Saturday, October 31, 2020

Sunshine & Birds

 I realized today that I'm not the only creature that's energized by sunshine.  For the last couple days it's been overcast and dreary and no birds have come to visit.  This morning, for most of the day actually, it was sunny and the birds were out and visiting.


First came the Mourning Doves.  They are the most skittish of birds.  One landed on the rim of the birdbath and flew quickly away when I reached for the camera.  These doves stayed put to have their picture taken.

Next this squirrel leaped onto the suet feeder and made itself at home.  It and its pals have just about eaten the whole suet cake.


Then the male Downy Woodpecker arrived to cling to the suet pellet feeder for a snack.  When the woodpecker left one of the squirrels climbed up but didn't stay long.  The openings are so small I can't imagine they get much of a bite.

As intended, I finished October Preemie Hat #4 after lunch so that I didn't have to change its name to November.




31 October--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview. 

He came back in about ten minutes with a policeman who looked so young that he might have been a kid dressed up for Halloween.  Officer Micah looked around at the mess, took notes, and shook his head a lot.  I could see that he didn’t really have any hope of figuring out who broke in.  In fact, he seemed to be accusing Silas of not locking up properly.  “Are you sure you had the doors locked, Silas?” he said.

Silas took offense.  “Micah, you think my father would stand for me being careless like that?  How many times has some fool tried to help himself to a bottle or two from Johnno’s back bar?”

Officer Micah shook his head.  I could see that he had been hoping to offload responsibility for not securing the place onto Silas and was glad that he wasn’t foolish enough to try it with me.  “I know that Johnno does not tolerate carelessness when it comes to doors and locks.  I suppose someone jimmied the lock, it would be easy enough to do especially in the dark of the back garden.”

My tears began to flow.  “We threw that tub away the other day,” I said.  “It was in the kitchen but had a hole in the bottom so out it went.  I think I’ll keep it and plant some flowers in it and put it by the back door to remind us all to lock up tight.”  The thought that the doors were so easily forced made me glad that I had to stay at Sydans where there were at least people to hear me yell if someone broke in.

“Wasn’t last night the bible group’s night to meet?” I said.  “It’s a wonder none of them noticed anything.  The flicker of flames would be a give-away, I think.”

Officer Micah said, “Last night was Monday; the bible group meets on Thursday.  Everything was very quiet down here in Sandy Ground last night.”

“Unfortunately,” I said, “even the police must have taken the night off.”  He had the grace to look ashamed.

“It will not happen again.  I will go and make my report, and then I will see about tracking down who might have done this terrible thing.”

I wasn’t ready to let him off the hook.  “Terrible is right.  What if the fire had gotten out of hand?  You see that the ceiling was burning?  What if it weakened the floor joists?  Are you going to guarantee that my guests will not fall through the floor?”

I head my voice rising and saw a frown furrow Silas’ forehead, he shook his head ever so slightly.  “I’m sorry, Officer, it’s been a shock to find this.  Of course, I don’t blame you or the police that someone broke in.  I’m confident that you will find whoever did this.”  I held out my right hand.  “Thank you for coming down so quickly and I’m certain that you will keep me posted on how your investigation is going.”

He shook my hand with one strong up and down motion and, touching the rim of his cap, left.

Silas looked at me.  “You were a bit hard on Micah,” he said.  “He is not a bad sort and he was not even on duty last night.”

I dragged my fingers through my hair trying to tug out the ache that had started at the base of my skull and was working its way up to my forehead.  “I know.  I saw the officer on duty last night when I was coming back from my swim and he was much taller than Micah.  Thanks for saving me from running my mouth off any more than I did.”  I leaned over the tin tub stirring the remains of the fire.  “It looks like our partiers used some of my reclaimed wood for their fire, damn them.  I had plans for that wood and I’ll bet that all the paint on it made a merry blaze indeed.”

Silas looked at the ceiling, walking around in a circle to examine it from every angle, and then he went out and got a stepladder from his truck and climbed up to poke at the charred area.  Pieces of what looked like charcoal rained down.  “I do not think that the fire burned the joists, but I would feel better if we tore this down and made sure.”

I was nodding as he spoke.  “Me too.  Pull it back to clear wood.  I’ll feel much better with that burned stuff gone.”  I tried to push the tin tub aside to examine the flooring under it but it wouldn't budge.  I had to lift it up out of the hole the hot metal had burned in the floorboards.  "Look at this.  We were about three minutes from having the whole place on fire."

He bent to look at it too.  “I agree.  It smells like someone poured their beer on the fire; that probably cooled it enough to keep the floor joists from burning all the way through.”

A thought crossed my mind.  “Silas, how well do you know Shaggy and Bo?  I hate to accuse an innocent man but I got the feeling that both of there were real partiers, especially Shaggy.”

He looked surprised but not offended.  “You know, I do not know them very well.  Bo is from East End Village, way down at the other end of the island and I think Shaggy might live in Island Harbour.  They were a couple years behind me in school and ran with a different crowd.  I will talk to Edward to see if he has any ideas about whether they might be the kind of guys to pull a stunt like this.”  He kicked at the beer bottles again.  “Maybe I will bring a bedroll and start sleeping here.”

“I was thinking the same thing myself but then I realized that there is no electricity or plumbing, no bathroom that works.  How could you stay here?”

He patted his pocket.  “I have a key to Johnno’s remember.  I could use his place to wash up of a morning.”

Remembering that young men seldom have to make middle of the night bathroom trips like middle-aged women, I agreed.  “I want to pay you for staying here, though.”

He protested and we went round and round for a bit before deciding on a flat retainer added on to his construction work pay.

Today's toss was a stack of long-sleeved tee shirts and a clock.  It's one of those fancy clocks with the four gold balls that twirl around as a pendulum.  It was a sales award that Durwood won but it was never my taste.  We had it on a table for a while but it's so finicky about being balanced and not jiggled that I put it away.  Now I'm giving it away.

Speaking of clocks, don't forget to fall back an hour before you hit the sack tonight.  That means that sunset goes from 5:30 today to 4:30 tomorrow and it'll only get earlier until late December when, on the winter solstice, the light starts to come back.

Happy Halloween!  Did you have any trick or treaters?  I didn't.  I saw one mother and kid walk down the street but I don't know if they were just out walking or not.


Friday, October 30, 2020


I like autumn leaves when they're colorful on the trees.  I don't like them when they're all brown, shriveled, and piled up on my lawn.  It wasn't so windy today so I went out with the leaf blower and blew leaves until both batteries were kaput.  Then I piled the leaves on a tarp and hauled them to the curb.  Now I've got the batteries charging and will go out and do more tomorrow.  It's supposed to be windy on Monday so I want to get more of them moved before then.

The only birds that showed up today were Juncos and this one decided to sample the delights of the platform feeder.  This is the first time I've ever seen one feeding anywhere but the ground.  It must be a daredevil teenager of a bird or a rebel.  All the others were clustered on the grass but this one was high above having the pick of the seeds.

I stopped down at Zambaldi this afternoon to drop of DIL1's hemmed pants and some suckers and Halloween pencils for LC and OJ and found DS standing on a picnic table fixing the reflector on a patio heater.  He said they get blown over and the thin metal of the top gets bent so he takes them apart, pressed out the dents, and puts them back together.

At Friday Night Knitting I got to the crown decreases of October Preemie Hat #4.  I'll finish it tomorrow so it'll be done before November blows in.





30 October--Barbara Malcolm, The Seaview. 

Chapter 6

I awoke the next morning to the sound of roaring wind and driving rain.  Even the courtyard rooster that I had dubbed Errol Flynn for his varied harem and loud crowing boasts was silent in the face of the storm.  I plugged in the coffee and opened the sliding door to the outdoors.  The rain spattering on the tiles sounded like a fire hose.  I had a feeling that no work would happen that day but I showered and dressed anyway while the coffee perked.  It had been a long time since I had used a percolator and I was enjoying the homey sound it made.  It took long enough so that I had plenty of time to get myself ready in the morning, coming out of the bathroom as the last flurry of perks filled the studio.  I had learned to let the coffee settle while I dressed after pouring myself a cup too soon the first morning and getting a least a half-inch of sludge with it.

When I opened my email while the coffee perked there was one from my son, Will.  I didn’t know where he found them; he had to subscribe to a service that culls bad luck stories, especially ones about widows in the Caribbean so he could keep up the gloom and doom.

“Mother, I read in the Miami Herald online that Americans are getting victimized in droves in the Caribbean.  One in three have been conned and bankrupted by unscrupulous people that offer them properties, take all their money, and never deliver.”

Oh, Will, I thought, can’t you let me have pleasure in my adventure?  I didn’t remember him being quite so pessimistic.

“Will," I wrote to him, "I’m fine.  No one has taken my money and run off since I’m standing in the middle of the results of my Caribbean land deal.  I appreciate your continued concern but I’m fine, really, I’m fine and so is my hotel.”

As I looked out the patio door at the rain it began to slacken, and by the time I had downed a bowl of Cheerios with skim milk and a banana, it had stopped.  I pulled on my work tennis shoes, picked up the hammer which felt like it was growing into my hand, and left for the short stroll down the road to my hotel.

 My hotel, just the sound of those two words filled me with excitement and pride.  When I got there the back door from the garden into the kitchen was standing open.  I looked around for Silas’ dusty black pickup and didn’t see it, but I thought maybe he had stayed with Johnno and not gone home last night.

“Hello?” I said as I went inside.  It smelled funny in there but I attributed it to the fact that the walls had been pulled down and old dust stirred up.  “Silas?”  I walked through the short hall to the sitting room, expecting at any moment to hear his answering shout.  The front door on the sea side was open too, the newly planed door swinging in the fresh breeze coming from the ocean.  I froze as I crossed the threshold to see an old tin tub in which someone had made a fire sunk in the middle of the floor, beer bottles flung everywhere and a corresponding circle of badly charred wood on the ceiling above.  Obviously someone had lit a fire.  That’s what I had smelled.

The footsteps behind me didn’t catch my attention until a voice said, “Oh my God.”  I turned around to see Silas staring slack-jawed at the mess.  “What happened here?” he said.

“I have no idea,” I said.  “I had supper in my room and went to sleep after reading a while.  I was tired, all that nail pulling, you know.”

Silas looked at me strangely, not familiar with my tendency to make jokes when I really wanted to scream or cry, but he shrugged and went on.  “We need to get the police here and make a report.  I am surprised that no one noticed.  Usually they pay good attention to the places in Sandy Ground and the station is just down the road.”  He kicked one of the beer bottles and it rolled noisily around in a circle.  “The party must have been pretty quiet.”

I stood there with tears in my eyes, feeling like someone had spit on me.  I folded my arms across my chest, unable to believe that some of the nice people I had met in the last couple of weeks could have done this.

Evidently waiting for me to act, Silas stood next to me, shifting from one foot to the other.  Finally he said, “How about I walk down and get us a policeman?”

“That’ll be good,” I said.  I heard the unshed tears in my voice and he must have too because he just nodded, propped his beloved crowbar in a corner and left me there to survey the mess.

Today's toss was a food service box of heavy duty foil.  I have one in the cupboard and a 3-pack of Reynolds Wrap in reserve so I won't need this big roll of the stuff.

Don't forget to change your clocks back an hour on Saturday night when Daylight Savings Time ends.  I read in the paper that 30 states are considering staying on DST all the time.  I'd like us to stay on Standard Time all the time.  It makes no sense to me to take an hour of daylight from one end of the day and shove it over to the other end of the day.  Just leave the danged clocks alone.  Sorry, it makes me crabby.