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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

This morning I bravely went out to garden. My plan: to labor for a couple hours and then escape inside as the temperature and humidity achieved the summer norm, i.e., unbearable.
Step one in this endeavour is of course to drench all exposed flesh with Deet, a singularly smelly chemical which repels most insects. They just can’t stand that stench. Neither can I, but I persevere. And shower afterwards.
Then, onto clipping, raking…toting dat barge, lifting dat bale, etc. I proudly brandished my new Black and Decker electric clippers, and the shrubs fell back, abashed. I was the mighty battle horse, saying among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting. Though there were no captains about except Bertie and he was mostly asleep on the patio. Still, I set to with a will, and soon the garden was SHOWERED with debris and I was dripping with sweat. Luckily it was not until I was at the very last shrub that I clipped through the extension cord. BANG! Stepping into the garage to toss out the now useless cord I noted that all the basement lights were out. SIGH. I found a flashlight–of such superior dimness, a sort of Darkness Visible device–and entered the Stygian gloom of the basement to confront the circuit box. One day I will–I SWEAR IT– organize and remake the many ancient bits of paper that mark which breaker controls which bit of the house–one chart to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Ah. The basement lights and garage were not represented on any of the lists. And then I remembered–there is ANOTHER CIRCUIT BOX! Why it has been placed over by the basement stairs is a mystery, but there it is, and when I flicked the switch, the miracle of light happened.
Then I went back out, filled the bags with biomass, swept up, put away the tools and came inside for a shower and a little lunch.
Weekends, so tiring.

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So, snow

A LOT of snow came falling from the sky today, but really, it is already melting, and one feels one could have left it where it lay–but after all, my ballet class has been cancelled and one needs some exercise. So I dutifully shoveled the walk and the driveway.
Yesterday le tout Washington kept an attentive eye of mild alarm on the heavens, waiting for this Winter Storm to blanket the city. Which it politely did not do until this morning, and now the sound of running water is to be heard everywhere, together with bird song. The birds know that it is spring and there are VERY important things to be done.
But the humans can’t help playing in the snow.

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Animal Planet

Last night I thought I might watch a little entertainment–having paid the bills, done the laundry, and spent the day in (basically) healthful activities.
So, I peered about Netflix looking for shows while Bertie sat in my lap (he is such a fan!)
What do you know, just about every show these days is Dark, Violent, Sublimely Creepy, Filled with Disturbing Revelations.
This was not exactly the note I was striving for last night.
So I clicked on Planet Earth II, and watched astonishing animals as Richard Attenborough narrated. He was talking about islands, and there were crabs, birds, monkeys, lizards–this is the show that gave us that brave iguana baby fleeing his natal sands for the shore chased by HUNDREDS OF HORRIBLE SNAKES, a little clip that will make your blood run cold. Talk about sublimely creepy!
The most lovely part focussed on Bullers Albatrosses, who spend half a year alone, winging over the vast southern ocean, and then fly thousands of miles home to rejoin their dear mates and raise one precious chick in the brief summer of the islands off New Zealand. They are odd birds, presenting a strangely unreal aspect, what with their dark brows, tri-colored beaks and white bodies.

We waited with one swain, who anxiously peered about looking for his wife–and finally she appeared. He modestly held back for a moment, but then the two birds cried aloud their joy, and did their dance of happiness. It is simply lovely, and so moving–here is a clip of Layser albatrosses dancing.
Then there was the odyssey of 50 million red crabs. Colorful, very. But not quite as moving, somehow.

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Discussing the weather

The animals were gone, the skies were empty of life, the waters were poisoned, and where paradise had once beckoned now desolation ruled, and it was all by our own righteous will. ‘The last pair of politicians fell with hands around each other’s throat, trailed by frantic toadies and professional apologists looking for a way out, though none existed, and soon they too choked on their own shit. ‘As for us, well, we leaned our bloodied pikes against the plinth of the toppled monument facing those broad steps, sat down in the wreckage, and discussed the weather.’

From The Crippled God, by Steven Erikson

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I was calmly reading a review of what seemed like an interesting book, The Fear Factor, about the abnormal lack of empathy that characterizes some humans, so that they have no compunction causing pain and terror to their fellow beings. The author, Abigail Marsh, a psychologist and neuroscientist, goes into the subject and has an interesting thesis to offer. However, she then opens up into a more general discussion of human behavior, and I was charmed by the following quote:

“Describing the extraordinary evolutionary change that enabled mammalian mothers to feed their young with milk, she writes: “Imagine if you one day discovered that you could shoot hamburgers out of your armpits at will. That’s basically how incredible lactation is.”

HAHAhaha! That certainly livened up my morning commute! I kept my arms firmly DOWN at my sides, in case any errant hamburgers might be squirting out.

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New neighbors

I looked out into the yard–and there was a raccoon looking back at me. No– not looking at me–looking at her 3 babies who were trotting towards her, along the garden path right under my window. I RUSHED to get the phone, but too late, they had all gone when I returned.

Bertie indicated that he would like to go out and welcome these interesting new neighbors, but I forbade it.
Image result for raccoon
Because, rabies.
Also because I am cruel to cats, or at least, that is what Bertie says.

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This morning I opened the dishwasher to discover–it had been invaded by ants! Horrors! I quickly turned it on, selecting STUN WASH, and left for work feeling that the invasion had been stymied. These are tiny marauding ants that infiltrate my defenses every spring, coming through god knows what breach in the walls to attempt the storming of the kitchen.
Well, comrades, when I came home this evening I did indeed find the dishwasher strewn with tiny corpses, but also–arrogant fools–they had foolishly established a bunker on the top lid of the dishwasher and had actually laid eggs! So that I saw that the wickedness of the Ants was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts were only evil continually. And I said, I will DESTROY the ants from the face of the earth. First I rained poisonous bleach on that arrogant nest, and then I cleaned it out with paper towels. AND I caused another flood to carry away their generations, not heeding their cries of anguish and loss.
Image result for noah's flood
Afterwards, I had dinner.

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