Overcoming Bloglessness


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Bird Stuff

Daily Prompt: Now You See Me

You have a secret superpower: the ability to appear and disappear at will. When and where will you use this new superpower? Tell us a story.

I’ve have been using my superpower. Haven’t you noticed? I’ve been disappeared most of the winter. I just kind of got unbloggy; distracted by holidays, Scrabble, TV, jigsaw puzzles, naps, baking, sewing and bird stuff. My brain is full of bird stuff.

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1000 pieces = 2 days to completion.

Fowl Fashion Update

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Betty, Fanny and Penny

The hens would rather not touch snow, but when the sun comes out, who can resist a little walkabout?   Their coop is warmed by heat lamp, since  Betty was molting when the artic air arrived and Fanny has had foliage issues since I got her last summer.

Here she is in July, dehydrated and underweight with no pants and a big scab from being pecked on in an overcrowded henyard.

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Ta-da!  Here’s Fanny now in her new finery.  She still has a small bald patch in the wayback, but that will fill in too.  By summer, she’ll be fully feathered.

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These hens are good layers.  The heat lamp helps with winter production.  I’m getting three eggs most days.   Some eggs go right back to the hens or the crow, scrambled or hard-boiled.

Raven gets raw eggs.  I bet he’d like ’em scrambled too.

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Full moon over Taj Ma-henhouse.

Suki

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Taking a snowbath.

The name Suki didn’t really stick.  My husband consistently calls her “Crowbar”.  I allow that because it’s better than what he was calling her, which was “FUBAR”.   (F@#*^d Up Beyond All Reason)   Don’t call her that!
After reading about a crow named Chicken (CORVUS, by Esther Woolfson)  I started calling her Chicken. Or Crow.  “Suki” has become her formal name; the one she would use on important legal documents.

Crow stays busy all day, bathing in  snow, climbing her tree, caching and uncaching food and watching flighted birds soar by.   At night I bring her inside, to her crate.  One recent evening she stepped off her tree onto my hand and rode all the way inside!  That had never happened before and  I was plum tickled.  She’s done it a few times now, but she won’t do it every time.

In the morning, after scrambled eggs, I open the patio door and let her walk out on her own.  Here’s her route.

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Owls

I’ve learned to keep my hood on when cleaning or feeding the owls at bird rehab.  A great grey owl deliberately befouled my hair!  And a barred owl smacked me upside the head as I exited his chamber.  He didn’t hurt me; his talons were not in kill position.  He just flew into the back of my head for reasons untold.  Maybe just for kicks or maybe he didn’t like my outfit.  I promise not wear that orange camo hoodie again.  It really is hideous.

Great grey owl

Great grey owl

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Flaws

What is your worst quality?

Daily Prompt: Flawed

“Honey?”

“Huh?”

“What’s my worst quality?”

“What?”

“What’s my worst quality?”

He looked up from his tablet, over the top of his readers to see if she was serious.

“C’mon, answer the question. What’s my worst quality?”

Such an obvious trap; too risky to answer, like Do these pants make my butt look big?” It could only get ugly. Why is she trying to start a fight tonight?

“What’s my worst quality?”

“You ask stupid questions. And you’re standing in front of the TV.”

“Oh, really? Well, it’s for the Daily Prompt.”

“Great. Can I play my game now?”

“Oh, by all means! Play your precious game! I’ll just be in the other room, entertaining myself. Alone, as usual.”

“Aw, crap. We gonna do this again?”

“No, no! It’s fine. Really!”

“Great.”

“You just let me know when you have time for me.”

“Yeah, well don’t wait under water.”


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Inversion

Daily Prompt: Climate Control

Inversions bring a monotonous, murky grey to the valley.  The dreary sky hangs low and thick overhead, holding down the arctic air.  It looks like  morning all day long.  No beam of sunlight has broken through for days.  At night, no stars, no moon.

Inversions bring a monotonous, murky grey to my head.  My dreary thoughts hang low and thick overhead, holding me down.  I feel like morning all day long.  No beam of sunlight has broken through for days.  At night, no stars, no moon.

I up my meds, take naps and start drinking early.

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Long stretches of grey days just make me feel like cocooning.  I might wear my cozy “house pants” all day and fluffy slipper socks.  I might not wash my hair or make my bed.  (Why make the bed if I’m not going to open the curtains and why open the curtains if it’s just grey out?)  I know I should go for a walk, but I only venture as far as the mailbox and the henhouse where the biddies are snuggled under the orange glow of a heat lamp.

A little snow brightened the landscape today and the low clouds lifted, finally revealing the mountain tops.  You can see that it was warmer at higher elevations. The inversion is breaking up.  Tomorrow’s temps may be above freezing!

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No sunbeams yet, no moon nor stars out. That’s why we need them inside this time of year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

&nbs


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Still Mad?

I saw the back of his shiny head for the first time in two years. It was at the elementary school, in the music room where third graders were performing. He was seated with his wife in the front row, so my husband and I took seats in the back, near the exit, planning slip out quickly when it was over.

The children, dressed up like pioneers, trappers, cowboys and Indians, played zithers and sang Polly-wolly-doodle all the day! I waved to the pioneer girl with her hair in a bun.

I wondered if he was uncomfortable up there, knowing we were present. Did he feel a hot stare burning a hole in the back of his head? Could he not wait for it to be over?

Or was he thinking, This would be a good time to make amends? Maybe he’d approach and greet us, just for show.  Maybe a courtesy nod?

What if I approached, hugged his wife and acknowledged him?

No. I could not, would not. The back of his head was tolerable, but not the front.

The children sang the official state song.

Montana, Montana, Glory of the West
Of all the states from coast to coast, You’re easily the best
Montana, Montana, Where skies are always blue
Montana, Montana I love you!

When the performance was over we bolted, as planned.  No stopping to admire the little chairs or the artwork in the hall;  we were out the front door, first in the parking lot.  When we got to the minivan I looked back and saw one guy at the far end, head down, hurrying to his car.

He’d slipped out the side door.

His wife and the pioneer girl stood there with no one.

At least she knew I’d been there.

 

Daily Prompt: I Can’t Stay Mad at You

Do you hold grudges or do you believe in forgive and forget?


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Hunting Talk

If you’re likely to be angry or traumatized at the thought of eating meat or deer hunting or guns or the sight of a dead buck or at the sight of me, please avert your eyes now.

 

You can’t talk about hunting at all with city folks. They think you’re a bloodthirsty, gun-lovin’ redneck. It’s different here, in Montana. My hairstylist shot a bull moose last fall. My doctor hunts archery season. My neighbors hunt. It’s not shocking.

Last Thursday I shot a four point whitetail over by Cripple Horse. It’s the biggest buck I’ve bagged in ages.  Mr. Raven spotted it uphill as we rounded a switchback.

“Deer!” he said. Then, with a tad more urgency, “That’s a shooter buck! Get your gun.”

My 30-30 was right by my side. I stepped out of the rig as soon as it stopped and jacked a shell in.

“Where is it?” I hadn’t yet seen the deer, but I followed the pointy finger of fate up the slope and spied it standing maybe 80 yards up. Steadied on the hood of the truck, I found the buck in my scope; crosshairs right there. Squeeze …

The buck crumbled and slid about ten feet downhill to a tree, perfectly dead.

“Good shooting!” Mr. Raven took his fingers out of his ears. “Perfect shot!”  I didn’t whoop and holler. The kill is the worst part of harvesting meat. I was glad it was done and relieved that I’d hit it good. No tracking it down.

Now the work begins. We picked our angle up the treacherous slope, staying clear of ice and scree and the eroded drop off, stopping often to catch our breath. We (mostly he)gutted the buck on the hill, keeping an eye out for bear. Ravens were already onto us, circling above the treetops.  They’d be on the gut sack as soon as we left.

Together we dragged the hollowed out buck by the antlers, a few steps at a time, down slope to the rig.

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It was all we could do to wrestle that whitetail up, into the truck bed. I’m not sure how much it weighed, but it felt like 200 pounds when I was pulling. Two vehicles passed by, stopping to congratulate and wisecrack, but no one asked if we needed a hand. That’s okay. You shoot ’em, you scoot ’em; I guess that’s a rule. We did it ourselves.

Mr. Raven skinned it that evening on the tailgate in the garage, then let it cool outside overnight. The next day he boned it out.  Then a full day of cut and bag.

We each got a deer this year so the freezer is full of venison steaks, back-strap, stew meat and meat to grind up with Grandma’s old grinder. I made meatballs from scrap meat and froze them for the crow.  I gave the heart and liver to the raptors in rehab.  Big bones go to a wolf-dog-friend.  Swap the hide for leather gloves.  Antlers go up in the garage this year.

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We haven’t purchased beef since the Mad Cow days. We harvest our red meat fresh from the forest and process it the old fashioned way.  It’s lean and clean, no added hormones or antibiotics.

The season is over, the rifle is locked up and I shan’t see it again until next fall.  I fired it once this year and once last year.  Box of ammo lasts a long time that way.

 

 

Daily Prompt: Non-Regional Diction
Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.


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Monstera Deliciosa (Split-leaf Fearodendron)

I hated sleeping in Mommy’s bed.  Her breathing and snoring kept me awake and sometimes she talked or ground her teeth.  She had terrible nightmares and sometimes let loose with a blood chilling scream.  But when Dad was travelling on business Mom asked, “Do you want to sleep in Mommy’s bed?”    I said yes.  It meant I got to stay up late and there might be popcorn.

Eyes wide open long after Mom began whistle-snoring,  I was staring at the shadow on the wall; the shape of a giant hand, reaching out, clawing.

I knew it was only the shadow of Mom’s precious split-leaf philodendron in the living room.  She bragged that she hadn’t killed that plant yet.   She washed and misted its glossy leaves and fed it foul smelling fertilizer.  The plant wound its way up and around a fibrous post, six feet tall.  Mom said she’d train it to grow all around the living room ceiling.

I thought the plant was ugly, especially the wormish looking aerial roots that crept up, reaching for something.   Mom called them “breathers”.   I heard “feelers”.  Either way, the plant was creepy.   I’d seen DAY OF THE TRIFFIDS.

It was just the street light and car headlights passing by that made the shadow-claw reach out and scratch at the wall.  It was just the split-leaf philodendron, just my mother’s mumbling.  Nothing to be scared of.

Mom’s horrific scream cut the darkness like white-hot lightening.  It was a classic movie star scream, shrill, ululating and terrifying.  It jolted me into screaming too.

The screaming!  The feelers!  The claw!  Triffids!

I don’t wanna sleep in Momma’s bed!

Daily Prompt: Fright Night