Pears Following By a Mantis

November 14 – There are such things as coincidences that make me wonder sometimes how I am connected to all of the bits and pieces that happen to me in just one day! I am going to mention just two of them that happened recently, and I think all of you may enjoy them, one that was a bit more than I enjoyed (no! NOT enjoyed)! The other involves another living thing, but it’s good that it t disappeared before I really knew what was happening.

So, off to the first. On a beautiful about two weeks ago, with a high of 7O, I decided to hang the washing outside, as the sun was so warm and bright that I had to wear sun glasses! Not bad for the end of October. After two loads of newly-washed towels, shirts, socks, and jackets, I checked on the cherry trees where I would be sawing off some of the larger branches left on the tree when I didn’t have time to finish with the job a couple days ago.

181114 Pears

[ Fresh pears ]

On the way back to the house, I checked on the pear tree just inside the fence as I wanted to pick some of them before they fell off the tree. Not having a bucket with me, I had to use a makeshift one by pulling up my shirt just a bit so I could put a dozen pears in the homemade bucket.

Back to the house for breakfast, and then back to the pear tree. Since I couldn’t reach many of the pears, I had to pull down the branches I could reach, and hope to pick enough for some good eating later. Stretching as high as I could (I’m but a half inch taller than five feet) I walked around the tree and picked till I couldn’t reach any higher.

I had just about finished the job when I glanced up and saw just in front of me, but well over my head, four or five, good-looking pears! How in the world could I leave them behind? I then chose to move to a position right under those pears. Dumb mistake! Jumping a foot or so towards those pears and reaching as high as I could, I managed to make contact! Great, but the results were not as I had expected or hoped! (Right now, I am licking my upper lip, testing to see if it is still sore! Yes, it is!) So, now you can figure out the first little happening I am sharing with you! One of the largest pears along with three others came down from the tree all at once. I couldn’t believe that swelling could happen so soon. My poor top lip stayed sore for hours – but at least it didn’t bleed very much!

181114 Peacock

[ Peacock with ONE tail feather ]

Now for the second incident. Later that afternoon after I had finished cutting the branches off the cherry trees and carrying them back to the burning pile, made up of all kinds of bamboo, chestnut, apple, and many more,  I finished up the work that I had planned to do before going back into the house. I wanted to make sure that I was ready to listen to one of our favorite newsmen, Lester Holt, and think about what we would have for supper.

As usual the two peacocks were lying by the back porch in the bright sunshine. Talk about beautiful! Those gorgeous bright blue feathers don’t even look real! After I had fixed up macaroni and vegetables along with home-canned tomato juice, it was time to think of dessert. But first I had to go out to the garage to get some cat food for the peacocks (yes that’s right. Those birds enjoy many strange foods, like Cheerios and bread broken into smaller pieces.)

181114 Little mantis

[ Small mantis about the size of the one on my shoe ]

As I was walking along the way, I looked down in the corner of the garage, and there was an unexpected insect! As I stopped and watched for a bit, a very small praying mantis slowly made its way up from the floor to my shoes, continuing on slowly, until it was hanging on to one of my shoe laces. I was sure that it just wanted to find a safe place, so I shook my leg, figuring that the mantis would fall off and quickly move away from the arena.

Good reason for that, because it would have to shuffle away quickly before its meeting with the peacocks! Sad to say, it was too young to know of the danger it was in. Why? Because it landed right in front of the peacocks. When the bigger one saw the mantis, it quickly grabbed it, bit off some of the body, and then ate what it had left before. And since I have always appreciated these insects as they do many good things, I wished I had left that small one walk down the driveway to escape the appetite of the peacocks! Why did I toss it over right in front of them? Truly, um, food for thought! – CHRIS

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October Poetry

November 2 – How could anyone step out on the front porch or walk around in the pastures or what’s left of the garden, without bringing to mind the delightful poem October’s Bright Blue Weather by Helen Hunt Jackson?

181102_Jackson

[ Helen Hunt Jackson ]

She was born on October 15 and died on August 12, 1885. Originally I had planned to write about the birthdays of two of my family: Mom, who celebrated on the fifth and my second oldest brother Ed, on the sixteenth. However, I wanted to remind you of that very special, almost cloudless sky the poet wrote about and to tell you that she, like Mom and Ed, were born in October.

As I checked out the background of the poet, I found out that I didn’t really know very much about her. With all of the very sad news being broadcast around the world today due to hate crimes, I thought of Helen, who became an activist to point out the bad treatment of Native Americans in our country. In her book, “A Century of Dishonor,” she described the sad, even more than sad, effects of political action, and pleaded with the government for improvement.

181102_OctoberSky

[ Leaves turning in blue October ]

In 1879 she heard a lecture in Boston by Chief Standing Bear of the Ponca Tribe. He described the removal of the Indians from their Nebraska Reservation and transfer to the Quapaw Reservation in Oklahoma. They suffered there from disease, from bad climate, and poor supplies. In her work for them, Helen started investigating and told of government misconduct, circulating petitions, raising money, and writing letters to the New York Times. She told of violation of treaties with Indian tribes.

Inspired by her friend Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she said, “If I could write a story that would do for the Indian one-hundredth part what Uncle Tom’s Cabin did for the Negro, I would be thankful the rest of my life.”

One of her friends, Emily Dickinson, another well-known poet, wrote, “Helen of Troy will die, but Helen of Colorado, never.” She led a hard life on the frontier plains. She lost her husband and two children during her life time. She is buried in Colorado.

And finally, here is that poem, one of my favorites. It especially reminds me of Mom and my brother Ed.

October’s Bright Blue Weather

181802_BigCloud

[ White clouds in a blue sky ]

O suns and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
Ye cannot rival for one hour
October’s bright blue weather.

When loud the bumblebee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And goldenrod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When gentians roll their fingers tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

181102_SkyReflectionWhen all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October’s bright blue weather.

O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October’s bright blue weather.

And because you can never have too much poetry, here is another poem very special to the family. Published in a book of poems that my mom wrote (Lyrics by Louise), it’s simply called, October.

October days are happy days; the harvest time is here
The corn is ripe, the apples red. Jack Frost will soon appear.
The golden pumpkins in the field will soon make tasty pies
And burlap bags will almost burst with taters of good size.
The cider mill is full of jugs just waiting to be filled,
And crickets chirping on the hearth, at night will soon be stilled.
Oh, sweet October, month the best, you bring us so much joy,
Unequaled are your sunny smiles for every girl and boy.

Hope your October was happy! – CHRIS

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Gramma Christoph

October 21 – Today we are featuring a guest blog from Richard Christoph, one of my Erie nephews. He wrote the following about his grandmother, who just happened to be my mother as well!


180715_GrandmaC

[ Gramma’s iris garden ]

Gramma was an awesome woman. One who worked from sun-up to sun-down, giving thanks for every crop she grew and every weed she pulled. Didn’t matter to our gramma, she saw everything as something to gain from, or learn from. Food for the body, and weeds to remind us of our nature.

Some weeds had to stay in the ground, for to pull them would have also destroyed the beautiful irises she had grown. Weeds are like battles in our lives; some you learn to ignore while others we do something about. Like battles, you choose the ones that need attention and ignore the little burr in the pants or stone in the shoe.

Some of us go through sickness, aching bones, loss of sight or hearing, but the Lord does not care. Well, not in the sense that we do, for He communicates with us in a totally different realm, a spiritual realm, one we cannot see or feel, but we know is there.

181021_RichardNow

[ Photographer Richard ]

That’s the way my gramma was. She would pray for us every day, and give thanks to the Almighty God and Creator of heaven and earth, even though she might not have seen a change in us: she had faith!

Ever sit out at night by yourself on a clear night, lay back and just look at the stars? Countless stars, and so, so far away. He holds all things together simply by the words of His mouth. We are going to meet Him some day. None of us will stand before Him, not until we are changed to be like Him. Oh, the grace of God! “How can it be that Thou my God shouldst die for me!”

And there is another woman who prays for us every day. She is married to my Uncle Dale. Her mom taught her pretty well, I would say! Both planted and both weeded well into their 90’s (I believe.) The Lord has put angels in our paths. She has helped me to learn to pray for my family!

181021_RichardThen

[ “The shy little guy” ]

I hope that in my lifetime I will have a similar effect on my children, great-grandchildren, nieces, and nephews so this was just a moment that I felt like sitting down and writing my thoughts to people I love!

However, don’t expect this too often, though; after all, “I am the shy little guy my Gramma, Aunt and Uncle remember. Now don’t all of you siblings of mine go and ruin that thought! – RICHARD

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Peacock Wrap (2 of 2)

October 10 – OK, time to finish up the Peacock Post from earlier this week…

181010_PeacocksWaiting

[ Patiently waiting ]

When I get up in the morning, the first thing I do is go out to the kitchen and check out the back door. Just about always, at least one of the birds and usually both, are seated comfortably on the cement porch. If I softly call, “Oh, there you are,” or, “How are you this morning?” I hear their response, “I’m fine, but where’s my Cheerios!”

They have worked so had to get rid of the few quills that are left, but it seems as if they can’t pull them off! I think they might have been working on the job ever since they came to our house back in the middle of August, almost two months ago. I have tried to think of a plan to get the feathers out, but I have to admit that I don’t have the answer!

181010_PeacockPorch

[ Front porch guests ]

Sometimes when we sit out on the front porch, the birds will come right up on the porch to see what we are doing. Other times they are content to just be near us as they plop out on the grass to see what we are doing. And the cat? She is content to sit on her bench and watch the birds. If we are inside while the birds are out on the porch, Cat rushes to the door and begs to shoot out as soon as possible so she can be part of the family too.

When our tomatoes first began to ripen, we noticed that some of the fruit had holes in them, showing us that something was stealing those tomatoes! At first we wouldn’t let the peacocks into the garden thinking that maybe they had been doing the damage. So we kept all three gates closed, not even thinking that they could fly right over any of the gates! Still, something was taking our much awaited tomatoes!

181010_Datura

[ Datura flowers ]

The solution? I picked the whole patch every other day, and that took care of the problem. Now we let the birds have the run of the place, usually ending up near one fence where beautiful pink and white cleomes are blooming, along with the white datura. There they would lie on their stomachs, enjoying the sun and the breeze, BUT, when we left that area after the picking, they followed us right up to the house to stay for the afternoon.

So here we are, right up through today when the peacocks were enjoying the food set out for them, when they went back to see what was going on in the garden area, what special things they would have to eat, and which shed roof they would sleep on for the night. I watched them as I looked through the window as they were preening themselves on the porch. Quite a surprise one day awhile back when I first saw the birds pecking each other’s mouth or nose or both. I still can’t figure out why they do that now and again. Must be some kind of ritual, but I don’t know which.

I do know that both Dale and I have learned a lot about peacocks while the neighbor’s two have lived with us. Such beautiful colors. Such friendship between the two. Such agreement. Such interesting birds. So friendly with us. Such a blessing from the Lord who takes care of them every day! – CHRIS

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Peacock Wrap (1 of 2)

October 8 – Remember the words, “All quiet on the Western Front?” Well, when I looked out on the front porch recently and saw no evidence of anything other than Quiet, I was reminded of the statement above, taken from some folks’ books about World War I. Such a difference between living in the nearby city areas and enjoying life out here far from town and all of the noise and people that take away the quiet time that all should be able to enjoy every day.

181007 Peackocks Shed

[ Where the peacocks spend the night ]

Just checked on the two peacocks I have written about earlier. I am planning that this will be my last blog about those birds who have come to be a real part of our family. We just take for granted that they are no longer afraid of us, that they count on the foods we set out for them, that they really love to lounge in the sun, preen their feathers for a good part of every day, and above all, just seem to enjoy being with us, and with the cat as well! However, not once have they come too close to us, but keep their distance to make sure that they will always be free.

As soon as the skies darken a bit, and I can see the beautiful red or gold sunset in the west, I shut the garage door, reminding them that it is time for them to go out to the shed. There they will take their usual route, right on up to the high barn roof where they will spend the night.

181007 Peacocks waiting

[ Waiting for breakfast ]

Sometimes we get up earlier than they do, and find them down in the garden. Other times, if we choose to stay in bed a little longer, we find the birds waiting for us just outside the garage door. They look up at us, and then in their own language, they say sweetly, “Where’s our breakfast? We’re hungry, and we really enjoy those Cheerios, potato chips, and fancy bread. No need for a drink because we can get water from the big bowls in the garage or near the bird feeder.” They might add, “It’s nice to have food every day, to go along with the insects; lots of them around here for us to eat. We even enjoy Japanese beetles and a few other good-tasting insects, or just plain ‘bugs,’ all over the area.”

181007 FewFeathers

[ Not much of a tail there, folks! ]

When we first saw the birds, we noticed that they were pecking and preening and trying to pull off some of their long feathers as they moved along the way. How I have enjoyed finding some of those quills, especially when several smaller feathers with the beautiful blue-green color first started to appear. Those poor birds! One has two more feathers left to pull out, and the other larger one has five! Nowadays I think they spend much more time trying to peck those feathers out than they do in finding food! Sometimes their entire head is buried under feathers. If I can sneak up on them while they are in that position, they seem to get quite a shock to see me watching them! (part 2 tomorrow) – CHRIS

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Hail to the Fairchilds

September 26 – So I’m finally getting around to a post about a real humdinger of a hail storm that we had earlier this summer. We may not get hurricanes in Missouri, but we DO get storms!

I believe it was on a Thursday afternoon after we had gotten back from Town Day and visiting with several folks. Looking out the window, I noticed that the sky was darkening and beginning to look like typical storm clouds.

180926_StormCloudsKnowing that there were a number of tomatoes ready to be picked, and not wanting to be caught in a storm, I hurried out to the patch with a plastic ice cream bucket to be filled. As I continued checking and picking, the sky darkened, and the wind began to blow harder and harder.

After working through a good bit of the patch, I saw LIGHTNING and heard some of the loudest thunder I have ever heard! The lightning continued and I had to admit that I had never before been outside in a storm like that one. Finally I had come to the end of the rows, leaving only the Sun Gold and Roma unpicked. I did not need tomatoes right then as much as I needed to get out of the garden and back to the house!

Unfortunately, I had a full bucket with three more tomatoes that I had to hold in my other hand as I hurried back to the house. Hurried? How could I do any more than walk slowly so that I wouldn’t dump them before I walked to the back door. And then? I couldn’t open the door because Dale thought I was downstairs since I had forgotten to turn off the lights! I banged on the door and on the windows, and yelled, “Let me in! I don’t like to be out here with the lightning, and the thunder scares me!”

OK, so I was overly concerned, but I remembered some of the students I taught in Africa. While they were out in storms with their cattle and couldn’t go home very often, they died on the spot because they had been struck by lightning!

Finally Dale heard me and came to open the door. “I thought you were downstairs,” he said. “You should never have been out in this storm!” Well THAT I already knew, but finally I was safe inside. But that’s not the whole story!

180926_HailDrivewayWe had never seen a storm quite like this one. First came very strong winds and rain and thunder and lightning for a long time. Then hail! I have never seen so much of that white stuff frozen into small balls at first, and then more and more, and larger, much larger. By now we had opened the garage door so we could look out on the lawns and garden.

Finally I decided that I could go out into the garage to get a few pics to prove that this really was a storm to be remembered. Just as I had focused on a lot of hail, ready to take a picture, I saw right in front of me that hail was paying me back for taking its picture! In one last bounce, it flew up in the air and struck me on my leg! That stung!

Later when the hail was no longer falling down to the ground, I decided to take a few photos. Since I was afraid some of it would melt before I got into the front yard, I didn’t bother to put on shoes. Out I went with socks that were soon soaked, and I was cold! Who cares? I don’t expect to see anything like that again. Everywhere on the front and back lawn, on the driveway, in the bird feeder, and all the way over to part of the garden about fifty feet away, that hail was still hanging on, not ready to give up the battle.

180926_HailQuarterWhen the rain finally stopped so that the hailstones could be clearly seen, I was surprised at how big and icy they were. Most of them were quarter-size, but some were much bigger and looked as if they were bragging about their size. After a very long time, the hail finally disappeared. Dale put one of the largest in the freezer so we can check it out from time to time. No more of THAT, if you please! – CHRIS

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Summer memories

September 21 – With the return this week of temperatures in the 90s, I was reminded of our heat wave earlier this summer when not only was it HOT but there was little rain. Everything in the garden had been begging for rain to give the plants a second or tenth chance of survival. So many times I remarked to Dale, “WHEN is it going to rain? When will we have enough water so we can stop filling the big barrel from the hoses that run back to the garden from the faucet on the outside of the house?”

180921 Lima beans

[ The lima beans survived the heat! ]

I can’t remember when we had so little rain at that time of year. We were quite far behind where we should be! Every day the news folks reminder was that “we are at least 10 inches behind in the water situation.”

And the heat didn’t help! So many entire weeks in the nineties, and that kept us inside a good bit of the day. It was bad enough that we finally decided it was time to invite the air conditioning to become a part of our house for awhile! Back in Pennsylvania we practically never heard of that. Guess we just grew up when nobody had anything but a fan to keep us cool.

We tried to water the tomato plants regularly as they do the best they can to stand tall and enjoy the every-other-day watering. We also sprayed the cucumbers, the lima beans, and the various kinds of squash. I was so glad whenever Dale would come in from checking the rain gauge and actually have something to report, as any rain was a blessing.

180921 Possum tomatoes

[ Thrown away because of possum damage ]

But it wasn’t only the rain and the heat that threatened our tomatoes. I got to the point where I was picking even the “almost-ripe” ones. Why? We found that some animals, probably possums or coons, were searching through the patch until they found something that looked good to them.

But if the tomato wasn’t quite ripe, they would try ANOTHER one! This pattern would go on until many of the tomatoes were eaten just enough that there was little left for me to pick. I didn’t want to admit that the wild animals had more sense than I do, so I decided to pick those that weren’t ripe yet as well. Up in the kitchen, I packed them on big trays until fully ripened, in maybe a day or so. You aren’t the only smart ones in the bunch, Mr. Possum! – CHRIS

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Peacock Update

180912_ProudPeacock

[ Proud as a peacock ]

September 12 – Yes, the peacocks are still with us! And since the birds are finally staying closer to us, I decided I would try to talk more often to them when they were near us. My number one question was, “When are you going to let me take some good pictures of you and listen to your throat sounds that everybody says all peacocks do?” Then I would say something like, “You need to be like the cat which always likes to be petted? I would even sing to you if you would answer!” Then I would kind of sing to them in little verses I made up as I went along.

For the first several days the birds were here, we never heard that typical call they make. And then finally we did – it was pretty loud, but it didn’t bother us because it was all new to us. We were standing out by the feeder box and then heard some really loud “music” as the two birds seemed to be trying to win the “concert’ they were providing for us. When I spouted out, “Urrr-arrrrr” (I was laughing so much that I could hardly come up with anything), the birds didn’t seem to mind. After all, how many of their relatives enjoyed a concert from a former teacher? (history, English, and Social Studies, BUT NOT MUSIC!)

180912_PeacockDriveway

[ Preening on the driveway ]

When I looked out the kitchen window later that week, I was both surprised and shocked and concerned! The peacocks were back near the garden, and we didn’t want them to go inside and ruin the crop of beautiful tomatoes. First, I opened the gate near the shed, then started my inspection, not yet knowing if those birds had managed to get into the garden.

Uh-oh, just as I was walking past one of the rows, I could see a peacock looking around way down at the end! Quickly I started walking towards him. I knew I couldn’t catch him because they can walk pretty rapidly and even run or fly the short distances in the garden. After following the smaller bird from row to row, I saw the larger one pecking through a big pile of tossed-out veggies right at the top of the compost heap!

Oh, for my camera! I could have taken several pics before the bird even realized I was in the area. When he did, off he went as fast as he could through the rows until he came to the big metal gate, where he flew right out of the area. His friend followed right after, I closed the gate near the shed, and went back to the house to tell Dale the story. One thing really surprised me. I knew from the beginning that the chin and neck areas were a very beautiful blue, but much more so as we are closer to the birds.

Since we were in church the next day, we had no idea of where the birds might be. Couldn’t see them anywhere after we got home. But the next day there they were, right in the driveway, enjoying themselves and finally trusting us enough that they came closer to us as we stood just inside the garage door. How I did enjoy my conversation with those big peacocks. When I talked to them in my made-up-language, using whatever words came to mind, they didn’t even move away. So why not try to feed them?

180912_Eating

[ Score me some cheerios, bub! ]

An hour later they had eaten some stale potato chips, a cupful or more of Cheerios, bread, and a can of whole kernel corn. When I asked Dale to get my camera for me, I continued “singing and talking” while I took a number of pictures. That number grew quickly because I wanted to be sure that I had at least several of the birds. A number of times, as soon as I was taking a picture, the bird moved! I am not the world’s best photographer, but I tried!

For the first time, we heard some high-pitched sounds coming from those birds. Three or four days had gone by, and they finally decided that we would be their friend, not an enemy. How they did gobble up the food, even though it were one bit at a time.

The peacocks were up early the next day, standing in front of the garage door, just waiting for the Good Samaritans who lived in the house to open the door and toss out the food. Well, who can resist a request like that! After their usual diet, they wandered all over the place until they were ready to jump up into the feed box for a rest.

180912_PeacocksCat

[ Cat investigating the bird population ]

But not for long. Since I had planned to mow several acres of lawn, I asked Dale if he would get the mower ready so I could start that big job after I had done the hand mowing. As I pushed the mower for an hour or so, those two birds followed me pretty closely, enjoying the bugs along the way. Then as the day became hotter and hotter, up to 90, the peacocks decided to rest in the shade. However, as I mowed later with the riding mower, they soon became my followers, as they walked behind me finding such succulent and tasty food as only bugs can supply. By the end of the day, it seemed that those peacocks had adopted us and had decided to stay.

So where are they now? Preening those long, long feathers as they have been doing for hours today. Looking on is Cat, who likes to be counted as the head of the show. After all, she did arrive on the scene a number of years ago and has been happy ever since! – CHRIS

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The New Visitors

180830_PeacockDroopy

[ A peacock – in OUR yard? ]

August 30 – Just a week ago, we had heard that our neighbor had been given two PEACOCKS as the former owners complained about the noises they made at any time of day or night. In order to keep the peace, the owner donated the birds to our friend. (His neighbors also heard the strong shrill sound made by the peacocks!)

We had heard the story before we saw the birds, so when they showed up at OUR house, we knew who owned them! When it was time to go back home that evening, the peacocks decided they would rather stay here to find out what’s going on in this “neck of the woods!”

As we closed the garage door for the night, we really wondered if we would see the birds around somewhere in the morning. Guess what? Not only were the peacocks still at our address, but they didn’t race away when they saw us as we opened the garage door for the day.

180830_PeacockShade

[ Staying in the shadows ]

All day long they stayed, investigating things they might have missed the day before, or checking out where they might find food. I tried to take some pictures, but it seemed as if they were mostly in the shadows made by the branches on the three maple trees. Oh, well, I was still pretty well pleased that I had anything to show what had come to visit with us! The bigger bird even flew up into the big box that holds food in the winter.

I don’t know where they spent the night, but I wasn’t too surprised to find them over in the field by the barn. Not once did they come close to the garage! Our grandsons and their friend drove over in the afternoon, and I quickly asked Rob if he would take a pic for me. Sure he would. However, the peacocks were so far away behind the barn, that it was a bit hard to tell which bird was in the picture. At least Rob tried!

180830_PeacocksBarn

[ Peacocks on the roof ]

That night I tried to get near enough to the birds to take at least a halfway-good picture. No luck! When I would get a little closer, the birds would hurry away. After all, they didn’t know me any better than I knew them! However, I did hope to find some way of talking to them. Everything came to the fore as I tried so hard! I remembered hearing someone say once or twice that you can communicate with birds and animals if you are patient and keep talking to them in a kindly way.

So what did I say? In a sweet voice? “Hello, there peacocks, you sweet birds who don’t really know where you live. C’mon over to see me! I’ve never seen such a beautiful blue color before, and I think that makes you pretty special. If you would come over I would pet you, but right now I would be satisfied if you would just get close enough that I could take your pictures.”

180830_PeacocksCheerios

[ Peacocks like Cheerios? Who knew! ]

Nice promise, but I didn’t have a speck of faith that either of the peacocks would agree with my request. However, the next day brought a real surprise. Those birds were still back by the garden when I opened the garage door. I wondered if I put some food on the driveway, they might come up to see what was going on. I chose to use Cheerios. I tossed them out so bits and pieces were everywhere and if the birds wanted to eat them, they’d have no trouble. But neither bird came up until after we had gone back inside.

Glancing out the window I could see them heading in our direction. Hooray, they were eating the cereal as if it were going out of style. Their bills went through the food until it was just about eaten up. Well, if they liked the cereal, maybe they would like some out-of-date potato chips? They must have been hungry, because they cleaned that up, too.

One last bit, as they must be getting filled up, so down to the basement I went to get a can of whole kernel corn! No guessing allowed this time. After eating up about half that corn, they were done except to get out to the birds’ water dish to wash it all down! Now that they were satisfied, the larger peacock flew up into the bird feeder box and settled down for a little rest after his hard work. The smaller one just moved over to the cool cement under the feeding box and settled in for a quiet day.  (more tomorrow…) – CHRIS

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Animals of the Neighborhood

August 29 – In the past I have written a number of blogs dealing with our relationship with animals or birds. Living here in the country, we have many opportunities to check out the birds and to watch how their days go by. It’s always interesting to watch the humming birds as they enjoy a quick drink from the feeder on the front porch. It’s great to find the visitors to our bird feeder from time to time. (Right now, they aren’t checking out the treats because Dale doesn’t put any out through the summer. They will probably be back in September.)

We still find squirrels, coons, and possums hunting for special treats but they won’t find any until fall either. Dale watched a brave young squirrel hurrying along on the front lawn just today as it hoped to find a good piece of food fit for a squirrel.

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[ Restful cat ]

We have also enjoyed our friendship with a couple of the neighbor’s tame birds. You may remember the stories I wrote about the big white rooster who came down the road and checked out our cat. Speaking of the cat, she had lived in the barn getting rid of the rats. She lived way up as far as she could go, and came down through a hole in the wall, which led to the roof of the shed.

Once our dog died, she came to take that place in our hearts, but it took awhile for her to settle in. Another interesting note; from the first day we would leave saucers of milk and cheese for her to enjoy, but she let us know very quickly that she would eat nothing but dry cat food! Too many rats up in the barn. Yuck!

Anyway, back to the rooster! He had no problem meeting the cat for the first time, and decided to stay. All day they walked around together, until as it began to grow dark, the bird decided he had better go home. He left us as he walked and flew back to his home with the man who lives about a quarter of a mile up the road.

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[ The duck with the beady eyes ]

Then there’s the story of the duck with beady eyes, and a quack that didn’t come from his throat until after he had been with us for awhile. You may have read that blog, too. In the end, our neighbor came down to the house to pick up the Quacker. Armed with two nets, he just scooped up the bird, hurried to his vehicle and took the bird back home.

Dale and I have enjoyed contact with various birds, but the two that are right now resting out in the yard by the bird feeder, are really more than special. And to find out more about them? You’ll just have to come back tomorrow! – CHRIS

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