The wandering train of thought

I turned on the A/C today. It just seemed like it was time. Also, I succeeded in guilting a couple of people into cutting my grass. In exchange for cutting someone else’s grass, the someone else loaned us his lawnmower. for some reason the one I bought last Summer isn’t working. Another person, who knows mowers far better than I do, has promised to come by and look at it, for which I will fix him a loaf of bread.

The lawn-mower-looker-atter person is a recent transplant from New York City, and is all a-wonderment at the way stuff is done here. He’s learning that food is an actual form of currency, and that people don’t hide behind bulletproof glass everywhere, and in fact many people who aren’t criminals or law enforcement actually own guns legally.

I haven’t taken the guns out and shot them in a long time. I’ve been too busy dealing with marketing, math, and buzzards. The final exams for this semester are next week. I’m not as worried about them as I probably should be. Truly all I want to do is pass the math class. The other classes, my grades are high enough I could pass if I skipped the final exams entirely, but that isn’t going to happen. I might have done something like that 35 years ago, but age and experience have given me a better work ethic and someone has to show those darn whippersnappers what old people are made of.

I finally figured out why I hated shopping for clothes: they cost too much. And I can never find exactly what I like, but mainly they cost too much. Mind you, I have no problem with other people paying full price (or even sale price) for stuff and I don’t look down on them for that, because eventually those things they buy are going to get donated to the Salvation Army, where I am going to pick through them and find just what I want. That’s right, I have learned the fun of it and coming home with 2 sacks full of periwinkle-blue polo shirts and Talbot’s Irish linen shirts and embroidered skirts for under $20 give me a certain thrill and is kind of addicting. Also…the furniture there. Holy mackeral. Stuff that needs refinishing to be sure but I LOVE refinishing furniture and I got a mid-Century end table like the one everyone’s great-aunt had for $15 and it will be perfect in my new sewing room to put next to a comfortable chair and keep my hand sewing goods in it. Some fresh paint and a pretty stencil and it will be lovely!

I haven’t done anything on The New House lately. It’s either been cold or wet or something every time I’ve gone over there. Come Summer, and online classes only, I’ll get over there more and (hopefully) Dad and I can get the kitchen cabinets and built-ins made. First the floors need to be finished but someone else is doing that.  Every night as I’m trying to go to sleep, I picture the landscaping- move bushes and trees around in my head. Or where the furniture will go. Or where I’m going to hang some quilts. I’ve about decided to paint the back porch furniture an aqua color, and look for some upholstery (to cover seat cushions) that has yellow and aqua (and probably some other colors) in it.

#4 went to Prom, and looked handsome in his kilt and Prince Charlie. His date was lovely and they looked wonderful in pictures. I don’t have her permission to put one up of her so you’ll just have to take my word for it.  He graduates on May 27. My baby will graduate from high school. My.  Baby.  Will.  Graduate.  From.  High.  School. He has solid plans for his future that involve technical training, working for a few years, then college when he’s maybe 24. Sensible lad realizes he’s been in school for 13 years and really kind of wants to not be in school for a while. I respect that. He isn’t planning to move to Alabama with me, but stay here. Given that we know lots of people, he has a solid church family, and a couple of brothers here, I am good with that.

And that’s all the news for now.

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Let me be upfront: Easter, to me, that is the bit where as a Christian I’m meant to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, and all it implies with redemption and such…well, that’s a daily thing, not a once-a-year thing, so I tend to not make much extra of it except for deviled eggs. #2 deposited a carton of eggs on the kitchen table, acquired from someone with yard chickens, and those are getting the devil treatment later today. Because dadgum who doesn’t love a good deviled egg?

Anyway, for me, the Easter thing is more a page-turn of a sorts, leading into such things as “planting tomatoes” and “wearing white” (not at the same time!).  The rule here in The South, is that one doesn’t plant those Summer vegs until after Easter, no matter when it falls. Once, a few years ago, Easter was super late and I went on to plant the tomatoes, squash, and green beans when I thought it was ok to…a couple of weeks before Easter and wouldn’t you know it, there was a frost that killed them all. So no. I won’t do it. But now that tomorrow is The Day, I’m going to spend today (since I got the homework all done and have a Day Off) getting a couple of beds all ready for tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and green beans. That’s all I have time for this year. Maybe potatoes…those tend to be pretty self-managing. The problem is, once I start thinking of what I want, that turns into wanting ALL THE THINGS. Will I have time and energy to manage the whole garden this year? Probably not, probably should keep it small. That’s the whole point of raised beds, isn’t it? Manageability? We’ll see.

Another page-turn involves fashion. See, I am one of those Old People who thinks white should be worn After Easter. White linen, white shoes, that sort of thing, shouldn’t be out of the closet until then. Easter weekend is when the winter boots and suede, the black lace-ups and fuzzy socks and corduroy and wool should get packed away and replaced with the cotton and linen and eyelet and cool floaty skirts and lightweight lovely things so feminine and suitable for the heat of Southern summers. Since January I have been shopping at my favorite stores, looking for the perfect skirts and tops. Basically my entire wardrobe needed replacing because I’ve gone from a size 20 to a size 14 in the past 2 years. Grief does that. I’d rather be a 20 and have Himself here, but that isn’t the case. And, by “favorite stores” I mean the Savannah, Pooler, and Hilton Head Goodwills…why there? The people in those towns wear things once, decide they don’t like them, and donate them. Sometimes they don’t wear them at all and I can find Talbot’s, J.Jill, or Ann Taylor clothes with the tags still attached. I’ve found so many pretty things! The only things I’ve bought new are a couple of pairs of sandals (on clearance). (and the skirts and tops with the tags still on). Also Ebay- that’s a good place to find stuff. Granted, you take a chance, but knowing brands and sizes..anyway. I ain’t ashamed at all of buying used stuff. I used to DESPISE shopping and I blamed it on all sorts of reasons, but have since decided I hated spending the prices asked, knowing what markups are on clothes and all. It’s actually fun now, like a treasure hunt. Sometimes there’s nothing at all, and other times (like several weeks ago), someone with my taste in clothes will have donated a whole bunch of stuff and there is it, like a tree full of ripe peaches, an entire Spring wardrobe with my name on it.  and now that tomorrow is Easter, I can wear all the pieces! (but not at the same time). Some of today will be spent packing away the winter things into a tote with cedar chips, and hanging some in the other closet. Shoes will get swapped out, bedding changed into something with a Summer flavor.

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It’s also time to inventory the nail polish. I don’t do my fingers, but the toes, now that shoes are put away in exchange for sandal, will require some color. There’s this shimmery blue-purple that’s my favorite. It kind of goes with everything I own. Sometimes a glittery hot pink, when my toes feel like a 14 year old girl, and sometimes this metallic silver, which has garnered compliments from 30 year old artist-men wearing caftans.  I won’t be going to classroom school this summer (2 online classes instead) so the need for sneakers, wool socks, sweaters, and long pants will be minimal (no lie, they keep the thermostat set on “Meat Locker” there. I’d see people come in wearing summer stuff, then freeze and complain. I learned after the 3rd day to dress appropriately even if the 25 yard walk from the car to the building was uncomfortable)

So yeah, I can officially (and with the endorsement of anyone over 70) wear white, sandals, eyelet, and linen.

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I’m trying, #3, I swear I am trying.

So, I contacted Mr. Raptor Center Guy who gracefully slid the situation onto another guy (named Scott)  who said “wellll…tell you what, here’s anothernumberpleasecallhim(Idon’twantabuzzardohpleasenotthatanythingbutthat)
Guy# 3 (Carlton) said “ummmm….well…Here’s anothernumberpleasecallhim(Idon’twantabuzzardohpleasenotthatanythingbutthat)
Guy #4 said “Oh…well…We’re in Charleston, and we don’t really get birds from Georgia. <because we all know birds honor state lines.> Also, it’s nesting season so he probably has a nest in the woods across the street, which is why he isn’t flying, <but I have my doubts>and is coming over because (he pegged you for a sucker) you’re feeding him<or her>But call us back especially if <you’re suddenly overrun with baby buzzards> the situation doesn’t resolve itself in a week or two, and we will see what we can do. ”  He was amused that Steve made himself at home in my bonus room. He did say if Steve continued to make himself at home, they could send a runner over to pick him up. 
I tried emphasizing just how sweet a bird he really is, how he cooperates with my dogs, eats in a clean and delicate manner picking up all the scraps and such, makes no noise and for all I can tell, goes into the woods to poop (at least I’ve found no evidence of his doing his business in my yard). They extolled the virtues of buzzards, to which I wondered if he’s so fabulous, why is everyone reluctant to come get him? Probably due to the potential nest in the woods (apparently turkey buzzards nest on the ground, which seems kind of dumb given the number of raccoons and possums around here, but who am I to judge?)
In the meantime I am looking for someone who will buy a nice house with landscaping issues and a very peculiar looking (and large) yard-chicken with a naked head and potent aroma. For all those shortcomings, he’s quite a nice bird.  <Though I hear dog-food will take care of the Eau de Cathartes Aura.>
Also, from the “How to Scare A Vulture Away” website:
Tie shiny objects, such as blank CD disks, to helium balloons and their strings. Use string that is long enough so the balloons and disks reach near where the vulture’s perch is located. If you notice the vulture play with the balloons, take them down because they are not working as a deterrent. <ya don’t say.>
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Dear Mr. Raptor Center Guy

Mr. (Raptor Center guy),

A buzzard who seems unable to fly has taken up residence in my yard. I discovered him last Sunday, making himself at home in my bonus room (the door had come open in the wind). I was able to catch him by cornering him and throwing a blanket over him,and release him outside (the aroma was potent and he threw up on my foot, bless his heart he must have been terrified), and he is hanging around, making himself at home on my patio and in the company of my dogs and cats. No one seems particularly disturbed by this. He seems unable to fly, I have been leaving softened dog food out for him (probably why he is sticking around), in the hopes that it would make him easier for you to catch. I named him Steve. He hops around in the yard much of the time, or stands on the windowsill and looks in. I am honestly not bothered by his(or her) presence at all, but as I intend to put the house up on the market soon, I doubt a yard-buzzard will help make it marketable. Are you interested in a flightless and nearly-tame buzzard for the raptor center? It’s one of those red-headed turkey vultures. You’re welcome to him but you’ll have to come get him because I refuse to put him in my car.



There, I’m doing what I can to find Steve a loving home with people who know how to take proper care of him (or her)

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I keep telling #4 it’s time to clean out his car..

Image may contain: bird, tree, house and outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor

Steve is definitely interested.

#3 has gotten all patronizing, telling me how I Shouldn’t Be Doing This, parasites, etc.

Then Dad (who’s older) tells me of a friend who has a pet buzzard, and who’s husband actually trained it (to some extent) and if I feed him dog food, his gut will get cleaned out and he won’t smell as bad.

Actually I don’t know if Steve is a he or a her, and I can’t find that out unless I get a lot closer than I’m willing to.

He’s really very gentle natured, not at all aggressive. I shooed him out into the yard and…well…be seemed kind of…I don’t know…(dare I say)…hurt…even…rejected.  I felt bad about that, so put some dog food in a wagon where he could get to it but the dogs couldn’t.

(don’t get attached, he’s a wild animal. Not a puppy. ) Repeat 10 times until you believe it.

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Introducing Steve, my foster-buzzard

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He’s on the front porch here, noshing on some funky Spam rescued from the meat drawer. I think he’s cute and sweet.

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well. that stinks.

This morning I delivered a milking stand and 400 pounds of goat feed to a friend (who doesn’t have a truck and I do). Upon returning home, I noticed the side door into the bonus room (formerly a 3 car garage and now an apartment-type thing with a couple of residents) was standing wide open. I grumbled something rude and closed it, fearful that the dog who lives down there had gotten out and was now galivanting all over the county, never to be seen again. She was in the other part of the house, so that was a relief.

Then, a couple of hours later. I noticed something stunk. The aroma seemed to emanate from the lower regions of the house, where the dogs crates are kept. “Hum.” thought I, “it hasn’t been THAT long since their bedding was washed but ok, I’ll wash it.” Usually when something smells bad it’s their fault, in one way or another. A sniff of the bedding gave me lackluster assurance that the blankets were the source of the problem. So they were loaded up with baking soda and bleach in the washer.  However, I still smelled it.  “Probably just lingering after effects” I decided.

Later on, #1 came over, and went down to the big room down there, and came back up holding his nose and howling, tears coming out of his eyes as he was unable to contain his glee.


Ok, I thought…but I don’t see how it’s worth all that.


What? I supposed wild turkeys are not unheard of but I can’t imagine why one would be in our game room, especially as they are not prone to socialize with people. Then I thought “does it have rabies? Is that why it’s acting weird? Do turkeys even GET rabies? Do I need to call animal control?” All of these thoughts, of course, happened in a few seconds.  So I went down to investigate and there was this BIG BIRD

Just derping around in the game room. Pecking at an opened pack of ramen noodles and giving me the hairy eyeball. He ambles over to the other side of the room and hops onto a chair. “That is not a turkey,” I thought. “That is a buzzard.”

I am naming him Steve, because he resembles Steve Buscemi.

There is a buzzard in my house. Which explains the aroma. I’m telling you those things smell AWFUL. Like last week’s garbage left sitting in the sun. And it’s the garbage bag with the moldy food you cleaned out of the fridge. Leftover chili, questionable chicken casserole, that kind of food.  That’s festered in the sun (and not weak cold Winter sun, but the July sun, with humidity.) That’s what that bird (and consequently, the game room in which people currently live, with all their textiles. Which absorb aromas like nobody’s business.) All the blankets smelled like Buzzard and the little rug.

Eventually we quit laughing and gagging long enough to find a blanket with which we could capture the poor (well, he didn’t SEEM too upset, hopping around all casual-like. I guess you can be like that when there aren’t any predators that bother you) thing by cornering him and tossing the blanket over him. However, he didn’t like that, because when I picked him up (ever so gently), he did that thing that buzzards do when they’re scared. Did you know they have a terrible and effective defense mechanism? Well, they do. I know this because it happened to me a long time ago when i accidentally hit a buzzard (not very hard, he rolled over the hood and hopped up). When buzzards are scared, or deeply unhappy, or whatever, they throw up.

Man. We only THOUGHT he smelled bad.  That was a whole new level of bad. That was a logarithmic expansion of aromatic feistiness. The week-old bag of festering leftover chili-garbage just erupted on the floor of my bonus room, and rolled around in possum poop, burning our nose hairs and watering our eyes and causing distress amongst those with tender sensibilities (who shall remain unnamed) and merriment amongst those of us with heartier constitutions (namely, me).

Thing is, the poor creature was probably hungry. After gathering him up, I took him outside and tossed him into the front yard, where he ambled some more. #1 tried to chase him out of the yard, waving his arms and shouting SHOO, and the bird tried, but apparently has a broken (or somehow injured) wing.  I have been pondering emptying the freezer of some old freezer-burned chicken legs, and kind of putting them in the ditch across the way so Steve won’t starve. Buzzards, while unattractive and smelly, are necessary parts of the ecological chain. If it weren’t for buzzards and flies, the roadsides would be littered with rotting corpses of animals. And he was kind of cute. Smelly, but cute.  If I could keep him fed long enough for his wing to heal, I’ll feel better about the situation. I don’t begrudge him the ramen noodles (which he lost, poor thing), nor the blanket-washing. He was just looking for a meal.

So, how’s your day been?


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