Metatalktail Hour: Mundane observations May 9, 2020 11:40 AM   Subscribe

Happy weekend Mefites! This weekend I'm curious to hear your little observations -- maybe about the weather, or new things you've noticed in your living space, or your pet's personal habits, or minor mysteries unfolding outside your windows.

As always it's a conversation starter not limiter -- feel free to just chitchat, just no politics please!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) to MetaFilter-Related at 11:40 AM (90 comments total)

We have a lot of neighborhood cats. There's been a mystery cat occasionally making small gurgly piteous meows in an hard-to-see part of the backyard for a while now... I've wondered who it is but had no luck catching them in the act. Well a couple days ago I was in the backyard and learned that - improbably - the tiny meower is the big swaggering orange tomcat.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:48 AM on May 9, 2020 [17 favorites]

So far this morning we've had fog, intense cold, snow, and now sunshine. Southern Ontario in May is a whirlwind of weather. I guess this is the polar vortex I heard about that was going to hit this region of N. America.

Outside of that, wife and I have discovered Nidhogg 2, a very silly game where you fight with swords and knives 1v1. The graphics and the physics are just weird and shitty enough that you're constantly smiling and laughing as you fuck up. If you're looking for a fun couch co-op game to play. This is definitely for you.
posted by Fizz at 11:58 AM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Birds wipe their beaks on things to clean them, and sharpen them, and possibly scent them. I’ve never watched yard birds enough to actually process it.
posted by Going To Maine at 12:27 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

OMG in "we're watching birds more" news, my friend's been observing a bird nest and noticed the parent bird carrying away a little white thing... and (warning, a little gross) it turns out some baby birds have self-wrapping "diapers" so parent birds can carry their poo away. Nature!
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 12:31 PM on May 9, 2020 [14 favorites]

Yesterday when the weather turned so nice here for the first time this year, I went to sit out on my tiny deck to read and enjoy the breeze. As I opened the door and stepped out, a rabbit out in the yard sat up to take notice. Now, the front yard of my apartment building is no more than 25' between the building and the street, which is residential but relatively busy because it's a straight through-shot between two main roads. I've lived here over 4 years and not once seen a rabbit - with, I assumed, good reason. And I stare out at the yard a lot since I've worked from home the whole time I've lived here and my desk is by a window facing the street. This yard just didn't seem to be isolated enough from humans for such a timid creature. Yet here it was - not only that, but it didn't run away when I stepped outside, it just sat and watched warily as I eased myself into my chair with my beer and my book. Once I had clearly settled down, it went back to nibbling whatever had drawn it here in the first place.

Also, while I was there relaxing and enjoying the breeze, I caught a lovely whiff of pine and felt an immediate pang of sadness because who knows how long it will be before I'll be able to set up another Metafilter campout (by "camping", I mean in a campground with toilets of some sort and running water for general cleanup; hardcore I ain't). I mean, I know many people are in far worse shape than I, so I shouldn't complain. But still, I was really looking forward to camping season. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:58 PM on May 9, 2020 [13 favorites]

I've noticed these tiny piles of sand bisected by cracks in the sidewalk for a while now. They appear every year around this time. Finally I got around to looking into this phenomenon (although the perpetrators are almost too small for my tired old eyes to detect). Always thought they looked like anthills, and they are -- apparently, among all the other types, there's pavement ants.
posted by Rash at 1:14 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

So, for years, I thought my cat just didn't like to be held by me. She would let my partner pick her up and hold her for long periods of time, but every time I tried she wouldn't settle down and would push to get down. She's perfectly happy to come on my lap, though, so I was pretty sure it wasn't about my personality. We chalked it up to my partner having a, um, more luxurious chest to settle on.

Well, it turns out that wasn't it. No, my cat has a shoulder preference.

Every time I picked her up, I would go to settle her on my right shoulder. This is, apparently, unacceptable. And my partner knew this. They knew to always hold her on their left shoulder, because she refuses to settle on the right shoulder. But they didn't realize that I didn't know the arcane cat shoulder secrets. They just assumed I knew, and weren't observant enough to notice that I kept trying to put her on my right shoulder. I now settle her on my left shoulder and she'll sit there and purr like a lawnmower. Any time I try and put her on the right shoulder, she tries to get down immediately.

posted by brook horse at 1:36 PM on May 9, 2020 [74 favorites]

I have one or two related to the homestay, but brook horse's tale reminded me of something from a year ago: last April I was invigilating exams at my alma mater, which mostly involved me and a dozen other invigilators putting exams on the desks before students arrive, collecting them as the students finish and for the two-plus hours in between, doing nothing but walking around and verifying that no one is cheating. Once in a while someone raises a hand because they want some scrap paper or you escort someone to the washroom, but by and large there is four to seven hours every day of just watching people writing.

It occurred to me that when I was a student, the lecture halls with fold-out writing surfaces invariably, it seemed, put all the ones that folded out on the left side (for the left-handed students) against the left wall. In the exam halls there are rows of individual freestanding desks, but I wondered if left-handed students had been conditioned to sit on the left side of the room. If every lecture you attend steers you to one side of the room, do you tend to gravitate that way lacking this stimulus?

The answer: absolutely. I may of course be mixing correlation and causation here (as a rule, people tend to move to their dominant side -- this knowledge is handy for getting through the crowd after the concert has let out) but something on the order of 85% of students writing left-handed seated themselves in the left half of the room.

Unrelated to that, I was reading Mark Forsyth's A Short History of Drunkenness the last couple of days. I know Forsyth mostly as a writer on language, and was amused when he pointed out something I knew but had never considered the implications of: in ye olden dayes in Englisshe, -ster was the feminine word ending for occupations that ended -er in the masculine: he is a brewer, she is a brewster; he is a baker, she is a baxter. He points out that spinster survives without a common masculine counterpart: men did not as a rule spin, so a spinner was not a common word. He goes on to point out that strangely, many of the modern coinages that ended in -ster have criminal implications but are formed like feminine nouns: gangster, mobster, hipster, pollster. Possibly not what the self-declared OG's are going for.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:49 PM on May 9, 2020 [26 favorites]

Upstate NY checking in... we're having (very!) late-season snow this weekend.

Now, I've lived here all my life (and I am an old...) - and I've certainly seen the full range of precipitation that this part of the world can throw at us - but (...speaking of the apocryphal "fifty words for 'snow'"...) THIS weekend, the TV weatherpersons have all decided to warn us about 'graupel'.

(Which, I must admit, is a term that was new to me....)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 2:05 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

The past two days it was 80+ degrees and sunny and hot. Besides my ill advised gardening-without-hat that got me all sunstroke-y (but hey, at least I didn't "shred my buttocks") I got a ton of gardening work done in the sunshine before today... where the temp is 60 and overcast. Now that's the May weather I'm used to!
I had to hack back my wonderful chrysanthemums and discovered the amazing ladybug ecosystem on it's leaves. I also have had to grapple with the plethora of tomatoes coming my way soon enough. Also in that link is some pepper adventures as well as planting my one summer brassica, Gai Lan. I have a new bed for my third attempt at cucumbers. And I finally got off my non-shredded ass and photographed what I could for a proper captain's log. I even managed to draw up a new garden layout... Which will be obsolete by tomorrow.
That's largely because I put in an order with my boss to get the yard tree that's been sitting in the hold at work for months and months and i'm gonna set it up and try my hand at some hanging tomatoes.
This led to the just hilarious moment when after my boss delivered my soil and plants and yard tree, and after talking for half an hour in person (6 feet away) to someone I am not related to which was just wonderful, my bosses car wouldn't start.
So me and my dad had to jump my boss's car in front of our house.
Insert Picard facepalm gif here.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 2:16 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

arcane cat shoulder secrets

Sockpuppet name up for grabs!
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:38 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

About a week and a half ago I was moving one of the tomatillos I had started inside and I was careless and snapped the stem right off, down near the base. Fortunately I've had similar accidents with tomatoes in the past so I knew what to do. I stuck the stem back in the pot, burying as much of it as I could, and waited to see what would happen. First it wilted and looked terrible, but the newest leaves kept looking pretty good and then gradually it began to recover. Its oldest leaves are irreparably wilted but it has amazingly healthy-looking new growth. It looks like it's going to be fine. A satisfying little mini-miracle. It would have been annoying if it had died, because you need two tomatillos to fertilize each other and I only had two so I would have had to buy another one somewhere.

The first time I broke a tomato stem I figured it was a lost cause but I planted both the root/stem base part and the top part anyway, just in case, thinking that if one of them was going to grow it most likely would be the part with the roots. But surprisingly it was the top part that grew.
posted by Redstart at 2:40 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

Literally was coming here to talk about graupel which is what we have going on at the moment.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 2:50 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

The dogs need grooming. Almost as much as I do. Max the Shih Tzu looks like a dust mop. We bathed him and trimmed his facial fur. Now he has a face again. Both he and Gizmo the yohuahua need their nails clipped. This means we need to buy a nail clipper and a tiny muzzle for Gizmo. He hates to have his paws touched. Boy is he gonna be surprised.
posted by Splunge at 3:10 PM on May 9, 2020 [5 favorites]

Snow in May (in Maine) made me unreasonably cranky. It snowed for several hours thismorning, big fat wet flakes, but the ground is warm, and it didn't accumulate. Hah! Yesterday, when I went out to cover the garden in case of frost, I noticed that the cilantro is just up. Yay! Fresh herbs would make life nicer. Parsley should be soon. Can't remember if I planted basil, but will plant more soon, in any case. The bionic knotweed/ American bamboo in the untended lot next to me did its usual thing of growing a foot when I wasn't looking. It is hard to kill, but I keep it at bay, mostly.

I keep putting off trapping the plentiful squirrels. Last year was another mast year for acorns, so this year the squirrel population is quite large, and they will ruin vegetables just in case it's something they like. I need to do this soon, but I did a couple of other tasks.

The rest of the news is also making me sad, so I guess I'll take a break from it. The world is feeling awfully fragile right now.
posted by theora55 at 3:50 PM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I derive an inordinate satisfaction from tidying up. Not cleaning, not sweeping or doing dishes, put pulling everything out of a cupboard or closet or storage space under the stairs and mariekondoing the heck out of it. Throwing away multiple trash bags of crap. Putting the things I keep back each in its right place. Making sure things stay in the right place afterwards. Especially in the kitchen. Knowing where everything is.
Today I did this in the spare container cabinet. Set up a space for tupperware adjacent containers AND THEIR LIDS. No containers sans lid allowed. No lids stored separately from their containers. Martial law style.
posted by signal at 3:54 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

A pair of Black Phoebes has claimed our yard, and are nesting somewhere near the garage. I just noticed that they really, really don't like crows getting near their nest. As in "will collide with them loudly in mid-air to drive them off" don't like. And here I thought they were pretty chill little birds. But they can bring the aggro when it matters.
posted by dws at 4:15 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

Graupel is my favorite winter weather! I'd never heard of it until I moved to Washington state and I wondered what this weird stuff was that looked like Dipping Dots icecream falling from the sky. It's so round and squishy and strange and cute.
posted by ilovewinter at 4:32 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

The Bald Eagle nest I love to watch on my way to work has TWO babies this year! This is the first time in the half dozen years I've been observing this nest that there are more than one. I was lucky enough to see one (through my zoom lens) practicing flapping his wings. They are now as big as their parents. I am so thrilled!
posted by annieb at 5:10 PM on May 9, 2020 [10 favorites]

No, my cat has a shoulder preference.

Mine too! My tuxie, Lilah, only wants to be on my left shoulder. Never, ever, the right. 10 years now.
posted by jzb at 5:18 PM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Have we all been wondering just what kind of extreme gardening one must do to shred one's buttocks?
posted by gingerbeer at 5:19 PM on May 9, 2020 [43 favorites]

It's been an amazing Spring hereabouts. We usually go from winter to three days of spring to summer. But we've had over a month's worth of spring. I wonder if it is due to less pollution or just random circumstances, yet I'm clinging to it being a miraculous side benefit of the fuckery.
posted by mightshould at 5:33 PM on May 9, 2020 [1 favorite]

YES, gingerbeer! This has been the subject of much conversation in our household. I spent all afternoon gardening and kept trying little experimental buttock flexes to make sure I wasn't shredding anything ... so far so good but I still can't stop wondering how one breaks one's ass muscles hard enough to need hospitalization.
posted by DingoMutt at 5:58 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

I think our pair of barred owls may have failed to raise chicks, since I have seen them both a lot during the day lately and have not really seen them with prey. Of course I don’t know much about their nesting habits so maybe I am wrong? But I thought I’d seen the nest and it turned out to be a pair of redtails.

A few days ago both owls were sitting in the same tree about 20 ft from our back deck. I watched them for 1/2 hour before one moved to the other’s branch and they preened each other for a bit. It was late afternoon. I’ve never seen anything like it in person.

They get harassed by crows pretty regularly - this morning at about 8:30 the crows drove one of them off that same tree. Tonight a mob of crows was chasing her again.

This spring marks the first time I’ve ever seen a baltimore oriole or a scarlet tanager. It’s our first spring in this house and the yard is truly a joy every day (although fuck this weather, there was hail on the deck this morning)

I’ve made myself a checklist of our backyard wildlife and printed a bunch of copies to keep a kind of almanac, with room for special observations. Deeply satisfying.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:49 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

I still can't stop wondering how one breaks one's ass muscles hard enough to need hospitalization.

Maybe he was trying to pull badgers out of their burrows for ethical relocation? (Lift with the legs, not with the back!)
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:52 PM on May 9, 2020 [3 favorites]

I have declared all out war on the invasive creeping bellflower this spring, as it is everywhere in the garden beds and yard around this house. I am amazed at the size and depth of the roots. I've dug it all up, and a week or so later, I see new growth. I'm digging it up with the shovel this time, instead of the trowel, and DAMN those big insidious tuber/roots/whatever are like the size of my hand and more than shovel deep!
posted by Grandysaur at 7:00 PM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

AND even if I manage to kill all the stuff in my yard (unlikely) the neighbor has creeping bellflower in their yard, so I'm sure it'll just reseed every year! I love this lil house I'm renting but I swear to heck I'm gonna move out if I never get the upper hand.
posted by Grandysaur at 7:03 PM on May 9, 2020 [2 favorites]

Graupel is my favorite winter weather! I'd never heard of it until I moved to Washington state and I wondered what this weird stuff was that looked like Dipping Dots icecream falling from the sky. It's so round and squishy and strange and cute.
posted by ilovewinter at 4:32 PM on May 9 [2 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

name checks out
posted by some loser at 7:39 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

In local cat news:

I have verified that the distinct Male Cat Smell on our deck is from the relatively young new tom in the neighborhood, who I have named Orange Shorty because he is fairly likely the offspring of the one we named Orange Daddy. Our three backyard feral ladies (collectively termed The Single Ladies) are not at all impressed by the young man's game, on account of them all being spayed since summer before last.

A cat standing on the stairs, with his back legs on a higher stair than the front, and then scritched to do Elevator Butt, is completely adorable.
posted by notoriety public at 7:54 PM on May 9, 2020 [6 favorites]

Have we all been wondering just what kind of extreme gardening one must do to shred one's buttocks?

He needed to have either explained more, or said less. That was oddly specific while also sounding like a euphemism.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:56 PM on May 9, 2020 [9 favorites]

Being 50 days from my last grocery shop, I've been learning all the wild edible plants around, and the path down to the garden that's carpeted in plantain and dandelion and lambs quarter has been upgraded mentally to the wild no-till garden.
posted by joeyh at 9:27 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

I have a neighbor that I know only by sight, who I call Cigar Guy because I used to often see him in his parked car at night smoking a cigar and playing chess on a laptop. I haven’t seen Cigar Guy in his car in a few years, but since isolation began, he’s been spending a lot of time in his backyard, which I can just barely see from my balcony. I’m impressed by CG’s dedication to staying outside, because in all but the worst weather he’s been out there from 8 or 9 am until 10pm or later, with his laptop and little radio and occasional cigars. A week or two ago we had violent rainstorms, and half an hour after the storm passed, Cigar Guy was back at his little patio table.
posted by moonmilk at 9:34 PM on May 9, 2020 [7 favorites]

We had so much thunder and lightning last night!
posted by ellieBOA at 10:28 PM on May 9, 2020 [4 favorites]

According to my daughter, the 80s are pretty cool again, and that's been pretty fun. Mainly because I've been able to travel a bit through Nostalgia Land with her. It ends up that the Ah-Ha video Take on Me holds up pretty well, not just in terms of general aesthetic, but also in terms of being "cool" between generations. She likes the Weezer version of it that came out last year, and that's a bit of a nostalgia trip, all by itself. I recommend it, if anyone hasn't seen it yet.

Also, we've been watching the Mandelorian together, and that's been a bit of a trip, too. Star Wars is one of our things to do together. So, Baby Yoda really is pretty great. When my daughter was just a wee little girl, the "Baby Monkey Riding on a Pig" video came out, and we watched that thing to DEATH. Now, they have Baby Yoda Riding on a Pod video, so that's been pretty fun. Where has the time gone?

My life used to be organized as "before getting married" and "after getting married," because things changed so much between. Then, kids arrived, and everything got shot all to heck in my head. I blinked, and so much time has passed. But I realize that I'm starting to mark events based on when I do fun little things like this with my kids. '3 BY' (year 3 after Baby Yoda) is going to be a legit year in my head, where it will mark a time from when I know my daughter was 13, and we enjoyed doing this thing together.
posted by SpacemanStix at 10:49 PM on May 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

Greg_Ace: Yesterday when the weather turned so nice here for the first time this year, I went to sit out on my tiny deck to read and enjoy the breeze. As I opened the door and stepped out, a rabbit out in the yard sat up to take notice.

The other night, I was driving on a residential street and came across three rabbits in the road. They looked at me as if to say "you're not supposed to be out." Fair point, rabbits, fair point.

After a moment, they scampered to the side of the road, but not in any great rush.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:08 PM on May 9, 2020 [8 favorites]

I'd never had a chance to observe beavers in person before. The large park near my place got a lodge last year (probably before too) and they are doing well but despite multiple trips specifically to try and see them over the last 12 or so months they always eluded me.

Welp my sister called me yesterday with a heads up of exactly where they were hanging out at that moment so I hopped on my bike and pedaled over.

There were three in this tiny cove at the park and, to get to the topic at hand, beavers are noisier than hell when they are eating. I could hear them from 15-20 metres away despite standing right next to a somewhat busy residential street.

Also they have the cutest ears.
posted by Mitheral at 11:08 PM on May 9, 2020 [11 favorites]

Just before we went into lockdown I was driving past the local sports ground and noticed that there was a man digging at a dead tree at one edge, near the main road. It was just a brief glimpse as I went past but the more I think about it, the more I'm puzzled.

It was a dead tree and he was digging it up with a mattock, so presumably there was some planning as you don't tend to carry mattocks around with you. He was an older man - late 60's or early 70's - and dressed like he was going for lunch at a sports club - not exactly what I'd pick to wear for landscaping particularly as it was one of the last really hot days we've had. And his car was just a normal sedan, so once he had the dead tree out (about 3-4 meters tall and about 20cm in diameter) what on earth was he going to do with it?

When I drove back home, I mulled the idea of pulling in and asking him, but he was gone. The tree was still standing, but had been dug up all around and then left. A month or so later and it's still standing.

I'm guessing the tree wasn't the object of the exercise. But what was? Buried treasure??? Between that and some locals dragging giant crosses up and down the road as part of presumably some Easter atonement, it's all gone a bit Midsomer Murders in the countryside here.
posted by ninazer0 at 1:01 AM on May 10, 2020 [15 favorites]

Thank you, Redstart! I didn't know that about tomatoes, and I've often been sad about breaking one off accidentally!

The big excitements of the week here are:
  • The back fence neighbours' new kitten has started visiting us regularly. Still won't let us touch her/him, but will roll around on his/her back on the patio and tolerate us sitting nearby.
  • The lefthand neighbours are moving out! Unfortunately they are the good neighbours, with the delicious cooking and incense smells, and the nice grandfather.
  • My pumpkins are getting bigger and bigger and the vine is not dying. I want to get my garden ready for winter! I have seedlings all grown and ready to plant. And mulch ready to go down. But the pumpkins keep going and going and going.
  • The bad neighbours have been powerwashing their house! I don't know why, since they literally only painted it about six months ago. But it looks like fun.
  • Once a car drove down our street. I think it was about four days ago. It was so exciting that I went out onto the porch to watch it, but it was gone by the time I got there.
  • I trimmed a plant at the front of the house that was encroaching on other plants. I need to trim the hedge too, but I didn't want to use up all my exciting activities in one weekend, so I'm saving that one for a time of greater boredom.
posted by lollusc at 1:42 AM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

Oh and my balcony umbrella blew away onto the roof and we had to do exciting acrobatics with broomhandles to get it back down.
And we found out where our cat goes when we can't find her: she has a nice spot lying underneath the solar panels on the roof.

So many exciting things, people.
posted by lollusc at 1:43 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

Tonight I'm watching the The Stand miniseries.

I read the Amazon sample pages of the book the other day and the story seemed so similar to today. The miniseries was pretty close to the book so I've got it playing in the background.

I haven't communicated with my sister on anything more than a superficial level in 2+ decades - no email, no texts, no cards, nothing - and in the last couple weeks I started an email conversation with her and we've been starting to connect as adults. I told her that I have a collection of photos of her and me that I love and she wanted me to share them with her. I made her a photo book through Shutterfly and she received it on Friday. (Inadvertent good timing on my part since Sunday is both her birthday and mother's day and I haven't sent her a card for either in forever.)

She sent me a long lovely email in thanks and urged me to keep in touch and I'd really like to.

It's been weighing on me a lot lately that the newest of my favorite photos of her and I is from 1997.
posted by bendy at 1:51 AM on May 10, 2020 [16 favorites]

Also, the sign on my porch has flipped backwards over the railing in the wind and it's no longer visible from the street. I need to fix that.
posted by bendy at 1:54 AM on May 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

as you don't tend to carry mattocks around with you
You don't know my life.
posted by bendy at 1:58 AM on May 10, 2020 [17 favorites]

Steamed and mashed pumpkin added to cat food does really relieve constipation, and Dr Gordon Freedom aka Dooty (my 18 yo feline overlord) likes the taste.
posted by b33j at 2:43 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

So not mundane (to me anyway) but new Murderbot!!! I am about to start reading it right after I post this message.

Aside from that not much going on. I had a ton of stuff to get done and finally finished it all early this afternoon. I thought I would feel happy and relieved, but I don't. I just feel tired and oddly sad. But at least I have Murderbot to cheer me up.
posted by Literaryhero at 3:46 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Going back about six years now, Mrs. Ghidorah and I have an ongoing game about spotting stray cats. One cat, one point, first to spot it gets the point. One cat who used to live around here was worth two points based on the, uh, prominent reminders of just how manly of a cat he was (Mrs. Ghidorah named him, but I’d never seen balls that large on a cat before). Non-strays (either in a window or outside with a collar) are pleasant, but don’t count. Mistaking a dog for a cat is -2 points. All of this has let to text messages sent proclaiming points, either with a cat emoji, or if circumstances permit, photo evidence. All is on the honor system.
posted by Ghidorah at 3:51 AM on May 10, 2020 [14 favorites]

For the last six months or so I've taken to noticing the crows in our neighborhood. We live in an area of four-five story apartment buildings, a goodly amount of trees. And a murder of crows.

It's turned up here a number of times, about befriending crows and ravens, and walking the dog one afternoon I realized I see them frequently, they seem very aware of their surroundings, and I would like to get to know them better. For a while I would toss dog treats their way when I saw them at my/our level - but I always felt kinda crap about it because I don't know if that's something they want or not and maybe it's just annoying. So a couple months ago I bought a handful or two of hazelnuts and try to remember to bring some with me when I go out. When I see a crow, I toss them, gently, in the crow's direction. I have yet to see any of the offerings be accepted, but I feel like I'm headed in the right direction.

This morning I went to the florist to get some flowers and waited in line outside. There were maybe six of us, two-odd meters apart. Half of us wearing masks. One of the crows made a noise and landed on the ground kind of behind me/ between me and the next customer. I looked at him/her/them and they returned the look and I patted my pockets and swore. No hazelnuts. It was a little strange, too, to see the crow at foot-level: they normally alight on cars or keep something between. This one had landed in a parking spot and - though it felts as though something were up, I couldn't tell what that might be. Then a few moments later there was a kerfuffel in the middle of the street and there were two crows bickering about something, and then cawing and one flying off and the other in hot pursuit. I'm not sure the one who landed behind me was in pursuit or not. They flew across the intersection, dipping and racing, and away. Some other spectator crow started up a loud cawing that was some kind of summons. and then they were off a few blocks away, hopping from rooftops to streetlamps and cars.

Turf wars. I envied them the lack of complexity of their lives. This whole -waves arms around- thing is so fucking conceptual and abstract. It's remarkably complicated. And not fun.
posted by From Bklyn at 6:44 AM on May 10, 2020 [7 favorites]

We’ve got loads of crows around, and at least one pair of ravens in the vicinity. This year, we witnessed a raven fully predate a crow’s nest, carrying off three baby crows (one at a time) over the course of a couple hours. What was odd to me was that the parent crows made some noise, but no other crows came to help, so they just watched helplessly as their young were taken. Nature at its murderous best.
posted by dbmcd at 9:02 AM on May 10, 2020

Ghidorah: You have drawn me out of lurking to post my first ever MetaTalk comment. I too, started playing the cat points game in spring of 2014 with my spouse! It started out competitive while we were on walks together, but can just as easily be played solo (we sometimes send photo texts if we're playing on our own like you mention), or in a cooperative mode. There appears to be regional variation in the rules, as we play a slightly different version here in the PNW US. These are the rules we play by:

1) 1 point is awarded to the original spotter of a cat, but you get 2 points for spotting an orange cat. (We have 2 orange boys, they're the best.) The cat can be indoors in a window or outside, no difference in points. You have to point out the cat to other players, but you still get the point even if they're not quick enough to glimpse it.
2) If any member of your party gets to pet the cat, only the original spotter gets one additional point, regardless of who actually pets the cat.
3) No points lost for exclaiming that another animal (dog, squirrel, bird) is a cat, but you lose a point if your supposed cat is a human/inanimate object/plant/etc.
4) We have a few well-known cat friends who are particularly reliable and often found in the same place. No points are awarded for these cats (This list of particular friends is mutually agreed upon). Similarly if we're walking the same block repeatedly while taking a rambling walk through the neighborhood, no points for seeing a cat remaining in the same place it was first spotted during the same game.

Cat points game is the best game. Everyone's a winner!
posted by alygator at 10:34 AM on May 10, 2020 [18 favorites]

RE: broken tomatoes. The rerooting broken plants is an aspect of tomato plants dropping roots quite a ways up the stem. When we plant transplants we dig a shallow rectangular hole about 3" deep x 2 wide by 4 long (for standard 6x transplants). We then lay the transplant on it's side in the hole before back filling (the stem ends up stick out at about a 30 degree angle from horizontal). If leaves will be buried we nip them off. This results in a significantly more robust root system.

Don't know if it actually makes any difference in production but it takes only a few additional seconds to do it this way.
posted by Mitheral at 10:59 AM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

Life's little victories department:

Everything connected to our cable modem/router via Ethernet stopped working a couple of days ago. It turns out that our power line wifi extender (which had been working fine for two years plus) was suddenly incompatible with the router after one or the other had a firmware update, and nothing wired would get an IP address.

In the process of talking to our ISP and figuring out/fixing the whole thing, I also managed to get an engineer scheduled to fix our land line (which can't receive incoming calls for some reason). On top of that, I got a deal from the ISP guy where they tripled our broadband speed and bumped us up to the next-higher TV package for £10 less a month for the next year.

I'm torn between being pretty happy about it all and being apprehensive and wondering what terrible thing is going to happen to balance out all this nice stuff.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 11:54 AM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Mr. Bad Example, I believe the terrible thing already happened and/or is happening so you can stand down. Your momentary good fortune does not even begin to balance out the stuff that I will not bother naming because why drag down the thread?

I recently discovered that there are lots of blueberry bushes in the nearby nature preserve. In Sweden, one is allowed to pick edible things in parks and nature preserves. One of my happier moments here a few years ago was realising that one park had five or six plum trees of various sorts and it was plum season and there were still a bunch left on the trees!

The blueberries were news because I used to live in this neighborhood ages ago but did not actually go through tiny paths in the woods but took the main paths. Now, because I do not want to run into other people, I am exploring smaller paths. Am super excited about the possibility of picking tons of blueberries to freeze after they get ripe, assuming I can beat the inevitable hoards of other blueberry lovers to part of the harvest.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:31 PM on May 10, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm sad I only can walk about a half mile radius but it is an absolutely lovely half mile. I have enjoyed watching the proliferation of flowering trees and other flowers, from magnolias to cherries to dogwoods and redwoods and azaleas and now wisteria and soon rhododendrons... Also the wildlife--all sorts of birds, many cats, bunnies in a little pen around the corner, squirrels that live in my walls :/, sometimes a raccoon! I am generally a noticer but now even more so since I have such a small domain to notice.
posted by ferret branca at 12:54 PM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]

I was on a walk last week and noticed a woman standing in her home in front of a massive picture window, it was hard to avoid seeing her. She was carefully dusting a massive table filled with cut crystal lamps/little chandeliers? that were sparkling in the sunlight. We don’t live in a ritzy area, so it was surprising to turn my head and suddenly encounter EXTREME CRYSTAL SPARKLE.
posted by castlebravo at 1:06 PM on May 10, 2020 [8 favorites]

Also, when I go for walks I play cat bingo, which is a bit like Ghidorah and alygator's game except it's just that if I see 5 cats I win. (My partner is allergic so it is a solitaire variant.)
posted by ferret branca at 1:17 PM on May 10, 2020 [6 favorites]


Isn't that an Adventure Time character?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

We had snow Friday and yesterday, which, as a native Southern Californian, I objected to strongly.

More flowers starting to poke their heads out at House the Trilogy, so I'm starting to get an idea of what was already planted. My mother was technically supposed to be out here in June to do some planting, given that she and my father own half the house, but, um, due to plagues beyond our control, that isn't happening. (When they're ever going to get to move here is an interesting question.) Still, I'll plant some impatiens in the back planter once the weather warms up, and make use of the hanging hooks on the front porch.

We've got a lot of undeveloped woodlands to the back of the lot, so there's some fauna walking about. Deer I've already seen traipsing through the backyard. Squirrels and chipmunks are out and about (in fact, the squirrels didn't hibernate this winter, which seems troubling). In my walks along the Erie Canal (not yet quite picturesque, as the canal hasn't been refilled yet), I've spotted fox cubs, a blue heron, ducks, geese, and woodchucks.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:49 PM on May 10, 2020 [3 favorites]

Here in Seattle, hard core ski bums bring a pair of Graupel skis up to the mountain in case the weather turns that way. Basically, it's any pair of skis you don't mind getting fucked up because it's like skiing on gravel. I think a fairly wide waist is the ideal, like 100s, but most old beater skis are skinnier than that. But if you've got a pair you can keep having fun while the other newbs are stressing about gouging out their rentals or brand new boards. Of course, this applies to life in the Before Time when places were still open.

My mundane observation is that the lockdown is turning my children into assholes. Ungrateful, convenience obsessed assholes. I am constantly observing them and tweaking things re: schedule and screen time and outdoor time, and things do get better slightly. But it is fucking hard. Much harder than managing a job in healthcare right now. I wonder how much longer my patience can hold out. I think every parent you know is going through this and I would really like to come out of this not hating my kids and not having them permanently fucked up. Suggestions are welcome.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:25 PM on May 10, 2020 [5 favorites]

There's a lot of noisy busywork outside during the day.

For example, we have 3 types of bins: a red one for household garbage, a green one for garden waste and a yellow one for mixed recycling.

I never knew that the truck that collects the green bin waste has a godawful chainsaw sounding attachment that shreds the bin contents. It goes slowly up the back lane making these horriffic eeeeEEEEEaaaaAAAAAwwwwWWwwwww noises for about half an hour every second Monday.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 PM on May 10, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have new neighbors in the condo below me. For some insane reason, I had been saving a box (the size of a bread box?) full of Brio trains and a few pieces of track. Moved this box from house to house. My kids are now in their 20s and have not used said trains for 20 years. Turns out the new neighbors have a really cute and really shy 2.5 yo boy. No terrible twos for him. I never hear him. Anyway, I was cleaning out a closet and found the train box. I left it outside their door next to the Amazon packages telling them it was for their son, I have not opened the box in years (no virus inside), and that if they did not want it, to just leave it on my steps.

I got the greatest thank you card,, actually a piece of paper the 2.5 yo had tried to draw a train on. Turns out he LOVES trains and left his track at his grandmothers before the virus hit and could not get them. Grandma has some health issues and is literally not leaving the house nor letting anyone in.

Now, whenever he sees me he says, "Choo Choo!" At least I think that is what he is saying. So cute. 2.5 year olds, are so great especially when they don't live with you 24/7.

On a separate note, I noticed one of my neighbors sitting in his car every afternoon. He is not a cigar guy but it turns out his is a spliff guy. He smokes a dog walker sized joint every day at 5pm. He told me he gave up drinking so this is his 5pm cocktail. You can set your watch by him blazing at exactly 5pm.

The things you see around the house when you are home all day.
posted by AugustWest at 11:43 PM on May 10, 2020 [36 favorites]

I did some gardening on my apt L-shaped patio yesterday. I was surprised to see neighbors on their patios watching me on either side. No phones, no books, just sitting there staring at me. Under normal circumstances, I’d be weirded out. But right now, well what else is there to do? I gave them a little smile and wave once I was done, with the added bit of satisfaction that I did a tiny thing that ever so slightly helped others pass the time.
posted by Neekee at 6:36 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

On a separate note, I noticed one of my neighbors sitting in his car every afternoon. He is not a cigar guy but it turns out his is a spliff guy. He smokes a dog walker sized joint every day at 5pm. He told me he gave up drinking so this is his 5pm cocktail. You can set your watch by him blazing at exactly 5pm.

a dog walker sized joint -- this is a new expression to me, does this mean the joint is the size of a dog turd or is that a standard size somewhere?

Back in the pre-time before the quarantine, I would take a short cut after work through the parking lot for the office buildings next door. A bunch of the workers in those buildings would all hotbox in their cars the minute they clocked out. It always made me smile to walk past all the cars with smoke coming out the vents like in a Cheech and Chong movie (while also worrying somewhat about their driving safety). I have wondered how they are handling their after-work toking now, if they still do it at home or if it was more about getting relaxed before getting stuck in traffic for an hour or more.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:52 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

More of a yard thing...I live in area full of limestone karst. Lots of caves, rock sticking up out of ground, that sort of thing. The limestone areas form nifty little biomes called cedar glades, with their own endemic plants and everything - succulents, cacti, the works. Because of weather and now a busted mower, I haven't been able to cut. So all of the stonecrop is coming in and I've decided to just mow around these spots in the future, because they look so nice.

Also, did you know that cilantro self-seeds and spreads aggressively? We struggle for years to keep it alive and now it's gone completely berserk. Popping up all over the damned place.
posted by jquinby at 6:53 AM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

Magnolia leaves will continue to fall. The rake can never truly win.

Also it takes about 4 hours, a bit less actually, to raise the temp of the redneck, wood fire powered, horse trough hot tub that I built for the wife for mother's day. Not too much wood is consumed in the chiminea but I can still improve the system a bit I think. I may add a solar powered heat-keeper loop to the system as well since I expect to have extra 1/2 inch drip tubing header pipe when that order arrives later in the week and I can quit hand watering my garden.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:28 AM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

a dog walker sized joint -- this is a new expression to me, does this mean the joint is the size of a dog turd or is that a standard size somewhere?

It is a half a joint, generally purchased at a dispensary, that lasts about as long as it takes to walk a dog. That is why the spouse, after a long day at the office, offers to take the pooch out for a walk. Light up the shorty, get ready to face the evening at home.
posted by AugustWest at 8:31 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I have observed rats.

(Geography of my bit of street: early 20th century row houses which now mostly have shops and restaurants on the ground floor, and flats above. The houses have terraces in back which all connect, though we have fences and trellises in between)

I've only seen the very occasional rat on the terrace before this crisis. Usually they stay down at street level where the restaurants and cafés are. But those have all been shut down for weeks, and the rats are hungry.

Next door to me is a building which ought to be flats, but is AirB&B rooms instead. They have their trash containers on their terrace right next to mine. There's a trellis between, but the rats don't care: they've happily established a colony under the skips.

So a succession of bright-eyed brown rats have been scuttling across my terrace and the neighbours'. I've been keeping the cats indoors because I don't want them getting bitten. They've caught young rats before, but never fully-grown adults.

I know rats are social, cheerful and clever. An old friend of mine keeps pet rats and is devoted to them. I don't *want* to cause harm to the ones out back-- but they're digging up my plants. Their excreta make the soil unsafe to handle, and I can't plant any fruit or vegetables while they're there. And of course, if I do nothing, there'll be even more rats.

So I've ordered poison and bait stations. I hope it's quick. I'm sorry, rats.
posted by Pallas Athena at 8:55 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

in ye olden dayes in Englisshe, -ster was the feminine word ending for occupations that ended -er in the masculine: he is a brewer, she is a brewster; he is a baker, she is a baxter. He points out that spinster survives without a common masculine counterpart: men did not as a rule spin, so a spinner was not a common word. He goes on to point out that strangely, many of the modern coinages that ended in -ster have criminal implications but are formed like feminine nouns: gangster, mobster, hipster, pollster. Possibly not what the self-declared OG's are going for.

Not only that--what fascinates me about this is the development of surnames. We all know that a lot of people's surnames originated from trade names--ergo, Smith, Cooper, Tanner, etc.. Looking at the examples ricochet biscuit gave, I immediately noticed that Brewster and Baxter are perfectly recognizable as common English surnames, as much as Brewer and Baker are. So did those folks' family names originate because of a matriarch in trade? Are we carrying around matrilineal family names, in a way I didn't think happened in English?
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:11 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

And, coming late to the party, I've been amused by what's been going on on our front porch. We have this ratty old chair, upholstered in a woven fabric like burlap, that's been out there for about 15 years. It isn't sat in much--used mostly by our cats and the occasional neighbor cat for sleeping on and/or perching on the back to look through the window and ask to come in.

Early last week I noticed a tufted titmouse playing around with what looked like a blob of stuffing on the porch. I thought she was stealing chair stuffing for nesting material. Watched her a little closer and discovered no, not quite--she thought about it, but then decided that she'd prefer nice natural cat hair to the polyester (I assume) stuffing. We watched her clean off a beakful of cat hair from the cushions and fly off. (My spouse reports that there is NO cat hair whatsoever on this chair anymore, so I can only assume that she's been back.)

Meanwhile, even if she isn't interested in stuffing, someone else is--on at least three occasions this week I've seen a black-capped chickadee pull stuffing out of the chair. I keep hoping that I can creep up to the window unnoticed to get a clear shot, because that beakful of white fuzz is freaking hilarious.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:23 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

I’ve gone from wearing shoes for the majority of my waking life to nearly none of it. They’re so cute and dusty over there, somewhere in that corner of the house. I think there’s a door over there I have no idea.
posted by iamkimiam at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

Similarly, I think I've worn a pair of heeled shoes only once since the end of February. Same with a dress. I bought myself a fancy pair of shoes right as this was starting and I haven't even taken them out of the box yet. Among the minor identity crises -- who am I if I'm not wearing Fluevog shoes every day?
posted by gingerbeer at 5:35 PM on May 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

You might say that you’ve... gone flat, gingerbeer.
posted by notoriety public at 6:01 PM on May 11, 2020 [19 favorites]

I've noticed that the aged 2004 CR-V looks a bit spiffier after being washed three times in a 10 day period, and that the interior looks better after two vacuum sessions too. Took the toothpaste to the opaque head light plastic too; and shiny shiny. So I've noticed it only took like ???many, many years to grow up; and start to respect My own things as much as I respect the things of others.
Next up is windex the interior glass; wipe the interior down well; and Armour all it all.

The maturity process is a weird thing to notice in my early 50's; and to experience. Part best of it all is I hope to be able to pass it onto my single digit kid; so he won't be so wtf about stuff until later in life.
posted by Afghan Stan at 6:03 PM on May 11, 2020 [4 favorites]

We had a little surprise (or three) yesterday, when we looked in this wreath and found an actual bird nest with baby birds. Time to use the other entrance :)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:21 PM on May 11, 2020 [13 favorites]

The apartment next door has a bird feeder and sometimes the birds come by to check if there are additional snacks in the next balcony over. The usual suspects are sparrows and mourning doves, but the other day I saw a house finch! I'm really hoping to catch a warbler one of these days.
posted by capricorn at 7:54 AM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

Birds! So many birds. I’m not even well versed in birdwatching, but there are so many more than usual.

For the first time, I’m noticing many western tanagers. Every time I see one, they bring me joy.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2020 [3 favorites]

...looked in this wreath and found an actual bird nest with baby birds.

Wrens, I bet. Those things will nest in anything. Hanging fern? Old shoe on that shelf in the garage? PERFECT.
posted by jquinby at 7:10 AM on May 13, 2020 [5 favorites]

Well! Up to now I had nothing more exciting to mention than a couple of daredevil mockingbirds taunting the outside cats (which was actually pretty exciting – those birds are utterly fearless!), BUT.

Last night my husband and I were sitting out on our little patio terrace thingy in candlelight, enjoying some adult beverages and listening to some tunes, when suddenly the back of the building on the lot catty-corner to us lit up with a psychedelic animated, rolling array of gorgeous images of art, time-lapse nature scenes, kaleidoscope patterns and tessellations. This building is three stories tall, off white, and no windows at all on these two back walls — which always struck me as bizarre. Why no windows? Weird! But it made a perfect canvas for what turned out to be our upstairs neighbor projecting this light show onto the top half of the building. This went on for two hours, and it was magical! Some of it was very similar to this, for example, and some of this (warning, a tiny bit nipply). Anyway, you get the idea. So sort of a stealth surprise mini-rave for no more than a handful of people: us, him, maybe our in-between upstairs neighbors, and anyone on the block with a view who happened to glance out their window, or were on their balcony. That was fun.
posted by taz (staff) at 7:34 AM on May 13, 2020 [15 favorites]

Wait, not mockingbirds — magpies. The magpies were mocking. Cat-mocking magpies, they were.
posted by taz (staff) at 8:36 AM on May 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Fledgeling birds have shown up here. The teenagers trail parents to feeders, demanding food, and the parents fly the extra few inches from the rail to the feeder, grab suet, and shove it in their mouths. Also, the teens don’t yet have the minimal concept of “glass” that the others have learned, so they will sometimes flutter off the rail in the wrong direction, softly(-ish) bounce off the window, and come back to the rail.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:43 AM on May 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: a tiny bit nipply
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 11:00 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Today I accidentally rousted a hummingbird from her nest, with the hose, then she sat on the clothesline only 2 feet away from me, and I felt terrible for washing off the ivy, I didn't realize she nested there. The birds do go on in the mornings until there is a terrible silence, when doubtlessly some raptor lands or flies over. The birds were singing in force and this one dove was on a different song than usual, making my neighborhood sound like a coo coo clock. I was out walking one morning when a flight of pigeons landed in a tree across the street I was on, except for the one, the osprey knocked out of the air, which then fell dead at my feet. That had to be a singular event in my life.
posted by Oyéah at 11:56 AM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

God watches the fall of every sparrow, but subcontracts out the pigeons.
posted by notoriety public at 12:19 PM on May 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Well, it turns out that wasn't it. No, my cat has a shoulder preference.

One of my cats likes to sit in my (and only my) lap, but: only when I am sitting in a desk chair, and only when she is facing my right. On the couch? No lap. Someone else? No lap. Facing left? No lap.

My other cat likes to sit on anyone's lap, but only when they are sitting on the toilet. It does not appear to matter whether the person is actually using the toilet, nor whether their legs are clothed or not, she just only wants to sit on you if you are sitting on the toilet.

In summary, cats are weird.
posted by reventlov at 7:53 PM on May 13, 2020 [7 favorites]

Hey gang! I got lots of notes from Dukes County.

We have 29 cases here now, no long term hospitalizations, no deaths. EVERYTHING is being cancelled, 4th of july fireworks, Illumination night, Ag fair, and yet the boatline reported recently that reservations for the summer are running 85-90% from last summer and that is way too many people to come to the island this summer. Just way too many.

We continue to do about 100 orders a night but tonight we were slower, cuz a bunch of seasonal restaurants are starting to get open for take out only, among them a pizza/red sauce Italian place called Giordanno's that was a decades old favorite when I was a summer kid here in the 1970s

In the next week or so we might get the green light to open for table service but we don't want to. The risk/reward calculation is not favorable, and what we are doing now is far more sustainable.

Sunday is the 5th anniversary of our opening. I'm putting together a breakfast party bag we can sell on Saturday- A bottle of cremant from burgundy, OJ to make mimosas, two peices of dense chocolate cake, a sticker, a key chain and a hat (all branded of course) and maybe a surprise.

Tonight we got fresh scallops from Menemsha and sold them with mushroom risotto.

My boss continues to move a light speed, innovating all the time. It has been two months now since we went takeout only, sometimes it feels like two weeks. Getting warmer as well I'll probably jump in the water this weekend.
posted by vrakatar at 8:56 PM on May 14, 2020 [7 favorites]

I read a news item about the Michigan capital protests. One lines reads:
"Bystanders stripped the man of his effigy."

I haven't laughed that hard in months.
posted by clavdivs at 8:42 PM on May 15, 2020 [7 favorites]

Now that I'm working from home half the time, I am much more familiar with the circadian rhythms of my pets. Figlet is full of energy and wants to play right after breakfast, whereas Taco, Churro, and Arizona all are good to go back to bed. The dogs are getting the hint that lunchtime is walk time, so around 11:30 --11:45 or so they get restless. 3 pm - 5 pm is naptime for everybody. Hard naps, they don't even wake up when I get up to walk around or whatever. Then dinner and another walk, and after that playtime for everybody. Bedtime for them seems to be around 8. Even if I stay up, but am doing something uninteresting like watching TV or whatever, they will go up to their beds by 8:30 or so.

Figlet, my oldest dog (14!) is definitely showing signs of being old. He sleeps deeper, snores a lot (it used to be occasional, it's now his default) is not enthused to get up in the mornings, walks a little stiffly, and seems like he might be going a little bit deaf. He still gets spurts of energy and is extremely playful,but overall he is slowing down. I like being around more for this stage of his life.
posted by Sparky Buttons at 1:43 PM on May 17, 2020 [6 favorites]

Stories I have forgot about because things happen so fast:

One night early last week, it was oddly slow and the phone wasn't even ringing constantly. We don't take phone orders except in very unique circumstances, but any given night I answer the phone 20-30 times a night and direct the caller to our online ordering thingus. So around 6:45 we get an order and something is 86d so we gotta call the person. Lo and behold, the phones are not working.

Turns out my boss had called the phone company and asked to scale back our service package cuz we don't need lots of bells and whistles and there was some misunderstanding and they thought he wanted to cancel phone service. All of it. So now he's on the phone with them, me and my first officer are trying to cover him on expo, it was bonkers. We got through the night and the next day, despite promises, we did not have working phones till 5 pm, an hour after opening. My boss knows a guy who owns one of the boat yards here and someone very high up in the phone company has a big boat so we had the marina guy standing by to call the phone company guy. For an hour or so all calls to the establishment were forwarded to my coworker's phone. Everything is working fine now.

We had a slow night last night as many places, some seasonal, are getting open to do what we've been doing. One of them has been cash only for decades and they continue to be cash only. Insane. People are going to get sick touching all that filthy cash.

Today is the 5th anniversary of the Barn. % years ago today they opened the doors for the first time. I got hired there last June. We were closed today but my boss, one cook, and I went in for a couple hours and fed 60 or so first responders for free. Last night I wrote, directed, and starred in a short promotional video about the five year milestone.

Oh! and the ceo of qwest diagnostics is donating lots of tests! I'm going to get tested probably in June! I'm thrilled and terrified!
posted by vrakatar at 5:06 PM on May 17, 2020 [4 favorites]

I have seen an owlet. I have seen a parent owl patiently tugging bits of meat off some kill and feeding it. I have seen the white floof and the stretching of the new wings and the spiral head movements.

I don’t even know how to feel right now, it’s too much.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 5:30 PM on May 17, 2020 [12 favorites]

vrakatar, great promo video! Did the anniversary package sell well?

For the longest time I was taking walks through the woods for exercise. (I am in my 60s and I have never jogged because why would anyone jog or run unless someone was chasing them with a gun?) But lately when I go to the woods, which are part of a nature preserve I am lucky enough to live near, I go there to observe. Since I am happily moving in September to be close to my kid, I want to absorb as much of this place as possible. It’s not warm but it is spring so I am enjoying listening to all the birdsong and trying to figure out what type of birds are singing what.

I only recently discovered that there are spots with wild strawberry plants. There are a fair number of blueberry bushes. And, rarest of all in the area, a few places with Lilies of the Valley growing. They are not yet blossoming and it pleases me to be a witness their development.

Right behind the building where I work is a woody, rocky outcropping where 3 deer tend to be when I clamber up the hill. At the bottom of the hill are two trees of different sorts that have overlapping limbs. When the wind blows, which is basically always, you hear a distinctive but not unpleasant squeak as they rub against each other. I have also noticed bumblebees getting intimate with blueberries. For an uninformed person such as myself, the tiny, unripened red blueberries would not appear to be likely objects of interest for bumblebees. But I have seen different bees spend ages bumping against a series of berries. What gives? The blossoms are gone. Do the bumblebees think the little berries are actually flowers?

It turns out that observing nature is deeply soothing. It feels better to me than going on a socially distant walk with a neighbor and talking all the time, which is also good but a different kind of good. And it also feels better than walking through the woods for exercise. In both cases nature is a backdrop. When I go out to just be and observe, it’s much more calming. I saw a gorgeous tiny green moth or butterfly yesterday. I had never seen that type before. There’s this amazing nature going on near a bunch of apartment buildings and within earshot of a freeway. I get that I am incredibly privileged. I’m trying to enjoy this incredible gift.

And as a result I have started jogging for the first time in my life. I jog, slowly and intermittently, from the place where I work to the nature spots I want to observe and then back. Because I do need exercise. That I would suddenly start to jog is a shocking development. I don’t expect to get good at it, and I don’t expect to do a lot of it but I am doing it and feel kind of happy about it. Me, jogging. So weird.
posted by Bella Donna at 1:00 AM on May 18, 2020 [4 favorites]

Did the anniversary package sell well?

Alas no. we made twenty and sold 7. Bu the Cremant and OJ and shwag can still be sold.

We had a slowish day yesterday and came roaring back today with 107 orders in 4 hours with no mistakes and just one longish wait. Wednesday is Indian night so I have a big chicken curry dish in my near future.

One of our regulars, who is well versed in the Hunter Thompson books, gave me a bottle of whiskey as a tip tonight. When this all began in March I brought him takeout the first time and said loudly "WHEN THE GOING GETS WEIRD..." and he shouted back from his green pickup "THE WEIRD TURN PRO!" His name is Ed. He orders every day.

Spent some time on the phone with my older sister tonight, and I'm in touch with a very ole friend in the East Village. Notes from all over. Summer is coming and the beaches will be open. Duh nuh. DUH nuh. DUh nuh DUH nuh DNUH nuh nuh nuh
posted by vrakatar at 8:46 PM on May 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Today I accidentally rousted a hummingbird from her nest,

On first pass I read this as "roasted" and nearly screamed.
posted by brook horse at 7:40 PM on May 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

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