Tales From a Screened-in Porch (and Deck)

Remember last time we met here and I shared that I had a wren’s nest on the screened-in porch? The little ones had just hatched and every time I stepped out on the porch, I’d hear all kinds of peeping.

But after a few weeks or so, the peeping stopped. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I thought that was it. Those birds were expired. Kicked the bucket. Shuffled off the mortal coil. They were, in short, ex-birds.

Anyway, then I shone my light into the nest, and those birds looked at me with…well, I’m going to say a touch of malice. Like if I didn’t get that light out of their eyes, they’d peck my eyes out. Once they could, you know, actually leave the nest.

IMG_20200503_115110487Despite their bad bird attitude and utter silence, I continued to watch over them, and in due time, I walked out on the porch and heard peeping. Again. But it wasn’t from the nest. It came from under the woodpile! The fledglings were spreading their wings! Two, in fact, had already taken off. But these last two were not inclined to leave the safety of the screened-in porch. So I kept Libs the Tiny Terror at bay and patiently waited for them to gather their courage.

And just when I thought they were never going to leave, I heard a flutter behind me. One had flown away whilst the other continued to peep pitifully. I imagined he (or she) was crying, “Don’t leave me! I’m coming!” and then swoosh! I watched her (or him) take off and make it all the way to the branch of a limb. Where I’m pretty sure much hoopla and celebrating commenced.

Unfortunately, I can’t report such a happy ending for my bird feeder. A few days later, I heard a commotion on the deck and glanced up just in time to catch a rogue squirrel holding on for dear life as the top of the feeder separated from the rest of the feeder and squirrel and feeder plummeted twenty feet to the ground.

I expected to find an ex-squirrel under the feeder when I rushed down the stairs. But nope, birdseed, nuts, and plastic bits lay scattered across the grass; there wasn’t a single sign of that rascally vermin.

In Before the Pandemic World, I would’ve gone straight away to the store and purchased another bird feeder. And I did try to order a bird feeder but apparently, feeding birds has become a pandemic pastime so there were none to be found.

So I went back outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air from the lounge chair on my deck. When suddenly, there was this plip of a feeling. On my arm. And I looked down to find what I can only describe as bird poop.


I told you those wrens had it out for me.

(And before you ask, “What does ANY of this have to do with writing?”, let me direct you to my latest post at The Muffin, Ennui: Not So Boring After All.)

Finding a Camera for Story Ideas

dscn2326Can you tell that’s a squirrel on the outside of that screen? I was visiting at my parents’ beach house when this crazy squirrel came out of nowhere and hopped onto the screened porch. And then didn’t know how to hop off the porch! I had to run quick, grab my camera and take a picture because…

Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words.

A picture can give you an idea for a great story.

A picture can help with tone, setting, or mood when you start writing your story.

So, keep your camera handy. You never know when a crazy squirrel (or idea) might jump out!