Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Morning Coffee with Wildlife and Toys

A second mug of coffee, GAC on TV and 'crushing' on Josh Taylor's slightly rugged good looks and voice singing 'Another Try' (he has to beg, even in song???? For goodness sakes, WHY???)....

The sun had been up an hour or so when I made my way outside this morning to sip the first mug of steaming coffee while sitting a bit before the heat uncomfortably crushed any desire to be outdoors. Sliding the screen door open and closed again, I startled a young deer that must have been nibbling on something green and tasty just beyond the overgrown brush about 10 yards from the door. She swiftly high tailed off to my left presumably to the North rim of the lake. Apparently she wasn't the same doe I'd seen yesterday afternoon in the same area with the teeniest fawn I'd ever seen because no little fawn followed.

A slight breeze tickled the leaves of some thin branched tree I can't identify (Note to self: get a field guide to tree/plant life) but the oaks were oblivious. Not a leaf stirred on them. Floating through the air like ash from a far off fire was a wispy curtain of downy, white seeds. It's too early yet for the cat-tails to erupt into seed but I wonder what has.

It was unusually noisy for early morning and I couldn't see enough birds gathered in tree branches to create such a racket. I wished I'd had my mini binoculars 'round my neck for a closer look to see if the source was camoflauged in the dense limbs of oak foilage. Suddenly I noticed movement in the corner of my left eye and turned to see a quail topping the pile of dead limbs rising almost to the crest of the hill dropping from the end of the driveway and waiting for the next legal burn day or to be fuel for the next not-so-legal fire pit use. I'm always amused watching the jerky, bobble head movements of the quail on flat land - like less domesticated versions of farm hens. Watching, I noticed another and another of the birds move higher in the pile of limbs and realized there must be an entire flock feeding on who knows what. There may have been ants or some other insects or larvae but I always thought quail diet was seed. (Note to self: find out primary diet of quail) I quickly realized though I'd only experienced them in silence the quail are the source of the 'noise'.

It didn't sound like any birdsong at all, but rather the sound they made reminded me of a childhood toy I used to play with my little brother with when I was 5 or 6 and he was 3. I was reminded distinctly of the sound of wheels of an all wood train set on its wooden tracks when we'd try to make the train go REALLY fast. If we were that noisy at play I gotta wonder that our parents didn't wax the wheels or the track grooves to quiet us. Or maybe, like when my own kids were little, they could tell without actually seeing us by the noise of our toys that we weren't getting into any serious trouble.

I saw a similar set used as wall decor in a preschool little boy's room on an HGTV show the other day. Figured it was vintage and had been garnered by some collector from EBAY or something. Curious, after my vivid memory this morning, I checked the internet and found they still sell similar train sets with bare wood tracks and painted wooden train cars. Brand name sets go under the label BRIO and compared to toy prices I've seen as I've shopped WALMART and Target for my grand kids on occasion they were surprisingly reasonable. A little sadly, I think though, that my Lil Leo, turning 5 next month, may already be too high tech mature for a toy of such simplicity and that's a shame. Even more of a shame, his younger sisters (and mother) might think a train set from G-Ma in California for them is a goofy and gender inappropriate gift. (sighs)

Which brings me to another thought - I'm glad I had a little brother close enough in age that I got to play with toys I might not have if I'd only had girl toys and I always liked his toys better than mine anyway: Tinker toys, Lincoln Logs, tons of Legos. But I did love my lace up cards I'd 'stitch' with colored shoe strings through punched holes. I wonder which of those toys contributed most to making me the creative grown up I became?

So, I'm wondering what toys do you remember from your toy box????


  1. What a magical morning and what a delightful post you have woven from it.

    Now, as for that toy box ... why why why is the only thing coming to mind now Barbie? Ugh! Poor Barbie, hair cut all to a mess, finally decapitated when her head had come off and on so many times that it wouldn't stay on properly any longer. Is that feminism in my child self, or just destructive behavior, lol?

  2. I had a 'Tammy' doll, instead of Barbie. She was more realistic-looking, with a bit more padding.



  3. Wonderful post. I don't think I've ever heard a quail — snd definitely never a whole flock of them!

    As for toys...when I was very little (3 or 4) I used to line all of my stuffed animals and dolls (there were lots) up against the walls of my bedroom and host a gigantic tea party with my plastic tea set. I think I've always craved lots of socializing! It's amazing how tactile we are as children - I can easily remember the way certain toys sounded, smelled, and felt...