One spring, I rhapsodized about a symbol of the season, the robin. My heart swelled with joy, until I noticed the bird’s hunting habits. The robin hopped across the newly green lawn, pausing every few feet to stab into the earth with its beak.
Stab, stab, stab. Finally, it struck gold in the form of a juicy earthworm. Here began the horror. The robin jerked and wrenched until the hapless worm, clinging for life to its earthen home and stretched to the breaking point, released its hold.
If you make a study of robins, you will have to agree that their worm-extraction methods are brutal.
This July, I prepared to exit the back door to do some garden weeding and harvesting. I had my hand on the knob, the door barely cracked, when I noticed a baby robin right outside. You would think cuteness, rainbows and teddy bears, right? No, the angry creature was perched on the arm rest of our patio furniture, its mouth gaped open in raucous chirping.
I stepped back inside, emitting a gasp of terror. My nearby husband ignored me. He no doubt remembered the Dragon on the Deck and the Wolverine under the Woodpile incidents, which I may never live down if I live to a hundred. This, after my discretion in his Redneck Electrical Failure fiasco.
I was on my own as I stared out the glass window on the door, watching. I hoped the glass was thick enough. A mother robin arrived, a fat worm dangling from her vicious beak. She tore it in two, jamming half the worm down her child’s maw. The baby robin gulped, then opened its beak wide for the other half.
As I locked the door, the baby turned at the sound. It glared at me through the glass.
“I’m going the long way,” I told my husband. “The robins are still there.”
He ignored me.
I went upstairs to the deck, carrying a knife. To harvest vegetables, not robins. Seriously, do you think a mere knife can match a robin’s beak and claws? As I stepped outside, a robin flew onto a railing. The feathers on its head stood up like a rooster’s comb. The bird glared at me, hatred in its beady dark eyes. I brandished the knife as I hugged the side of the house. I made the stairs with no incident.
What did I get for risking my life? One undersized tomato.
My middle granddaughter suffers from a bird phobia. She may be on to something. Perhaps some instinct is awakened in her that lies dormant in the rest of us. A memory that birds are really just feathered dinosaurs. Terrible lizards.
Maybe next time robins threaten me in the backyard, I’ll tell my husband a dinosaur is attacking. That might get him off the easy chair.
Today my guest blogger is my husband, who tells the sad story of his attempt to wire electricity on our property in the mountains. We now have a professional electrician contracted to do the work. We're assuming he has a ladder, or even better a bucket lift, of the correct height.....
I thought you might enjoy an excerpt from my weekend electrical FAILURE.
This weekend I attempted to put in the electrical service on our mountain property. I was attempting to attach the following assembly to the main service pole: (1) weather head (approx. 3 lbs), (2) a 10 ft long x 2 in diameter galvanized steel pipe (approx. 40 lbs), (3) a meter box (approx. 10 lbs), (4) a main load breaker box (approx. 20 lbs) and (5) 15' of three lead 4/0 aluminum wire (approx. 20 lbs).
1) I thought the electric pole IREA put in was 15 ft, it's 30 ft
2) I thought I could reach the top of the pole with my 10 ft ladder standing in the back of my truck. It was about 12 ft short of the top of the pole and 10 ft above my scare limit.
3) I thought I could push the assembly up, and attach what I could reach to the pole. The assembly was 12 ft long and weighed about 90 lbs. That is 10 ft, and 60 lbs more then I can lift and control over my head.
The assembly fell and bent/broke several times. I quit after a 12 ft long 2 x 6 inch redwood beam, fell and hit me in the head. The bumps on my head made me realize that Yahovah had allowed me to live, and exchange wisdom for ability. I am now hiring a contractor with a bucket truck to put in the temporary electrical service. I am going to give the contractor a bunch of broken electrical stuff, so I don't have to look at it and remember the pain and disgrace.
Cathy took a couple of pictures that I deleted before they made it on to redneck funniest construction videos, or something.
Note from Catherine: I still have the photos, but as I don't want them making it onto one of those emails about crazy redneck construction projects, you'll only get to see it in person.
My husband and I are great at going fishing, but lousy at catching fish. We love the drive to the mountains, spending the day outdoors, and experimenting with different baits.
With camp chairs and a shade canopy, our from-the-shore fishing may not seem like roughing it. However, someone inevitably ends up with mosquito bites or sunburn, despite the liberal application of both sunscreen and insect repellent.
In late June, we went to Eleven Mile Reservoir, even though we rarely catch fish there. It's close enough to home for a day trip, and we usually drop by our land afterward.
We were astonished at the high level of water in the lake. It is full up. The dam regulating the lake water was overwhelmed, and Eleven Mile Canyon was closed due to flooding.
Our fishing spot was marshy. This is not normal. Usually, the shore is dry, and there are several feet of pebbly shoreline before you reach the water. This time, we were standing in the thick grass and weeds as we cast our lines.
My husband's daughter, home from college for the summer, joined us. She's the kind of gal who will bait her own hook, even if the bait is a worm. We had no worms this day, and so she became inventive with Power Bait.
My husband is a fan of the television series Deadliest Catch and Wicked Tuna. Trout fishing in the Rocky Mountains hardly compares to the dangers and drama depicted on these programs. Still, his first bite of the day put up a fight.
I was so excited that he had actually caught a fish that I consulted the fishing rule book to verify the limit of fish we could catch.
He had used white Power Bait, so naturally his daughter and I switched from glittering pink and orange to white. The change did us no good. The fish were only biting on my husband's line.
And the fish were only biting when one of us left to use the restroom. My husband and his daughter took off, and instantly, a fish took his line.
I waved frantically, but they were gone. I had no choice but to reel in his fish.
There is no feeling to compare to having a fish on a hook. The tug on the line as the fish fights to free itself brings up primordial hunting instincts buried by our city lifestyle.
I gratefully accepted the help of a young father fishing next to us with his family. I like to think that I could handle putting worms on hooks, and extracting hooks from fish, in a survival situation. If someone capable offers to do the dirty work, I am more than happy to play the girl card.
My husband and his daughter returned, delighted we had another fish. We were all now determined to catch our limit.
It was not to be. After a few more hours of drowsing in the summer heat, we decided to head home.
Here I am in my redneck regalia, holding our mighty string of two fish. One is a trout, and the other a kokanee salmon.
On the way home, we stopped by our land. The unusually frequent rain has filled our typically dry pond. As we pulled up, a doe woke from her nap, not at all pleased we had disturbed her.
One of my goals this summer was to go fishing. I hope we get to go again, but this trip certainly satisfied the fishing bug.
The fish fed us for two meals.
The day before the 4th, I made the pilgrimage to a fireworks stand with my daughter and granddaughters. We wandered through the tent, perusing the many choices.
Sparklers and snakes are the obvious nostalgic picks. Alas, bottle rockets are hard to find, and real fire crackers nearly non-existent. I was determined my offspring would know the joy of setting things on fire, to watch them explode, exude noxious smoke, or shoot sparks.
The snakes performed as expected, down to the permanent black charred spots left on the concrete. The smoke bombs came in small round or medium cylindrical. Our observation was that the cylindrical smoke bombs put out more smoke in better colors and lasted longer than the cheaper small smoke bombs.
Sparklers. When I was a child, there was one kind: the metal wire coated with whatever makes sparks when ignited. At large family gatherings, some kid without fail grasped the wrong end, ended up in tears, with burnt fingers, and set something on fire as they dropped the still-sparking wire. Thankfully this was not the case with my granddaughters.
Now days you can pick the dangerous old fashioned sparklers, or choose from an amazing variety of styles and sizes. I found I preferred the ones with bamboo sticks. The kids were less likely to burn their fingers.
We tried a few novelty fireworks. Nothing too dramatic or expensive. We left that to neighbors. Some folks had obviously spent hundreds of dollars on fireworks this year. With all the rain, there was little chance of starting grass fires or igniting houses. We didn't miss going to a public display when all around us was the sound of explosions, the smell of sulfur, and bright colors lighting up the sky. As an added treat, Fort Carson fired cannons in Memorial Park.
Independence Day results in an imitation of battlefield conditions. Maybe we're trying to remind ourselves of the sacrifices that were made to win us independence. My husband wryly observed that our nation's revolution was fought to win us freedom from tyranny and taxation, and freedom of the press, speech, and religion. Don't tread on me. Give me liberty or give me death. And now look where we are.
We still retain freedoms unknown on most of the planet. I hope to do my little bit by observing my faith, speaking my mind, and writing stories with my own message, not something sanctioned by the government or my peers.
What's your favorite firework? More importantly, what's your favorite freedom? If you need a cheat sheet for the Bill of Rights, here's a link:
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