Yet Another Journal

Nostalgia, DVDs, old movies, television, OTR, fandom, good news and bad, picks, pans,
cute budgie stories, cute terrier stories, and anything else I can think of.


 Contact me at theyoungfamily (at) earthlink (dot) net

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» Tuesday, February 06, 2018
It's a Mickey Mouse Club Life for Us...

I joked to James at one point that to keep me on the "straight and narrow," so to speak, maybe during my retirement I needed theme days like they used to do on The Mickey Mouse Club. You know, one day would be Laundry Day, Wednesday would be Grocery Shopping Day, etc.

Today could definitely have been classified in Mouse Club terms: Anything Can Happen Day.

It didn't seem unusual at first. James got up before seven, alas unable to sleep late; I followed at eight. It was warm this morning, in the high 40s, and it was, as always, Laundry Day. I started the first load after breakfast, but before walking the dog, and then proceeded to do little things like get the last Xerox paper box out of the way in the garage (we'd sorted all the junk from the old truck into boxes), bringing in the box of garbage bags, taking completed books and magazines downstairs, repairing the buttonholes on the hood of my winter coat and the top of my winter hat, unloading and loading the dishwasher, etc. I also put away the gifts Lawsons gave us for Christmas, quite taken with the Woolrich throw; I thought it was a blanket, but it's more like a loose throw/poncho type thing with an open front. I used it going back and forth into the garage since I was in short sleeves.

Somewhere along the way, around lunchtime, I checked out the weather forecast. Bad news: this warming trend continues! Warm tomorrow when it rains, then high fifties, and then more rain and back into the low 60s for the foreseeable future. While the Northeast would probably be dancing at that forecast, I was dismayed, because here it is February and I still hadn't tackled the bushes in the front yard. They are dormant right now and it's the perfect time to cut them, and I can't seem to get our lawn folks to come back in February to do them for me. Ideally I want them taken back to where they were when we moved in, little individual bushes that can regrow and we can keep them low this time, but I would settle for making them smaller and shorter. The patch that is in front of the porch annoys me most: the firecracker bush is too high and nearly blocks the view of St. Francis, and the two nandina bushes on either side of Francis are too bushy and too high and sending out runners to take over the whole bed.

Which is why I abandoned anything else to be done (except the laundry), got into old clothes, found my work gloves, pulled out the hedge clipper and the heavy-duty extension cord and got to work. Now, I had a bad habit previously of not watching where my electrical cord was and chopping it eventually with the hedge clipper, but in the last five years I've tried to be mindful of it and I've kept the latest one for a while. Alas, it met its end today; I was trimming a corner, pivoted without looking, and !zap! went the cord with an acrid smell of ozone and scorching. Thankfully I had pretty much finished the two nandina bushes and the firecracker bush in front of St. Francis and only had to drag out the loppers and the secateur to finish up, and then rake up all the waste. Sadly, I did not get to the bushes to the left of the front steps (as you leave the house). I have had problems trimming them anyway, as the yard slopes on the other side of them, so I can never shorten them as much as I like, but I sure would have liked to try.

Tomorrow it is going to pour rain; I don't know if I'll ever get to the store for a new power cord and get to do it. Bother. James helped me clean up the waste later on so it won't get drenched in the wet weather.

Anyway, at around 2 p.m. or slightly thereafter, I was sans hedge clipper and raking up clipped branches—I really did hate to cut off those pretty red nandina berries!—when I heard some kind of odd noise coming from the south. As it got closer I thought it was geese, but it wasn't honking, more a sort of gurgling noise. I paused, looked over the back of the house, and saw an utterly ginormous flock of large birds flying overhead, and indeed they were not in the traditional Vee of the goose, nor had I ever seen such a large flock of geese before. We've had big flocks overhead, but only about fifty or sixty at the most. I watched the two separate groups that approached meet, cross each other, intertwine and turn, just like a big ballet.

Then I remembered I had James' little camera in the pocket of my coat and dashed inside to grab it. They were flying right around the area of the sun, so I basically had to point and shoot because all I could see in the LED screen was my reflection, but I did get a few pictures. They swerved and soared and crossed and rearranged for another five minutes—there were at least one hundred, if not two hundred or more. I did get one close up picture that showed they were some type of crane or heron! (On Facebook later Jerry said they looked like herons; looking at my photos enlarged I think they were blue herons.) Finally it was if they had rearranged themselves sufficiently and the two groups, still separate, but still following each other, disappeared toward the northern horizon. It was so very cool, and maybe it was providential that I cut the extension cord, because I wouldn't have been able to hear them over the hedge clipper. (Click on images below to enlarge.)

Migrating herons.
 
A closer look at heron maneuvers.

This was such a huge flock of birds!



Here you can see they are probably blue herons.

The flock heads north.
 
Well, that certainly means spring is coming, dammit!

Did not notice until I brought the dog in (my bad) tonight that Mom's lamp in the foyer was out. I figured the bulb had just burned out, but when I replaced it, it still didn't work. Oh, no! Then I noticed the lighted snowman we have as part of the winter decorations was not on, either, so I went into the garage. Sure enough the breaker had been tripped. I turned it back on, and the lamp came on. The snowman did not, but the timer on it had presumably been stopped. Sure enough, stopped at 2 p.m., which, of course, was the moment I zapped the electrical cord outside. Wait a minute, you mean the foyer plug and the heavy-duty porch plug are on the same breaker? And why didn't the GFI switch on the porch plug work instead of triggering the breaker? Odd.

Anyway, finished up the evening with PBS's American Experience and "The Gilded Age." Interesting story about Henry George and more information about Coxey's Army.

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