Posted tagged ‘sunflower seeds’

“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.

“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.

“It was Sunday morning, and old people passed me like sad grey waves on their way to church.”

March 16, 2014

This morning I filled the four sunflower feeders, and the spawn came back, the red one which jumps from the rail to the feeder over and over again. I chased it away, but it will be back. It always is. I thought about ways to encourage the spawn to pack its little bags and move elsewhere. I came up with a slingshot flinging paperclips, a pea shooter, a wire covering the food slots, electrifying the rail from where it jumps and a wee guillotine though I did reject that last one but only after giving it some consideration. I’m thinking the wire might be the best choice only because my aim with the slingshot and pea shooter mightn’t be up to the task.

The day is a pretty one. I found some more croci in the garden. Three of them are open and basking in the sun. I also saw a snowdrop, a lovely and delicate flower, by the stairs. The hyacinths are getting taller, and I can see their buds. It may only be 34˚ but it feels like spring to me. Flowers carry hope about them.

The mornings are noisier now. The birds have started greeting the day. Their songs are most welcome sounds.

In the church I attended in my hometown, there was a tiny pew in the back. It was the last one in the church and held only two people. I used to wonder why it was there and eventually decided they ran out of space but wanted balance at the end of the rows instead of a weird bare spot. I loved that pew and thought of it as the pew of the impious. I always sat, stood or knelt when everyone else did, but I never paid attention. Sometimes I sneaked in a book and read the latest adventures of Trixie Beldon. I tried to look saintly and reverent with my head bowed, and because all the people were in front of me and couldn’t see what I was reading, I think I pulled it off. When the ushers came by with their baskets, the book was hidden. I dropped my dime in the basket, waited for the usher to move along and then went back to my book. Mass went quickly when I was otherwise preoccupied so it was often a surprise when the priest said, “The Mass is ended go with God.” I took him at his word and scooted out the door and down the stairs. I was probably close to halfway home before the church had even emptied. I never minded going to mass when I had a good book to keep me company.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

December 3, 2013

In the movies, people grit their teeth or chew on a belt while surgery is performed without anesthesia. Off goes the leg, the patient smiles in thanks then passes out from the pain. The next day the one-legged patient is up and around using a tree branch as a crutch. It’s not only inspiring but we also know exactly what to do should we ever find ourselves deep in the forest needing our leg amputated using only a Swiss Army knife, the one with fork and the toothpick. I, however, am not inspired. I’d spit out that belt, curse and scream my head off. I know this because my back is now cause for cursing. When I sit too long or when I sleep, my back stiffens up, and I have to grab whatever I can like door knobs or bureau corners to help propel myself forward. In the morning the added need is speed to get to the bathroom. I moan and groan at every step and let slip a curse. Okay, I admit it: several curses. Gracie, sitting on the bed, cocks her head and wonders. Fern lies on her back meowing for attention. I just keep moving.

After I am up for a while, the stiffness almost goes away. At my best, I think I look like the second or third ape from the right on the evolutionary chart. We’re definitely cousins.

A few stops are on my dance card today. I am out of sunflower seeds and cat litter but don’t warn or worry. I will not be lifting them. They’ll be put it in the trunk for me, and Skip is coming tomorrow to do a couple of things so he’ll move the bags into the house.

It is time to treat myself. I’ll have another cup of coffee and a biscotti I bought yesterday, a chocolate biscotti . Call it a reward for getting out of bed.

“A flower blossoms for its own joy.”

November 21, 2013

I am fine. Yesterday I even had my car serviced and then treated myself to a stop at William-Sonoma. I figured I deserved it. Had I not been tired and hungry, I’d have made a few more stops. ‘Tis the season for Christmas shopping.

The nights are cold now, snuggle into the down comforter cold, and the days aren’t much warmer. I was out filling the bird feeders this morning and my hands got cold, but I was rewarded when the birds descended en masse. The red spawn appeared a while later. I saw him from the kitchen window, and I swear he checked the back door before he decided to stay on the deck rail. I ran out, and he got caught on the deck and was running back and forth. Gracie joined in the chase. Finally the spawn leapt onto a branch, a far away branch, and went from branch to branch into my neighbor’s yard. That is the only spawn which can get at the squirrel buster feeder because it is so small and lightweight. He jumps up, grabs a seed then sits on the deck to eat it then does that over and over. He keeps the birds away. My other nemesis, the grey spawns, haven’t been around. I see them racing in the yard and on trees but not the deck.

When I was outside this morning, I could hear the birds and I could hear the tapping of my downy woodpecker. He comes often to my suet feeder. I like watching him eat as he does so with such enthusiasm.

I watered the upstairs plants this morning and was rewarded by finding my Christmas cactus in bloom. Last week it was close to blooming, but I forgot about it, all the better for today’s surprise. The cactus has both red and white flowers, and they cascade from the green stems and hang over the table. I sat on the bed for a bit just looking at that plant. It is so beautiful. I always think of a Christmas cactus as a gift from the season. It is winter’s only flower.

“The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.”

November 5, 2013

The sun is among the missing. It’s been gone a while. Today is dark and bleak. Very little color is left in my yard except for one small tree next to the drive-way. Its has red leaves, brilliant red leaves against the backdrop of empty branches.

 I filled the feeders yesterday, and I got really cold. My fingers were the coldest of all. I filled three feeders with sunflower seeds and two with thistle. I also filled one suet feeder, cleaned out the bird bath and added water to it. When I looked later, the birds had descended in full force. When I looked after that, a red spawn was inside one of the feeders. I ran out and scared it so much the panicked spawn had trouble getting out from behind the wires on the feeder. I kept running at it, and the spawn was close enough to touch before it jumped to a branch. It is the same spawn who got hosed all summer. I’m thinking a squirt gun as the hose is put away for the winter. 

When I was young, we’d go into Boston, to the Public Garden, and ride the swan boats. The boat pond was always filled with ducks and the garden itself had a million squirrels and pigeons. People would sit on benches and feed the birds and the squirrels pieces of bread and peanuts from vendors who sold them from red carts along the walkways. I always wanted to feed the squirrels. I thought they were cute. What did I know? I was little. 

Life is filled with routine. It starts when we go to school. We get up every weekday, eat breakfast, get dressed and walk to school. The subjects come in the same order every day except on music and art day. We eat lunch at the same time every day. We go out for recess unless it’s raining. High school doesn’t change the routine much. For me the only difference was I took a bus every day, every day at the same time with the same people. The subjects still came in order. Lunch was at the same time every day . We didn’t have recess but we did go out for air in the small fenced in yard behind the school.

College is when the routine starts to change, and we begin to taste the freedom of choice. Pick your own classes mindful of the schedule. Eat when you have time. Sit around and play cards in the canteen. Skip a class now and then. 

After college, the routine reasserts itself at work. Be there at a certain time, eat lunch at the same time as yesterday and the day before and the day before that, teach the same classes in the same order every day. Go home around the same time every day. That, however, was the first routine I barely noticed and never minded. I didn’t like the getting up part, but I loved the work part. I loved my first two years in Ghana and I loved the next thirty-three here on the cape. I think loving what you do makes the day joyful though not every day because we couldn’t be that lucky, but it does for most days. 

 I have no routine now, and I’m glad. I get to choose whatever my day will be. It doesn’t get much better than that.

“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.