primsong: (freshly dead)
Took a shop vac out to the greenhouse to suck all the cobwebs, dirt, lichen and other crud out before coating the inside with wood preservative - it has two shelves of spaced apart slats with an aisle between them, the planks have a corrugated trough underneath to catch drips and such.  Going along poking the vacuum nozzle in wherever it would fit and it clogged.  Pulled up the nozzle to see what was clogging it, expecting a wad of moss or something.

It was a bird skull.

Looking down through the slats I could see the flat remains of an entire bird skeleton with cobwebby, dusty feathers.  How in the world did it get down in there? The wings were spread so it must have been trapped alive?  It was long ago either way.  The Tomb of the Greenhouse Bird. 

My son considered the skull.  "Man, that's totally metal." 
primsong: (seasonal)
Our area got a whopping 8 inches of snow since yesterday, which for us is unheard of - everything is at a complete standstill.  I bundled up before it got dark and waded down my long driveway to the mailbox but the mailman never made it apparently.  Lots of kids on sleds on the hill nearby and my cat has glued herself to me so if I even make a motion of possibly sitting down she literally comes running to get into my lap.

Got out to the birdfeeder in the back yard and cleared a circle around it so the ground-feeding little birds could get something to eat, the trees around me became an excited chorus of chirpings as I revealed the ground for them and they were all over that bit of earth as soon as I was back to the house.  Dumped some stale nuts out there for the squirrels as a way to get rid of them (the nuts, not the squirrels) and retreated back to where it was warm.

Very, very grateful right now for having a roof, windows and walls.  Oh, and hot macaroni-and-cheese with lots of freshly ground pepper.  Grateful for that too.
;-)

Splink!

Jun. 21st, 2016 04:38 pm
primsong: (threejo bessie)
We sadly lost Millie the Millet Muncher a couple weeks ago, and the remaining two budgies were morose without her, so I checked with a local bird rescue lady and she had some to look at. We picked out a happy, bouncy little fellow and he's been just an absolute joy. Rhubarb and Treacle-cake are getting along with him just fine. He's bright neon yellow on the back and bright neon green on the front.

His name is Splink. Hee hee.

primsong: (nom)
So... I was at Bible Study last evening. The windows in the room look out at the bend in the building where the two wings come together. I watched a crow fly up onto the roof there with what appeared to be half a burrito, a great find for a crow. It spent some time happily pulling bits off to eat, then stopped and looked around, considering what was left. As I watched, it carefully hefted it up, carried it to the edge of the roof and stuck it into the gutter, cawed a few times and flew off.

Apparently a roof gutter makes a great safe for a crow's treasure, as he came back shortly and reached in for a couple more bites, then flew off again. Didn't see it come back while we were there and then it got dark. Now I need to send a note to our handyman to let him know, lest the mystery of the mummified gutter burrito be too baffling to him in the fall.
primsong: (dori)
Went out to my little greenhouse to fetch a pot, opened the door only to find a frantic Mama robin bouncing around inside. Looked to the side where one glass panel is missing and the grapes outside are trying to migrate into the interior and sure enough - nestled into the grape vines is a robin's nest with three wee robins looking back at me, holding completely still - one was even caught with his mouth still open.

"Don't worry, Mama, I won't hurt your babies. They're beautiful," I murmured and backed out.

I knew there were some robins nesting somewhere around here because they're in the birdbath all the time. Now I know where!


Robin
primsong: Danny Kaye and Basil Rathbone (jester get it)
Funny how we can get used to things.  A friend visiting says "I can't hear you over all the parakeets chirping," and my response is a briefly befuddled "oh, they're chirping?"  (as "burble burble burble CHIRP ack ack ack burble squeep" goes on within a yard of my head).  My whole family is so used to the ongoing sound of five happy budgies that we don't even notice it until we have to say, record something (drat! the parakeets are in the background! I forgot they were there!) or try to have my husband's barbershop quartet stop by to rehearse something ("how do you make those birds be quiet?" "Oh! Er....here, I'll just carry them into another room...")

A bit like living near a freeway or a train-track, just more cheery and full of fluffy feathers.
primsong: (dori)
Well, I had my second round of chemo this morning, so that's half of it done (not counting the next three weeks of recovery before the next).  They really go out of their way to help set you at ease, a big suite of oversized green leather recliners, warmed blankets, snacks and drinks - I just get 'plugged in' with my drip and sit and read books, occasionally flagging a nurse to say "May I have a cocoa?"  Sunny windows look out on nice landscaping and beyond the trees the cars going by and they have a bookcase full of books and magazines and a table with an ongoing jigsaw puzzle. 

My hair is definitely beyond presentable, so I'm into my hat collection in earnest.  I have a great little ruffled calico 'muffin warmer' cap I can use for sleeping, it's adorable.

I feel fine now, but I found out the last time that the 'crash' comes a couple days later so I'm running around trying to get all my yard watered before the heat of this weekend arrives.  We sure could use some rain.  The parakeets (all five of them) are having a grand time out on the sunny deck and the plums and cherry tomatoes are coming in like gangbusters. Hoping all is well with everyone!
primsong: (columbine)
For any who may be interested, I snapped a picture of the budgies this morning

Lemondrop & Treacle-cake

Lemondrop has her injured wing there, still keeping it loose rather than tightly folded as they usually do though she's  better in all other ways, no more bleeding or panting.  They're still both a bit jumpy and shy and I keep them partly covered all day.  Treacle-cake Cricketbat as my family has now dubbed the blue chap (he responds to words with sounds that are parakeet like - 'eek, ick, ack' so he ended up with a Benedict Cumberbatch misnomer, *snert* - quite a lot of syllables for such a little slip of a thing.  I'll probably just end up calling him Treacle)  - he's slowly beginning to be more vocal and briefly played with some of his toys, so we're looking up.

primsong: (seagull)
Quite a bit of snow yesterday and last night, and more coming tonight, so I went out and swept a bunch of snow away in a circle around my birdfeeder out back and sprinkled seed for the ground-feeders, then added an extra suet block, some old pistachios we needed to get rid of and a chunked up peanut butter sandwich my daughter forgot about a couple days ago.  It's been nonstop out there, I'm seeing varieties of bird we almost never have come through, which is kind of cool.

I think this cold caught more than just us humans by surprise. My cat is unimpressed with getting her paws in the snow, though I also swept around her catflap she set a new record for the time between when she went out the front door and reappeared through the back catflap leaving "kitty rapidly bounding" marks around the edge of the house.
primsong: (seasonal)
Uh-oh, the Cold Winter of Doom that thus far we'd been able to hide from has apparently found us - quite the drop in temps and wow, look at all that white fluffy stuff out there!  A bit of a novelty.   I swept and salted the entry at the church so the few preschoolers we had and their families hopefully don't slip, some of the high school girls that usually wait on the property for their rides after school were huddled inside the narthex, can't blame 'em!  All the schools are out early and the roads are full of people creeping along at 10mph trying to not slide into one another.

Filled my birdfeeder out back and it already has a young squirrel and a handful of chickadees trying to get some food amid the snow, the little squirrel keeps getting blown over onto her nose when she tries to sit up to eat, obviously her first winter, the older ones are cozily holed up somewhere already.

Little yellow parakeet (now dubbed Lemondrop, slightly more complimentary than Lemonhead) is doing better every day, coming down to the middle of the cage instead of hiding up in the corner and even chirping a little if you talk to her.  I added a heating pad on low alongside the cage to help keep her warmer, so far so good - I'm figuring at this point on keeping them til spring to stabilize and forget about whatever it was they went through, then we'll see about maybe finding them a home of their own.

Time to make hot tea!

primsong: (unimpressed)
Well, my two formerly homeless budgies are still settling in - the little yellow girl was fluffed, stressed and otherwise miserable enough over this past week I was pretty worried about her, but every day she got less stressed and less fluffed - now she's slimming down to normal parakeet appearance.  Her blue laddie was quite concerned, always sitting right by her and moving to be between her and me if I reached in to fix their food.  She didn't like to move except to get food and water, so I kept her half-covered and added extra vitamins and molting food to her diet.

Last night she finally began to move around a little and slowly stretched her wings - which let me see she's been injured on the one!  It looks like it's healing up nicely, but.no wonder the poor little thing was miserable!

Very pleased that they are starting to take interest in their surroundings and sing a little now, they aren't aggressive at all.  The man from the church who brought them in said he doubted they'd ever had a normal or healthy home-life, which is sad for anyone, person or critter, definitely time for Better Birdie Days Ahead.
primsong: (eagle)
I was working at the food cupboard at church and heard what I was sure was a parakeet chirp - so I tracked the sound into the preschool down on the same level and found a supply room where a birdcage was sitting with two 'keets in it.  They had no cover, an oversized dish for water and a cup chock-full of wild bird seed. 

Asked around, seems one of the guys in our church had rescued them from an unstable home situation - he seemed to think they'd be just fine down there but I know how cool that building gets on the lower level at night ("They come from Australia right? It gets cold there," he reasoned)... but I told him I wanted to take them to my house where they could be with other parakeets and he agreed.

SO - I have FIVE parakeets now, my three (Millie, Freckles and Rhubarb) plus these two - we're calling them Lemonhead and Sky Guy for the moment.  I outfitted their cage with toys, mirrors, budgie food, grit and a celery stalk, they chirped along with some upbeat music, all is well.  Guess I better buy more millet, I don't know how long we'll have them.
primsong: sunrise over Haleakala (clouds)
In about an hour I have to do one of those rotten Grown Up things and be the one to take in one of our parakeets to be put to sleep... or whatever they do. I'm not sure if the avian vet has something like a little birdie gas chamber or what...

Gradually over about four months her abdomen swelled up until she was a miserable bird-balloon, so we took her in to the vet who drew off a huge (for a parakeet) amount of what is essentially egg white - a malfunction of the bird innards that are supposed to make the occasional useless egg instead filling up the whole bird. She was back to her svelte, bright green and otherwise happy self but I knew we couldn't keep on 'draining the bird', it all depended on how quickly it came back.

One month later and she's a bird balloon again and a very miserable one indeed. She's been well loved and had a good life, but she's only 6 so we had hoped to have her longer than this - still, it serves no purpose to have her panting and fluffing and trying to waddle around full of albumen. Poor little Sherbet. I'm glad Freckles and Millie, her cage-mates, are happy with one another so they hopefully won't miss her for very long. Freckles has been nursing her, cleaning her feathers and feeding her seeds, dear little chap.

Drat.
primsong: (medieval crowd)
Wah! - I had to miss Fic Rush. :-P Hope I can catch the next one - sounds like much fun was had by all.

The rain seems to be neverending here, though I suppose that IS par for the course for winter. Splorped out among the poplars in the deluge to clean up a large dead poplar branch that the wind brought down across the driveway - I wonder if my rather deep bootprints in the mud will still show up when it all dries up in the summer. Snowdrops are blooming! My crocuses are starting to show color! *bounces in anticipation of early flowers*

Also a parakeet victory - Been gradually moving the two birdcages closer together over the past month until they were snugged right up side-by-side and within a couple days the birds were spending all their time sitting right next to each other, trying to reach through the bars (awww) so yesterday was the Grand Reveal - I set them up with open doors so they could go from one cage to the other if they so desired.

By noon, I had all three of them happily sitting together in Sherbet's cage - and now Freckles and Millie won't go back to their old cage, they seem to have Officially Moved In with Sherbet. Maybe she just has better toys. ;-) So nice to have them all happy and only one cage to clean each day instead of two - Yay for non-lonely budgies!
primsong: (seagull)
You think I would learn to never go shopping while even the least bit hungry - especially not with a hungry daughter who has the same weakness I do.  Marshmallow pies.  (anyone ever read "Lafcadio"? We too, looove our marshmallows)

We brought a box home and snarfed them in, er... rather short order.  Many vegetables must be consumed to make up for this somehow.   Many things I can resist in this life, but marshmallows are not among them, I even like 'toasted marshmallow' flavored syrup in my coffee. Mmmm.

Speaking of little, soft, white things... we ended up naming our new little white parakeet "Millie" after a delightful little white-haired bird-like lady at our church whom we love dearly.  Freckles and Sherbet approve, and she seems to like her new name, or so she told her mirror many times.
primsong: (dori)
Finally found a pair of parakeets to adopt, and they're only the next town over so it won't even take a lot of driving to fetch them.  One is white with a little blue ("Bella"....we're going to have to rename that one) and the other is blue with a little white ("Freckles"....he gets to keep his name).  They had the white one for a while then found the blue in their backyard and took him in and nursed him back to health a couple years ago, both are happy little snuggling chatterboxes.

Our lonely Sherbet bird will be SOOO happy to have other birds around, now what remains to be seen is how well they'll accept one another, but I'm going to be doing that with a gradual month-long nudging cages closer together like the pet forums all suggest and we'll see what happens.  Yay! BIRDS!!!  I'm all happy and hopeful, we pick them up tomorrow.  I've nearly always had parakeets in my life and it was just way too quiet with only one in the house.
primsong: (squirrel)
As the Autumnal weather here turns from crisp, colorful confetti into the cold rain and soggy leaf phase, I've had to finally give up on my cherry tomato plants actually ripening any of their many remaining fruits... cleaned them all out of their planters along the deck, then went down to gather up the bodies for the yard debris pile. Little green tomatoes, so many! I hate to see anything go to waste if it's edible so I hauled them up to the bird feeder station and scattered handfuls of tiny green tomatoes over the ground. All around me the excitement in the trees became intense - "She's THROWING SOMETHING on the GROUND!" screeched the jays and thrushes and all the little birds agreed it was VERY exciting! What could it BE?"

As soon as I pulled the remaining greenery off to the sideyard I peered back at the feeder. Sure enough - jays, thrushes and a woodpecker were already checking it out, though only the jays gulped some down. The others considered it then decided while they were there they'd just have an enthusiastic go at the suet instead. The LBJ's (little brown jobbies) will get their turn once the Big Boys are done. After squirrels come through, I think they'll be gone... saw a squirrel this morning running along the side of the driveway with a mushroom cap bigger than his head, lol...

Here comes winter!
primsong: (illumination)
Went out to move my sprinkler from where it had been sprinkling away near the lilac bush, giving the ferns, vinca and hostas a drink in this dry season - Turning it off, I went to pull it up from the ground when I became aware of a chorus of little cheeps - birds! Little wet chickadees and bush-tits, a cloud of them all hopping about in the dripping lilacs where they'd been bathing. Literally surrounded by happy little wet balls of feathers I had to just smile at all of them and then ducked as the bbbrrrrrr of the hummingbird pair that have been nesting here whirred past seeking their share of the bath party before it was over, a wonder and a treat to see them all so comfortable with me so near. The robins waited on the lawn, eyeballing me curiously but were quick to take their hopping into the 'summer rain' that I soon started on the garden beside them.

Just a moment that seemed worth writing down.
primsong: (flower)
We have some poplars along our drive that belong to a neighbor whose lack of monetary resources means they are dead and have been for some time, sitting like that giant W from 'mad mad world'. Everytime I walk down the drive I hear them creaking even though they are embedded firmly in their companion trees and not likely to fall.

So - I am working my way down the drive spraying for weeds with my old friend the backpack sprayer when I hear creak creak creak cheep cheep creak cheep cheep cheep and look up to realize one of the old trunks has some neat woodpecker holes in it and there are both upstairs and downstairs woodpecker nests going!

I stood and watched as the mom and dad woodpeckers flew back and forth bringing food for their hungry broods, couldn't see the babies but sure could hear them, so adorable. There's something to be said for neat yards and taking down dead trees, etc. but there's certainly a place for a touch of natural nesting as well, just wonderful.
primsong: (Default)
We came home from church this afternoon to a plethora of robins. They were scattered and swooped and sprinkled and hopped all over our yard, we nearly ran one over on the gravel drive, she was so focused on bathing in a puddle, surrounded by golden poplar leaves - I slowed and she belatedly exploded out of her sadly-disturbed contemplative bath to fly up among her brethren in the trees.

And oh, the trees! We climbed out of the car and just said "Listen! Listen! Listen!" to one another in wonder, the air was filled with birdsong. Uncountable numbers of robins leaping about the branches, twirling about with one another in the air, watching us from shrubs, the back of the benches, the top of the fence; it was one of those lovely transcendent moments, the sunlight and rain-washed earth all aglow in their autumn finery and filled to the brim with the moving music of migrating robins.

Tuck moments such as these away and treasure them, such a brightness for any darker day ahead.

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