Payback

Wait, what? You wanted this sunflower bud to blossom?

September 9, 2021

Well, maybe you shouldn’t have chased me away from the peanut feeder. What goes around, comes around.

Sunday Confessional: stealthy art

I get where Patti Smith is coming from in this quote: “In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth.” And I think when I originally drafted my work-in-progress, I did approach my art with abandon.

But today, as I continue to revise, I’m feeling a bit stealthy as I sow bits and pieces of backstory throughout the first 50 pages of this middle grade novel. I need the reader to know certain things, but I don’t want the reader aware of my presence. I very much do NOT want those bits and pieces to scream
BACKSTORY!
INFO DUMP!
WARNING: HEAVY-HANDED AUTHOR ON THE LOOSE!

Instead, I’m trying my best to adopt this squirrel’s attitude.

July 30, 2021

No sudden moves. Only careful and deliberate revisions that I hope won’t call attention to my presence.

(Note: Patti’s quote resonates with me so much I previously used it here.)

Refuge

Western Scrub Jay. June 21, 2020

This isn’t a great photo, but I resonate with its vibe. Grumpy-looking scrub jay hunkered down in a hideaway sheltered by green foliage. I spent lots of my childhood seeking these same kinds of spaces, whether I was grumpy or not. Unlike this bird, I’d usually have a book and peanut butter sandwich which always made everything seem better. Unfortunately, this picture was taken a year ago so it’s too late to offer a book or snack . . .

Green me up!

The rain continues here in Colorado. I admit to missing sunshine, but it’s been pleasant running weather and I’m very hyped for the green-green-green landscape.

Out my window on May 18, 2021

Every time I catch a glimpse of that intense green, I think of Loudon Wainwright III’s “The Acid Song” which tells a story of Loudon and four others dropping acid in a city bar and then escaping that unsettling urban landscape for nature:

Oh we got to my house in the country
Yeah, the country, I like this
The trees were all throbbing and green

That line has been my longtime go-to whenever I’m in a place that receives lots of moisture. Oddly enough, that place is now Colorado. All throbbing and green.

Hallelujah

Despite the National Weather Service’s warning that a boatload of snow was headed our way last night, we woke to only three inches this morning.

Vinca blooming among the snow. May 11, 2021

And they were incorrect again when they predicted a whole bunch more snow this afternoon. It did snow quite hard at times, but it didn’t stick. It’s been a mix of rain and snow and more rain. And rain beats melts snow.

The trees and shrubs are intact. Hallelujah!

Inauspicious beginning

We’re headed out for our first camping trip of the year and this is what it looks like outside:

April 28, 2021

The good news? We’re headed to another part of Colorado (John Martin Reservoir State Park) where the high will be an acceptable 59 degrees. Cloudy, but warm enough. And maybe that cloud cover will make for better bird photos. We shall see.

The other good news? Even though it’ll get down to 39 degrees tonight, we’ll be toasty (we hope) in this work-in-progess:

This is our maiden voyage in Moby, the cargo van we’re converting to a campervan. I’m excited to hit the road!

Snowy deja vu

This photo was taken exactly a year ago and I’m sharing it now because the forecast says to expect snow for the next five days.

April 13, 2020

So even though the shrubs are starting to bud out and sprout tiny green leaves, we’re going to pretend spring isn’t happening. Ah, well. I’m never going to badmouth much-needed precipitation. As the saying goes: April [snow] showers bring May flowers.

Twofer Tuesday: snow play edition

The snow has started falling again, much to the delight of these four kids.

It’s been fun seeing the many snow caves and tunnels and quinzhees around the neighborhood. When I lived in Anchorage, my good friend Anne S. did a weekend wilderness class during the winter in which they had to build quinzhees and then spend the night in them. She invited me to take the class with her, but I declined. When Anne returned, she regaled me with stories of a woman named Betsy who struggled throughout the weekend, constantly complaining about cold, wet, hunger, discomfort, etc.

I looked at Anne and said, “I would’ve been the Betsy of the quinzhee.”

True then and true now.

#Snowpocalypse Now

All week, those of us in Colorado were bombarded with forecasts for an epic snowstorm. The forecasts frequently changed (regarding intensity, snowfall, start time, etc.) and during one 45-minute period in which Zippy checked three times, he read three different forecasts. The whole situation began to feel a bit hyperbolic.** That’s no longer the case.

View out my front window about 4:45 p.m. on March 14, 2021

The birds are doing their best to weather the storm, including these two Northern Flickers clinging to the telephone pole and three American Robins hunkered down in a Russian Olive tree:

         

Photo quality is poor due to the swirling snow covering windows on all four sides of the house. (Full disclosure: my windows were already smudged by cats and dog).

Drought-stricken Colorado definitely needs moisture so I’m not complaining, especially since I’m warm and safe inside. I realize how very fortunate I am.

** My favorite tweet from the week (@PhosphoSolution):

 

 

Here comes trouble

Basically, if you go looking for trouble, it’ll come find you.  ~ Estelle

February 25, 2021

This squirrel and I had multiple face-offs the other day over the peanut feeder that keeps the chickadees, nuthatches, and bushtits happy. I don’t mind squirrels snacking on the bird food now and again, but I do object to them eating ALL the peanuts.

Scat! The squirrel food’s hanging on the back fence, yo.

Mysterious world

American Robin. February 12, 2021

Birds are the most popular group in the animal kingdom. We feed them and tame them and think we know them. And yet they inhabit a world which is really rather mysterious.  ~ David Attenborough

Creeping on a Creeper

As I hoop-danced this morning, I watched various nuthatches and a squirrel visit the peanut feeder hanging in the tree outside the window. And then I noticed another bird moving up and down the tree trunk. The elusive Brown Creeper!

I stepped out of the spin and grabbed my camera, hoping I’d finally get a decent photo of that beautiful bird that never stops moving.
     

   

Definitely not high-quality captures, but these photos are documentation of the morning I paused my happy hoop-dancing session to stalk a Brown Creeper.

Nuthatch vs. Thatcher

I decided to bless this Monday with a wee Pygmy Nuthatch and went in search of a quote to accompany my photo. Alas, brainyquote.com interpreted my “nuthatch” request as a search for Margaret Thatcher quotes. NOOOOOOOOO!

I remember gagging when the valedictorian in Zebu’s high school class (a young man I like very much), referenced Thatcher in a positive light in his graduation day speech. And more recently, I could barely watch season four of THE CROWN because it included the Iron Lady, a politician whose every mention makes me feel stabby. Gillian Anderson did an amazing job portraying that horrible woman and the heartless policies she championed, but my entire body felt like a mass of raw nerves whenever she was on screen. (Okay, I can’t resist giving a sample of Thatcher’s philosophy: “A world without nuclear weapons would be less stable and more dangerous for all of us.”) Spoken like a true colonizer, Maggie.

Anyway, getting back to the original intent. Here’s a sweet little bird that recently visited our yard:

January 10, 2021

Happy Monday to all. Stay well and I wish everyone a good week.

Sunday Confessional: played by a hawk

The other day, I glanced out the kitchen window and saw a hawk on the power line. It turned out to be a Cooper’s Hawk and I remained still to admire it, knowing from experience how quickly predator birds will leave the wire. But after a couple minutes, I decided to take a chance and went for my camera.

January 22, 2021

January 22, 2021

I went to a closer window and took a bunch of photos that looked to be pretty good. The entire time, the hawk stayed right where it was on the wire, head turning as it scanned the ground  in all directions.

Satisfied with my still shots, I changed the camera settings in preparation for the hawk taking flight. I’d had enough of my many blurred, out-of-focus shots of birds in flight. This time, I’d be ready.

I stood at the window and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Eventually, I went back to the kitchen to make my smoothie, glancing out the window every now and again. The hawk remained. I took my smoothie and stood by the sliding glass door, the camera around my neck. Set to capture motion.

The hawk started turning to his/her right to look directly at me. I raised the camera to my eye and waited. Nothing. I decided to take a quick photo of it glaring at me and so changed the settings. Yep. That’s when the hawk decided to take flight.

I yelled and then laughed. Played by a hawk.