Tag Archives: Birds

Bird in a Bush, by Beverly Hicks Burch

bird in a bush D

It appears it’s been a fruitful spring around here this year.

We had a nest of barn swallows in the corner of the front porch. It amazed me how fast they were grown and out of the nest and flying. Just two weeks ago they were tiny little “angry birds” complaining every time my flash interrupted their space. Now they are flying gracefully around the house making me wish I wasn’t earth bound and could join them in the wild blue yonder.

About the same time I noticed them I happened to notice another little feathered friend. It was quite a chance meeting. I had been investigating a Nandina shrub in front of the house. Nestled deep in the branches was an empty nest.

Well, I thought, this little fellow has already flown the coop…

As I sat in the rocker on the front porch and talked to T & H as he was doing some weeding I happened to look up at just the right time. There was another baby bird on the second from the top step on the porch.

He saw me see him…and I saw him see me…you, know…one of those situations.

I froze and he did, too…kind of turning his head like, “oh, crap, oh crap, oh crap…I hope this big person who isn’t suppose to be here will not see me if I look away…”

Momma bird was at the bottom of the porch going crazy. I know she wanted to peck the eyeballs out of my human head. I believe she was a thrush…

I stayed as still as I could and then very gingerly excused myself into the house for a couple of minutes.

Miraculously when I came back out Baby Bird was gone…I just didn’t know where. So, I set back into the rocking chair with my Nook and was actually looking up bird identification and bird songs/call. All of a sudden I heard a ruckus as we call it down here in the South, and it was coming from the Nandina.

I walked over to the hand rail of the porch and look straight down and had the surprise of my life…Baby Bird was occupying the formally unoccupied nest. And I had a bird’s eye view. I got some wonderful once in a lifetime shots.

Thanks, Baby Bird…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Alabama, Birds, Front Yards, Photography, Picture of the Day, South

Angry Birds, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Angry Birds

A couple of weeks ago I walked out onto my nice big front porch, looked around and thought, “Good grief, who or what has turned my porch into a poop deck?!”

There was bird poopy on handrails and in a certain corner of the floor. I happened to gaze upward and immediately got an answer to my question.

There up next to the ceiling of the porch, perched on a ledge was a perfect little nest. Hello, nest…hello, poop…

I was sooo tempted to tear it down, but the mushy bits in me just couldn’t allow myself to do that. I knew why the nest was there. Dollars to donuts there was probably a family of baby birds on the way. And, had I tried to tear that nest down, the uber-animal-mushy bits in Tall & Handsome would have gone all “Born Free” on me had I dared attempted that home wrecking  maneuver.

Thursday night I stepped out on the porch and happened to noticed what I thought were tiny little heads perched just over the rim of the nest. I called T & H out (he’s got several inches on me) and asked if he could tell if there were babies in the nest.

He took one look and said, “Yep, there babies there.”

I also happened to notice that Momma Bird and Daddy Bird were both hanging around on a ledged near by. T & H and I didn’t know what kind of birds they were at first, but by the end of the day, I had identified them as barn swallows.

Barn Swallows

I went in and got my camera and attempted to take some pictures of the new little family. While doing so I noticed the funniest thing. Every time the flash went off the whole little crew went crazy. There was all kinds of “cheeping”, and “tweeting” and complaining going on after the flash popped. It seemed like the flash never rebounded fast enough to catch the little complaining rascals with their necks stretched out and mouths opened in protest…until today.

Today, like last night, they were still angry (baby) birds any and every time their little space was disturbed by that mean old flashing thing…

…I just kept expecting to turn around and see Piglet on the porch behind me…

Next up…baby birds flying…hopefully sans slingshots…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Animals, Barn Swallows, Birds, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Tall & Handsome

Standing in Line at Red Lobster, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Attention

Should we all stand at such alert attention in line at Red Lobster?  Evidently this fine feather friend was trying to set an example…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Birds, Florida, Geese, Jacksonville, FL, Photogrpahy, Picture of the Day, Red Lobster, Travel

A True Snow Bird, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Staying afloat

Saw this fellow just after we crossed into Florida at the Welcome center on I-95. Many more of his kin could be seen flying in true “V” formation…hard to believe he’d be Christmas dinner for someone :/

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Filed under Birds, Canadian Goose, Florida, Photography, Picture of the Day, Travel

Picture of the Day – Seagull near St. Simons Island Lighthouse

Look Out Behind You

This little fellow looks like he was about to be overwhelmed by the waves and swept out to sea, but he was actually quite safe. It was a gray, drizzly day on the beach near the St. Simons Island Lighthouse, but it didn’t stop this hardy fellow and his kin from their daily rounds…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Burch.

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Filed under Birds, Georgia, Photography, Picture of the Day, Seagulls, St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse, Travel

Travelogue, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Travelogue

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Friday I spent seven and a half hour driving in a Jeep by myself to see my Tall & Handsome. After almost seven years of marriage we’re still kind of like newlyweds and anytime apart is sorely felt. I spent a lot of time reflecting on our history yesterday…replaying some of our highlights and someday I just may share some of them.

We were almost giddy with anticipation the last few miles to my destination and he “talked” me in those last few miles. I had headed south and east Friday morning…expecting sun and etc. and headed right into clouds and rain. So it was kind of drizzling when I arrived.

I pulled into a Burger King parking lot as a rendezvous point. Wouldn’t you know it, right behind me I watched as in pulled 10 LARGE charter busses from a college…I think in was Georgia A & M or something like that. So…T & H had to maneuver literally hundreds of walking bodies as he pulled into the lot, find my Jeep and have me follow him out to less crowded parts.

That meant we wouldn’t be recreating in the Burger King parking lot our infamous airport scene when we met for the first time. That one, ladies, is one of those “good enough for the movies” memories.

We met face to face for the very first time at the Birmingham airport after courting over email, chat and phone for almost a year. He walked out of the Birmingham in tight blue jeans, cowboy boots and Stetson. I stepped out of my car walked around to where he stood on the curb and he met me half way. I remember looking into his big blue eyes and he said, “Hi Baby.” And then he kissed me under his Stetson…I knew then what chocolate must feel like when it melts…

So, the folks at Burger King missed out…

Instead we drove on towards St. Simons Island and to a neat place called The Crab Shack for a date night and a good dinner…of course after the appropriate greeting of each other out front 😉

About midday today we drove over to our friends David and Joanna’s. We’ve known them since Knoxville where T & H and Dave worked together and now they’re working together again. We adore them and have had some great times with them and swapped some great meals over the years…we also share the same anniversary.

We decided on an early dinner and tried The Oyster Shack…where I had crab cakes and fried corn on the cob…for the first time ever. Not bad…don’t know if you’ve noticed a food theme going on here…seafood. That means T & H has died and gone to heaven and the streets are paved with golden shellfish shells…and drawn butter in the dew on the lawn…

Afterwards T & H and I decided to do a little looking around before it got too dark. I might add here that it had rained off and on all day…again…and we certainly didn’t have to worry about getting sunburn. You can probably guess the first place I’m going to seek out…island…coast…lighthouse…

So I thought I’d give you a little travelogue of our day in pictures.

Clouds & Light

My first view of the lighthouse

Catching up on history

T & H catching up on history

The Story Behind

And the history is…

St. Simons Lighthouse & the Keepers House

St. Simons Island Lighthouse and the Keep’s House

So cool

A happy man

Optimistic Thinking

I was thinking optimistically…sunglasses…

I see you by the sea

What seafarers look for…

Oleander and Light

Oleander and Light

Choppy Waters

Will shrimp for dinner…

He looks cold - but he's not

How does he manage to look so cold in 70+ degree weather?

Boardwalk

I want to burst out in a Drifters song when I see this

Rnjoying the view

Perched

Weathervane - but he's real!

Weathervane – only he’s real!

Really old Southern oak 

The iconic tree of the Old South…the Southern Live Oak

 

You know you're in the Old South when...

You know you’re in the Deep Old South when you see…Southern Live Oak and Spanish Moss every where…

© 2010 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Birds, Friends, Georgia, Lighthouses, Nature, Photography, Seagulls, St. Simons Island (GA) Lighthouse, St. Simons Island GA, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Shortly after we met I introduced Tall and Handsome to bird watching and bird feeding. Since he’s indisputably dotty about animals, it didn’t take him long to get “hooked on bird feeding”. And when he gets hooked on something, he does like to jump in with both feet…

So like the good Dr. Frankenstein I am I took him to a very special place one day…and there has been no looking back. Periodically we return and during those times I’m not certain if I’m creating Dr. Frankenstein’s bolt-necked creature, or his lab assistant Igor…or maybe a combination of both because when I gazed out into the back yard Sunday afternoon I realized I had created the proverbial, albeit loveable monster.

And, the monster had not one, but two creations of his own…and they look like this….

Wild Birds Fast Food

Wild Bird Fast Food

Wild Birds Really Fast Food

Wild Birds Really Fast Food – see the room for MORE feeders?!

Stop by for a Drink 2

Wet Your Whistle Stop

Yes, little feathered friends in the neighborhood now have their own Wild Birds Fast Food and Fly Through…and Water Your Whistle Stop. The addition this year to the “chain” was the Wild Birds Really Fast Food Stop. (Just in case you haven’t figured it out, the “special place” I introduced T & H to was a wonderful little store called Wild Birds Unlimited. It is like “Birds R Us” for birders. Check the phone book or the internet for a location near you.)

Sunday, after the obligatory refill of the feeding stations…and more trimming of tree limbs to make sure those darn tree rats (also known as squirrels) stay the heck off the feeders, we sat back and watched the little feathered visitors help themselves t0 “lunch”. And yes, since confession is good for the soul, and in case you haven’t noticed, I HATE SQURRIELS! They are disgusting, stingy, food snatching tree rats…and those darn tails are just too darn perky…like Katie Couric.

When we first started birding together, T & H did not share my derision of the overly perky, unwelcomed little critters. He even shuddered slightly when I called them “tree rats”. He tried everything to appease them…baffles and then even much to my disgust feeding them! Oh yeah, just what I wanted…more tree rats in the yard lined up with little tin cups banging on everything demanding more!

I’m surprised T & H didn’t go out and line them up and have what I call one of his Freudian talks with them.

“Now, little guys, this isn’t the way we build a yard team…a  friendly environment team. This part of the yard and feeders is for you guys and the other part and feeder are for our little feathered team members. If we all stay on task and support each other the yard will work great, everyone will have enough and it will be reminiscent of the Garden. Group hug and ooah-yah!”

Oh yeeeah…the squirrel feeders worked about as well as a spaghetti leash on a hungry pit bull after he saw a stray chicken…only thing that happened with that little venture was we ended up with a yard full of empty peanut shells…and empty bird feeders…

NOW?!

Well, simply stated, I think I have won a convert when it comes to the tree rats…no, Honey, I think a blow torch might be a little overkill…even for tree rats…but, I appreciate the thought…

After a long stretch of patience and sitting like statues on the deck, I was able to snap a few of our little diners…but, I just missed the red-headed flicker.

We knew we had hummers already because the food was disappearing, but we were delighted to see one making herself at home!

Enjoy and welcome to an additional bonus of springtime in the South…

Lady Cardinal Leads the Way

Lady Cardinal Leads the Way

House Finch

House or Purple Finch stops by…

Maybe I Will and Maybe I Won't

Hummm…Maybe I Will or Maybe I Won’t…

My tumming is getting full

My tummy is getting sooooo full…

Can You See the Interloper

Can you see the Interloper? He’s eating the suet cake and is a Brown-headed Cowbird…in the Blackbird family.

I really Want to

This male cardinal scoped out the feeder for the longest time before he finally visited. He was in a distant corner of the back yard when I caught him hiding.

Oh yeah I Made it Oh yeah! I finally made it!

Welcome baby girl Welcome Baby Girl! Looks like a baby female Cardinal…

One last little fellow This little fellow seemed to prefer the ground

The Shot I Waited For All Afternoon

It’s not easy catching Hummingbirds still! I waited all afternoon just to see if we had any visiting the feeder…and Viola! There she is!

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Backyards, Bird Feeders, Birds, Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Humor, Nature, Spring, Tall & Handsome, Wild Birds, Wild Birds Unlimited

Lonesome Dove, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Lonesome Dove

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Spring is around the corner and daylight savings time has “sprung forward”. (I hate loosing that hour!) That’s a clear sign things will soon be turning warmer and we’ll see changes all around us. Days are becoming longer and I’ve detected the return of certain little friends.

As kids we were taught that “robin red breast” was a sure harbinger of spring. I personally look for other sign such as the “chirp” of one of my favorites, the red cardinal. But, the past few mornings I couldn’t ignore the symphony that greeted my ears…all the chairs seemed full with different voices from different species. A sure sign spring IS around the corner…and their way of celebrating the fact that temperatures have climbed into the lower 80’s the past few days.

For years I’ve loved watching our little feathered friends. Along the way, I’ve discovered and uncovered some interesting and sometimes startling facts I hadn’t known beforehand.

For instance, I love to put out feeders for hummingbirds and enjoy watching their antics. Their tiny bodies belie their ferociousness and how territorial they are. Watching them at the feeder is like watching a military dogfight in action. I have had some little fellows buzz so close to my face and just hover there…inspecting me and determining my right to be so near their food source…that I could hear the frantic flutter of their tiny wings.

I’ve also learned birds are also creatures of habit. They return to feeders year after year if you continue to put them there…move them and they just might have a hard time finding them…move away and they’ll return even if the new person puts out feeder or not…those birds will be expecting those feeders though.

All this reminded me of a couple of incidents I had years earlier. The first time was when I lived in my first house. I’d had a hanging basket on my front porch. One day I went outside to water the plant in the basket and was quite startled to discover a creature in the basket!

Upon further inspection, I discovered my interloper was a momma dove sitting on her nest. Well, I melted and left her alone and watched out for her the next several weeks. Before I knew it there were a couple of downy heads popping out over the top of the basket. I had the privilege of watching the family grow until the babies spread their tiny wings and flew.

Seeing this once would have been special, but I was soon to discover that when it came to nesting doves seem to be creatures of habit. This momma dove returned to my front porch for the next several years, and I made a habit of leaving that basket there for her.

You still may be doubting and thinking, “Well, that was just one dove and it could have been a really messed up bird.”

Fast forward about 15 years or so. By then I was living in my third house up on a little mountain northeast of Birmingham, AL. I hadn’t been in the house long and we were in the process of landscaping. I had purchased some forsythia to plant on the lot and I still had one gallon sized pot left on the deck waiting to be planted.

One day I happened out onto the deck and my eyes couldn’t believe what they saw…yep, sitting there quietly trying hard not to be seen was another momma dove sitting on her nest. I was gobsmacked.

So, for the season there were strict orders to let the family grow in peace…and they did. Before I knew it, she was gone as silently as she had landed and taken up residence.

The next year was tumultuous for me. Gomez walked out and abandoned me after 27 years of marriage. I was very sick, 9/11 happened…let’s just say it was the year from Hades and a year I wish I had a delete button for.

But, one morning when I was on the deck I happened to look at the forsythia and to my surprise and delight, there she was…my little, lonesome momma dove. I felt like she looked. She had return as was her nature and habit. She looked so peaceful and calm. Watching her that year reminded me life can be normal even when it seems like the world is falling apart. It also reminded me of a Bible verse I had heard all of my life…since I was a small child.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear: you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12 6-7 NASB.

In these uncertain times maybe we can find the miracles in the small, hidden places…like a forsythia pot…

Dove (1)Dove (2)

Little Lonesome Momma Dove

Dove (3)

© 2009 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Alabama, Bible Verse, Birds, Birmingham AL, Dove, Gomez, Life, Luke 12: 6-7, Photography, Spring

Hatched…It’s Not an Egg, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Hatched…It’s Not an Egg

By Beverly Hicks Burch

Well, it’s finally happened. You know that green chilies have becomes a really big thing when Southern Living, the Bible for all true GRITS (Girls Raised In The South) does a six page full color spread in their magazine with accompanying recipes. I on the other hand was ahead of this trend and knowledge when I married Tall and Handsome, a Native New Mexican, but, I must add…he is a New Mexican with very Southern roots. Yes, I had foreknowledge of the chili revolution.

Bev is going to let you in on a little secret here. T & H and I met in a rather unconventional way. Yes, we met online…*gasp*…there I said it. No, it wasn’t in a chat room or anything like that…it was playing an online game. My very Southern momma will be very chagrined to know I’ve told that, although she is quite fond of Tall and Handsome. Daddy was afraid I’d met an ax murderer. Now, he, too, is fond of T & H and thinks he is head and shoulders above the ex, the regrettable Gomez the Unremarkable.

I was very cautious and we courted long distance for almost a year before we met face to face. Then, he had to meet me on home territory which meant meeting my former-mechanical-engineer/project-manager-retired-turned-pastor-father, mom and son who was returning home from duty in the Middle East. You could tell Tall and Handsome was raised by a Southern momma…he came bearing gifts from the southwest for each member of my family. (My gift was a beautiful silver and turquoise Cross hand-crafted by local Native Americans.) No wonder he’s been called the Silverfox…

I can tell you this…if he is an ax murderer he is the most patient one in the history of mankind…he’s still waiting to make his move five years later…

Well, after his visit, he returned to New Mexico and I planned a trip out to visit him and see some sights in the southwest. He made plans and squired me around the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta on a VIP pass. We drove up to Santa Fe and actually got engaged there. And, I had some fantastic food…I learn about chilies…both red and green.

la-ristra-hot-air-balloon.jpgNew Mexicans don’t like chilies…they are passionate about chilies. Everywhere you go you can see chili ristras hanging…for sale in different sizes…for decorations, for use, and yes even a hot air balloon at the Fiesta, which I thought was rather bizarre looking and anywhere else would have been considered obscene. Those big blown up red chilies stacked on top of each other floating in the sky just looked…wrong…

red-green-chili-peppers.jpgEven though a chili is technically a fruit, it is the official vegetable of the state of New Mexico. They like `em green and they like `em red. If you can’t make your mind up which you want…no problem…ask for Christmas on the side and you get both.

There has been some competition between New Mexico and Texas over who is the chili state winner, but, I think New Mexico and New Mexicans pretty much win by default and the amount of Capsaicin per cc of blood. Let’s put it this way…if there was a way to measure chili intake like alcohol with a breathalyzer…well, most New Mexicans would stay three sheets in the wind on chilies.

This is not necessarily a bad thing though because unlike alcohol…chilies do have some health benefits. For example, one fresh chili pod has as much vitamin C as an orange, and a teaspoon of red chili powder has all the daily requirements of vitamin A. Capsaicin, the chemical in a chili that makes it hot is used in products to relieve the pain of arthritis and it’s used as an additive in bird feed to keep squirrels out…they really don’t like it, but the Capsaicin doesn’t affect the birds…other than that it will help the Cardinals turn really red.

They take the chili so seriously in New Mexico…as seriously as the South takes football…that there is the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. The Institute does not have a football team…but, they do study Scoville units, or how hot the dang things are. They range from mild to “scorch you eyes out and melt you sinuses” to “blow out the back of your head”. T & H likes his somewhere in between the last two.

Like Georgia and their Vidalia onion, New Mexican swear there is only one sacred place to get the “right stuff” and that is in Hatch, NM. You can get the fresh or canned kind from there. When Tall and Handsome moved South from New Mexico for our nuptials, about 75% of his U-Haul was filled with Hatch canned goods. That was the only thing I had to sign a pre-nup on…just kidding honey…those puppies didn’t last long and the poor baby had to resort to buying other canned chopped green chilies that will remain nameless.

There is a big festival in Hatch every September during Labor Day weekend. During the fall in Hatch and in most of New Mexico you can buy a big burlap sack of chili peppers that weighs about 40 pounds and then have them roasted over an open flame in a big chicken wire barrel. It will cost you about $15. The scent permeates the air during the fall.

One year around September, not too long after T & H and I got married, we treated our neighbors in a sleepy little northwestern Alabama town to this exotic scent…for a very long time. Oddly, one day I found this HUGE brown box on our doorstep. It was emitting a very strong pungent scent. Since it wasn’t ticking, I went ahead and brought it inside, opened it up and…Viola mon amis…stuffed inside was a whole box of fresh green chili pods. Yep, one of T & H’s buddies had shipped him a box all the way from New Mexico.

Well, he couldn’t wait to get his hands on those puppies and roast them, but, he had a small problem. There wasn’t any chili roasting people with big ol’ chicken wire drums in Marion County, Alabama. Being the resourceful chap that he is, he decided to do them himself…you got it on the grill! Now mind you, this was in the days of pre-Weber grill. All we had at the time was a very small table top, camp size propane bottle powered grill. The surface top was about the size of a pin-head, but by Jove he roasted those chili peppers…and roasted those chili peppers and roasted those chili peppers. We finished just in time to put up the Christmas decorations…that is after removing the skins, placing them in plastic freezer bags and putting them in the freezer.

Now, I make chopped green chilies a staple in my pantry. Want to borrow some high quality chili powder? No problem. This is what happens when you marry a Tall and Handsome cowboy from New Mexico…with Southern roots and who grew up in the South…

As I was browsing my Southern Living I found this recipe. It had Tall and Handsome’s taste buds written all over it. I read it to him and his eyes lit up like a little boy at Christmas. We’re planning what meal we’ll have it with. Thought you folks might like to try it, too…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "New Mexico", AKA Gomez the Unremarkable, Birds, Bread, Cooking, food, Gomez, Grilling, grits, Humor, recipes, Southerners, Tall & Handsome, The Story Behind..., Vegetables

Chicken Hung Phooey, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Chicken Hung Phooey

By Beverly Hicks Burch

It’s been a rough couple of years. It all started a couple of years ago when Tall & Handsome was transferred. We were transferred “back where I come from” to paraphrase the Kenny Chesney song. Yep, it was even East Tennessee. I was really glad to have the chance to go back and see how things were in the place where I began my life. Well, let me tell you, things have been interesting.

To begin with the move was hair-raising. The packers had a unique technique…it was called “dump and tape”…and they were a professional van line…a national one you would know the name of quite well. Everything was either marked “food” or “décor”. Oh, there were a couple of boxes marked “clothes”. To give you an example of what we’ve been through, we unpacked one box that said “clothes” on it…well, it had one pair of underwear in it and the rest was food from the pantry and kitchen! I kid you not…

The van line arrived short-changed with truck space…and had to get another truck. We spent over $100 buying super-duper coolers to keep about a thousand dollars worth of food cold in, while they reassured us the fridge and freezer would arrive in time for the food to be secure. It took a week for them to arrive and we lost all the food.

When they unloaded the truck, they put the garage stuff in the house and the kitchen stuff in the garage. Even with me telling them it didn’t go there… It was so much fun…NOT!

And don’t even get me started on the house, landlady and T & H’s job. Those will be other fun, informative blogs altogether from this intrepid blogger. Maybe some will involve landmark revelations…

But, for now, I have to tell the story of something I had never seen before in my entire life…and I’ve seen some pretty weird things…this one started like this…

We have not met our neighbors on the northeast side the house. It just so happens the house is next to our bedroom window. We know that many people live in the house, and we’re not sure if they speak English. Sometimes, late at night, or early morning we hear mariachi music playing very loud, and Spanish being spoken. One early morning about 3:00 AM I heard some loud shouting outside the window on the side of the house. Then there was a noise that sounded like a gunshot, a car peeled off, and then silence. After that, things have been pretty quiet. That is until about six weeks or so ago.

Let me set the mood. I always like to sleep with the window to the bedroom cracked at night for a bit of fresh air if possible. I think it has something to do with my Sjogren’s, but, I could be wrong. I’ve found being in East Tennessee the nights can by a lot more refreshing than they were in Birmingham during the summer…guess it’s that mountain air.

Now, mind you, we live in a suburb where the wildest thing you might see is a red Ford Mustang. Well, I do have a couple of bunny rabbits who have taken up residence in my back yard and I’ve marveled at that because the setting is so suburban.

Well, about six weeks ago, the Burch household was sound asleep. It was dark and calm when all of a sudden there was a sound that was so foreign to our surroundings it shattered the silence and rattled the rafters! Cock-a-doodle-dooo! God in heaven help me! What was that?! It was right on top of me! My eyes flung open…surely I was dreaming…I didn’t hear what I just heard…not for real! I lay real still and listen again. Cock-a-doodle-dooo! It was 4:30 in the morning.

All of a sudden I hear a muffled voice from T & H’s pillow, “The neighbors have gotten a darn rooster.”

About this time Watson responds to the crowing rooster. He’s running around in his “condo” (our term for his crate he sleeps in at night) like he’s running the Kentucky Derby all the time competing with the crowing rooster with his barking. I think he was thinking of fried chicken…or that there was an attack chicken on the loose and it was his job to protect us from the Big Bad Rooster.

Winfield jumped up in the window trying to find the Big Bird and push the screen out to fly the coop so to speak and see what was speaking that foreign animal language…even though it’s two stories up…

The rooster crowed for the next three hours, so Tall & Handsome and I lay in bed and debated until the sun rose why the heck the neighbors would bring a contraband animal (I seem to have read some where that farm animal were illegal in the city limits) into the neighborhood…it was so romantic. T & H said he had heard some people were getting roosters for pets. I said I wondered if it was for cock fighting or Santeria. He asked me what Santeria was and I spent the next few hours trying to explain…titillating pillow talk…all thanks to a darn rooster.

My friends, it took several mornings to get use to our friend Mr. Rooster Phooey crowing EVERY freaking morning let me tell you. Not to mention the fact that he also crows all freaking day…day in day out…but, it STILL did not prepare me for what I saw this morning (and darn it I had chicken last night!)!

Usually as the sunrises, I may get up and close the window and lower the blind. This helps the noise factor with Mr. Rooster Phooey. Well, this morning, I got up, but, as I prepared to lower the window I looked out and there before my eyes was the perpetrator…a HUGE, big white rooster with a red head and brown tail feathers and plumes. He was perched up on the post of the privacy fence between the two yards…and he was as quiet as a well…church mouse.

I thought, “Okay, I’ve seen the rooster. Now they’re not containing him properly. Ooops.” And then I started to close the window and I froze in my tracks…there at the bottom of the fence on our side was something that looked like another chicken…a dead chicken! A headless dead chicken!

People, this is not a sight you want to see out your bedroom window at 8:30 AM on a Sunday morning. It’s not a sight you want to see out your bedroom window ANY time…believe me.

Of course the minute I reacted, T & H sprang out of bed kinda like the father in the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” only this time it wasn’t any reindeer he was going to be seeing. He looked, said, “Yep, that’s a rooster and I think that’s another chicken” and he went and got the binoculars. He stared a really long time and then said, “That’s a dead chicken.”

I said, “No kidding.”

T & H then said, “He hung himself.”

Huh?

“Yep. The neighbors have tied a string around those birds’ feet. The rooster has one on his foot, too and the dead bird has one on his foot. He must have hopped up on the fence, got caught, fell and hung himself. Here, take a look.”

Well, I did, and sure enough the neighbors had tied real thin twine around the birds’ feet. That darn rooster was perched up on the fence. That was the quietest he’d been since he’d moved next door…he was catatonic.

Next thing I knew Tall & Handsome is throwing on some clothes and I asked him what he’s doing. He said he was going next door and tell the neighbors they needed to get their birds off the fence. I had to agree. Dead chicken do not make nice lawn ornaments…especially spread eagle, hung upside down chickens…

He was gone for some time and I was beginning to get a little concerned. He eventually came back…and had a whole new bizarre chapter to tell in the rooster saga.

When he went to the door and knocked, the neighbors never answered the door, so T & H was left with the dilemma of handling the birds himself. Who wouldn’t want to dispose of a dead chicken, right? He was thrilled…about as much as having an ingrown toenail removed without anesthesia. As he approached the “dead chicken” he made a startling discovery…the poor stretched out, hanging by a string, seemingly lifeless chicken was not dead! It kinda rolled its eyes and fluttered around a bit. T & H got a pair of his leather gloves, picked the bird up and as it struggled and flapped its wings and beat him senseless, he tried put it back on the right side of the fence. Eventually he had to walk it back into the yard. I married a chicken wrangler…yee-haw! See what they teach those cowboys in New Mexico?

When crowing Mr. Rooster Phooey saw Tall & Handsome approaching, he got all discombobulated and started flapping and jumping up on his precarious perch on the fence and the next thing T & H knew there the poor ol’ thing hung by his foot and that twine…swinging all stretched out pitiful and helpless. I wondered then if T & H had a weak moment and thought, “I can end the sleepless mornings. No more crowing out of this one.” But, nope…there would be no Chicken Hung Phooey with Tall & Handsome around. He said he didn’t want the poor bird to suffer. He got the big ol’ crower down…freed him…put him in the yard and came home…he’s just that kind of guy. He’s got a big ol’ heart and that’s why I love him.

Oh, and we had a vegetarian Indian rice dish for dinner…some how, it just seemed the right thing to do…

© 2007 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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