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Babies, Bill, Baker

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

At the brand-new birding festival in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia at the end of September, Bill and I hosted a birding clinic for kids. It was a hoot! It was raining lightly, but there were gobs and gobs of bluebirds and cedar waxwings and woodpeckers, and we just put the spotting scope on them and handed out binoculars and had a ball hearing the gasps and exclamations of kids getting their first good look at a bluebird or a flicker. Great Swarovski optics help. Yes, that was a product placement, but one for which I receive no compensation. I'm just sayin'.

Look at the hands on this little guy. His mom is telling him not to touch the scope, and he's doing his best. hands, curled up, does that do as much for you as it does for me?

Barely more than a baby, he was so intrigued by what everyone else was seeing (bluebirds) through Bill of the Birds' scope that he insisted on having a look for himself. I'm not sure he got much satisfaction, but at least he got to be a big kid for awhile. Swarovski binocs, no less, dimpled knuckles. OK. I am a baby freak.
Sooo sweet. Agggh. He brought me to my knees. Gimme one of those. Of course, I was flashing back heavily to Liam's baby days when the only name he answered to was Po Po. I have a weakness for little blonde boys. I am the kind of person who chooses the grocery line that has a baby in it, so I can mess with the baby, talking to it, trying to get a smile; talking to the mom, just digging that baby. I was always a little afraid of them until I had my own. Now I can't get enough of them. I can feel Nature preparing me for the next life passage--watching my own "red-headed, limber elf" grow up. And someday have her own. Who I will walk off with for hours at a time, rocking side to side.

I was talking about Bill before I got onto babies. I miss him. Thanks to our mutual travel schedules, we'll see each other for parts of only five days in five weeks. Days which will be spent packing and unpacking. He returned from a week away in Panama on Monday, flying into Columbus, while I left for a week away on Monday, flying out of Akron. We did not meet in the middle. Not even a shared burger at Max and Erma's. Glamorous as all get out, traveling is.
So I'm feeling like looking at pictures of my absent mate. Holding a baby, so much the better. Sigh...

Bill is very generous in helping others see birds. He's famous for it at festivals nationwide.

He even helps little brindle people see birds.
Oh, yes, Daddeh. Now I see the vulture. Thank yew.

Chet Baker, that is a bluebird.

It looked bigger in the binoculars. Well. Do you have any new toys for me?

All right. That's enough sweetness and light. If you read the mountaintop removal posts here
and here, and they moved you, I implore you to read this editorial in the New York Times. It's short. One page. Read it.

In short, because both Barack Obama and John McCain have expressed opposition to mountaintop removal mining, the Bush Administration is rushing to remove the last environmental regulation remaining that slows permit applications for mountaintop removal mining, leaving more miles of Appalachian streams open to being buried in valley fill operations.

Somebody explain to me why coal companies should be exempt from environmental impact regulations. Because they completely destroy the environment, so there's nothing left to impact? Oh, I get it.

Isn't 1,200 miles of streams buried too much already? The huge coal companies, with the regulation re-writes by Bush administration lawyers, are tearing our mountains down around us, burying and poisoning our rivers and streams, burying and poisoning the people of Appalachia. Please, please read it, and then go here to take speedy action. You'll go to a page on that will help you both to find your Federal representative and virtually instantly email your opposition to this race to destroy Appalachia before a more enlightened administration is able to take hold. It is a nation of termites, getting that coal now, getting it fast, leaving a wasteland behind.

If you like this blog, you gotta pay for it somehow. Do it. Thanks, Patty, for the heads up on this fresh, sneaky and devastating assault on our mountains, our streams, our wildlife and our people.


Things are SO much better up here in the pristine North, where tar sands operators have to undergo Environmental Impact Assessments before they start strip mining. Except, of course, that they can go ahead and clearcut their share of the 54,000 square miles of Boreal forest slated for excavation BEFORE undergoing said EIA...

Sometimes I wish I could look at life through the eyes of a pudgy-pawed baby or googly-eyed Boston. It's probably a MUCH better view.

wooooo... what a schizophrenic post 8-] from sweetness and light back to the dismal reality of the world up the road -- I may have to sue you for whiplash on this one, although seeing Chet peer through binos and ID a vulture probably made it worth it...

The sweetness and light part of your blog is pure joy and brought smiles.

Your Bill is a funny, funny man. I met him at the 3RBC meeting in October. Did I mention he is funny?!

The other part of your blog, well, not so much joy there. I posted about this topic today too. I even mentioned the same website. We must stop the sneaky termites!

Julie, I have searched wide and far, but I have not discovered a link for comments about the strip mining. I did find a phone number: To contact the Office of the Administrator, call 202-564-4700, perhaps people can call to protest the rulings about strip mining. Lets try to preserve the beauty of our mountains. Thanks!! Patty


Now, if we could always spread the word about common concerns and get others to take the time to take action, just imagine how much could be changed!!
Thanks, Julie.

Hey, I'm all about cute doggehs and hellfire.

Keep lookin', Patty. I'll try that number tomorrow. We have to be heard, we Who's down in Whoville. (Thanks, Trix, for the imagery)

From Avon, CT, on to Boston tomorrow...


I'm a hydrologist, ... and that 1,200 miles of stream is a shocking number. Not to mention that they were probably pristine mountain side reaches. When will we ever learn to put a price on our water.

Baker using ELs? If that isn't a great endorsement for Swarovski, I don't know what is.

Baker looking at the birds with Bill's help... priceless photo! The more little ones learn to grow up enjoying the birds and nature the more big people there are later to assure our land and mountains are not stripped bare. Kudos to you Julie for bringing it to light.

Julie-Thanks for the link. I went and sent a message to my reps. And thanks for the doggeh pics - as others have said, if we could all learn to see the bluebirds, maybe we wouldn't want to destroy everything!

So. Chet can find Virginia Rails, but doesn't know a bluebird from a vulture. Hmm. Maybe he needs a copy of my new book, "Canine Birders' Guide to the Birds of Eastern North America." It has range maps, fun facts, and instead of photos or art for identification, it uses "scratch and sniff" technology.

Bob BARKer gives it two "dewclaws up. I howled!"


I think this qualifies as bait and switch, suck us in with a BOTB, Babies and Baker post then switch to the hard sell.
This is an excellent technique for a good cause, so we can forgive the switch.

Being a foreign national, they wouldn't listen to me, but I support you in this and hope you have a positive effect.

Littleorangeguy, the tar sands, the Atlantic cod fishery and clear cutting British Columbia. Aren’t we just outstanding naturalists, eh.

Birdchick, I’d use ELs if I could. Hint, hint Santa.

Katdoc, I snorted my coffee, just as my boss walked into my office. How do I explain that?

I'm still laughing at KatDoc - it's a good thing I clicked that link and sent a message to my congressman first! Thanks for keeping us laughing and caring and making a difference.

Julie, thanks for the heads up. I've just fired off messages to my reps.

Gotta thank you also for the babies and Baker shots. I needed a good smile like that today. :)

I've always wondered how you and BotB handle such hectic and often divergent schedules. Can't be easy, but I guess love and friendship combined can help overcome just about anything. And you two obviously have plenty of both. Here's hoping you get to spend plenty of "we" time together very, very soon.


Eureka! Finally some all around happiness to be had in the political arena. Both the presidential candidates have spoken up against mountaintop removal...AND both of my reps got a thank you letter for their support. Sweet! There's hope for us yet.

And tell Chet Baker to watch out for that vulture - too funny :)

Sweet overload. Babies. Boston Terrier birder. Bill and the kids.

Thanks for the links. I'll get on it.

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