(Wordless Wednesday) Airmail

December 15, 2010


Care and Feeding of Your Compost Rat

December 13, 2010

Frankly, I was a little worried last Winter.

From our dining room window, I could watch a rat going about its business some 15 feet away. It had made a home for itself below the mixed-seed bird feeder, its burrow entrance jutting through the snow.

Fortunately, Barefootheart (who’s having a birthday today!!) allayed my fears. She predicted that the rat would move along come Spring, and wouldn’t try to enter our house. And, when Spring came, Barefootheart’s prediction was confirmed.

Barefootheart also referred to the rat as a “she”.

So this October, when Somebody moved into our fancy plastic compost bin, I decided to name her “Josephine”. The dogs know she’s there, but she’s safe from them. She’s also a whole lot further from our house than last year’s Winter Rat, who gave no trouble. Why not let her be, then?

Frost beside a hole -- I'm guessing this is Josephine's bedroom.

And guess what? Robbie Burns’s philosophy, “I’ll get a blessin’ with the lave”, is proving true, too.

In Composting 201, we all learned that the transformation of banana peels into garden soil is facilitated by:

– air circulation;

– a little extra soil;

– stirring;

– chopping of vegetable matter;

– warmth;

– moisture;

– nitrogen.

Josephine provides all this. She has formed tunnels, excavated underneath the bin, and mounded up the pile in the back left corner, to make a comfortable home. She eats the kitchen scraps that appeal to her, and buries the rest. Her wee body, the length of your hand and the girth of your fist, adds a little warmth to the otherwise stone-cold wintertime bin, and her breath adds moisture. And the nitrogen? Well…some of us refer to it more commonly as “piddle”.

When Spring comes, Josephine will move to the blackberry patch on the City land, and I will have the loveliest barrowloads of garden food.

These happy thoughts have led to increased consideration of the kitchen compost bucket’s contents. Will this cabbage core give her gas? Will she enjoy this nice squash rind? Should I “accidentally” add this bit of pork chop fat?

One day recently, I did contribute a nonfood item. I was trimming ends on some all-cotton dishcloths, and…

Clementine rinds, chamomile flowers, and cotton bedding bits.

Josephine has squirreled away every last thread.


(Wordless Wednesday) How He Knows If You’ve Been Bad or Good

December 8, 2010

Hint: check rollover tags.

 


Gulls have wings. Angels have wings. Coincidence?

December 2, 2010

Lily Lake

Rain was forecast for today. So before the sprinkle became a downpour, we took the dogs for a walk around Lily Lake in Rockwood Park. There it is in the photo above; on the left, you can see a Ring-billed Gull gliding over the water.

What is wrong with this picture?

Now I’m as superstitious as the next person, and I get the connection between white-feathered sea gulls and our culture’s version of angels (we’ll leave aside for now their origin as fiery snakes). But I had never before noted any ability of gulls to walk on water. See? There’s space between their bodies and their reflections. Let’s go to Camera Two, Bob:

Quick -- call the Scooby Squad!

It took a while before I solved the magic trick. Observe, if you will:

Aha!

The oak leaf nearest my foot is floating in the water. The other two leaves are resting on the ice, which is still pretty thin at this time of year. Breezes make the lake water lap over the edges of the ice, and the rain has  coated the rest of it. Case closed.

Zzzzzzoommmmm!

Still and all, gulls put on a good show. Here is a snap of the Duck Pond that adjoins Lily Lake. While the Mallards and Black Ducks are scrambling towards a pair of hominids bearing breadcrusts, a Ring-bill — there, just below the foot of the staircase — goes sweeping up in the opposite direction, like the Paraclete flitting through her dorm window for a few hours of fun.

Yes, I like gulls.

Gulls belong to the order of birds known as Charadriiformes. While sitting in the car one day, I pulled a pad of paper and pen from the glove compartment and wrote this blue-ribbon word verticaly down the page. Then I made a poem. Duck Enjoy!

Charadriiformes

Cries of
Herring Gulls
Awaken
Red eyes
Anchored in
Dreams.
Reeling
Idly
In
Formless
Opalesque
Radiance, they
Memorize
Endless
Sea.


(Wordless Wednesday) One Little, Two Little, Three Little Lorikeets

December 1, 2010


A Turn for the Verse

November 15, 2010

“Founded upon a rock” or “cast upon stony soil”?

We took the furchildren for a walk in Rockwood Park the other day. Up a hill from the trail we were on, I noticed a cedar growing on a boulder.

Now if you know anything about cedars, you know they’re crazy cusses. They can live 500 years, clinging to cliff faces. Shriveled. Twisted. Stunted. Looking, except for a fattened base whose rings prove their senescence, no different than they were at the age of 10. To those who know or care, they inspire awe for their tenacity, but also pity or discomfiture for their grotesquerie.

They’ll never be anyone’s Christmas tree. They’re no good for lumber. They aren’t even noticeable next to the tall ones who landed on good ground.

Sometimes — not always, but sometimes — I wish I weren’t a cedar.


(Wordless Wednesday) Red Bowl

November 10, 2010