Friday, November 04, 2011

Odds and Ends after a few days off

A couple of mornings ago, a big, BIG owl launched itself from the mulberry tree in the back yard and went flying off west. I think it was a Great Horned Owl; I'd heard its call enough times to recognize it when I Googled it. The sunrise colored it cream and pink and erased any bars on its wings. It returns to the mulberry tree late at night after it hunts and spends the early-morning hours calling.

A Cooper's hawk nearly got a dove yesterday in the neighbor's back yard. I heard screaming and ran to the kitchen window, just in time to see a dove fight its way out of the hawk's talons and see the hawk soar up, screeching. I hope the dove's okay. The same hawk has made at least one sortie against The Boys while they're in their Kitty-Coop; I've found her feathers hanging off the wire mesh ceiling of the coop. At least it's not a red-tailed hawk; Cooper's are big enough to hurt an eight-pound cat, but the red-tails we grow around here could kill one of the boys, easy.

The low last night was about 35 degrees F. Max came in this morning puffed up, feeling ten years younger, and doing his hurpling puppy-dance, so I gave him an egg yolk and a tiny amount of bacon grease in his kibble. One thing about having a sense of smell about a billion times better than ours: it means you don't need much bacon grease to have a good time.

One of the sweet hippies across the street and I got to talking. Turns out he let everything die in his garden this summer. That made me feel much better about not watering the yard-long beans or worrying about the tomatoes after the tree fell on them. Strangely, both his globe basil and mine have come back from the drought and horrible temperatures and are leafing out as good as new. Note to self: make spicy-globe basil my new groundcover.

Man of God's child is pulling up and cruising the house with the help of convenient, ten-month-old-child-height handholds. He has blond hair like his father and dark eyes like his mother and already looks to turn out taller than either one of them. He smiles and reaches out to me when I say hi, even though I've been the one to examine the various rashes he's gotten so far and set his parents' minds at rest.

I put together an elliptical trainer today. The reviews on Amazon said it would take me about two hours, and it did, from the time I cut the first strap on the shipping carton to the time I tested it out. Then I fixed a couple of wonky drawers in the pantry and eyeballed what it would take to demolish the built-in closet in this office. All of this has left me with the smug feeling of accomplishment that presages an email from a Fulbright scholar taking me to task for my grammar. Bring it, boys! *I* can put together an *elliptical*.

One last wildlife note: I went out this morning, way early, before sunrise, to take some things out to the recycling bin. It's one of those heavy-duty plastic things on wheels that stands about three and a half feet high. I opened it and--there in the glow of the streetlights--saw a pair of eyes looking back at me. So I closed it again, abruptly, and wheeled it to where the light was better. Inside was an adolescent raccoon, looking very apologetic and perhaps a bit ashamed at having caroused on black-bean cans and empty beer bottles all night. He scrabbled pleadingly on the inside wall of the bin, so I laid it down on its side and let him get out before I dumped cardboard into it.

Raccoons are, I have decided, intrinsically funny, like elephants. Or turnips, or pennyfarthing bicycles, Jell-O, forgetful professors, sex, any number of bodily functions (come to that), peacocks, getting caught in the rain, religious authorities, people in hats, or umbrellas.


messymimi said...

It's the sad fact of life that everything needs to eat, but we hate to think about what, or which animal, is getting eaten.

Anyone who can put together an elliptical may use any grammar she chooses, and i majored in English. Besides, i was taught it was rude to correct others, and you may tell the "scholars" i said so.

You're right, raccoons are funny.

Laura said...

I love raccoons...especially the family that used to come up to my back porch and feast on the dead junebugs that met their demise in the "trough" between our door and the back porch. Thanks for sharing all your stories. Love them!

Jenn said...

Sounds like a very good productive day filled with wildlife.
Yay for bacon grease! It makes everything better!

woolywoman said...

I have a red tail that uses my bird feeder as a.., well, as a hawk feeder. It is amazing to see, and I'd rather see a bird get eaten by a hawk than by one of the zillion feral cats around here. My cockatiel was near the window once when it happened, and he freaked right out. All those generations of cockatiels born in bird cages, and he still knew exactly what he had seen.

Anonymous said...

The owl and the raccoons are such wonderful creatures. Scary though, both could kill cats - and a full-grown raccoon can kill a big dog. I worry too, I have both around here as well,

Ivanhoe said...

That's some serious wild life you have around. I'm planning to move to country when the economy picks up and I'm able to sell my current house. I should get mentaly & physicaly ready :)

Elyse said...

Raccoons are funny! A very young raccoon once joined his family to learn how to raid houses for cat food, my ex scared it by chasing it and the little guy ended up scurrying into the unfinished attic and falling into the inside of a wall. I was so worried! But all turned out well as that night I heard a crash and there the little bugger was in the bathtub, having fallen through the cheesy ceiling tiles above it. We looked at each other for a bit - I think his look was conveying "I meant to do that." Then he was outta there through the open door with (as I imagine)a"you guys will never believe what happended to me. . ." story to tell his friends.

Anonymous said...

A couple years ago, we had an opossum that would get herself into a similar predicament. At least once a week we'd go to put something in the big trash can, and there she'd be, looking embarassed, because she could get herself in the can but was too fat to get herself back out. We'd gently tip the can over and she'd waddle her way out and across the street. She was quite endearing for something that looked like a giant rat bred with a zombie and then rolled itself in 12 day old trash.

June Clever

beth said...

I lived in busy jacksonville Florida for 10 years, what wildlife I saw the beach and the birds that came through. It's been two years since I have moved to the country, I love all the critters, big and small. You sound like you live in a nice spot.

Aud said...

Raccoons are, I have decided, intrinsically funny, like elephants. Or turnips, or pennyfarthing bicycles, Jell-O, forgetful professors, sex, any number of bodily functions (come to that), peacocks, getting caught in the rain, religious authorities, people in hats, or umbrellas.

This is the best thing thing that I have read in days. Thank you for the much needed smile. :)