See the birds, smell the roses…


Ellen and Reid are at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to the natural world.  Ellen lives where there are trees and rich black earth; Reid would have to ride the El to catch another train to Chicago’s western ‘burbs to see free-range trees and what real dirt looks like in lieu of city soot.  It was important to me as they grew up to instill some sort of respect for other creatures and greenery.

I’d hope they would set sufficient time aside from their respective rat races to see the birds and smell the roses.   Given the tragic news coming out of Japan, it’s more important than ever to align themselves with their surroundings – if we don’t ruin things for them first.

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March 21, 2011

Ellen/Reid: So Butler keeps playing the role of the little school that could.  I thought the Dawgs would get crushed like to many June bugs but they managed to hang in there vs. the Goliath that was Pitt.  Mack played one hell of a game until the final 2.2 seconds and at that point Butler appeared to be toast.  But that’s why they make people shoot – and miss – free throws.  Their next game will give me something to do this weekend.

The best thing about my little place is the rear windows open to trees and the green belt.  It’s the perfect bird’s eye view to the birds, the occasional deer and the even more occasional snake.  But this weekend Felicia and I watched a drama unfold that neither of us had seen before: a Mexican Standoff involving sweet little chickadees and bluebird bullies.

Back in late January we put up a cedar nesting box (advertised as ideal for bluebirds) on one of the loblolly pines out back with the small entry hole facing the kitchen windows so we could keep eyes on it with binoculars.  Of course, no bluebirds bothered to sniff it for more than a month.  But a chickadee pair, sensing the opportunity, set up shop about a week ago.  They hauled whatever it is they haul into a nest, and before you knew it you could see the female’s head in the entry hole as she sat on apparently what was her brood.  Then last Saturday all hell broke loose.  There, on a limb not 2” from the entry hole was a female bluebird; her bright blue mate was on another limb a few feet away.  And there they sat.  You could see they chickadee on her nest; her mate was flitting about in distress as the much larger bluebirds were apparently waiting them out.  This went on for a long time.  Felicia near demanded we put up another cedar box on a nearby tree but not too near the existing nesting box.  So off we went to Lowes to buy a second box.  When we got back, there were no birds to be seen.  We installed the second box about 60” away.

Sure enough, the next morning, the blue birds had won.  They usurped what the chickadees hath wrought.  I guess that’s just the way of the natural world; you have something I want and because I’m bigger I’m going to take it.  Try and stop me.  Cute doesn’t cut it.  I’d never seen that before ever so in that sense it was incredibly interesting.  Sounds like the corporate world, too.  Of course the birds had squabbled over the sunflower seed in the feeder but this nesting thievery was all new.  It’ll probably take a little while for the second box to attract some activity

Tomorrow is a red letter day to gauge my recovery.  It’s back to the urology guy for a six week check up to see how things are functioning.  I think they are functioning pretty good but his trained eye, and his invasive instruments, may tell a different picture.  So we’ll see.  I did a shakedown cruise on the golf course yesterday with my friend Tom and his young son, Jack.  For the most part it was easy shotmaking with a wedge and some chipping.  A fair amount of slow walking.  Nothing too strenuous until the doc gives me the green light which I hope is this week.  As distressing to me is the complete and utter loss of every ounce of conditioning.  That’s a real bummer.  Six years of sweaty work down the drain.  My waistline is the first to suffer.

I have my plane tickets for Grand Island (Easter) and for Des Moines (Steve Allen’s May 7 wedding).  I’ll kibitz with both of you about how to ship what needs to be shipped although you’ll already have some of it in hand, Ellen.  Reid, if you do not have the storage space, I guess I can send things to North Carolina for safe keeping.  Your call.  Maybe by that time Butler will have the national championship they missed out on last year.  Wish I could say I still say Butler is in my bracket.  I had them out by this weekend.  It’s an ‘oh ye of little faith’ moment.

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