Friday, April 24, 2009

A murder of crows

Being out in the country, it is of course entirely natural and expected to see all sorts of critters roaming the area. There's a groundhog that lives in our back yard, and a fox that I see all the time down the road. Deer are everywhere, of course, and the usual suspects like racoons, possums, and so many rabbits that it's not uncommon to see about a dozen of them in the yard.

Then you've got the scaled, slithering, hopping and crawling things like frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, and skinks. We have an ample supply of bugs, too..which leads, naturally, to bats. Lots of bats. I like to sit on the porch in summer when dusk is just starting to fall and watch the bats swoop and dart overhead. That's perhaps my favorite thing in summer. The thick, heady, heavy nights where the fields burn with millions of fireflies, the air smells of honeysuckle and cut grass, and the bats turn into leather-winged acrobats just overhead. If one ignores the mosquitos, it's perfect.

But lately we have had an influx of crows. We have a small flock of chickens, and one day as I watched them scratch and peck in the front yard I realized that one of them was not, in fact, a chicken. It was a crow, mixed in with the flock just as comfy as could be, as though it belonged.

I don't mind crows. But the sheer number of them lately is a tad disturbing. Especially as they're everywhere. They sit low in the trees by the roadside and swoop out as cars pass by. I've so far avoided hitting one, but I've come pretty close. They gather on the wild grape vine we have and cackle at each other like a bunch of gossips. They apparently have infiltrated the chickens. Some mornings when I go outside there are so many in the trees that I feel like I'm stuck in some sort of Hitchcock movie. So far they haven't been a bother, but as all of those black beady eyes turn towards me and they shift and mutter on their perches, I can't help but feel as though they're plotting something.

But then, I'm probably just paranoid after the Thrush went after me the other week. Maybe all of these crows are hitmen hired by the thrush, and they're just waiting for me to accept them as a normal part of the landscape.

If anyone sees a report on the news about a woman in kentucky getting pecked to death by crows, inform the police that a thrush was behind it all.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

My current etsy selection:

Give in to the pretties. You know you want to.

Watch out for that tree..

Yesterday afternoon on my way home from the gym, I passed a rather unusual sight. I live on one of the hills that make up a rather deep valley. To get home, I have to drive a winding, curvy road that twists and turns and has sudden drop-offs that are, for the most part, protected by guardrail. It's a difficult road to drive if you don't know how to handle it, and a lot of people do not know how to handle it.

The first curve of the hill road is one of the worst. It's a sharp, sudden one, wrapping around a jut of rock that has always, to me, resembled a dinosaur head poking out of the hillside. The outer edge of the curve butts against a gravel driveway. As I came up on the curve, I noticed that our sheriff and several other officers were parked in the gravel driveway. Then I saw why. Suspended about 6 feet off the ground was a little red ford taurus. It was stuck firmly in a tree.

It would seem that the drive of the taurus took the curve too quickly, lost control, went airborne across the driveway and went off the side of the hill. Except there happened to be some trees in the way, which stopped the car from going over the side completely. There was no sign of the driver, so I'm assuming they're probably in a hospital somewhere. The sheriff and other officers were all standing around, looking at the car in the tree, obviously trying to figure out how in the holy heck they'd get it out of there.

They must have figured it out because it was gone by this morning.

I really need to remember to carry my camera with me. This particular road has been the source of many, many accidents caused by people who drive it too fast, or don't pay enough attention. Being a rural road, it is of course not uncommon to find escaped livestock wandering across it, or get stuck behind a farmer on a tractor. One of the oddest sights was a local riding a cooler that had somehow been converted into a scooter. But anyone who drives that road on a daily basis learns to look out for the unexpected. I have seen cars upside down in the ditches, cars gone sideways off a curve, cars rolled into trees, cars stuck in the creek at its bottom. Had I remembered my camera, I could now have a coffee table book full of the stupid accidents on this road. Just last week someone flipped their Blazer going too fast down the hill. It's a road you have to treat with respect, because you never know what's around the next loop or bend.

Were it not such a liability, I think they should have left the taurus stuck in the trees as a warning to everyone else. Maybe seeing that would slow people down a little, make them realize that whatever their destination is, and how much of a hurry they're in, it's not worth that much.

Monday, April 20, 2009

all knotted up

Tonight I feel slightly frustrated. After I finished physical therapy, I sat down and tried to make some jewelry. But after about a month of not making much of anything, my fingers were clumsy and refused to cooperate with me. Every little, delicate thing I tried to make ended up bigger than I wanted and badly formed. Finally I gave up after beating on a few pieces of copper sheet. That I can do. Whacking something with a hammer doesn't require one to be precise.

I've not washed my hands yet, so my fingers smell like a combination of latex from the resistance bands and pennies from the copper sheet. It reminds me of when I worked retail. At the end of the day, my fingertips would be black and stinking of old, dirty change. No matter how many times I washed them through out the day, within an hour they'd be filthy again. One reason why I rarely carry coins on me, now. I've seen just how nasty they can be.

I've been in physical therapy for nearly a month now. I like to ignore problems until they go away, which rarely works and usually makes things worse. I've been ignoring my painful joints since I was about 20 years old until I realized how weak I was becoming. So now I have to contort myself in various ways using latex bands and a squishy ball. The exercises range from the mundane to the ridiculous. All of them hurt like the dickens. As soon as I get used to the exercises, the physical therapist adds more reps and new things to do. I'm pretty sure she's in league with my dentist and they meet in secret each week to discuss new ways of torturing me.

But this friday marks the end of my weekly visits to her office. I get to go from once a week to once every 3 weeks, though still doing the cursed exercises every day at home. I know eventually it will all pay off. But as I curse and grunt and bend myself into each new position, it seems futile at times. Especially when I sit down and my hands won't even let me shape wire properly.

I guess I'll go wash the stink off of my hands and throw my pity party in bed. I have a date with two Tylenol PM and a cup of tea. My fiance will be home soon, and I'll get him to rub out all the knots, and the welt on my stomach from where one of the resistance bands slipped off the doorknob and snapped back into me. Hey, those suckers HURT when they do that.

Tomorrow I'll be feeling better. I'll just sit down again and make my hands listen to me, to the shape of the pliers against my palm, and the sharp gleam of the copper wire until something beautiful comes out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Not quite the bluebird of happiness..

Yesterday I had yet another marathon dentist appointment. Three hours to remove an old filling and place the core and pins for a crown. By the time it was all over with I was puffy faced and numb on the entire left side of my jaw. My lips were cracked and I had the imprint of various dental implements stamped across my face. Not exactly my most charming moment, I must confess.

I left the dental school and wobbled my way through the parking lot on jelly legs, got into my car, and left the lot. Instead of change, the parking meter gave me a slip stating I was owed $4, with no instructions on how to actually get the money back. I then found my way to the interstate and battled downtown rush hour traffic that moved as sluggishly as I felt. It was nearly 6:00 PM by the time I finally got home. My face was still numb. Ever since my root canal, when the pulp of my tooth hadn't numbed despite a full course of anesthesia, they tend to overdo it with the drugs.

After cleaning myself up a bit and changing out of my work clothes, I went down to my mother's house to take the garbage down to the curb for her. While I was over there, she asked me to see if I could retrieve her dog's saddlebags from somewhere in the yard. Yes, saddlebags. She has a beagle whose main purpose in life is to escape the yard. So she puts a pair of dog-sized saddlebags on him so he can't wriggle out from the fence. Yesterday he apparently managed to slip free from them, though he had not actually escaped. We fixed his last exit hole and since then he hasn't managed to find a new one. But he still wears the saddlebags as a precaution.

So out into the yard I went, figuring the most likely spot was the last place he'd been getting out through. Sure enough, I could see them laying beside the fence. Naturally they were behind some small cedar trees, honeysuckle, and a large wild rose bush. I started to wedge myself through the various trees and bushes, and was just reaching for the saddlebags when I heard a very odd sort of noise.

Brr, brr brr.

It sounded slightly electrical, like short bursts on a small drill or something shorting out. The electric fence had been disconnected for years, and I couldn't imagine what else it might be. Then I heard some crackling in the biggest cedar tree, followed by angry chirping and more of the odd sounds. I slowly turned and found myself eye to beady eye with an extremely pissed off thrush. Apparently the bird had a nest in the cedar tree and was ready to defend it at any cost. But there I was, stuck in the middle of a bunch of bushes, fingertips trembling mere inches from the saddlebags. I ever so slowly grabbed the bags and started the painful (stupid rose bush) process of untangling myself from the vines and trees. The bird was not impressed by my slow retreat and decided to hurry me along by dive bombing me. So I'm trying to extract myself while also holding onto the saddlebags and fending off a brown blur of wings, beak, and claws all hell bent on my destruction. The air filled with chirps and yelling. My yelling was not especially helpful, especially considering that half my face was numb. So it went something like this:


"Thtop it, you thtupid bird! I don't want your eggth! Go away!"

Because birds, of course, can understand english and my pleading and cursing made perfect sense to it.

I finally managed to yank myself free from the undergrowth and beat a hasty retreat as the by now hopping mad bird watched me from its cedar tree. If birds had hands, I can only imagine it would've given me the finger as I left.

I went inside, gave my mom the saddlebags, and warned her not to go up there because a "thtupid thruth tried to kill me"

Mom, ever sympathetic, asked me if I'd encountered any "wascallay wabbits" while I was up there.

I went home that evening and picked bits of plants out of my hair, cleaned up the new scratches on my hands and leg, took the strongest painkillers I had (sadly, that was only tylenol extra strength), and didn't move from the bed for the rest of the night.

I'm not going into my mom's back yard for a while. Damned thrush probably has a price on my head.