I am trying, slowly, to infect James with my interest in birding, or at least a vague understanding of why I like it. Mostly, this takes the form of “Look, wibbly! Northern flicker on the feeder!” James feigns interest well enough to seem polite, but not well enough to make me think he’s actually interested, although he has learned to loathe the northern flickers for drumming on the siding at 7 AM. I suppose loathing isn’t as good as interest, but at least he can tell what type of bird he hates, and one must concede that’s a start. (I have no illusions that he remembers the name, but at least he know what they look like. I think.)

Every now and then, however, I get a ray of hope. There’ll be a genuine “wow” or he’ll tell me about seeing an eagle fly over the office (which is near a bald eagle nesting area.) Today, as he was leaving for work, I heard “Hey! What kind of birds are those?”

I was forced to say, as gently as possible, “Those are robins, honey.”

We have a ways to go, but I’ll get ‘im yet.

Squirrel Agriculture

I have agrarian squirrels.

This is my only explanation for the fact that, while repotting and weeding, I kept stumbling over corn. Sprouted, growing, planted in the dirt…corn. I pull up a suspicious weed, and there’s corn on the dirty end.

I have not been planting corn. James denies having planted corn. I am always impressed at what will grow in containers, but I suspect that corn is not among the ideal plants for a pot on a filtered shade deck.

The first few baffled me, and I was thinking it was some kind of bizarre fluke, but I finally realized that my nut-and-berry birdseed blend contains corn, (despite being neither nut nor berry) and the havoc I noticed in my flower pots some months ago must have been the squirrels cacheing corn (and later digging it up.) But they missed a fair number, spring came, and nature took its course.

This is probably how it happened with Homo erectus, too…

It is a law of nature. Only after the husband has left for some weekend overtime, taking the car, not to return for five or six hours, do you discover that there are not only no feminine sanitary thingies in the house, there is also no toilet paper.

And you find yourself becoming intimately involved with a Viva paper towel, and vowing, silently, that if reincarnation exists, you are TOTALLY coming back as a man.

Busy morning on the bird feeders–eastern towhees, both male and female, which I cannot get photos of to save my life, but love looking at, plus all the usual suspects. The bluebirds are as entrenched as if they never left. Managed to get a whole run of photos of the gray catbird. Saw what I think was a fledgling yellow-rumped warbler, making staggering little flights from twig to twig, each time flapping as frantically as if he was in a hurricane.

And at last! A hummingbird came!

To the oriole feeder.

I tried frantically to get the camera focused and in position, but naturally it buzzed off before I could do more than squawk and flail. Once it was gone, I ran out and refilled the hummingbird feeder, in hopes that it will return.

Meanwhile, the chickadees are absolutely psychotic. They’re driving off the catbird and the woodpeckers, trying desperately to retain control of the suet cake. That they are about a quarter of the size of their opponents does not seem to have registered with them. It’s painfully cute. I am trying to get photos, but action shots are a little much for my shutter speeds, and the lighting still isn’t great. The cute! it burns!

Speaking of dreams, that’ll teach me to take a nap with indigestion…

Had a REALLY strange dream. It started out on some kind of spaceship, trying to puzzle out the meaning of this set of stone tablets inset into a wall (with jazzy blue neon accents!) Some of the words were in English, but didn’t form coherent sentences–“sweet” and “queen” and “cream” and a few others. Another tablet just had equations. Eventually I realized there was a tiny little metal plaque that explained the measurement being used, and concluded somehow that it was the owner’s manual for a refrigerator. Spock and Bones, who were with me, agreed that this was great deductive reasoning.*

That concluded the amusing portion of our scheduled dream.
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The Carolina chickadees have fledglings. I would have thought it was way too early, but there they are, two puffy, fluffy-breasted birds bigger than their parents, sitting on a branch and screaming their darling little heads off. Their somewhat harried looking parents are flying back and forth from the suet feeder to their offsping and shoving suet down their throats. They can fly reasonably well, but they don’t seem to have mastered the whole “feeding oneself” thing.

Consulting the internet, it would appear that the chickadees could indeed have fledglings by now, although they would have to be at the early end of the breeding season. I tried to get some photos, and got several of each–although a group shot of all four eludes me–but it’s a cold, dark day, and I suspect they may not come out. Hopefully we’ll get a brighter day before the cute little balls of demanding fluff go elsewhere.

I’m having dreams with birds in them. Weird, wild birds, which I then try frantically to identify.


Wonder where THAT could have come from.

The first few were just strange, interesting dream birds–things like giant white geese with strange, grosbeak-esque bills a foot high, grey peacock-shaped birds with black and blue throats–but last night, not only were some of the birds recognizeable (rose-breasted grosbeaks) but then I was trying to look up an owl in a bird book. (The owl was in my studio, but this did not perturb me nearly so much as the fact that I didn’t know what it was.) And–this makes me worry for my poor subconscious–I actually FOUND the owl in the book. It was called a mulwit. The entry told me that it was often confused for another, similiar owl, called a pulwit, so I was flipping back and forth between entries trying to figure out which one it was, and finally the fact that there was a heated battle going on in the rest of the house, between the last defenders of righteousness and an army of gobliny things, became too distracting and I had to stomp out, owl only tentatively identified, and kick some ass.

I worry about my brain sometimes.

Upload, upload, upload. Enter text, enter text, enter text. *sob*

I think I have all my descriptions entered. I’m still short a fair chunk of art, and the archives are largely description-free, but most of the originals are listed (and that’s an important bit) and the majority of at least recent stuff seems up.

Tempted to put up some of the Caliban art, just for kicks–possibly in the archives. A few of the pieces are actually pretty good, although many of them can vanish forever into the mists of time and I won’t cry.

And I have PMS. It’s not the bitchy kind, or the insecure kind, or, my favorite, the deranged Creatrix kind that allows me to slam out ten paintings in three days*. It’s…god, it’s almost too awful to commit to text…the “I want to read a soppy love story” kind of PMS. I exhausted my Juliet Marillier and Sharon Shinn, and eventually picked up Anne Bishop’s books based on Amazon recommendations. My major response so far is “Dude, where were you when I was fifteen and would have really, really loved this?” (Think Mercedes Lackey does S/M. Marginally better than it sounds. I think. I dunno. I’m torn.) But I guiltily enjoy them, because occasionally one must feed one’s inner fifteen year old, even if one would sooner gouge one’s own ovaries out with a pickaxe rather than undergo that crazy hormone whirl again. (If I didn’t have PMS, mind you, I couldn’t speak to my enjoyment.)

The other symptoms are being tireder than usual, and a tendency to get choked up while listening to NPR. Fine and appropriate when listening to discussions of the uglier bits of World War II, certainly understandable about the discovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker. A little weird when the topic is organic crop rotation. I am generally not sentimental about crop rotation. Unless I was a crop in a past life, I’ll chalk this one up to hormones.

But this, too, shall pass, in about…yep, about two more days.

*It’s rare, but I love it when it happens.

Okay, having listened to a whole bunch of calls from various creatures on-line, I think the Thing That Went “HNAAAGH” was a frog. I’m not sure what KIND of frog–the American Bullfrog was pretty close, and I am ashamed to admit that all this time, I thought bullfrogs made that classic “erRRRiBBit!” noise, but it is indeed a sort of flat buzzing “hnAAaaGH!” I’m not sure if that’s the right kind of frog–why the supposedly nocturnal frog was awake in the hottest part of the day, calling moodily across the swamp is a mystery–but having exhausted my brain with frog calls and egret calls and cormorant calls and heron calls (and a more ungainly array of squawks you’ve never heard–those birds sound like Tom Waits suffering severe gastrointestinal distress) I’m willing to chalk it up to “Probably a bullfrog.”

So, um…what the hell kinda frog goes “Ribbit” then?