Sunday, May 02, 2010

Life Here and Now

We had over nine inches of rain in April. That's 2 1/2 times the average. It's a lot of rain for one month anywhere, but here it was quite a deluge. No wonder the skies felt cloudy all the time. They were. Then, the storms blew through and the skies cleared. We could see for miles, and it sure is pretty around here. It's as green as I've ever seen anywhere. Verdant and lush, soaked down to the bone, and ready for seeds and starts. So we have obliged with kale, chard, and lettuce starts; and planted lots of carrot and beet seeds. Soon we will do containers filled with tomatoes, peppers, and basil on the sunny deck. Life is good.
Well, unless you read the headlines out of the gulf states. How do we balance the quiet joy of our new life here with the environmental disaster looming a couple of thousand miles away? I find it unbearable to contemplate the habitat destruction for wildlife there. Humans can figure out how to get out of the way or put their broken lives back together, but sea turtles and shorebirds don't have anyplace else to go. I don't even want to think about the absurdity of pumping oil from under the sea. I'd rather bang my head against the wall. No, not really, I'd really rather bang someone else's head against the wall, someone who thinks drilling for oil is the way to go. You guys wreck everything EVERY TIME. Of course the price of oil will rise, and some other fossil fuel-brained business will make a great big fortune. And ain't capitalism grand because someone can get rich...that's what our life and goals are supposed to about. Whoops, I'm banging my head against the wall. I will stop.
Because, really, it's so beautiful here and now. We've seen nuthatches and our first tufted titmouse. The birds are eating like crazy, and the squirrels have become a huge nuisance. We're contemplating how to effectively deal with them, knowing that there really isn't much to do. They've been chasing the mourning doves and quail from under the feeder. There's no place they won't go to find a little seed or nut. Their initial cuteness has completely worn off, and now we just see them as the furry little rodents they are. Although, you've got to admit when they lay their bodies flat like this to rest, they are pretty damned cute.

This is life as we're living it now. Temps in the 70s and skies as blue as robin's eggs. The neighbor's emu (or ostrich, or 10 ft tall goose) has a weird, raucous call that we're beginning to like it. So it goes.

24 comments:

  1. Well, except for the frustration in regards to oil/money/and other such crap, you sound marvelous and I know you are very happy in spite of "that" kind of frustration -- lot of us have the same thing. But I am so very happy for you both and hope you continue to find the joy you looked for for so long! Hope both of you have a wonderful week,

    Sylvia

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  2. Sounds wonderful, a perfect place for you. Hopefully you will clear any brush etc around your house as with that much rain and growth, it could be an interesting fire season-- unless it rains all summer too :)

    On the squirrels, my solution was a live trap which I then would carry to the back of our place which is about 1/4 mile in our case. I would release them near trees and blackberries and tell them to prosper. Most never came back. Some I probably carried there more than once. Sometimes I'd catch two at a time-- greedy little things. It helped a lot on keeping the seed for the birds; plus I had concern over rodents right near the house given diseases they sometimes carry. I just couldn't kill them (my husband would have had no problem with doing it) but I felt fine with the big cage trap.

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  3. Let's bang big oils head against the wall. He we catch them with their pants down again as to being prepared for a disaster. We never learn. I live in a state who's economy depends on oil. There has to be a better way.

    I so happy for you guys and your new place.

    Dave

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  4. Isn't it odd when your own life and time is so unbelievably wonderful and then there is the big picture? This post really strikes a chord for me. All of our aviary staff is geared up to go wash birds in Dawn. Right now, our county response team has already sent 42 volunteers upstate and there are another 3 dozen of us waiting to be called. It's really so miserable and foul. Hopefully we can put a small dent in the situation. Meanwhile, things look beautifully lush in your neck of the woods. Try to relax about those pesky squirrels- they're just a part of the whole picture and they are SO happy you have moved in, with seeds.

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  5. You're lucky to have all that rain - we could use a few inches of it here. The top photo is just breath-taking.

    I'm so upset about the oil, on may levels. I've been against it from the start.

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  6. You know my cure for the squirrel issue. A nice rat terrier! :D

    In all honesty, it doesn't work. The squirrels still come but they are kept moving along and don't get a chance to empty the feeders completely in 10 minutes. :D

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  7. I am glad you both are home. sounds lovely.

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  8. perhaps it is time for a "news vacation?" Time to just enjoy your new placed and the great planting ahead.

    I, too, am very upset about the gulf spill -- BP has really F*#ked this up but good.

    I love Rain's suggestion about trapping and releasing the squirrels -- a new project!

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  9. I also used to trap and release squirrels too. It seems to be a bit of a deterrent.
    The view looks wonderful. So verdant.
    Looking forward to seeing some photos of the garden this summmer. It must feel great to be growing your own vegetables once more.

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  10. Unlike BP, I'm managing for just this visit to keep my bitterness, cynicism, and anger capped.

    I've never seen a squirrel do that, unless it's been roadkill! That's truly precious, but I can see how it could become a symbol of oppression.

    I suggest the birdfeeders with a central cavity on the bottom, extending up through the feeder reservoir as a central core. Impale the feeder (it just slides down) atop a 20-foot (or thereabouts) length of rebar, driven several feet into the ground. Place away from any trees, out in the open.

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  11. I have an undercurrent of anguish about the oil spill that keeps rising to the surface and causes me to bang my head as well. For me it's very much like grieving the loss of a loved one...you feel happy for a moment and then remember...

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  12. If you need someone to hold them while you bang their heads, I'm your girl. As a people,we really don't deserve this beautiful planet.
    As for squirrels, in Florida where I actually had a bunch, I set up a squirrel feeding station away from the birds and watched their amazing athletics. Oddly, I don't have any here, though my neighbor with a pack of squirrel dogs, has tons. Go figure.

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  13. NCmountainwoman's word "anguish" hits the nail on the head. It's overwhelmingly awful what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico. Such a rich, diverse environment about to be smothered. I'm also grieving the screwy, hot, hot weather we're having here in the northeast. I hate it. Everything's wrong, no slow unfolding of spring. Insects out before their food plants, stifling heat at night.

    Squirrels. I'm wondering whether aversive training might work. Just a mild shock from some cleverly-placed electric fencing?

    A friend had a very successful squirrel- and bear-proof feeder. Their house has a slider to nowhere (the deck had never been built when they bought the house, and they left it that way). They attached a thin wire to the side of the house, running over to a stand of trees at some distance. The feeder is hung from the wire, and is way off the ground. The wire's too thin for the squirrels to climb on, and the feeder is to far from any launching points for them to make the leap. It was also too high for the bears to reach. Absolutely ideal. They only took it down because the seed attracted chipmunks who devastated the sweet peas.

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  14. We actually do have a squirrel proof bird feeder, but as with all feeders, plenty of seeds find their way to the ground. It's there where the ground feeder birds meet the squirrels, and the squirrels always win. Roger is going to put up another post for the platform feeder (with roof), and a baffle that will the keep the squirrels out of it, and keep the seed from falling directly under it. I like Arkansas Patti's idea of diverting their attention with an actual squirrel feeder, but do I really want to be encouraging them? I don't know, but I don't think so.

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  15. What a view!
    I love to hear that the west is getting real rains. Water is such a precious thing.

    Cool cat.

    I have just recently discovered I like Kale and am on a mission to eat ALL of it.

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  16. I should have mentioned that the mountain view photo was taken while we were on our new hiking trail. It's pretty close to us, but that's not a view from our property. We do have a little glimpse of the Sierra from our road, if you look really carefully and don't blink!

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  17. It's good to hear you are happy with your new home especially after looking for so long. Try urinating on the ground around the feeder to keep the squirrels away. Good luck.

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  18. It is getting harder to not feel guilty about how good things are going for me when there are soooo many disasters going on in the lives of so many. It seems so unfair that New Orleans is getting hit again. Considering how poorly Exxon 'cleaned up' after the Valdez incident I don't expect much from BP. How sad to keep messing with the ocean like its our personal toilet. So much sadness all around. What to do.

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  19. glad things are good at the homestead! yep, there was a lot of rain last month...

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  20. Oh HOW I now remember warm weather in CA by May 1.....we WANT some, and are beginning to "talk" of retiring as soon as Rodger can back to somewhere near your country. Your descriptions are poetic, warm and inviting. Of course, all that rain, DOES help things look beautiful.

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  21. He's really flat. Are you sure he's resting?

    I'm all for the price of oil going sky-high. That's the only thing that will scoop us out of our cars. Maybe we should visualize plowing into a coral reef every time we get behind the wheel.

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  22. Aw, that squirrel is definitely looking cute! They are sweet little critters,even if they're pesky. That first picture is amazing! Is that the view from your new house? Beautiful!

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  23. Hi,

    Nice post and very informative. thanks for the great sharing.

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  24. Thanks for explaining about the mountain view. Have you put a compass on it, do you know 'xactly where you are looking?

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