Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watching the hummers and the stars

We're being entertained at meals by the platoon of hummingbirds at our back porch feeder. Lately I've been filling the quart-sized container at a minimum of every other day, but this morning it was going down so rapidly (from filling it yesterday morning) that I've got a fresh batch ready.

I have another by the office sliding door, but it doesn't get quite as much traffic as the back one does.

We have more this year than ever, and more in the last few days than we've had all summer. I don't know if they're migrating, or if they've just put out the signal that fresh food is available at our house!

Makes me think of the symbols used by hobos during the 1920s and '30s! There must be some sort of language that these tiny birds use.

Cheswick and Macmurphy sit at the door watching them, poised in pounce mode, and do the chattering that is typical of cats who are stalking prey. Once in a while, another little bird -- the ubiquitous "little brown bird" -- will perch on the edge of the water dish I keep on the porch for the outside cats, and that really drives them wild.

Occasionally the outside cats will lounge under the hummingbird feeder just in case the gods decide to drop a bird into their paws, but mostly they know there is not a chance they're going to capture one. I think they lay there just to send the birds into a bit of a tizzy.

A pair of mama deer and their faws, including a set of twins, usually pass by daily just to see if there's anything I've tossed out for them, and to nibble acorns that are falling under the big oak.

Last night around 11-ish, we sat outside and watched the Perseid meteor showers, although we should have gone out earlier in the week -- we didn't see very many. But we've watched the stars from our land ever since we bought it in 2001, just enjoying the quiet, the bright stars, the Milky Way stretching across the sky, and seeing the old familiar pole constellations as they rotate around the north star.

Tony has never lived where he could see them like this, and it had been a long time since I had. I took astronomy when I was in college, and we made the weekly trek out to the observatory for night viewing in our little rural community, which is mostly where I learned about stars and constellations. I don't remember most of it and can identify only a handful, but I remember a lot of myths from reading about them as a child.

Hummers and stars -- some of the best things about living where we do!

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