Monday, June 20, 2016

Unusual Suspect

This morning it appears I may have been all wrong, blaming the grackles and starlings for emptying the bird feeders
and just now Bambi strolled around the willow tree to browse -- no, browsing is on low tree branches -- but what if it's nibbling on the catnip Dannie once planted there?  Will we have a drunken deer?  A befuddled fawn?

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Backyard Drama

House Finch(es?)
All the bird feeders are full, it's lovely weather, God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.  No, that's from The year's at the Spring -- today it's more like What is so rare as a day in June?

Carolina Wren
 This window provides endless entertainment -- goldfinch(es?),  cardinals, lovely nuthatch(es?), the bossy blue jay who scares everyone else up into the willow tree but he's worth it.  And I won't have to refill the feeders for at least a week, which is just as well -- these days I don't go out there alone for fear of falling.


Squawk squawk

But then -- cue creepy organ music -- for the first time I can remember, big  birds swoop in.   I don't resent the flicker -- so decorative.  But the grackles come in droves, scare everyone else away and gorge on everything in sight.  And then the starlings bring some of the most unappealing babies you ever saw, with such continuous squawking I have to close the window.

     Yelling and fighting, those Disney villains take no time at all to empty everything but the peanut feeder -- for some reason they can't seem to get very far with that one.  When they leave, the sparrows zip in.  Their bills aren't really right for nuts but they try.  For the first time I take a  video, so you can share nine seconds of the excitement.

 Pay attention to the southwest corner of the feeder.

That's where the tragedy is -- I took a final still after the others flew off.

Yes, that ball of fluff in the lower left was a dead sparrow.  Judging from the excitement half an hour before, I'd say it was accidentally pecked to death.  And the big question was -- what to do? No way I could go out there alone without getting in trouble. 

Well, quick windup -- landmark event.  For the first time ever (if I remember right, always uncertain these days) I phoned for help.  Amy came over and brushed aside my apologies with "It's okay, I dispose of cat shit all the time." 

I can't tell you what she did, as I did not watch.  But then we refilled the feeders, and I'm back in business.  I may be pretty much restricted to this chair lately, but you can't say there isn't plenty of drama in my world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Computer Geeks

     On Skype today with my son in Vancouver (I'll never take these miracles for granted) to clean up some mysterious problems that arose in the administration of this blog-- and we finally find -- okay, he finally finds -- the page (the screen?) we're looking for.   
     While he's solving my problems, I spend the time reading the Blogspot manual, or whatever it's called when it's online, and one of the first sentences takes me back to my original computer, a hefty (and expensive) IBM, must have been around 1983.
     That machine was so sophisticated, did  marvelous things I couldn't begin to understand, but when it came to the manual (which I guess you can see up there on the left)-- well, it was clear that the manual, like the computer itself, was probably the work of boys who still had zits, and who
                      couldn't spell.

     More than 30 years later I get the feeling not much has changed -- here's part of a sentence I found today on a really sophisticated page intended for Blogspot administrators:

   ... use the login info for the selected links then type youre blogger identety to edit anything else 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wrapping Up

Because I haven't figured out how to respond to comments( it's shameful, how mentally lazy I am these days)  -- I'll tie up a few loose ends today:  yes, that's a normal red squirrel; I just never had one before.  Yes, I cleaned up the exploded hard-boiled eggs; it took an hour and ten minutes but what else have I got to do?  Yes, I contacted the English Department at Fisher (thanks for the web address but I phoned, using my land-line, showing my age again) and Deborah Vanderbilt came over and picked up that textbook, which she needed promptly.
She looked over my collection of Jane Austen translations (72 volumes in 28 languages) --  and read the author's name from one -- turns out she had once lived in Japan.  For that matter, last evening my son and daughter-in-law arrived, just back from a trip to the Baltic -- so now I have an Estonian Pride and Prejudice.

Monday, June 6, 2016

My Academic Career

Back in the 1980s I taught real estate licensing in night school, for the Continuing Education Department at St. John Fisher College.  Maybe I was an adjunct lecturer -- or are there adjunct instructors?
So anyhow, last Saturday the mail carrier delivered this package and I opened it without stopping to read the label --
 Who is Deborah Vanderbilt, and does she need Academic Writing for Students in a hurry (it's hard for me to go to the post office), and after 30 years where did the publisher get my address, and why is the zip code wrong, and if they're going to send me free books, why not something interesting?

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Need Something to Do

There's not a thing on my calendar today, which feels so luxurious -- no need to watch the clock, worry about missing an appointment or showing up for something on the wrong day.  After a nicely balanced breakfast, I put up some eggs to hard-boil, and came out to the computer -- without getting dressed! -- to check email and play Freecell.   I was trying for a perfect record to show you (but you can see I lost it on the fourth round) and idly thinking about what Mother said years ago, and how my neighbor at the seniors lunch said the exact same thing  "Lately I can only do one thing a day." 
I mentally checked off the few things I do these days -- no laundry needed yet, groceries holding out, bird feeders filled, column sent off up to date. I was thinking it probably isn't good for me not to have at least one thing to do and -- wait a minute!  what's that smell? 
Long-time readers of this blog already know what it is.  I don't think I've told you about every occurance, but it happens at least once a year. 
"But didn't you attach a timer to your rollator?"
"Yes, but then I have to remember to set the timer."
And I can't really afford to throw out any more pots -- this time I'll have to scrub.
It's the bits on the floor that pose the most problem -- no way I can bend down to use a dustpan.  Vacuum is out of the question.  Will they carpet-sweep up or are they too sticky?  And the cleaning lady won't be here till Tuesday. 

This last bit is way out in the front hall -- that's the livingroom carpet on the right.  This, at least, I can pick up with the grabber.

 Rather than face the problem, I took the pictures and came out here to tell you about it.  Still not dressed.  Have a nice day!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Exciting Mystery

Okay, I give up on that little squirrel.  It's your standard Red Squirrel and I just never saw one here before.  Also I don't see how they're allowed to call these feeders squirrel-proof. 
Those peanuts are $3.95 a pound in Wegman's.

No question the world has been shrinking -- no more shopping except for groceries (where there are fine shopping carts for support;
people leave them for each other
at the handicap parking spaces), no more concerts, no lectures, no swimming never mind no scuba, no travel -- no leaving town -- etc etc.  So  I get my excitement from the view at this desk chair, all day.  You can't really tell from here, but I watch about a full acre of suburban back lawns, with a thin strip of woods behind.
And this morning -- an exciting mystery!!

You can see it for yourself -- I could, the minute I sat down here.  Directly up from that square suet feeder, right below the overhang --  here, I'll give you a closeup.
Now where on earth did that ribbon come from?  How did it get looped up in the stump of the old willow? 
 That's the tree that I had them amputate a few years ago when some of it fell on this office -- see earlier blogs.  And come to think of it, was it only a few years ago that I was able to walk way out back and take pictures?
 Well, you take your excitement where you can find it!