38 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 12-18-18

  1. The photo up there was a really special “catch” a couple of months ago, since it’s a species I didn’t think I’d ever see. When I married and moved to Indiana, I ordered a “birds of Indiana” laminated guide, having had a similar one in Tennessee and finding it useful. (As it turns out, all such guides leave out a lot of birds you might see in your state, especially during migration, but it’s a good start to learning birds you are most likely to see.) On that chart, one unexpected bird caught my eye: the yellow-billed cuckoo. I thought now there is a bird I’d love to see someday.

    Last year I bought (and loved) Baby Birds by Julie Zickerfoose. She’s a wildlife artist and a wildlife rehabilitator, and she took on the task of drawing life-size portraits of baby birds as they grew up, taking multiple species and drawing a picture of one baby from the nest each day so you could see the day-to-day progress. In some species, her project discovered information that had been unknown about that species. And her chapter on the yellow-billed cuckoo was particularly fascinating, because she discovered the young grow up shockingly fast. The book includes her pictures but also her field notes and is really a lovely book.

    Anyway, a few months ago I was walking along the trail, and a bird flew across the path in front of me. At first I thought it was a dove, but immediately something about the bird (I’m not sure what, these responses are often sub-conscious when you know a bird well, and I know doves well) said no, it wasn’t a dove, so my mind quickly cast around for what it might be, and “cuckoo” came to mind. There is a black-billed cuckoo and a yellow-billed cuckoo, and both show up in some bird books of Indiana, though the one showing the black-billed might be a mistake (I haven’t researched it, but I know from experience that they sometimes put the wrong bird in when there are two similar species; one of our guides has the wrong kingbird and it has a nuthatch that I have never yet seen in Indiana instead of one that is very common here–but I just checked, and yes we do have both species in summer).

    The bird flew across the path and landed in a tree a few yards in front of me, at not much above eye level. I looked down the path to see if a bicycle or jogger was coming my way, and a jogger was, so I debated whether to move back to the middle of the path to get pictures, but I thought, “If this is a cuckoo, I’ve never seen one before, may never see one again, and I have one in a good spot if I move back a few feet,” so I went ahead and moved backward, taking about three photos before it flew again. Then I looked up again and the jogger was a few yards from me, and smiling, so I waved and moved out of her way, I don’t know if I didn’t slow her down or if she jogged in place a few seconds, but it’s likely that she saw what I was doing and was OK with it.

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  2. That is not the best photo ever of a yellow-billed cuckoo, but getting it at all was thrilling. It does show the reddish feathers at the edge of the wing. It doesn’t show one of the bird’s most interesting features (which I didn’t see either, unless it was part of that quick subconscious realization “this bird isn’t a dove” while it was still in flight): it has a long tail with big white ovals on a black background. Unlike the European cuckoo, this bird makes its own nest, though occasionally it will lay an egg in a nest of another cuckoo.

    This isn’t the first cuckoo I’ve seen–the roadrunner is also considered a cuckoo. My love of the roadrunner made me doubly interested in someday seeing another cuckoo, I was thrilled to see this one, and I would love it if someday I can get a photo showing the bird’s tail. For all I know, they may nest near where I saw this one, and I might see them again next summer. But it was on my unofficial bucket list of birds, and if I only ever see it this once, that is “enough.”

    This is one of at least 81 species of birds I photographed this year–roughly 10% of the nation’s total. I have also seen at least a dozen species for the first time this year (one a month) and that’s without leaving my home state this year and mostly within a mile to a mile and a half of my two different Indiana homes. (This one was within that radius of my new home.) I have also had two or three species that gave me only one fleeting glance until this year and that I have now seen in a good viewing. For example I had once gotten a photo of a hawk on a telephone wire that turned out to probably be a red-shouldered hawk–but it was a poor photo and not definitive enough to be positive I’d seen the species. I didn’t count this year’s sighting as a first sighting, but technically I probably should since I didn’t count the other one. 🙂 And I once got a split-section look at a bunch of flying white birds as we drove past; a little research said they would have been snow buntings, so I didn’t count the snow bunting this year when I got to see and photograph a bird sitting on the ground, but that first sighting a couple of years ago barely counted!

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  3. Hello from the office. It was time to check on things. Art is home still. It’s easier being at the office. We have no washer or dryer here.

    Art is better in some ways but still has blood in the urine. Is it from the surgery or from stones in the other kidney? Good question.

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  4. Alright. The back story to this is that my grandfather was born in 1916. His father died when she was about 18 months old, so his grandfather took him and his mother (my great grandmother) back to Mississippi. He was a large landholder and had many sharecroppers.
    Many years ago my cousin had a horse that was boarded elsewhere. One day the boarding guy called and said the horse was down and needed to be put down. Not knowing what to do my aunt called my grandfather and asked him to call the other man about the horse. My grandfather ended going out to the stables. He asked the man to take him to the horse.
    My grandfather checked the horse out, then walked to his head, pulled it up by the bridle, hauled off and punched the horse between the eyes. The horse got up. Grandpa told the guy that he just needed to get the horses attention. The horse lived six more years.

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  5. I spent two hours yesterday holding a sleeping baby after I got her to sleep by gently rubbing her face. A sweet time and it helped my daughter get work done at their business. When she woke up, I took her back to her mom, but instead of fussing, she gave me a cuddle before going to mom. I just had my Christmas.

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  6. I joined you on the old thread mumsee just because.

    Whenever I’m off work, I began to slide into my more natural night-owl tendencies. I was up much too late last night.

    We have early deadlines on Christmas Eve (4 p.m. but they’re hoping everyone files sooner than that). They typically let us all go as soon as we’re done on that day. For me, Monday will be the first day back from being off so I really have no idea if I’ll even find a story to write. Christmas and New Year’s weeks are really next to impossible for reaching anybody.

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  7. Well, Michelle, you forgot to mention the content warning. Now I will have to listen to a twelve year old make those comments all day and into next week. But it was pretty funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My surprising answer to prayer story is my good friend L, who has been living in an RV for fourteen years, decided after Thanksgiving she should probably sell it and buy a mobile home.

    She sorted through some complicated finances and then found a house, made an offer and waited. The owner decided he didn’t want to sell to her, which sent her looking again.

    She found another, slightly more expensive (it’s all relative to this Californian), and made an offer. It was accepted. They closed a week later–last Monday.

    L scrubbed her RV, put it up for sale and two days later, had earnest money in hand from people in California. The title was electronically mailed to her, they drove out on Sunday, gave her the money and drove away in the RV.

    The entire episode–from the idea, “is this what I should do, Lord?” to selling and moving in took three weeks.

    We’re amazed–and blessed. (I’ve been hearing the whole story as it unfolds).

    I told her all along, still surprised, that this was further proof she’s God’s favorite.

    The other day she told me that she had been wondering if God really loved her and was looking out for her at Thanksgiving.

    Bang.

    Her finances are in much better shape, the home is lovely and far more than she ever imagined and she is so very thankful to the Lord.

    The moral is, once God moves we need to join him or risk being left behind.

    She enters Christmas with a greater appreciation of how much she’s loved and how the Lord watched out for her.

    She thinks we’re all God’s favorites, BTW.

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  9. I am kind of hoping that is what God does for us. If we are supposed to move, somebody will have to come along and say, this is just the place I have been looking for with my eight hundred children (approximation) and I want to give you X amount of money.

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  10. Mumsee, an unlikely scenario. I started telling the story but it got long and I forgot some of the details. So. A brief summary.

    That’s exactly what happened to us (long story) But in Falls Church, after we had bought the house, I came home from work and Elvera said a man wants to buy our trailer. I said OK and helped him move it from Fairfax to Alexandria and set it up.
    It just happened when I needed it.
    I have been immensely blessed these 88 years with things happening at just the right time.

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  11. Speaking of things happening at just the right time, you may remember this story from me. . .

    When Hubby was first diagnosed with prostate cancer, 13 years ago, one method of treatment he needed was radiation, five days a week for eight weeks.

    Well, Hubby worked a job that did not allow him to leave work for an appointment. (He was on the road, in a company truck, delivering bread and other bread products. Each day’s route had to be completed.) Even though he started work at 4:00 a.m., he usually didn’t get home until 5:00 p.m. or sometimes later.

    And you know how hospitals are – appointments for things like this end at 5 p.m.

    I was worrying greatly about this. How on earth could this possibly be worked out with his job situation?

    As I was fretting about this one day, it suddenly occurred to me that God had worked out every scary or messy situation we had in the past, and that He certainly would find a way to work this one out, too.

    I relaxed in a sense of relief, and felt a sense of wonderful peace, and even a giddy kind of joy about it.

    When Hubby went to make the arrangements for his eight weeks of radiation, he found out that one of the radiation machines had broken down. Because of that, they had extended their hours until 7:00 at night. These “special hours” ended a couple days after his radiation ended.

    That was not a coincidence.

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  12. One of the songs on my phone is an a cappella rendition of this piece. I couldn’t find the exact version on YouTube but this is close:

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  13. Kizzie, Chicken Soup for the Soul is looking for such stories. The deadline is real soon. You might want to see what they need and write it up in their style and get a bit of editing from blog family friends and submit it. You never know!

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  14. I scored a gorgeous potted (faux) poinsettia for Carol today, on sale from $30 to $12. It pays to do Christmas shopping late. It’s in a white ceramic container so the red and white together really pop and the flowers look very realistic.

    I’m putting together a fencing package (work gloves, “workers” hand repair treatment lotion, a toy tractor that can be passed on to one of the grands, a staining brochure with all possible colors & a Home Depot gift card) for my friend who’s helping her brother prep and build their new backyard wooden fence. They’re both novices at this.

    I have a couple more random gifts to pick up for others and I’m done.

    I think I’m going to still try getting a real Christmas tree, a small one, tomorrow. Looks like the lots are getting pretty thinned out. And I’ll conduct another scavenger hunt in the garage tomorrow to see if I can’t finally find where the painters put my tree ornaments and lights.

    So the dogs are walked & there’s another Christmas movie on. Maybe I can start getting those cards addressed tonight … I’m procrastinating on that.

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  15. A short one, the knee feels back to normal. And lead painter may actually be here tomorrow, he’s got a couple ‘patches’ to fill in and I also want him to put up my new address sign in front, told him I wanted to get the sign hung sooner rather than later — weather is wonky for painting right now, very cool and overcast. But I told him if he could just stop by the drill the sign on I’d be happy … We’ll see. If he does, I may ask him about the Christmas stuff though I think it was Sidekick who did all the garage re-organizing.

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  16. Sign has been sitting on my sofa for 2-3 weeks. I have the anchors and even drill bit that will be needed to put it into the stucco next to the front door, I just need someone with the appropriate drill & knowhow to get it installed.

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  17. My Christmas decorating is done. 5 little white trees and one medium size real tree, all dressed in white. That’s it. I usually have something special in every room and Christmas mugs and towels and such, but that’s not happening this year.

    My surprising answer to prayer was hitting a deer and totalling the second vehicle in two weeks. We have 2 newer, nicer vehicles and are also better off financially. Very unexpected and so wonderful. Oh, and remember that the second accident fixed my ribs that were still out from the first accident. God has a sense of humour.

    Kitchen is coming along. Just one more ‘hard’ part and our friend, the builder, is coming out to help and give advice for the rest of the kitchen. I’m kind of hoping he will be the one to put the handles on the drawers and doors (he’s a bit of a perfectionist).

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Attention cinephiles: I have a suggestion for you (forgive the obvious sales pitch) – Mrs. L’s 2nd cousin is featured in a documentary about early cinematography called “Saving Brinton”. Here is the website: https://brintonfilm.com/. It’s available in DVD format, and comes with a second DVD with about 100 minutes of silent film from the 1890s – 1900s. This stuff predates Charlie Chaplin and is interesting to watch. It features the cousin and his life in Washington, Iowa. He’s a former history teacher who saves things others would throw away. He found these film canisters in the basement of an old farm house and thought they might be worth something. It took 30+ years to convince someone to take a look.

    Anyway, it is an interesting film for us since we know the subject of it. he is an interesting character.

    Liked by 2 people

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