hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
Today (Tuesday): Am not sure how much sense I'm capable of making right now. Am sure that this post has too many parentheses, sentence fragments, and run-ons. I should try to go to sleep soon.

(Tip for readers: The most interesting day so far was Sunday.)

I bought Asian pears at a farmers' market! Also went to an organic foods market for supplements, then came out of that market with supplements, tea, cheese, and chocolate. Additionally, I walked somewhere around three miles without feeling like I was going to die in the middle of the sidewalk, which is a vast improvement over recent days. Here's hoping I won't regret that walk tomorrow!

I also began catching up on reading LiveJournal, but I've still got a way to go yet.

Monday: Went to the library (returned: one book and one DVD; checked out: one other book and one other DVD). Although I survived the trip, I felt pretty miserable when I got home. Still, I didn't need to go to bed as early as I have been recently, so that's an improvement. Am hoping not to suffer too much from a housemate's cold. (Yes, I have orange juice.)

Sunday: Not as fatigued as I had been recently, but I still went to bed earlier than usual.

I had an unexpected visitor on Sunday! I was going to open a window when I saw that there was something in the space between the screen and the storm window. My first impression was that a wide brown leaf had somehow gotten lodged in there, but I quickly realized I was looking at something else entirely. Its body was about the length of my thumb, and it had mouselike ears, and it was hanging upside down holding onto the screen with its hind feet, and I was wondering where its front legs were, and...

...and when my brain finally processed what I was looking at, I decided that it was an adorable little bat. My conviction that it was adorable may have been based on nothing but the facts that it was tiny, it was fuzzy, and it was on the outside of the windowscreen, but the conviction was firmly held all the same. Oh, and the cute little ears didn't hurt any. Then there was the fact that, with its wings folded up, it looked almost as if some mad scientist had taken the hind legs from some giant grasshopper or other jumping insect and attached them to this little guy's front end. The itty-bitty bat may have been sleeping in our window for the day, but obviously its home address was at the intersection of Freaky and Cute.

I'm afraid I was a poor excuse for a naturalist, though. Blame it on the fact that I was so very tired, but I never even thought about getting a ruler out to measure sleepy bat's exact length until it was too late. (Since I did measure him against the size of my thumb, I'm going with an estimate of three inches or less--a tiny bat indeed.) I didn't think to take cell phone pics until the sun was too far down, so the photos I did take only show a silhouette next to a blazing ball of fire (but knowing the size of the space the bat was in, the pictures do support my estimate of the bat's size). And with the bat choosing to sleep in a place partly obscured by cobwebs, I wasn't even sure of the details of its coloration (though my main impression was definitely brown). Sadly, I can't even tell you whether or not its calcar was keeled (at least partly because I didn't know the meaning of the word "calcar").

Anyway, my little visitor slept peacefully through the day, starting to move a little bit after sunset. I tried watching him for a while with my lights turned off, me bending down at an uncomfortable angle to see him better. By the light of streetlamps and neighbors' buildings, he made his way from the left side of the window to the right, turning his mouselike body as he slowly moved each claw from one hole in the screen to another. He didn't seem too eager to move out into the windy night, however; and after two hours of checking up on him, I finally went to sit down at the computer instead. When I looked at the window again about three hours after sunset, he was gone. I hope the little guy is flying free and happy, wherever he is.

Wild, wild life

Thursday, February 25th, 2010 08:45 pm
hummingwolf: Snowflake-like kaleidoscope images (Kaleidocoolth)
Seen today:

In a broken limb of the tree outside my window, there is a hollow space that, when I looked this morning, had a confusing arrangement of squirrel parts and fluff sticking out of it. Since squirrel bodies are not meant to be segmented the way this seemed to be, I wondered if perhaps some predator had taken a squirrel apart and left it there in the tree, but I saw no blood. Then things began to move and I realized that two squirrels were partially hidden in there sheltering from the breeze, both alive and apparently well. Yay cute fluffy things!

As I left the house, I noticed that one of the dead tree branches lying in melting snow looked like it had slimy slugs slithering around it. Looking closer, I realized that it was just fungus--wet, slimy fungus.

Coming home late in the afternoon, I looked out a west window and saw a fairly large bird perched on a branch of a dead tree. Though I am not always observant enough of the things that could help me identify a species, this was pretty clearly a northern harrier; but thanks to the angle of the light, I am somewhat less sure of its sex (If I had to bet, I'd bet it was a male). Its low flight over to a neighbor's yard was amazing to watch. As far as I know, it has not yet disturbed the squirrels.

(no subject)

Friday, December 29th, 2006 10:34 am
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (Looking back)
The last dream I had before waking up this morning was long, vivid, and detailed, so I did want to try to remember it--but then I got distracted by the fact that one of the main characters looked familiar, so I spent precious time trying to remember who he was and forgot the main parts of the dream. So now I'm left with the question: What was Alton Brown doing in my dream and why wasn't he cooking anything?

After I woke up, the first living thing I saw was a raccoon lying with its head stuck down the neighbors' chimney. It's always fun to start the day with a raccoon sighting.

Reading other people's proposed New Year's resolutions reminds me that I, for a change, made a few private ones at the beginning of this year. Thinking back, I did keep them long enough to recognize that I needed to try a different approach instead, but various stresses kept me too distracted to decide what that new approach might be. Something to think about in the next few days.

I've been worse than usual at eating fruits & vegetables lately, so maybe I'll resolve to eat at least five carrots per week or something silly like that. While the tea I drink so much of may be a good source of antioxidants, I don't think it's quite good enough.

Tuesday walk

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006 08:16 pm
hummingwolf: animation of green and gold fractal, number of iterations increasing with time (Iterations in green and gold)
Being an eminently sensible person, I knew that after several days of tiredness verging on exhaustion and accompanied by dizziness and queasiness, a surge of energy today was no excuse to go gallivanting about the countryside, so of course I took things easy and--

Okay, I hear you snickering out there. So after about a mile & a third of walking, having finished the errands I'd planned to run, I was pondering whether I could walk to yet another destination I had in mind and still get home before dark, when some movement off to the left caught my eye. I was on a busy road approaching an intersection with a busier one, passing by a little wooded area nobody pays much attention to. Down well below street level is a stream, some nameless Anacostia tributary (any trickle of water here is a tributary to the Anacostia). Next to the stream, a little higher than the water and facing toward some old shop (with a medium-sized stuffed Tweetie bird abandoned in the parking lot) was the guy who'd caught my attention. I stopped to look at him. He stopped what he was doing too. "It has antlers!" thought I. "Not very big antlers, but they're definitely antl--" and then out loud (softly) I found myself saying, "Oh, hello there!"

Much closer to me than the young buck, a head was peering at me over some brushy growth, not quite at street level. I'm not good at judging distances, but I'll say she was maybe a dozen feet away from me. She was understandably nervous, yet didn't move as I walked a little along the sidewalk to get better views of the two of them. Cars and trucks passed by me on the other side, people wondering what I could possibly be doing there by the side of the road. Eventually, a third animal (thinner and more awkward-looking than the first two) who I hadn't noticed before, got startled down below and ran a little way to the other side of the stream. Then all three turned round and ran, waving their white flags behind them.

I know they're considered a nuisance species in many parts of their range, but I still think it's cool to go out for a walk and see a trio of white-tailed deer.

More walking )

(no subject)

Sunday, October 29th, 2006 03:09 pm
hummingwolf: squiggly symbol floating over rippling water (one)
For well over an hour, a hawk has been in the tree outside my window, enthusiastically making a meal out of a squirrel. Is it a Cooper's Hawk? A Sharp-Shinned Hawk? Something else entirely? All this time of watching it and I still don't know what to tell you. At birdwatching, I'm still quite pathetic. Obviously what ever this bird is, it's something which might be found in the DC area pulling squirrels' guts apart.

A little while ago, another squirrel stood on a nearby tree limb angrily chattering at the bird. The bird took time out of its meal to give it a look saying, "You have got to be kidding me." Of course that was pretty much the same expression the bird always has.

It's a beautiful bird if you can get over its dining habits.
hummingwolf: (two)
On Sunday afternoon, I added a new interest to my list on LJ: "listening to shadows." The shadows have been telling me things I never expected from them, but I suppose that's the way shadows usually are. Last night's shadows were particularly noisy. I think they belonged to a raccoon. There's a Procyon lotor hanging out in the neighbor's chimney who's been taking advantage of the springtime weather, draping himself across the top of the chimney and basking in the sun. Sometimes he wakes up and looks around himself with the kind of adorable innocence you'll only ever find on the face of a fuzzy predator.

Thinking of a predator's innocence reminds me of the way people are constantly confusing innocence and naïveté. It's such a common mistake, but it's so easily avoided. We've all known (or been) children who would willingly have done great damage if they'd only believed they could. The most naïve person may be incredibly spiteful. When you see it, you know you are not seeing the face of innocence. The naïve person is the one who doesn't know what people are capable of. The innocent person knows the things they are capable of, and does not do them.

It's a lot like the difference between harmlessness and defenselessness, attributes which overlap rarely if at all. It's easy to see the difference when you give someone a sword. An utterly unskilled person, unable to defend themselves, can do a lot of damage through their lack of skill. It's so easy to lose control of a weapon you don't understand, injuring someone you never meant to touch. And a person who is too weak to hold a good sword is also a danger, again because control is difficult for those of little strength. The most harmless people will be experts, people who know how to teach you their art without ever cutting you. Becoming truly harmless requires strength and skill of a level few of us will ever approach.

The fuzzy beast has his head hanging on the other side of the chimney, derrière pointed in my direction. When's the last time you were mooned by a raccoon?

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