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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Summer Of Crows

After I waxed Nostalgic and Reverent in my last post about birds, J. in Comments reminded me that a great many birds (as well as all sorts of other species in Nature) can be real assholes. It reminded me of an incident that I wanted to share with you. Several, actually, and as I began thinking more and more, I wondered if I was actually a Nature Appreciator after all.  Many times Rick and I have had to wrest control away from the animals, and it has not been pretty. Especially when Rick gets involved.

(In any case, I am still Deeply Committed to my resolution to name all pesky critters after republicans, and I will photograph them and share them in a post later.)

But I digress.

One summer many years ago, we were awakened at an ungodly hour by the raucous and persistent screaming of crows. It wasn't even quite light outside yet, and the noise was jarring. It kept up, back and forth and back and forth, for over an hour. It was close, too, and I had it pegged to the huge evergreen in the yard catty-corner behind us. We shut our bedroom windows, but it didn't really help; our house is tiny, and the rest of the windows in it were open. That sound rocketed around the whole place, and we couldn't go back to sleep. I really felt bad for Rick, who was not on summer vacation like me and the boys. He had a full day's work ahead of him. We could take it easy all day. The boys, by the way, slept through it all the way children often do.

We had never seen a crow in the neighborhood, so we figured it was an anomaly and that there wouldn't be a repeat performance. We were wrong. For days and days, we were awakened at first light by this screeching serenade. Rick was exhausted; I was frustrated and angry. We were able to see our tormentors in the boughs of the pine tree, just as I had thought. What sounded like a whole gang was only two crows. With horror, I contemplated the idea of them nesting there.

Finally, one Saturday morning, Rick had had enough. "That's it!" he said. "I'm done with this bullshit." He bolted from our bed, clad only in his boxer briefs. I sat up. "What are you going to do?" I asked, more than a little fearful. He looked weary, grim, and to be honest, desperate.

He didn't even answer me. The next thing I heard was his heavy footfall on the steps to the back door. I heard the door open, and I leaned to look out the window. What I saw next must have made me turn into the embodiment of Edvard Munch's The Scream.

There was my husband, on our deck in the back yard, lying on the chaise longue in his underwear, aiming the Daisy BB gun rifle up into the towering pine, and calmly firing at the crows. After each shot, he quickly cocked it, returned it to his shoulder, lined up the sight, and fired again. Over and over, he repeated this, never changing his expression until once he said, "Got him" with satisfaction and a brief, one-sided smile. I knew the little Daisy couldn't kill a crow, especially at that distance, but I knew it could sting it, and it could definitely discourage it. I hoped our birdbrained alarm clock was finally broken.

It's probably worth noting that our neighborhood in a tightly-packed little suburb is an old street where houses are separated only by the width of a narrow driveway. We can hear one another sneeze inside our homes, and our neighbor to the west had an elevated deck, flush with the top step out of her back door. She probably wouldn't have been the least bit surprised, however, to have come out and looked down upon that particular tableau. Her son used to call my husband "Funny Rick." (But my sons were his babysitters.)

Anyway.

The Boxer Brief BB Gun Caper did solve our crow problem. The pair left, and we have not had a crow landing since. No neighbors witnessed the event, and as far as I know, no wildlife was harmed in the process. This time. But because Rick is often called upon to rescue us from Wildlife, he has tangled with many, many varmints. I think this may have to be a series.

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24 comments:

  1. Wonderful story. Well done, Rick.

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    1. Ally Bean--Oh, thank you. I'll give him your compliments.

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  2. They are very smart, but mean. There's a wonderful PBS show about how they pass on information. But I have seen them harass an owl down to the ground until I chased them away long enough for the owl to fly off, only to be surrounded and treed on a branch. She who must be obeyed witnessed a single crow trying to kill a small brown bird, which she rescued and protected until the crow gave up quite a while later. They come by their group appellation, a Murder of crows, honestly.

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    1. Sillyak--Crows are crafty and persistent, yes. And menacing. Interestingly, these are all adjectives which can be applied to my husband although most people don't realize it.

      There's a definite strategy at work with birds in general. The term "birdbrained" is a gross misnomer if it is not applying only to size. Birds are not dumb.

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  3. Lovely. The perfect ending to a wonderful story. JG has a BB gun also, although his usual target is any squirrel that solves how to get into the bird feeders.
    We have ravens. I believe they are even louder. You do not want to experience the noise a fledgling raven can make in the early dawn when demanding to be fed. Yawn. Luckily we have only one raven this summer.

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    1. Mary G--Please leave Canada's black squirrels alone. They are gorgeous and charming. Shoot the rest.

      Thank you for the compliment. I don't care for any loud, screeching bird when I am trying to sleep. We have also been plagued by angry and annoyed/annoying squirrels barking and chipmunks chipping, too. It's astonishing how long they can keep it up.

      (I am straining mightily against making any Poe references re: your raven problem. That is Nancy's territory.)

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  4. Enjoyed your post about crows... I never knew much about them, but judging by the way the two who were bothering you behaved, I have discovered something. Even in the face of Rick shooting at them with a BB Gun, they stuck together. They clung to each other through the entire ordeal which leads me to believe that they must be Vel-Crows....

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    1. Oh Nancy... Do you by chance read the comic strip Pearls Before Swine? If not, you must - you and Stephen Pastis are soul partners. :)

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    2. Nancy--Good one! Very apt. I am, however, disappointed that you glossed over the fact that my husband was out there in his undies. ;-)

      And Bug is right; you need to check out that comic strip, especially on Sundays.

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  5. I love this story! The only thing that would make it better is if he was wearing Spongebob Squarepants boxers (my brother has a pair - and no I have not seen him wearing them).

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    1. Bug--At least boxers could maybe have been taken for jammies or regular shorts. Maybe. I had a pair of Gumby boxers once that I got as a mail-away rebate for Kahn's hotdogs. No idea how the good people at Kahn's tied their hotdogs and Gumby together, but there you have it. I loved those things. Wore them to death for summertime jammies. Now they are a dustrag, and you know how often those get employed...LOL.

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  6. I don't blame Rick one bit, and I love The Bug's comment! What a hoot that would have been! We never have issues with crows here, but we do at our mountain/river property. Every morning there we are awakened--to some degree--by crows. Usually they're not noisy enough that we can't go back to sleep, but some mornings they are right outside our tent. Other times during the day, we hear them making a terrible fuss nearby in the woods.

    We have had many varmint stories here and many other places, like that times the corn snake crawled up the leg of Mr. GFE's jeans while we were walking in the field that had just been cut. Anyone driving by got a surprise that day! LOL

    Shirley

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    1. Shirley--I don't blame Rick; I just wish he would have worn suitable attire. And snakes...HORRORS!

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  7. We may have to borrow that bb gun, as there are a lot of crows in our neighborhood. Actually, I just realized that I haven't heard them in the last week or two...I don't know if it's the weather, or the two big evergreens that were recently removed from our neighbors' yards. Either way, thank goodness! There are quite a few similar trees in our area, so I don't know how long this will last. I'll just have to enjoy it while I can.

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    1. J--The bb gun is in heavy use right now to discourage Canada geese at the lake. When they are done in the yards here, it looks as if small dogs and adult cats have stormed the shores after a heavy meal. Ugh. I do hope your Crow Problem has resolved itself.

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  8. You're right, Nance, I did let Rick slide about his being out on the deck in his underwear. I have mentioned the lonely widow who lives next door to you before when Rick ran out there in the nude to dispose of a mouse she had thrown in your basement. It has just now come to my attention that she also keeps crows! As long as she can see Rick in the altogether she will not mind releasing more crows or mice!

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    1. Nancy--Lonely divorcee, actually! Hee hee. She had quite a menagerie, as you'll see later in my next post. I love Conspiracy Theories.

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  9. .P.S. I LOVE Pearls before Swine.It is one of my favorites along with Funky Winkerbean and Pickles..I really enjoy the Croc Family, Larry, Patty and Junior. I still laugh at how much Larry loved his Wii game and how he tried to convince Junior to quit school so they could play Wii all day...And when Pig was so surprised when he learned that Lou Gehrig had died of a disease that had the same name as his...I won't even go into Rat...There's no explaining Rat....

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    1. Nancy--The Croc family makes me laugh, too. But my favourite, besides the eye-rolling Mary Worth (which I make fun of constantly), is Get Fuzzy.

      Larry and Junior with the Wii game reminds me of my Sam's aspirations as a boy to grow up and be a stay-at-home Dad. He would tell everyone that was what he wanted to be so he "could stay at home and play video games and do other stuff with his kids." I had to burst his bubble one day and remind him that his kids would one day go off to school and he would be at home alone, waiting, and what would he do? He was absolutely crestfallen. "I guess I'll play by myself til they get there," he would say.

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  10. Man in Boxer Shorts Attacking Birds.... this brings back a childhood memory. Except The Boxer Shorts Man was my dad, and he was... attacking a bat. Hours earlier, I had been watching T.V. in the den with my siblings when a bat flew overhead. Apparently, they can get into the AC vents sometimes. The four of us tore out of the house and waited on the front porch for someone to come rescue us. When my mother got home, she joined us on the front steps. When my father arrived... he was elected to go into the house and rid us of the critter. After an exhaustive search, he ushered us back in stating that he couldn’t find the bat, but “it probably went back where it came from.” That night at bedtime, my sister and I slept with the light on. Around midnight, my mother, who was watching a movie and the only one still up, let out a shriek. Ernie!! The bat!!!! The bat had been hiding in the Christmas tree and decided to venture out when things got quiet. My mother might not have noticed this except that our cat was playing a game of cat-and-bat when she walked into the living room on her way to bed. Dad, of course, came to the rescue. With all the commotion, my siblings and I rushed out of our bedrooms to witness the unforgettably comic sight of my father, clad only in his boxers, trying to bash the bat with the nearest handy weapon, which happened to be a broom. Dad = 1. Bat = 0. (I'm pretty sure you could have lived without that visual, but the boxer shorts detail got the better of me.)

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    1. Ortizzle--Rick vs. Bats was my next story in the series! I swear we led parallel lives as children and share an ancestor somewhere, you and I. I think if we ever had a bat in a Christmas tree, that would be the end of Christmas trees forever.

      And no way should you ever leave out any Details, especially as wonderful as Ernie In Boxer Shorts. I think that alone would make a great children's book adventure series: Ernie In Boxer Shorts and The Bat Adventure. Ernie In Boxer Shorts and The Snake In Catherine's Room. And on and on and on...! Get busy.

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  11. Tee hee: "Ernie in Boxer Shorts and..." Too funny. And given the current climate of 'anything goes', it would probably be a fun, off-beat children's series. I do need to get started on something of my own. And I most certainly plan to do that as soon as I have translated Luis' short story book into English. He's been bugging me, and it's looking like my project for Summer II. (Summer I being given over to teaching in the first session.) And it would put my name on the books as another translating job, albeit for an unknown author, never to hold any acclaim. My name is already inside a translated book by a local Chilean author: http://tinyurl.com/nbnvhk4
    Sadly, she had already had it translated into English when she passed it on to me to "fix up" because she was not really content with the original translation. And no wonder, since ... it really wasn't that good. I ended up re-translating at least 90% of it, but because someone else had done the original job, I had to settle for double billing. Better than nothing. She now wants me to translate her short novel, Rictus, me and only me. But funds are currently lacking. So it's back to the drawing board and getting Mr. O.'s work out there. And considering the possibilities for the 'Ernie's Boxer Shorts' series. I can just imagine how that would play out with the Texas Tea Party and local libraries. Maybe I should delve into a Spanish version first. That way, Ted Cruz, who loves to flaunt his latino heritage, would not be able to understand it, LOL LOL LOL. (His Spanish speaking skills are pretty much non-existent. Shameful when you think his own father is Cuban, and good ole Jeb Bush, who is about as WASP as they come, became fluent in Spanish, by choice, after marrying a Mexican.)

    Did you notice my nearly seamless transition from Boxers to Bilingualism?! :-D

    p.s. New profile pic is The Full Monty: not hiding behind sepia, and sporting new progressive lenses, necessarily large so as to accommodate the progressive aspect of the lenses.

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    1. You look gorgeous in that pic! Much more youthful, too. Ernie In Boxer Shorts can be a child, with his teeshirt or pajama shirt as a superhero's cape. You don't even have to give me a flyleaf "inspired by" credit. There. You can have that. You're welcome.

      Ted Cruz, always in the Top Five of my Needs To Be Smacked List, owes me a peek at his birth certificate. As a member of The American People, I deserve that. ;-)

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    2. Ooh I like those glasses! I'm "upgrading" to TRIfocals at some point this year. Even though I don't need them for distance, I'm tired of taking my glasses on & off & leaving them around the house, so I'm getting clear up top, computer distance in the middle, & reading on the bottom. Just need to save up a bit more cash...

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