#Caturday gift

Tomorrow is our neighbor’s birthday and because B is the kind soul who cares for Loki and Marcel when we’re out camping, I wanted a photo of them for a card. It’s tough getting good photos of a black and a white cat (at the same time) because Loki tends to fade into the shadows. After several unsuccessful photo shoots of them napping on the bed and lounging in their box-condo, I asked Zippy to hold them.

October 9, 2021

It was a full minute of squirming, shedding, feline shenanigans, but I was able to capture this shot. I’m especially pleased Marcel’s looking directly at the camera because B has high hopes that one of these times when she’s cat-sitting, she’ll finally get Marcel to happy-drool. He’s been holding out on her.

Our dear neighbor takes her cat whisperer duties very seriously.

Need good thoughts

Right now, Zippy’s driving an hour to the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center with an injured magpie. It’s the closest facility that can hopefully help this poor bird that got caught in a neighbor’s mouse glue trap. (I didn’t even know those horrible things existed.) Zippy was out in our backyard when he heard a whole lot of magpies making noise on the other side of the fence. They were gathered around the stuck bird.

Zippy put on gloves to rescue the injured bird. When he put it in a shoebox, the glove was stuck to the magpie. Zippy got glue on his arm and unsuccessfully tried getting it off before leaving. He thinks he’ll need to use gasoline later.

August 15, 2020

Please, if you can spare some good thoughts, send them to the poor magpie. May its feathers be cleansed so that it soars again.

UPDATE: Sad news. They were unable to help the magpie because there was too much glue. They would have had to remove many, many feathers which would mean it couldn’t be released back into the wild. They were, however able to put that beautiful bird out of its misery.

Sunday Confessional: all birded out

I’ve about had all the bird drama I can stand for a while. There’s a scrub jay nest in our across-the-street neighbor’s pine tree and when Zippy and I returned from our run on Friday, we heard a cacophony in that yard. A fluffy white and gray cat (often seen roaming the neighborhood) was being dive-bombed by screeching scrub jays. Why? The cat had a fledgling in its mouth. I screamed and ran at the cat who dropped the baby bird and ran away. While Zippy stood guard over the stunned bird, I ran across the street to our house and looked up the closest bird rescue site. “Temporarily closed.”

I did a little more research and determined it would be okay to put on gloves to pick up the bird. So that’s what Zippy did and then placed the baby in a shoebox lined with an old t-shirt. We couldn’t spot the nest so he stuck the box up in the tree, wedged between branches, as the parents watched.

Adult Western/Woodhouse’s Scrub Jay, probably one of the parental units.   June 13, 2021

A while later, the cat returned and this time I kept following it. It crossed the street, nervously checking over its shoulder, again and again, to see if the angry woman had given up. When another neighbor told me where the cat lived, I went to that house. No answer. Throughout the day, Zippy and I checked out our windows to see if the cat had returned. We didn’t see it again.

Yesterday (Saturday) morning, just as Wildebeest and I returned from walking Emma, there was another raucous uproar in the neighbor’s yard. This time, the fluffy white cat sat calmly (no bird in mouth) as the parent jays dive-bombed it. Again, I ran  at the cat and chased it away. After another no-answer when I rang the cat’s home doorbell, I went home and wrote a very civil note, explaining the situation and asking that the cat be kept inside.

We haven’t seen the cat at all today. I did, however, see the fledgling on the ground presumably after testing its wings again. It seemed fine. Fast forward six hours. As I sat reading, I heard yelling and yelping. I ran outside and heard the next-door neighbor say “baby bird.”

This time, the unfortunate little fledgling had the bad luck to end up in Rainbow‘s yard.

Rainbow frolicking on December 18, 2021

The good news is that when Rainbow’s human yelled for her to drop the bird, Rainbow listened.** Zippy again donned the gloves, caught the baby who was much more feisty this time, set it in another box I’d prepared, and wedged it in the tree as the parents watched.

I’ve never wanted to be able to fly (possibly related to my fear of heights), but I’m wishing very, very hard for that little scrub jay to soar overhead. The sooner the better.

** Especially good news in light of the fact our neighbor believes she inadvertently adopted a “serial killer” when she adopted Rainbow. Recent victims include a chicken and a prairie dog.

Mopping up

This afternoon I finally did something I’ve been meaning to do for months: I mopped our family room/kitchen/dining room floor. I put on Led Zeppelin–loud–and got to work. The music energized me and I kinda, sorta had fun, which made me think of former neighbors (mother and teen daughter) who used to put on Neil Diamond to get pumped up for cleaning. I always thought that was so funny.  I mean, “I Am . . . I Said”?! “Song Sung Blue”?! I’ll take “When the Levee Breaks” any cleaning day. Or non-cleaning day, for that matter.

Image by Eszter Hornyai from Pixabay

So, what’s the deal with this dog? Well, I went to Pixabay in search of a “mop” image and this popped up. Not sure how this adorable face is related to mopping, but I couldn’t resist. Maybe this pug knew I was about to make unkind remarks about Neil Diamond and my neighbors’ musical tastes, something that should be off-limits. After all, I’m a writer hoping to get my fiction published and I know all too well that taste is subjective.

I only hope Mops the Pug can forgive me.

Signs of hope

I took this photo on April 1, 2020, but the image feels appropriate for today. This afternoon I had a productive phone conversation with an elected official about pending legislation that would greatly reduce jail populations in Colorado. I’m feeling hopeful.

Bulbs planted by neighbor who now lives in Hawaii and undoubtedly remembers exactly what this is.

And what’s more hopeful than brave flowers pushing through the soil, year after year?

Happy Halloween!

Marcel rehearsing his scary face. January 25, 2020.

Boo!

People in the neighborhood are being creative with their candy offerings. One house has a long tube running from an upstairs window to the driveway. I think the trick or treaters are supposed to shout in the tube to make candy come down. Another house has a catapult. We’re setting out candy on a table in the driveway which isn’t nearly as creative, but it’s still a fine chocolate-delivery system.

Listen up: bird & dog tale

August 22, 2020

Over the past several years, my partner has bemoaned the scarcity of magpies in our yard. We’d see them throughout the neighborhood, but they weren’t spending much time in our yard anymore. We missed their raucous energy.

Then one day last month (which just happened to be our wedding anniversary), we noticed a whole bunch of magpies in our neighbors’ backyard, their trees, and on the fence between us. We’d hit the magpie jackpot! But why?

Rainbow peering through the fence at magpies frolicking in our bird bath. August 15, 2020

 

Well, according to our neighbor, when he came home that day to find his yard filled with magpies, he was equally puzzled. Then he went to feed his dog and couldn’t find the nearly-full bag of chow, which was also a puzzle. So he stepped out in the yard and pieced together the sequence of events. His doggo had dragged the bag of food into the yard, scattering the kibble everywhere. The smart corvids had quickly found the treasure.

They also immediately found our bath and took turns tidying up.

August 15, 2020

And as a sign of their appreciation for the use of our facilities, they began leaving gifts for us on the deck rail and tucked away on the steps.
       

The best news is they’re still hanging around and we’re treated to magpie sightings every day.

Four Black-billed Magpies. August 15, 2020

We salute you, Rainbow Dash. Pure genius.

YES to beer NO to fascism

Two days ago, a neighbor a couple houses up the street started flying one of those TR*MP Keep America Great flags. It made me ill. Yesterday, the house across the street from that flag-flying home displayed their own Keep America Great flag. Today? The house next to that second house is sporting a Tr*mp yard sign.

I can’t even.

Shall we begin with the fact that this country, built on genocide and slavery, was never great for a whole lot of people? Or the blatant transfer of money and power to the already rich and powerful? Maybe the rollback of environmental regulations and climate denialism? The deployment of Homeland Security to crack protestors’ heads and shoot them in the faces? Or maybe the 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per day? Etc., etc., etc.? Great, indeed.

My reaction to the neighbors? I wanted to fly an Antifa flag, but Zippy worried the ignorance surrounding that message would result in violence directed at us. So what was his preferred message? F*ck Tr*mp. While I approve that sentiment, this moment is much larger than that loathsome individual. Negotiation ensued.

I’m pleased to announce I found a message we’re both happy to display.

I also ordered an Earth flag to replace the one we displayed during the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Many people in our neighborhood fly U.S. flags and I doubt they’ll even see past all their red, white, and blue, but that’s okay. An earth flag will help me remember we’re all in this together.

ETA: Here’s something from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
12earlywarningsignsoffascism

Does any of this sound familiar?

On the upswing

Gratitude!

Neighbor’s yard. April 1, 2020.

After 20 days of not feeling well, I’m regaining my health. Still have my morning cough episodes, but yesterday I walked the neighborhood (2.25 miles, yo!) and today did yard clean-up for three hours and then took another walk. I’m tired now, but not to-the-bone-fatigued. Whatever illness was dogging me, it’s on the way out. Woot! Woot! Woot!

To celebrate, here’s a beautiful little bouquet I photographed in my neighbor’s yard.

Meet my neighbor

Yes, it’s snowing again in Colorado. At this point in the year, I’d prefer the sunshine and warmer temperatures we’ve had the past week or so, but this storm has it perks. Exhibit A: looking out my window at Rainbow.

Rainbow Dash (so-named in honor of My Little Pony)

As I write this, she’s still out there, content to let the snow accumulate on her beautiful, thick fur.

Fox sans socks

It’s currently 22 degrees outside.

November 11, 2019

If I were a nicer person, I’d offer this fox a couple pairs of warm, woolen socks.
As it is, I’m staying inside where I can absorb the heat from my laptop as I work on my new writing project that makes me happy, happy, happy.

It’s a whole new week, people. Let’s do this!

Shh, don’t tell my neighbor

For the first time in the 22+ years we’ve lived here, there’ve been multiple bear sightings in our neighborhood. Maybe not so surprising since we’re adjacent to a whole bunch of open space.

I’m not sure who shat this scat, but I could make a guess. But whoever it was did the deed on our neighbor’s driveway. The brand new driveway she’s so particular about that she was recently out there scrubbing and scrubbing at a few oil drips. So when I saw this pile of berry remains I knew she wouldn’t be happy.

But when the pile was still there the next day I realized my neighbor was out of town. Here was my chance! So I went over to photograph the remains before picking it up. (Note: I did not scrub the concrete). I wanted to get rid of the evidence so she wouldn’t know a bear had possibly come calling. My neighbor isn’t exactly wildlife-friendly. She throws rocks at bunnies that “eat my lawn” and last spring purposely drove over a snake she saw in the street in front of her house. (That’s right, she got in her car and started it up for the express purpose of killing a snake. Thankfully, it didn’t die and I helped it escape her wrath, which she then directed at me). I figured if she found out that a bear might’ve taken a dump on her driveway, she’d either be out front with a cannon or would call in the National Guard or Ted Nugent.**

So let’s keep this little story between us, okay?

** Zippy did spot her outside scrubbing at the berry stain.

Taking back the color red

The other day I saw a neighbor walking up the street ahead of me. In 2016,  that white woman displayed a political sign in support of Agent Orange (something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive or forget), and when I saw her walking along in her red T-shirt I experienced a surge of anger. That red shirt triggered a stream of expletives about how she supported a white supremacist. (Poor Zippy had to endure that volcanic eruption.) Stupid mean people. Stupid red shirt.

But you know what? All the horrible racist people in this country don’t own the color red. Red is a beautiful color. Red belongs to all of us.

Cave Creek Canyon Ranch. May 16, 2019.

And no one wears it better than this dapper Northern Cardinal.

Welcome, beauty

Beauty is everywhere a welcome guest.
~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My iris haven’t begun blooming yet, so I’m posting this photo from last April in anticipation of the splendor that’s in store for us.

I’m forever grateful to my former neighbor, Tina, for sharing her iris-love with me. She had many different iris in her vast gardens and when I first began digging in the soil, creating my own little patch of beauty, she’d toss iris tubers over the fence. I’m pretty sure this photographed iris is one of those long-ago gifts.

Creepy inflatables, blowin’ in the wind

It’s October 1st which means it’s time for our neighbors across the street to display their creepy inflatables. So far, there’s no sign of the coked-out cat from last year.

But, to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what’s out there right now. It’s very windy and the inflatables aren’t standing at attention. When I passed them earlier, I thought that long, cylindrical inflatable was somehow attached to the jack o’ lantern.

However, from this angle, it looks more like a pumpkin-head dracula doing a face-plant.

Or push-ups.

Or maybe he dropped a contact. Whatever his deal, I’m just glad he’s not staring in my window.

Lighting isn’t always a bright idea

Zippy and I just took Emma for a walk around our neighborhood. As we walked, we noted the bright, outdoor lights shining on the marjority of houses we passed. It was a relief whenever we passed dark houses. A break for our eyes.

As annoying as those bright lights are for me, they can be life and death for birds during migration time. (And yes, I understand that lights on tall buildings are more problematic for birds than suburban lighting.)

Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

I still wish that all people, both urban and suburban, worried less about what might be lurking in the dark, and more about the well-being of our feathered friends. Excessive lighting is just that.

 

Twofer Tuesday: Tulip edition

Today’s post is brought to you by people who no longer live here. The first tulip was planted by former neighbors, but not when we were gardening side-by-side. Rather, they did one of their infamous “drive-by plantings” when we weren’t looking, and gifted us some miniature tulips.

The next tulip is a senior citizen and was planted by the former owners of our house. Next month, we’ll have lived here 20 years.

That red flower is a lesson in being beautifully tenacious.

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Twofer Tuesday: The Signage Edition

A while back I blogged about discovering the perfect sign for the times. I went ahead and ordered two (in case one got stolen OR someone was keen to add a sign to their own yard).

The bright and welcoming little sign has been out front for a while.

Yesterday, as Zippy and I walked across the yard while heading out for Emma’s daily jaunt, he spotted something:

A scribble of thanks from another human being sharing the planet.

Every time I read those words, my heart swells with gratitude and a renewed sense of connection. Thank you, Helga M., for taking the time to reach out.

 

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