Posted tagged ‘gold finches’

“Look after your laundry, and your soul will look after itself.”

September 11, 2017

I’m late this morning. I slept in and so did Gracie. She sleeps in her crate for most of the night then joins me on the couch at no particular time. Today it was close to 7:30. I helped her get on the couch then got comfy and went back to sleep. That has become our daily ritual.

Last night was an afghan night, and the chill is still in the air mostly in the back of my house, in the shade. I wear a sweatshirt now while I wait for Gracie to finish in the yard. While I was outside, I noticed the bird feeders were empty so I filled two with sunflower seeds and another with thistle. Immediately, chickadees went for the sunflower and gold finches for the thistle. They arrived so quickly I figured they were hanging around on branches waiting and hoping. I’m glad I didn’t disappoint.

My dance card is pretty empty. I do have two errands which I’ll finish this afternoon. My inside plants need watering so that’s on my other list. The dust in this room is almost bad enough to force me to clean it but not yet. Maybe in a few days. I espouse the maxim that dusting today still means dusting tomorrow. It is a never ending chore.

When I was a kid, my mother cleaned the house while I was in school. It was a miracle of sorts. I’d leave for school and when I got home, the house was clean, the dishes washed and the beds made. My mother was like the shoemaker’s elves. The only chores I ever saw her do were cooking dinner and doing dishes at night and taking clothes off the line in the backyard.

We lived in a duplex so we shared the backyard with our immediate neighbor. We each had our own clotheslines, either two or three apiece. I forget which. The end of the lines were attached to metal poles which were green but always seemed to need paint. I remember the silver-colored metal underneath the green. Below the lines was pitch or what we called hot top. It was square-shaped except for the small walkway leading to the back door. The rest of the yard was grass. My mother kept her clothespins in a bag which attached to the line and could be slid up and down so she had easy access to the clothespins.

My mother hung the laundry upside down. I never asked her why. I just figured that’s how laundry is hung. What I remember the most are the sheets doubled over the lines. In my mind’s eye, they are all white. I can still see them billowing and flapping, and I remember the sound of the sheets in wind. I also remember running between and under the sheets. My mother always yelled at us.

“I like these cold, gray winter days. Days like these let you savor a bad mood.”

November 29, 2014

When I woke up, it was cloudy and dark. Now the sky is blue and the sun has returned for the first time in days, but it is mostly light and a bit of show. The early morning, even with the sun, was so cold my car windshield had frost for the first time this year.

Last night was the coldest night since March. Gracie got under the spread and stayed there all night which is unusual. Most times she starts to pant from the warmth and uncovers herself again. Right now she is napping, exhausted from barking outside at nothing and from playing fetch down the hall. She is finally back to her chipper self. I was a bit worried.

Today we’re going to the dump then we’ll Christmas shop along 6A. Gracie will be my co-pilot. Once the cold weather arrives, she gets to wait in the car, not something we can do in summer. She always keeps an eye out the closest window for my return.

One of the guest room beds is filled with boxes and bags, all Christmas presents. When something arrives, I just put it upstairs without marking anything down so I need to check and make a list of what I have for whom. Naughty or nice doesn’t count. I do love to Christmas shop, to find just the perfect gift. I never last-minute shop. All year-long I put gifts into my Christmas box. Over time I have learned to buy it when I see a perfect gift no matter the time of year as it might not be there the next time.

The gold finches have taken root at the feeders. They stayed around last winter, and it looks as if they’ll be here again. I did notice a few other sorts of birds in and out, but most take a seed and fly to a branch to eat it. The finches just hang around. A woodpecker stopped at the suet feeder. It stayed a while. I noticed the thistle feeders need to be filled, but I’ill wait for a warmer day.

“I don’t feed the birds because they need me; I feed the birds because I need them.”

January 12, 2014

This morning was a busy one. Gracie and I went to the dump, out to breakfast, and finally to the store to buy a few grocery items for my friends who are house-ridden. I figured I’d get everything done in one fell swoop so I can loll the rest of the day. It was pleasant driving around this morning with the sun shining and the day warm at 48˚. I think a ride would be nice later today.

The birds are back in force, most are house finches. I watched them for a while this morning. A few chickadees dropped by the largest feeder and the gold finches staked their claim on the thistle. I saw birds drinking from water along the side of the road, water leftover from yesterday’s tremendous rain storm. The roads are still damp in places, mostly under the shadows of the trees. One bird was singing this morning from a tree behind the window, and I thought it glorious like on a spring or summer day when the birds greet the morning. Maybe it was just thanks for the seeds.

Festivities are in short supply after Christmas. January, except for New’s Year’s, is a dull month. Valentine’s Day is the only February highlight though when I worked I did have a week’s vacation. March has St. Patrick’s Day, always an excuse to have a few friends over for corned beef and libations. April is my hopeful month when I look forward to a few warm days and a feeling that spring is not so far away. My friends and I go out to dinner on Easter, a wonderful tradition. We go to the same restaurant every year, right on the water, where the food and drinks are delicious. We take our time and enjoy each other’s company. Usually the sun is shining and the day warm, or warmer by comparison. I think of it as the harbinger of spring, hence the hopefulness.

“Autumn is the hush before winter. “

November 16, 2013

Last night I went to bed early, my early around 10, and slept in this morning until 9. My back feels much better so a day of doing nothing and a good night’s sleep did the trick; of course, a day of doing nothing isn’t novel to me. I am a lover of sloth days and never need a reason to enjoy one.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, I went outside to the deck. The air had the unmistakable smell of fall. It was earthy but not like in spring when the garden smells of newness. It was the smell of brown leaves on the ground slowly rotting away. Musky might be the better description. I didn’t need to see Gracie. I could hear the sounds of her paws as she ran on the crispy leaves under the trees and I knew exactly where she was. Leaves cover the back of the deck, the part under the trees, and I kicked a few over the side. I could have been eight or nine again and kicking the leaves      piled beside the sidewalk’s gutters. Yesterday’s leaves separated and flew to the ground, two stories below the deck. I could see my neighbor’s house and my friends’ house at the end of the street though the bare trees. The privacy brought by leafy trees is gone now until late in spring. A few birds ignored me and stayed at the feeders, mostly gold finches. I saw a woodpecker at the suet feeder. He has to eat upside down and doesn’t seem to mind. The thistle feeders had three or four gold finches all at one time. They don’t like to share on the big feeder but they don’t seem to mind sharing thistle. I cleaned out the bird bath of its leaves and pine needles then went inside the house. Gracie stayed outside.

I haven’t anything to do. There’s clean laundry to bring up but one more day won’t hurt; wrinkled is wrinkled. I have amassed a mountain size pile of catalogues so I think I’ll go Christmas shopping. The day is cloudy and uninviting so inside is the perfect place to spend the day. I feel good today about me and the day.

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”

October 29, 2013

The day is sunny then cloudy then back again. A tiny breeze ruffles the dead leaves. Only the drab gold finches are at the bird feeders. I don’t know where my other stalwarts are. It’s a quiet day. I brought my laundry downstairs, the first step in a long process. In the early afternoon, I have to go to the big city, Hyannis, for an appointment. I’ll make a few stops while I’m there including Trader Joe’s. That place is an occasion of sin, a term the nuns used for temptation.

I feel sleep deprived. The Sox games have ended late then I’m too stoked to sleep so I watch some TV and go on-line. Usually it is around 2:30 before I realize the time. The Sox won last night and are headed back to Boston for game 6 tomorrow night. If the Gods of Baseball smile in our favor, the Sox could clinch the series.

I couldn’t do the cryptogram this morning. My brain just isn’t working. I gave up after a couple of minutes. Usually I am far too tenacious to give up at all but my brain seems sluggish. I don’t even have much to say here today. I haven’t been out so no comments are forthcoming on the state of the world here on Cape Cod though I did read in the paper the local school board continues to fight with the town over solar panels, on the ground panels. The school committee and the superintendent got turned down once because the town committee said the panels are dangerous so the school board tried an end run though the state but got stopped just before approval because of a complaint by an abutter. I don’t get it. The panels will save a good deal of money over time, and the town of Yarmouth where the panels would be placed always complains about paying its portion of the school budget so you’d think the money would be an incentive to approve the panels, but no, not in Yarmouth.

What’s with November coming so soon? Last time I looked it was August, and we were complaining about the heat then September must have sneaked by and now October is almost at an end. I’m not going to blink because next thing I know I’ll be wrapping presents and going out and about to find my Christmas tree.

“Give crayons. Adults are disturbingly impoverished of these magical dream sticks.”

August 29, 2013

Today is dark, damp and chilly, but I don’t mind. My dance card is empty so I’ll probably just stay around the house and read. Last night I started a book called The Altar of Bones. It will keep me occupied.

I feel witless today. Nothing of import rambles in my brain. I looked out the window over the sink for a long while waiting for the coffee to brew. The male gold finches are at their most beautiful. Their feathers are deep yellow and striking in the darkness of the day. I noticed the red chests of the house finches. Even slight colors pop on a day like today.

For the longest time, probably well over twenty years, the walls of my house were white. Color came from whatever I used to decorate. One year, though, when it was time to repaint, I decided to go with color. I didn’t just choose pale or pastel colors. Nope, I went put on your sunglasses bright. The living room is lipstick, a deep red. I chose grey as its companion color. The bathroom went pink, bright in your face pink. Nutmeg was my choice for the dining room, and it is my favorite of all the colors. The kitchen is green but an odd color green difficult to describe. The hall is blue, a light blue. Upstairs the hall is grey because the walls leading to it are red. The open linen closet is red, sort of the living room in reverse. My room is a bright yellow; the guest room is deep blue and the bathroom was lilac. I say was because that bathroom is now blue-green to match the new shower curtain, but I liked the lilac so much I used it downstairs in the once pink bathroom. I like the lilac better.

All this talk of color has reminded me of my Crayola crayons, the box I always got for going back to school. There were 48 colors back then. No other kind of crayons would do. They would be an embarrassment, just pale imitations of Crayola crayons. I remember opening the box and getting my first whiff of those crayons. It was a special smell that only came from a box of crayons. I’d look at those perfect crayon tips lined up in the box then I’d pick the crayons up one at a time to see the name of the color. I learned burnt Sienna is a sort of brown and periwinkle is a kind of blue. It wasn’t just a red crayon in that box. It was brick red or violet red. Yellow was lemon yellow, as bright as the fruit. There were new words for me to learn like magenta, thistle and maize. The colors were the hints.

I have a commemorative tin of Crayola Crayons. It contains all 48 colors that were in my box some of which have since been discontinued. The tin isn’t valuable in money, but when I open it, I smell the crayons and see those tips lined up in a row, and I am seven again. That tin is invaluable to me!

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

April 13, 2013

Spawns of Satan is already taken so I don’t know what to call the bird that pecks the side of my house and wakes me up. It has found the most inaccessible spot for me to get at it to shoo it away. I’m thinking a hose with the water at its strongest will reach the spot and scare away the bird. I wouldn’t dare try a stone because I’d probably break a window though it isn’t really all that close to the bird’s spot. It’s not a woodpecker, but I think it’s a nuthatch. Whatever it is doesn’t matter. That bird is going down!

It is still a damp day though the rain has stopped. The temperature is supposed to be in the 40’s and by mid-week close to 60˚. I think the sun would help if it would only come out of hiding.

I have to venture onto the deck later to fill the feeders. I watch the birds from the window while I wait for my coffee and have noticed how bright and beautiful the male gold finches are. Today I also had two house finches and a flicker. My stalwart chickadees have returned though they are fewer than usual.

The mornings are alive with the songs of birds. I woke up at one point and couldn’t see the clock but knew it must be close to dawn as I could hear birds welcoming the day. That is one of the best parts of spring: that the days are again filled with sound. Winter tends to blunt them. We all stay warm and secluded in our houses. The decks and yards are empty. We go from the house to the car to the store to the car and then home. Warm spring days, though, call to us to come outside. The sun is inviting. The world is alive again. It’s as if we’re shedding our winter coats and, like bears, leaving our caves. The long hibernation is finally over.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”

March 26, 2013

The snow never materialized last night but it did sleet then rain for a short while, and the morning still bears the remnants of the storm though storm seems a bit grandiose a description for a bit of rain and sleet. Our familiar gray skies are back, but the sun has been making quick visits then disappearing to wherever it’s been going for what seems like weeks. I watched the bird feeders while my coffee was dripping, and my suet feeder had a huge guest, a flicker. I also noticed the gold finches are getting brighter. The tops of the hyacinths are appearing above their leaves, and there are several daffodil buds. I think we’re in the two steps forward and only one step back part of spring. It makes me hopeful for one really warm day when I can sit on the deck, close my eyes and fall asleep with the sun on my face.

The perfect day when I was about ten was always in the spring. It was warm and sunny but not hot. I’d wear my spring jacket, my favorite of all jackets. It had a front zipper and was pale pink. The first wearing of that jacket was a symbol back then though symbolism was lost on the young me. I just knew I loved my jacket because it was light and pink and had replaced the heavy, dark winter coats and layers we’d worn for months. Wearing it was the acknowledgment the season had finally changed and winter was passed.

On my perfect day, usually a Saturday, I’d go down the cellar and maneuver my bike out the door and up the stairs. That was never easy. The door faced a wall so the angle was all wrong. I had to lift the front wheel in the air to get the back wheel out. Once up the stairs I’d get on my bike, ride across the side lawn and down the grassy hill, a maneuver forbidden by my dad who’d yell later when he saw the tire marks. I’d always get the how many times do I have to tell you lecture, but the little ride was worth it. My dad just didn’t get how neat it was to start my adventure by going down his small hill. From there, I’d sometimes ride down the big hill on which we lived or I’d take the side street and head toward the field with the horses. I remember how bright the sun seemed and how the trees had buds and the grass was finally turning green. I’d see the colors of the spring flowers blooming above the ground. The air smelled fresh and brand new. I always took my time, not wanting to miss a single thing though I’d taken that same route so many times. I remember feeling joyful and as alive as spring as I rode through the small streets.

I have that same feeling every year on the very first warm spring day even without my bike.

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”

March 8, 2013

Earliest I sloshed my way to the mailbox and then to the driveway to get the papers. My road is slush covered. Tire marks show the route of my paper delivery, and when I got inside, I could see my footprints. It is lightly snowing, slanted and from the northeast, but I can also hear drips on the deck from the roof. The weather for today is rainy and cold with temperatures in the 30’s. I just hope it stays above freezing. The wind was with us all night but has since pretty much disappeared. On the early news was a house which had fallen into the ocean. I suspect it won’t be the last as the rain pits and wears away the dunes. This is just ugly. The only bright spot is I have heat and electricity.

I stood at the back door while the coffee perked. The storm is a bit mesmerizing with the snow coming across rather than down. The railing on the deck outside the door has an inch or more of what used to be snow and is now slush. That slush is the color of cement and Gracie’s paw prints look permanent as if she walked across the new part of a sidewalk. Lots of birds are hovering around the feeder, the squirrel buster feeder. I filled it the other day so there is plenty of seed. All of the birds are gold finches still clad in their dull winter feathers.

March is a difficult month. It doesn’t know whether it wants to be the first spring month or the last month of winter. Easter is at the end of the month so March best make up its mind. Light dresses and pastels don’t work as well with winter coats.

I know they’ll be snow and frost and windshield scraping. I have lived in New England all of my life and haven’t thought about moving anywhere else. Winter is the price we pay for spring and fall, especially fall. All I ask is a sunny day, a winter’s sunny day is fine with me. I know the winter sun is sharper and colder, but sun is sun, and it makes me glad.