Category Archives: Animals

Squirrels for Breakfast

Because I like to watch the birds outside my windows, I can’t help but notice the squirrels. The nervously move through the tree branches, on the fences, under the bird feeders, and frequently peer into our windows at us.

Maybe they aren’t really looking at us, they may be looking for the nuts we bring into the house from the grocery store. I’m sure they smelled that large jar of fancy mixed nuts we bought for Christmas.

In October, some of my neighbors decorate their porches with corn stalks pulled from the field after harvest. Squirrels dash off with the dried ears of corn still attached to these stalks. One time I saw a squirrel running with the corn in his (or her) mouth with a four-foot long string of leaves trailing from behind.

A black walnut tree down the street is a favorite of the local squirrels. I’ve found the walnuts on window ledges on all sides of the house, in the nook between the drainpipe and house, on the garage workbench, in the backyard flower pots, on the patio table, and on top of the fence. My husband once accused me of messing with him by placing a black walnut on the tool chest in the garage. I told him that was a squirrelly practical joke and not one of mine.

One time I saw a squirrel run across the front sidewalk with what I thought was one of those walnuts. A few seconds later, that squirrel jumped up on the front window ledge and tucked a chewed up apple in the corner.

Now this is something new. Sometime late this morning, a bagel appeared outside on the kitchen windowsill. I’m guessing squirrel. Someone must have thrown out some old bagels this morning for the birds. Squirrelly grabbed it and hauled it up to one of his favorite “hiding” spots.


Do Not Disturb the Boring

Nothin’ But A Good Time
Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?



Coffee again.

Egg, fruit.

Sweating, exercising, showering.

Book reading, reading, and reading.

Salad, crackers, maybe sandwich, maybe soup.

Some combination.

Bird watching, bird feeding, bird watering.

Bird seed, hummingbird nectar.

By bird bath spying.

Flower and plant eyeballing.

Insects, squirrels acting squirrelly.

Reading, fiction or non.

Writing and inadequacies explore.

Salmon and broccoli.

Clean, wash, some home upkeep.

Read, Read.

TV, perhaps.

Resist overdose on Internet.

Resist. Reflect.


Chucking Dangerous

Cars fly on roadside

Woodchuck grazing grass so near

Danger so tasty

The Philosophy of Parakeets

When I was young, a neighbor friend of mine had two parakeets. The family was tired of these birds and since I always enjoyed them, they asked me if I wanted to keep them. I said yes.

These neighbors were German, or I should say they were Americans with German ancestry. They gave the birds German names: Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

Now those were some complicated names for a kid and a couple of parakeets. My friend’s brother explained that they were named after some kind of philosophers. At the time, that explanation didn’t mean much to me.

The birds kept those names. I spoke endearing little things to Nietzsche and Schopenhauer every day.

I ended up being interested in philosophy. Recently, I read The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche and enjoyed it.

It didn’t start out that way. I tried to read it about two years ago and couldn’t get past the language and ideas. But if I put a book down and restart it at a later date, I discovered that not only can I get through it, I often have a good reading experience after all.

The first thing The Birth of Tragedy reminded me of was Camille Paglia. She also wrote extensively about the division between Apollo and Dionysus. And this Nietzsche guy was writing this way before her! How fun. I love to make connections between the past and present.

Also it reminded me of an English professor that taught 19th century American literature. He used to drop philosopher’s names in class in order to illustrate some point. I wanted to know more. I had already read some literature from the 19th century and loved it; his class increased that love. I still reread sections of Moby Dick as if it were scripture by just randomly pointing to a sentence in the book and going wild with the implications and deeper meaning. The 19th century Nietzsche with his deep and dark is right up my alley.

Back to reality. My mother used to force me to call my father. She wanted me to beg him to come back to her even though she divorced him. Between the calls she made and the calls she forced me to make, he was getting in trouble at work. I started to refuse to call him. After one such refusal, she grabbed one of my birds and threatened to kill it if I didn’t call him. She eventually released the bird, and I did not call.

I never knew which bird she grabbed. Was it Nietzsche or Schopenhauer that nearly bit the dust? A question for philosophy.

I must continue my readings.

Return of the Birds

Goldfinch in Winter

Spring is here. The goldfinches are back.

But in fact, the goldfinches never left, they stayed all winter. This is the first winter that we left the nyjer feeder sock out. A brown bird started to come to it. After doing some research, I found out that the bright yellow finches turn brownish for the winter.

With the coming of warmer weather, the goldfinches are yellowing up nicely.

All last week, it seemed like each finch was sporting more yellow feathers every day. The black and white stripes were gaining more contrast. I love the deep yellow birds with the dramatic bits of black. The winter doldrums are leaving, in with the warmer colors. Welcome back.

Goldfinch in Summer



Hope Is a Thing With Feathers

Bird outside my computer room window, I want to perch you on my hand so I can feel your weightlessness.

Are you as light as air?  Would your feathers feel soft against my hand? Or are your feathers rough, since your tiny toughness withstands harsh, icy winters while my large, heavy frame would perish besides you.

In general, you must avoid humans that could easily harm you intentionally or not.  But make an exception for me, just this once.  I’d be extraordinarily careful.  Then afterwards, fly off again and never trust us again.

The Alley on Florida’s Amelia Island

I was in paradise two days ago and came back to paradise today.

After attending a Florida wedding, my husband and I stayed on Amelia Island for a few days.  The historic district holds some interesting architecture from the mid 19th century.  During those years, only the rich had the leisure time to visit the hot and wild Florida landscape. That explains the grand, old houses on the island.

One interesting find on Amelia Island is Indigo Alley.  Two female Dobermans, along with their humans, run the place.

Indigo Alley serves beer, wine, fresh roasted coffee, light meals, and so much more.  Stop in and you may hear local musicians playing or local artists showing off their work.  You may find belly dancing, open mic night, poetry readings, movies, and classes on the French language and culture.

The two Dobermans are rescue dogs and they patrol the garden courtyard looking out for wild cats to chase off their property.  The courtyard lies in back of the building that was originally constructed in 1884.   The dogs also have an aversion to lizards on their property and chase them away (that is if they don’t eat them first).  These two girls are sleek, healthy, and sweet-tempered canines.  I’m sure a chance to visit with these dogs draws in some of the Indigo Alley clientele.

The dogs came upstairs with us to the rooftop deck seating and kept us company.   As we drank our wine, we watched dusk settle over the island and a full moon rise between the post office built in 1910 and the clock spire on the Nassau County Courthouse that was built in 1891. The old courthouse looks like it came out of a movie set with all of its ornate wood trim and long, dramatic windows.  In fact, a local resident said that courtroom movie scenes have been shot at this site.

Soon after, dozens of creatures came flying overhead with a frantic twittering and loud flapping wings.  At first, we though they were bats heading out for their nocturnal travels.  But the female human owner of the Alley set us straight and told us they were in fact chimney swifts coming home. After flying all day long, they were returning to the nearby chimneys and clock spire to spend the night. These birds fly all day long.  They eat insects as they fly through the air.  They drink water and bathe as they fly over the river surface.  They even snap off twigs for their nests as they fly by a tree.

The Indigo Alley rooftop offers a beautiful view of some of the oldest buildings in town and offers some good canine and avian companionship.

I left an 89 degree, sunny Florida day to a breezy, fall’s-a-coming kind of Michigan weather. I love it since autumn is my favorite season and Michigan has a fantastic one.  No more sunburn, sweating, humid sticky feeling all over.  Calm, cool, and comfortable is my idea of paradise.  I’m not good at traveling a long time and was ready to go home.

But I’m still thinking about Indigo Alley and feel sad that I discovered it on my second to last day on the island.  If I come back, one good reason would be to visit the Alley again and see if any new rescue dogs have joined the establishment.  I’ll know the best time to see an impressive bird show on the rooftop. Also I might check out the belly dancing classes.  I’ll give everyone fair warning on that last one.