Propagation of the Species

I work across the street from a public park that borders on marshlands, very near the actual Bay. The proximity of water and the tasty grasses in the marsh entice lots of birds to come visit and stay.

Among others, we have egrets, herons, spoonbills and sandpipers. All so elegant and beautiful.

Here’s a rather grainy shot of a snowy egret, one of my favorite birds. This one usually keeps a beady eye on everyone walking by:

Many of the birds that we get in our beautiful marshes are on the endangered or near endangered species lists.

So it’s good we have a nice habitat here for them.

That said, ya wanna know what bird isn’t on any endangered list and is pretty much in zero danger of extinction?


@#$%ing Canada Geese.

Or, as I like to call them, feathered poop factories.

Taken with my iPhone, this is by a walking trail:

That’s not even a small portion of the inventory.

Here’s a wider shot:

Again, to the left and right of this frame there are at least this same number if not more geese.

The one in the center of that photo charged at me, hissing, so I didn’t take any more photos.

The geese eat grass, lots and lots of grass, then they process it internally and drop the leftovers right in the middle of the walking trails.

Their drop offs equal the size of the leavings of a large dog. Only a whole lot greener.

Just. Ew.

This morning coming into work, there was a goose right in the middle of the driveway (which is a long narrow single car path). The goose moved neither right nor left, but strutted right down the center of the lane. I counted ten cars in line behind while Mr. Goose waddled his way into the day.

I was in car number eleven.

These cranky birds have certainly figured out how to continue the prosperity of their species. In a big way.

My elderly uncle, unfortunately now deceased, used to shoot bottle rockets at the Canada geese that befouled the walkway in front of his house in Indiana.

They sort of frown on that here in California, don’t they?

All photos by Karen Fayeth. Click on any photo to see a larger size.

That Ain’t Right

Today I have a follow up to last week’s The Great Dr. Pepper Incident.

A reader suggested to me that since the cost of that taste-tested Dr. Pepper was free, and since free is good, didn’t all the no-cost make that nasty Dr. Pepper taste better?

And heck, my readers are brilliant, so of course I considered this to be a good point.

Then I decided to embark upon an experiment.

I would try other sodas in the for-free cooler and see how they fared in the “tastes better cuz it’s free” hypothesis.

First up in my research was a Mountain Dew.

I decanted the Dew into a cup thoughtfully provided by my employers.

Now. Um. That’s not a nice color.

That looks a lot like the last time I tried taking a multi-vitamin supplement. My pee turned that color. WHY IN THE HELL would I want to ingest something the color of vitamin-tainted pee?

That said, I forged ahead. I was able to get through a good deal of the Dew before I gacked out and had to pour it down the nearest drain.

Twenty minutes later, I remembered why, besides color, I don’t drink frapping Mountain Dew.

The caffeine.

I had heart palpitations the rest of the day.

Yeah. Free. So not worth it.

Not one to be easily dissuaded…

…Or, as my father used to say, not smart enough to come in out of the rain…

The next day I plunged back into the challenge.

This time, I made sure I took on something caffeine free.

After checking the entire line of Pepsi products in the cooler, that left only Orange Crush.

Also, I’m going to have to say, that’s not a color I’d generally like my food to be. Not even the orangest of foods, say carrots or pumpkin is that shade of neon orange.

It haunts me.

The taste was even worse. I couldn’t get more than two sips through the Crush before it went right down the drain.

Experiment terminated. The lab rat can’t take it any more.

Conclusion: Free doesn’t actually make a crappy beverage taste better.

Sacrifice, all for the good of science.

Now I must go drink three gallons of water to get all that artificial color out of my liver.


Word-Reduced Wednesday

A lot of blogs I read have a “Wordless Wednesday” meme where they post an image with no or very few words.

Well, since asking me to use no words is like asking the ocean not to be so darn wet, I think I can only eke my way into a reduced-word situation.

And so…

New Mexico, being of the high desert variety of places, is normally very dry. Humidity levels in the single digits are the norm, and that warm dry air makes me happy.

After all these years living in the Bay Area, you’d think I’d be more accustomed to humidity. I am not.

So I always rather enjoy a trip back to good ol’ NM to dry out (and not in that rehab kind of way).

Not this month. Nope. It rained like a sonofagun the whole time I was there. Which, honestly, is good. They need the rain.

However, swamp coolers don’t work in the humidity. The evaporative cooling aspect relies on the water evaporating. Which it doesn’t when it’s humid.


But cloudy skies sure make pretty pictures.

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Word-Reduced Wednesday and associated images by Karen Fayeth are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Dear Mother Nature,

As you know, over the years you and I have enjoyed an especially close relationship. You bring me the sun and the ocean and endless blue skies. You are in charge of all that is outdoors that I love and enjoy.

And you do a fine job of it, don’t get me wrong.

Being a woman as you are, we all know that we ladies can be prone to *moods*, and that is to be expected. Fickle moods. Cranky moods. Just…moods.

Over the years I’ve forgiven a lot of your more extreme bouts of moodiness.

Remember the time I had to dive into a wet alfalfa field because you struck the telephone pole I was walking past with a big blast of lightening?

Yeah. I forgave.

Remember I cried my eyes out in the winter of 1997 (that so called El NiƱo winter) because I thought it would never stop raining?

Remember that time I drove to Silver City, New Mexico on the hottest day of the year? My car was overheating, so I had to turn on the heater to help keep it cool enough to finish the trip, and when I arrived, I realized I’d sweated through all of my clothing?

That wasn’t fun.

But I’ve been able to let by gones be by gones.

You are entitled to be a little whimsical now and again. Heck, enjoy yourself!

But this year…well, I think it’s time we have a serious talk.

You *might* need to seek professional help for this schizophrenic behavior you are exhibiting.

It’s sunny, it’s rainy, it’s too hot, then it’s too cold.

You can’t seem to make up your mind, alternating between sunny and rainy on a given day!

Ma’am, today is the frapping twenty seventh day of May.

May. You remember? Spring?

When the birds sing and the sun shines and a (straight) young man’s fancy turns towards young ladies in short skirts?

No one wears short skirts in the drenching rain!

Um. Look. I just did my toes and they are a fabulous shade of melon pink. I want to show them off.

When it’s fiercely raining and yes, HAILING outside, I can’t show of my fabulously painted toes because they are covered by my wellies.

Ok, look. I understand that living in Northern California means ya gotta accept the rain. I get that. But c’mon! Can’t you give a desert born and raised girl a break?

And let’s talk about my friends in places like Utah and Colorado who are getting SNOW?

Look sister, you need to get a hold of yourself!

Might I remind you that this weekend is Memorial Day? Hot dogs and cookouts and the beginning of summer fun?

So why *exactly* is there rain and snow in the forecast?

You know, they make meds that can help this condition.

Why don’t I make you an appointment? Maybe some talk therapy will help you work out your issues.

I’m here to support you. Just so you know…I’m a much more supportive friend in the sunshine.

I’m just saying.

(bonus points if you remember the tagline from this commercial)

The things that matter

I had a really great time being in southern New Mexico over the weekend. I got to spend time with many of my old Ag College friends who still rely on the weather and the earth to make a good part of their living.

I got back to my rural roots. It was a fresh reminder.

While I whine and complain about all the rain we got this year in Northern California, I was reminded, plenty reminded, that water is still the heart of life in a town like Las Cruces.

Simple water. Yet not so simple.

As we drove out to my best friend’s house, which is well and gone north of Las Cruces, my old senses kicked in. I smelled the water before I saw it. We rounded a corner and could see that the main irrigation ditch was running high.

“Someone must have ordered water,” I said aloud to no one in particular.

“That looks like almond trees going in,” I pointed out to my husband.

“Whoa, that used to be a cotton field…looks like they put in chile,” I commented.

I greeted each pasture and expanse of farmland like an old friend.

“Chickens!” I exclaimed when we came to a traffic jam on the road (us and another car). The Good Man had asked, “um, why are we stopped?” and I had the better view around the car ahead.

There was a bantam rooster doing his strut on the warm asphalt of that rural New Mexico state road. We all waited for him to go by. He took his time.

Once at the party, The Good Man and I at one point talked with my best friend’s dad. He said that they were having trouble with a neighbor up the road diverting their water. They’d order and not enough would show up.

I’ve been reading a lot of Louis L’Amour stories lately. In those books, diverting someone’s water is a killing sort of offense.

I said to my dad-by-proxy, “you oughta weld that guy’s gate shut” and he laughed. Don’t think he hadn’t already considered it. (and by gate, I meant irrigation gate, not the entry to his driveway)

As the night wore on, it got to be about two o’clock in the morning. The evening dew, such that it was, was starting to settle. I said to my husband, “this is good hay cutting weather.” He asked why, and I said, “the dew makes the stalks wet and they bend instead of break.”

I used to date a guy in college who had to end our dates fairly early because he had to get home and cut hay. I learned to recognize that smell. It meant it was time for him to scoot on home. Time to work when the water is in the air….

The next day, out at my friend’s place, I learned the water in the irrigation ditch was running so high because it was a “free day” for the community. They got to water as needed.

I was wearing flip-flops and I tromped around the soggy yard helping my god-dog look for his favorite ball. The water made the air smell sweet. It also made the frogs come out and sing their sexy mating songs rather loudly.

We ate dinner outside with a chorus of humping frogs to accompany our meal.

All because of water.

Living in the city like I do, I take water for granted. I turn on the tap, and there it is. It falls from the sky and I curse the nuisance.

Yesterday, I was shopping at Nordstrom for a nice outfit to wear for a very important meeting today.

While I shopped in luxury, I looked down at my flip-flops. They still bore the dried mud from my friend’s home. I tossed back my head and laughed at the beautiful, grounding irony of it all.

May I never forget the land and the people who rely daily on the value of pure, simple water.

Rather out of focus photo of my cranky god-cat and the gate at my friend’s place.