Up and Out

Last year, a mother Carolina wren made a wonderful nest on my back porch. For two weeks, we watched the parents tend to their youngsters. I don’t know a lot about this species, so those twelve days of observation taught me a lot. For example, in that very short period of time, the chicks grow tremendously. At the end of twelve days, they are almost as big as their parents. But though they are adult-size, mom and dad don’t expect them to behave like grown-ups. Even when the babies are so large that the nest is literally bursting at the seams, the parents tend them carefully. Then they bring them from the nest and begin teaching them to fly, letting them take little flights from branch to branch to strengthen their wings. Now this process has a whole new meaning for me.

Tiny, helpless, impressionable. They need their parents to teach them how to be who they are.

Tiny, helpless, impressionable. They need their parents to teach them how to be who they are.

My house is quiet this morning. For the second time in three days, I made a pre-dawn trip to a rendezvous point to drop off a child for a trip. The girl-child went on a mission trip to the inner-cities of Philadelphia, and the Padawan left this morning in a convoy of 41 buses to visit our nation’s capitol with the Safety Patrol. My chicks are making their test flights, stretching their wings and discovering the world beyond mom and dad. It’s exciting, it’s terrifying, it’s expensive. Since big brother and sister got to take big trips, Squish’s grandmother invited him to her house for some adventures of his own. He left last night. Suddenly my nest that was so cramped feels big. It feels empty.

I’ve been reminded lately of how brief my time raising kids actually is. The oldest is a year away from being on her own. Today, with the house so quiet I can hear the refrigerator hum, I have a glimpse of what my life will be like in a few short years. It’s my day off, and I am alone. Now I am asking the inevitable question. What do I do when there is no one asking for a hug or a lightsaber duel, no one to take to the zoo or to the park, no one looking to me to meet a need? What do I do?

And the answer is: Any ever-lovin’ thing I want. How about popcorn and a MoonPie for breakfast?

Nekkid Chicks

No, you’re not in the wrong place. It’s still a family blog.

Look what I found yesterday in a cooler on my back porch.

What a strange bundle of leaves. And a strange location. That's the cooler where I feed my snake.

What a strange bundle of leaves. And a strange location. That’s a little soda cooler.

A closer look? Okay, then.

Click to enlarge. The gallery pics show up tiny, but the photos themselves have some great detail. I love my new camera!

My mother has a great deal of experience with birds, and she believes that they have just hatched, and she’s probably right. There’s not a single feather on these little nekkid chicks! I am trying to figure out the species. It’s a tiny one. I know because mother bird and I scared the poop out of one another, and she flew right by my head.

I love that she has built her nest inside a cooler. The temperature will stay nice and cozy without getting too hot. Who says they are bird-brains? And here’s proof that most birds have a poor sense of smell. I use that cooler to feed a snake.

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On a totally different note, I am preparing my first review post for our awesome children’s book club. It should go live on Monday. If you have already done a post about a favorite kids’ book, send the link to me so I can include it in the post. If you want to do one, include a link to Monday’s post somewhere in yours, and a link to your post will appear as a trackback. That way we can all find each other’s awesome children’s reads.

Also, you are welcome to click the Goodreads widget in the right hand column and join the club On Goodreads. Until that site is completely taken over by Amazon Zombies same diff a huge, multinational corporation and we are forced to hold meetings in my playhouse. I’ll make the gingerbread.

Death to the Gamer Bird

I’m tired. Sleep eludes me for several reasons. For starters, Phoebe, my sweet PBGV, has lost her ever-loving mind. She’s going through yet another false pregnancy and spends most of her time in mourning because she believes she has misplaced her non-existent children. She’s willing to adopt, outside her species even. but the cats are having none of it. Though their rejection cuts her deep, she’s not willing to give up. How many times does someone have to pee in your bed before you realize you don’t belong together? I draw the line at one, but Phoebe is a forgiving desperate soul. Two weeks ago, she was a normal dog. Anyone rising before 7:30am  might qualify for a half-hearted tail wag. From her spot on the couch. Now she’s up all night digging a bed for her babies and despairing of ever having a four-legged lover. Spay your pets, people. Spay them.

It is a sad, dark world without the babies. Even if they are imaginary. Especially if they are imaginary. Won't someone show a Phoebe some love?

Another obstacle to my shut-eye is the heat. The temperature outside is only in the 50s, which is just about perfect for opening the windows and letting the breeze blow. The only trouble with this plan is that our neighbor apparently has hot flashes. The hormonal state of another being doesn’t typically register on my radar unless they are attempting to nurse their squeaky hamburger in my living room. Or if their air conditioner sounds like a Boeing 747 and never stops running. I’m almost looking forward to weather hot enough to turn on my own AC so that I don’t have to listen to hers!

But the number one turd on my poop parade this morning was one of God’s own wild creatures. No, not Squish, but thanks for asking. I’m talking about a bird. I’ll say straight up that I am not a bird person. I can identify all the frogs in my area by call alone, but I wouldn’t know a pigeon from a partridge, so please don’t ask me what kind of bird it was. I don’t know. I don’t care. I just want it to shut up! 

It started about 5:45am, and it has a fairly complex call that I might find moderately interesting at any time after my first cup quart of coffee. The first part of its call is a “Yoo-hoo!” pitch, followed up by an echoing trill I would normally associate with Frogger making it to his lily pad on an Atari 2600. Over and over and over and over.

I’m pretty sure this is how species go extinct. The stupid bird is doing a great job of advertising its location, but the incessant nature of its call is leading this normally even-keeled animal-loving individual to wonder how said stupid-bird would taste with ketchup. And a side of rice. And maybe some steamed broccoli. I will let you know tomorrow.