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» Wednesday, October 29, 2008A Piece of Apple
I think I've explained the back yard before. You enter and there is a high part on which the deck is situated. It is as wide as the deck (10 feet). It then dips at least a foot into a grass sward. I'm terrible at judging distances...maybe this is about ten feet wide? And then there is a stand of trees...again the distance thing...ten yards maybe? Fifteen? Bother.
We have a variety of trees out there: big old pines, a couple of maples, I think a sweet gum, a few others I can't recognize (I need a tree book and should hunt up a Golden Guide; the encyclopedia has some tree identification pictures, but not all that is in our yard). Each summer they cast their seeds and we have saplings growing up between the trees everywhere, mostly maples.
Well, I love the trees, but I don't want the ground to be crowded out by too much brush. So yearly I take the lopper back there and cut down the saplings, except for a couple that I want to keep. I daresay it would be easier to wait till the leaves fall, but then it is harder to tell which of the half-dozen saplings I want to keep and which are to go. After the leaves fall they are all just sticks.
So yesterday and Monday I went out to the yard with the lopper when I walked Willow after getting home from work and crunched from sapling to sapling, cutting them down.
Monday I did this straight from coming in, which was a bad idea. I hadn't eaten since eleven except for a banana and a low-sugar granola bar, and by the time I got in I was lightheaded. (I'd been in the bathroom half the day, which didn't help; I was probably dehydrated, too, despite all the water I drink at work, because the building is hot and dry; despite the cold outside, it was a constant 75°F in my cubicle both days.) I didn't really feel better until after James had cooked supper and we had eaten.
But the last thing I wanted to do was come home and gobble down something fattening, so yesterday before I went out, I peeled one of the yummy Granny Smiths from Ellijay and had that with a heaping teaspoon of peanut butter. (That worked better. My hands still shook when I came insidethis is normal; they've done it since I hurt my elbows back in January of 1999but it wasn't as bad and I didn't have that awful woozy feeling.)
If I hadn't mentioned it before, Schuyler is comfortable with us in all but being finger tame. She didn't turn a hair on the way to the vet in April, or on the trip to Owensboro. Lots of nights I will push my TV tray over the sofa and put her cage on it, and she will happily watch television with us. She is fascinated by gadgets, and leaps to the bars of the cage whenever she sees my cell phone.
But she will not sit on our fingers and dislikes the hand in her cage. She's not badly frightened, it seemsif she was she would flapbut she actively avoids it...jumps, sidles, or climbs away. If I leave the hand in there long enough, she will circle around it and peck bravely at my arm as if to say "Leave now! Please!"
This wariness extends to food. She knows what food is. When I sit here teleworking and I am having breakfast, she leaps against the bars craning her little neck and staring at my meal. I have offered her oatmeal, which she bites at, but withdraws.
However, I have been giving her things she can eat for quite a long time: apple pieces, bits of Mandarin oranges, grapes, big bits of Special K, etc. She will accept them if I put them in the millet clip, but would never take them from my hand, even if it was a long piece of fruit and my fingers were two inches away from her, separated by the cage bars.
But yesterday I was standing eating the apple next to her cage and she was begging so desperately that I broke off a small slice and offered it to her. To my surprise she started nibbling on it. I know she loves apple, so I broke the bit into a smaller bit, then put my hand in the cage near her back perch where she retreats, and just held it still there.
It flummoxed her. She wanted that bit of apple so much. She paced back and forth to one side of it, then the other, climbed behind it, pecked at her swing vexedly. In the meantime I continued eating the rest of the apple while coaxing her gently. She came to the bars, begging for the parts I was eating. I just talked softly.
And finally she just went back there, sat on the perch, and nibbled on the apple piece in my hand. She would occasionally step back, then come forward, take another bite; most of the time she stayed put. I let her eat until she looked like she was getting bored with it, then withdrew the piece, not putting it in the millet clip.
I'm not sure if I should consider this a breakthrough or not, but it was certainly heartening.