Monday, July 21, 2014

Mockingbird Serenade

"Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit 'em, 
but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
~ Atticus Finch
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been serenaded by two mockingbirds. On 'opening night', one had found a perch on the top of the power pole just outside our bedroom window. His repertoire was not only absolutely amazing...it was quite loud and continued for what seemed to be hours. As I lay there listening, I was fascinated with all of the different songs it knew; how many of them had choruses in groups of three and how there was little repetition. He even had the bark of a squirrel down to a tee!

After two nights of this gig we had a brief reprieve. However, it now seems the show has been extended indefinitely. Charlie is threatening to take action if it doesn't take the show on the road! This reminded me of the quote above...of which I gently shared with Charlie. I will admit it is hard to ignore the serenade. Shortly after we are asleep, the songs begin and we are once again awake. While sleep eluded us, I laid there listening...thinking...and remembered a story about some mockingbirds that were in our garden a few years ago.

June ~ 2006

We spent the weekend working in the garden. It was going to be another hot day ~ 90 degrees! So, we started early hoping to beat the heat. While I was busily snipping and dead-heading the climbing rose bush (next to the patio), birds were squawking everywhere! I looked up and discovered a brambly stick nest with three baby mockingbirds ~ mouths wide open ~ peeping merrily.  Behind me, hanging on the string of party lights was the parent, watching my every move.

                


I carefully, but quickly, backed off...all the while apologizing to him/her. The parent buzzed in, deposited bits of something into each mouth and was off again. The babies went silent until the parents returned. This continued all afternoon...peeping and eating.

Several nights later, I looked out the dining room window and saw a little puffy, rolly-poly bird standing on the driveway, beak in the air...peeping softly...almost in question form, while watching the sky.


Snippet from my garden journal...

I called to Charlie and told him one of the baby birds was out. He went out back to check the nest and discovered the birds had left the nest! We heard one by the wall fountain, we knew one was on the driveway...where was #3? I went back to the bush and there he was...straddling two small branches next to the nest, obviously not keen on jumping just yet!

I returned to the driveway to check on bird #1...and came around the corner just in time to see him hop under the gate to the front of the house! Cat central!!!

...another snippet from my garden journal...

 

So, I followed him. He found a nice, dark, cool place just to the left of the gate by the corner of the wall. There were several large bags of mulch and potting soil next to the wall. On the ground, kind of behind/under the stack of bags, there was a bunch of old leaves, dirt and dog fuzz that had collected over the winter. In went the bird...and again the peeping began. 

As the sun set, I went out to take roll one more time before bed. The driveway bird had returned from his brief and daring trip under the gate and was now under the stack of plastic chairs between the garage and log rack...and still sending up 'peeps'. The bird in the brambles hadn't moved and the one by the fountain could still be heard...nighty night, little ones!

The next morning, before leaving for work, I purposely closed the gate that separated the driveway from the back garden so the dogs would remain in the back yard and leave the little bird alone.

When I returned home, I headed to the back garden to see if the birds had regrouped. I opened the back door and Pete jumped up to greet me. Annie was lounging on the walkway, sitting like the Sphinx...with her front paws crossed. In between her paws lay one of the baby mockingbirds. Annie looked at me and without thinking, I said loudly, "No, Annie! OOHH!!!" Of course, remorse immediately set in; she didn't know why I was upset. She was taking care of the baby bird. I think she thought it was someone to play with. Unfortunately, the little bird was loved to death. 

I'm not sure which bird Annie had, but she was guarding its limp little body as if it were her own baby.

The Circle of Life ~ Nature's way of checks and balances...necessary, sure. Still, I was saddened to know one of the birds wad dead. And, my heart went out to the parent birds. They had worked 24/7, flying back and forth with food to the nest. One was always close by, keeping an eye on the kids in the nest.

While we didn't see the remaining two babies again, we did hear them in the distance, peeping their signal to their parents for a few days more. Then, the silence that followed told us that the babies had taken flight. This story, while bittersweet, continues to remind us that there is always something going on in the garden...and we need to take the time to stop, watch and listen. There are many more stories yet to come! 










  

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Happened to April?

Does anyone know what happened to April? 
Does anyone really know what time it is????


Shortly after Charlie's big birthday celebration, I had expected to have some down time to work on my blog, catch up on my organizing and work in my studio. Distraction hit in early April and we were off to Tucson for a 50th year celebration of the Kon Tiki Restaurant!




Four days of party and visiting family.  

My cousin, CB, Leslie, me and my Big Kahuna, Chuck!

After that, things are a bit of a blur.

So, dear blog friends....don't give up on me! There will be a new post soon!!!

~ peg

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Charlie's 55th Birthday Celebration!


Here it is....March 21st (already)...
and I just can not wrap my head around how time is flying! 
I mean, really! Warp speed!
Charlie's 55th Birthday was last week. 
Our son, Whitney, came up to celebrate with us. 
What Charlie didn't know was that Stephanie
 (Whitney's BFF) was coming with him!

As planned, we poured drinks and then went straight to game time! 
I ran across a vintage copy of Password in the window seat...
and needless to say, it was such a blast!
Dinner included barbecued fish, steamed broccoli and organic rice. 
Charlie manned the bar-b-cue and Whitney handled the side dishes. Stephanie helped....
It's always a party when these two get together!!!
After dinner, it was time for chocolate cake! YUM! 
Then, of course, it was time for PRESENTS!
A vintage Tiki mug from Whitney & Stephanie.
A new Charlie Brown mug from Charlie's God Daughter, Mia.
And, a new hoodie/jacket with a tropical logo to wear 
to the Kon Tiki in April!
A great time was had by all! 
Happy Birthday, Charlie!

























Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Sometimes I hate Technology!

Dear Blog Followers....


Apparently, there seems to be a blog glitch and I have been unable to upload photos or updates.


Do know that I am still here...trying to figure out why suddenly I cannot post new posts to the Scattered Journalist.


....film at 11.


~ peg

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Season of Giving

It's the most Wonderful time of the year!
 
 
This is the time of year when we count our blessings and plan our gift-giving. It won't be long before Santa begins his annual journey 'round the world! We plan feasts, we bake and create and we shop until we drop (well, almost!).  

We think about all of the people who have come into our lives, people who have made a difference in some way during the year...friends, loved ones...strangers. It is during this reflection, interestingly enough, that I find myself wishing that I could give back to each one with a little remembrance. A little thank you for the smile they shared, the phone call they made, the time they took to listen to me.
 
When I was small, gift giving centered around the children. Grandparents, parents, friends and Santa showered us with surprises that were lovingly left under the Christmas tree. My mom always said that Christmas is for the children. Now in my 60's, I continue to embrace the magic of giving. While I strive to work in my studio year-round, I especially love to create at this time of year. 
Our kitchen is always awhirl with activity!

 
Trays and trays of shortbread, pounds of espresso chocolate bark,
loaves of pumpkin bread and lots of peanut brittle
 are prepared annually for everyone.
 
Special attention is given to the wrapping to complete the presentation!
 
 
The advent calendar reminds us of the approaching celebration. 
 
 
The Nativity is gently unpacked and displayed.
 
 
 
 

Special notes ♪ ♪ are handwritten inside Christmas cards.
 
The Christmas tree takes its place in the corner of the room and
waits to be adorned with colorful lights and decorative treasures. 
 
 
        
         
    
 
Art projects of long ago reappear just in time for the holidays!
 
 
 
 
 
 Stocking stuffers are carefully selected for
each recipient and wrapped with love.
 
 
Letters of wishes are written and left for Santa with a cup of milk and
homemade cookies.  Bits of carrot are left for the reindeer. 
 
 
Like a well rehearsed dance, we repeat each wonderful tradition year after year. Silently, without even thinking about it...the traditions are renewed and embraced with love. These small gestures are gifts from the heart. Many don't cost a dime and yet, they are all priceless. With every ornament we hang, every task we complete, we are giving with love.
 
So, as the season of giving begins, may your preparations be wrapped with love. Give with your heart....it's the thought that counts!  I'm looking forward to the hustle and bustle of baking and creating! I hope you are, too! 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Autumn Bliss



We have just bid farewell to a very hot and very humid summer. And, as I went about my errands last week, I noticed that the merchandise in the markets and specialty stores had quietly shifted from beach gear to wool jackets, flannel shirts and faux pumpkins. Swags of decorative synthetic fall leaves are strung up everywhere. Bags of miniature candy bars line the grocery shelves.  September's morning sky is streaked with pink as it weaves in and out of wispy clouds. We can feel the shift in the weather....we catch the subtle hint of dampness in the wee hours of the morning.  And, we want to bring out the quilts, lay a fire in the fireplace and bake cookies.

What is it about Autumn that reels us in?  Acorn fever (the love of Autumn) is stealth in its approach...but even when I am not looking for it, I know immediately when the first hint makes its presence known.  It very often times comes on the heels of my birthday in July. Just a hint... Sometimes its the way the gentle breeze switches direction. Other times, its the damp warm September dew that appears on the grass. I can't help but take a deep breath and feel myself re-center. The delicious anticipation of my favorite season sends me to the moon and back.  Autumn. When the leaves begin to change...orange, yellow and rust... and acorns begin to fall and scatter on the road.

Children are back in school and I am reminded of a line from You've Got Mail..."Don't you love New York in the Fall? It makes me want to by school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." That is so me. I did that, too, one year. I sent a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils to my husband at work. And, I was thrilled that he knew exactly what I was saying!!!

Autumn. 

Each year, in early October we return to Yosemite National Park.  We honeymooned here in 1985 ~ four nights in a cabin without a bath. We had rain, cold crisp mornings and no crowds. I think we've only missed two years since that trip. This annual trek is a magical time...days without a plan. Nights with starry skies and the sound of owls hooting in the distance.
 
Fresh air. Bike rides. Lots and lots of picture taking. Like we are seeing it for the first time...again!!!
 
 
 
 
In the evening, before dinner (and, sometimes after dinner) we sit out on the porch of our cabin to enjoy the sunset. We are in no hurry. We have a drink, kick back and rediscover what a vacation is really supposed to be. 
 
 

Autumn.

Nature is at its peek in the fall. We take pictures of fallen leaves....every one, a different specimen. Milkweed pods pop open and release their feathery seeds. They sail just above the meadows on the tiniest of breezes. 
 
 
Sometimes it takes just one leaf to start the ball rolling......
 
 
An afternoon autumn shower will find us back at the cabin...
just inside the door...listening to the rain's opus.....
 
 
A walk after the rains brings us to moss covered boulders. The cracks and crevices are highlighted by the light from the overcast sky.  
 
 
 
 
Here are some of the treasures we found on our walk.
I love the lacey leaves...
 
 
Can you feel Autumn? See it? Even in black and white, it is so pronounced!
(I was trying out my 'Ansel Adams' setting on my camera....it came out pretty good, I think!).
 
As we walked down the bike path towards the Chapel, we noticed a bit
of color peeking thru the evergreens. 
 

 Oo0oOO0ooo!
Deep breath..... I did not want to hurry ahead.
I needed to walk s-l-o-w-l-y.
...savoring each step as we got closer.
We walked around the bend....and, then, like the sun after a storm.....
 
...Autumn! 
 
It is overcast this morning....the sky is getting light....time for our morning walk. Roxie stands at the ready as I grab my phone, my keys and the lead.  And, this morning, I'm wearing my flannel shirt.
It's Autumn!!!!