Monday, 28 May 2018

Poetry Monday: What Makes Me Laugh

It's Poetry Monday! The topic this week is "what makes us laugh."

Join Diane, Delores and me as we spill the beans about what tickles our funny bones. You can join in, too; leave a poem at any of our blogs. If you prefer to post on your own blog, please leave a comment so we can find you.

*****

I couldn't come up with a satisfactory poem this week, so I'm taking a pass. Regular service will resume next week.

In the meantime, here are some things that make me smile.

Thanks for the funnies, icanhas.cheezburger.com!






















 



















Hope your week goes well, everyone!


Update:  Next week's topic is "trees" . . .

Friday, 25 May 2018

Squirrel, Sky, And Owl

My fat little squirrel has been back to the bird feeder, but that's not unexpected, given the bounty of accessible food it provides.

But at least this time I got a picture of the little blighter.


He or she fits nicely on the tray portion, don't you think? And that bit of fluff on the opposite side is the tip of his or her tail. I watched this critter eat and eat until I thought he/she might explode. Hasn't happened yet, but if it does, rest assured I'll blog about it.


 I've gotten some other pictures lately while on my evening walks.


This one might be better if you click on it to make it bigger. I caught two items of interest here; the jet in the upper right, and, much less obvious, the crow at the left, sitting on the top of a vertical branch.


Zooming in on that crow . . . He's not really impaled; it just looks that way.


 And one evening there was a beautiful sunset. I chased it eastward for about fifteen minutes -- just so you know, you can't out-walk the setting sun -- and this shot was the best of the lot:


 I finally managed to find a spot where the power lines and poles weren't in the way. That's one drawback to photographing scenery in an urban setting.



Sometimes the lines can be used for effect, though.


I call this one "Moon With Trail Light And Six Leaves" - ha ha


I love walking at dusk on a clear night. As the sky deepens to blue-black and the moon and stars start to show, it's such a peaceful and beautiful part of the day.


I have one more picture for you. Meet Mr. Owl.





He's a cookie jar, and when I was growing up, he belonged to my parents. A few years ago my mother gave him to me. I don't make cookies because I have no self-control, so I don't need Mr. Owl for his original purpose. However, hiding electronics cords is his new purpose in life, and he does a fantastic job. He sits on the kitchen counter and keeps my cords collected and dust-free. In a house with two messy humans and two shedding cats, that is quite an achievement.

*****

Wishing you a weekend with good eating, good skies, and good friends :)





Monday, 21 May 2018

Poetry Monday: Friendship

It's Poetry Monday, and the topic this week is "friendship."

Join Diane, Delores and me as we offer our takes on this topic. Feel free to leave a poem in the comments on any of our blogs. Or you can post a poem on your own blog; if so, please leave a comment to let us know where to find you.

*****

My poem was inspired by a sign I saw stuck in a neighbourhood lawn. It had been placed there by the local weed control company, to show that a treatment had been completed.

The sign said, "I have a new friend!" with the name of the company underneath. The "I" was meant to refer to the lawn, and the treatment was either fertilizer or weed control. I know this because we used to use a weed control service and those are the two treatments we would get in the spring. We stopped having the service because it was relatively expensive and we kept getting low marks for our mowing, maintenance and pest control efforts. For pity's sake, guys, if you're going to charge us a bundle, at least leave us a compliment once in awhile!

Anyway.

I started imagining what the grass might really say if it was the recipient of a weed control treatment.  I thought it might not be saying "I have a new friend" after all. Especially if it already had plenty of friends.

Suspend your disbelief and read on, my friends.


*****

Friendship Lost

We are the grass; an army of slight soldiers,
Brown in the winter, and
Proud to be the first green of spring.
Today a two-legged being arrived in a
Rumbling, stinky four-wheeled conveyance.
Two-Legger trudged mercilessly upon us, and
Dusted our ranks with a strange substance.
We heard our friends, the dandelions, cry out,
Struggling to breathe.
Alas! They were dead and shrivelled
Before the darkness fell twice.
There was nothing we could do.

Strangely, we are left unharmed.
We vow to take the place of our sunny yellow comrades;
Stand in their spaces;
And in their stead,
Reach for the sun. 






 *****

As an afterthought, I can tell you that our grass and our dandelions are dancing merrily together and do not need to fear anything, ANYTHING, I tell you.

Except maybe the lawn mower . . .  eventually . . .


*****


Embrace your dandelions and have a great week :)



Update: Next week's topic is "what makes us laugh" . . .



 

Friday, 18 May 2018

Pecking Order And Funnies

Another page has been written in the bird feeding saga at the Donkey house. A squirrel was recently observed spreadeagled in the feeder tray, gorging on sunflower seeds, even reaching up into the tube of mixed seeds to select exactly what he or she most desired.

So now the pecking order is this:

Deer outrank squirrels.
Squirrels outrank blackbirds.
Blackbirds outrank bluejays.
Bluejays outrank finches.
Finches outrank chickadees.
Chickadees outrank mourning doves.
Mourning doves don't outrank anybody or anything except the seeds.

Which makes me a little sad, so I've been sprinkling some seed on the grass for them, which I will probably regret later in the summer when it sprouts. But I love the doves' cooing and the characteristic whistle of their wings as they fly, so I'm glad to see "our" pair dropping by every day.

I don't know where the crows rank because I haven't seen them at the feeder this year. If I had to guess, though, I'd put them right below the deer. Or possibly above.

On the bright side, with the installation of our new finch feeder, the finches have been removed from the rankings. They discovered their new buffet almost immediately, and have been loyal patrons ever since. And no one else is bothering them. Yay!

So now my challenge is how to get the blackbirds to stop hogging the regular feeder. I have a feeling nothing will change unless I get another feeder for sunflower seeds only, because the blackbirds pick those out and scatter everything else.

And to give the bluejays a chance, we probably need a feeder for peanuts in the shell.

Reminds me of cooking for fussy eaters . . .

Last week I forgot to mention the reaction of the blackbirds to the four deer at the feeder. They were not happy birds. One fellow was literally hopping mad and his language wasn't fit to print. What a scolding he gave them, but the deer didn't even look at him.

This video shows the goldfinches flitting back and forth to their new feeder. I wonder how many seeds it takes to power those little wings for hours every day?





You'll notice some of the goldfinches are brighter yellow than the others; those would be the males. I believe both the females and the non-breeding males are paler in colour, but I wonder if all ours are females, because there are consistently eight birds, four bright and four drab. I'm no expert but it would seem to make sense that there are four breeding pairs.


*****

And now a few funnies from icanhas.cheezburger, just because it's Friday:


















 




Here in Canada we are going into our first long weekend of what we call the summer season (which starts in May and ends in October, thus spanning spring/summer/fall!) It doesn't FEEL like summer, or even spring, for that matter. In fact, there was a frost warning last night. However, that won't stop me from enjoying the extra day off work. In fact, since I don't like extreme heat, it might help me enjoy it more. My husband is going to be catching up on his job workload and I hope to get some decluttering and cleaning done. Or at least some reading :) I will still be hosting Poetry Monday on schedule; the topic will be "friendship."

What is your weekend looking like? Fun or work? Or a little of both? I hope there's at least a little time for something enjoyable just for you!



Monday, 14 May 2018

Poetry Monday: Leaves And Flowers The Rain Has Brought

It's Poetry Monday and this week's topic is "leaves and flowers the rain has brought."

Join Diane, Delores and me as we grow a little magic using this theme. You can join us! Leave a poem (yours or another) in the comments on any of our blogs. Or post it on your blog, and leave a comment to tell us where to find you.

*****

I will not be writing a poem about all the lovely, innocent little plants that are coming into their own as our spring warms up. Instead, I'm going to write about an alien, invasive plant that crowds out those innocents.


Don't give me that peace sign, green alien (plant) -- I know what you're really like. (photo: Pixabay)


Behold the Japanese knotweed. It's described in horticultural journals as “thuggish,” “ferocious,” “invasive” and an “indestructible scourge.” Click here for more information if you like horror stories. Do not click if you are prone to nightmares.

There is a patch of this plant growing along the trail I walk. It grows fast, spreads quickly, and it's very hard to get rid of, because it has a gigantic root system. It resembles bamboo, and people who aren't familiar with it often call it that.



Real bamboo shoots (picture borrowed from this website)




Japanese knotweed-- new sprouts among last year's hollow, cut-off stalks


As you can see from the pictures, these two plants do not really look alike when seen side by side. But Japanese knotweed does have the segmented stalks that remind people of bamboo.


Mature knotweed plants. Deceptively pretty. Source: Invasive Species Council of BC



It is worth noting that in Japan, its country of origin, this plant has 186 kinds of insects and 40 kinds of fungi which are natural enemies that help keep it in check. Unfortunately, everywhere else seems to be missing those helpful organisms.

I thought it fitting to write a haiku about Japanese knotweed. After all, the haiku originated in Japan, too.

*****

Just Say No, Kiddies

"Tales from Knotweed Woods" . . .
Worst ever bedtime reading
For little green plants.


*****

I almost deleted this whole post and started over, because I am basically a big wuss and even reading about this plant is giving me the shivers. But then I thought maybe it was a good thing for gardeners everywhere to know, if they don't already.  This species has spread across Europe, the United States, and was found in Canada for the first time within the last decade.

And I thought it would help me if I poked fun at it. You know, like whistling in the dark.

Thank you for reading, and I promise to be all brightness and light next Poetry Monday.

Here's a nicer image to leave you with:


Now this is a beautiful thing. Pansies are one of my most favourite flowers. (photo: Pixabay)


 
(Thank you to Jimmy for writing about kudzu and prompting me to find out more about our own local invasive species!)


Update: Next week's theme is "friendship" . . .




Friday, 11 May 2018

Holidays And Finches

It's been a short week here; I'm on vacation, and it's a true-ish factoid that time speeds up when you're on holiday, right?

Yesterday I took a little drive to see my daughter and her family (two wee grandsons!!) and that meant driving a four hour round trip, which used up a big part of the day and a half a tank of gas. It was worth every second and every drop.

Sometimes I wonder if I would survive living in a city with an hour or more commute each way to work; I'm so spoiled living in a small town where we can drive from one end to the other in ten minutes, or five if we hit all the lights just right.

Back to my week off. I made a modest to-do list to try and get some things done that have been on the back burner for too long. If I do nine-tenths of the list today, I'll have it finished . . .



Source: icanhas.cheezburger.com




One of the items on the list was to buy a finch bird feeder. The bigger birds tend to monopolize the feeder we have now, so I thought a specialized finch feeder with tiny holes for their tiny beaks might help make life more fair for the little birds.

It's not just the bigger birds who are competing for bird seed. I caught four deer eating around the old feeder earlier in the week. I've started taking it down at night and putting it out well after dawn. Literally two minutes after I hung it up that morning, I spied four big brown furry rumps bunched up together and four noses to the ground under the feeder. I suspect one of the deer had tipped the feeder over to make the seeds run out onto the ground, because she had seed all over her head and neck. Just as they finished eating, four more deer ambled into the yard and one of those cleaned the incriminating evidence off the guilty party.

I'll be taking both feeders in by the end of May at the latest, to try to avoid contributing to the spread of a finch virus which has taken a toll on purple finches, goldfinches and pine siskins in Atlantic Canada over the last ten years. I didn't know anything about finch virus until last July, when it became rampant in our province and covered by media.

Here are some of the finches found in Nova Scotia:

(all photos credited to Dwaine Oakley, found on the following blog:  Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative)


American Goldfinch - this is a breeding male. The females are a more drab yellow.



Purple Finch, Male



Purple Finch, Female



Pine Siskin. From what I can see, the males and females look pretty much the same.


All of these finches are very small songbirds. The goldfinches are the most visible; in the spring before the trees leaf out, they look for all the world like tiny dabs of brilliant yellow paint on the brown and grey tree branches.

If you'd like to hear the American goldfinch song, listen here:



So one of my projects today is to fill the feeder with nyjer seed (also called niger seed or thistle) and find a place to hang it, probably at the back of our property so the finches will have some distance between them and the bigger birds.

I'm thinking of adding "buy binoculars" to my list!

What are you up to this weekend? It's Mother's Day in Canada, so we will be trying to fit in visits to both my mother and my mother-in-law, and also be home for our son's visit to his mother :)

I'll be back on Poetry Monday to wax poetic about "leaves and flowers the rain has brought" . . .

Until then, have a good weekend :)




Monday, 7 May 2018

Poetry Monday: Rain

It's Poetry Monday and the topic is rain.

Join Diane, Delores and me as we wring as much as possible from this four-letter word. Read a poem, write a poem, leave a poem in the comments on any of our blogs. The objective is to get us thinking and have some fun.

*****



The first thing that always happens when Diane provides us with a topic is that every poem I've ever heard on the topic pops into my head and won't get out, not even when I use my stern voice.

I guess that shouldn't be a surprise, as my stern voice doesn't work on anyone or anything else, either.

I've decided to harness this problem and turn it into an asset. I used the rhythm and meter of Robert Louis Stevenson's little poem Rain, which has been thundering through my head all week, to come up with a copycat version. (Apologies, Mr. Stevenson. You know I love your poetry.)

Here is Robert Louis Stevenson's poem:

Rain

The rain is raining all around,
It falls on field and tree,
It rains on the umbrellas here,
And on the ships at sea.

+++++

My turn now:

Cloudy With A Chance Of Floating Away


The rain is raining all around,
It pours on you and me.
It soaks the walkers, joggers too.
Why are they out? Beats me.

The rain is pounding on the roof,
The gutters freely flow.
The downspouts can't contain the flood --
Best not to stand below.

The rain is bouncing off the streets,
And running down the hills;
It's making puddles into lakes --
I fear we'll soon need gills.

The rain is creeping in my shoes,
And dripping down my neck;
It's dotting on my spectacles,
And causing Hairdo Wreck.

In spite of all my whiny noise,
There's one thing that I know:
While too much rain is surely bad,
At least it isn't snow.

*****

On a serious note, the rain has caused major flooding in our neighbouring province of New Brunswick, and my thoughts are with those who have been evacuated and those who have had damage to their homes. I hope everyone stays safe and that life returns to normal for them as soon as possible.

*****

Below are two videos I took last summer during a fifteen-minute downpour that accompanied a thunder-and-lightning storm. That rainstorm was the source of inspiration for some of the lines in my poem this week. (You'll get the point of the videos within the first, oh, three seconds or so . . . the rest is just more of the same. So don't feel you need to watch them for the full time.) (As far as that goes, don't feel you need to watch them at all. I'm sure  you've seen heavy rain before - hah.)


Looking through the window of our back door . . .



 And looking through the front window -- at the overflowing gutters . . .




*****

What's the worst rain you've ever seen?


Wishing you a Baby Bear week -- not too wet and not too dry, but ju-u-u-st right :)


Update: Next Monday's topic is "leaves and flowers the rain has brought" . . .



Friday, 4 May 2018

Greening And Remembering

Things are growing, budding, leafing and even blooming here, due to two warm days (yes, we are counting them) and lots of rain. We are starving for green, so that's what caught my eye when I took my camera outside.


The irises are in one of the warmest spots on our property. They have a southern exposure and are protected by the basement foundation and large shrubs. The sunbathing is so good, in fact, I'm a little surprised they're not wearing shorts and sunglasses. 



Fat leaf buds ready to unfurl. I wasn't sure if "leaf bud" was proper terminology but Google tells me it's okay.




Miniature bleeding heart, a perennial. These plants are doing well in our garden and in a year or two I'll be able to split them and have more. The rocks are doing well too; those things multiply like crazy! I'll send you some for free if you like.



These are annual dianthus that survived the winter, probably because it was so mild. About half the plants I put in last year are coming back. More rocks, plus dead stalks! I'm cleaning up a little at a time and clearly didn't get this far yet.



Tiny bulbs that the deer do not like to eat



A closer look. These pictures don't do full justice to the deep, electric blue of these flowers in real life. (edit: these are scilla siberica, or Siberian squill)



Primula in purple. The leaves are very small this spring. I hope it's not thinking of dying on me, because it's one of my favourite plants.




I took this picture because of the peony stalks (the two red shoots in the very middle of the photo) but it qualifies as a picture of something green because the dandelion leaf photobombed it.



I'm enjoying this spring more than I did the last couple of years. My dad passed away three years ago this June, but he was very ill during April and May preceding that. Two years ago, I wrote about how that affected my feelings toward springtime in this post: Flashback - May 2015.

This year the feelings are not quite so near the surface, and things are a little easier, but the greening of nature still goes hand in hand with remembering how hard he struggled to live.

I keep telling myself how much Dad enjoyed going for a good long walk in the spring, back before his stroke. Somehow, it helps.

*****

What's happening in your part of the world?

I hope May is treating you well.