So two weeks ago, cell reception died here for both me and my flip phone (I don’t want a computer in my pocket, thanks) and for my husband’s fancy smartphone. Wound up having to spend hours on the landline with Verizon tech support which kept bumping me up to the next level, then the next one after that. And they wound up putting in a trouble ticket …which netted us lots of text messages until those stopped coming in, too. Now, Forrest’s smartphone does suddenly have reception, again, but me? Nope. Not unless I walk or drive down to the highway. Then it has all sorts of connection. So, that’s where we sit. You want to contact me? It’s all email now until somebody figures out the problem …which, knowing how things go here, probably means next century.
I have some birds. All of them are re-homed here because of various health circumstances and special needs. …Like Whacky Bird, who quite literally faints at the mere suggestion of a changed routine. And there’s Dumpling who managed to break his wingtip off and almost bled to death when his owner let him out to play. Since the break left a shattered bone end and the vet had to pull some magic out of her arsenal to save him, the bird was re-homed with me because he needs special care and caging.
Oldest of them all, weighing in at 26 years of age, is Regal, a magnificent, slightly odd looking critter because he suffers a condition I call Bad Cage Disease, his early years being spent in a cage whose bars were made of zinc, not plastic coated steel. Regal has nerve damage in one foot and a ring of missing feathers around his neck, all permanent problems. He needs special supplements …which he loves, thank you very much. But, because of the nerve damage in his leg, he can’t perch up high. He’s now, basically, a ground bird, except for daily cage cleaning where he jumps up, one footed to a low perch that’s barely off the cage floor. The fact that he’s supposed to be a perching bird, not a chicken whose feathers (except for the roosters, of course) are designed to stay above the detritus, makes him prone to, (a) getting his feet covered in doo, and, (b) miring his long tail feathers and wing tips, this all despite his special bird bath which he uses daily.
So we have “bird washing day” around here where I get him on my hand, take him to the bathroom, run some warm water, and proceed to, well, wash the bird. Then comes clipping his toenails if they need it and whacking off any tail and wing feathers that are too long to stay off the cage floor. He doesn’t mind any of it, at all. In fact, he revels in it.
Whacky Bird, of course, thinks this is all sorts of trauma, and, usually, when I come back from the bathroom with Regal, I’ll find her either panting like a tired locomotive, still conscious, but unable to move, or she’ll be crashed out, unconscious, on the cage floor. (She comes to after about five minutes, and, once Regal is safely back and she can see no damage has been done to her pal, she recovers to her normal, rather obnoxious self.) Dumpling, on the other hand, will make all sorts of sympathetic noises once Regal is returned to his cage …which, Regal, being quite proud of his coiffure and freshly bathed splendor, pointedly ignores as he preens and struts.
So, there you have it. Bird Washing Day at Dawn’s North Idaho bird retirement home.
NOAA keeps posting “Hazardous Weather Outlooks” amd “Winter Weather Advisories” for us here in North Idaho. Ummm. Okay. I keep prepping for what that historically means:
- four foot dumps of snow with rain immediately after which then collapses standard roofs;
- wind-driven snow that forms six-foot drifts, visibility zero, wind-chill down to -26°F;
- ice storms that put an inch-thick coating of frozen ‘slick’ on everything, tearing down power lines and trees….
What are we getting? Yawn. Not even something to sneeze at.
I notice the same trend for less obscure places than Idaho, places like Cleveland, OH, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and the Beltway.
“The sky is falling, the sky is falling, we’re going to get a [normal] winter weather event. Driving will be reduced to IMPOSSIBLE!”
Roll my eyes. Ah, it’s winter, folks. Snow, ice, and slick driving conditions are the norm, not something to squawk like a chicken being chased by the neighbor’s dog.
New York gets two inches of white stuff, and, suddenly, it’s grid-lock and accidents galore resulting in highway shutdowns, all of which brings commuter accusations that the highway departments didn’t do their jobs laying down ‘salt’ (magnesium chloride in a lot of cases, which, in case you didn’t know it, is hazardous to living things and to vehicles, all).
Umm, slow down, obey the laws of physics, and don’t be a jackass?
But, no. Instead, we’ve got the weather people warning of coming disaster when there’s no impending disaster, at all:
- We’re not going to lose power for eight days mid-winter;
- we’re not going to be digging out from under an avalanche of white stuff;
- we’re not going to have to chain up the 4-wheel drive in order to negotiate the county road and highway;
- our roofs are will not be in danger of collapse;
- and going outside doesn’t mean a high potential for seared lungs, frozen faces, and frostbitten toes and fingers by sub-zero temperatures coupled with strong, bitter winds.
It’s Chicken Little hollering, is all.
And why? I think it must be because thoroughly modern Millies and Sillies and Willies and Weanies all think they should be able to drive down the road hell bent for their destinations at over posted speed limits like they do when it’s sunny and dry. (Dumb.)
NOAA, don’t predict what’s actually mild to normal weather as a red alert. Don’t play to the thoroughly modern Millies and Sillies and Willies and Weanies. Normal people want to know when real hazards are imminent. Don’t play to the stupids. Let them win The Darwin Awards.
Got a wonderful blast of sunshine yesterday. It was an absolutely glorious autumn day. Today? We’re back to much-needed rain. Enjoy. The first is a still-green maple sapling, the second is one of our century-old-plus cedars, the third is a shot of the also century-old tamaracks (larch) turned their wonderful autumn color just before they lose their needles. (Yes, they are one of the few pines that lose their needles every fall, so, those of you unfamiliar with them, don’t cut that tree that’s bare if its a larch, because, yes, it drops its leaves in the fall.)
September and October are my favorite months. Yes, there’s November looming with its scramble to batten down the hatches, but September and October are those months where summer work is mostly done, and I can sit down and simply enjoy Earth. Sure, there’s a bit of cleanup and tidying yet to do, but, all in all, it’s time to wallow in the relative quiet of kids gone back to school, tourists gone home — a time to embrace the Gravy Days, as my mother used to call them.
Our October this year didn’t start in gravy. There was a cold foreboding to the weather that promised a very cold, hard winter. Everybody felt it. Then, midway through, things changed. And we got, not Indian Summer, but Gravy Days, all the same. Last fall clean-ups in pleasant progress and, yes, finally, the roofing crew, promised in Spring, here two days before the rains come.
My biggest project prior to November is … raking the drive and the pathways in preparation for snow removal this winter, manual clean-up necessary to get the bits of branches and fallen leaves cleared so they don’t get sucked into the snow blower with our inevitable wet snow and bind up the big machine, which, if and when that happens, makes me turn the air, not just blue, but purple with my cussing.
Hand-Raking the Drive
This morning early, ~1AM, it was breezy, but balmy. Later, by 7AM, the wind had turned vengeful and bitter.
Winter is coming.
I’m very glad Forrest will be home this winter, not driving dangerous roads. Meanwhile, though, the chill put a damper on my spirits — completely. It’s depressing to think that, in a matter of days to a spare couple of weeks, we could be facing below zero temperatures …which would be very early, even for North Idaho.