wheezer(Wheezer, giving me the feathered eyeball, as I take pictures of her new foster babies.)

 “The atmospheric conditions have been very unfavourable lately,” said Owl.  
“The what?”  
“It has been raining,” explained Owl.  
“Yes,” said Christopher Robin.  “It has.”  
“The flood-level has reached an unprecedented height.”  
“The who?”  
“There’s a lot of water about,” explained Owl.

There has, indeed, been a lot of water about this past week. Rain, rain and more rain has left the porch covered with stuck-on worms (yes, it even rains worms in Florida) and my shoes, for the first time in my life, smelling absolutely rotten. This is maddening because you know me and shoes: I go barefoot if at all possible but I have one decent pair of Eccos for walking and wearing around zoos and raptor mews. Now they stink and seem to be beyond drying out.

Bud. I think this will take time. He is in very good hands up in the rehab department at Marquette Hospital and he has been loving all the e-mail with photos and cards and so forth. We all thank you so much. He has an entire bulletin board filled with interesting bits from loved ones and strangers. Bill, his nurse, brings them in and reads them to him every morning and then they get tacked up. So, really, thank you. My friend Cathy, from south of the bridge, made him a little needle felted manatee (Bud loves the manatee) and I mailed that off yesterday. 

I think this is going to take some time and it’s not clear how much time a person has- to be in the hospital, to be in rehabilitation, to recover or remake neural pathways that tell the legs to stand up! take a step! Some days Bud is more tired and wanting to nap, some days he is ready to be pushed onto the parallel bars and work on his recovery. I was talking with Abby and Dan about it and it’s curious. He had apparently achieved a delicate but stable balance, living alone in the woods and the snow with just two ancient decrepit cats to talk to. Somehow, his never ending conversation with them and his curious schedule and his constant vigilence to the bird feeders and lake view, a diet that had to be marginal, household plumbing that we can’t even discuss, biological plumbing re-routed 25 years ago with bladder cancer- somehow he and the cats have sustained each other since my mother’s death. Now it’s as though the scale has tipped, like a bad apple tossed on for extra measure, and everything is all wopsy. His thinking, his feeling, his body- all out of kilter.

He is being cared for by wonderful people and we are at that point where we would gladly sign on for this situation indefinitely (well, not Bud, but the rest of us) because we are dreading any change. Laurel and Betsy are making calls, exploring options and visiting; I will likely go next week from here to Chicago to oversee the moving company and sign papers and then directly on up to the U.P. It’s hard to not be there but I suspect it’s harder to be there and I’m recalling a post three years ago when I said my sisters were my heroes. I’ll update as things change.


Tom Waits has a song, “Emotional Weather Report” *, which is a cool grown-up version of “The atmospheric conditions have been very unfavourable lately”  and I find both fitting as I am all over the map, both literally and figuratively. Sometimes when I look back at blog posts I notice a sort of, “Which do you want first? The good news or the bad news?” quality to them.  That’s putting it kindly- they actually read like the ramblings of someone with serious bi-polar issues. Which I don’t have, but I also don’t have a good editor, so there you go.

Today’s good news is WOLs! (Go back and read Winnie the Pooh if necessary…) You know how I am completely enamored of Stretch and Wheezer, the little ESOs (Eastern Screech Owls) I care for down at Boyd Hill? Well, we have just been through nesting season with all the birds but little Wheezer doesn’t know when to quit. She kept laying eggs. Our policy is to addle the eggs so they won’t hatch because we aren’t prepared, with the human contact and dead food, to raise birds and release them into the wild. But we do let them sit eggs and mostly they seem to know when the time has come and past and then they either roll the eggs away or start accidentally on purpose tripping on them and knocking them about and it becomes obvious to one and all that they are worthless. And then they’re done until next year. Except Wheezer kept laying and that’s not really good for her, health-wise, calcium and all. So Gabe, our wonderful leader at the rehab center, got a call asking if we would foster four orphaned owlets and now we’re giving that a go.

allfourowls(Here’s the whole bundle of them. I guess that would be a clutch.)

Today was the day Wheezer and Stretch were introduced to their new brood.Their cardboard box is up next the other two boxes and there are ropes strung about to assist in navigation about the mew. Gabe weighed them all in and gave them talon polish so we can tell them apart. One is noticeably larger and one is noticeably smaller and the comical thing is the big guy looks goofy and hides behind the smallest, sort of nudging the runt forward to check things out. They really are cartoonish. Right off the bat they ate some tiny pinkie mice so that’s good and right off the bat, Wheezer showed great curiosity and gentle interest, hopping over to check them out. This is going to be a wonderful diversion for me, channeling some attention and energy into watching what happens with these fluff things.



Since I had my camera at hand I decided to make it an owlish sort of day and I took pictures of our barred owl, Phantom and our Great Horned Owl, Whoo2, while I was there. The hawks and eagle are magnificent and the vultures misunderstood, but the owls push my bird buttons.

phantomclose(Phantom has a gentle face with a lazy eye)phantom

whoo2close(Here’s a good view of Whoo2’s big owl eye. She, too, only has one good one.)whoo2

*late night and early morning low clouds
with a chance of fog
chance of showers into the afternoon
with variable high cloudiness
and gusty winds, gusty winds
at times around the corner of
Sunset and Alvorado
things are tough all over
when the thunder storms start
increasing over the southeast
and south central portions
of my apartment, I get upset
and a line of thunderstorms was
developing in the early morning
ahead of a slow moving coldfront
cold blooded
with tornado watches issued shortly
before noon Sunday, for the areas
including, the western region
of my mental health
and the northern portions of my
ability to deal rationally with my
disconcerted precarious emotional
situation, it’s cold out there
colder than a ticket taker’s smile
at the Ivar Theatre, on a Saturday night
flash flood watches covered the
southern portion of my disposition
there was no severe weather well
into the afternoon, except for a lone gust of
wind in the bedroom
in a high pressure zone, covering the eastern
portion of a small suburban community
with a 103 and millibar high pressure zone
and a weak pressure ridge extending from
my eyes down to my cheeks cause since
you left me baby
and put the vice grips on my mental health
well the extended outlook for an
indefinite period of time until you
come back to me baby is high tonight
low tomorrow, and precipitation is

12 responses to “WOLs!

  1. Bud needs to be just where he is right now, I am guessing. If he needs to urge many more neural pathways, it may take quite a while for him to recover. I shudder still, to think of him up there alone, out in the cold. I hope he will realize that he just can’t handle that anymore.

    The owls are wonderful! I love the one with the lazy eye. Does that (and the one with a closed lid) indicate previous damage due to fighting?

  2. Oh, I love the Pooh passage. My thoughts are with Bud. No doubt it will be quite a while for his recovery. I hope that he is patient…and everyone else too. A manatee? That should cheer him up. They are wonderful creatures. I live in Manatee County, you know, LOL.

    The owls are wonderful. Like Kenju, I love the lazy-eyed one is just great. The babies are too cute, and on and on and on.

    Be safe in your travels. Hurry back to Florida. I’ll be home June 7 or thereabouts. Ella has said a couple of the funniest things. i’m getting ready to do a post about EllaBella.

  3. Pooh, Owls, good music – all to sustain you through Bud’s adventures. I am so sorry about the turn events have taken. That 14 hours outside is absolutely terrifying to all of us with older relatives stilling living at home, on their own. Best wishes for a sustained recovery and continued health and well-being for Bud, and strength, sanity, and peace for you.

  4. I love Pooh! And the owls are adorable. In the group picture… I love the bug-eyed one and the one with his eyes shut. The eye-shut thing… that is me. I bonded with this little one over the internet!

    Here, our fledgling bluebirds all left the nest this week…. I saw four total although there were five eggs. I have more pictures for Bud.
    I feel so blessed that my situation changed when it did… before my folks got to the state they are in now. They could not make it on their own now… forgetting to cut off the stove, lock the doors… etc. I think… I hope they feel more secure with me here.

    I will be glad and happy to send you iris from this batch…. by the time you need them, they will have taken over. Hopefully, our building project will be done by then and I will have more flowerbeds…and a hot tub to fix the gardening muscles with.

    BTW, two posts in one week… fluttering with excitement……Mr. Rhett send his regards to Miss Sophie… If you would like… I would be more than happy to send you Mr. Rhett… along with the iris. 😉

  5. Cute owlings!

    Poor Bud. It so good that he has such great support.

  6. I love that Tom Waits song!

    You don’t sound at all bipolar to me. You are just up to your eyeballs in situations lately.

    Siblings are good, aren’t they? I feel sorry for only children who are coping with elderly parents in transition. No sibling to bounce ideas off of, no sibling to stand strong with when tough decisions have to be made.

    I pray that Bud will come to the decision himself that the cabin is no longer a good option for him.

  7. Are one-eyed birds more aggressive than average? There was a one-eyed mare at my university, she was defensive and kind of vicious.

  8. Ah, I loved the babies. I will have to get up there and see them soon. Love the quote from Pooh as well. You have many things to learn about Florida life. One tip is to have one pair of outside shoes and one pair for inside and other places. You leave your outside pair at the back door because they get all stinky and moldy as you have discovered. Live them inside if you can because if you have to leave them outside, you will need to shake them out before sticking your toes in because lizards love to hide there. Maybe after your first long hot summer, we can collaborate on a book helping newcomers know how to cope with this hot, humid environment. Just wait though, there will be some things you will come to love. Baby owls learning to fly in the summer will be just one.

  9. Aww, thanks for the WOL photos – Ignatz was enchanted. And best wishes to Bud.

  10. I am so pleased to find someone else that calls them Wols. I didn’t need to read Pooh, I knew what it was when I saw the word Wol before the pics downloaded!!

    Thinking of you n Bud. It will take time but he seems in good hands (btw – what’s a manatee?)

    I don’t know Tom Waits so will have to go and investigate on iTunes.

    Take care

  11. Oh lovely wols. I’ve read and re- read the pooh tales.

    I’m having camera and owl envy just now. Most beautiful pics. My ESO’s are actively nesting, but it seems so late for it. Maybe we’ll have owlets yet, or just a busy couple. We’ll see. I’ll send Bud some of my pictures. I’m a stranger to him, although all of us who love the creatures and outdoors as he does are kindred spirits.

  12. Loving the wols. Best wishes to Bud. Thinking of you!

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