Sunday, April 28, 2013

Behold, the Beast

It's a picture of one of our backyard bird feeders.  With an unwelcome customer.

One of Joyce's great hopes when we came back from Indianapolis was to see a reincarnation of the flower beds. In the two years we were gone they deteriorated to weed patches and in the dreariness of winter she would look out the window and make plans for spring. In the meantime, she turned her attention to the one big bird feeder outside the dining room window. We loaded it up with sunflower seeds and hoped for the best.

Turned out the best we could do was to attract a few blue jays and fewer cardinals who didn't have sense enough to go south for the winter. But man, oh, man, did that big feeder attract squirrels.
Big ones. Small ones. gray ones. black ones. You name it - we had it. They loved \the sunflower seeds.

They would shinney up the pole the feeder was on. They would jump from the deck railing. I think some might have just fallen from the sky along with snow flakes. Reminded me of that song back in the hoot nanny days of that cat that came back - again and again - "that very same night".

Well winter struggled to an end and she put out another feeder. One with thistle seed for pretty little yellow birds. Another one with suet. And another. And another. and said, Let's just let the sunflower seed feeder empty out and we'll be rid of the squirrels. But we still wanted cardinals so she bought another sunflower seed feeder. That one was hung on a metal stake pole in the middle of the back yard. We saw a squirrel checking us out and we grinned at each other said, "Take that, you miserable critter."

I swear, that squirrel grinned  back at us. And it wasn't any time that he/she had mastered climbing a skinny steel pole. The picture proves the squirrel was able to do anything it set its mind to. Meanwhile, more and more feeders went up. Guess what? You're right: the squirrel found them and somehow let all the other squirrels in the neighborhood know. And once in a while 9they would let a bird take a bite or two. (Or would that be a beak-full or two?)

We tried baffles: no solution. We tried sticky fly paper. not sticky enough. One of our daughters suggested putting motor oil or grease on the pole. That wasn't any better.

Finally I found some deer/rabbit repellent in the garage. Desperate, I sprayed some of that around the big feeders. Voila: I haven't seen a squirrel in the past ten minutes. Maybe that solved the problem. However, I think there is another problem: the back yard stinks so bad that we can't spend much time sitting on the deck. Oh, well, you win a few and lose a few.
Here's looking atcha!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Which way to go?

I took this picture months ago thinking it would work for a blog - someday.And I guess today is that someday. I can't explain why it took so long. Sometimes I just wasn't in the mood. Then I tried another blog program I have liked and found it wouldn't accept my input. Another time I blamed it on acknowledgment that I'm getting old. Still another would be that I simply wasn't in the mood. A realistic reason would be to blame it on the heart attack. Finally I got to the point that if I needed to blame someone or something it was that we have had a dismal winter in Michigan that doesn't want to let up. And I've been cooped up in the house.
When I went back through the potential blog pictures I found a lot that offered possibilities. However, the one above really seemed to fit the bill for today. They are footprints of our mailman Warren as he headed up the street  to the next house. It was a really foggy day and the other houses were clouded in mist. I thought that the footprints were something like life.  They left an imprint of where a person had been. The past. Their indelibility lasting at least for a while remains for the present.  As you can see, they fade off in the distance and you end up wondering where they will end up.
Maybe that's how life is. I know I've had a lot of times in the last weeks where I reflected on some of the stuff I've said or done or wished over the years. Some of the memories were warm and fuzzy and positive. Some were things I wished I hadn't said or done. I think I have gone through some real downers and saw no really positives ahead - just live - or survive - one day at a time. I think a dismal - gray - misty - moisture laden winter - has fed that. I know that I have questioned just what lay ahead - and haven't been very positive about much of anything.
This probably doesn't reveal a very positive picture of a retired pastor but maybe the word retired is part of the problem. Maybe I've been focussing on the wrong thing. I suspect a lot of people go through this at times. Maybe I should listen to God rather than turn off my spiritual hearing aids. And maybe I should heed what Joyce said this morning: Friday - and next week are supposed to be warm and pretty days. Slushy footprints in the snow will disappear and lawns will get green again and spring flowers and tree buds will emerge and put a different light on life. Like old-time comedian Joe Penner said years ago:  "I hope, I hope, I hope....."