Saturday, June 26, 2010

Frequent Flyer Program



I spoke too soon.

After church yesterday, we made a trip out to the Writing Rock, a famous historic site with two beautiful petroglyph rocks. Sometime I will blog in more depth about that fascinating place, however this blog goes a very different direction.

While I was happily engaged taking fun little macro photographs of flowers (the cheap but effective way of turning my zoom lens around and simply holding it carefully up to the camera body to prevent light leaks), when I heard a commotion.

Yes, another commotion. I am beginning to dread commotions.

"Eeek, Eeek, Devon was bitten by a mouse!"

Groan. Thump head into palm. "You're kidding, right?" Nope, not kidding.

I called Jack on the way to the emergency room and broke the news to him that, less than 24 hours after Tiggy's visit, yet another child was on their way in to the Plentywood hospital. He groaned. Thumped his head into his palm. "You're kidding, right?"

Nope. I only wish I was.

They soaked his finger in some kind of hepa-wash for 10 minutes, gave him his first prescription for antibiotics, and ordered the rabies series, which will begin Tuesday. During each wait in the process, those wonderful nurses preached to him about the STUPIDITY (my word, not theirs) of hassling animals at all, and strange or wild animals in particular.

Devon is the first family member to get a rabies vaccination. Should he be so STUPID as to repeat his error, he will be the first family member to have a rabies vaccination twice!

Many years ago, there was a young boy - to protect his anonymity I will refer to him simply as "Dad" - who found some baby cottontail bunnies and decided to kiss them. (If you know who this "Dad" is, and he tried to tell you he just wanted to see how soft their fur was, don't believe him.) The angry little rabbit bit him on the nose.

He received precious little sympathy for his trauma, but no rabies injection. He received even less sympathy when, whilst kissing the next batch of cottontail bunnies, he was bitten on the nose again! Personally, knowing "Dad", I suspect he didn't get any sympathy or shots because he didn't tell anybody what happened, although how you can disguise rabbit teeth marks on the end of your nose, I don't know. He's certainly feeling cheated now!

As Devon goes through the upcoming ordeal, I have only one pressing worry. I sure hope he didn't give that poor little mouse rabies.

With thanks to Dr. Ben and the lovely nurses at the P-wood hospital,
Noni Beth

Rusty Nails and Bumblebees

A wailing Tiggy limped and sobbed her way across the lawn, half carried and half dragged by her amazing auntie. Small blood spots marked every other footprint as she passed.

Caleb, had been disassembling and stacking the old, fallen-down garage, and it turned out that he had left some boards, rusty nail side up, around on the walkway – right where Tiggy’s feet found it.

We have opted to only get our children those immunizations they actually needed, when they needed them. As you can imagine, Devon wasted no time in getting a bajillion tetanus shots, and Damon inflicted his share of deep, potentially tetanogenic injuries. Tiggy, being the sort of very fine Tiggy that she is, has never had to have anything so indelicate as an immunization, or even antibiotics. (Surprisingly, for such a little germ-muffin, Devon hasn’t had antibiotics, either, though Damon had a course of penicillin after being attacked by a dog a year-and-a-half ago. Two days before Christmas, but that’s another story.)

When she heard that we were going to get her shot, um, I mean A shot, she started crying even harder. Laura tried to comfort her. “Don’t worry, Tiggy, it doesn’t really hurt – it’s just like a bee sting.

Tina held her hands up as if encasing a cylinder the size of a loaf of bread. “Yeah, a really big bee.”


When it came right down to it, Tiggy did not disgrace herself. Jack said she took it like a man, but I ask you, when was the last time he was in labor??? I think she took it like a woman. Just sayin’.

Until the next adventure,

Noni Beth, mother of Limpetta Marie

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Nest of Destiny

Before I had time to fully mourn the difficulty I was having locating a ladder, the Nest of Destiny situation resolved itself.

With a little help from Devon.

Twitch. Twitch.


The first I knew of anything, there arose a commotion in the entryway. Above the hubbub, Devon could be clearly heard saying, “Hey, everyone! Look at the baby bird!”

It took a moment to coax the blood back into my brain enough to command my frozen fingers to set down the dishes I was washing and intervene, thoughts of orange boxes dancing in my head.

Fixing him with

a steely gaze, I asked, “How did it get out of the nest?” Butter wouldn’t have melted in his mouth.

Wide eyed, “It just fell.”

Is anyone but me already suspicious at this point? Are you kidding – anyone who knows Devon was probably already suspicious at the commotion part, and most definitely by the time they heard that he was holding a bird of any sort. It also didn’t take his amazing auntie long to figure out that there might be some connection between this event, and the oddly casual questions he had been asking a short time before about where he might possibly be some grubs to be found, oh for no particular reason, just to feed the birds.

A few minutes later the rest of the story emerged, almost voluntarily. “When I climbed up to look in, it got scared and tried to fly away.”

I had had no idea what type of birds were in the nest, since after all, the only thing I could see was the tip of several small beaks. I assumed they were robins. The gargoylian lump of feathers and fuzz clinging desperately to Devon’s hand was most definitely not a robin. It wasn’t a crow, either, though I could see why Devon thought it was.

The little grackle or starling (I suspect, but have not verified), had most of its big birdie feathers, except for some down along its back, and two large secretary bird tufts sticking out the side of its head. The beak turned out to be quite large and lumpy. Rather an ungainly honker for such a small bird.

Taking time only to grab my camera, my pajamas and I followed Devon outside to try and put it back. As soon as we got close to the bushes, the wee thing tried to fly back.

Unlike Buzz Lightyear, the attempt to fly was more like falling…without style.

Turns out it could run pretty fast, so it was a good ten minutes later before the equivalent of two birds in the bush was ready to make its ascent to the Nest of Destiny.

In the shortest part of the whole drama, it took only a minute for Devon to scramble back up and take the bird from my hand

(you didn’t really think I would let it go back without holding it myself, did you?), and hold it close enough to hop back into its cozy little home.

The shrill, nonstop cries of both distraught parents ceased immediately. If I was a bird, I wouldn’t have stopped shrieking till Devon was in the house, personally. And just in case Devon is reading this, the Nest of Destiny had better not be disturbed again, Buster!!!!

Until the next adventure,

Noni Beth

PS I give up trying to fix all the format glitches. I fix one, and two more pop up. At least all the words seem to be together again, I hope.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bird Photography Not So Fast & Easy, Akshully

A snug nest of brown baby birds, probably robins, cuddle together high up in a trident of branches belonging to what you could call either a large bush or a small tree. Devon took my little camera, the only one I would reluctantly let him touch, scrambled up in the neighboring bushes and came back with pictures - and video! - of the darling wee creatures.

Of course the video had a frightening soundtrack of Devon saying, "Here birdie, here birdie birdie," with a terrible sweetness. Run birdie, run!

Anything a little boy can do with a point-and-shoot camera, his mommy with a large zoom lens can do better.


Although I am NOT fat, there is no denying that 4 trips through the pregnancy machine left me with a few, a very very very few more pounds than I had before. They accompanied me up the feeble branches toward the Nest of Destiny. They weighed down the feeble branches so I could just barely peek along level with the top of the Nest of Destiny. Clearly my dumb old bent perch was not going to serve my needs.

Now, it is very hard, even for a Long John Sliver like Devon to walk and squeeze along through our foresty thicket, so it seemed much more logical to try and make my way through the bush-tops till I got to a better branch. Luckily I had a good handhold when I came to that conclusion.

There I hung, suspended between earth and sky, holding fast to those branches while one foot dangled a couple feet off the ground and the other hooked acrobatically across a chest-level branch. No matter how much wiggling and squirming I did, I couldn't touch the ground or free my other leg whilst holding onto those nice, firm branches.

After a long, thoughtful pause, there were really no options but to let go, carefully so as to avoid smashing my camera. My foot touched the ground, barely, and the other leg...let's just say it was even higher. Good thing I'm so flexible, since if I wasn't before, I sure was after.

The new position was truly an improvement, though it brought with it a whole new set of challenges. How to lower my knee below ear level on one side, how to remove the large stick from my ear on the other side, and which order to do them.

Being rather like Billy and the Bees, I still had to try the other set of branches, only climbing up from the ground instead of mincing nobly across the leafy canopy. And boy, was I too short. I could see the nest, way off above me, with the tip of one tiny beak poking out. Not exactly JJ Audubon fare.

With no handhold, that ignominious descent was even more ungainly than the first. At some expense to all pride and dignity, my beautiful camera was yet again and still undamaged. As I hung there in the bushes (or small trees) I thought to myself, "How glad I am that no one is here with a camera but me!"

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where Do I Begin?

A mind-boggling number of things have happened over the last month or so, and I hardly know where to begin. Here are the cliff notes, since I'm very sleepy. (Long story.)

Tina has moved up here now, and is staying with us in the mother-in-law shack, more elegantly known as The Cottage. She is NOT using the outhouse, or the funny little potty in the closet that rests above a hole in the floor. Um, charmingly rustic.

Also now living with us are Tina's 2 dogs and 3 cats. Clancy has made the adjustment much better than Diesel. Diesel, still weakened after his bladder crystals trouble and more than a week in the animal hospital, made no protest at first. Now he poofs to 3x his normal size and chases the interlopers all over the house, hissing and spitting at them. Who n
eeds TV?

Last Thursday we left for camp meeting in Bozeman, MT. Dad met us there with a load of Tina's stuff plus Damon and Devon, and we all camped together. With electricity, a skillet,
and a kettle, we were able to concoct an amazing variety of culinary camping delights.

I played and sang, and all went well. Being the bashful sort (in some ways - I wasn't nervous talking to and singing for however-many-hundreds of people, but was definitely shy about talking to all of them afterwards), I snuck right off and changed, put my hair up, and generally rendered myself anonymous. Hey, I looked like everyone else who was camping...

On the way home, Dad broke down in Miles City. We didn't find out till about 2 hours from home. Dad couldn't go off and leave the stuff in the truck while he hiked to a motel, and sleeping sitting up with both boys in the truck didn't sound like much fun. There was nothing for it but for me to turn right around and go back down there as soon as I got home.

It was 2:15 am by the time I got down there, and then there was room for the boys to sleep in the back of my car, while Dad and I each got a whole seat to ourselves, one in each vehicle. Which is why I'm so tired. Camping for 3 nights, sleeping in the car the 4th, and last night it was soooooo late when we got home, and I looked so awful I could have starred in any number of horror films.

The storm we drove through was incredible. Hail in the dime- to nickel-sized range, rain by the celestial bucketful, and lightning striking all around us for hours. This was the day after a tornado did a can opener impersonation on the sports arena in Billings, about three hours after we went through. (Some of our friends turned out to have been there at the time the twister struck.) In the picture below, the headlights belong to Dad, with Damon and Devon in there with him, and there is just a sliver of the storm we had just come through.

On the subject of bad weather, a local woman in Froid was killed last week when a tornado or microburst rocked her house off its foundations and threw her a great distance. Many people in this area knew her, and grieve her loss. She was
only 10 years older than Jack and me, and her funeral was today.

Those of you who have known me for a long while are probably aware of my ongoing quest to get an actual lightning photo. You have seen scads of sad and sorry attempts to capture those elusive little fellas through a lens. Well yesterday, after hours of fruitless efforts, I finally caught one.

Until the next adventure,
Noni Beth