Monday, June 11, 2007

Beauty Saves the Day


Thanks for the beauty, Lily and bug. You nurture tired souls.

I wonder if I am the only one who cringes when the alarm clock wakes me. It’s set for 5:20 a.m. during weekdays and lately I’ve been opening my eyes and sneaking a peek at the clock close to wake-up time. This morning I opened my eyes at 5:19 a.m. Uuuuggggghhhh. Four seconds later I hear BEEP BEEP BEEP – a heartless blast, dammit. Barely awake, I was still capable of this: “&*(&#****^*$%%!!!” I always hope it's 2:00 a.m. when I open my eyes...

I live with a perky morning person. I hate perkiness before sunrise. I’m not decent in the mornings and maintain my ugly mood until I put the key in the ignition and get on my way to work. At sunrise today, I looked through the bathroom window to see a squirrel sitting on a feeder with a fresh orange slice in its mitts and gnawing away like we do with a slice of watermelon. Oh boy, did that send me into an early morning fit. Those slices are for Orioles that I’ll never see! Dammit! With my hair spiked, pillow wrinkles deep on my face; I marched out there and scared the wits out of that thief. He flew off the dish and the early morning sun caught the safflower in flight. It wasn’t my croaky voice – the squirrel saw something strange…me. Yea, yea, I know they need to eat, too. Chipmunks are plentiful, too, and I ushered one out of my garage this morning.


(Click to enlarge photo to see three Mockers on the ground.) Late last week, after a day I’d rather forget at the office and feeling nasty, I came home to see a horrible fight between two Mockingbirds and there was a third on-looker. This was just what I needed. More stress. I stood on my porch and witnessed a knock-down, drag-out fight that continued way too long, from the trees, sidewalk, and street. They rolled, stabbed, and tried to kill each other. They fought so adamantly and quickly that I couldn’t zoom in with the camera. My own feathers got ruffled and I held myself back from running out there to break it up. Instead, I yelled, “Knock it off!”


They took it around to the back of the house.

Then they took it to the front again where I was able to capture one of them catching its breath in 96 degree heat.

The next day, a pair started nest building in one of the Crepe Myrtles where they fought. I’m keeping an eye on it. I am not sure of the dynamics of the fight other than two females were competing for a male or a nesting site?

These Mockingbirds are causing me grief as described in Saturday’s post but I am learning so much.

I haven’t seen many newcomers to the feeders lately as I guess they have all passed through. I do have many local yokels and here are a few of many:


Oh, how nice. Yeah.


Lovely. The barn swallows are renting somewhere else.

BUT, tonight I found more beauty,

The babes were investigating their territory and I couldn’t resist getting very close while admiring their little bobbing heads,


I scooted on my fanny closer and closer, only four feet away…then Mother came and announced, “Let’s go!” Both babes flew in her direction and I felt fine! There was a Cooper’s hawk in the neighborhood this evening and I was glad to know the babes fly very well!

When I was agonizing over the Mockingbird fight, I didn’t realize I had a delivery on the porch until I turned around,


Julie’s Phoebe print arrived. Yes...more beauty that I needed at the end of the day. I won’t show it until I frame and mount it in a special place in my home.

See the extra gift she enclosed? (We adore our dogs and would like to cover the earth with well-bred Bostons - one for everyone.)


Chloe: What is it? Is it for me?


Bella: C-c-can I have some?


I say, "Now, girls, what do you say to Mrs. Zickefoose?"

“Thank you, Mrs. Lickefoose! Mom, can we have more?”

Thank you, Julie. Your beautiful gift made my day.


NatureWoman said...

Oh, oh oh, I can't *wait* to see Julie's artwork!!!! That's soo awesome Mary. And your girls faces make me feel happy!
I get up around the same time you do, too, Mary, but the birds wake me before the radio (music) does. If I set it to alarm I would have to fling the radio out the window. I freakin' *hate* alarms. They make me angry first thing in the morning. Oh, and people that are cheery in the morning. I used to work with a guy that would yell "GOOD MORNING PAM" at 6:00 in the morning. I used to call him Mr. Happy Pants. No-freakin-body is normally *that* cheery in the morning.
I love your photos and the way you write Mary!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
I am silent in the mornings. I do not have any words until maybe 8am. I also do not care for morning talking by others! It takes me awhile to wake up and remember my name, address and telephone number.
Your Mockingbirds are nesting again? Maybe this is a new pair??
My Mockingbirds are still feeding the hungty chicks.
Such cute Doves..
I have too many doves...
I hope the Orioles come to you. Maybe on their way back to Mexico in September.
I have two pairs that come off and on all day for grape jelly.
They don't seem to go for the oranges anymore. I think they are busy eating bugs now. They do change their diets. Grape Jelly seems to be a treat.
Loved this essay..

Alyssa said...

I'm not a morning person at all - I never have been. That's why our second shift life is perfect for me. I don't get up to an alarm, which is fantastic. I feel bad for anyone who has to get up early for work.

That bird fight certainly livened up things at your house. I'm surprised they had so much energy in that heat.

I love being greeted by a package left by the delivery man. Can't wait to see what your print is.

And the girls are so expressive and sweet. I hope Mom gave them lots of treats just for being cute.

Have a bright and cheery morning!!

Susie said...

Our squirrels raided the orange slices we put out for our Orioles too! They are such little bandits!
We have two beautiful orioles who are nesting in the yucca next door. Lots of doves too, but no cute little ones like yours!!

Unknown said...

Great post. I love that you yelled at the Mockers! I would have totally told them to knock off the fighting! :)

Your doves are lovely -- I, personally, would love to have some doves in my yard. There are some in the neighborhood but they don't come into my yard. Oh well.

LostRoses said...

Mary, I have to agree with you on the morning thing. If you think about it, we've spent all our lives (after age 6) having to get up at ungodly hours. Somehow that's just not right. Well, I guess for some people it is, but not me, or you obviously! And then you had to witness "nature red in tooth and claw" with your mockingbirds!

I'm glad you got some photos of the peaceful Mourning doves (see, another morning thing!) I like your grumpy rantings, then I don't have to do them myself!

quacks said...

raunchy obviously has a totally different connotation in the States than it does here!!

Mary said...

Thanks, Pete. I misused that word :o)

Jayne said...

Mary, my alarm sounds at 5:20 too so I feel your pain. This morning we slept until... gasp... 6AM as I am off and hubby has a meeting later before going into work.

I received Julie's print last week and was thrilled as well. I have a perfect spot picked out for it too, and just have to find the perfect mat/frame!

KGMom said...

Mary--laughing at hopeful pups or groaning at the thought ofa 5:20 a.m. alarm--I am with you all the way.
The mockingbird fight is a reminder that nature "ain't always pretty." Territory, nest, mate--whatever, creatures fight.

Anonymous said...

Mary, I so can't wait to see the lickefoose painting up on the wall! And, how wonderful the extra treats were in their also! Your girls were extra special to get them! Guess it pays to wake up no so perky in the morning! Although, I thought it would have been fun to watch those mockingbirds draw their boundry lines!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Cute dovey babies! I'm anxious to see your print too! I'm susally a pretty cheerful morning person unless I'm on nights and my days and nights are all mixed up. Then I'm pretty much crabby and sleep deprived until the stretch is over...

RuthieJ said...

Thankfully my spouse and I are both morning people and we're almost to work by 5:20. However, you don't really want to be around me if I'm still up after 9:30 at night! Interesting to read about the ticking of other people's internal clocks....

I love those pix of Chloe and Bella with their cute! They're pretty lucky little dogs.

dmmgmfm said...

I'm doing well to stagger out of bed at 7 am lately and I used to be one of those perky morning people you spoke of (not getting to bed until after 2am might have something to do with it).

But your photos are lovely and your dogs...they are perfection. Their little faces show such personality! I can completely understand why you want to populate the earth with well-bred Bostons.

possumlady said...

Hmmm, I don't know if I'm a morning person or not. I'm not cranky, but I really don't like to talk. (Guess it's good that I'm single ;-)

I don't need an alarm, but I wake up later, between 6-6:30. But with the sunrise at 5:40 my cat Butterball has started patting my face around 5:45. I don't even open my eyes. I just say in a loud whisper "Butterball, STOP IT" I then hear a loud sigh and he goes back to sleep.

Oh, and a belated Happy Birthday to Gina!

Dorothy said...

I love quiet in the morning too Mary..I'm usually not very talkative until after 10.
I can't wait to see Julie's print matted and framed! What a treasure!

Chrissie said...

Great post, Mary. I had to laugh! I hate it when the alarm goes off and I don't get up as early you :-) Love the pic of the doves, really sweet. PS Raunchy is not the only word with a different meaning in UK and US :-)

Cathy said...

Oh My Gosh! This is too cute! Those pup faces! This is another 'must share' with my hubby.

Dang, Mary. How can the rest of us hope to keep up with your blog? Dang!

Spiked hair and pillow wrinkles :0D I was falling off the couch! My hair was on fire, too - when I watched a squirrel sitting in our tree eating a stalk of my geraniums. I wondered why those planters were looking so thin. I got pictures to prove it.

Naturegirl said...

Hillarious! Love the whole story of your day with nature! Peace love and blessings is what the pr. of doves wanted you to know.Oh those faces of your dogs..too darn cute!!hugs NG

Mary C said...

Hi Mary - you are such an early riser (and so many others who have commented) -- I don't like getting up before "daylight." But my cats, especially one, happens to be my alarm clock 7 days a week. And he is relentless - he doesn't give up until I get up. I guess I'd rather deal with the cat instead of an alarm clock. Gosh, those things would make anybody grumpy! :)
I love your baby doves shot. Little ones are so cute - and they aren't little for long. You sure got some great pix of your mockingbirds. And those shots of Bella and Chloe - PRICELESS! I also am looking forward to seeing Julie Z's print framed and hung.

Cathy said...

OK. I'm commenting more than my share, but on a re-read I got the "Mrs. Lickefoose. " I'm afraid my chuckling is gonna wake up my husband. Mary! Thank you.

Susan Gets Native said...

Oh, Mary.
So disappointed in you...yelling and bitching at the birds.

Just kidding.
Mornings and me....that's the only thing I hate about RAPTOR...getting up at the crack of dawn to go try and be inspiring and "edumacational" to a bunch of goofy children.

dguzman said...

Wow, I miss checking your blog for a few days and you go and throw down some AMAZING posts! The 'puter is being weird when I try to enter comments, so here's my comment on the last few posts--WOW!!! Photos! Cars! Memories! Chiclet teeth! Doggies! WOW!

I LOVED the post on the cars--I think it should be a meme! I'll try to knock one out -- it won't go back quite as far, but it started with a '71 Ford Pinto--the blows-up-if-rear-ended model!

Julie Zickefoose said...

Owoooo! Puppehs! I could just kiss them both right on the lips. Bella--that face. Please. She defines sweet. And I love the photo of Chloe investigating. I can tell you're talking to her as you snap away, and she's listening to you.

I'm glad they like their treats. That's the kind I used to teach Chet to come to me when called. I always kept a handful in my jacket pockets. No longer needed, but sometimes I find a rock-hard Bil-Jac in a pocket and smile,remembering his puppeh days.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit it-I am a morning person. Love getting up to watch the sun rise, and sometimes am outdoor taking photos by six. Now night is another story, don't have much use for that.

Your dogs have such personalities. Did they really know that package was for them?

Mary said...

Sandy - I'd love to be a morning person but I hate going to bed at a decent hour. Yes, my dogs are very curious and expect that anything that comes into this house might be for them (especially if it smells like liver). They know...

entoto said...

Oh, I am so NOT a morning person! I love working until 10p, and then relaxing for a bit before getting to bed. Then I can wake with NO alarm. I have worked shifts that start at 5am, but I am not a good co-worker, parent or spouse then. I can completely understand your morning blues.

That is one of the selfish, good things about homeschooling, too. YIPPY!