bunt sign

Friday, March 28, 2003

These are the days when I find myself standing at the screen door looking out on my garden and talking to the birds. In their own language. Chirping and tweeting.

It never gets any reaction from them. Apparently you have to know the language to communicate, and not just imitate the sounds. Or maybe it's my accent that's throwing them off. All I know is, I'm trying.

Yesterday I was working in the garden (stiff neck and all, more on that later) and the hummingbirds were whizzing past in a blur. If I'd stood up too quickly I'd probably have been struck upside the head. I had to stop my weeding and watch as five of these birds buzzed around the hummingbird feeder.

The only trouble with that was that there are only four openings. It was like a dance, or a cheerleading drill. All five would hover a few inches away from the feeder, then four at a time would dive in for a quick snort. After a few seconds they'd all back off for a beat and then move in again.

They were playing musical chairs, but only they could hear the song. I'm not sure that a different bird was left out each time, but it seemed that way. That would have been the fair way, and there was such symmetry in their movements that it's hard to believe they weren't acting as a team.

It was an awesome spectacle, on a tiny scale, and it lasted until I said the word "camera" to myself, silently inside my head. They had to have heard it, because in a heartbeat they were gone.

So far the house finches who are trying to build a nest on top of my porch light are still surprised every time I open the front door. It's almost as if they're not paying attention or something. I'm not chasing them away, but I am hoping they take the hint sooner or later.

On the back porch, where the wild bird feeder hangs, I really have no control. And I might go broke keeping the feeder full, the way the finches and sparrows crowd each other out. There can be as many as six or seven at a time on or around it, and more on the porch beams.

One of their tricks is to flick the seeds onto the ground with their beaks, which of course attracts even more birds. I even saw one of them today pick up a mouthful and then lean over the edge and drop it. What the point of that was I have no idea, but it was obviously no accident.

Every so often a cat will come strolling through the yard, acting all nonchalant and uninterested until it gets to the porch. Most of the time the birds will scatter before the cat gets that far, but it can be quite comical to see how far they let it get before taking off.

At the store yesterday I bought a pumice stone. None of the rags, sponges or brushes I've tried has been very effective at keeping the porch boards free of bird droppings. I used to sit out there on warm, sunny days like this and read, but it's pretty disgusting right now. I'll get it under control, maybe this weekend.

I've also run out of excuses for not washing the car, and I'll have to get to that this weekend as well.


One at a time is the usual rule.

I don't know what I did to deserve a stiff neck for the last two days, but I must have served my penance, because it was much better today. You can still sneak up behind me, because I can't swivel my head around very fast. And I can't raise my left arm back and over my head, but then why would I want to? Doctor, it hurts when I do this.

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It's a good thing I give myself permission to like movies that make no sense, because I watched Maid in Manhattan last night. I'll forgive a romantic comedy almost any idiotic plot twist as long as the payoff is worth the ride, and this one definitely is. It has to overcome a lot, including Ralph Fiennes' American accent, but it works because of Jennifer Lopez.

I don't have anything to say about her singing, but there's a kind of tough sweetness to her acting that I really like. I loved her in The Wedding Planner and Angel Eyes, and I'm still waiting for Netflix to send me Enough. (I'm also still waiting for About a Boy, so I hope Doug mailed it back.)

Recent recommendations can always be found on the links page.

One year ago: People Passing
"If they're not in a hurry, why can't they walk on the other side of the street? Gah!"

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