Okay, so I could bemoan my fate tonight and tell you all about how, just as I tried to put a meat loaf into the Manse’s ancient Harvest Gold oven to cook for dinner, the oven decided to stop working. And how our great neighbours Chuck and Ruth saved the day by letting us bake the meat loaf in their oven. But I think what I’ve just told you is enough; the (fairly regular) appliance breakdowns at the Manse are probably of not much interest to anyone aside from Raymond and me.
So I’m moving on to a happier theme, which is: bird discoveries. I’ve written before (like here and here and here and here) about what an unexpected (for me, anyway) joy it has been to listen to and learn about the birds that we see and hear in and around Queensborough. If you had told me even a couple of years ago that I’d be interested in birds – what they look like, what they sound like – I’d have said you were talking crazy talk. I didn’t even like birds (I’ve always been kind of afraid of them), let alone have an interest in them. But that has changed since we moved to the Manse last fall. Now I eagerly watch and listen to the birds, and I am getting quite a kick out of identifying the ones I see. And today I saw two cool bird things.
The first was a pair of red-winged blackbirds flying across my field of vision as I drove west on Queensborough Road on my way to work early this morning. Because they were in flight, the red on their wings showed up beautifully. It was a lovely reminder to me of my maternal grandfather, J.A.S. Keay, who enjoyed watching and learning about the birds (I wrote about that here) and who was, as I recall, particularly fond of red-winged blackbirds. It was the first time I’d seen that particular bird since our Manse adventure began, and so I decided it was a propitious start to my day.
And then this afternoon on the way home from work, just as I crested the small hill by the former St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church coming into Queensborough – and thank goodness I wasn’t going very fast – was what I guessed was a ruffed grouse, smack in the middle of the road, heading south to north, taking his (or her) sweet time, and not much interested in how he/she might be inconveniencing me on the final few hundred yards of my drive home. I slammed on the brakes, Mr./Ms. Grouse made his/her way across the street slowly and with as much dignity as a grouse can muster, and I was on my way.
Of course as soon as I got home I hauled out the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds (Eastern Region) and made sure my guesses as to the identity of these birds were right. And when I found out they were, I sat back in satisfaction.
And even as I write that, I wonder: who knew that watching and identifying birds could be so much fun?
Apparently it is just the latest of many lessons that living in Queensborough is teaching me.