About Me-email is... grant.go@aol.com

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garden bay, west coast, Canada
persistent digging,never say never

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Kindness of Strangers, ...Wildlife Edition

Written by Grant G


Writing about politics, bitter pills, buttered words and nuanced nausea....from the soul, I care too much, yell too silent and remember everything.....including what's important, life, all life and its intricate forms...

Hummingbirds...last summer I put out a humming bird feeder...North Burnaby, to my amazement within an hour I had my first hummer filling up...red petals and sugar nectar and what show stoppers they are, aerobatic displays tease my senses....3 hummingbird feeders later, now 4 feeders hanging, one on each corner of the house..

Last winter, our long extended cold(for southern BC) blustery winter, the hummers stayed, I was worried that I should have taken the feeders down, force the flyers to migrate, ..well, a little research revealed that hummingbirds do winter in southern BC..meaning they were staying...phew, no harm done....except..nectar was freezing up, especially overnight...what to do...hummers are sleeping at night, so feeders come in at night, first light room temperature nectar was hung in it's usual locale...presto..hot breakfast(minus/below freezing outside and 68 degree morning nectar)...it was a success...hummers all winter and now, I got hummers everywhere, someone been spreading the nectar location intel...besides the nectar..hummers eat little flying insects, and mosquitos....what a bonus...Mom's house and yard is near mosquito free.....

Caring for mom in Burnaby...she is doing great, yes aches and pains, we all have them, mom has been at her residence for over 40 years, it's a big yard, big upper balcony which I've adorned with a myriad of colour, lilacs, roses, vegetables, pink, purple, entire rainbow of colours is covered...I do the leg work..mom prunes and snips, yes, they're her beauties...

and the yard...big salmon berry bushes...yummy berries, except...the robins come every early-night like clockwork, they leap up plucking berries leaving me nothing but barren green branches...Salmon berry bush is next to the cherry tree, tasty cherries, except...when mom's old tree bears fruit birds of all stripes and feathers feast..they won't wait, by the time cherries are ripe, they're gone...Raccoons gets the plum..although, I did manage to get enough last year for jam....

Mom's yard is an oasis of wildlife, birds flying and flipping morning noon and night...in Burnaby, surviving in a sea of new construction, both sides of mom's house, mom has a giant property with mega-newbuilds going on, on both sides, ...where wood once stood now concrete, where cedar trees and foliage flourished on a bed of grass now lava stones and pavers, cold lifeless concrete retaining walls encasing a sterile maintenance free parking lot...and is it, living I mean..one by one homes built on nature are smashed to pieces and replaced with easy living with yards made maintenance free, and wildlife barren..

The birds..raccoons, robins, hummingbirds, the odd skunk, maybe a bear(I'm not saying), bluejays..these denizens swarm to mom's oasis, how immaculate she keeps her yard(she gardens and trims, weeds and waters through me)...yes your yard is beautiful mom, as she slowly meanders around...mom's not too speedy anymore, unless i'm not looking or out about....

Politics is a blood sport....and I bleed, bled...a digital Samurai fighting to the end, win or concede, hari-kari or bended knees, sometimes it's not easy being the blunt instrument when, when stories need to be told, soulful stories, what stays with me, what I want to tell you...

Did I mention the crows, been feeding a couple of crows too...a nasty winter, months of daily rain, every morning Heckle, sometimes accompanied by Jeckle would land on the railing, within feet of balcony door and me, on a computer(researching early in morn)....staring at me, call(caw)ing me, dusted in snow or water-soaked feathers...leftovers, bread...if I don't feed them, they'll sit there for hours, guilting my conscience...

My friend Neil in Maple Ridge, his house was/is a couple of blocks away from Marc Dalton's constituency office(he was BC Liberal MLA for that riding, he was defeated by NDP)....

About the time of the 2017 election writ being dropped....I went out for a little visit with my friend Neil...couldn't help but notice, driving down dewdney trunk road, right past Dalton's office, he had a window papered over....didn't think too much about it, a couple more blocks I was at Neil's place..

To my surprise...Neil was out in the yard, he's always out in the yard doing something, the surprise was..Neal had a big NDP sign..he was preparing to prop it up, he was digging a hole and gathering up a few rocks...it was daytime warm...so here I was, in neil's driveway, adjacent to his yard, talking away when from the street sidewalk, two men approached..I recognized one of them, it was BC Liberal Marc Dalton....he introduced himself, said I know who he is...he asked me if he could put up a Marc Dalton BC Liberal election sign, I answered back...why is your office window papered over..Dalton said someone threw rocks through his window.....not wanting to be rude...told Dalton, it's not my place, i'll ask neil..I was snickering inside, ..especially knowing Neil had a NDP sign leaning up against his fence, out of view at this time.....I shouted out ..NEIL...hey Neil..Marc Dalton wants to know if you'll put his Liberal election sign up in your yard......Neil came around the fence, with a bucket in his hand, full of rocks freshly removed from his soil...I swear, Dalton looked at the rocks, I said nothing..Neil told Dalton..HELL NO..get out of my yard....Dalton scurried...Neil bitched...I couldn't stop laughing for at least 30 minutes....

I stayed for dinner, we talked, shot a few games of pool and tipped some wobbly pops....can't drink and drive, looks like I'm staying til morning...(after some shut-eye.)..the time neared 12:30 am...we are out on his front stoop, catching some air, talking.....Neil points out a raccoon that scurried out onto Dewdney trunk road from his neighbour's home......next thing you know..a van driving down dewdney trunk, a screech of brakes and thump....Raccoon got hit...Neil rushes closer to the scene, I don't move...the van drives away after a quick look....Neil is now screaming...the van drove off, he knew he hit the raccoon, and he still fled...I told Neil...what was the person to do....so...Neil again nears the raccoon, only now a police car is cruising down dewdney trunk...Neil is waving his arms around as the cop drives by slowly....I shouted at Neil....Neil, get back here, the cop might think you're crazy......Neil comes over, I hand him a beer....Neil was asking me...should I call SPCA or something.....I said  Wildlife Control is who you call....but don't bother..

I said Neil...Let me tell you the story of another car struck raccoon.."they ain't coming out for no coon"...15 years ago, before cell phones(sort of), I was driving, royal oak and Kingsway...12:30 am...a raccoon crossed and got struck, in the inside lane, was laying there, in the middle of the road...I stopped, there's a 7/11 right on the corner..with a phone booth..I called the operator, have her patch me through to animal control...this man answered...told him about this raccoon laying on Kingsway...asked him to send someone to collect the body....to my amazement...the man said..."we ain't coming out"..I said what, what do you mean you won't come out...he said..."we ain't coming out for no coon"..he went on to say...whenever we attend hit raccoon scenes, by the time we get there, the raccoon is gone....I said..yea yea, sure thing...I hung up the phone and headed to my car...and to my amazement...the raccoon..he got up, strolled off the street and scurried away...like nothing happened....

so..I'm telling Neil this raccoon story(with a raccoon laying on Dewdney trunk road road in front of his house) when another raccoon enters the street, its partner I believe...Raccoon strolled up to the wounded raccoon, they made some raccoon vocals, and in a blink, the wounded raccoon got up and both scurried away into Neil's neighbor's yard....and the raccoon, he's fine...once again, my side was busting from another round of laughter....Neil too...right at the end of my raccoon story...Neil's raccoon was...alive...good thing...because.."we ain't coming out for no coon"

back at home...rolling grass, tulips..poppies...blood roses...gladiolas and hydrangea trees, walnut tree, hazelnut tree..plum tree...maples, fir and a beautiful pine...

Walnuts..had a bumper crop last year..eer, I mean the squirrels had a bumper crop..they got all the hazelnuts too...a city oasis...reminds me of "A Tree grows in New York"....

Heckle...he's really been pushing the envelope....last week..I didn't have anything for him..seems he was hungry, for such a fat crow, he's always hungry...warm out now..served mom dinner...served myself dinner, or should I say...put my dinner next to the computer at the front table, the table next to the balcony door, the open balcony door...went to the other room to put clothes into the dryer before I sat for dinner....when I returned...my porkchop was gone...still had my salad....HECKLE got it...sure enough, there he was, now on my garage roof enjoying my chop....alright Heckle, you'll be sorry...

So...Heckle and Jeckle are not on my goodside at present...and yes, they still stare at me every morning...they are getting a snack time-out....so..the other day...served mom dinner in her room..ahh, my dinner was still in the oven, because the balcony door was open for fresh cool air.....Heckle wasn't going to get my entree again....so...a few quick chores, head to the oven to get my dinner...plated, head to the table and....

Heckle, again...yup, he came in again, no food was at the table...he could smell it I guess...he left empty-beaked, and he left me a big crow shit...right on the table...well...he has just earned another snack time-out....

Yes, politics is bloodsport and I play very well......despite the fact that i'm a big ole softy...tears come easy for me....

3 days ago...was cleaning the rear driveway, water hose in one hand, leaf blower in the other...was about 1:00pmish....out of the corner of my eye, in the back alley, two crows were attacking a bird..heckle and Jeckle....I dropped my tools and rushed over...crows took to flight...it wasn't easy catching this wounded bird, he kept jumping away and I'm not as fleet a foot as years past,,,never the less I corralled this feller...wasn't a robin, or bluejay...it was a ground/tree bird..they peck the ground and forage the tree branches for small bugs... the mate was flying overhead calling...this bird in my hands was squeaking up a storm, very strong, he/she had a mangled feather sticking out the wrong direction...

What to do...well...I'll put the bird under the thick berryless salmonberry bush, you know, the one next to the cherry-plucked tree....

back to my chores, I'll keep on eye on the bush....a minute later..the bird came out, took a short flight and landed in a maple tree...about 10 feet up...next thing you know...Heckle attacked, the little bird came tumbling back down to the ground...not on my watch...again, I retrieved the bird...he was squeaking and squirming...brought him into the house, walked past mom, put him in a pet carrier on the balcony...told mom the horror story..she asked what I was gonna do with it...didn't have an answer....big pet carrier, metal caging, 1/2 inch squares...put a towel down, a bowl of water and some crushed up dry cereal....then I thought...I'll dig up a worm...got a big one..put that in the carrier and went yardworking...came in a hour later...checked on the now caged bird out on the shaded balcony...to my surprise, he ate the worm...I went out and dug a few more....this feller was now hanging on the little bars in the caging, he's talking, his/her mate never left the cherry tree...they called back n forth, I open the carrier, grabbed the bird and checked his wing...didn't feel broken but that bent sticking out the wrong way feather was a problem...grabbed the feather, gave it a twist and out it came...Mom suggested I let it go once it was dark....I decided on the morning..

I moved the now sleeping bird(sitting calmly) as it was dark....I moved the pet carrier next to the balcony door(2nd floor balcony)..left it open, and slept on the couch, within earshot of the bird...

I figured...well, birds sleep at night, his mangled aerodynamic obstructing feather was removed...his mate is nearby...I'll hear the bird at first light and see how he is....sure enough...10 minutes after 5:00 am...the bird started calling his mate, mate was calling back from the cherry tree...well, after about 5 minutes I did get up...checked the bird...he was sitting calmly...I opened the door...it didn't want to go...hmm..I gave it a little nudge and...

It bolted..bumped the balcony rail and....I grabbed him again...lifted him above the railing...I let him go....he flew like an eagle...his mate lept from the cherry tree and the pair flew away, talking up a storm the whole time....and I can report....i've seen the pair together each day since...they return to mom's wildlife oasis in the middle of Burnaby...

As for Heckle and Jeckle....although I'm not too enamoured with the pair....they get big snacks every morning...

I don't want Heckle getting hungry....and maybe he'll leave this guy alone...


Politics is a bloodsport...


The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open



2 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a nice story! The natural world and its inhabitants enrich our lives so much, and small acts of kindness are so rare. We sometimes forget about this during our daily battles. It has been such a gruelling grind under the BC Liberals, so nice to read an uplifting story like this for a change, to remind us of what's really important.

David E said...

Beautiful shot!
I believe that is a Northern Flicker, a male with it's red mustache.
I have four of them in my yard for the past couple of weeks, eating bugs from the lawn.