A Lively Drummer

Happy “First Day of Spring” to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere. Though it doesn’t look very much like spring here, a friend reports seeing a flock of Canada geese fly over. To celebrate the day, I’ll reblog this story from a few years back:

Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman who lived in an old mobile home right next to the woods. This old couple had reached that phase of life so aptly expressed by the poet:
“Those difficult days have come and lit:
too tired to work; too poor to quit.”

One afternoon the old woman, ready for a nice nap, plopped her weary self into her recliner and closed her eyes. A few minutes later she heard a curious sound:

Scritch … Scritch … Scritch

Now this woman, in addition to being old and tired, was also hard of hearing. In this case her handicap made it difficult to judge where the sound was coming from. It seemed to filter in from some peripheral place — a hard-shelled bug tapping on the window, perhaps, or a bird hopping on the roof?

SCRITCH … SCRITCH … SCRITCH

Now it could be a student shut in one of the trailer’s back bedrooms rooms half-heartedly pecking away on a manual typewriter. It would take him years to get an essay done at that rate.

Then the old woman remembered she was hard of hearing. Was the source of the sound a lot closer than she first thought? Had some brave mouse ventured out to nibble at the cat food sitting on the dining room floor? Her eyes popped open and she looked toward the cat food dish in the dining area. No mouse.

Now all was silent, so she reclined and shut her eyes. Such a tiny sound she could ignore. Zzz..

CLANK CLANG CLANK CLANG

The old woman jumped from her chair. This was more like a chainsaw chewing rapid-fire through a drain pipe. She hurried through the trailer, checking every room, but saw nothing spinning or vibrating that could produce a sound like that.

Some madman must be chain-sawing his way through the trailer wall! What else could make such a racket? She rushed outside to let this fellow know he dare not mess with her. (Okay, a bit of fiction added to embellish the tale. 🙂 )

She saw no one, no reason for this awful noise. The only living thing she saw was a northern flicker on the roof peering down at her curiously. He was sitting on the chimney…

Oh.

The flicker, deciding she was a wingless, harmless creature, went back to his task of drilling a hole in the steel disc protecting their chimney, producing an identical CLANK CLANG CLANK CLANG

Perhaps the bird was excited about his ability to produce such a rousing sound, but the old woman had never been a fan of heavy metal. Offering a harsh critique of his music, she persuaded him to do his drumming somewhere else.

This Grandma’s Old

Today I did some cleaning up in the spare bedroom, which doubles as my sewing room — and tonight I’m feeling it in my back and one hip. However, I can now see daylight at the end of the tunnel. That is, the spare bed that’s been a “catch-all” for quite awhile has now been unloaded and the closet floor dis-covered and ready to vacuum.

The weatherman is predicting a storm for this weekend, my husband tells me, so this evening I’ll sit awhile and schedule tomorrow’s blog posts, in case the internet goes down overnight. We have satellite internet service and when there’s heavy cloud cover, service is iffy.

Here’s an item I posted a five years back, after a day of babysitting my grandchildren, ages six and two. It’s even more true today than it was then. 🙂

No Tramp-ing for Grandma

The Apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Cor. 13:11

When I was a child I played as a child, too, tumbling, twisting, and hopping around as children will. I remember being almost four and jumping down from the hayloft of Grandpa’s old red barn, led by my adventurous brother Jim, eleven months older than I. We’d run into the barn, climb the ladder in the chicken coop fast as our little legs could take us into the hayloft, and jump about twelve feet down to the ground. Then do it all again.

Now my grandchildren can’t understand why Grandma doesn’t want to jump on the trampoline with them.

“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” 1Cor. 10:23

Jumping on the tramp is an okay thing to do if you’re able, but my body doesn’t flex that much anymore. All things are lawful for me, but I will be sore for days after if I try performing acrobatic feats. All things are lawful for me, but my muscles may sprain or tear.

One day, hurrying home from work, I tore the muscle in my leg just stepping off a curb; I couldn’t put weight on that leg for a month after. It’s no fun having to hobble around on crutches for a month!

Yes, it would be okay for Grandma to jump on the trampoline, but the rebound might go on for days as my arthritic joints protest being treated to preschool activities. As it is, my lower back feels a few twinges after from lifting and carrying a chunky little almost-two-year old.

When I was a child I ran after other children all over the playground. Now that I’m old I can see why Grandpas & Grandmas are happiest tending their gardens. Plants may be a lot of work, but at least you don’t have to catch them first.

I love my grandchildren and count it a blessing that I can spend time with them, but they do remind me that I’m not so agile anymore.

Scrapping

Sparrows

They squabble like humans,
these sparrows tussling over
fallen seeds under my feeder.
Silly birds! They can’t comprehend
a big bag of feed in my garage

poured out fresh daily,
Food for all, yet they threaten
and buffet each other;
little warlords disputing division,
eyes fixed on the last crust,
while fresh loaves brown in the oven.

As if there’ll never be enough,
as if each one must have it all
or starve. Or do they simply enjoy
scrapping? So much like people!

Other Side of Nowhere

Book Review

THE OTHER SIDE OF NOWHERE
by Max Allen

In this book wildlife biologist and photographer Max Allen takes readers on a naturalist’s journey into the prairie, sagebrush, and sandstone cliffs around the Yampa River, a 250-mile long tributary that squiggles its way westward across northwestern Colorado to join the Green River in Utah.

According to the writer, the Yampa “is one of the very few rivers in the area remaining un-dammed and free flowing. The river offers many recreation opportunities from rafting to fishing, and of course wildlife watching and photography.”

Mr. Allen includes with his photographs descriptions about some of the settings where he took them, plus camera details. As he writes in his notes, most of the animals he’s photographed are not unique to that area, but he’s gotten some great shots of them living their “everyday lives.” For my part he could have included more about his own involvement in that region, too.

I found the book very well edited and would recommend it as a coffee-table book, gift for a nature-lover, and a nice addition to a reference library.

In the fall of 2015 I received a free copy from The Story Cartel in exchange for my honest review, then purchased my own copy. This Review is reblogged from Christine’s Reflections post, Dec 3, 2015.

Max Allen has since put out another photographic journey, also for sale on Amazon:
The Itinerant Photographer: Photographs from Five Years of Wandering with Wildlife and the Stories behind Them

Diners on My Driveway

Mourning doves, prim and proper,
strut along, poke among the pebbles
for windblown seeds.
Their muffled cooing
mellows the morning air
while a jaunty flicker nearby
jack-hammers ant homes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

May Doings at Our Place

The tree swallows have been back for several weeks and are busy building their nests now. One pair has found our bathroom exhaust fan vent to their liking again so we’re hearing tiny scratching noises in the cavity. A few mourning doves have returned and I think I’ve seen some wrens in the last couple of days, as well as different warblers and the first goldfinches.

A couple of days ago a small flock of thrushes landed in our yard and have been foraging in our garden and on the driveway ever since. There are three kinds of thrush that come through here: hermit thrush; Swainson’s  thrush; gray-cheeked thrush. These are either Hermit thrush or Swainson’s, but it’s pretty hard to tell from pics in bird books.

They are still scattered around the yard this morning. Such cute birds with their pudgy white tummies, speckled at the throats, white eye rings. They won’t stay around; their nesting grounds are in the pine forests farther north, but I enjoy seeing them passing through every spring and fall.