Stanley, the Roadrunner

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

An umbrella propped in the corner of a covered patio has become an evening-through-the-night roosting place for a roadrunner at my brother-in-law’s house, outside of Phoenix.

Every afternoon between 3:30 and 4:00, a roadrunner wanders in from his (we think it is a male) day of hunting for food. He ambles about the patio, freezing into position if he senses movement behind the glass doors. When he feels safe, he continues his patrol of the patio. My brother-in-law reports that occasionally, he will tap on the glass doors. Sadly, he was not in a tapping mood during my visit during the holidays.

After taking stock of his surroundings, he may fly up to the back of a chair to study his final destination, the top of the propped umbrella. Or he may decide to fly right to the top of the umbrella.

Stanley is all puffed up trying to dry off. Believe it or not, it rained the days were were in Arizona.

Stanley is all puffed up trying to dry off. Believe it or not, it rained the days were were in Arizona.

Once perched, he faces out so he can keep an eye on his surroundings. His tail is straight up and flush with the wall. That is his pose until he leaves in the morning. Departure is usually around 8:00-8:30.

Since this bird has been roosting on my brother-in-law’s patio for several months, he was given a name, Stanley. Stanley does not take flight when you go out to view this curiosity. He views the intruder with an unblinking steely stare.

Stanley, settled in for the night. He has become the finial of the umbrella.

Stanley, settled in for the night. He has become the finial of the umbrella.

This is the tidiest bird ever. He has never left one dropping on the umbrella or patio. Now, I find that amazing! I’ve never known a bird not to leave a little disgusting reminder of their presence.

Every morning, the patio corner is checked to see if Stanley stayed the night. Each evening his arrival is anticipated and noted. It will be a sad day when Stanley decides to relocate.

Bumfuzzled!

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

“What’s under your vanity?” my husband inquires.

I am totally clueless. There’s nothing under my vanity but the bathroom rug. I get up to investigate. The room has been stripped of the rugs, only beige tile can be seen, except for the dark spot under the vanity, close to the shower door. I kneel down to get a closer look.

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How in the world did that creature get in here? My husband goes to get a cup to scoop it, I go to get my phone for a photo.

Once I have a photo, I use a paper plate to nudge it into the cup. It doesn’t move. It is stuck to the floor. Ewww! I cannot dislodge this critter from my floor with the paper and plastic tools I had planned to use to capture it. A razor blade is needed to pry the dried out body from the tile floor.

Now we are left with a mystery. How did it get in? When did it get in? This bathroom floor is cleaned every week. The rugs are never left outside or set on the ground. To say we are bumfuzzled is an understatement.

Leaping Fences

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

In the fading light, my husband spots movement on the road ahead. At the entrance to our subdivision, he slows the car to allow a deer to leap over the fence, then dash across the road into the brush. As the car begins to creep forward, more movement makes him pull the car over to the edge of the road and completely stop, mesmerized by what we see.

Excitedly we see an additional four young deer. Our eyes travel up the field to discover more. How many are there? As we count, more come galloping down to the fence. One, two, three, six, seven, still more! Some leap effortlessly, however, some freeze in their tracks. They stare at the fence, hoping a gate will magically swing open. They mill about, confused. What should they do?

One decides if you can’t go over it, you go through it. It stumbled between the slats, then took off running. The others have been still too long. One brave soul took a running start and sailed over the fence. This gave the rest courage to try. One by one they flew over the fence and disappeared into the brush. At least a dozen passed us at dusk one evening.

Just imagine a dozen deer leaping over this fence.

Just imagine a dozen deer leaping over this fence. The top three photos shows the path the deer took, running down the field, over the road, into the brush.

Pedaled On

Without fanfare, the cool air crept in during the night, pushing humidity out the back door. Daylight brought crisp air and bicycles to the riding trail.

I find my mind goes to a zen place as I settle into the rhythm of the pedals going round and round. On this day, the phrase “living a dream” echoed through my mind as I ticked the boxes of my life that makes this true.

  • I was pedaling on a trail, while many were back in school.
  • I can take vacations in off seasons.
  • I have wonderful friends.
  • I have a very comfortable home that I love.
  • My husband . . . enough said ­čÖé

The list could continue, but you get the drift.

A voice took me out of my reverie, “On your left!” as a man sped by me. I noticed he was wearing a onesie type of riding clothes. “Hmmm, that’s different,” I thought.┬áThen I checked my mirror to see if my husband was coming up behind me. After noting these bits of information, I then focused back on the trail where I was jolted out of my musings. A shriek escaped my lips as my eyes took in the sight. A huge black snake stretched across the trail, soaking in the sunshine.

My heart leaped into my throat as I narrowly missed running over this snake. I wondered if my shriek was heard by the man who just passed me or my husband behind me. Slowly my heartbeat and breathing returned to normal. Then the regrets set in. I should have turned around to snap a picture of this snake, but I didn’t. I pedaled on.

My shriek had not been heard by my husband, but he was shocked that I had not stopped for a picture. I wish I had stopped, but for some reason my feet just kept on pedaling. The snake was gone by the time I returned to the spot on the trail. Maybe next time I will be more observant before I nearly run over the poor critter.

Along the Road

My mind thought back to the events of the day. A day of presenting balanced literacy to an elementary staff, K-2 in the morning and 3-5 in the afternoon. Analyzing each group’s reception of the information presented and pondering where to take them next when I return. I have eighty miles of time to think this through.

Suddenly, there is movement ahead. My senses heightened and my speed decreases as I zoom closer to the movement. It is a young fawn who has stepped out of the thick brush that lines the road.

Each step taken with deliberate care. No quick movements for this young fawn. A multitude of spots spilling down its back.┬áThe head upright, watching. Eyes wary. It steps closer to the highway. It pauses. Is that confusion or wonder in the fawn’s eyes, as my car speeds past.

My mind no longer thinking of my day. Now my thoughts are questions. Where is your mother? Will you continue on your way across the road or did the sounds of the cars frighten you back to the woods? I watch my rear view mirror as another car follows me. That car has not stopped, so I hope the fawn stood its ground or dashed away.

My thoughts linger on that fawn for many miles, hoping it returned to the woods where it might be safer. Eventually, my thoughts returned to my day, hoping the teachers won’t always stay in their safe zone, but try some new ideas.

 

 

Two Views, Inside/Outside

Happenings from the Inside:

“Oh my gosh!” my husband exclaimed as he was passing through our living room while looking out onto the patio. There was a tone to that exclamation that made me aware something was seriously amiss on the patio.

Quickly I put aside the iPad to arrive at the patio door the same time as my husband. Looking out the door, I could not see an issue. The furniture was in place, there was no wildlife lounging on our cushions.

Step outside on the stoop, there was a different story.

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A quick scan of the yard did not reveal the culprit. The birds were chattering extra loudly. I think they were trying to tell us who had been digging in our flower pot. We suspect it was a squirrel who has discovered our backyard. We will be watching!

Happenings from the Outside

Oh, what a gorgeous morning! Last night’s rain has made the world sparkly. It’s time for me to head out and explore. I need to check my latest find. There is a yard that is a veritable playground. So many trees to scamper up and down. I could spend all day exploring, but I don’t have that kind of time for play.

I have serious work ahead of me. I need to dig some holes and bury my nuts. I can’t wait until fall to do this work. A squirrel’s work is never done. There are always more nuts to bury for future meals.

I must admit, this new yard is a wonderful playground, but they have recently filled all their beds with rock instead of mulch. Do you know how hard it is to dig a hole in gravel? Mulch is much easier on my paws. Check out my work below.

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Pretty good hole right? Don’t judge, it’s not really a hole, but more of an indentation. I’m just getting started here. I just need a little more time and I will hit dirt, but it’s a start.

Now that I’ve arrived in the yard, I noticed there are a couple of pots with flowers. Hmmm, I don’t remember seeing them on my last visit. Surely they didn’t fill those with gravel. Yes! Soft sweet dirt! Perfect for my next nut! I’ll just dig my hole, it will be ready for the next nut I find. Oh how I love digging in dirt! I just love it when I find people who set planters out for me. Maybe next time I come, there will be even more planters. I’ll be watching!

Additional Note:

Recently on a walk around the neighborhood, my husband and I spotted a squirrel had been hit by a car on the road. I’m wondering if this was our squirrel. There may be no future squirrel tales. No one had disturbed the planter or created any more holes in the landscape rock.

 

 

Feasting on My Greens

Before the last snow, I wandered about the backyard looking for signs of plants waking from the winter. First place I check is my mini patch I call a garden. Tulip bulbs and asparagus crowns lie beneath the soil. When they begin the journey from underground to breaking through the dirt, I know spring is on its way.

A quick look to the right ends in disappointment. The asparagus continues to rest underground.

On the left, I discover shoots have broken ground. The tulips pushed their way through! But wait what’s that? The shoots are sheared off, level to the ground. It appears that someone with a sharp clippers has come along and clipped my green tulip shoots down to their nubs.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

Do you see how this has been nibbled off? This was taken after the snow melted, so it had grown slightly from my previous viewing.

 

My eyes narrow, I know the predator of my tulips. It’s a rabbit! He has the teeth that would gnaw away at my young, green sprigs, which survived the winter cold only to be a tender tasty treat for him.

Now we will enter into a war. I will be more vigilant over my bulbs, he will not deprive me of my springtime flower.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.

Here are the shoots that have not been nibbled on.