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Susan Sleggs

Flash Fiction and personal thoughts

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Birds

Some Wait

The couple watches the birds. The cardinal pair arrives together but she eats first while he waits on a near-by branch. The Flicker waits for no other, he lands at the suet and others skedaddle. The chickadee waits; darts to the unoccupied feeder then takes his prize elsewhere. The squirrels try to invade the feeder but fail, falling to the ground and making a thumping sound that satisfies. The husband waits also; for his wife to stop complaining about something that happened days ago. If only he knew a way to help her let go of what angers her.

 

In response to Charli Mills June 20, 2019, prompt at Carrot Ranch Literary: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about having to wait. Who is waiting and what for? Think about how the wait impacts the character or the story. Go where the prompt leads!

Birds At My Feeder

It’s national Bird Day. I love my backyard birds. Feeding them isn’t very expensive for the amount of entertainment they provide. I’m always surprised when we have workmen at the house, or sometimes company, and they don’t know the names of our common back yard birds especially the brightly colored ones. I grew up in a family that liked nature so we learned the proper names as soon as we could talk. Continue reading “Birds At My Feeder”

Trees in My Life – memoir

Irene Waters asked writers to share memoir about trees. Following is the link if you want to join the fun. She asks for our generation and location so we can compare differences.

Trees: Times Past

Baby Boomer from rural western New York State.
Currently I look out our family room window and delight at the action of many different kinds of birds that visit the feeders. The Niger seeds and suet hang from a crabapple tree. There is a “fake tree” everyone perches on made from large branches stuck into the hole in a patio table (where the umbrella would go) and a large cedar that wiggles constantly because there are so many sparrows and other birds perched in/on it. Keeping the feeders full is a daily job, but the entertainment is worth every penny the seed costs.
In the 1950’s and 60’s my parents owned an acre of pine trees that my grandfather had planted to sell for Christmas trees. As the youngest of four girls I can remember going “out to the woods” to cut our Christmas tree. They were not trimmed like today so looked a bit scraggly and were soon to big to be used. Then the trees became the play area for the town children. Both boys and girls had separate forts. Our mother’s would scold us for getting pine pitch on our clothes.
From my sister Paula… “I think Tilley (our cat) would spy on me when I climbed trees and checked on bird nests. Then they would get robbed!!
Joanne and I played, for hours, out in the back left corner. There was a pussy willow tree there we cut branches from each year.
I knew the whole area very well and ventured farther out back, across fields (don’t know who owned them) and on into Uncle Louie’s woods where he had an old sugar shack. On one of my walks I saw a beautiful Snowy Owl. Dee (Our dachshund) would go with me and dig up baby mice and voles, and eat them!
One warm afternoon, Joanne came looking for me and asked, ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT HERE?’ I was lying on the ground, watching the clouds float by and listening to birds and bugs singing…… near a pile of fence row trees that had been bulldozed up to make more space for growing crops. Dee loved snooping all through the brush and would chase rabbits, howling as they scooted away, because she couldn’t keep up.”
Trees have always been an important part of my life, like good friends.
Thank you Irene for the walk down memory lane.

Love My Birds

It’s National Audubon Day. Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter noted for his extensive studies of American birds and his detailed illustrations of the birds in their natural habitats.  Audubon’s greatest work was The Birds of America which is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed.  His work in this book contains more than 700 North American bird species with 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species.

I have an ongoing love affair with back yard birds. I have feeders and water out for them and suet for the woodpeckers, most of the time. I like to watch them and enjoy their unique colors; the red of the cardinal and the blue of the blue-jay. We had company for dinner one day and the question was, “Do I have birds that color where I live?” We chuckled and said, “Of course.”

I know most of the names of my back-yard birds, but I have can never remember if it’s the cat-bird or cow-bird that has the iridescent eggplant colored head. I mentioned those two birds to give you a nudge to go to the library and borrow an Audubon book so you can see the difference. Oh, never mind, look them up on Google.

My house is decorated with birds; figurines and pictures in the family room, pictures in the living room, curtains and matching quilt in the bedroom, shower curtain in the bathroom. Some might think I have gone overboard with the birds, but I like them. I am also a realist, if I buy a bird, it has to be the correct colors and size, or I don’t want it. Just a little anal, but don’t tell anyone.

Sometimes I miss my back-yard birds because they aren’t coming around because we also have a pair of hawks that live in the woods behind our house. When you are out driving, or enjoying a walk, look for birds if you never have. Make a game out of learning their names and thank James Audubon for the wonderful lifelike pictures of them in their natural habitat.

OMG! I Need Chocolate

I’m celebrating National Bittersweet Chocolate Day by telling you about my day yesterday. It started when I went out to fill the bird feeder. Sometimes, you have to admit your own foibles and laugh at yourself, just to carry on. Without really thinking ahead, I got my little bucket of seed, carefully stepped outside the sliding glass door onto the step, then onto the snow-covered ground, in flat soled moccasins…..of course I slipped and fell. My right butt cheek hit the corner of the step and lets just say it’s a bit sore this morning. I’m certainly glad there was no camera around. The squirrels and birds thought a patio size dinner table was quite the treat, nothing went to waste but my dignity.

I then went to my sewing studio and played with my new free-motion quilting machine, fabric, and organization. I was satisfied with the outcome, especially how nicely the machine works.

Monday afternoons I have the privilege of picking my grandson up from school and taking him to his private Karate lesson. It’s amazing how much he improves on a weekly basis. If we have time to kill between school and class we often stop at the local quilt shop, his choice over getting hot chocolate. (An empty stomach for class is a good thing.) He has a grand eye for color and helps with my selections. The street he lives on is one of those city streets that doesn’t get a lot of visits from the snow plow. By the time I got back on the expressway to come home, the underside of my car was snow-covered. It was 23 degrees and nothing was melting. When I got to my exit ramp, for whatever reason, everyone in front of me stopped….I hit the brakes, but they locked. They was no screeching of tires, swearing, or swerving; it was more like a big box sliding across the flat kitchen floor! I hit the back of the car in front of me with a big thump. Oh Crap! Long story short, there was no visible damage on either of our cars, we exchanged insurance card photos just in case and went on our way. I considered not even mentioning it to my hubby, but just in case the phone rings, I decided if I whined about what a bad day I had, I might get sympathy instead of disgust. It worked great!

So this morning I sit telling you of my immense need for chocolate yesterday to calm my nerves while trying not to put pressure on my right butt cheek. It hurts! Now it is snowing again, and we are supposed to get freezing rain about noon. I’m staying in the house! I wonder if there is any chocolate left in the cupboard.

 

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