Posted tagged ‘Bird feeder’

Some memories are unforgettable, remaining ever vivid and heartwarming!

August 4, 2017

The air is dripping. The humidity is so thick it seems to coat my skin when I go outside. This morning’s gray clouds are giving way to blue skies and intermittent sun. It is already hot. Here in my den, it is still cool. It won’t get hot until the afternoon after the sun moves from front to back.

The bird feeder I filled yesterday is already half empty. The birds flying in and out seem endless. One eats and two wait. They are mostly chickadees, black capped chickadees, the state bird of Massachusetts. I like to sit and watch them. The birds fly right over my head almost close enough to touch.

I can’t seem to find a story or a memory. That is rare for me as I have a huge memory drawer overflowing with scraps and pieces of my life. I guess I’m going to visit Ghana today, and I’m bringing you with me. There are so many stories yet to tell.

One day there was a knock at my door. It was a man I didn’t know. He greeted me. I returned the greeting. He told me he was looking for a white woman and was I interested. I said no. He asked me if I knew any Canadians. I said no again. He thanked me and left.

A blind beggar was being led by a small boy. The beggar was holding one end of a stick and the boy was holding the other. The beggar stopped in front of me and asked for money. This was while I was in training. It was my first beggar. I said sorry and sent him off with good wishes as you have to give a beggar something. He called me batoria, white woman. I wonder what gave me away? I also wondered if he was really blind.

I always went to the same vegetable lady in the market. I bought tomatoes and onions from her. She gave me my change the first time I bought from her, and I put it in my bag. She didn’t speak English but indicated with her hands that I should count it. I shook my head no. That cemented our relationship. After that she would dash me extra tomatoes and onions. Once she had a small watermelon. I have no idea where she got it, but she had saved it for me. When I was leaving to come home, I went to say goodbye. She was crying and gave me a hug. She also gave me a small gift. It sits on the table here in the den. She always comes to mind when I see it.

I loved the mornings in Ghana. The roosters crowed. The air smelled of charcoal fires. I could hear water filling the metal buckets where my students waited in line to take their bucket baths. I’d sit outside my front door drinking my first cup of coffee before breakfast. I had the same breakfast every day: two eggs cooked in groundnut oil (peanut oil) and two pieces of toast toasted against the sides of the small charcoal burner. I’d watch the school children cutting through my school compound to go to schools outside the gates at each end of the school. At one end was the primary school and at the other was the middle school. I was an object of curiosity until the students got used to me then they’d wish me, “Good morning, sir. How Are you? I am quite well thank you, ” all said one after the other without a break. I’d have one or two more cups of coffee between classes.

It seems my bemoaning my lack of memories was massively premature.

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“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”

April 19, 2015

It’s cold, but I don’t care because it’s sunny. The day is a pretty one. Earlier I was on the deck cleaning and filling the bird bath, and the birds flew by my head to the feeders and one nearly got me. I ducked. If birds can laugh, that one did.

My body aches and my bones crack. Lifting heavy stuff hurts my back. I like naps. I’m older than I used to imagine I’d ever be when I was young but being older is far different from I thought it would be. I’m not sitting in a rocking chair on a porch. I don’t wear a house dress or shoes with clunky heels or an apron if I’m working in the kitchen, though I probably should as I’m messy. I don’t even have a hat with flowers. I’m not thrilled with all those aches and pains, but with aging came an epiphany. I realized how much I’ve gained as I’ve grown older. I think everybody does.

I never really noticed all the best parts of spring. When I was a kid, I just figured it was time to ditch the winter coat and haul the bike out of the cellar. Now I see so much more. Every morning I notice the new flowers blooming in my garden. There are five or six hyacinths, all different colors spaced as if on a palette. The yellow dafs are so bright I almost want to shade my eyes. The tulips are beginning to make an appearance. I never tire of watching the birds. I love the smell of a spring morning. I can sit on the deck for hours reading books and watching the world.

I am slower now, and that has made all the difference. I get to see what is happening around me. I get to watch spring unfold a flower at a time.

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

November 30, 2014

Yesterday I gave the local economy quite the boost as did so many others. Some shops were filled with people. One store, a small one, had too many shoppers. You could barely move or even get close to the displays, but I still managed to find a few treasures and some unique gifts including the perfect one for my friend. I also found small ornaments to dress the wrapped packages. I do that every year. It’s a small gift, a remembrance for the tree. The book store was a wonderful stop. I got help in choosing just the right books for my 8-year-old grand-nephew and a couple for the 2-year-old. I also bought myself one. Gracie and I were out for almost three hours. She napped in the backseat between trips to the stores and watched for me whenever I parked. I napped when we got home and so did she. Today I have a few things to get: cat food, coffee filters and candle bulbs for the windows, nothing fun, just utilitarian. I’ll go before the football game.

Today is still grey, but it’s warm, in the 50’s, and will be for the next few days. I called my factotum about putting my lights up, and he hopes to be here tomorrow. Last year it was in the teens when he was doing the lights.

Birds galore at the feeders this morning. There were even a few battles for space. One bird swooped in and the poor bird already perched at the feeder took off in a bit of a fright. I have yet to fill the thistle, and I have a bag of sunflowers seeds to fill the big feeders. From my kitchen window I get to watch the birds. I sometimes stand there for a while drinking my coffee.

Yesterday my Turner Classic movies arrived. I now have 6 different 1950’s science fiction movies to watch. It will be black and white movie heaven. One of the films, Them, is actually a fine movie which always gets 3 stars. The rest I haven’t seen, and they  tend to get one or maybe 2 stars: The characters in two movies, Beyond the Time Barrier and The Time Travelers, arrive in futures decimated by plague and nuclear war. Only a handful of normal humans survive. Satellite from the Sky is another one I have never seen. It is about the outer-space detonation of the feared tritonium bomb, but it doesn’t go as planned, of course. I figure a cold night, a howling wind, popcorn and maybe malted milks balls will make for a perfect evening to view those old science fiction B-movies I love.

“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.

“What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”

November 15, 2014

The day has a pretty start with a blue sky and sunshine though it is chilly. My bird feeder is getting lots of attention. I saw house and gold finches, titmice, my friends the chickadees, a woodpecker at the suet, nuthatches and the other day a flicker. My kitchen window gives me a perfect view of the two large feeders. This morning I chased away the red spawn. It hadn’t been around for a while. I think maybe now it knows I have emptied and put away the hose. I’m definitely thinking potato gun.

My backyard, Gracie’s realm, is still filled with trees, still wild. When she goes out, I can keep track of her by the sounds her feet make as she trots on the dead leaves. The other day, our last warm day, Gracie was out for long stretches. Now, with the cold, she is out and back inside quickly. Today she has another test at the vets to check those irregular heartbeats. Right now it is morning nap time for Gracie, Fern and Maddie, each in her special spot.

I have lived alone in this house since I bought it thirty-eight years ago. The first time I ever lived alone was in Ghana, and it took me a while to be comfortable. I missed people. I was homesick and wanted to leave so many times those first few months, but I didn’t. I learned to enjoy the solitude of my house, to sit outside at night and listen to the sounds from the dormitories and the compounds behind my house. In the morning, as I sat on my front porch drinking coffee, I heard the familiar sounds of the different languages of the various tribes as the students talked to one another, the sound of water and metal as students filled their buckets for morning baths and the sounds of students sweeping the grounds with their short handle-less brooms.

I love living alone though there are times I wish for company. I admit I talk out loud to myself and to the animals. Gracie understands more than the cats, but they do come when I call their names. I love doing what I want when I want. I sometimes eat odd choices for meals. This morning I ate leftover pizza. It had sausage, a breakfast food.

“If you want a neat wife, choose her on a Saturday”

August 12, 2014

I know it’s late, but I met an old friend for lunch. He found me on Facebook and we decided to get together. It was a great day of drinking coffee, eating lunch and catching up with one another. I haven’t seen him in years so we had a lot of this and a lot of that to share.

Yesterday the red spawn lost its mind. I know this because it kept coming back to the feeder despite being hosed by me with the nozzle on jet. I was inside when I first heard the red spawn chatting, clicking and yelling at something so I went outside to investigate. It was on the feeder. I streamed the hose water, and it ran. I sat for a few minutes, and it came back to the feeder. I let him have it again, and he got soaked but not enough to deter him because he came back from a different direction. His spawn brain must have thought I wouldn’t figure that one out. He got squirted then jumped on branches close to me. I actually wondered if he was headed to get me, but when I hosed again, the spawn finally left the yard to go next door. It was chattering the whole while, and I have a feeling he was talking about me.

Today is another lovely day. It is about 76˚ and sunny. Tomorrow it will rain but then on Thursday we’ll be back to another beautiful summer day. We have been spoiled by the perfect weather this season: warm days and cool nights.

When I was young, I really didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to time especially in summer when one day was the same as another. The only exceptions were, of course, the weekends. On Saturday my dad was home. He did yard stuff like mowing and raking and also went up town to do his own errands: shirts to the Chinese laundry, a trim at the barber shop and a stop to say hello to his friend Pulo, the pharmacist in his own drugstore. Once in a while my dad asked me to come, and I would. I liked the Chinese laundry even though it was always hot and steamy. The double ironing board, with a top and bottom, was by the window, and the Chinese laundry man was always ironing pants. He’d hold the top down and steam would shoot out from the sides. He’d then lift the top, turn the pants over, close the machine and steam would shoot out again. I loved watching that machine. My dad’s shirts were always folded and wrapped in brown paper. From the laundry, we’d walk a little bit to the barber shop. Years later I realized that Floyd in Mayberry could very well have worked at my dad’s barber shop. It had only two seats and one barber. All the men sat waiting and chatting with each other. I stood and watched the barber trim my dad’s hair then my dad and I headed over to Pulo’s. While my dad and Mr. Pulo talked, I was given a drink from the soda fountain, usually a vanilla coke. Pulo’s was a small drug store, and there were only four stools at the fountain. Mr. Pulo always wore a white coat and would step from behind the pharmacy part of the store to talk to my dad. That was our last stop. My dad and I would walk back to the car and we’d go home. It didn’t matter how many times I went with my dad on Saturdays because I loved every time as if it were the first.

“In a completely rational society, the best of us would be teachers and the rest of us would have to settle for something else.”

April 10, 2014

I want a weapon which uses projectiles. I’m thinking a potato gun. My target is the red spawn of Satan who is constantly at the big feeder. I chase it away but it always comes back. This morning, after my second chase, I was thinking of putting barbed wire across the part of the deck rail the spawn uses for its take-off to the feeder. I’m also giving a bed of nails serious consideration or a metal cylinder. I chuckled at the picture of the spawn trying to get a paw hold on the cylinder but sliding every time. Buying a Have-a- Heart trap is another idea. I’d catch the beast and drive it so far away it would have to learn a new language. That spawn has to go!

The sun is out, but the morning is chilly. It is only 45˚ right now though it is supposed to get warmer by afternoon. I opened the front door and Fern is sleeping on the rug, sprawled in the sun streaming through the storm door. When the sun shifts, Fern too will move to the rug by the back door for the afternoon sun. Maddie is still sticking her head up under the lamp shade for the warmth from the lightbulb. The house isn’t cold, but I guess it’s not cat warm.

Today is my only lazy day, and I’m taking full advantage. Granted, I did make my bed and change the cat litter so I haven’t been a total sloth. I’m really just saving my energy as tomorrow is such a full day.

I always hated people asking me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I had so much trouble figuring out what I wanted to be at Halloween that choosing a profession for my whole adult life when I was ten was ridiculous. I had pat answers: teacher or nurse. Which answer I gave depended upon my mood and the asker. I actually hadn’t given a thought to either one. I was a kid, not a long-range planner. No kid ever was.

I did end up a teacher but hadn’t planned on being one. I was going to be a lawyer. My dad told me law was not for women so he was against it. That didn’t matter to me. I got into law school and was also offered a teaching job, but I turned both of them down for the Peace Corps. Law school was willing to defer my admission so that was my plan after Ghana, but it never happened. I became a teacher. It seemed I had been prophetic at ten.