Posted tagged ‘bird feeders’

“Maybe lots of people go through life never knowing they’re peculiar.”

January 18, 2018

The sun is brightly shining, but it is only in the 20’s. Warmer weather is predicted for  the weekend when it will be in the 40’s which, at this time of year, seems more like a heatwave. I’m thinking flannel shirt weather.

The rhythm of winter life is slow. I sleep in every morning, linger over coffee and the papers and take my time getting dressed though sometimes I don’t even get dressed. I just loll.

I need to fill the bird feeders. They have been empty since the snow as I didn’t want to venture onto the deck for fear of falling, but yesterday’s rain uncovered a good portion of the deck so today I’ll haul out the seeds and fill all the feeders including the two suet feeders. I’ll  also throw millet seeds under the deck for the doves.

I used the top of Gracie’s crate for storage of sorts. I put her food, all her treats, cat food, both canned and dry, bird seeds and my flashlight on it. Now all of that is on chairs and on the top of the dining room table. My house is filled so I haven’t anywhere to put them, and it’s driving me crazy which, I suppose, isn’t all that difficult. For instance: I can’t stand crooked pictures no matter where I am. One picture in my house never stayed straight. I was driven crazy until I bought some blue clay like stuff meant to keep pictures in place. It helped me regain my sanity. Once, in a novel I was reading, an already dead character carried on a conversation, quite a lively conversion too for a corpse. The editor had missed it. That one I couldn’t resist. I had to replace the dead character’s name. My sister read the book after me and laughed when she saw the correction. My slippers are always side by side halfway under my bed when I’m not wearing them. My shoes have no particular spots and they stay where they landed when I kicked them off my feet. My bedspread needs to be even, but not the top sheet. I just tuck away the long side. My towels have to be folded in a certain way. When I’m inside, I dress comfortably. I don’t care if my clothes are tattered or if they don’t even match. I do chuckle at the thought of my passing in such an ensemble. I suspect I’d be referred to as the peculiar old lady who lived alone with her animals though I think that might even be a compliment.

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“It takes a long time to grow an old friend.”

October 12, 2017

My friends have left, and my house is ever so quiet. As always we had the best time together. On Tuesday we had a ride along the ocean, and I took them to my favorite spots. The sun was glinting off the water. It was so warm people sat on beach chairs in the sand sunning themselves. It was a summer day in fall.

We ate appetizers on the deck. The birds had found the filled feeders, and they flew back and forth from feeders to branches. Most of them were chickadees.

Peg had brought dinner, shrimp pesto. She had also brought vegetables, a cheese log dip, crackers, some fruit and dessert. The brownies had chocolate chips, and there was a thick fudge sauce to put on them adding to the chocolate overload though I would contend there is really no such thing as a chocolate overload. I am just using the term to give a vivid picture of how wonderful dessert was. Gracie was restless that night. At 1:30 she wanted food so I fed her and I had a brownie. Afterwards, we were both quite content.

Bill is a talented furniture maker and handyman. He did some repairs in the house, a few of which have been driving me crazy. Some of the fixes include the toilet upstairs which now flushes, the toilet holder downstairs again secure on the wall, my old curio cabinet repaired and my front storm shutting automatically.

Bill and Peg brought gifts. One was a wooden Red Sox peg board. Another was a framed silhouette of a boxer. There was homemade grape jelly and African coffee. The dip was in a pottery bowl and the bowl was also a gift. I can’t think there are better guests than Bill and Peg.

Last night we had dinner at Karoo’s, a South African restaurant. It is one of my favorite places. Bill and Peg had been there before and requested it for this trip. I had monkey ribs and beef samosas for appetizers. The drink I ordered, the speciality of the night, was amazingly refreshing with vodka, grapefruit juice and a simple syrup. My dinner was bobotie beef, a curried meatloaf served with turmeric rice and chutney. Bill and Peg both had West African peanut soup with pumpkin added though in Ghana it would have been groundnut soup. Peg had a falafel sandwich. All of us had come to love Lebanese food in Ghana, and we ate many felafel sandwiches, all wrapped in foil.

This morning was leisurely. Sadly, at close to eleven, Peg and Bill started loading up to go home. Gracie and I went outside to say goodbye. My house feels empty without them.

“Autumn is the time of picturesque tranquility.”

September 22, 2017

Last night the wind sounded like a freight train. I know it’s a cliche, but it perfectly describes what I was hearing. The wind blew in gales. In between the gales it was quiet if only by comparison. I think it was the wildest wind since the start of the storm. This is day four of the remnants of Jose. Earlier this morning it was raining loudly enough to hear. At other times the rain has been misty, quiet. The wind is still raging.

My deck and yard are filled with fallen leaves and smaller branches. Every time I go out, a few leaves are blown inside the house. All of them are shriveled and dead.

The birds are at the feeders in such numbers the sunflower and thistle feeders need to be refilled. I’ll just have to brave the rain. I don’t want to disappoint all those birds.

I did finish my errands yesterday. At the doctor’s they had snacks to thank us for getting our flu shots. I had a chocolate chip cookie and a mini-cupcake. Last night the spot where I got the shot itched a bit, and the spot hurts a little today. I’ll just have to be brave.

Last night I was cold so I grabbed a light blanket and snuggled a bit under it. This morning when I woke up the house was at 67˚. Since then, the temperature has risen a couple of degrees but not enough as I’m still a bit chilly, but I refuse to turn on the heat this early in the season. I’m still taken aback by having to use the AC the last couple of days because of the humidity. It is late for the AC and too early for the heat. Weather has gone amok.

Today is the autumn equinox, a beginning and an end: the end of summer and the beginning of fall, autumn. The nights will now be longer than the days.

When I was a kid, I loved when the leaves were falling. On our way to school, we would walk in the gutters kicking leaves and watching them fly. I remember yellow the most.

The only things on my to do list are to order groceries and finally get the laundry finished, or rather get it started. It is still upstairs. I have no ambition whatsoever, but I guess I could scare up enough energy to order groceries on line.

Rain is predicted for tomorrow as are wind gusts up to 45 MPH. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be sunny and in the low 70’s. I’ll believe it when I see it. All this rain has made me gloomy and skeptical.

“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.

“I cannot command winds and weather.”

September 5, 2017

The weather is sublime. The sun is shining in a clear blue sky. Sometimes there is a breeze while other times it’s a wind. The ringing of the chimes and the swishing of the leaves are the only sounds. I refilled two feeders this morning, a sunflower feeder hanging off a limb and a thistle feeder hanging off a hook on the deck. Both see lots of bird traffic. The goldfinches love the thistle. The chickadees also like the thistle, but they prefer the sunflowers seeds. Yesterday I saw a house finch, a nuthatch and a titmouse eating the sunflower seeds while the chickadees were perched on branches waiting  their turns. Today I saw two crows taking turns at the sunflower feeder. I think it is the first time I’ve seen them on the deck partaking a meal. I figure they’ll probably be back. Nobody turns down a free dinner, not even a crow.

I really hate going out to do errands. I love being home, being comfortable. I love an afternoon nap. Today I have a couple of stops, both quick ones. Gracie still can’t come, too hot for her to wait in the car, but I’ll salve her disappointment by giving her lots of treats when she goes into her crate. She’ll be fine I know, but I still feel a bit guilty.

I’m watching the weather channel to keep track of Irma. Right now it is a category 5 hurricane headed toward the Leeward Islands. Having lived through hurricanes and seen the damage the winds can do, I’d evacuate in a heartbeat.

The Emergency Alert System does a monthly TV test. This morning it did three monthly tests, all the same. I’m thinking they were dry runs in case of a hurricane.

If we were all extras in an end of the world science fiction movie, we’d probably see weather similar to what is happening now. The Northwest is suffering from record heat in the low 100’s, and the region is rife with fires exacerbated by the weather. The second destructive hurricane of the season is on its way to Florida. The East Coast will feel the impact of Irma when a cold front brings thunderstorms and pelting rain. Should any of you see four horsemen riding white, red, black, and pale horses, you’ll know the end is nigh. If a movie hadn’t already been called Armageddon, I’d have chosen it for my movie.

“Suddenly, the wind got hold of the hammock. Leaves murmured. It was cold and the sun had gone down.”

September 1, 2017

September has arrived far too quickly. The summer sped so fast I swear my body, especially my face, was contorted by the G-force acceleration. Today is even autumnal weather with temperatures in the high 60’s. Tonight will be even colder, the high 40’s, sweatshirt by day and warm blanket weather by night. The day is really pretty with a clear blue sky and lots of sun. The breeze is brisk so the trees and leaves are swaying. I filled the bird feeders yesterday, but I noticed they are only half full already. I have more seed in the trunk so I’ll fill the feeders again later.

My mother had a small flower garden on the side of her house beneath some kitchen windows. She had bird feeders among the flowers including a statue of St. Francis with his arm extended and his palm up so it could seed. She put a wire fence across the entrance of that garden to keep my dog Maggie away, but it seldom worked. She always found a way inside. I swear Maggie did it just to drive my mother crazy. I used to have to retrieve her and reset the fence. A while later, though, Maggie was back in the garden, and I was retrieving her again. It was a game she always played but only when the flowers were in bloom.

I always call this coming season fall rather than autumn. If I lived on a farm, I guess I’d call it the harvest season. When I was a kid, I figured it was called fall because of all the leaves falling off the trees. The sidewalks and the gutters were always covered or filled with leaves. I’d walk in the gutters on my way to school and kick the leaves all over. They’d mostly land in the street strewn about like a trail you could follow all the way from my house to school.

Fall eases us into winter. It’s a shoulder season. We have warm days then cold days hinting of winter. I open my windows during the day and close then at night. The house holds the night cold in the mornings now. The backyard is shadowed so it is chilly when I first take Gracie out. I beg her to hurry so we both can go back inside, me for coffee and warmth and her for breakfast. Today she didn’t linger.