Friday, August 03, 2007

In a Word - August

When we last left our heroine, she was held captive by the evil banker, who was threatening to repossess the fruit bowl, foreclose the mortgage on her tiny tin can and throw her into the street unless she .... wait a minute, wait a minute! That's not right! (For one thing there's no mortgage.)  

The villain, as I recall more clearly now, was "Exhaustion", something movie stars suffer and get checked into posh Hollywood hospitals for. Us common folk just go to bed and get a few nights sleep - and hire help

Ian and Zak insisted that we get some help, and Cathy recommended a local agency called "Interior Senior Care", a non-profit organization which provides services which help older people, or the disabled, remain independent and in their own homes. Can we say; Day versus Night? 

My "Assistant" is Brenda, a lovely and very pleasant young woman. She came for a visit last week and yesterday she picked me (and a pile of laundry) up and off to town we went. In two hours this whirlwind had seven loads of laundry washed and folded into bags, we had gone grocery shopping, gotten water, gone to the pharmacy and gone to the ATM. I lifted nothing, carried nothing. 

It was wonderful! When I got home I was not so tired I was sick. I did not collapse for the rest of the day. I cooked a meal, put away the laundry and food and even defrosted the fridge! 

Tony is now up on his wheeled walking frame. It has a seat so he can sit and roll himself to the bathroom and get to his computer etc. He is a very happy camper. He still can't put any weight on that broken leg, but he can use it to balance. He'll see the surgeon on the 14th and we'll see how much further he can push it then. 

This has been a beautiful day. It's been hot, not oppressively so, though yesterday came close as it was 38 C (100.4 F) . We've had a very brisk wind today, which kept us very comfortable. It's 2:00 pm and we have just now turned on the AC. 

As you can see Salvador is holding down summer. He says, "Itz hard werkz, but sumbuddy haz gotta do it." He's recovering from his nosy nature as well. He investigated a green stinkbug and got "stunk". The stinkbug produces a noxious (but harmless) spray which it emits at the boiling point, and Sal had his mouth and nose burned. I rushed him inside and washed his mouth and nose in cold water, and he was none the worse for wear, but he's more cautious about investigating bugs now. The striped winged ones sting and green ones burn!  

He's also been diligently watching the birds, making sure they are supervised. They've learned that he won't chase them, and the quail will walk right past him, and me, or approach us, just to get a closer look. 

We have a small flock of Rusty Blackbirds who visit daily. These birds are listed on the Audubon Watchlist as a declining species at risk. 

I was dismayed to look out the window a few mornings ago to see what appeared to be a dead Rusty lying in the grass. It was lying on its side, one wing stretched to the side, head flopped over, beak agape, eye open to the sun and unmoving. I wondered if it had hit the window of the big motorhome parked next to us and broken its neck. But then it gave its head a shake, shook the wing and hopped up onto its feet. I've seen this behaviour several times since. Sometimes they stretch out one wing and lie on their side, sometimes they lie on their belly and stretch out both wings, flinging their head backward till it touches their back. 

After seeing several of them do this, for 30-60 seconds at a time, I've decided they must be napping, and assume a "dead" posture, so that predator birds don't attack. Cats and other ground hunters hunt by sight, but if a bird doesn't move they are not likely to see it. Stationary objects are often overlooked. 

Adult Rusties have the most unusual brilliant yellow eyes with black pupils. Young birds have dark eyes. About a dozen Rusties visit, eating seed and digging insects from the grass where we have recently watered but there is only one juvenile bird among them. There should be lots more youngsters accompanying a flock of this size. There's an aggressive trapping campaign here, aimed at the huge flocks of starlings which decimate orchard fruit. I wonder if the young Rusties get mistaken for starlings during the nettings?

On a bright note, the American goldfinches have raised a brood of what appears to be four chicks, three males and a female. It was quite a sight to have all of them at the feeder at once. The purple finches, hoary redpolls and multitude of variety of sparrows continue to bring baby birds to the feeder, and we enjoy watching the begging and flapping and the parents' diligence at teaching their young what's for dinner. 

I didn't mention the watermelons - another post... 


2 comments:

SMM said...

Most excellent. Helpers are the best. We just need to get over asking for help.


I had help with a nap this afternoon. I was reading and chanted jumped up and stood on my and massaged my belly. The spun around a twirl or two and then became recumbent and forced me to follow suit.

I tried to continue reading but obviously she was sending out heavy eye lid vibes and soon I was asleep. Book feeling rejected with its covers closed.

Zak Greant said...

Hello Mammy,

I was very interested to read about the odd behaviour of the Rusty Blackbirds. When I was in Australia, I saw a set of scrub turkeys doing what sounds like the same thing.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/zak/370425442/

Love,
--zak