Boomer camouflaged

Click for full bunny cuteness!

BTW Lynne, he’s about one and a half times the length of a loaf of bread… so a bit bigger than a breadbox, I guess. I found this pic online with a dog for comparison and this one! that could be Boomer’s less handsome twin.


A BIG bunny who loves to spend the late mornings stretched out in a sunbeam. He and his bondmate Sunshine aren’t ever caged (there is no cage big enough for two Flemmies to live together) and so instead they have run of the sunporch.

They have their favorite napping and loafing spots depending on time and season. In the cold and dark of winter, they prefer a sunny spot with something warm beneath them. In the summer, they most often hang out in a dark cardboard box, with their bellies stretched out on the cool tile.

If I’m in the room and they’re awake, they’re underfoot, dancing and binkying and begging for food like puppies, threatening to trip me at every step.

Very sweet!

Feathered fashionistas

My brother shared this pic of a couple of his chickens on top of an old shed; he said with last week’s snow they just sort of poked their little heads out the coop and didn’t know what to make of it.

Silly chickens!

Not having much first hand experience, I’m not sure if I should believe those who say chickens are pretty smart or those who say they’re really dumb.

It’s pretty neat to see my brother understanding a bit more about bird behavior because of his chickens; he recognizes the peculiar sound the flock makes when they’ve spotted a hawk overhead and this winter he’s busy figuring out how to keep starlings out of the coop to steal the chickenfeed.

Anyone with suggestions on that?

He demonstrated some weird kind of chicken logic for me today. They react to particular colors he says… he called them “fashion police” actually, and brought out this shirt that he says they hate. Sure enough the flock scattered at the sight of it and were freaked out for the rest of the afternoon, clucking suspiciously at us from beneath the pine trees at the edge of the yard while we talked.

Silly chickens!


I have this series of almost funny pics of Luka playing with his basketball in the snow yesterday; he’s all googly-eyed and acting his normal goofy self.

This last one, his serious face, is my favorite. He’s concerned that my attention has wavered from him and the act he puts on for the camera. I’d spotted a pair of red tails perched in the black locust at the corner edge of our yard and was planning a way to get closer to them without spooking them from their perch.

He’s plotting what silly move of his will have me giggling his way again…

A first step

I’d intended to share pics of iceboats this weekend at the river or maybe to celebrate the snow that’s been falling all day, but instead…

This story has been heavy on my mind and heart all day. The victim was nameless when the story first went to press this morning, but later in the day he was identified and I recognized a connection to one of my clients and before the workday ended I found myself meeting with a policeman to share next of kin information.


I’m bothered by the things I left unsaid last week in my rant about the homeless. I spoke mostly from a place of frustration, rather than from that place in me that works everyday with the poor and that sees the things they really lack.

A job, a home, a purpose to their day… society can provide for those things in some form or another, but…

There’s no way to counter the lack of a loving family to go home to or someone that smiles just to see you come in.

There’s no way to replicate the feel of a warm-mittened hand in yours on the walk home from school.

There’s no way to know what a kiss in the morning, coffee brewing and the newspaper waiting might do.

I’m not foolish enough to believe that love is the only answer. I know enough about the circumstances that lead people to find themselves in this situation. I understand about addiction and mental illness and the kinds of holes in a person’s spirit that a job or a handout can’t fill.

But we can try, can’t we? To take better care of the people we love? To look out for our neighbor? To hand over a dollar or two for the man begging outside the coffee shop, without worrying that he’ll use it, instead, to buy a bottle?

The need is overwhelming to those of us who stop to consider it, rather than just shutting down, or shutting it out entirely. It’s easy to forget, I think, that the answer needn’t be yes or no, all or nothing.

It’s painful to see the need of others; even more painful to be helpless to fix it. Admitting to that is the first step, I think.

Crayfish for lunch: A hoodie story

I did the loop around Lake Takanassee as something of an afterthought on my way home from the bird observatory this afternoon. I wasn’t expecting anything new; hoping for a couple Canvasbacks maybe, or just a closer look at the couple Ring-Neck Ducks that are in the big lake since their more secluded spot is frozen over.

I’d finished sorting through the Coot, and the Canada Geese, the couple Brant and the sweet Wigeon, ready to drive away when a lone Hooded Merganser on the far side of the lake caught my eye. Mainly it was the Great Black-Backed Gulls harassing the Hoodie that got my attention. I’d read about this behavior in those big burly gulls, but had never witnessed it myself.

I didn’t know what I was seeing and misinterpreted it, of course. The gulls repeatedly lifted the Hoodie out of the water, as if to fly away with it for lunch, but then dropped it back in a splash. Horrible mean gulls! The Hoodie kept diving under the water to escape, only to be taken aloft again. Poor thing! At this point I was out of the car, finally remembering my camera and with murder in my heart.


It wasn’t until I got home and enlarged my pics, that I figured out what I’d really seen. The gulls were scared off by something… me maybe… and the Hoodie swam close to shore to rearrange its hard won prize. What I’d imagined to be a mouthful of fishing wire and hooks or some such other horrible death for this duck, was instead a crayfish, I think.


That he had no intention of sharing with any gull.


Click on this pic to enlarge… it’s hilarious!

Looking at these pics, I’m reminded of those I’ve seen of GB Herons and their ministrations when *handling* prey items that are a bit too big for them. But Hooded Mergansers? Who knew? See how he’s stretching out his neck to let it slide down?


This whole time, of course, I was convinced that my favorite duck in the world was choking and dying mere yards away.


Hoodies can smile with their crests, I think. Can you see the relief on his face?

Once home I read that crayfish are a favored food for these ducks and that they have a special gizzard-type thing, like chickens I guess, to process the hard shells of crustaceans.

Something else I read said that they only eat the claws of crayfish, like us with their bigger cousins, but I have no idea how he actually managed to get that thing down his throat, if he had to shake away the body first, before swallowing the sweet bits.

Birds. Always something new to learn.