Midnight Tales

Our Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is WREST

One definition, according to M-W, is “to gain with difficulty by or as if by force, violence, or determined labor.” Our newest cat, Tuffy, though he’s only half-grown, doesn’t seem to have such great difficulty wresting small creatures from their hiding places, but I’ll use this word in my response. Since the writing prompt is to be a quick, fun thing I’ll offer my little rhyme.

The temperature has turned quite mild recently, to the delight of our cats. They’re ready to rush off to adventures whenever the door’s open. Yesterday Tuffy raced across the driveway, over the big snowbank on the other side left by the plow, and up into the crotch of a nearby tree. Heaven help the birds come spring! Last night when I let Tuffy out the back door he started nosing along the side of the trailer. Before long he stopped to investigate one spot intently.

 Outside in a flash
 nosing in the tall grass
 surrounding our dwelling,
 Tuff found a small swelling.

 Oh, joy! 'Twas a hole
 smelling strongly of mole – 
 or maybe a mouse
 entry into our house.

 A wee mole was stirring,
 his cat nature spurring
 his talon to wrest
 pipsqueak from its nest.

 That sad little creature
 became the prime feature
 in a game of delight
 for Tuffy last night.

The Dark Creatures

Dark, Fluffy, and Very Playful

We seem to be dealing with our share of unique black creatures these days. Two weeks ago we found this black-and-white fluffy stray kitten on our doorstep. Bob had him to the vet on Saturday and he got his first shots. Lori, the vet, said Tuffy’s the most uniquely colored kitten she’s ever seen – and all the girls at the clinic thought he was adorable. 🙂 Lori’s never seen a cat with two-toned fur like his before. Tuffy’s back and leg fur is made up of black and white strands intermixxed, which gives him that hoar-frosted look. And his mostly-white ruff is so long it’s almost a cape around his neck.

The Odd Bird in the Flock

I have mentioned different times that we’re putting out bird seed and feeding a flock of sparrows that hang around – mostly in our Caraganas or in the woods on the east side of our trailer. A few different times I’ve noticed a rather large sparrow in the flock and one day I realized it wasn’t a sparrow at all. Not with a long tail like that. A closer look revealed that it was a red-wing blackbird. I don’t know why this bird decided to pass the winter hanging out with a flock of sparrows here on the chilly prairie. Was he injured or too weak to fly south with his own kin?

I’ve been keeping an eye out for him this week and today, using my binoculars, I was able to get a good look at this misfit. I have never in my life seen a blackbird quite like this one. He’s black for the most part, a black beak, too. But his upper back is kind of mottled or streaked with grey – which blackbirds never are. He has the curved wing markings of a red-wing, but they are white, or light grey. Perhaps this is the red-wing’s winter coloring, but we never see them in winter, so how can we know?

He hangs out with the stubby little English sparrows most of the time but appears to consider himself above them because he shoos them off if they get too much in his way. And he never comes to the feeder pole – at least I’ve never seen him at the feeder or on the ground below. Maybe when the weather gets colder he will? My first thought was that he won’t last; surely a blackbird can’t survive our winters. However, if the sparrows can survive, why shouldn’t he, too? Time will tell.

My Gobbling Google

I’ve had some issues with my cell phone lately – the G-mail has been gobbling up my plan’s bytes like teen boys at an eat-all-you-can buffet — and we can’t figure out why. One thing I have tried: I changed my settings and cancelled notifications so I’m not getting so many incoming e-mails with photos from other bloggers. I can rather check my Reader for new posts. I’ll see if this will make any difference this month. So if you’re inclined to post a lot of photos and you aren’t hearing as much from me, it’s because I’m not getting all your notifications right now.

One last thought — but quite important: I’d like to give a warm welcome to all my new followers. I’m not sure where everyone is finding my blog, but I see the numbers going up. 🙂 You’re all welcome to browse in the archives, read and comment on posts.

Wishing everyone a “Happy Hump Day” – as another blogger calls Wednesday, since it’s the middle of the week.

Snow – Lampman Verse

Sorting through a few of my Dropbox files this evening. Hope you enjoy this verse:

Snow

By Canadian poet Archibald Lampman

White are the far-off plains, and white
The fading forests grow;
The wind dies out along the height,
And denser still the snow,
A gathering weight on roof and tree,
Falls down scarce audibly.

The road before me smooths and fills
Apace, and all about
The fences dwindle, and the hills
Are blotted slowly out;
The naked trees loom spectrally
Into the dim white sky.

The meadows and far-sheeted streams
Lie still without a sound;
Like some soft minister of dreams
The snow-fall hoods me round;
In wood and water, earth and air,
A silence everywhere.

Save when at lonely intervals
Some farmer’s sleigh, urged on,
With rustling runners and sharp bells,
Swings by me and is gone;
Or from the empty waste I hear
A sound remote and clear;

The barking of a dog, or call
To cattle, sharply pealed,
Borne echoing from some wayside stall
Or barnyard far a-field;
Then all is silent, and the snow
Falls, settling soft and slow.

The evening deepens, and the gray
Folds closer earth and sky;
The world seems shrouded far away;
Its noises sleep, and I,
As secret as yon buried stream,
Plod dumbly on, and dream.

A Pixabay Image

Summer Fun Verses

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is SUMMER FUN

Image: Jill wellington — Pixabay

Well, I’m looking out on a white world and watching more snow come down, so I’ll have to draw from memory’s pages — or scribblings. On Sunday evening I opened a tub that’s been stored away for awhile. This is my “finish and polish someday” tub. I dug through various scribblings and pulled out a number of half-baked poems to work on and post later. I’ve decided to type everything onto computer files ASAP, just to get rid of the paper clutter, and work on them as I have time.

Here are a few micro-poems that fit the SUMMER FUN category:

My best effort
to join the wren
in joyful melody;
sadly my tune
just hasn’t the wings!

morning light
Venus and a sparrow
share the bird bath

moth floating
in the bird bath
no life jacket

in this wind
even the young lord’s kite
bows

Emergency

Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning: EMERGE
The Word of the Day Challenge: PROVOKE

We had an emergency of sorts this morning that led Bob to emerge from the warmth of our home and enter the world of white and cold.

I noticed yesterday afternoon that our bird feeder was almost empty, but Bob had a supper appointment and didn’t get home until late — and dark. So the bird seed was depleted this morning. The sparrows were clustering hopefully but getting nothing; some of them took to hovering in the caragana hedge a few yards from the living room window. From this vantage they can peer in and provoke guilt in their human suppliers.

Alas! The humans were slow in getting around, being occupied with computers and such. The birds’ urgent need led them to try Plan B: a number of them came and perched on the railing right outside the front door. They were making their needs as clear as cheepy little birds can. I took up their cause and a few minutes later Bob went out with a bag of feed and corrected the problem. As soon as he disappeared around the corner of the house, the cry went forth and sparrows swarmed the feeder.

I think their policy is: Go out into the highways and by-ways and tell all your friends there’s a feast ready to enjoy beside the mobile home. Sometimes I can scarcely believe how many sparrows there are on the feeder and on the ground nearby. A couple of magpies intercepted the call; they’ve showed up to try and grab a few sunflower seeds. Our feeder is awkward for them, but hey! Free food’s worth a few contortions.

Image: GLady — Pixabay

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord which made heaven and earth.”

Psalm 121: 1-2

Our sparrows know they can look to us when they have a need — and they have their own small way of making their needs known. Likewise we turn to the Lord for our help, knowing how He’s has taken care of us thus far in life. Though we haven’t been able to attend church services much since March, still we’ve been able to listen to some very inspiring messages — including several yesterday — thanks to modern technology.

Cassandra Predicts

Our prompt words for today:
FRACAS, CHILLING, CASSANDRA, DISSEMINATE

November 1, 2020:
Sticksville is a nice-sized town set in the lush corn belt somewhere west of Pennsylvania. A quiet community with a home-town friendliness. Safe, too; no big-time crimes happen here. The last major assault case was back in the fifties when one of the bankers whacked some miscreant he found trying to break into the safe.

People here in Sticksville are generally a down-to-earth bunch. Most citizens cast a skeptical eye on gloom-and-doom prophecy and people who claim to foresee the future. But our residents may have changed their minds after this morning’s invasion. An invasion that was foretold just two days ago.

It appears that on Thursday, Oct 30th, in the middle of the afternoon, diners in the Tradewinds food court were startled when a young woman climbed up on a seat and began shouting to the multitude. Two good friends, Isadonna and Panorama, told our roving reporter that they arrived at the Tradewinds, the town’s only indoor shopping mall, just in time to see the woman stand up on a seat and start calling out.

At first, they said, she could hardly make herself heard over the general babble, but everyone fell silent as they realized what was taking place. The two friends soon caught on that she was shrieking some warning at her unwilling audience, ranting about a “mega-disaster invasion” coming very soon. They observed a mixture of doubt and fear on the faces of the audience.

Calling herself an “end-times Cassandra” the woman announced the disaster as “something that will affect the whole town – each and every one of you. The stars Plexius and Glassus have aligned this week. The ground hogs have burrowed really deep this fall. Nature has given them a danger signal. And last night I dreamed of alien forms all over Sticksville. These are SIGNS! We are about to be invaded by some sinister force! We need to prepare for a disaster of mega-proportions. Very soon,” she reportedly claimed.

Mall security arrived at this point and led her away, but her proclamation caused quite the fracas in the food court as people debated what her prophecy would amount to and others speculated about how much her psychiatric bill would amount to. As people left the mall, details of her chilling prognostication began to disseminate all through the community.

As I said, residents of Stickville may wish to pay closer attention to future prophecies, since citizens all over town woke up this morning to discover piles of what are apparently unsold Halloween pumpkins and gourds in their yards.

Local farmers are being questioned.