Crowz Nest

Because it's time... as it was once before.

My Photo
Location: Port Murray, NJ

I'm a bit old to be starting out in life again, but that's where I am. Sadly. Or gladly. It's where I am. Come along. Watch the fun. Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Nearly Fledged ...

This evening, neither mama nor papa dove is on the nest, although mama was there this afternoon. The two babies are quite large now, and when I just went out to talk with them, one of them stretched its wings up and showed me how big its gotten to be. They'll be leaving the nest within a day or two. This was the first clutch of the summer. My understanding leads me to believe I can expect a few more. I'll have to see what happens.

It's too dark to get a good picture now. I'll try again in the morning. I have some basil and thyme plants I want to plant before my riding lesson, so I'll be out front for a while anyway.

It's been a long, hard week. I'm glad to have the plants and the birds, and, always, the dogs to be absorbed in. It's always striking to me how different my energy is after I've done so.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


A couple of days ago, two eggs hatched. I've been giving them space to feel safe and unthreatened. But now, since they're popping their heads up, I decided to take a closer look.
There are two - one's all the way over to the right behind some twigs. They're brave, unafraid, curious, and very, very cute.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Doves

Only a few feet from my front door, atop the column on my front porch, a pair of mourning doves have built their nest. The mama and I have gotten quite used to each other.

Every evening, I've been bringing bird seed out to her, or a sprig of millet from the parrots' supply. I put it out, and I sit. I wait for her to begin cooing. She's calling to her mate. For all I know, he may be calling to her to let her know he's near, but I don't hear him first. I hear her. That's when I retreat indoors. Within moments he appears, and begins to gather my offerings.

Mama is quite beautiful, and lets me get very, very close. When the babies hatch, I'll leave them to feel safe, and I'll watch from indoors. But for now, I'm really enjoying being allowed close to my new little friend.

If you click on the picture you can see the lovely pale blue ring around her big brown eyes. There's much more color to her plumage than these pictures show. There are rusts and umbers on her head, and ivories and deep navies in her wings. She and her mate are both lovely creatures, studies in pastels and peace. In a very challenging and tumultuous time for me, the chance to witness the patience and devotion of these birds has provided an unexpected oasis for my soul.

Monday, June 18, 2007

When you blog, you're out there ...

So, here I sit, minding my own business, checking e-mail before hitting the pile on my desk last Friday morning. Someone on one of the mailing lists I'm on has posted a message, saying that they'd been perusing some of the e-zines that morning, when they happened upon something that looked familiar. Idly, I clicked the link to see what might look familiar, and there, in the middle of an article about dogs having a sense of humor, lifted intact from this very blog, are my own words AND a photograph of Crow. No credit, no mention, no nothing. And no one ever asked my permission.

For what it's worth, I know that when you blog, you have to accept that you're out there, and that anyone who wants can lift your work. The fact that what you put on a web site or a blog is yours - you own the copyright - seems to go unacknowledged, as well as widely unobserved. It does seem to me, however, that if someone wishes to make a living as a writer, they ought to, out of a sense of respect for their own work, respect that ownership and ask permission. To do less is both unethical and unprofessional.

There. I've said my piece. And for what it's worth, the original can be seen in the December 22, 2005 entry in this very blog. The photograph is worth clicking on in this version, but loses much in the resolution provided in the e-zine (which shall go unmentioned and uncited in this entry so you won't patronize them.) And by the way, if you write for an on-line dog-zine, and still have to ask if dogs have a sense of humor, you've already shown that you don't know what you're talking about.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Turn around, turn around ...

My little niece, Alison, is getting married. Ok. She's not so little anymore. She's 9 years older than I was when I first got married. In fact, coincidentally, that would have been 34 years ago today, now that I think of it.
Ali had an engagement party today. It was nice, held at a place called Paisano's over in Rutherford. Very nice place. Lots of good food. I had had more than I usually eat for lunch by the time we'd finished the first course - fried calamari. After the bruschetta, the pasta, and the salad, I was stuffed, but there was still the main course and the dessert.

And it's official. I'm clearly addicted to coffee. By the time the coffee was served, I was so twitchy, I simply asked the waiter, who spoke little English, "con su permiso, un otro, por favor," and took two cups for starters.
So, my lovely nieces are all grown up. We don't get to see much of Genny these days. She's a production assistant who has been working on The Sopranos for the past several years. Now she's working on a new HBO series called Damages. She hadn't gotten home till after 2:00 a.m., but she still managed to be her scintillating self at lunch. Oh to be young...

I don't know who all these other old people are. They can't really be related to me, right? I'm not that old. All right. I confess. That's my brother, Mark, and his wife, Joan. But he is OLDER than I am. They both are.

By the way, given the name of the restaurant, and the surnames of the bride and groom, should it be surprising at all that lunch looked more like a wrap party for The Sopranos than anything else? This is Joan's sister, Stacia, and her husband, Babe. I kid you not. Babe. My nieces' Uncle Babe. I rest my case.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

When a big wind blows

It was a hot and humid day, just the sort that usually gets still and very close around sundown. Today, instead, the wind began to pick up, and as I sat in the living room between the front and back doors, I could tell the wind was really freshening the air. We were about to get the tail end of the tropical storm they'd called Barry which had hit the southeast earlier in the week.

I love the wind. So I decided I would take the Sunday paper out and sit on my swing and enjoy not only the wind, but the coolness and dryness it was blowing in. The dogs came out with me, and enjoyed ambling around the yard while I sat sipping coffee and reading. Finally, they both laid down in front of the swing. The winds were quite high, and occasionally the gusts really picked up to a gale. I loved it. I actually even consciously thought, "What a perfect evening. The wind. The coolness. My lovely dogs." One of those "it doesn't get better than this" moments.

We were out there quite a while. I'd pretty much finished the paper. I decided to go in and get another cup of coffee and come back out to enjoy the last of the light before we called it an evening. So, I got up, gathered the paper, and headed in. I opened the screen door. The dogs went inside, and I realized I'd forgotten my coffee cup. I shut the door and returned to the swing to retrieve it.

That's when I heard the **crack** behind me. When I looked up, I saw a tree falling toward me.

It missed. It missed the swing. It missed the fence. It missed the tractor. It missed the lawn mower. It missed the dogs who had been laying directly in its path just seconds earlier. It missed me. If it had been felled by an expert woodsman, it could not have fallen more precisely in my crowded back yard and missed so much.

It didn't miss some plastic lawn furniture, a couple of patches of day lilies, and the edge of my magnificent old lilac bush.

I am, however, not complaining.
I owe the tree. I had the tree man top my old ash. He hated to do it, but the only other option, because of the structural damage done when the huge bough which had fallen tore off of the main trunk, would have been to take her down. I really felt I owed her a chance.

I know when I am lucky. As I look at my dogs lying here beside me, I am glad that the tears I've shed today have been for my tree. I'm sorry she's been damaged. I'm grateful for how things occurred. I will do my best to help her make it, with water, and careful tending, and always, with my gratitude.

When I say "bough," don't think "branch." What fell was as big as most trees themselves ever get. Here Hudson and Crow sit next to what missed us, demonstrating how big it was. We were very, very fortunate to have just gotten up and come inside.