Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Dangerously Tame Sandhill Cranes

We were at the driving range which was unusually busy last Tuesday when we heard an agonzied,  bugling cry.  A sandhill crane had been hit by a car.  All traffic came to a standstill and as I looked back at the row of golfers on the driving range, every single one of them stood mesmerized by the sight on the roadway.  Everyone looked solemn, sad, and worried.
I watched as the car that hit the crane slowly pulled to the side of the road and as drivers in nearby cars pulled over and got out to lend a hand.
Finally the driver who hit the crane turned around and joined the onlookers. 
And saddest of all, the injured crane's companions made their way to the victim.  Sandhill cranes mate for life so in my mind the first one over was his mate.  Then the rest of the flock followed. 

 They seemed to encourage the injured crane to get up and he tried.
  But it was hopeless.  Finally Animal Control arrived, wrapped a blanket around him, and took him away.

It's possible that the crane survives and that's my hope.  I try to think that he'll be rehabilitated and return to spend the rest of his life with his mate.  And that could happen although the odds are long.

But what impressed me most about the whole incident was the amount of caring and respect for these beautiful birds.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission starts its section on sandhill cranes as follows:   Sandhill cranes are cherished members of the Florida ecosystem. They stand almost 4 feet tall and their bugling or rattling calls are haunting and beautiful.  

That helps explain the reverence of the people I saw involved in this incident.  The sandhill cranes are legally protected but more importantly they are protected by citizen love and caring.  Even the traffic that moved through was slow and careful.  Everywhere you looked there was concern and caring.

Incredibly this entire incident actually told me more about the people who reside around Sanford, Florida than it did about the dangerously tame sandhill cranes.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Odd Ducks of Seminole County

In all of our 47 years of marriage we didn't know that going to Florida in the winter was a good idea. This year, through a stroke of luck and a good friend, we got to try it out and it's been wonderful. There's a different feeling here and everybody seems a little happier than they do up North.  It's hard to believe we'd been here almost three weeks before I thought to photograph the ducks that reside in the pond which is a focal point for all the buildings.  But finally, on the 20th, I ventured out and learned not only that the ducks are very pretty, but that they're very weird too.

Here's weird:  They have a beautiful, huge natural pond to swim in, yet:

 Here's pretty:

 Here's weird:  When they swim along, they pump their necks as if it helps them hurry.

 I watched as this guy pumped along because it was pretty obvious that he meant to attack his drabber cousins, the mallards.

 But to my surprise,  he swam right through his cousins' party.
 And headed for more of his own kind.
 Whitehead was eager to greet him.
 But he had his eye on the 'chick' who looked most like him.

  After a brief moment of shyness,
 The pumped off together
 In unison.

 Which was more than their drab cousin could stomach.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Wade Christopher

Two years ago today our 4th great grandchild and 3rd great grandson was born in Garden City, MI, a suburb of Detroit.
He was beautiful from the get go
 and was greeted by his mom and dad of course,

 his two big brothers,
 and his somewhat wary sister.
So he's a very important part of this family.
And this little bit larger family
And this way bigger family
Today I conducted a phone interview with him and it went like this.  Oh, I should mention that Wade was very busy with it being his birthday and all
so his mother and I answered for him in exactly the way we knew he would answer if he weren't so busy.
Happy Birthday, Wade.  Are you having a good day?  Yes
Do you have any special plans for the day?  We might go play in the snow and we might go to Toys R Us to get me a birthday toy.    Later my family will sing happy birthday to me and we'll have cake and ice cream.
Will you have to take a nap even though you're two years old now?  Yes, unfortunately.  You don't love that?  Yeah really I do.  I'm a good napper.
What was the best thing about being one year old?  Oh boy.  LOL  Ummmm.  Let me think for a minute.  Well I started walking before I turned one.  But since I turned one, I've gotten to eat all kinds of new foods.  My favorites are Macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, and peanut butter and jelly.  I also love my great grandma's ice cream cones.  I just had my first one a couple of weeks ago and ate it like a pro.

And what are you looking forward to in the coming year?  Meeting my new brother or sister and being a big brother.  
What's are your favorite things to play with?  Cars and trucks and blocks.

And is it fun to have young Uncle Jeremy and young Aunt Jenna around?  Yes.  Why?  They play with me and carry me around and let me do almost anything I want to.

Who are your favorite entertainers? Mom and Dad are my favorites but Jack and Dane and Aubrey help too.  They all seem to like to make me laugh.

 Who is your best friend?  Aubrey

Do you like it when Aubrey helps teach you right from wrong?  No!  Why not?  Because I like to do things my own way and she can be a little bit bossy.  And she tells on me too.
Are you a good sharer?  Sometimes but not really.  Sharing isn't that much fun.  And since I'm the youngest, I can really get away with quite a bit.
How about helping?  Are you a very good helper?  Sometimes.   Sometimes I help clean up and I like to help with whatever odds and ends I can get into.

And I know you're very curious and like to figure out how things work right?  Right!  I am very curious about everything.

What were your best accomplishments for your age.  I got my first teeth at about 6 months, I've starting talking already and everybody says I'm a good communicator, and I'm the only one of us kids who could climb out of his crib.   That made mommy look worried which made Daddy lower the mattress so now I can't do it anymore.  Also I was waving bye bye before anybody even realized what I was doing!!!  Sometimes big people can be so obtuse.


Which do you like best - driving cars, playing ball, or playing in a band?  Definitely playing ball.  I can already catch a ball very well!

How do you tell people when you need something?  Well I talk but they don't always understand so I might have to take Mommy's hand and say c'mere to show her what I want.  And sometimes I have to yell.  And sometimes I have to point.

What can you tell us about yourself that we haven't talked about yet?  I love Ninja turtles, Olaf from the movie Frozen,  and Frozen is my all-time favorite movie.  I love my dogs and I try to love my cats but they don't want me to love them too much.  When I pick them up they scratch me and run away.  I still like them though.  I really try to act older than I am so I can play with my big brothers. I'm pretty rough and tough and like to be right in the middle of the mix.  

 And that concluded our interview.  But as usual, there are a few things I could add about Wade.  For one, he's very very smart.  His memory from visit to visit really astonishes me sometimes.
 And he's sweet, and playful, and cheerful.
He's trusting and so much fun and looks adorable in a hat.  No matter who's it is.

 He's a good boy and we couldn't love him more.  So we're wishing him a very happy second birthday and a year that surpasses all others but is only half as good as the many, many years to come.