Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On Top of Mount Dump-It...

Beautiful morning, as we got that day of "practice" sunshine I was whining for last night. After a cup of joe and some cat-nail trimming (he's so cooperative, it's kind of amazing...), I got myself outside to spread the Starbucks coffee grounds around.

I was real pleased with how fine they were ground and how nice and dry they were. It seemed they'd been dried in little muffin cups...maybe it's the shape of their filters or something...but the grounds were in crumbly cakes. I spread them around, focusing on the roses, but trying to get a little bit everywhere.

The bunnies...or something...have continued with the crocus nibbling, taking more of them right down to the level of the dirt. Grrr...also the tips of some tulip foliage seem to have been nipped, as well.

In other news, my digital camera decided to give me the finger and won't extend the lens, telling me its a "zoom error". It is over three years old, and has taken over 10,000 photos in that time. But double grrr. Today's photos were taken with Owen's camera. I'm a little unsure of all the settings yet, but these came out okay, I thought.

It was a beautiful day out there, but there was a full day ahead, so I resisted the cardinal's song and headed inside to get ready for work. Still, there was no escaping the world out there. I saw the flicker out the bathroom window as I shaved and as I dressed, I watched a cardinal and a robin canvassing the greening grass nearly side-by-side, while a sparrow explored the hedge behind them.

After work, I spent some more time tidying up the side of Mount Dump-It, that lumpy little hill behind the house. We see it out the back windows, so I'm mainly trying to improve our view.

I pruned back some viney things, so I can study what they are before I decide if they should be running wild...and there's plenty of assorted seedlings and things greening up the hill where I've raked away the old foliage stalks. I wanted to prune the apple tree some more, but resisted all but a few errant branches which were running the wrong way across the tree. After it's blossomed, I'll tidy it up some more. I found some old apple remains on the ground from last season. They looked to be nice-sized fruit, so I'll be careful not to prune too heavily 'til fall.

I added some rocks to the raked hillside, both for erosion control and to make it a little more interesting to look at. I'm not finished here, but this time of year I have the attention span of a flea, and I let myself be drawn up the side of the hill by a pair of birds I could hear calling back and forth.

There was a blackbird and his mottled girl in a tree at the back corner of the property, and I climbed almost to the top of the hill, so I could watch them more closely, without interrupting their date with my presence.

They sat on different branches, he a little higher. And then he dropped down to a lower branch. And she moved one branch away. He closed the gap to the branch between them, and she hopped away to another. Their coy game of checkers went on for a minute or two throughout the tree before they came to some agreement and flew off together.

Overhead, a pair of crows fly side-by-side. At first they are parallel, and then they cross one another, taking the other's position as they go parallel again, and then swap places again, spiraling around one another, weaving a flirtatious invisible ribbon across the sky.

Through all of this, a cardinal is singing in a treetop two lots or so away, with a host of smaller, twittery birds singing back-up from all over the place. You kind of get the idea these birdies have only one thing on their mind right now.

I kind of enjoy the view from the top of the hill, since you can see over the houses to the trees in the neighborhood and that blue sky beyond. With the sun over my shoulder to the west, it was cool to spend a few minutes just watching the bird world going about its dirty business.


Butch said...

I love that wee blue flower. You actually had to get down on the ground to take that one. That would mean that your ground is much drier that ours. We are in the middle of a "wash, spin, and dry" cycle of a week. It never dries enough that I can get out the lawn mower and try and drive it up and down the little hill in the back yard. If it is too wet, and the tires will spin on the hill. ( not good for the grass ) Speaking of grass, ours is in its growing cycle. If Mother Nature doesn't let me mow it soon, it will be very difficult to do so in another week or so. ( he says, as more clouds rush in from the west loaded with precipitation.);-)

Allison said...

The clouds are contrails from jets.

Rethoryke said...

About the coffee grounds -- I'm going to guess that the shape is actually caused by how the grounds are tamped down into the espresso machine, steamed, and then dumped into the discard pile. Thanks for reminding me about this program!

dykewife said...

lovely flowers! sucks about the rabbits though. maybe spread some cayenne pepper around the affected plants. i heard somewhere that was good for some kind of pests, but i can't remember which ones, so maybe a dose of cayenne will help...it can't hurt.

did you know that crows can coo like doves? they can. i was walking to work a few years back and as i walked under the boughs of a big maple, i heard an odd sort of cooing sound. it didn't quite sound like a pigeon, so i looked up. it was a crow. it made the sound several more times and then cawed hoarsely (the usual crow speak) and then flew off.

i'm not the only one who's heard the crow sing either. i have the comfort of knowing that i wasn't hallucinating.

Greg said...

Allison - yes, they are! I was writing in a notebook on the hill as all the bird business was going on, and when I looked up, I saw the contrails duplicating what I'd just imagined and written down...it was a great moment.

Hola, Rhet! I was thinking they might've been the shape of the espresso machine...of course little experience with them--this gardener's quite happy with just good old fashioned java!

Dykewife, I think crows are amazing! They're just beautiful and certainly among the smartest birds...and great mimics, too.

Of course, now I'm picturing them done up in bad dove drag, pretending below the feeder with the masses, sticking out like sore thumbs.

"Ahem, coo, I say, coo..."

Greg said...

DW, I try not to get too cranky about the bunnies...how thrilled they must be to see some tasty new green things appearing in the neighborhood.

But I am considering the pepper just so they don't get the idea I don't care what they eat.