Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
June 27th, 2010

SMALL TRIUMPHS

When you’re on the verge of 87 and have just snapped off at the root a lower incisor that has served faithfully for 81 years (and are afraid that come Monday the dentist is going to say it’s time to pull the remaining lower teeth!) well, then, you try to look at the sunny side of things.

Right now, I can neither bite nor chew without some pain.  One good thing is that having been “dentally challenged” for some years, I have learned how to eat without chewing.  If you boil an egg and smash it all up with a fork, you can swallow it right down. Yesterday I made a chocolate malt in my blender with ice cream, milk, chocolate syrup, and WALNUTS!  That also goes down nicely.  As usual, I have kefir smoothies with bananas, apples, and blueberries (or other available fruit.)   Then there’s yogurt, custard, soup, and mashed potatoes (white and yellow).    Chocolate obligingly melts in my mouth.  All in all, it’s doable, but being able to chew would be much nicer.

Another triumph:  Long ago I tried the shoewear  known as thongs, flip-flips, or zoris and decided I couldn’t wear them because they rubbed between the toes and hurt.  Since I have bones where my arch should be it really hurts to walk barefoot and I need some sort of cushion between me and the floor.   Last week I actually picked up some flip-flops at Walgreen’s, introduced my feet to them gradually, and find this is something else that is doable, comfortable, and very handy.   Also cool.

Another blessing, not of my doing, is that a robin has just built a nest in the rosebush on the front porch trellis.  I went back and looked at my Robin Reports of 2008 and 2009. Each year I marvel at robin instincts  and faithfulness.  My friend Dolores tells me that the ducks nesting by her pond would fight to the death to protect their eggs.  Where is the human instinct to protect the as yet unborn?  The robin nest, as I say,  is not of my doing, but I did plant the rosebush umpteen years ago!

The lovely lady who leads the rosary after Mass in the morning, follows it with some Legion of Mary prayers which include Mary’s Canticle (Luke 1:46-55).   I have been dismayed that after saying it regularly for well over a year, I had not yet learned the responses.  It seemed they just wouldn’t stick in my head and, of course, I blamed it on old age.  Well, behold!, finally, I seem to have learned them.  Don’t know how long they’ll stay, but for the time being, they’re mine.  And my soul glorifies the Lord!

v. My soul glorifies the Lord.
R. My spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
v. He looks on His servant in her lowliness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.

R. The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy His name!
v. His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear Him.

R. He puts forth His arm in strength
and scatters the proud-hearted.
v. He casts the mighty from their thrones
and raises the lowly.

R. He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.

v. He protects Israel His servant,
remembering His mercy,
R. The mercy promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his sons for ever.

POSTSCRIPT:   When I finally got to the dentist on Monday my lower central incisors had been flopping around for a couple of days and he hardly had to pull at all – just sort of lifted them out.   Then — miracle of miracles! — he worked on them a bit and turned around and glued them back in!   (Not in their sockets, mind you, but onto the remaining teeth.)   So I’m back in business, biting (gently) and chewing (gently) and I won’t have to go toothless to my birthday party on July 10.   What a dentist!

~~~

Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. ” — Luke 9:58

July 22nd, 2008

ROBIN SUCCESS STORY

How excited I was back in May when a robin built a nest in the rose bush on the porch and proceeded to lay three eggs in it. How hopeful I was in June when a sparrow built a nest in the hanging verbena basket and laid five eggs in it. How disappointed I was when the the robin and sparrow babies hatched only to disappear in a couple of days! Maybe if I live a few more springs I’ll learn the answer to what can happen to baby birds nesting safely in a thorny rose bush or in an inaccessible hanging basket.

So this time, when the same robin (or another robin) again laid three eggs in the old robin nest, I decided to keep mum. I thought that this time I won’t jump the gun and count my robins before they are hatched. Daily I watched. Step by step I watched the brooding, the hatching, the feeding, the GROWING! The growing is the truly amazing thing! I don’t know what the mommas feed those babies but it must be filled with growth hormone! A robin egg is not much bigger than a marble. And presto! In a week the babies are crowded in the nest and in another week they are almost full size and ready to fly. I find it incredible. Read the rest of this entry »

May 21st, 2008

ROBIN REPORT

Our baby robins have hatched. I can’t tell you how many there are. There were only two eggs the last time I looked and now there is just movement in a pile of grayish fluff. There aren’t too many opportunities to take a peek as the mother is almost constantly in attendance. Don’t want to spook her, you know, or they tell me she won’t come back.

When we had baby rabbits, the mother would line her nest with fur from her belly. I understand that the eider duck lines her nest with down plucked from her breast, and that eider down is harvested from the nests when the ducklings leave. But, from what I read, robin nests are lined with very fine grasses (though there was mention of one robin that persisted in taking fur from a Golden Retriever) and the fluff mentioned above is the down that the baby birds are covered with at first.

Sometimes there are two parents feeding the babies, presumably the mother and father. Since mother and father aren’t politically correct terms anymore, perhaps I should call them Cock Robin and Hen Robin? Or parent XY and parent XX. How do you suppose the robin parents recognize each other? They all look the same to me–one robin face looks like another robin face. In the MARCH OF THE PENGUINS I learned that mates could recognize each other, that the mother penguin could always find her mate who was hatching her chick after she trekked miles to the water to bring back nourishment. It’s my guess that they know each other somehow by scent (pheromones) and song.

My research tells me that birds generally have small olfactory bulbs and very poor sense of smell. No bird pheromones have been discovered. However, birds have excellent eyesight and perhaps color vision plays a role in mating. We’re all familiar with Darwin’s discussion of the displays of the male bird (the peacock is the ultimate example) in order to woo the female bird. And birds have MARVELOUS hearing in spite of the fact that there are no visible external ears.

This bird-watching is raising a lot of questions. Is there a robin expert somewhere out there?

Next day:
My babies! They’re gone! The nest is EMPTY! Who — or what — has done this thing? The mother robin had so much invested — the nest, the eggs, the brooding, the feeding. Is she grieving as much as I am? It’s always so sad to see new, innocent life destroyed — the promise nipped in the bud. Will she have the heart to try again?

Is there a robin expert somewhere out there?

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