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vistor, redux

Posted: July 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: critters | 1 Comment »

Our barred owl came back for another visit this past weekend, but he chose a sturdier tree this time. John went outside and stalked him with the camera.

tidbits: snow day edition

Posted: February 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: critters, life, nature, weather, work | Comments Off on tidbits: snow day edition

I’m calling my own snow day today. The snow is blowing sideways and it looks just miserable out there, so I’m going to hibernate and not go anywhere. The author proofs I was expecting to receive yesterday didn’t arrive — not sure if UPS gave up after the snow started yesterday afternoon or if they were just delayed, so there’s no editing work that can’t wait until Monday. I’m still fighting the headache from yesterday, and I think I slept wrong, since my neck is really stiff. I’m declaring today a day for puttering and flitting from this to that as the whim strikes.

I started out with catching up on the women’s figure skating from last night. The winner totally blew the others out of the water — just gorgeous! My husband will be thrilled that the skating is over, though, if only because it will stop me from yelling “Shut up, Scott Hamilton!” at the TV until 2014. (Seriously, someone get to work on the technology whereby one can turn off the inane and negative commentary and hear only the music. You’ve got four years: GO!)

The rest of the day, who knows?

Our little white friend over there walked right by my office window the other day. I grabbed the camera, opened the front door, and took that shot a split second after he started to take off. His coloring is called skewbald, and it is caused by a genetic variation. Originally, I thought we had three different skewbald deer, but in looking at earlier photos, this one, which I thought was a female, has the same exact pattern as a one-antlered male I photographed a few weeks ago. (I didn’t know until today that deer lose their antlers over the winter and grow new ones in the spring.) I can’t lay my hands on the photos we took of the one with the huge rack of antlers soon after we moved in, but now I’m curious if it’s the same one after all.

tidbits: overstuffed turkey edition

Posted: November 27th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, critters, jewelry, life, shows, tidbits | 2 Comments »

spaz_turkeys_2Yeah, I’m still working on the entry about how much I love my iPhone. It’s taken off in a direction of its own however, and it will not be rushed. I’ll get to it eventually.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s about the company and the food, without the crazy consumer pressure of Christmas. We had a nice, low-key Thanksgiving yesterday at Mom’s. We hosted the whole extended family gang here last year, which was fun, but we just couldn’t do it this year, what with the mid-renovation state of the house.

Considering how friendly I’ve become with the wild turkeys that wander about our neighborhood, I thought I’d have a very difficult time this year feasting on the bird. I didn’t. I enjoyed my share last night, then had some again this morning with my bacon and toast. I saved the stuffing for lunch.

I’ve got another couple of crazy weekends in front of me. Tomorrow is the Summer Market — for the Holidays at Bar Symon in Avon Lake. Next Friday through Sunday is the Laurel School Artisan Bazaar. The first is a holiday incarnation of my favorite show each year, and the second is a great show that I’ll be doing for the first time. I have high hopes for both.

tidbits: turkey edition

Posted: October 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: art, critters, editing, life, nature, tidbits | 5 Comments »

surpriseThanksgiving might be a little difficult for me this year.

I took a little break from a book I’m working on to take some photos of the changing leaves for a friend who lives in Hawaii but misses the fall colors on the mainland. (The colors are just spectacular in the rain.) I was working my way around the back of the house when I turned the corner and found my turkey friends in the herb garden, snacking on some worms or bugs or something in the freshly turned soil. I was almost on top of them before I noticed them (see how they’ve got that sneaky dirt-colored camouflage thing happening?), and one of them actually started to approach me. I snapped a few pictures, then switched to the movie setting and followed them around the yard for a few moments. You can hear the low sounds they make in the video, something between a gurgle and a bark.

They weren’t quite sure what to make of the fence; the other end of the fence by the gazebo isn’t quite so low to the ground, and they’re able to easily duck underneath down there. And it occurs to me with Halloween approaching that the clip of them near the playhouse might make a good horror film — the scale makes them look ten feet tall.

tingeofyellowThe herb garden is right up against the kitchen window, which now that I think about it explains the mysterious knocks I’ve heard a couple times today when there’s been no one at the door. At the last office job I had, the turkeys would come right up to the window and peck at their reflections, and it sounded like someone knocking. Mystery solved.

In other news, I have a nice stream of projects coming in, a good mix of scholarly and fun, light and bring-on-the-machetes, quick and long term. I really am a project person; I thrive on being able to work on something and then put it away as done. I don’t do so well in environments where you have to do the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over and over again. Or I have to work really hard to find some way to make each iteration different somehow.

redmapleI had a great time with the Cloth•Paper•Scissors Studio Tour last weekend. I visited every one of the stops on the tour and found something interesting or cool or beautiful or inspiring or otherwise worth my time at every one. And I found some intriguing new blogs in the process, too. (If you didn’t get a chance to take my studio tour, it’s the October 2, 2009, entry.)

And speaking of new blogs, Chris of Copper Leaf Studios is doing a wonderful job with her new-ish blog. She has such a wonderful sense of humor and writing style, and her personality shines right through. Give her a visit if you haven’t yet.

hey, turkey!

Posted: June 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: critters, house, nature | 6 Comments »

Just call our neighborhood Wild Kingdom.

The latest addition to the menagerie, following the pack of coyotes who used the ravine behind our house as a highway for a couple of weeks (but now seem to have moved on), is a mother turkey and her two chicks. Witness:

hey, turkeys!

This photo was taken from my office window. The little path that runs alongside that part of the house is a well-trodden route for them.

The mother will let me get about ten feet away before she starts to show signs of protectiveness.

We first saw the turkeys two weeks ago, and in that time the babies have really grown and the mother is starting to let them wander a little ways away from her.

My neighbor tells me she saw the tom last week, although I have not seen him.

My little camera takes video, although it’s not very high-res. But if you care to share in my fascination in watching them as they eat the seeds off the tall grass, here you go:

owl invasion

Posted: February 12th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: critters | 1 Comment »

I haven’t paid much attention to owls since the Great Owl Incident of 2004, but today they are everywhere: the Smithsonian Store spam, a post on design*sponge, a random Etsy page . . . I only hope that whatever the noise was that woke us up at 3:30 this morning wasn’t owl-related. Once in a lifetime is enough.

whoooooo’s in my house?

Posted: March 4th, 2004 | Author: | Filed under: critters, house | 10 Comments »

I came home Tuesday night just in time for the start of Gilmore Girls. I was looking forward to a quiet night on the couch after a stressful couple of days. I threw my stuff on the kitchen table and went over and flipped the TV on. A minute or so later, I went back to adjust the volume. As I did so, I heard some rustling coming from the plant on top of the CD case in the corner. It struck me as odd, since Fiona (the cat) is not able to get up there, and even if she could, there’s no room for her anyway. I went to shoo her away, because two of my favorite ceramic pieces live on the top of that case, as do some other breakables.

Much to my surprise, it was not Fiona up there, but a good-sized screech owl. A quiet, mellow, Fiona-colored screech owl, but a screech owl nonetheless. After a moment of panic and trying to remember if owls have a tendency to get pissed off and peck your eyes out or something, and being paranoid about how it might have gotten in, I decided to just call Mom to ask her whom I should call. She didn’t believe me at first. After I convinced her that it was for real, she suggested calling the police. I’m not sure that they believed me either, but they put in a call to the dogcatcher (?!?) to call me back.

Sometime in the middle of all this I saw Fiona saunter casually into the bedroom, and promptly shut the door so she’d stay in there. I don’t know how she managed to not notice Screechy’s presence, as she gets hyped over birds on the outside of the house all the time, nor do I know why Screechy wasn’t more upset about Fiona’s presence. Maybe there’s some kind of owl/cat nonaggression pact in force that I don’t know about.

While I was waiting for the callback, I grabbed the camera and took a few pictures so that I could prove it happened, and propped the front door open, hoping Screechy would take the hint and fly out. He showed his rather large wingspan and moved from the plant to the curtain rod. Then I called my friend Sara to see if she could send her brother over. He didn’t believe her, but nonetheless came over. As we stood there staring at Screechy (whooo was quite content to sit quietly on the curtain rod and follow me wherever I went with his eyes) trying to figure out what to do, the dogcatcher called back. His helpful advice was to prop the door open and try to shoo it out. Thanks.

Screechy was entirely unfazed by my waving magazines in his general direction. I didn’t want to get close enough to be in pecking range. Bill went to fetch his fishing net, while I went downstairs for the broom. Bill nudged Screechy with the broom while I held the net in one hand and a magazine in the other. Screechy took a lap around the living room before he decided the best place to perch next would be on Bill’s pant leg. Once the surprise wore off, Bill started moving slowly toward the door. Screechy hopped off about halfway there, at which point I was able to put the net over him and trap him in there with a newspaper. I took him outside, where he was quite content to sit in the net and stare at me some more.

After I closed the door so he wouldn’t be tempted to go back in, we nudged him enough to get him to hop out of the net. He hung out on the lawn long enough for me to worry that he had been hurt, then took off and settled on a branch in the dogwood tree. I thanked Bill profusely for his help.

Throughout all of this, Screechy made no noise at all, other than a little wing-flapping. He didn’t seem particularly upset about being in the house, or being in the net, or anything at all. I told him that he was a beautiful bird and a nice addition to the decor, but would probably be much happier outside.

Best I can figure, he came in through the chimney. There’s an open vent near the furnace in the basement that goes into the chimney, and there was a bunch of dirt and debris under it when I went looking Tuesday night. I’ve temporarily made it less open with some strips of duct tape, but I need to get someone up on the roof to rig some kind of wire mesh contraption up there so critters can’t get into the chimney in the first place.



Posted: January 15th, 2002 | Author: | Filed under: critters, Hawaii | 1 Comment »

Let me tell you, unequivocally, that you do not ever, ever want to be bitten by a centipede, even if you are not quite so sensitive to the toxin as I apparently am. I’ve spent the last two days learning all kinds of things about centipedes, up close and personal. The story goes like this:

Sunday evening I went out back to get the last load of laundry out of the dryer. It’s dark back there, and I couldn’t see much. Just as I got to the dryer, I felt a sharp pain on the toes of my right foot, much like I imagine a small nail being pounded through your toe would feel like. I said a few choice words and kicked out my foot, losing my shoe in the process. Balanced on my left foot, I said a few more choice words and wondered what the hell had bitten me. My first thought was that it was likely a centipede, although I didn’t hear the rustling scurry away that I’ve heard from centipedes before. For some dumb reason I somehow managed to get all the laundry out of the dryer, find my shoe, and make it halfway back to the back door before I realized that I really couldn’t walk all that well anymore. I must have been out there too long, or made some kind of noise, because Kevin (who, miracle of all miracles, was home at the time) popped his head out the door and asked if I needed help. I must have really worried the poor boy, because I was in the house and writhing on the living room floor before I knew it.

Kevin attempted triage, but I was having no touching of the foot, with fingers or with cotton soaked in peroxide or anything. I made him get a bowl and pour the peroxide over my foot into the bowl and then call the Ask-a-Nurse hotline that frankly isn’t so hot. They were clueless. In the meantime, my foot and ankle were beginning to swell, and numbness was working its way up my leg. When it hit the back of my knee, Kevin made the executive decision to haul me off to the emergency room and run through a few stoplights on the way.

The last time I was in the emergency room I was five years old and had my head x-rayed (no kidding), so you can understand how my fear of my leg falling off was battling with my fear of all things critical that involve doctors. I writhed and swore and filled out paperwork, then was placed in a wheelchair and rolled back to the triage room. The nurse poked around my sensitive toes for signs of what might have happened — remember that at this point I still didn’t know *what* the hell had bit me — and didn’t see anything other than a ballooning foot.

After a mercifully short wait in back in the waiting room, I was wheeled back to Dr. Lee, who is certainly younger than I am but very, very nice. Kevin showed him where the punctures are (between my second and third toes on my right foot) and told him what all we had done. He concluded that it was most likely a centipede bite, based on the punctures and my reaction, and that I was apparently pretty sensitive to the toxin. Dr. Lee started telling me in gory detail about how he was going to inject painkillers into the top of my foot before I cut him off and told him that he should just say that he’s going to do something to make it feel better and spare me the details, lest I pass out. So Kevin watched (with a promise to never recount to me) the two injections into the top of my foot, which I mercifully barely felt at that point. I sat for a bit, and after the doctor checked in to make sure that I was still alive and my leg still attached, sent a nurse in to give me a tetanus shot, just for kicks. Then I got to go home with my icepack.

I called my boss when I got home to tell him that there was no way I was coming in that next morning. I slept surprisingly well, considering, and spent yesterday napping, reading, and going through by out-of-control magazine piles. I managed to hobble as far as the bathroom and the living room couch, but had to call Amy to fetch my mail from the mailbox for me and let Kevin take care of dinner and the dishes.

Today I’m still swollen and hobbling, but have a wider range. I managed to make it across the street to work, and my foot is becoming less painful as the day wears on, although it’s still pretty numb overall.

I read up a bit on centipedes today. Most sites admit that the bites are pretty painful, but say that the pain goes away in a few hours for most people. Well, I am quite obviously not most people.