Friday, December 19, 2008


A week ago, I was in the Southern Hemisphere.

Guess which hemisphere I'm in now?
I'll be taking a posting break while I attend holiday celebrations and try to survive the cold weather. I'll be back with weekly updates once I defrost in the warmer hemisphere. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pigeon Hunters of the Southern Hemisphere

Oh December, month of Christmas,
of chilly days and frigid nights, 
cumbersome coats and fireplace lights, 
naked trees and streets of ice,
where snow falls silently in the night
... or not.

December in Australia means one thing - summer. Days are longer, the sun bakes the Earth to 90 degrees F, and flowers continue their assault of color. Fully aware of how lucky I am to be in warm weather right now, I am taking full advantage - mainly, working outside and tanning while I write. I know, it's a rough life. So to warm those of you getting buried in snow, here are some pretty pictures.

Bounty Hunters of the Southern Hemisphere
Two kids slowly stalked a flock of pigeons with their water guns. Besides the fact that they were trying (unsuccessfully) to spray the birds, I wondered who was smarter. Because honestly, have you ever had to "stalk" a pigeon? The birds are oblivious ... apparently so were the kids.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

Last Wednesday I went to the grocery store to get food for Thanksgiving dinner. It was a perfect sunny day as I walked back to my apartment with a full backpack and bags of groceries in both hands. Passing a row of purple flowers, a bee landed on my left arm.My hands were full so I couldn't brush the bee away. So I thought, "Well bee, I'm not a flower. Once you realize this you will fly away, so until then I'll just let you stay on my arm."

Fifteen minutes later, the flower-challenged bee was still on me, and had moved up to my shoulder. I arrived at my apartment and needed to take my backpack off to get my keys. So I said, "Okay bee, times up. I'm taking off my backpack, I'm not trying to hurt you, so please don't sting me, just go find a flower or something." I carefully took my backpack off and the freakin bee stung me. 

Now I was angry. I pulled the stinger out of my arm and looked at the dumb bee, sadly rolling on the ground, in what I thought was its death throws. I always heard they die after they sting, and it sure looked like it was dying.

I felt bad for it, so I picked it up, brought it to my porch and put it on a flower so it could die in a pretty place (I couldn't bring myself to step on it). Well the next morning the bee was still there. Then I saw it fly off - looking like a perfectly healthy, yet stinger-less bee.

Thursday dawned. I went to pick up my turkey from the butcher's and there was a crested pigeon on the ground by the wine shop. Crested pigeons aren't like the city pests, but dainty native birds from Australia that have a distinctive mohawk. I like to think of them as pigeon punks. Here's an illustration from "Birds of Australian Gardens."
I looked at the pigeon and it seemed stunned. I left it alone, hoping it would just fly away. But no, of course not. I came out of the butchers with my 10 pound turkey and the pigeon was still there. I took a closer look and it seemed like its wing was broken and I thought, "What the hell is going on?!"

I grabbed a box from the wine shop and after some pigeon wrangling, got the bird in the box. And so it was indeed an odd Thanksgiving, walking up hill to my apartment with a 10 pound turkey in one hand, and a crested pigeon in the other.

It was a week of injured critters. I better be working my way up to a pony or I'm going to be very upset!