Azahar pointed out to me in the comments section of my last post that I have been quite free in posting pictures of everybody except,well, me.
In the interests of justice, I herewith post candid shots taken by Alex of me earlier this month as I was giving Ruby some ear massage. This is pretty much the unvarnished Healingmagichands. I believe I did comb my hair that morning. The sweatshirt is one I made myself for a peace march last spring because I wanted to “BE” a sign rather than carry one. I figured a direct quote from the sayings of one of the Western world’s major religious leaders was pretty much unarguable. It is my answer to Dick Cheney, Bill O’Reilley, the Religious Right, to war-mongers everywhere. “Blessed are the peacemakers…Jesus”
Big sigh. Okay, that’s over. Now you all regale yourself with those images of me, while I go on with my life.
It has been a mixture of satisfaction and frustration here at the Havens. The Cardinals won the AFC, which frustrated us. But the Steelers beat Baltimore, and that was entirely satisfying. I have a new hero, Number 43 for the Steelers: Palomalu. What an amazing athlete. He had a fabulous game.
I did catch Jesse’s cold, and it’s not a bad cold. It stays up high in your head and makes you breathe through your mouth. The drugs I have been taking to clear my nose up made my brain very fuzzy. In a fit of mutual passion, Jim risked the virus in order to have a bit of afternoon delight. It was quite delightful (!) and unfortunately we did succeed in passing the virus to him. So now he is sniffling and snuffling around in a decongestant haze, which did not prevent us from having a halftime celebration yesterday that will give the virus a chance to re-attack me if I’m still vulnerable. Extremely satisfying.
My camera is alternately frustrating and satisfying. First of all, my eyesight is so bad that I cannot focus on the little screen unless I have my glasses on. This means that if I am out walking Ruby and have left them at home, when I see the turkeys across the field I can’t tell whether the camera’s little target is on them or on the grass in the foreground when I take my shot. So I get artistic stuff like this:
That’s perfectly fine unless you want a wonderfully in-focus shot of turkeys foraging at sundown. I also achieved a completely out of focus and underexposed vision of the herd of 18 deer that have been hanging around in the Conservation Area, which I will not inflict upon you.
On the other hand, when I have time to set up the pose, I can get portraits like this one of Ruby.
She is waiting for me to finish putting my shoes on and wishing I would stop making that little box beep at her. Ruby knows when I am getting ready to take her for a walk because there is a certain pattern of behavior that I exhibit. The only way I can avoid being followed during the ritual is to do it while she is outside. She knows where my bootsocks are and can hear me take a pair out of the basket even when she is sound asleep. She is the most perfect epitome of “Dogging my footsteps” that I have ever experienced. She does not bounce. Much. She knows she is not supposed to do that because of all the fragile things in the house, but usually at least once during my walk preparations I will hear the “Commando Bounce” occur behind me as all four of her feet hit the ground in unison following that anticipatory move. When I whirl around to look at her and ask “Did I hear a Bounce?” in a severe tone, she is totally still, innocent, butter would not melt in her mouth.
“Bounce? Me?” she seems to say. “I know nothing of any bouncing. My feet are, as you can clearly see, glued to the floor.”
So we walk, and we see things. Yesterday I saw a juvenile eagle being dived on and screeched at by a very upset Cooper’s hawk, who seemed to have taken exception to him sitting in her tree poaching on her hunting ground. The young eagle was hunched on a low branch, all feathers puffed out, head tucked down between his shoulders as she took a few pokes at him. He finally got tired of being molested, shook his wings out and beat away towards the woods, pursued all the way by the triumphant little hawk, who was immediately joined in the pursuit by an opportunistic flock of redwing black birds. Of course, there was no way I could get any pictures of that little street brawl, it was way too dark for anything other than smears to appear on the camera screen.
I had the same problem the evening I saw two great horned owls hunting together — no shot there. I was taken by surprise another afternoon when one had gotten up early and caught a rabbit. He was busy tearing away at it on the ground at the edge of the field when Ruby’s and my appearance startled him as we came around a turn in the path. He had the presence of mind to take the carcass with him as he flew off, disgruntled at the interruption. Frustration at not capturing those sights on the camera is over-ridden by the satisfaction of actually getting to see them.
I continue in my trash picking activities. The penchant humans in this area have for littering frustrates and irritates me. This is what I collected the other afternoon along the edge of the park where I walk Ruby.
The park shares a border with the Harley Davidson dealer. Can you tell by the selection of trash? They provide their customers with free coffee in styrofoam cups. Across the freeway from here is a Waffle House. People buy stuff at the local convenience stores and when they are done with their drinks and food just throw the trash out the windows of their cars. Regular readers of this blog know that this is my pet peeve of all pet peeves. I wish someone would call Patty Miller and ask for her, too. That number is 573-280-0474 in case you can’t read it. I mean, why is her sign out in the edge of the woods? This is what that edge looks like now that I am done cleaning it up.
Doing that clean up job annoyed me, but the way it looks when I am done is quite satisfying. My mood was lifted further when I realized I had piddled away enough time doing it to catch the sunset in the middle of its act on the way home. The view across our little natural lake is beautiful. I took this photo from the parking lot of a dead business, a tanning salon. I think there should be a little bar and grill there to take advantage of the view and location.
So then this morning I have had the mix of frustration and satisfaction continue. I took Ruby out for a little constitutional after Jim and I ate our breakfast. I was only going to play with the dog a little, so I didn’t stick the camera in my pocket. Consequently I completely missed the bird bath and drink fest that was going on over where the water runs into the pond. There were four blue birds, two cardinals, a blue jay, three red wing blackbirds, a rufous sided towhee and numerous finches and sparrows all enjoying the little water fall. I stood there, entranced. Eventually my kicking myself for not having the camera disturbed the group of bathers and drinkers so much that they all flew off. When I came back out a few minutes later, only a lone cardinal and a few juncos were at the water source.
Yes, there is a junco in that picture. It is standing just at the water’s edge at the left side of the little pool at the top of the waterfall. Now, that is some amazing camouflage.
The Cooper’s hawk is not unaware of the numerous birds that use the water source and eat at our feeders. She comes by on a quest for breakfast on a regular basis.
There have been some developments on the paper play front as well. I found a couple of pieces of hornet paper that just couldn’t be cut down to a card size without ruining them, so I was forced to make a larger piece using them. I’m pretty satsified with this work.
I call it “Good things come in threes.” I’ll frame this and hang it somewhere. Meanwhile, there is more paper over there calling me, so I will leave you for now.