Thursday, July 31, 2014

Birds at the Feeders and in the Park News: end of July

     At the feeders in the backyard this week, grackles plus the one male red wing blackbird that hangs out with them continue to abound after a curious absence of maybe a fortnight. The chickadees show up several times a day. I saw one chickadee today that was a bit larger than the rest of them. Looked that way to me anyways. Much to my amazement, I have several chickadees crowding around the safflower seeds and the goldfinches have dominated the sunflower kernels. Earlier this spring, this was exactly the opposite. The grackles of course will eat from any feeder that they want to when not grabbing at the corn and nuts in the two platform feeders. The red-bellied woodpecker continues to show up for sunflower kernels several times a day. Mourning doves, house sparrows, a purple finch and a [red] house finch, a few ruby-throated hummers, and the three regular blue jays round out the list of regulars. Yesterday morning, a female hairy woodpecker came to sample the sunflower kernels. And one crow continues to be among the birds that regularly buzz me when the dog and I are relaxing on the deck.

     Yes, I also bird off the property. We have lots of woods and fields around here. Of note, in a creek that runs through some woods and a park there was an immature little green heron just standing in the middle of some mud flats. It took an experimental hop and then just stood there motionless for at least twenty minutes. Much to my amazement, I spied a sandpiper scurrying up and down in the water near the mud flats [where the immature little green heron was]. I never thought about sandpipers being this far inland. I did not get a close enough look to be able to identify which kind of sandpiper. I did catch the yellow legs clearly and some suggestion of spots along the top half of the sandpiper but that was all. Gis: for sure a sandpiper. Other than that, I cannot say. I saw a blue heron flying along the creek further down.

     The next day along the same creek there was a yellow warbler flitting through a thicket of trees. Very fast little birds. Easy to miss.

     A pretty good couple of days I think.

sapphoq n friends

Sunday, July 20, 2014


     You tug at the pant legs of your expensive jeans so they hang just so over your fashionable boots just so. "Let's get this over with," you say to them with a grimace. Your beau squeezes your shoulder and reaches for your hand. You wince. That hurts, he thinks. He remembers to hide his pain. One older brother checks the car door locks. He doesn't care for the neighborhood. The other-- younger-- stands in the driveway, hands pushed deep into his pockets. "Yeah, get 'er done," he mumbles. He wants to get back to the hotel and the stash in his suitcase. 

     The four of you walk up the driveway and onto the ramp. "New paint job," the concerned brother says. The doper brother is staring about the grounds and the foundation plants. It's a grand house. If he owned all of this, he'd be sure to put in a locked greenhouse way in the back. You know his fantasies well. You glare at him, "Forget it," you say. "You'll never be able to afford this." He flips you the bird when he thinks you aren't looking.

     One of the workers responds to the doorbell and ushers all of you inside. Your overly-applied perfume hangs like sticky fog, not even dissipating in the breeze.  It is good enough. I grab my tools from the back shed and go to work on your shiny automobile. You deserve this. The job is completed in less than a minute. Excellent.

     I crouch behind the bush just under the drawing room window on the far side of the house. I can hear you perfectly. Not so much your words. Those skid around me, vacant and unfeeling. It is your tone of voice that dances around the room clearly and then flings itself with abandon out to my hiding place. A nearby squirrel chatters. He chases another one to a sickly oak. Up and around they go in a crazy zigzag.

     Your beau-- I allow myself a moment to feel sorry for him-- does not realize that he is second fiddle to your swollen false ego. He has often speculated on who his competition for your affection might be. He has hacked into your computer [your first cat's name as a password] and hunted through your addresses. One suspect turned out to be a cousin living in Chicago. Another a much loved gay friend.

     Your grandfather, usually lost to his dementia, is having a clear day. Your beau goes off to find the men's room. "He's not marriage material," he tells you plainly. "Oh grandpa, what do you know?" 

     "Where's your respect?" your younger brother whispers to you. You kick him in the shin. He winces but says nothing further. Grandpa is dying and he doesn't want to upset him. "A gambler," your older brother nods knowingly for Grandpa's benefit but not yours. You glare at him. Screw this, you tell yourself. Your beau returns. "Gotta go Gramps," you say as you bend down to kiss his papery skin. You drag your bodyguards away.

     Your older brother starts the car.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


     Old dog and I went off into the woods today. Some of the trails are grown in a bit, primarily with jewel weed. The roots are close to the surface so they were easy to pull out as we meandered along. More problematic is the grass. Grass in the woods-- who'd a thunk it? Bits of the trails were muddy from the recent rainstorms but that didn't really bother me. A couple of new blow-downs were in evidence from the high winds that we've been having of late.

     Dog trotted along happily. Her rear is a bit weaker these days. In addition to the arthritis in her lower back and right rear hock, I am suspecting a neurological condition. I hope not. Even the best of dogs die. I hope that she will pass on [or be put down] before she becomes incontinent of stool. Stool incontinence plus a bad rear yields something that robs a dog of her dignity. And she is too good for that. I will miss her when she goes. I was hoping to get her to the first snowfall-- she loves snow-- or at least til sometime in the fall. And I don't know if I will be able to.

     Dad is dying too. 


sapphoq n friends says: Oh I know some smart ass will say something meaningless like, "We are all dying." The thing is that some of us are dying at a faster clip than the rest of us. Dad is in hospice. That's a pretty good indication that he doesn't have much time left. The old dog is getting weaker.
     I will love both my dad and my dog for as long as my memory will last.