Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wednesday Vignette: Under Sunny Skies

After a couple of weeks of good rain here, the skies have cleared and it's sunny again.  We're expecting steadily warming temperatures.  Under those sunny skies, things are better in some places than others.

The birds are happy.  I've been keeping my feeders filled and they're enjoying splashing in our fountain.  Local residents like the hummingbirds, finches, mockingbirds, mourning doves, and scrub jays have been joined by summer visitors.

I took this and the following photo from inside the house as the birds fly off as soon as I open the back door

I think this is a Black-headed Grosbeak


Meanwhile, the harbor area visible from our backyard is chock full of cruise ships (but very few shipping barges).  We usually have one or two, occasionally three, cruise ships in port at intervals over the course of each week at this time of year.  However, with cruises on hold all over the world, ships have been stuck in limbo with crews unable to disembark and head home.  What might sound like a dream is turning into a nightmare for many.  Yes, their room and board is covered but, with no customers, most have lost their paychecks and they're unable to go home.

I took this photo on Sunday, when my husband and I counted 9 ships in the bay.  The ships occasionally come into port, presumably to get supplies, but the crew members aren't permitted to disembark.  Many are foreign nationals far from home.   The large ship visible in port on Sunday was the Norwegian Joy.


One final cruise ship. The Pacific Princess, which launched a world cruise from Florida just before these trips were shut down, was able to dock here on Monday.  With no illness reported, all passengers were allowed to disembark.

It's all a matter of circumstances and, to a lesser extent, perspective at the moment.  My husband and I are lucky.  We're confined at home but we're healthy and able to remain busy.  Despite frustrations with the supply chain, we've also managed to put food on the table.  I hope all you reading this post are doing as well and that you're thinking of those who are keeping essential services running, as well as those who are struggling.  Remember: your local food banks need all the help they can get!

For more Wednesday Vignettes, visit Anna at Flutter & Hum.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

28 comments:

  1. Well said, Kris. I too am incredibly lucky. I'm a homebody living out in the country with a large yard and plenty to keep me busy. I sure am keeping everyone else in my thoughts.

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    1. Thanks Barbara. I'd like to believe that this shared experience will help us view our place in the world differently, and see our responsibility for caring for those less fortunate as necessary for everyone's sake.

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  2. Your pictures are nice. Lucky you having a Black-headed Grosbeak coming to your fountain.
    We are homebodies too. I have my little garden and my hubby has his computer. ha I don't see how anyone can stay on a computer as long as he can. Both of us are retired. It hasn't changed our way of life much. I miss our friends that we do see often and of course our family.
    One more night of temps in the 30's Sunday night and we should be into a real spring warm up. Looking forward to it.
    Be well and happy...

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  3. Nice view and I love your fountain/bird bath. I just heard on the news that your temps are going to rise significantly. I wonder why our temps simply refuse to rise to at least normal. Please send some of your warm temps our way.

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    1. Would that I could, Cindy! We're heating up to soon and too fast.

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  4. Such strange times these are. Cruises to nowhere, no trade... loony protestors... whoever could have imagined the world would come to this?
    Stay safe and well, my friend.

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    1. It is bizarre when you think about it, Eliza. I don't think I had my eyes closed to the possibilities of this pandemic but I still failed to see how fast it could turn our world upside down.

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  5. How wonderful to be surrounded by all those birds! And the view is - as always - spectacular. I read that the air quality in LA was the best ever recorded, yesterday, which I imagine makes for great ship watching. I can't imagine being stuck on a ship for weeks on end. We are indeed lucky to enjoy the relative freedom of an outdoor space to call our own.

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    1. I was surprised to wake up to a layer of fog encompassing parts of the harbor and most of the bay this morning, Anna. The cruise ships re currently invisible!

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  6. Lovely birds and irises. I wonder if people will still want to go on cruises after this. I certainly wouln't.

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    1. I've read that die-hard cruise ship passengers are signing up for next year's tours already, Chloris. I understand their appeal but I won't be among those getting in line either.

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  7. Having spent the last week glued to a computer screen teaching I really appreciate being able to go out into the garden to clear my head. Read an article on how the world's nitrous oxide levels have decreased dramatically. Would be nice if we could keep it that way.

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    1. It would, Elaine. But sadly I think it's going to take more than a pandemic to shift the world's direction.

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  8. Strange times, for sure. I'm glad you're doing well, Kris! We are fortunate, too, with plenty of food and employment continuing. My husband's job at St. Vinny's is essential, but we're working hard to social distance as much as possible--avoiding busy places, ordering curbside for food and necessities, walking in quiet places. I hadn't thought about the cruise ship staff situation--thanks for sharing that info. Stay safe and healthy!

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    1. I'm glad to hear you're also weathering the medical and financial storm, Beth! I was sorry to hear that the Madison Fling was postponed a year as I'm sure you and others put a lot of time into preparations but I hope all you've already done makes the job far easier next year.

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  9. Your fantastic view would be extra welcome right about now, when my world feels so small. We too are lucky though. We (and our loved ones) are healthy and we're able to work from home, although my spring talks (and thus income) were all cancelled and Andrew has had his pay cut.

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    1. As both my husband and I are retired, we haven't faced the kinds of challenges you are Andrew have, although our pocketbooks are nonetheless depleted. Still, it could be worse - as I stop to think every time my husband or I feel a little bit "off." Take care, Loree!

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  10. I've been into San Pedro a couple times recently, and you can see the big red cross on the Mercy hospital ship docked close to the bridge as you take Harbor Blvd. It always gives me chills to see that ship in town. My bird ID skills are so lame, but what I think is some kind of chickadee is building a nest again in the acacia near last year's nest, which they've pulled apart to reuse the material. This brings Marty and I a surprising amount of joy to see them choosing our tree again! And as I say every year, time to get serious about a bird bath! Love yours.

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    1. I can actually see the red cross on Mercy from our back garden. Denise. The ship is lit up at night, which I find strangely comforting, even though I've heard the volume of transfers has been lower than expected (a good thing!). Per the only report I found, from the NY Times on April 9th, the ship's staff had at that point treated 31 non-COVID-19 patients and released 18 of those. Treatments included 5 surgeries.

      I periodically get bird seed from Wild Birds Unlimited and years ago they gave me local bird ID cards, showing both year-round residents and summer and winter visitors. It's helped tremendously with my bird ID skills but I'm still far from counting myself even an amateur expert.

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  11. Love to see your birds eye view complete with birds. I need a fountain. They’re such a bird magnet. I have an Anna’s hummer nesting near my deck at eye level. She has been on her eggs long enough. I hope they hatch. She’s certainly persevering.
    I planted a vegetable garden about 4 days ago only to have fed my cucumber starts to some bug/ catapillar? I made up a chili pepper solution with a dash of liquid soap and doused my plants. No affect. . The eating continued. Any suggestions for a home remedy? Thanks. Robin

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    1. I hope you see baby hummingbirds soon, Robin! I haven't grown cucumbers but I understand that cucumber worms are "a thing." If the damage has already started, prevention by the use of row covers is probably too late to stop moths from laying eggs on your plants. As you've only just planted, I suspect your plants may have been infected before you brought them home. You may be able to stop the larvae from burrowing into the plant using tin foil or plastic wrap around the base of the plants. I don't think chili pepper will stop worms - that's best used with pests like rabbits and squirrels that have taste buds. BT (Bacilus thuringiensis) can be used to kill them. It won't hurt you or pets but it can kill other, beneficial insects. Here's an article that covers more complicated management strategies: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/can-kill-worms-squash-plants-85339.html

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  12. Another very lucky one here. Luxury it is to stay home and not worry about having the home taken away, as some must. Cool to see a grosbeak, have not seen one here.

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    1. I've had occasional glimpses of what I think are hooded orioles too but they seem even more skittish than other birds and I've yet to come close to photographing one. A Western Tanager hit the window yesterday, fleeing a hawk I suspect, which was heart-breaking. The year-round residents never seem to hit the windows but apparently the migrating visitors aren't as aware (even when I have a decal on the window).

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  13. Wonderful photos. You've got beautiful winged visitors :)

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    1. The winged ones seem happier than usual this year. Perhaps that's because our air is cleaner - or because I'm watching the seed level in their feeders more closely now that I'm home all the time!

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  14. I have found a new local source for bird seed - since our usual 'big box store' is closed, and would be too far for the new nearest shop rules.

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    1. I placed a BIG seed order with a local store specializing in wild bird-related products recently. They're not open for in-store traffic but I was able to arrange a no-hassle curbside pickup. Still, it's more expensive than that sold by our big box store.

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