Monthly Archives: January 2017

Bad day to be a bird

We’ve been having a nor’easter today in the Philadelphia area – lots of rain, lots of wind. There have been wind gusts between forty and fifty miles an hour near here, but that’s nothing. At Cape May – the little finger of land that sticks out of the southeast corner of New Jersey into the Atlantic – the gusts have been over sixty miles an hour. That’s not quite hurricane speed, but it’s plenty fast enough.

Branches and trees and power lines have blown down here and there. But that’s just the sort of thing that happens in a bad storm. No, the most dramatic sight of the day happened in my back yard (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

This morning, our holly tree was full of robins feasting on bright red berries. Then came a stronger blast of wind, and one bird was blown sideways out of the tree! His left wing was canted uncomfortably upward while he began desperately flapping his right wing, struggling to get control – and all the while he was moving steadily sideways. I’ve never seen a bird’s face look panicky before.

There is a happy ending – the robin managed to get both wings moving and landed safely on the walk.

The ninth day of Christmas, with a carol and a little botanical rant

2016hollyThe holly, just like in the Christmas carol. No ivy here, though. I can’t stand the stuff; it doesn’t know when to stop trying to cover everything in its path. Do you have a tree? Ivy will happily swarm up the trunk and smother the branches. What about a house? Not a problem – ivy will get to work on turning it into a green hill, if you don’t fight back.

Ivy. Bah, humbug.

The eighth day of Christmas…

…is unusual this year. Not because it’s also New Years’ Day – New Years’ Day is always exactly a week after Christmas.

2016christmasaltarNo, what’s out of the ordinary is that this is one of the times that Christmas and New Years’ fall on a Sunday – something that only happens every six years…or every five years…or every eleven years. (Of course, they both fall on a Monday, or any other day of the week, at similar intervals.)