Tag Archives: wind chime

Camera Shy Magpie

It’s amazing what two days of rain can do.  Get things really wet, turn things green, make the air smell breathtakingly fresh and clean.

First thing this morning, and I really do mean first thing, around six a.m. before anyone else in the neighborhood or their right minds had even considered getting out of bed, I looked out the bedroom window and saw a magpie strutting about on the back lawn.

It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time to get out there and get some pictures of him.  I don’t know for sure if it’s a “him” or not because male and female magpies look a lot alike, with the female having a more greyish white hood than the male.  Also if there are two of them, the female is the one that’s bossy and aggressive and the male is the one running away.  I’ve noticed that kind of behaviour in other species as well (not mentioning any by name.)

So, there I was, in the backyard sitting in a lawn chair with my coffee in one hand and my camera in the other and the magpie nowhere to be seen.   It’s a little chilly here at six o’clock in the morning.  The ground was still wet, there were little sparrows whipping about, traffic noises to remind me that I’m far from the wilderness, a light breeze and a silent wind chime.  It’s rather boring sitting around waiting for a magpie that refuses to materialize, so I put my inner detective to work to find out what’s up with the stupid wind chime.

And this is what I discovered on the ground beneath it.  With a little bit of rotted string attached.  They really should consider making these things with fishing line to withstand Canadian winters.

The bird feeder is almost empty.  The bird house (on the left up there and pretty much completely cut out of the picture by the side of the garage, is being used by some kind of little birds who are busily coming and going.  The patch of lawn that the meter movers destroyed has approximately four blades of green grass on it struggling to survive.

That magpie is always around when I don’t have my phone or camera handy – on the lawn, on the garage roof, in the bushes, hopping along the fence.  I swear I am not making this up.  But after about twenty minutes of impatient waiting around and with an empty cup and a cold butt I decided to come back inside where it’s warm.  Nope, I would never succeed as a bird watcher.  I’m also having serious second thoughts about this early rising thing.  For one thing, it eliminates the excuse of ‘not enough time’ when I don’t feel like going for a walk.  There’s still hours left in my morning for magpie stalking and other worthwhile pursuits.  Like windchime repair.  Or a nap.  Can my day get any more fascinating I wonder?

Stay tuned for more heart stopping developments.  That magpie could return at any moment.  And I might even be awake to see it and capture it on film.  Or not.  I hope the suspense doesn’t kill you.

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Camp Log 2

July 05

Camp Log 2006, Part Two

Our first evening at camp is so hot and muggy and close, with no breeze at all, that it puts me into a kind of lethargic state of semi consciousness.  Not W.  He keeps thinking of stuff that needs to be done and hopping up and going off somewhere and showing up several minutes later wearing one less article of clothing.  Eventually he is down to just his underwear.  Seriously.  And standing under the sprinkler.  At one point in our relationship I might have found this type of behaviour interesting to watch, but now I just pray the neighbors across the river don’t have binoculars.

We are up at the crack of dawn the next morning.  It rained overnight, and the deck is still very wet, but it’s impossible to drink your morning coffee anywhere else. Our new wind chimes are not nearly as loud and annoying as we thought they might be.  It takes quite a strong breeze to move them, and then they’re actually soft and mellow sounding.  So I guess 12 feet away from the deck on the ‘swing’ tree is going to be their home, rather than lost somewhere in the forest.

The reason we are up so early is that W.’s “friend” Benny somebody or other flies his little plane directly over the cottage when he sees the flag is up and knows that there’s someone there.  At this point we don’t know that his religion is annoying the hell out of people and that he is very devout.  So the first couple of times it’s funny when he roars by overhead sounding like he’s going to take the roof off.  But he does this EVERY SINGLE DAY  for the entire time we are there.  The earliest is at 6:15, but 6:30 and 6:45 a.m. seem to be his favourite times.  So instead of starting each day saying good morning with a smile, we become accustomed to saying “Benny, you ASSHOLE” and shaking our fists at the sky.  There are trains that go by across the river at all times of the night and day, and we always get used to them after a couple of days.   Unfortunately, there is no getting used to Benny.  One day, just as a variation, Benny taxis down right in front of our island, revs up his engines and takes off from the water with a truly deafening racket.

W.’s mom and dad come over around 10:00 a.m.  It’s another hot day, but wonderfully windy.  We discover a mallard and her nest under a Caragana bush right on the near edge of the west lawn.  We have no idea how long she may have been there but I’m sure she must be surprised at the sudden activity so close by.  We make a point of trying to disturb her as little as possible, and thankfully she doesn’t abandon her seven eggs.  There are pelicans flying overhead.  The deer wanders by on the back lawn which I have just recently mowed.  I consume a few bottles of water and a couple of coolers called ‘blood oranges’, a mixture of bacardi rum, peach and mango.  I decide several of those could make you ill.  So I switch to rum and pepsi.  For my health.

Every time I see my father in law I learn something unexpectedly.  He talks and talks until you want to beg him to please, if there is a point, GET TO IT!  He might, he might not.  But every so often there’s some little gem.  He starts boasting about how he can still get into the pants he wore before he got married.  Mind you, he muses, I always wore things that were hand me downs and several sizes too big…..  I love it.  What a GREAT idea!  Brides could get a wedding dress two sizes too large and years later put it on and brag that it still fits!!

Finally, late in the afternoon, my sister and her husband arrive.  YAY!!   Now there’s no way in the world I can keep up a daily record because when we get together we never shut up.  Ann has come bearing gifts – a beautiful wooden treasure chest, and two solar-powered garden lights, in the shape of a cat and a dog, with marbles for eyes, and big glow ball bodies.  My brother-in-law M. is quick to point out that the dog’s nose looks like a miniature penis.  Gah. It does.   I decide I will have to bring the treasure chest home with me and fill it up with treasure.  Grandmas are expected to do such things after all.  The wind dies right down to nothing and we sit on the deck until it’s dark and cool and the bugs come out.  There are millions of fire flies.  We are able to walk right up to the mallard’s bush and see her sitting on the nest.  She must know we’re not a threat, except maybe to her sanity, but nothing physical.

We have lots of plans for our couple of weeks together.  The roof needs to be shingled, the flower beds need serious work, there is an outdoor shower to design and build.  Fish to be caught.  Beer to be consumed.  From experience we know the days fly by, and we promise to make the most of every one of them.

There is a duck there, I swear.  Bottom center you can see her head and an eyeball.