Archive for April, 2007

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

yard4-7-0181.jpgHow about this to celebrate Earth Week? Our yard was just certified by the National Wildlife Association as an official Backyard Wildlife Habitat. To qualify basically you look at your piece of property as a critter or flitter would and provide food, water, and nesting spots for wildlife. It’s your choice. You can live on a little landscaped square and drench it in fertilizer and insecticide or you can think like a bird, or snake (Yes!) or possum or racoon, etc. It’s so easy to share the land with wildlife and the rewards are great. Remember the last time you vacationed and marveled at sights and sounds of the birds and critters? We do that every day. I remember a convention “wives’ excursion” in Alabama some years ago when the other women were ooing and awing at birds and butterflies. Guess what? All they were looking at visit our yard regularly. We have only to look out–and provide for them. Give it a try. You’ll have the serenity of a vacation right in your own backyard.

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Florida Backyard Detour

I must direct you to the link Florida Backyard Detour (Posted 4-19-7). You won’t regret it. My friend with the Zippity-Do-Da backyard has just unveiled her two new sandhill crane chicks. It is not to be missed.

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Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

vonnegutcage.jpgvonnegutmemorial-0051.jpgThe first Kurt Vonnegut book I read was Breakfast of Champions. In it Vonnegut brought many of the popular characters he had been writing about for years to a bad end. It seemed tragic, but he couldn’t wipe them out. They were still there in all the books I had not read, but would come to read over the years. Now Vonnegut has flown his earthly coop, but his thoughts are not dead. Those twenty-six little symbols he marveled at rearranging into words that made us think and laugh are still there in his books, laid out in an order only Kurt Vonnegut could conjure. So thanks, Kurt, for the “droppings” you left in the bottom of the birdcage.             *

 Kurt Vonnegut birdcage art by silkscreen artist Joe Petro (see link) 

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Full Nest

imga0002.jpgThe bird box peeped at me the other day as I walked by. So—- all I had to do was get the nerve to open the top and see what we had. My friend, Richard, who made the bird box for me does it all the time and apparently no nests have been abandoned, nor has he been bitten by the occasional snake resident, but it just seemed risky. I climbed the ladder and slowly opened the lid. My husband warned me as I peeked that mama bird was buzzing at the back of my head, but by then it didn’t matter. I was looking at four baby titmice. They cuddled together like little puppies. After climbing down, first one bird, then a second rushed into the little round hole. Then a third started to enter, but backed off and settled on a branch. Could the mystery titmouse have been from this couple’s former nest? Wikipedia says sometimes one from a nest will hang around to protect the next brood. All I can say for certain about this experience is that I need more bird boxes.

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Remember when John Wayne said of the young girl in True Grit, “Puberty hit her hard”? That phrase keeps running through my head lately, only in this version John Wayne nods toward me and says, “Daylight Savings Time hit her hard.”

How long have we been in this forced bugle call, a few weeks? Seems like months. I drag around each day like someone just off a redeye flight, then squander that promised “extra hour” of sunlight by napping for at least that long just to make it through to bedtime. I tried this year, really tried to push this legalized enforcement of our lives out of my mind and carry on as if nothing had happened. It didn’t work. My body will not be fooled.

There is a solution, though. I just need to convince my husband to move west each year at this time and return to Florida when REAL time returns—sort of like the “snowbirds” who make their annual pilgrimages to Florida to escape cold. I can see it now, all new sun cities rippling across the landscape, only we’ll call these moon cities in homage to that shining orb we worship as it arrives each night on standard time. With strains of Stardust and Moonlight Serenade, we’ll welcome its cooling beams and starry accompaniment. The sun can’t hold a candle to that.

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imga0001.jpgThis little guy had a hard day when our cat, Luther, mistook him for a toy. Jerry scooped him off the carpet (yes, lizards get in Florida houses) and threw him into the wildlife garden. That’s where we found him today clinging to a plant. He doesn’t look spirited, but is still beautiful with the harlequin pattern down his back. I’m not a huge diamond fan, but unearthing such a raw, uncut gem as this in nature, I consider a true find.

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