They’re. Out. There … Right there!!

It took us a while to figure out what the noise was.  It started late last Thursday night and woke everyone from a sound sleep.  Scared Goobie so bad I thought she’d fallen off the counter ’cause she was screaming so loudly.  Or maybe that was me?

Eventually we all went back to sleep, but on Sunday morning, when we were awake, we all heard it again.  The Bean said it sounded like a whole flock of turkeys going off or something.  Happened again less than half hour later.  And it kept on happening, four times Sunday.

But on Monday we thought we knew, and by Tuesday, we were sure. We have coyotes, and they live in the greenspace behind our unit.  How do we know?  We saw them.  And one of the neighbors also confirmed it.  They yowl, but then all the babies (yes, baby coyotes) go off, and it’s a cacophony of sound, which is probably why the Bean thought it was a flock of angry turkeys.  Nope.  Just a pack of annoyed coyotes.  Right there behind the condo.  Like really.  Right there.

On Tuesday afternoon, there was a single yowl, and the Bean happened to be in the dining area so hastily went out onto the patio barefoot and across to the gate (the only place low enough to see over).  He must have heard her.  Stopped dead in his tracks and turned to stare at the gate.  He was bigger than she expected.  Bean didn’t move and neither did he.  They just looked at each other for about 45 seconds and then the beastie walked off.  As Bean was turning away, she spotted a second, smaller coyote (probably a girl) lying in the dirt.

Coyote scratching

She ran back inside for her cell to get a photo.  We have a lot of green stuff in the way, so it was hard to get one.  In the photo above, she’s to the right of center, and had decided to scratch her neck just as Bean snapped the picture. Bean wanted a better pic, so carefully opened the gate as quietly as she could, but thinks it saw the movement and was gone in a flash.

There have been no future sightings, but there have been plenty of yowlings, yippings, and yappings, sometimes in short bursts, and sometimes quite lengthy.  It’s kinda scary, totally creepy to hear, but not as bad as NOT knowing what the noises were.

So, this is life in the Pacific Northwest.  Sigh.

Farewell heat wave

It was hot…well, hot for here, at least.  Mid 80s is pretty hot because we don’t have air conditioning.  Stores do, but hardly any houses.  So it was sticky at 1AM when the bedroom thermostat still read 80 degrees with windows wide open and fans going.  Sigh. But we are over it now.  Much nicer today and we’re back down into the mid 60s and 70s.  Sadly, I’m sure it will return, but we are on heat hiatus for now.

We weren’t sure if it was the heat or the return of the local crows this week that scared off our hummers.  We finally saw one flit by today, but they have been remarkably absent during the hot days.  We stood patiently, though I admit to leaning on my mates while they pressed up against the window to try to catch a glimpse, but to no avail.  So we moved on after spotting the one hummer dash past, in a hurry somewhere.

We hope you are staying cool out there, wherever you are.

Thunder and hail

Smidge stole my thunder this week, posting already on her FB page about last Sunday’s thunderstorm.  And what a storm.  It started with a crazy hailstorm of fat pea-sized hail that lasted long enough to pile up about an inch and a half of the stuff on the patio. And then the thunder starts for real and it pours water. This is not normal PNW stuff. Mama Marie wanted to know if we used the hail to build an iceman, but no – the Bean wouldn’t let us out for fear we’d either get concussed from the hail or drown in the ensuing flood…and yes, it was a real flood.  Uncle GT was walking the doggie after the rains and he said 121st street was flooded.  Oh my.

We have been on Hummer watch.  We have one or two Hummingbirds who hang out in the tree behind our patio.  It is a wetland, owned by the city, and Auntie Glenda said that, among the pines, there are some Aspens. The one right behind our patio fence is an Aspen, somewhat overgrown to the point it actually crosses the walking path and hangs over our fence.  This week, we learned several things about our Hummers.

The first thing we learned was that Hummers don’t just suck nectar from flowers and feeders, they also dine on bugs.  I suppose that explains how they survive where people don’t have feeders and when flowers aren’t in bloom – like in winter. We watched our Hummer locate a tidbit near the fence, carry it to a leaf branch to finish eating, then check out the fence gate latch by climbing up it before hanging upside down beneath another leaf for another morsel.  He dropped to the ground in front of the gate, and then he hopped – just like a regular bird – under the gate. The Bean thought this one wasn’t a Hummer but something else since it seemed so big and sat so still on the fence and leaf branch and the ground-hopping etc. He had a white stripe behind his ears and his head was dark.  But when he went upside down and beat its wings, she knew it was a Hummer. The variety and habits of Hummers have become our latest obsession.

We watched another Hummer checking out the patio ornaments and scouring the fence-line for more bugs and then dive down and disappear.  The Bean saw it too, and she stood up and walked over to the window to peek out.  There he was, sitting on the very top of Scar, the quartz-infused granite fountain, having a drink from the center bubbler! Scar, top down

This is a picture of Scar through the window…you can see his Scar on the left of his bubbler hole.  We keep him full and clean without any harmful chemicals.

This Hummer seemed to be a different variety of Hummer, more like the ones we are used to seeing with the typical greenish color. We are sorry we missed seeing this and are now stationed at the window, waiting to see if he comes back.  The Bean says she’s pretty sure he will be back soon since she has often seen a previously unnoticed Hummer pop up from beneath the window (surprise! here I am!) giving a full frontal view of him- (or her-) self.  She suspected they were drinking from the fountain, but was only convinced after seeing this one sitting directly on Scar under the window.

So now we watch and wait to see a Hummer drinking from Scar’s bubbler.  We may have to take turns watching since it’s tiring to stand here waiting, but we’re pretty sure it will be worth the effort.

On Hummer Watch

Friday … so soon?

I’m a bit discombobbled here in the Pacific North West – I lose track of days or something,

We are still camping on the counter in the kitchen.  Thankfully, there is a main counter and a raised one, which is probably for bar stools, except the bean doesn’t like them so … Empty space for us! She does unpack more boxes weekly, and she says she’ll begin on the boxes marked “Doll Room” when there aren’t any others left belonging to bedrooms, linen closets, etc.

This week Goobie and Smidge went exploring in the back garden to see what’s going on out there.  It’s totally enclosed, so we are relatively safe, though a passing hawk could…well, that doesn’t bear thinking about.  They visited our new rock fountain named Scar because of his small iron-colored birthmark.  He’s quartz-infused granite and bubbles nicely.  They also visited both raised planting areas, checking out one very colorful glass globe and the “Happy” place.

Last Sunday, we discovered some PNW natives, sweet little land snails, all with pretty yellow and brown striped shells. They seem to live in the front garden.  We have outdoor pets!Pet Snail

But the best of all was that this week, we were finally found by the hummers!  We have a set of sliders as well as four large windows across the back of the house, so we have an almost unobstructed view of the entire patio from the living, dining, and kitchen areas, The Bean spotted the first one doing a quick upsweep from the area where Scar lives. Then another went dashing across. Finally, one was spotted at the feeder, sucking up some nectar.  The feeder was a mother’s day gift from Kestrel’s Bean, and the whole house cheered when we knew we had been found.  Hummers are the “bestest moss sweetest birdies eber,” said Smidge.  We are all on hummer watch now. We hope the one or two will tell others – free food.

Happy week, everyone,

I digress…

We continue to live on the kitchen counter, but we’re enjoying our camping and companionship and being back with our Bean.  But this week I decided to get serious and digress from the typical “we did this or that” to discuss an important topic.

This week, a friendship could well have ended because of the sincere kindness of a friend who was played by the manipulation of another. Ever met a manipulator? No, not talking about Smidge.  Her occasional simpering and tempering is not manipulation, just her slightly immature way of hoping to get her way and knowing it probably won’t work.  She knows it only works when we allow it, which happens only occasionally and because it amuses us.  Smidge knows how to pull her own weight, and we all love her strength and kindness and respect her for who she is … and we mercilessly tease her. Sorry, sweetie.

First, there is more than one way to manipulate. A true manipulator’s game is not something played by several but typically only by the manipulator who spends her/his time working to get others to do something for her/him. The more criminal manipulation happens all too often.  Older lonely women fooled into giving up their life savings to someone across the world who “just wants to get to the U.S. and be with my true love and just need a few thousand to get there,” found on the internet and exposed by Dr. Phil. Other people are unwitting victims, suckered into giving up identity documents and thus funds, through phone or Internet scams.  Criminal manipulators are typically people who are out for financial gain. They are swindlers, and their victims are innocents.  But the harder ones to spot may be the needy and narcissistic manipulators who, like emotional vampires, suck the life out of those who fall for their stories.

These are the attention seekers who use the goodness of others to make themselves feel good.  We feel sorry for those who experience undesirable circumstances – a sick child without funds to pay medical bills, death of a spouse, weather-related disasters.  It’s our natural instinct to want to help, to pitch in or donate money. Manipulators play on our instincts to want to be kind and help.  Yet manipulators do nothing for themselves, instead convincing others that they are pathetic, forgotten creatures with no hope: “nobody cares, I’m all alone, I have nothing, I just want to die.”  This merciless “pity me” continues until the victim, not recognizing that she/he is being played but who genuinely wants to be nice, is sucked deeply into the vortex of the manipulator’s gigantic pity party. And then it’s give give give.

I suspect, to be fair, that not all emotional manipulators even know that’s what they are doing.  They may lack empathy, so if anyone calls them on their manipulative tendencies, they probably would go into their typical “boohoo, woe is me, nobody cares, everyone blames me, but I’m just…,” so the cycle continues.  Those are the ones who need counseling. They suffer from a disease, or at least a condition, requiring some deep, personal therapy, assuming one could convince emotional manipulators that it was not everyone else but them who needed help.  

This is sad … and serious.  Friendships can be lost, and this week it almost happened to two friends of mine.  Fortunately for them, it was merely an “almost” moment.

So keep your eyes open, learn the signs of manipulation, get your priorities in order, and always remember that your loyalty belongs to your friend, not to the pity-seeking narcissist.

I remind us all that, to have a friend, we must truly be a friend.

Next week, we return you to our regularly scheduled program.  🙂