Sunday, May 29, 2011

Planting flowers, and birds, birds, birds

We've had so few good warm and not-rainy days this spring, I feel I'm behind on everything.  I had scheduled Alberto to mow the lawn every week in May, but due to weather, it turned out to be just twice.  Wednesday was sunny and warm, and I took the day off work to go nursery hopping with best friend Celia.  We found some lovely things!  Today I spent a good part of the day planting in both pots and in the ground and doing weeding which I've been working on for a couple of weeks.

The yard is green and lush and everything is growing like crazy (including the weeds).  Most wonderful of all, the yard has become something of a bird sanctuary of late with an incredible variety of birds.  Some of the photos below are from earlier years, but all are birds visiting recently.  The most thrilling would have to be the lazuli bunting.  The most charming and heart-winning are the chickadees who are nesting for the second year in a row in my decorative blue birdhouse.

Buntings:  Just a few at first, and now a whole flock of them.  They are small but feisty.  Females are a yellowish-brown.

Black-Headed Grosbeak: Adult male in the first pic.  The second is either female or young male, but I think young male by the strong markings.

Scrub Jay (a couple years ago)
 Goldfinches (April)
 House Finch and Goldfinch (April)
Flicker (Feb)
 Chickadee defending his territory.

There are also the doves and quail which I've failed to photograph.  And of course, robins, And the occasional hawk.  Whom have I missed?

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Awoke at 3 a.m. to a loud humming sound and wondered why the furnace was so loud and wouldn't shut off.  Opened my eyes and saw bright flashing red and blue lights through the bedroom window. And then smelled smoke.  I looked out to see the hum was the idling engines of about five fire engines and numerous other emergency vehicles in the street behind my house.  In my grogginess I thought it might be my own house but as I quickly dressed, realized it had to be a next door neighbor.  It was.  I stood outside long enough to see that they had brought out all the people, though I didn't see the pets.  Smoke was pouring from the roof but no visible flames from here.

Very alarming.

I could see no way to be of help without getting in the way, so I went inside.  No more sleep.  I would just sit and watch and wait.  Now about two hours later, a few of the vehicles are starting to put equipment away and leave. 

It was Frost's house -- Gene and Donna's.  Well, that was until Gene died and Donna moved away.  Years ago.  Friends of ours -- of Doug before he died, and mine. And after several subsequent owners, the present ones who are a young couple.  The young guy of the loud stereo, loud parties, loud motorcycle, and on one occasion, brandishing guns in the front yard, all which disturbs my peace.  The young woman who just moved in with him a few months ago.  I saw they both were safely out of the house.  But I don't see their dogs.  A house fire is something you wouldn't wish on even someone like this who has been most unneighborly to the rest of us on the street.  It's a terrible, frightening thing.

I looked at the house now with dark windows, some standing open.  A tall ladder to one.  A really pretty house.  Gene and Donna had made it so lovely.  It triggers so many memories of when the kids were small and growing up.  And now to see it suffer this tragedy. 

You think of the fragility of life.  Of the passage of time.  Where we have come to.  How quickly things can change.  The lessons of life.  I wonder how to start my day, doing my cleaning, buying the flowers for my patio pots, tending the grandchildren, when such an event has shattered lives so nearby.