Posted tagged ‘bird feeders’

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”

August 14, 2017

Gracie wanted out close to seven this morning so out we went. I was surprised at how cool it was. When she wanted out again, it was close to ten. I was surprised at how warm it had gotten. My house, though, still feels cool from the AC last night. I wanted to open doors this morning to all that cool air, but all I could hear from my neighbor’s yard was the beep-beep machinery makes when it goes backwards. Shutting the door helped, but I still had trouble getting back to sleep with all the noise, but I did manage. I’m a good sleeper.

We had game night last night and an early birthday for me as my friend will be out of town for my real birth date. I wore my Happy Birthday tiara and blew out the candles to a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday. To make the night perfect, I won all three games we played. I was the birthday girl and the champion.

When I was a kid and it was close to my birthday, I’d sit on the front steps waiting for the mailman. I was hoping for birthday cards with money tucked inside. Usually it was a dollar, a huge amount in those days when even a quarter went a long way and my fifty cent allowance every week made me rich. One grandmother sent money while the other usually gave gifts. I still have a couple of Bobbsey Twin books with a Happy Birthday message from my grandmother. I was eight.

It was sunny earlier but is now cloudy. The weather says partly sunny today. I figure that’s an optimist’s view like the half full glass.

Today is a quiet day for me, on purpose. I am foregoing a dump run. I’m just not in the mood though I’d be hard-pressed to define a no dump mood. It is just a sense of it. I will go to Agway as I need small cans of Gracie food, the ones she has in the morning. I am also going to buy some plants on sale to fill in empty spots in the front garden. The bird feeders need filling again. The hungry avians emptied them in two days.

That’s all. I got nothing else. Oops, one more thing: tomorrow I am having my other eye done so no Coffee. I’ll see you on Thursday.

“I can make another list because the choice is mine. A list of what to do. So I won’t be listless ever again.”

August 10, 2017

My eye survived the laser though it felt as if something irritating were in it, something I couldn’t remove. I also had a headache, a common after-effect I was told. I took some Tylenol and had a nap. Both helped. Everything now is just fine. My other eye is scheduled for Tuesday.

My neighbor is putting in a new septic tank. His giant truck is parked in my driveway so Gracie and I had to maneuver around it to get into the yard. While I was doing that, I was attacked by a wild rose bush. My usual morning on the deck with my coffee and newspapers had to be cancelled. I could smell the old septic. All my doors and windows are shut and the AC is on, all to thwart the aroma of septic.

Yesterday was a glorious day, cool enough will lots of sun and no humidity. I did a few errands, and when I got home, I filled the bird feeders. All of those exertions made me tired enough to need a nap though I confess I could have done nothing all day and still have needed a nap.

When I lived in Bolga, in Ghana, the post office and most kiosks closed every day between the hours of one and three. My students had a mandatory rest period. It was Ghana’s siesta time. It was also the hottest time of the day. Despite the heat, I enjoyed afternoon naps. The school compound was quiet for the first time since very early morning, and the heat made me drowsy. I learned the value of an afternoon nap.

Yesterday I had three sticky sheets on my table filled with schedules and things to do. Today there are none. I finished all the items on the lists. There is now a hole, a space needing filling. I love lists. They keep me organized and sort of compel me to accomplish something. If it is on paper, I pay more attention.

I don’t remember when I started to make daily lists. I do remember when I was having company for a big dinner I always made flow charts and lists. One list had all the ingredients I needed to buy and another had the names of each dish and their sources. I learned that last one the hard way when I had ingredients but didn’t remember the dishes and when, a couple of times, I forgot to serve a dish. The flow charts listed what I needed to do and when I needed to do them, things like shop on Thursday and what to start making on Friday. On the day of the event, the flow charts were explicit and intense. One would list what I did in the morning, the final preparations, while others listed the times to put in and take out stuff from the oven and at what temperatures to cook them. I used to tape the lists to a cabinet above my work space. and check off my progress. My sister made fun of my flow charts. I didn’t care.

“Life, now, was unfolding before me, constantly and visibly, like the flowers of summer that drop fanlike petals on eternal soil.”

August 7, 2017

This morning is a delight. We have bright sun and a blue sky. The birds are singing: better described as the hungry birds as so many of them are coming to my feeders I have to fill the feeders again. I also need more seed, and I need dog food as well so a trip to Agway is on my list today. Gracie and I are also going to the dump. I’ll make two trips as I don’t want Gracie waiting in the car while I shop at Agway. I also need bread so I’ll add the grocery store to my errand list.

The temperature is in the 70’s and will go down to the 60’s tonight. It will be the same the next couple of days. That’s perfect for me. The weather report says showers tonight. I hope so. We haven’t had rain in a while. Summer showers are my favorite of all sorts of rain though thunder showers are a close second.

I do the Globe crossword every day. It seems to be getting easier as I get older. I figure the puzzle maker is young and thinks his clues are head scratchers. The historical stuff I’ve lived through so they’re really easy. The capital of Ghana is often one of the clues, a no-brainer for me. The clues which stump me are often about current singers or television programs I never watch. I can only hope to fill in from the clues around those.

Last night the crowd chose Creature with the Atomic Brain as our movie. It is black and white and was made in 1955 but is a tick better than most we’ve watched. Richard Denning is the star. The evil scientist is a former Nazi and his boss a deported gangster who has returned illegally. They both deserved hissing. We had a few appetizers, played a game of Phase 10 and enjoyed meatballs in marinara sauce, frozen from last week, and a great salad for supper before the movie. We, of course, had candy for movie watching.

When I retired, I had no idea how I’d spent my time, but I wasn’t worried. I knew I’d find something to keep me busy or not. It will be thirteen years this summer, and I have enjoyed every day especially days when I did nothing. I have a routine for the mornings, but the days are come what may. That’s my favorite part, the spontaneity of it all.

“She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

May 10, 2016

Today is a gift. I’m thinking Mother Nature has decided to stop teasing us with winter and has embraced spring. Not a branch moves in the stillness of the morning. The sun is bright and is framed by a blue sky. The birds are singing, and I hear several different songs. My feeders are getting a lot of traffic. It is in the mid 50’s but will get warmer as the day grows older. Tonight will be in the mid 40’s. It is a Cape Cod spring day.

This is the time of year when I’d ride my bike to school. I remember speeding down the hills and feeling chilly from the wind. My jacket would fill with air. The ride was short, probably about ten minutes, all downhill going and uphill returning. It should have been the opposite.

The bike rack was old and wooden. It was under branches from the tree in a yard next to the school fence. It was painted a dark green and had layers of paint. You could see them all when the paint chipped. I never had a lock for my bike. I don’t think anyone did. The bikes weren’t fancy. They had the back pedal brakes. Most had wire baskets. The best part of riding my bike was getting home fast and having more time to play in the afternoon.

The streets all had sand from winter when the sand trucks would come by and spew their sand on the snow to give cars better traction, but this time of year it was the street cleaning trucks which would come by. They had brushes low to the ground and would sweep the sand to the  curbside. A couple of times I skidded in the sand. Sometimes we did what came to be called wheelies. Our bikes would leave circular skid marks. Braking at the right time and place was the key.

The day hasn’t started well. I had an early morning meeting and nearly fell out of bed when the alarm went off. On the way to the bathroom I stepped in cat throw up. I have to go out but not for anything fun. I have to some x-rays done of my back. I’ve decided I deserve a good lunch, my favorite sandwich and a whoopie pie for dessert. I definitely earned it this morning.

“My first car was a motorcycle.”

July 23, 2015

Today is lovely with very little humidity and a cooling breeze. I slept in until nearly 10 o’clock. Last night I was tired so I went to bed early (for me) but was still awake at 3. To pass the time I watched a movie on my iPad, A Foreign Field. I kept thinking I’d finish it in the morning, but I watched it through to the end.

A flicker, a bird I haven’t seen in a long while, and a huge woodpecker were the stars this morning at the bird feeders. The usual complement of birds also dropped by, but they, especially the chickadee, looked tiny compared to the flicker. The red spawn hasn’t been by in a long while. I think it has to do with the spawn having gotten caught a few times inside the wire feeder while the full brunt of the jet spray of the nozzle was directed at it. The spawn just couldn’t escape fast enough to avoid the spray.

In Ghana, during my second year, Peace Corps relaxed its rules and allowed us to buy motorcycles. I bought a small motorcycle, a Honda 90. It was designed for modesty, with no middle bar, perfect for me as I had to wear dresses all the time. I learned the gears and the brake when I bought the moto, as it is called it in Ghana, and then rode it over 100 miles from Tamale to Bolgatanga. It was exhilarating. I loved the road and the wind on my face. The bugs were not so welcome. I learned to be exhilarated without smiling. A few inhaled bugs and a choke or two taught me that lesson. I rode along singing out loud to pass the time. I figure a few villagers told stories later about the crazy baturia (white woman) on the moto screeching as she rode.

The road home was a good one, paved all the way. It was called the road to Bolga and it went straight there so I never worried about getting lost. The ride was a long one so I stopped to stretch my legs and once I bought a warm coke at a store along the road. Kids from villages beside the road followed a bit and waved. I was even comfortable enough driving by then to wave back. When I got to the school gate, I honked so the gateman would let me in. He smiled a toothless grin and pointed to my bike. I smiled back and nodded.

I would love to have another motorcycle, but I dare not given how often I bang my leg or fall up or down stairs. Traffic here goes far too fast and hugging the sides of the road is a recipe for disaster. I’m liable to hit a giant rock or branch or have something from the sky fall directly on my head, such is my luck.

“On a bike, being just slightly above pedestrian and car eye level, one gets a perfect view of the goings-on in one’s own town.”

June 27, 2015

The inside is cooler than outside. I went on the deck earlier and filled the bird feeders, all except the red spawn of Satan’s favorite one. Afterwards I sat outside for a while patting Miss Gracie. It is a lovely morning.

My back pain had me groaning loudly enough to wake myself up several times last night, just about every time I moved. My guess is Gracie and Fern never moved and slept through my pain. I’m tired today so I see a nap on the horizon.

June was exciting only because it meant the end of school. Now I could go wherever I wanted and stay as long as I liked. My mother never knew where we were. We left in the morning with our packed lunches and got home in time for supper. I remember going to the next town over, Wakefield, and riding the circumference of the lake. At the end of the lake, the end furthest away from us, was a teepee, the symbol of a gift shop selling Indian doodads. It never occurred to me how strange that was. There were very few Indians, exactly none, in suburban Boston yet I could buy a tom-tom or a hatchet decorated in beads and fringe. Sometimes we’d leave the lake at that end and ride our bikes to Reading. I remember signs announcing some sort of a military base. Once in a while we’d even see an army truck or jeep. We’d ride through Reading Square and sometimes take a detour to the train station and sit on the benches a while hoping for a train. I always thought it was a cheat that the towns on each side of mine had trains, and we didn’t. My town was stuck with buses. We’d leave Reading and ride the back roads home. We’d pass a golf course, a cemetery and a big corner store called Fortini’s. Sometimes we’d ride the swamp path through the woods, the quickest way home, while other times we’d stay on the road.

My mother would ask us what we’d done all day. Just riding around was always our answer.

“Of course life is bizarre, the more bizarre it gets, the more interesting it is. The only way to approach it is to make yourself some popcorn and enjoy the show.”

March 29, 2015

Yellow and purple crocus are almost blooming in the garden. I now believe in spring.

Snow is still on the deck, but I could get to the bird feeders for the time in months. I am so happy to feed the birds again and will welcome their return. I just hope the red spawn has forgotten about me as it hasn’t been around since the seeds disappeared. Maybe he found better offerings elsewhere. With the snow nearly gone, I have a few outside chores to do. I have a metal holder for string and lint and yarn which hangs from the tree. The birds grab the construction material to help with building their nests. That has to go up yet. The lights on the backyard trees go on and off at weird times because the electricity died for a few hours this winter and I could never get to the timer to reset the clock. That I’ll do today. These are fun chores, spring chores, snowless chores.

My father used to make us popcorn. He always used the big pot with the lid. First some oil and a kernel or two were put into the pot. When the kernels popped, my father knew the oil was hot enough for the rest of the popcorn. He’d put in the rest of the kernels then hold the cover on the pot and then keep moving the pot in a circle on the stove so the bottom kernels wouldn’t burn. We always stayed to watch. It took a while, but then we’re hear the popped corn hitting the cover. More and more popping sounds meant all the corn was popping. When it came down to only a few pops, it was time to take the pot off the stove. Melted butter was always added to the bowl of popcorn then my dad would scoop the buttered popcorn into four bowls, one for each of us, so we wouldn’t fight over the big bowl.

The sound of corn hitting the lid with a pop, pop over and over and the smell of popping corn are permanently etched in my memory drawers. Even now when I smell corn popping, the image of my dad at the stove immediately comes to mind, and I can see him clearly standing at that stove just a bit bent over swirling the pot.