Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Was Attacked by Cardinals!

Okay, so this is a good thing - really!  And the story goes like this:

On Sunday, July 20th, I was out picking my daughter up from work and my husband called me to let me know there was a baby bird on the ground in our yard.  When I got home, I checked it out and saw that it was a very young bird but could not identify it by type - only half its feathers had come in and its eyes were still closed.

I am an animal lover, but one who sees the circle of life.  I looked in vain for a nest it had come out of, and knew that I had to leave it to survive the night - or not.  Even though we live in a suburban neighborhood, we have our share of wildlife that has integrated back into this environment where they once lived when this area was farmland, pasture, or fields.  Aside from the occasional cat or dog, it would not have been out of the ordinary for a fox or hawk or racoon to pass through our yard and see him.  But instead, on Monday morning - there was this.

Monday was a hot day - a high of 95 degrees, but when you think about it, it would have been just as hot or hotter in a nest so I didn't let that get me down.  Besides, at one point during the day I looked out to see a pair of Northern Cardinals flitting around the tree he was at the base of, and thought he might be a baby Cardinal.  The other thing I finally saw that day by looking up through the leaves in a different place was all that remained of the nest.  We didn't have any really high winds, I can only think that this was the 2nd hatching this season for these birds, and the first brood must have been really tough on the nest.  I have read that when a nestling falls out of its nest, if you leave the bird alone many times the parents will continue to care for and feed it on the ground. Having seen the cardinals around - and that the baby seemed to be thriving, I assumed that's what was happening.  Last night, I posted the above photo on Google plus, and received the suggestion to put the baby bird in a shoe box with a towel and tie the box back up in the tree.  It was too late at night to do it, but it sounded like such a great idea, I vowed to do it in the morning - if the bird was still in the same place.

Today is Tuesday the 22nd of July, and I as I returned from my walk, I started looking for the baby bird.  Still there!  Not only still there, but more feathers and eyes open!  Less than 24 hours had passed, isn't nature incredible?

I went inside and got a little basket, put a towel in it and tied it to the tree with twine.  My next move was picking up the baby bird and climbing up the stepladder to put him in the basket. What a racket he made!  That was when the parents appeared out of nowhere next to my head up in the trees and started "chip! chip! chip! chipping" away.  They were about 2-3 feet from me and I assured them I was only trying to help - but it seems to no avail because at that moment, the baby bird (having grown much stronger) immediately hopped out of the basket and flopped back onto the ground! Even worse, as I went inside to grab something, I came back out and he was in the middle of the street!  I grabbed him again (with the mom and dad squawking/helping/thanking me?) and put him under the tree.

The whole family - dad on the rock to the right, mom on the left and Jr. is the tiny head in front of mom
I had to go out to the pet store and decided to pick up some dried mealworms (which I can always use the rest of as treats in my birdfeeders) and when I returned, my daughter told me that I'd just missed the mom feeding him breakfast. :-) I went ahead and put a few mealworms around him and hoped he was a bit more settled.

When I went outside to check on him after starting to write this, he was nowhere to be found - thankfully not as a splat on the street - but I kept listening for the call of the parents.  I am hoping they coaxed him under our big blue spruce - there is plenty of cool cover there, and he just might make it after all...

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekly Photo Project 2014 - "Broken"

I have to admit that when I first saw the theme for this week's challenge, this broken cup and saucer is what popped into my head for the item that I was going to photograph.  I set up my light tent one morning early in the week when the sun was shining and took several different photos.

Over the course of the next few days, I got to second guessing myself and thinking - "nah, this is too obvious, I didn't really get that 'perfect' shot I was looking for, and so on. However, since nothing else came to me during the rest of the week, I am pretty sure this was supposed to be it.

And now for the story behind the picture...

I have amassed a collection of cups and saucers - the ones from way back, with German and English marks on them? I started antique shopping for them when I was in High School, and then I inherited my grandmother's cup and saucer collection to add mine to.  No, it was not the other way around.  Her cups and saucers are the whole reason I got into it.

This particular one is sort of special. My great-grandmother got it for her in the late 50's, and at the time, I believe it sold for around $45 from a fine jewelry store - which was an awful lot of money in those days. In my eyes, it has always been the star of the collections - the marking on the back of the saucer says "lindner kueps bavaria echt cobalt" and the interior of the cup is lined with a thin layer of 24k gold.

 My entire collection had remained unscathed - through 2 children, 4 moves 4 cats and 1 mouse (but that's another story) - until approximately 4 years ago.  After our 19 yr. old cat, Bob, passed, we went looking for another cat.  We found a 7 month old feral rescue, named Phineas, and he quickly became the heart and soul of our family. He has the run of the house - that is our choice, so I wish to make it clear that I take all responsibility for what happened. He has chosen to lay in my lap as I type this, so I am typing around him...yes, it's like that. ♥

He had just learned how to jump up to the soffit area above our cabinets, and walk around the circumference of the kitchen on them - we thought it was funny and cute. One day he made his way from the top of the cabinets down to the top of my china cabinet - where my collection is lined up and displayed. He lost his balance, fell off the top and took 4 cups and saucers with him... He was so scared, and I knew in that second that I had a decision to make - do I scream and yell and get upset, possibly changing the nature of my relationship with my beloved cat forever, or could I take a deep breath, and just let it go? I decided to do the latter, and have been forever grateful that I did.

My cups and saucers are beautiful, and have meaning and memories for me. But they are dishes - inanimate objects - and those memories are still there, they are not broken. I was able to collect every single piece of every cup and saucer, and glue them back together, I simply had not got to this one yet. I don't drink from them, they are for show, and my lesson is this:

Broken doesn't mean forgotten.