Friday, July 31, 2015

Whistle Memories

I’m re-reading Robert Massie’s excellent Nicholas and Alexandra before moving it to the please-take bookcase, and this morning found that I’d forgotten about the doomed Romanovs'  Family Whistle.  For that matter, I’d forgotten about our own.

I was never an excellent whistler like my father or little sister, but even I could pucker up enough when she disappeared in the wilds of  the vast two-story five-and-dime.  Our family’s signal was a two-tone third -- sol-miiii—a piercing yoo-hooo.  Sometimes, wandering around the store, I’d hear different whistles – some other family's attempt to gather wandering siblings.
So whatever happened to the Family Whistle?  Did your family have one? Would my grandchildren even know what it was?  Now, I suppose, they whip out cell phones to call each other.  Or – oops, I’m behind the times again – they just text:  MEET IN PARKING LOT 10 MINUTES, OK.  I wouldn’t know – can you text a question mark?
Now I’m left with a cheerful song running through my head -- “The Whistler and His Dog.”  It’s one of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio (we’re talking 1920s here) and it featured a fine whistled solo.  For the Victor red label recording from more than a hundred years ago  -- try
Wikipedia says the composer played in John Phillip Sousa’s band. 
This label is from a different recording, but His Master's Voice does bring back memories.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Grounds Crew

A friend suggested I call a local garden store for help with weeding the back yard -- it's overgrown near the bird feeders and I certainly can't do that bending down any more.  So a few minutes ago I was on the phone, and talk about prompt service -- while we were still talking, a crew arrived.

The fawn, I'm afraid, didn't know the difference -- yum yum hosta!
This house is ten minutes from Downtown -- imagine if I lived out in the country!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Half-Inch Mystery

Yes, the catbird is still un-skulking.  Here's the birdbath this morning.  
But what I want help with is this exquisite creature, which landed on the windshield as I backed into the driveway.  It was so lovely I got out and went back in for the camera -- which turned out to be inadequate.  Zooming just made the lens aim for the garage in the background.  This is the best I could do. The color, at least, is just right.
You're looking at less than an inch: 
half an inch for the body, another half an inch for those antennae.  When the lovely creature started moving up the windshield, it fluttered what turned out to be two sets of those transparent checkered wings.
I have no idea how to Google for its name -- I'd like to know, for instance, whether anyone ever wrote a poem about this creature.  Any help will be much appreciated.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Apologies All Around

When I started a few years ago, I assumed there should be a post every day, then dropped back to every other day, then realized I don't have brilliant ideas even three times a week.  But for those of you who worry -- I'm just fine.  No idea why the hiatus this month.
As for what's going on -- I'll append a picture I just took and apologize for that also.  It's taken with a really old digital camera, not a lot of pixels, through a picture window, the zoom set as far as possible, my hands not all that steady --  and the bird is tiny.  But it's delightful to watch that goldfinch ignoring the full bird bath, hanging upside down at the end of the pipe to catch the next fresh drop that develops. 
 Hope you're having as nice a day as the bird and I are.