Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I couldn't have done this in Portland!

I sit in the eating area of the kitchen this morning, missing Portland like crazy.  Sigh.  There are a million things I should do, a number of things I want to do but nothing I'm doing.

Randy The Contractor was to have been here this morning to begin on the new wine room.  Owing to the vagaries of scheduling he'll arrive early Saturday, instead now.  (I guess I've committed to serve breakfast first.  Wonder how he'll feel about blueberry muffins?  Or do you think he's more a bacon-and-eggs-for-breakfast person?)

So, I'm sitting.  Part of me says, "Oh, just suck it up and go for a run.  It's only 78° with 84% humidity...certainly it won't be THAT uncomfortable."  But the knowledge that, yes, it really WILL be that uncomfortable keeps me inside.  Good thing, too.

I hung a hummingbird feeder several weeks ago and have loved watching the teeny-tiny birds drink from the ersatz flowers with their lovely long beaks.  I noticed bees swarming the feeder yesterday and spent time Googling how to stop that.  (I found a couple of ideas, one of which seems to be working.)

When we first bought the house, there was a very pretty feeder hanging from one of the Live Oak trees (they really are called Live Oaks, would there  be something named a Dead Oak tree?).  I promptly filled the feeder with what, I'm sure, were delectable seeds - and watched the squirrels dangle from the chain hanging the feeder.  They cleaned it out in hours. I decided to let THAT idea go.  But then I explored the storage shed in the back yard and found a wrought iron shepherd's crook.

Now, this shed was NOT one of the selling points for this house.  In fact, the day the moving van arrived I asked one of the helpers, a local man, if he wanted it (he did) and how much he would charge me to take it away.  See how eager I was to be 'shed' of this 'shed'?  (like the play on words? I did.)  He never returned to take the shed.  So it sat. When erected originally, the foundation was 9 concrete pier blocks.  Over the years the rain has washed away what soil they were resting on, so it leans. Every so often I'd wander over there, (for it sits in a part of the backyard I don't see and, as it's hidden from the street, I wasn't going to worry about it) and force the doors closed.  Frankly, each time I leaned on the shed to force the door to close, I feared it would fall down/apart.

But back to the shepherd's crook...I brought it out of the shed and assured Art it would be the perfect solution to the squirrel-eating-bird-food problem.  It's worked so well.  The first day or two, squirrels shinnied up the wrought iron pole, hanging by tails, and reaching, oh, reaching s-o-o-o far, but not far enough to grab seeds.  I was reminded of Scrat, the character in the intro to Ice Age.  You know, the squirrel-like animal who chases the acorn across/down/through the ice?  Ultimately, the squirrels gave up on that idea and now wait on the ground below the feeder for scraps from the birds.

Goodness, but it's taking a long time to get to what I couldn't do in Portland...I was finishing the paper and feeling ever so sorry for myself when I noticed the squirrels  playing tag - at least that's what it appeared to me they were doing.  And then, the hummingbirds returned for breakfast.  But then two almost red birds appeared.  They looked as I imagine a cardinal would, but not as red.  They're more a mottled red.  So I photographed them.  They began to almost preen for me.  Impressive.  Then two beautifully colored blue and white birds appeared.  They've been around for several minutes now yet every time I approach the window to take a photo they dart off.

Oh, and photos?  Yes, they're all being taken with my iPhone for while en route to Portland last month, my tiny bottle of non aerosol hair spray spit its contents all over the camera, a lovely Nikon D60 that was nestled safely in the bottom of my carryon.  (My daughter and her husband had phones and cameras stolen from checked bags so I wasn't going to risk that.  Hmmm, at least then I could have claimed the insurance value on the camera.)  Do  you know what happens to a camera bathed in hairspray?  Yup, it stops doing camera-like things. They tell me the camera has effectively been coated with lacquer and that it would be cheaper to just replace the camera.  Sigh.

But now I'm no longer as sad as I was earlier AND I've discovered another activity I couldn't do from the kitchen in Portland.  AND I'm off to the library for a book on ornithology!

I leave you with a photo of last night's dinner, a cold Provencal white bean salad with a glass of Rose of Sangiovese from Memaloose Winery in the Columbia Gorge. Grapes were grown in the Idiot's Grace Vineyard.  I love that name, don't you?  Enjoy!

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