Far and few in-between, our yard of lush native nature, an extension of the wild and wooly countryside that city folks often run to on their escape mode weekends...we are not the darling of the city planning association. The wild ones visit us less often then before, as the expanding neighborhoods isolate us from natural nature. The box turtle migration is relegated to past memories, and the raccoon tots filling up on ripe juicy grapes haven't been back for many, many years. Rabbits surprise us seldom with our yard now far from wooded terrain. We lament their babies are no longer viewed in the gardens. Skunks still roam the nights and some days, but they must be one of the most misunderstood creatures to roam our world. I've researched their ways, and have successfully gardened with them close at hand, but not out of worrisome eye sight. I know I have lizards in the rock piles, but they are impossible to be viewed easily in all this haphazard greenery and fluff. Pond frogs plop-plop into water before I get close for a view. Tree frogs have delighted us visiting on the sliding glass doors. Garden toads are sometimes viewed in the early evenings as they make their rounds for yummy ants and garden slugs. The leopard frogs haven't been seen for more than a decade, and one summer a Norwegian rat caused quite a stir. A pair of voles busied about a few summers ago while friends panicked and assured us they would overpopulate the grounds; but you know they disappeared with hawk and owl visits. I miss them munching about the wildflowers and grasses. Mice are few now, but amazed once to stand in their path as they crossed in front and behind me until I uttered a sound that sent them scurrying for cover with their bad eyesite not to their advantage. And those wonderful winged and earthbound creatures we call bugs, insects, beetles, arachnids...their varieties numbering into the multi-thousands...totally amazing. It's mostly about the birds, though; those angels and devils of the heavens that are always searching for new digs as man wipes out the old. The ones you don't give two hoots about...house sparrows and starlings. The ones you give one hoot about...northern ravens, american crows, rusty blackbirds, common grackles, and rock doves. The ones you give a lot of respect to...cooper's hawks and barred owls. The ones you give ten hoots about...northern mockingbirds, blue jays, cardinals, house wrens, carolina wrens, tufted titmouse, black-capped chickadees, song sparrows, white-throated sparrows, white-crowned sparrows, flocks of american robins, american goldfinch, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, the common flickers that haven't been seen in the gardens for almost twenty years, eastern bluebirds, red-breasted nuthatches, cedar waxwings, mourning doves, common nighthawks, tennessee warblers, slate-colored juncos, purple finch, common redpolls, and on and on and on. Nature's always in flux as species thrive and species die. She adapts the best she is able...I'm a mere dot on the horizon in my small efforts to give her half a chance of at least lasting my lifetime.
She has enslaved my weary heart in chains,
so demanding and much unforgiving...
only on me will I lay any blame,
such vanity so intoxicating.
Light orange Butterfly Weed
dark orange Butterfly Weed
Dark Green Bulrush pond plant
Southern Bush Honeysuckle 'Butterfly'
The Nature of Beggers
in baby fluff
chips stolen off
the deck railing.
That same railing
the night before
found an opossum
in search of
with Dustin barking,
growling with intensity
safely behind closed doors
at that long tailed intruder
adorning the deck trellis
from his perch...
for drought has a way
of bringing nature
closer to my backdoor.
Woke up one morning to find this 3 pound
concrete statue in a new position.
Maybe the opossum?
Clematis viorna seed heads
*why two cats and a dog
should never have adopted
sweat burned eyes
peek through wisps
of wind frizzed hair
aching fingers still
in a death grip
as the sun rests
below the horizon
with the job
is erasing the
of a tomorrow
of #%!(&* work
as they wait
Coolest place in the gardens
Persimmon just before Dustin gobbled it up...crazy pooch!
Prairie Patch Dragons
May all your problems be ittsy bitsy ones
all your blessings more than a hundred hands full.
Mindlessly cruising down Hobson Pike, powered on coffee and totally void of motivation; I'm heading to that last place on earth I would ever visit if I weren't in need of a roof over my head, vittles on my table, and a few rags in my closet...THE JOB.
I've been passing this congregation of blackest black buzzards for the last three days, munching on something humongous in the grasses...a deer...a cow...perhaps a hiker??? Humongous because that's where the whole gang is except one. That one dolt is munching on a small speck in the roadway.
That evening, as I travel faster than the speed of light in my escape from THE JOB, that poor roadway munching dolt is discovered to be just a wad of broken feathers plastered to the asphalt. The next day...being mindless...remember, I'm on my way to work...I begin to ponder, as I swerve around that wad of broken feathers still plastered to the asphalt, if buzzards ever munch on a buzzard that is road kill.
It's a valid inquiry. A friend of a friend of a friend knew someone that unhappily had a buzzard commit suicide under his 60 mph right tires, and he claimed he was blessed with a rotten puking date killing stench that lingered around his beloved vehicle for weeks. Not even skunk removal concoctions could peel off that cloak of death from his set of wheels.
I google it at work, being the inquiring soul I am; and hey, it's important to satisfy curiosity, even in the work place. It's a valid question that could pertain to some aspect of my job, inside or out.
Well, I'll be a monkey's auntie! Buzzards are related to storks...kind of like the black sheep of the family, so to speak.
They carry around their own portable air conditioner dribbling crap on themselves to stay cool...okaaaaay.
A buzzard's digestive system will cremate anything, so disease organisms are history when gulped down hitch hiking on that putrefying snack.
Buzzards have even been known to snack on young defenseless itty bitty creatures that are still briefly in awe of that wonderful world before their eyes.
They prefer herbivorous road kill, you know, a muncher of greens; although last year I did see a trio flipping tiger striped kitty road kill around a bit, perhaps praying for a tastier grass grazing mouse to pitter pat along sooner than later.
The human consensus is that wad of broken feathers plastered to the asphalt will stay that wad of broken feathers plastered to the asphalt until it disintegrates.
Do buzzards ever munch on a buzzard that is road kill? The answer from any respectable buzzard, even if his stomach is shrinking to the size of a marble, is "HELL NO!!!"
Middle childhood did not always shape me in the most positive of ways, but my mom did open that door for me to the world of music, art and finer things, though she seldom ever had any of these in her life, whether by choice or not by choice.
She had albums upon albums of 78 records, and a few 16 inch records. I never saw her play any of them. They must have been from a time before her marriage, and just laid in cardboard boxes until I began to explore the closets. I played them on an old portable phonograph.
I also, for my own special keeping, had those little yellow vinyl 78 records that looked like miniatures of the regular sized ones. I still remember Dean Martin singing 'when the moon hitsyour eyes like a big pizza pie, it's amore'...someone else singing 'somebody stole the wedding bells'...and who knows what else. I had a small stack of them, but those two are the only ones I still remember at all.
The day a floor model credenza type stereo was delivered to our front door and mom turned the delivery man away, refusing to accept something she hadn't order; was the beginning of her personal lifelong deprivation goal giving new meaning of ones dedication to obstinacy.
Dad, without conferring with mom, decided to put themselves in more debt, more debt that mom totally did not want, debt that she had to accept to squelch all the arguing that ensued between them when dad discovered the stereo he ordered was turned away. She lived with that stereo that took up one end of the living room floor. Dad had it blaring away all the time, records and radio; but mom never, never, never ever played it in his lifetime or in hers up to the day she sold the house and gave the stereo away or had it trashed.
The only movies I remember mom ever watching were the ones when we all piled into the car with sleeping arrangements in the back seat, and spent the evening at the local drive-in movie theater. The only movie that made such an impression on me that it has been impressed in my brain in indelible ink to this day was 'The Blob'.
Mom NEVER went to the movie theater houses with us except in our little tyke years, and dad went with us only a few times when we were older; but we almost always had permission, so it was just me and my younger brother Eddie, or just me, watching those 25 cent movies with a 10 cent bag of popcorn and a 5 cent Popsicle.
I absorbed magazine culture from the constant supply of current women magazines mom kept in our home, and slowly built up a storehouse of knowledge of all the finer things in life, and was dismayed that none of them existed in our home. A one income household with five hungry mouths to feed, five growing bodies to clothe, and five inquiring minds to satisfy...the finer things in life for us were only all those things that money could not buy.
In later years, I would go antiquing with mom, sometimes buying small babbles to decorate the shelves or walls, mostly for mom, but sometimes for me. I loved and still love old doilies and runners that are crafted with a fine hand and eye for art.
As an adult, I've gone through times when I've had nice things, sometimes very nice things; but I've also gone through times when I've had crap...just crap.
I do enjoy all types of music, art, and finer things; and the seeds of these loves were planted by mom...the records, the movies, the magazines...even though she had very little of her own.
All the finer things in life, those things that money could not buy, I also learned from mom; but that's another story, another post perhaps later.