Thursday, July 26, 2012

Feathered friends

Last time we spent a few days at Noel's parents' house, Cady Gray couldn't get enough of Grandma Libby's bird feeder. She watched through the living room and kitchen windows as the birds flitted on and off the deck, collecting sightings and assigning personalities to the various species.

I filed that experience away in the back of my head. And when I saw a bird feeder recommended on Kevin Kelly's marvelously useful Cool Tools site, I decided to bring it home.

Since then, Cady Gray comes to me daily with reports of what bird has made an appearance at the feeder. We've had our share of sparrows and wrens and Carolina chickadees and tufted titmouses, as well as the abundant cardinals in our neighborhood.  Both of us have marveled at how many house finches live around us, and have thrilled to the brilliant neon flash of eastern bluebirds. And most exciting, we've often been visited by a pair of downy woodpeckers and even the occasional hairy woodpecker.

Last week, passing through our front room with the big bay windows, I was startled to see a hummingbird buzz by -- and then another. Hoping to attract more, Cady Gray and I acquired a little feeder to stick on the window. Then we waited. Day after day we watched. And yesterday evening, Noel and I were rewarded with a visit from a couple of hummingbirds. I reported to Cady Gray that our feeder had been found, and before we took off for language camp this morning she insisted on watching for a bit. Not two minutes passed before she came running to report her first hummingbird sighting to me.

We've learned that the ruby-throated hummingbird summers in Arkansas, and it appears that we've been visited by both females (who lack the red patch on the throat) and at least one male (who I saw just this afternoon).

I love the excitement that dawns on Cady Gray's face when she tells me about the species she's collected, and describes their behavior. It gives her a pride in expertise, too, as she adopts the role of my guide to Arkansas' bird life. What an unexpected delight, these series of moments prompted by the nature Cady Gray loves so much.

Friday, July 20, 2012

She is dancing away from me now

Today's post about a highly unlikely shawl is at Toxophily.


Three separate people -- well, one married couple and another person -- have mentioned that they miss this blog. Message received, universe! I've got a lot of Toxophily posts in the queue, but I'll also try to do some prose writing here, too.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Just an old sweet song

Back from our trip to the place of Noel's birth, to the metropolis where we played and absorbed culture during our University of Georgia days, to the team that haunts our childhoods and commands our undying loyalty. Back from Atlanta, where we seized the excuse provided by a colleague's wedding to introduce our children to some of the city's riches. Here are a few highlights.


We got to experience two, count 'em, two Staybridge Suites about a mile apart! This photo was taken outside the first one.


Walking the downtown streets.


Archer utterly confused this attendant at the World of Coca-Cola's secret formula vault exhibit with a robotboy question.


Granny Lou and Papa were with us for a couple of days, and the kids worked hard to give them enough love to last until the next visit.


We may not have eaten very healthy, but we ate very happy, including this Johnny Rockets lunch ...


... followed by rock candy on a stick.


We got to hang with old friends from our UGA days.


These are the kinds of smiles that happen inside a Legoland Discovery Center.


And these are the kind that happen when you're in the home of Hammerin' Hank.


Look at that form!


He's trying to stretch it to three! Really testing the arm of that right fielder!


More old friends at the ball game.


Our tomahawk chop took a while to get coordinated.


Cady Gray insisted on keeping score.


An enthusiastic rendering of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."


Outside Staybridge Suites #2. It's a long story.


The Georgia Aquarium mesmerized Cady Gray.


Peeking at penguins.


There was even a fish for Archer.


CG picked up so many feathers for her collection that I was sure she would fly away on our many long walks.


Our friend Stephen probably wears suits frequently. This is the first time Noel's been in one in many a year.


MARTA was Archer's favorite Atlanta attraction. Goodbye, Peach City -- we'll see you again soon!