A year ago, I would have sworn that we are a quiet couple and that we have a peaceful abode.

We’ve just celebrated our year anniversary with the Chippet and she’s taught us that we are not the quiet people we thought we were.

Bambi is extremely noise sensitive, but only certain noises bother her.  I think our HVAC system is very noisy, but that doesn’t bother her one bit.  Let a spoon fall, though, and she’s ready to flee for her life.

Now it’s a game to see if I can lift plates out of the cupboards without a noise.  She hates kitchen noises, especially, so we have become sensitive to them as well.  It’s crazy how much noise a person can make while trying to make none at all.

Thunderstorms top the list, closely followed by fireworks and guns.  She starts shivering and pacing when a storm rolls through, and will even come into the hated kitchen if I happen to be in there.

So, besides pheromone diffusers, I’ve invested in a Thundershirt for my Chippet. It’s a compression jacket and it works wonders.

I don’t put it on her when I cook or work in the kitchen, because she usually will trot off to her safe place in our bedroom and curl up.  Not during a thunderstorm, though.

Still, she’s calmed considerably.  We can now lift a hand without scaring the crap out of her.  She is much less afraid of Mr. Nobody.  There is much less flinching all together.

We’ve discovered that she loves car rides.  She gets so excited.  And once we’re riding, she finds the cutest positions to curl up and snooze, making my ride so much better.

So, all is well with my little cutie pie.  She is learning to relax and enjoy life a little.  She sure brightens up our lives!



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Compromise Critters

As I’ve mentioned, I was hoping for close encounters with wild animals when we moved from suburbia to the country.  Specifically, I was hoping for mammal encounters.

That hasn’t happened like I hoped it would.  But, there are critters around, and I believe that spiders will inherit the earth.

dscn2594I was ambivalent about putting a pool in.  I didn’t like the idea of extra water or energy use, but Mr. Nobody really wanted one and since moving into the sticks was my idea, I did want to sweeten the deal.  On heat advisory days, I’m not so ambivalent.  So, the pool has led to several close encounters.  Every morning, I check the skimmer to see if anything needs rescuing.  This was what I found the other morning.

dscn2617I had to gird my loins to figure out how to encourage him or her to move on.  I settled on using a weeder.

dscn2636There are so many webs around the house that I won’t need to decorate for Halloween.  I had to rescue this guy from a web.  The blue tails are so cute.


I had Mr. Nobody take this guy out of the skimmer.


There are a variety of amphibians and reptiles aroundIMG_0878


Seems like I’ve been seeing more butterflies this year.  And I nominate this caterpillar as one of the cutest.


Birds are migrating and I miss feeding them.  This one crashed into a window recently and was stunned.  Since Buddy was ready to pounce, I picked it up and held it until it got its wits back.  I think it’s a flycatcher of some kind.  I already miss hearing the wood thrush.  They’ve gone, and they are the sound of summer for me.IMG_0903Then, there is the fungi.

IMG_0890DSCN2538I’ve got lots more pictures of fungi, but am having technical difficulties with uploading the damn things.

So this is the wildlife still around.

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The Good Shuzzit*

I’ve been in a foul mood for the last few days.

Doom and gloom…the bad shuzzit has gone exponential and time is very short, coupled with rain and gloom and sad scary novels.

Thanks to the small band of doomours, thanks to one little thing, I’ve perked up.

It’s always the little things….volunteer morning glories, frogs, toads, turtles, flowers, hummingbirds, a good book, knitting….that can turn around a bad mood, at least for awhile.


I really love sharing things I love with people I love.  For some reason, I’m remembering lying in bed with Mr. Nobody, asking him for his reaction to a book I had recommended by Richard Russo called Straight Man.  He starts to tell me about it, but can’t, because he starts to laugh, and the more he tries to talk, the more he laughs.  I’m laughing too, because I’m so happy that he likes what I like.  Because Richard Russo wrote a funny book.  Because it’s such a little thing.


I took a picture this morning of a leopard frog on our frog log (a device that helps frogs and toads get out of the pool).  The frog is lovely all by herself.  But I got to share the frog log and the critter skimmer (another device for critters caught in the pool) with someone else who cares.  That’s a double double in the good shuzzit column.

DSCN2583 (Not a leopard frog…different picture)

Hummingbirds are migrating and hitting the feeders en masse. I love the noises they make, especially when they break the hummer sound barrier as they fly. DSCN2558

The good shuzzit itself is in the good shuzzit column.  I’m convinced that daily weed has kept me from murder.  My current fantasy is that we have a nationally televised trial of marijuana – introduce all of the evidence about this weed and then have a vote on legalization.  If people really knew the facts about marijuana and the history behind the prohibition on it, it would be legalized in a heartbeat.  The only thing wrong with the good shuzzit is that too many powerful industries are threatened by it.

The Chippet’s happy dance is definitely in the good shuzzit column.  Every time she does it, or wags her teeny tiny little tail, my heart sings.

We seem to be having a banner year for squirrels.  Three of them were flying around in one of the hickory trees this morning, harvesting.  We are into our third year here at the Missouri Compromise, and this is the first we have seen of so many squirrels.  These are different from the red ground squirrels of Michigan – these are grey tree squirrels.  Noisy little things and they look like monkeys up in the trees.  Cheap entertainment.

There are no medals or glory associated with any of this.  Just day to day reality, tinged with the awareness that nothing lasts.




*Louis Armstrong’s term for good marijuana, per Martin A. Lee in Smoke Signals (another thing in the good shuzzit column). Tip of the hat to Anne.




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Odds and Ends

Last Friday evening was a hot one.  I had some things to put away in the barn before getting cleaned up and thinking about dinner.

When I slid open the big metal door, I heard a noise.  It stopped and I did too.  Then it started.  Squeaking?  I thought, oh no, not mice, please not mice.  The sound was coming from the far horse stall, where I’ve got some old furniture that I want to refinish, someday.

At the entrance of the stall, I didn’t see anything moving.  I stepped in, looking around the space, trying to locate the noise that stopped and started.  I saw some feathers scattered lightly around one side of the stall, but that didn’t concern me as birds fly into the barn every once in awhile and I shoo them out again.  We keep the barn door closed, mostly, to discourage birds and other critters.

Squeaking continues and I step further into the stall, cursing the lack of light from a burned out bulb.  Having to wrestle with a big ladder to change the light-bulb in 100 degree heat did not appeal to me.  Finally, I look up, way up and see a nest.  Jeez, that can’t be a birds nest, can it?  How on earth did a bird have time to build that thing?

Now I can hear scratching on the ground, which is dirt with wood shavings, covered with cardboard….scritch and squab and squeak.  It’s a freaking bird, a tiny baby, eyes not open, pink flesh on all parts but wings and head.  Then, another.

Inside my head is the word “fuck” is being flung out and elongated.

Ok, where is mom?  I poke around some more and spot a feathered corpse.  It’s up against some furniture and under some other stuff and not easy to see up close.

From two past encounters with baby birds, I know that the first thing to do is locate the nest and parents and put the baby back.  But some of the nest is sitting on the top shelf of my house paint equipment and inventory, and some of it is still up on the barn rafter.  And we have a dead bird.

Second option is to let nature take its course, which is another way of saying, let them die.  Unfortunate accident, too bad, but nothing to be done about it.  Walk out the door and forget what I saw.

Third option is to keep the babies warm and going until you can get them to people who know about wildlife rehabilitation.  And yes, this is a first world problem.  In many other countries, these babies would have been dinner.

I really wanted to go with option one.  I considered option two.  As I was considering option two, I was wondering how long these two had been on the floor.  I let Buddy out of the barn around 6:30 that morning.  He had taken a look toward that stall before coming out, but I didn’t hear anything that alerted me….I just picked up his dish, turned off the fan, and closed the door behind us.

What happened in that barn and when did it happen?  I don’t know.  One of life’s mysteries.

So as I was considering option two, I was also thinking about what I would need for option three.  I was considering option two because I knew what a pain in the ass option three would be.

Baby birds need to be kept warm and dry.  I’ve fed two wild birds before.  One, a robin, was a fledgling.  What I knew was that it was lawn care day, and the lawn care assholes do not care about wildlife.  I was terrified that I would find that baby in chunks if I left him there.  So I learned a little about birds from Chirp and then, the wild life rehab woman I took him to the next day.  This had happened on a week day, and I was able to connect with the woman before I could take him in.

The next one was a nestling.  Bubbles found it on one of our walks and I left it where it was, took Bubbles back home, then went back to search for the nest to put the baby back.  I knew it was a mourning dove and I looked for any nest but couldn’t find one.  So I learned a little more about baby birds on the Eigit.  For reasons I can’t remember, I kept him awhile before taking him to the wildlife rehab place.  That’s when I learned that they have to be kept clean or their feathers fall out.

Each time, the woman corrected me about something I had done or failed to do.  But each time, she seemed impressed that I kept the birds going somehow.

I’ve kept little plastic tubs from margarine or shaved cheese…..because they come in handy for lots of things.  Birds nests, for one. Lined with untreated plain tissues or paper towels because slippery floors aren’t good for bird feet and bird feet can get caught in washcloth fibers.  This is the nest I used for Chirp and Eigit, so that is what I grabbed from the barn, along with the two babies.  I was, of course, going with option three.

Then I had to get them situated on a hot pad, set low.  I put their nest in a small animal crate, to protect it from the three animals living in our house.

I also returned to the barn, twice, to listen carefully for any other survivors.  None but the two.  I should have picked up the dead bird, but I didn’t.

I did look at the portion of the nest that was sitting on some paint cans.  It seemed like a phoebes nest.  Maybe a robin?  I wasn’t positive on the bird variety and looking at the dead bird would have helped.  I didn’t do it.

Then I went online for some help.  I found a wild life rehab place near the St. Louis airport, which is over an hour away.  And they aren’t open on a weekend.  And it’s after 5 pm.

So, I started looking around in my animal drawer for syringes or eye droppers, pulled out the mortar and pestle, went looking through the pantry and settled on beef canned cat food, mixed with a little water, fed through a syringe.  I’m not recommending this, but I was pretty sure these birds eat insects, which is protein, which is why I selected the beef canned cat food.  I had looked online for help, and found some, but I don’t happen to have forceps or a scale, meal worms or grasshoppers in my pantry.  Nearest store is 15 minutes away.  I make do and try to listen.

Every 15 to 20 minutes, from sunup to sundown, I fed the babies.  The bigger one I was calling Malcolm, and the little one was Phoebe.  I made mistakes, probably handled them too much, trying to keep their nest clean. Many, many times over the course of the weekend, I was convinced one or both were going to die.  But they were scrappy little guys.  They survived, but I can’t say they thrived.

By Sunday night, I had learned that they are wrens and that the wild life rehab place is different from the wild bird rehab place.  By Monday morning, I learned that the wild bird rehab place was open over the weekend, and I could have dropped them off on Saturday.  I strongly suggested to the receptionist that they post that on their website.

The Chippet and Trotsky were scheduled for grooming on Monday morning, so I planned to make the trip with the birds after dropping those two off.  To my surprise and relief, Mr. Nobody offered to do the driving.  I had been worrying about how I was going to keep them fed while driving, not to mention my hatred of city driving.  When I thanked him for his help and commented that many would consider me crazy for going to so much trouble for a couple of wrens,  he said, “it’s not just about wrens.  It’s about keeping your sanity in a crazy world.”

Which is why I married him over 25 years ago.

I liked this rehab place.  I’m not so crazy about their written material.  They gave me info so that I can check on my chicks in a couple of weeks, to find out how they fare.  I already miss hearing their cheeping, but I am so relieved they are in capable hands.  And so grateful that those capable hands exist.

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Worst? Really?

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Group Dynamics

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Culture Shock

"It takes world class stupidity to foul the entire planet."
Derrick Jensen

After watching Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath, and knowing it had all been predicted, sometime after that, I stumbled onto Endgame. One lone copy sat on a table at the bookstore, in the environmental section.

It rocked my world.  Entirely.

Suddenly, everything coalesced.

Here was a person describing the loss, the theft, of the world in the big numbers (topsoil, forests, ocean life…..going, going……) and saying “we’re fucked.”

“No population can support infinite demand.  No population can survive a global economy.  The problem is inherent, not soluble by any amount of tinkering.” (Endgame)

Wait, an environmentalist who isn’t telling me I just need to recycle, use cloth bags at the grocery store and buy a Prius?!  (I dutifully did all of those things.  This is the same guy who told me the Prius is actually even worse than regular cars, because of the rare earth mining that must be done, and the manufacturing process uses even more fossil fuels.)

Well, he’s written a new book, called The Myth of Human Supremacy.  It’s very good.

One of the things I love about Derrick (and yes, I’m calling him that since we have actually met once and he’s two years younger than me, and I don’t think he’d mind) is that he doesn’t sugar coat much.  In this new book, he calls both Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking what they probably are: Sociopaths.  Both of these men are big on colonizing space because they are correct in thinking that the human race, the wise ape, is headed for extinction.  Instead of using their big brains to suggest we find a different way to live, you know, one that won’t kill the planet, we need to colonize a new one.

“Gosh, the real tragedy of the murder of the planet is that if the planet is dead, it will no longer be able to support our way of life.” 

“Unquestioned beliefs are the real authorities of any culture.  A central unquestioned belief of this culture is that humans are superior to and separate from everyone else.”

The vast majority of the book is demonstrating how other life here on the blue marble is intelligent, how other life communicates, how other life deals with problems.  It’s fascinating reading.

“The Great Chain of Being has long been used to rationalize whatever hierarchies those in power wish to rationalize.  It has been and is central to the notion of the Divine Right of Kings, to racism, to patriarchy, to empire.  It is a very versatile tool.

The Great Chain of Being also underlies modern belief that the world consists of resources to be exploited by humans.

Our perception of evolution is infected with this belief in the Great Chain of Being, as so often other people, including scientists, think and write and act as though all of evolution was about creating more and more perfect creatures, leading eventually to that most perfect creature yet: us.”

“It’s much more convenient to live in a world where your morality is based on a clearly defined hierarchy, with you at the top.”

Isn’t it, though?  It explains practically every corporate action, every land grab, every resource grab, every genocide.  And if what you exterminate isn’t human, why, it’s not genocide at all, now is it?  Good thing, because the list of “things” that the human race has exterminated is pretty fucking long and getting longer every single day.

(I wish I believed in karma or some life after death retribution.  It would be so satisfying to know that Rex Tillerson, Dick Cheney et al, will get what they have earned.)

Derrick believes that civilization, and specifically, industrial civilization is the central problem and that we must dismantle it now, by any means necessary.  He also knows that it’s going to crash of its own volition eventually.  But he wants to speed the crash up to save other species (200 go extinct every day).  As you might expect, he has lots of critics.  Some expect him to blow up dams himself.  Others say that violence is never acceptable.  Thomas Paine took a lot of shit for his writing, too.  People don’t change much over the centuries.

I am not a big brain.  I think Derrick might be a little too generous, though.  People created civilization, people created agriculture, people created all of the things wrong with our world.  The problem, in my very humble opinion, is with people.  From our earliest beginnings, we wanted more.  We walked out of Africa and hunted and gathered our way around the world.  This is a level of living that is sustainable, if human population is kept in check.  The proof is in the time frame; people lived on the earth for thousands of years and it sustained them.

Which is not to say that we didn’t alter the world.  We did.  Other hominids walked out of Africa before and after us and they are no longer here.  We used fire and made tools to cut trees down.  Large creatures like the wooly mammoth and the cave bear became rarer and rarer until they no longer existed.

There are those who believe that Homo sapiens killed them all.  I don’t know.  The climate was changing, Toba had erupted, I tend to think Homo sapiens was one of several factors.  However much I might not like to admit it, though, people have been violent since our very beginnings.  I think it’s in our DNA.  And our technology has been an essential part of our lives from the start.  I think our end can be seen from our beginnings.

Which has huge implications for the whole notion of free will, doesn’t it?

These are fun things to debate on the Internet, but I can’t, I won’t  dismiss Derrick’s work because of what are, essentially, details.

“Such is the poverty of our discourse that mere mention of the biggest problem the world has ever faced can be enough to make me, well, happy isn’t the right word…..perhaps grateful, like a starving dog thrown the tiniest crust of bread.” 

Oh yes!  Pathetically grateful, even. It’s so incredibly lonely to see what we see and not be able to even talk about it.  Because few will see.

From The Culture of Make Believe….”One of the curses of being remotely aware of the effects and trajectory of our civilization is that it’s increasingly difficult, especially for those who maintain touch with their capacity to spontaneously free associate, to feel unalloyed happiness, even in the presence of great beauty.”

Dang, dude.  I love that he appreciates the ability to free associate!  I love that he acknowledges the pain involved in being a bit more alive on the planet as we watch it die.

“If your experience of the world is at variance with what this culture inculcates you into believing should be your experience of the world, what do you do?  Many people respond by denying their own experience.

Of course.  That’s the point of a supremacist philosophy.”

He affirms the rest of us.  We very very few people who, not only acknowledge that the world is being killed, but feel some kind of duty to bear witness to it.  To feel the guilt (holy schmoley, the guilt!), to feel the pain of loss, to try to do whatever we can to mitigate our presence, to live with the knowledge that there is no future.  I can count on one finger the person I can actually talk to about all of this in person.  One.  My husband.  Otherwise, it’s all cyberspace.  Which is killing the planet.

“In short, people protect what’s important to them, and human supremacists have shown time and time again that their sense of superiority and the tangible benefits they receive because of their refusal to perceive others as anything other than inferiors or resources to be exploited is more important to them than not destroying the capacity of this planet to support life, including, ironically, their own.”

The destruction continues.



(All quotes are from The Myth of Human Supremacy unless otherwise noted.)

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