Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birds, travel, and grandsons

I wish I were a better birder, wish I could recognize the various birds that come to my feeder outside the kitchen window (of course, the exterminator tells me that's why I had rats last year and I should put it far away from the house, but then I wouldn't see the birds, and I do enjoy them!). Tonight a small crested fellow came--he had just a bit of red at the back of his head, and his body was striped black and white. He was quite striking though I have no idea who he was. I do get cardinals and bluebirds and robins along with sparrows and other small birds, whose names I'm not sure of. And I often get doves, who are too big for the feeder but still try to eat from it. The library staff at work frequently sends out pictures of birds they've sighted, asking for i.d.--the last was a red-tailed hawk, seen in my neighborhood, though I've not seen it. But recognizing birds is one of the nature lessons I really long to know. I'd also like to be able to recognize more types of trees instantly. I know elm, maple, oak, post oak, redbud, dogwood--and oh, what's the one that turns the beautifl red in the fall? Anyway at my age, my nature education needs improving. And speaking of such, I hear they caught a bobcat in Frisco, north of Main street and west of the freeway--which is exactly where Jamie and Mel and the girls live. I'll have to ask for a report.
At Christmas my neighbors put bright Christmas ornaments in their bird feeder and strung festive lights along the fence between our two houses (there's not much room and neither of us have a scenic view). They've turned out the lights but not filled the bird feeder, which of course makes me feel righteous because I emptied, washed and refilled mine last week. But tonight I also saw some birds pecking away at the leftovers in their tray and completely puzzled by the ornaments. One morning recently I watched a mourning dove sit on their window sill and fly again and again up to the crossbar on their window. They have, courtesy of previous owners, some kind of reflective covering on their windows--the only way to remove it is to hand-scrape inch by inch and in spite of all the wonderful things they've done to their house, they haven't done that yet. So I don't know if the bird was confused by it's own image or what, but it kept flying against that window and I felt so sorry for it.
The reflective stuff on Jay and Susan's windows, along with my new blinds, has led to a funny phenomenon. Now that I keep the blinds open on that side of the house to get the light (several people have remarked lately on the wonderful light in my house, but it was always hidden by those gauzy drapes before!) But when their house is dark, I clearly see the reflection of mine--it looks like their kitchen windows have suddenly developed a lower dimension, which is really my bedroom--I can see the lamp I leave on at night. And in the morning, when I walk from my study to the kitchen, I see my study reflected--it's on a lower level than their house, but it looks so warm and cozy and inviting.
I am not a good traveler. Tomorrow I leave for Austin for five days, and I have to gear myself up for it, even though I'll be with my darling Megan and her family. Tonight she called and said the boys had one request: that I bring my knitting needles and yarn. Hello? Does anyone know how long it's been since I knit? At least 2-1/2 years because the last thing I struggled through was a blanket for Jacob. But apparently the boys want thneeds (google it--comes from a Dr. Seuss book) which are sort of shapeless, so anything I knit will be satisfactory. I put my bag of leftover yarns by the door to go and the knitting needles in my suitcase. Now if I can only remember how to cast on and off . . . .

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