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Thursday, 30 June 2016

pixie selfie

Not content with just having an 'interesting fact' section in this blog - Pixie has decided to take over the photos as well and has started with a Pixie selfie.

She has persuaded (don't ask me how) some of the others to do the same - so this is a Beezle selfie (see his philosophical quote later in the piece)

 a Harry selfie ...............

 a Trude selfie ..................

she couldn't persuade Pocket (quarter Bengal) because he said he'd just laid an egg and was tired.

 and come on Pixie - you don't think I'd honestly believe this rose took a selfie?(This rose by the way is called For your eyes only and is completely beautiful - it opens up like a gorgeous peony.)

Pixie is claiming copyright on the photos though.

Her interesting fact is:

King Penguins can contract their pupils into a square.

So Quigley the quizzical rook has left my head for the skies. As you can see he was getting a bit attached - not good if you are hoping they'll go back to the wild. He had taken to flying onto my arm where he was still demanding to be fed - then hopping with graceful agility onto my head. One day he just sat on my shoulder and wrapped his wings around my neck. The day after this picture was taken and a few minutes after I'd popped into the poly intending to feed him (then remembering I'd left a pie in the oven) - he found a hole and flew away. I wish I'd seen him do it -  his flying was getting really good. I'd loved to have seen him air borne. But perhaps like it's said, that some people wait for you to leave the room before they die, he waited for me not to be there before he went.

I miss him of course - but rooks are sociable animals and I'm pleased his rookery was only a stone's throw from the poly. Later I heard a plaintive Aarkk! Aaarkk! and the maternal instinct kicked in. I looked up to where the sound was coming from - expecting to see Quigley sitting on top of the grain feeder - only to find about fifteen young rooks all with their mouths open. Word must have got round. 

 I'm always thinking the rook flying overhead is Quigley and may well do an emergency landing back on my head - but of course I have no means of knowing which one he could be. Thankfully though, he has transitioned and reached for the skies.

As Beezle and Socrates would say " Man must rise above the Earth - to the top of the atmosphere and beyond - for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives."

 The corvids are such intelligent birds and I can't bear it when I hear that people shoot them or catch them in their odious Larsen traps to attract more corvids that can be put to death.
 Henry Ward Beecher - the nineteenth century American clergyman and wit said:
"If men had wings and black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows."

This is so true - I think Quigley was more intelligent than a lot of people I've met from the nearby town.

So as this appears to be a mainly photo blog post we are putting up two pictures by Mark Ormerod, a recent guest at the Pink Tower who has taken a series of truly beautiful pictures of the wild life around us. He's obviously done some deal with Pixie and I'm pleased she hasn't claimed copyright.
Thank you Mark.

And, Pixie says that the Atchaeopteryx is the first bird - incase you didn't know.

I think that's two interesting facts, Pixie.

The Archaeopteryx's Song by Edwin Morgan

I am only half out of this rock of scales. 
What good is armour when you want to fly? 
My tail is like a stony pedestal 
and not a rudder. If I sit back on it 
I sniff winds, clouds, rains, fogs where 
I'd be, where I'd be flying, be flying high. 
Dinosaurs are spicks and 
all I see when I look back 
is tardy turdy bonehead swamps 
whose scruples are dumb tons. 
Damnable plates and plaques 
can't even keep out ticks. 
They think when they make the ground thunder 
as they lumber for a horn-lock or a rut 
that someone is afraid, that everyone is afraid, 
but no one is afraid. The lords of creation 
are in my mate's next egg's next egg's next egg, 
stegosaur. It's feathers I need, more feathers 
for the life to come. And these iron teeth 
I want away, and a smooth beak
to cut the air. And these claws 
on my wings, what use are they 
except to drag me down, do you imagine 
I am ever going to crawl again? 
When I first left that crag 
and flapped low and heavy over the ravine 
I saw past present and future 
like a dying tyrannosaur 
and skimmed it with a hiss. 
I will teach my sons and daughters to live 
on mist and fire and fly to the stars.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

quizzical quigley and some roses

OK - this year I wasn't going to do rook rescue but when I saw these two young rooks strutting around the farmyard I thought I should keep an eye open. Sure enough I found one of them later with its head bitten off - fox? dog? cross gamekeeper?

So I decided I'd don my rook rescue bonnet and save the other. This is he.

 I decided not to give it a name (Grace?) but hand feed it until it could feed itself and hope it'll fly away (Ophelia? No - not after the last one drowned - I think not a good idea.) Anyway - although I was quite sure the last one was a female I'm pretty sure this one is male. (Ted?) I'm not going to give my stereotypical reasons as to why I think that here  - but believe me there are some. Also he loves his food. (Orson?)
The Rook Helpline have again been wonderful and sent me a care package to deal with all the parasitical things that rooks get. Also a fabulous menu. Pixie and Beezle (see below) can't understand why  (a.) they don't get fed so regularly (every two hours) or  (.b). why they don't get peas, pasta, cheese, soft fruits,  cat food and mince.
 He shuffles his wings, looks at me beadily and quizzically tips his head when he sees me - probably wondering if it's peas or pasta on the menu.

 He's flying really well in the large shade tunnel that is now entirely his and jumps onto my arm when I come in, opens his cavernous bright red mouth and goes Aaarkkkk! Aaarkkkk! Whereby I obligingly tuck the afore mentioned menu down his throat. I thought I was making progress with the wholewheat spaghetti as it looked like worms but he's not interested in feeding himself. Well why would he when I'm doing it. I'll probably be doing it when he's riding around on my bath chair.(a hooded wheelchair for the infirmed incase you are under a hundred and reading this.)
As Beezle and Mark Twain would say "Part of the secret in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside."

Truman Capote had a pet raven who he called Lola. Corvids like to steal and cache and she had taken a pair of false teeth from an elderly guest staying with Capote. Here he writes:

She leaped from floor to chair to bookshelf; then as though it were a cleft in a mountain leading to Ali Baba's cavern, she squeezed between two books and disappeared behind them:evaporated like Alice through the looking glass. The Complete Jane Austen concealed her cache, which, when we found it, consisted, in addition to the purloined dentures, of the long lost keys to my car .....a mass of paper money - thousands of lire torn into tiny scraps, as though intended for some future nest, old letters, my best cuff links, rubber bands, yards of string, the first page of a short story I'd stopped writing because I couldn't find the first page, an American penny, a dry rose, a crystal button ....

I am hoping this rook learns to fly before it learns to steal.

 No exciting book news from me - only rook news - but my writing day is obviously starting a little later now there's another mouth to feed. Oh I sound like some poor woman in a Dicken's novel with ten children.
So here are some fabulous roses I have in the garden. Although they look fabulous, these tightly petalled ones aren't a favourite with bees as they can't really get in.

 For long time readers of this blog you'll know that the elegant Beezle is also a philosopher and shares his thoughts on every post. Pixie says she feels left out and wants to contribute an interesting fact section.  She said if I didn't let her she'd sit on my lap. So here's her first interesting fact.

 Polar Bears are left handed.

I asked if she was going to accompany it with a photo nicked off Google but she said don't be silly, my paws are too big to work the keys on your computer.

I've decided to call the rook Quigley

                                      (all the rooks seem to like my laptop stand as a perch).

The Darkling Thrush

Related Poem Content Details

I leant upon a coppice gate 
      When Frost was spectre-grey, 
And Winter's dregs made desolate 
      The weakening eye of day. 
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky 
      Like strings of broken lyres, 
And all mankind that haunted nigh 
      Had sought their household fires. 

The land's sharp features seemed to be 
      The Century's corpse outleant, 
His crypt the cloudy canopy, 
      The wind his death-lament. 
The ancient pulse of germ and birth 
      Was shrunken hard and dry, 
And every spirit upon earth 
      Seemed fervourless as I. 

At once a voice arose among 
      The bleak twigs overhead 
In a full-hearted evensong 
      Of joy illimited; 
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small, 
      In blast-beruffled plume, 
Had chosen thus to fling his soul 
      Upon the growing gloom. 

So little cause for carolings 
      Of such ecstatic sound 
Was written on terrestrial things 
      Afar or nigh around, 
That I could think there trembled through 
      His happy good-night air 
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew 
      And I was unaware. 

RIP Jane Patchett.