Monday, 30 April 2018

Poetry Monday: In The Yard


It's Poetry Monday, which isn't news for anybody who has been reading here for at least two weeks, but which I shall announce anyway. This week's topic is "in the yard" and you can also visit Diane's and Delores' blogs to see their take on the theme. Feel free to join in, either in the comments or on your own blog, and to use another topic if you wish. There aren't really any rules, which makes this a fun and stress-free exercise!

Did I say stress-free? It really should have been like that.

I started out with the best of intentions. My "in the yard" poem was going to be a conversation between the various birds that visit our feeder, with some invented dialogue to match the kind of song each bird typically uses. And for those of you who don't have the same kinds of birds I do, I was going to include a clip of each of the birds so you could see, sort of, how I came up with the lines of dialogue.

Oh! It was going to be fabulous -- informative, amusing, clever, absolutely delightful!

Then I got lost down another rabbit hole. Holy smokes, people, did you know how many great YouTube videos there are of birds and birdsong and bird identification and bird feeding??

A very large number of great many, to understate the answer.

And in the middle of all of that, I also watched a multi-clip raccoon video, because I'm a sucker for those little guys with the guilty body language and endearing handwashing habit. (Spoiler alert: this is the video that I've already mentioned in another post, where one clip shows a person dumping little fish into a large tub for the raccoon to chase. I can't say for sure whether the raccoon actually caught any fish but I don't think he did. He seemed to be having fun just chasing and catching and releasing . . . but the rest of the clips are so worth it, maybe you could just close your eyes during that one if you feel it may bother you . . .) 

Long story short . . . oh, is it too late for that?

Long story LONG, then. I realized I could not compress everything I wanted to do into the remaining hour I had set aside to complete my post.

So, yer gittin' a pome. ONLY a pome.

And here it is.

And it's not anything like what I started out to write.

* * * * *

In My Yard

Two chickadees flitted to the nearby tree.
Said the first to the second, "Are there any seeds for us?"
Said the second to the first, "Let me check, let me see!"
And he flitted to the feeder with a minimum of fuss.

And they bobbed and they ate
And their manners were first-rate.

Then came Mister Bluejay with his winsome bride,
Instead of just a couple birds, they sounded like a crowd.
They advertised their presence, then they took some seeds to hide,
Never very pushy but they sure aced being loud.

And with a hop, a jump, a peck --
They showed decent etiquette.

The green and yellow finches hurried over as a bunch;
One male and seven ladies all so tiny in the trees;
Took turns upon the feeder so that all could get some lunch;
More quiet and more orderly than any little breeze.

They were cute and pulled no pranks
And every one said "please" and "thanks."

Now, I believe all Nature's birdies -- all her beasties, too --
Deserve a decent meal each day, and with their meal, a drink;
But this I have to say, and it pains me, yes it do:
When I see the blackbirds coming, they make my spirits sink.

They flock here by the thousands, or at least that's how it seems.
They come at any time of day; they hang around for hours.
Their staring yellow eyes are the stuff of awful dreams,
And they argue and they chatter and they fertilize the flowers.

To sum it up, here's what I think:
Blackbirds' manners kind of stink.


*****

Note 1: The kind of blackbird we get here is Brewer's blackbird, but I couldn't fit the whole name into the poem! Here is a website where you can have a good look at my little friends, and listen to their screechy-hinge call: Brewer's Blackbird 


 Note 2: I don't really mind them as much as it sounds from the poem (artistic license and all that). They are quite striking, with their glossy purple heads and green sheen on their bodies. I could do without the beady eyes, but they can't help the kind of eyes they have. I totally get that, given the family nose that I inherited.




Brewer's blackbird (Borrowed from www.allaboutbirds.org, with thanks)



 And a video taken through my kitchen window:





(Please hang in there for the first part of the video where it seems like nothing is happening. Nothing IS happening, but it will! And around 1:10 you'll get a good look at the blackbird stare. Also, at about 1:37 notice the fellow getting all puffed up. They were doing that a lot for a few days and I'm thinking it might have been a mating display. Now they're just eating, as far as I can see. And eating. And eating . . .)


*****

Wishing you all a good week!


Update:  Next week's topic is . . . rain . . . and I think we're all going to have plenty to say about that . . .





Friday, 27 April 2018

Friday Funnies

Here it is, time to publish my Friday post, and I've got writer's block. I think my brain has seized up from overuse at work.

So once again I will look to icanhas.cheezburger for some feels of the good kind. Thankfully, April is almost over and things should slow down around here soon.

Let's have some canines, today, shall we?


bird dogs



grammar dog



flower child dog



dog with a cherry (or two) on top . . . now I crave a banana split



dog not on a diet . . .




groaner joke dog




overachiever dog



self-reliant pup takes himself for a walk



Uh oh . . . things have taken an unexpected turn . . .


It must be time to wrap up this post.

I'll be back on Poetry Monday, when we will tackle the topic "in the yard" . . .

I am looking forward to having more time to myself in May. What are you looking foward to? Or alternatively, what are you dreading? Because some months are just like that.

I hope this weekend, at least, is a good one for you!





Monday, 23 April 2018

Poetry Monday: Sun

This week's theme for Poetry Monday is "Mr. Sun" (or "the sun" if you prefer). Join Diane, Delores and me as we share our thoughts on our closest star. You can read a poem or write a poem and leave it in the comments on any of our blogs. Or you can post it on your own blog -- if so, please leave us a note in the comments so we can find you.

*****

I'm taking a pass on Poetry Monday this week. Work has been busy; life has been busy; nothing is gelling in the poetry brain cells.

Instead, I've combed through my photos to find the ones that show off what the sun can do.




Sunrise


 

Sunset




Sunlight reflected from the moon



Creating a water mirror




Revealing the colours in light




Coaxing crocuses out of hiding



Keeping the blooms and greenery happy




Creating shadows


The sun is pretty versatile, isn't it?

There's one more thing that comes to mind when I think of all the sun can do:  make a basking kitty happy. And I didn't have a photo of that. (Above kitty is slinking, not basking!)

To fix that, I turned to icanhas.cheezburger.com .......




Ah, that's better. This post was FAR too serious.

*****

Have a good week, everyone! I hope you get just the right amount of sun.


Update: Next week's topic is "in the yard" . . .

Note to UK readers: To help clarify the topic, the North American "yard" is the equivalent to "garden" in the UK. (But for the OTHER meaning of "yard" -- as a unit of measurement -- we all agree!)

And now I'm wondering what our friends in Australia call "the yard"!

Remember, use it how you wish, or feel free to choose any topic of your liking :)





Friday, 20 April 2018

Friday Crafting

Do you have a junk drawer somewhere in your house? Declutterers like to target our junk drawers because they consider them to be full of, well -- junk. I disagree. A junk drawer can be the place for all the odds and ends that are useful but don't have another place to live, either because they are one of a kind or because we want them handy on short notice.

It's the same with my internet bookmarks. I throw everything I might want to read again in my bookmark list. It's surprising how often I've gone back and fished something out and made good use of it.

Today what I'm making is a blog post. It's a bit like crafting. You take a bunch of things and you stick them together and hopefully the person you're making it for will like it.

Or maybe they'll just smile awkwardly and take it home and put it in the back of the closet or the garbage bin.  Who knows?

*****

First, along the lines of blue birds that are not really blue, some birds have fluorescent colours in their beaks, but they can only be seen by humans under ultraviolet light. For that story, which includes a picture of a puffin wearing sunglasses, go here: Puffin beaks are fluorescent and we had no idea.

*****

Second, what do the words leap, gulp, knot, shiver, and fluther have in common? They are all used to describe collective groups of animals (the same as "litter" describes a collective group of kittens). A leap of leopards, a gulp of cormorants, a knot of toads, a shiver of sharks, and a fluther of jellyfish are joined by 94 other collective names, found here: 99 strange collective animal names.

***** 

Third and last, if you like dogs, or flowers, or dogs with flowers, please have a look at this article on pit bulls wearing flower crowns. It made me smile, and tear up, and want to buy the book.


Photo from Sophie Gamand/Kickstarter.




*****


What's in your bookmarks?

What's in your junk drawer?


I hope your weekend is a good one :)




Monday, 16 April 2018

Poetry Monday: Spring

Are you ready to read and/or write about "spring"? Join Diane, Delores, and me as we watch our little poem seeds grow into big strong poem flowers/bushes/trees! Okay, that was a terrible analogy. Moving on. You are welcome to join us and leave your poem in the comments on any of our blogs. Or post it on your own blog and let us know where to find you.

Spring. It's my favourite time of the year, but it's busy. My work is busy. My husband's work is even busier. The lawn starts growing. So do the weeds. The flower beds need cleaning out. The boots and coats and other winter clothing need to be cleaned and put away, while the sandals and shorts need to be hauled out of storage.

And all the while, the fresh air and sunshine beckon, saying "take a walk . . . just a little walk . . . no one will mind if you don't do that cleaning/gardening/paid job/whatever . . ."

And I pretty much do what the little voices command. All except for the paid job. I try to keep showing up for that one.

But the walks MUST NOT be put off. Soon enough it will be summer, the season from Heck, with its heat and humidity and dry parched grass and air conditioner air, which is not the same as real air. My hair will frizz and my eyes will develop a sun squint and my wrinkles will multiply.

For a few glorious weeks before spring careens off into summer territory, though, the temperature will be perfect, the humidity will be perfect, sleeping will be comfortable without twenty pounds of blankets on the bed, and I will remain happily deluded that last summer's wardrobe still fits me.

Ahhhhhh . . . . . . . spring.

*****

Spring . . . 

It starts with clean breezes
And sometimes with sneezes
And moves right along
With sweet bird song
Brown turns to green
All around can be seen
New leaves unfurling
New buds uncurling
The warmth of the sun
Leads to jackets undone

No frost and no snow
No heat that's extreme
For just a few weeks
We're living the dream

Soon grass will be growing
We'll need to start mowing
And last fall's self-seeding
Will need a good weeding
The leaves from last year
Will need raking, my dear
The birds will awaken
At hours godforsaken
My shorts will not close
And I'll sunburn my nose


But for now life is perfect
Time to stop all this talk
Goodbye from the donkey
I'm off for a walk



Not me in the photo, because I'm not wearing bare legs yet. But the sneakers have been broken out!


Photo credit: Pixabay


*****

What's your favourite spring activity? 

*****

Update:  The topic for next week is Mr. Sun . . .





Friday, 13 April 2018

This Was My Week

The snowstorm I mentioned in my last post (here) brought us about ten inches of snow. We didn't lose power, which was good, and the weather warmed up since then, so almost all of the snow is gone again. That's the nice thing about this time of year -- if we get snow, it quickly disappears.

I went for a walk when the snow was just starting. A quick video:




And here's a still shot of the snow as it started to build up.


It was sticky and wet and as you can see it was clinging to the trees and shrubs.


The next morning it was beautiful outside, especially where the snow was heavy on the evergreens, but I didn't take any pictures, because . . .

. . . at the height of the snowstorm I had to go stay with my mom as she was having another dizzy spell. She has inner ear problems and has lately developed associated vertigo, which sometimes comes on very fast. I was glad for all the times I had to drive through heavy snow when I was younger, as the experience helped me navigate the unplowed streets to get to her house. It was nearly midnight when she called me, and I didn't know how much worse the streets might get, so I stayed overnight with her. Not a lot of sleep was had by either of us.

The experience has nudged me to begin to look for a longer-term solution for my mom's living situation. She is doing okay with daily, habitual routines, but much less okay with decision-making and health problems. She doesn't really need someone coming in to make meals or do cleaning or oversee her usual medications -- she's managing those things. What I would like is a solution where there is help available right away when she needs it, and oversight of any medications that are not routine. I don't know if there's any help like that available in one's own home or if she would need to move to some form of assisted living. She's not going to like either one.

Meanwhile, I cleaned the deer spit out of the bird feeder once again and put it out (the bird feeder, not the deer spit) the day after the snowfall. The robins have shown up again and we have chickadees, sparrows, bluejays and at least one woodpecker. There have been no four-legged diners (i.e. deer) as yet; they must have forgotten to check. But I'm sure some morning soon I'll find the feeder empty and spit-covered once more.

Speaking of robins, I read recently that they do not necessarily migrate to warmer regions in the winter. They are quite capable of living in the cold. But they do tend to move temporarily to the countryside where there is a greater supply of berries and fruit (apples left on the trees, for example.) When the snow is gone and the bugs wake up, the robins return to urban life and a high protein diet.

On one of my walks earlier in the week, I noticed two crows flying into a nearby tree, and as the leaves aren't out yet, I was able to see that they had a large nest there. Here it is:


Look right in the centre of the picture



And here's the close-up:




I'll be monitoring this place often while trying not to appear to do so. Here is one of the crows that was flying around when I took the photo of the nest:


I left the area as soon as I realized he or she had spotted me. The last thing I want to do is to make them uneasy.


Yesterday I got out for a long walk. It was a glorious day for walking -- the wind wasn't cold enough to be uncomfortable; it was fresh and cool, just the way I like it for my twitchy bronchial tubes.

Speaking of breathing, and impediments to it, did you know that you can microwave a sweet potato to the point where it smokes a lot and causes you to open all the windows and hope really hard that the smoke detector doesn't go off? .......... Yes. Yes you can. And now I wonder if I had left it in there any longer whether it would have actually burst into flames or if it would have just turned black and made even more smoke. I don't plan to try again and find out.

Wishing you a smoke-free week, unless you happen to be going camping, and then smoke is a required part of the experience. This is one reason I don't like to camp. (Again, twitchy airways.)

How's the weather where you live? Are things growing, whether they are plants or animals or humans? Tell me all about it.


And don't forget, I'll be back on Poetry Monday with my best effort at writing about "Spring" . . . Join me if you're so inclined!



Monday, 9 April 2018

Poetry Monday: Ignorance

Oh, the rabbit holes we can fall into with the help of the internet! I expect you all have your own stories of rabbit holes, and I do too. I'll try to shorten up the current one as best I can.

The theme for this week's Poetry Monday is "ignorance." I thought about the word all week; I thought about the "ignorance is bliss" angle (which is not exactly the whole quote, see here); I thought about ignorant (not knowing) versus ignorant (rude); I thought about known knowns, known unknowns (or is that unknown knowns?), and unknown unknowns; I thought about how little I knew of life when I was younger; I thought about how terribly much I still don't know; I eventually thought about how it was somehow Sunday already and I'd better get a poem written.

I decided to re-check the definition of "ignorant" and . . . aha! . . . in the online Oxford Dictionary I found a third meaning for ignorant -- angry or quick-tempered (West Indian meaning). This was a new one for me (proving yet again how terribly much I still don't know) and when I was reading the sample sentences, this one jumped out at me: "I is an ignorant crack-a-lackin moron."

Intrigued, I Googled "I is an ignorant crack-a-lackin moron" . . . with more than just a shade of trepidation, because I wasn't sure what kind of "crack" we'd be talking about if we talked this way. I was relieved to find that apparently "I is an ignorant crack-a-lackin moron" arose from this innocent meme:



Poor little fuzzy cracker-lacking hamster. And somehow an extra hyphen got mixed in there for the dictionary version.


None of the other results for the search turned up anything obscene or ignorant (see what I did there), so I'm going with the hamster meme, and if anyone asks me what I learned today, for once I'll have an answer that will command awe and respect in all who hear it. Hah.

And if you know of a darker explanation behind that phrase, please fill me in so I don't make a gigantic donkey of myself in front of other people, thank-you-very-much.

Anyway. Back to the job at hand. A poem. About ignorance. Here it is.

*****


It's A Long And Winding Road, People; Be Careful Of The Rabbit Holes

I know far more now
Than previously,
But less than I'll know
Eventually.


*****

Optimistic, I know!

I also know that if this was an exam, I'd fail! Fortunately, it's not an exam :)

It's been snowing here today (Sunday) since lunch time and is forecast to snow all night. So I'll going to get this post scheduled for auto-publish now, in case we lose power.

Have a non-cracka-lackin week, my friends! Unless, of course, you don't actually LIKE crackers :) 


P. S. You can read more poems at Diane's and Delores' blogs. Feel free to take part in Poetry Monday in the comments on any of our blogs, or post on your own blog and let us know where to look.


Update: Next Monday's topic is "Spring" . . .



Friday, 6 April 2018

Birdy Things, And Funnies

Alas, "birdy things" does not mean I am feeding the birds again.

I have temporarily given up on the bird feeder --  the deer have defeated me; my short stature has defeated me; my energy deficit has defeated me. (Translated, that means I can't figure out how to keep the deer out of the bird feeder except to place it high in a tree, which I can't do without a ladder, which I can't find the energy to put up and take down on a daily basis.)

BUT.

That doesn't stop me from reading about our fine feathered friends.

Have you ever seen a blue bird? (Not a "bluebird," but "a bird that's blue.")

I thought I had, too, but it turns out there is no such thing as a blue bird. Read about it HERE.

If you want to see another blue bird, and other amazing nature photographs, go HERE. If you hover your mouse above the picture, left and right arrows will appear and you can use them to cycle through the photo gallery.

For more blue birds, Marie -- on her blog, Island Musings -- has some fantastic pictures of bluejays, including some just at the moment of lift-off; check them out HERE. The pictures, and Marie, tell a marvellous story  that I'll leave you to read about, as I don't want to spoil the surprise.

And now some funnies, because I'm out of time and brainpower.


I hear you, kitty





Guilty as charged




I don't know about you, but I never played this version of "Clue"






Or, if you wish, you may scream AAHHHH!




Deliciously punny





But at least you got your money's worth





Going faster might be the wrong thing to do at this point in time, you guys





Time for that after-breakfast nap, maybe




I'll be back on Poetry Monday with the topic "Ignorance" . . . wishing you a good weekend!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Poetry Monday: Modern Life


It's Poetry Monday and the suggested theme is "Modern Life."

Join Diane, Delores, and me (and usually a few more people in the comments) as we tackle this very large and wide-ranging topic. You are welcome to leave a poem in the comment section of our blogs, or on your own blog. If you do that, please leave a note in the comments so we'll know where to find you.

 *****


Spoiler Alert:  They Don't Call Her Grumpy Anymore

  
The old and grumpy woman frowned a glum and grumpy frown.
She was watching all the young folks with their heads bent down.

They were flicking with their thumbs and they were tapping out their texts,
And the old and grumpy woman said, "The modern world's a mess!"

She said, "When I was young, people talked to one another,
"But nowadays, the youngsters, well, they barely even bother!

"And the hairstyles that they wear -- well, you hardly dare to look;
"The colours and the kooky styles, why, I could fill a book!

"And all those tattoos that they have, what's wrong with basic skin?
"And all those piercings that they get, with all that hardware in!"

The old and grumpy woman was so busy talking trash,
She didn't see the obstacle that caused her mighty crash;

She did, however, feel the pain, and tears sprang to her eyes;
Her leg, she thought, was broken for she couldn't even rise.

But suddenly, beside her knelt a boy with greenish hair.
He spoke so gently to her, made her feel he truly cared.

A girl with many piercings in her ears and nose and brow
Stopped to help, and made the woman feel more calm somehow.

Another lad took off his coat and covered her, to warm;
And as he did, the woman saw the ink upon his arm.

In weeks to come, the woman had a lot to think about.
Her preconceptions had been wrong, and so . . . she tossed them out.

These days, the woman's thankful for the fall that brought the light . . .
And thankful for the kids who proved the modern world's all right.


 

Can you believe it? Those young people are just FINE!


*****

It's a short post today due to not enough days in last week; someone needs to fix that before the next holiday, okay? Okay!

Have a good week, folks :)
 

Update: The theme for next week is "ignorance" . . .