Saturday, May 27, 2006

Nothing is wasted

In addition to be obsessive about letting nothing go to waste, I am reasonably tolerant of other creatures that wish to share my space. When I was the cleaning lady at the post office, I routinely rescued the pill bugs, katydids, and crickets that found their way inside the building instead of simply stepping on them. And the same is true for my house. As long is the insect isn’t in my food or sucking my blood, I usually leave it alone. I kill roaches, flies, ticks, mosquitoes, and ants. So this morning when I killed a large cockroach that was inside my coffee cup, I did not simply wash it down the sink. No, not me. I gave it to one of the spiders in the bathroom.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Squatter’s rights

The Carolina Wren ( is ubiquitous here and just everybody has “wren nest story.” These wrens don’t build their nests in trees like the other birds. Oh no. They like to make their large piles of leaves and grass in odd places. At our house, among the places they’ve made nests include behind the radiator grill of an old car, between the supports of a small pasta machine left in the barn (cleaning that out was a chore), and in the clothespin bag. A friend had one build a nest inside the engine compartment of his tractor, another had a nest in the pocket of an old overcoat hanging on the porch. The finish work on the garage R built several years ago has ground to a halt—at least work on the last small section of the wall because of a wren nest. That’s OK, there are other things he can do. But they really aren’t happy about him working down there and so he has to endure their angry chatter while the pair of them work hard to take care of their baby (only one of the eggs hatched).

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

On my mother’s knee

During the course of the Mother’s Day sermon on Sunday, the pastor said something along the lines of “do you remember sitting on your mother’s knee while she sang those great old songs of the church, like Jesus Loves Me, This I Know...?” Well no, not exactly, although I imagine Mom probably did sing those songs to me. Actually, my mom wasn’t the singer, it was my dad. And the songs I most remember from when I was a little kid are
Who's that knocking at my door
Who's that knocking at my door
Who's that knocking at my door
Cried the fair young maiden
It’s only me from over the sea,
I’m Barnacle Bill the Sailor.
I’m all lit up like a Christmas tree,
I’m Barnacle Bill the Sailor

Fortunately, that’s about all of the song he ever sang, and for good reason.

And the other one:
It was Friday morning, when we set sail,
We were not far from the land,
When our captain, he spied a mermaid so fair,
With a comb and a glass in her hand.

And the ocean waves do roll, and the stormy winds may blow,
We poor sailors, are skipping at the top,
While the landlubbers lie down below, below, below,
While the landlubbers lie down below.

Then up spoke the captain of our gallant ship,
And a fine old man was he,
He said, "This fishy mermaid has warned me of our doom:
We shall sink to the bottom of the sea!"

Then up spoke the cook of our gallant ship,
And a crazy old butcher was he,
He said, "I care much more for me pots and me pans,
Than I do for the bottom of the sea!"

Then up spoke the parrot of our gallant ship,
And a fine spoken bird was he,
He said, "I'd much rather be flyin' across the sea,
But tonight, shark-bait I will be!"."

Then three times 'round, spun our gallant ship;
And three times 'round spun she,
Three times 'round, spun our gallant ship;
And she sailed to the bottom of the sea.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


We awoke this morning to brilliant sunshine after days and days of rain and overcast skies. It's been too wet to cut the grass and some of the seed heads are nearly shoulder height. On the way home from work, I saw a turkey vulture sitting on a tree branch at the edge of the woods. That was unusual enough, but this bird had its wings extended. It was just sitting there sunning itself. I wanted to climb right up there with it.