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Peaches, Hummingbats, and Chetloaf

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The house is so quiet, well, except for the endless stream of fab music from Pandora, and the gentle sound of Chet's snore, and the scratch of my pencil as I draw ground doves for an overdue ID plate for Bird Watcher's Digest. I cannot believe how much I get done without the psychic drain of wondering whether my kids are content, fed, stimulated, or slowly challishing in front of the TV. I'm like this little bird art factory, just cranking stuff out. I sure could have used a few days like this during the long summer.

I lug my camera around everywhere I go, and take pictures of things that interest me and might also interest you. Most aren't enough to build a post around, so I'm going to collect a few for your bemusement.

First: Our dear friend Margaret, bearing a load of Red Haven peaches from the tree in her yard. She's also front-loaded in a most fetching way. Margaret came to save us the night we thought Chet might have something really awful wrong with him. I made a fabulous peach crisp that evening, a magnum crisp. Last night there was a young opossum in the yard, just trundling along minding its own business, and Chet shot out after it and grabbed its nape and worried it a bit, rolled it over a couple of times. Finally, he heard me shouting at him and let it go and came to me looking sheepish. He didn't hurt the possum (they have the thickest skin imaginable, and he wasn't growling), but I felt really bad. So tonight I'm going to put the last of that peach crisp on the compost as an apology to the 'possum. It will think Chet did kill it and it went to heaven.
Second: An inexcusably crappy photo of a pine siskin, almost certainly a juvenile, which came to the seeds of our grey birch trees with another siskin, probably its parent, on July 29. A July siskin in southern Ohio is kind of a big deal. But since these birds are nomadic and don't really have a set breeding range, I can't be sure it was hatched anywhere nearby. I'd love to add it to the list of 31 species in our yard that we've confirmed for the Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas, but am too conservative. I was so proud of Phoebe: I had heard the siskins flying over at dawn, and mentioned it to her. About an hour later she was looking out at the feeders, and asked me, "Are pine siskins really dark and streaky?" And there it was. I owe this photo to her.

Under the heading of Something You Don't See Every Day: A hummingbird hanging upside down. This bird had lightly hit the studio window. It landed in the birch to gather its senses, whereupon a second hummingbird decided to harrass it (typical of hummingbirds; they kick a guy when he's down). So the dazed hummer flipped upside down and hung there for almost a minute before it flew off.

And last: A meatloaf shaped like Chet Baker's face. It looked a lot more like Chet when it was raw. You have to use your imagination even to make out the ears. I made it while Chet was in the hospital. Liam got confused when I said I'd made a Chet loaf, and he gasped and ran over and looked at it and said, "That's CHET? What did you do to him??" It's good to keep your kids on their toes. You never know, I might just cook the dog someday.

This homage to Chet is a departure from my usual meatloaf shape, a skull and crossbones.


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