Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Day In Birds

…and bugs and cats and chickens. On good days, I'm able to have the wherewithal to scribble a few lines on a journal entry each night before I pass out for six hours. Right, now I' going trough a phase where I don't even remember my dreams, I just remember that they were vivid and intense. Anyways, most of these journal entries, have less to do with my emotional state, or intellectual thought (that's a joke, right?), than the bare bones of my life, what we did, who was there, and often, in place of those emotions and ideas; and a list of animals, birds and their behavior.

Here are our notes for Monday (obviously, all names and places have been redacted-haha.):

The birds are so loud at five thirty that it's impossible to keep sleeping. Our rooster is learning to crow. When the big rooster next door calls out, he makes this sound like a rusty air horn. A raven, maybe the same one that attacked our chickens last week, flew over the yard carrying a stick for it's nest. He must be nesting somewhere between us and the neighbors.

A hummingbird came to buzz the floral flags by our door. At work, I looked up from the balcony of the house and saw a huge bald eagle swoop over the water. Something silvery disappeared into the depths, but maybe it was just the reflection of the sun.    A group of swifts appears each morning by our windows. I don't know if they live here, but around sunrise they come swoop by.

An eagle, probably nesting got one of our hens and an another one got away, save for its tail feathers. The next day, it caught a hen from the neighbors too, the same day, their dog died, drowned into the pond (She was really, really quite ancient.)  and twenty piglets were born. I milked their goats and fed the pig.

A colony of ants has migrated from the bathroom, where they kept falling into the sink into the kitchen, where they keep falling into the sink.

I'm re-reading Derrick Jensen A Language Older Than Words and have taken to talking to every being as though they understood me literally. I tell the ants that they're allowed to eat from the outside of the jar of honey and the crumbs off the counter, if they promise to leave everything else alone, or else…

I'm hoping that they won't know that I'm bluffing, that I have no means to ensure these terms are met. I tell the chickens to watch out for the raven and the eagle and I tell the raven and the eagle to leave the chickens alone. I tell the cats that they have to be quiet at night. I tell my husband that it's all okay because that chapter in the book is titled something like "Maybe I'm Crazy."

I left my "pet" slug some of the egg that spilled on the stove and it ate it all mouth wrapped around it like a giant suction cup. It's own body weight in fried egg...

There are so many bumble bees about right now, defying gravity and appearing quite drunk, with their erratic flight patterns. I'm a little terrified of having one fly at me while I bike, they're husky little creatures, enough to throw you off balance.

The Nootka Roses are blooming early. I'm trying to find a journal from last year to confirm this, but so far, no luck. Usually they seem to be a little closer to Solstice time. I feel hyper-sensitive to changes in patterns, news coming in about odd seasons. They're forecasting snow, after a hot spell in Finland for the weekend...

I made fir tip syrup and rosebud-necklaces the same day, one necklace for the dog's burial.

The days are so long now (though still pitifully short by our Northern standards) and there always seems to be more work to do. Our garden is going crazy, we're harvesting lettuce and kale, barely weeks after transplanting, the potatoes overdue for their second hilling.

This time of year, I regularly find myself overwhelmed with all of life, this year more than ever, with the demands of a new business (if you helped fund us your rewards will be on their way shortly) and new ventures for myself too. It's felt very tempting to bag blogging for a spell since my little brake, but whenever I sneak back and read my favorite blogs, I'm reminded of how worthwhile this hobby is, flocking together with birds of a feather. Thank you for making it so.

How's your summer going?


  1. My dear hummingbird friend... I love your entry journals, they are full of life :o)

    I've been listening to the birds' conversations wherever I go... and one early morning, woken up by a loud argument in the crabapple, I found myself half-asleepely decoding one house sparrow's indignant blurting out to his neighbour, as: "Whaddayathink you're doing here! No way! Get off! Right now! Enough!"

    Also, talking to occasional ants (who sometimes stop on my computer to clean their elegant little heads, quite at home), while I carry them outside one by one: "Now go get some fresh air, darling. It's much more fun outside." They wriggle in my fingertips in protest, but I'm sure the enjoy the flight from my balcony into the lush garden below :o)

    It's good to have you here once in a while, sharing your fresh air with us :o)

    Bonne nuit Milla !

    1. Oh and you know what? Now, when I talk to Lola, she listens carefully and she *does* understand. The other day I explained to her, in one calm sentence, that I could not play with her now, as I had to work on my computer, but we'll play later, okay?

      She looked at me while I was speaking; when I was finished she looked down, as if pondering it, then she walked to the bedroom and climbed onto her resting spot on the bed.

      I'd never seen her doing that! She usually pleads and protests when I don't want to play ;o)

  2. So much lushness in these captures - and I adore the mandala!

    The birds are so noisy early in the morning, even on our city street - they have lots to talk about! I keep seeing crows during my afternoon walks collecting grass and twigs for their nests, and I like to walk by them and say, "Hello, don't be afraid!", and when I do they usually aren't, and they stay put and watch me watching them - then again, maybe I'm crazy! ;)


  3. Slugs will eat eggs? I never knew!
    Been drying heirloom rose petals to use in teas. The scent fills the kitchen. And mint and lemon balm, too, I have a ton of it right now.
    Working on collaborative art projects. A good start to the summer, indeed :)

  4. I'm sure the birds are noisy in the morning where I am too, but I don't hear them too often. I'm a heavy sleeper and it's usually my own little babes that wake me, rather than the birds! But I do pause to listen as the birds chatter about their day in the evening time. They are noisy then too! I am finishing up my job in a months time and will fully embrace Summer activities then. For now - I'm admiring the Hawthorn flowers and the elder flowers and the golden chains of laburnum as I pass them by.

  5. We had a young rooster that greeted the dawn every morning with a resounding "Cockadoodle - squeak!" We got up laughing every day that year.

    How do you make fir tip syrup? Never heard of it, but when I was a kid, I used to nibble new fir tips. Nobody else ever did, that I knew of.

  6. I also speak to the trees, the plants, the bugs, and mostly my dogs. They do understand me and do not think I am crazy. My current hobby is collecting dead grasshoppers to feed the robin that lives in the yard. We have not spoken yet, but he does sing to me.

    I love this look into your daily life, your soul on the wing. It is inspiring and wonderful! xx

  7. Well, since I only just found you, I'm very selfishly happy that you might keep on blogging. :) There's just too much to say, isn't there. Anyway, I think you're more than sane, I think you're clever to communicate with the creatures and plants around you. I do that all the time; either with the flowers I save from construction zones or the animals around me. My grandmother used to talk to the bees and wasps and tell them all the gossip and then, after they heard all the gossip, they moved on and didn't pester. And, when I get to West Cottage, where Robert never evicts the spiders, I usually give them a week...in order to get over jet-lag...me, not the spiders...and then get them with the vacuum if they weren't listening. Hey, why not have a talk with the neighbourhood flickers to see if they'd like a little ant lunch. :)

  8. You're adorable in your gardening gear :) One of my favorite authors, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings once said that Florida has only three seasons... the orange season (winter), the season of flowers (spring), and the green season (summer-when the rains come). We are at the tail end of the flowers & entering the green season. Our fields are starting to slow as the hot, humid air of summer rolls in. Although we did manage to figure out a way to possibly save some of our Red Russian Kale (which can apparently tolerate a bit of heat-- we just had to figure out how to stop the caterpillars from eating all our crop). The tomatoes, which I've anxiously anticipated all year, are finally turning, and we're getting a second crop of beans now. All that will be left after this are our sweet potatoes, watermelons, and squash. Then we can lie low for a bit. This is our new life. Experienced by the seasons and growings of the garden. I'm quite enjoying it. I'd love to hear more about how you dry your flowers in order to retain the color. I've successfully dried, but many don't keep their color.

  9. its a strange old summer here~lots of heavy rain and thunderstorms with bouts of hot sunshine. i have been waking at dawn ach morning and so enjoy the birds as they wake~this morning at 4.30 i was standing surrounded by the scent of my valerian and was lucky enough to hear the last calls of an owl before the waking birds took over~when i heard the crows wake up it was time for coffee and blogging.
    i smiled at the image of your slug enjoying the egg :)

  10. Things really started getting summery just this past week so I've been photographing all the little fresh leaves and tiny spring flowers and keeping bouquets of fresh apple blossoms in the house. In a week though, things get really exciting because I finally leave for the island where I'll be working as a chef for 9 weeks and I am SO excited. I'll get to live in a little rustic cabin of my own, with tables and a bed and a dresser and a faucet just outside the door so I can make coffee or tea on a propane single-burner before going across the island to cook for rumbly tummies in the big camp kitchen.

    Btw, if you want to stop those ants in their tracks if they break your rules - baby powder is an excellent deterrent, they won't cross the line (it just has to be re-dusted if you put it down outside and it rains or something) and a 1:1 water : white vinegar mix sprayed around with a misting bottle will kill anything you mean it to and then some. The vinegar smell lingers a day or two, but better that than insecticide smell!

    I have to admit I kind of already talk to most living things as if they comprehend me. With my cat it seems pretty normal, but I tell earth worms to watch out for feet and not to be so silly hanging out on bare cement, and have 1 way conversations with woodpeckers or mushrooms or whatever else I meet. So you're not crazy, you're just gabbin' with life's spirit! :p

  11. I love to hear about your life and all the... living and passing going on around you. It is such an amazing description of nature and the season. You look sooooo adorable too! :)

  12. Just found you great great Great blog all the things I love . I will be following thank you. hesta from bodkin

  13. There IS so much going on right now, so much to do and so much you can do. It can feel overwhelming! You just have to pick to things you really want to (or in some cases, have to) do. I've been wanting to plant a small vegetable garden, but have my hands full just maintaining the gardens. We're renting a home and the front yard is quite large and we need to keep it tidy, which is quite impossible this time of year and not something I would choose if it was my own home. I like wild gardens! Oh well.

    I love talking to animals!

  14. This post was so lovely! I have been trying to keep a nature journal myself, and by try I mean I wrote one entry then promptly forgot about it. You inspire me to try again! Also, I just love the part about the ants.