTube is on. I’ve been watching those black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s all morning. The Giant Claw is my favorite so far. It was awful, even laughable, but that’s its best feature. The giant claw belongs to a giant bird with eyes which never move. It eats planes, trains, cars and people. It scooped parachutists from the sky with its mouth. The movie has all the best elements: a hero, his new found love, a scientist of sorts, city crowd scenes where men wearing overcoats and fedoras run along side women wearing dresses, hats and heels, all trying to escape the falling buildings destroyed by the bird. I loved this movie.

I have nothing planned for today, and that’s just fine with 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.

“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”

January 10, 2014

The alarm went off at eight as it is breakfast Friday, the once a month get-together of women I worked with for years. I turned off the alarm, looked out the window, saw snow and went back to bed for another half hour. The breakfast is a come-if-you-can sort so I wasn’t expected. I’ll go next month.

The day is dreary. The snow, only a dusting, covers everything. Even the pines look sort of nice with their branches layered in snow. The birds were missing from the deck feeders during the coldest days, probably holed up in tight clumps of bushes or branches somewhere, but they returned in yesterday’s warmth, a word loosely used here, but they aren’t around again today. Only the red spawn was at the sunflower seeds. He does his trick of jumping from the deck rail to the squirrel buster feeder (note the feeder’s name), grabs a seed in flight then lands back on the rail to dine. I get crazed and usually chase him off the rail into the yard. I think I have him so paranoid that the door opening scares him right off the deck away from the seeds for most of the day. Banging my feet on the deck as I run at him probably helps too. I suspect the birds will return tomorrow when it is supposed to be 50˚.

I was all set for a dump run today, but now I’m not so sure. The dump is always cold with a strong wind which cuts to the bone, and I’ve had enough of bone-chilling cold this week. I’ll stave off my conscience by doing laundry, but if the afternoon looks better, Gracie and I can still do the dump run.

Christmas gives such color and brightness to the winter that I miss it terribly when it’s gone. I left my outside lights and my fake inside pine tree lit until the day after Little Christmas. My neighbors did the same. Now we have all gone dark except for my palm tree. It stands on deck near the backdoor and is bright green with a yellow trunk. My neighbors love my palm tree.

I crave color in winter. Even my winter wardrobe tends to be drab, utilitarian. The clothes are meant for warmth, not fashion. I could remedy that I suppose, but since my retirement I am seldom inclined to buy new clothes. I did buy a flannel shirt this winter, but that’s it. Maybe I’ll add a jaunty scarf in brilliant pink to my winter ensemble.

“June suns, you cannot store them To warm the winter’s cold..”

November 23, 2013

The weatherman says to expect a cold front starting tomorrow. I just bought a new hat, a wool knitted hat with ear flaps, so bring on the cold. I think I’m going to look quite fashionable.

This morning I watched leaves fall one at a time from the big oak tree by the deck. They fluttered as they fell. I watched the birds at the feeders, mostly drab gold finches, eating thistle and sunflowers seeds. When Gracie comes in from outside, her ears are cold. The other morning a thin layer of ice-covered the water in the bird bath. I don’t hear people outside any more. Winter is coming.

Winter brings back memories. I remember the hissing of the radiators in the house where I grew up and how the windows in the morning sometimes had a thin layer of ice on the inside. I’d use my nail to write my name. We always wore warm pajamas and sock slippers. For breakfast my mother made oatmeal and added milk and sugar. The walk to school was quickest in winter. The worst part of the walk was passing the field where the wind whipped across and seemed to go through every layer of my clothes to touch my bones. Getting to school was always welcomed. It was warm.

In winter there was never enough space in the cloak room outside my classroom. Winter coats were bulky and the hooks were small. I’d stuff my mittens and my hat in my sleeves then try to get my coat to hang. Sometimes it stayed on the hook while other times it was held up by the coats around it all jammed together. On the coldest days I’d leave my sweater on. The nuns didn’t care. They sometimes wore black ones with buttons.

Getting coats to go home was always done in rows. The nun would announce our row, and we’d get our coats and bring them into class and get dressed there while the other rows went and got theirs. Sometimes the nuns had to zipper coats. They never seemed to mind. I conquered zippers early though sometimes it took two tries. The hat came next and the mittens last. We’d stand in a line in the classroom until the bell was rung to dismiss us then we’d walk to the door and into the cold.

“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.

“Dust is a protective coating for fine furniture.”

February 21, 2013

Yesterday I leaned against the bookcase in the living room and my sweatshirt came away blackened. All that smoke from last week’s fires has left the tops of tables, the cabinet shelves and the bookcase filthy with ash. I couldn’t stand the mess so I polished everything. Someone should have been there for pictures. I’d have grinned broadly while holding the filthy cleaning cloths. I finished the living room, but, as with any contagion, I wasn’t done. I moved on to the dining room then to the den. When each cloth got too filthy, I’d throw it on the floor then grab another from the plastic tube. I left a trail of dusty, dark polish cloths from room to room and felt a bit like Gretel only my leavings were more substantial. When I was done in, I picked up the cloths, tossed them in the basket and took a nap. I had earned it. Cleaning anything is debilitating.

I need medication. The disease is spreading. This morning while I waited for my coffee, I cleaned the top of the hutch in the dining room. On it are interesting bottles and a few carafes, and I cleaned them all. I realized the shelves need to be next, but just before I reached for another cloth the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air, and I was able to pull myself away. I haven’t been out much or seen many people so I can’t understand where I picked up this cleaning bug. I googled but found no cure. It has to run its course.

Today is cold, and tonight will be colder. Even though the sun is shining and the sky is blue you can almost see the cold. There is a breeze though I think it might be strong enough to be called a wind. The feeders are empty so I’ll have to venture out on the deck later. The birds who visit are many, and I’d hate to disappoint them.

Snow is predicted for the weekend yet again, but this time the Cape will not be getting much, only an inch at most. Boston and further north will get more. I’m happy for them!

I read an article in the paper about how the police have muddled the Pistotius case. It was an AP reprint. The end of the article is worth noting. It quoted Detective Botha, the main muddler who has since been dropped from the case and is now under investigation for attempted murder, about an accidental shooting, date unmentioned, in which the athlete was involved. According to Botha, Pistorius asked someone else, “to take the wrap.” The quotes are theirs!

“…I have to go home and get a few things done. If I don’t get out the Pledge soon, the dust bunnies are going to be leaving tracks on my furniture…”

January 15, 2013

When I went to get the papers, I notice green shoots, probably dafs as they are usually the first. I wanted to yell and tell them to stay down as winter still has the stage. I suspect they have been fooled by all these days in the 40’s, like today. Even the nights have been warm.

No sun again. It is a damp, grey day, the sort where there must have been fog over the river early this morning, but I slept in even though I had set my alarm. I had a couple of mice get trapped last night. They each made so much noise I got up and went outside to let them go. No car this time. I just walked a bit down the street and freed each from the trap. It was a good thing I did as I found a package on my front steps. It was raining then so by morning the package would have been soaked. I was home all day so I have no idea why the package was left outside.

I have been busy of late cleaning weird places in the house, like the fridge, and last night I cleaned my bookcase, the travel route for the bedroom mice. I was tired so I went upstairs around ten and that’s when I noticed the bookcase near my bed was dusty, a Miss Haversham type dust. It’s only a two-shelf bookcase so I figured why not. I’m a near-sighted fool sometimes. Besides books, there are old Barkley lead figures on the shelves, and they were so dust-covered it was difficult to see their colors. I got on the floor, took them all off, cleaned the shelves then cleaned each of the figures. When that bookcase was done, I went to the big one, the one which is the length of the side wall and has four shelves all the way across. On the top shelf, I found the mouse route. I cleaned that shelf first then cleaned everything: the other shelves, all the old toys on them, the banks, the framed pictures and the other stuff I somehow collected over time. When I finished, it was close to 11:30, so much for an early night. I got cozy, grabbed my iPad and started reading when to my surprise a mouse strayed into the trap. I got up, Fern got up and Gracie got up. The three of us went downstairs. I went outside and freed the mouse. The three of us went back upstairs, got cozy in our usual spots, and I read for a while then turned out the light and fell asleep. At 1:15 I heard a racket. It was an unhappy mouse caught in the trap. I got up, grabbed the trap and went downstairs. This time I was alone. Fern and Gracie stayed in bed. It was still raining when I went outside to free the mouse in about the same spot as the first. I’m hoping he finds his friend and the both of them take up residence at someone else’s house. I’d even throw a housewarming party.

Two house finches were at my feeders this morning, and the flicker was back. He is such a huge bird especially in comparison to the finches and the chickadees who were also dining at the feeders. It was a busy bird morning.

Gracie and I have a few errands. She’ll be happy. I’m not.

“Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.”

December 30, 2012

The snow started around 11 last night. The flakes were big and wet, the sort that doesn’t seem to have much future. I went to bed really late, around 2, and was awakened not long after by the beep beep of a plow backing up. By then I think there were only a couple of inches. Sometime during the night rain mixed with the snow. This morning I expected a winter wonderland; instead, the snow is pockmarked, crusty and hard. I had to beat the snow to get it off the back window and the trunk so I could bring in the dried dog food. The weatherman says sun later. It’ll take a lot of sun to melt the crusty snow still on my car windshield.

This first storm of the season was a bust though I suspect if it weren’t I’d be complaining about shoveling and extracting my car from behind the tall heaps left by the plow. I think I can just drive my car over the small mound in front of it. I know I don’t need to shovel as I walked out and got the papers without a problem. Looking out the front door is keeping Gracie entertained. My neighbor across the street is shoveling his driveway, a quick, easy task with so little snow. He just pushes his shovel down to the end then back up the driveway again. Voila! The driveway is cleared.

Birds have been swooping in and out of the feeders all morning. A couple have tried to drink from the bird bath, but it is frozen. I’ll have to go down to the cellar later to find the heater. Yesterday I filled every single feeder and put out the new ones I got for Christmas. The birds should be pleased with the variety and the plenty.

Yesterday I really didn’t do a whole lot. I finished The Panther by Nelson DeMille. I liked it enough, but 900 pages was daunting as the book didn’t read as quickly as the other DeMille’s I’ve enjoyed. I started a new book, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. My iBook is filled with lots of books to read so I’m happy! Winter is a great time to stay comfy curled up with a book; of course, summer on the deck is also a great time for reading. The breeze is cooling and a good book is enthralling. Then again, we can’t forget spring or fall. each of those seasons lend themselves to reading as well.

“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.