Thursday July 5th, 2012

The exercise:

Write a little something about: the nest.

Two days in a row of sunshine, blue skies, and no rain. What in the world is going on?


Kat and I were doing some weeding in the backyard this evening when I uncovered a nest filled with six eggs. I brought her over to see it, and we decided they probably belonged to one of the quails that have been hanging out around here lately.

About five minutes later my curiosity got the better of me and I came inside to look it up. As best I could tell we were right, but I couldn't remember exactly what the ones in the yard looked like. I figured my best bet was to go take a picture and then compare them directly.

I grabbed my camera and went outside to get the shot, but as I approached I realized the issue had already been resolved.

Because there was a quail sitting on the eggs.


Greg said...

Well, we've definitely got your rain then, as the news here is full of flood warnings and news reporters standing anxiously by rivers channeling their inner Cassandra!
Finding a quail on the eggs definitely seems like a good indication that they might be hers :) Did you get a picture of the quail since you already had your camera out?

The nest
Charles Asciugimento, Head of Building Security, gazed at the untidy mess of a rumpled sleeping bag, some unwashed clothes, a two-day old newspaper and some soiled tissues. He nudged the sleeping bag with the toe of his polished shoe, and looked slightly disappointed when it failed to uncover a person.
"It's a nest," he said. The two low-level security guards who'd uncovered the little hideaway in a cupboard by the mall toilets, looked at each other, a little surprised by the term. "We cannot allow it to stay here, or its occupants might start breeding." He nudged a tissue this time, as if to make a point. "Fumigate the floor tonight. Start the fumigation at 18:27."
The guards looked at one another again, and the braver of the two spoke up.
"The building doesn't close until 19:00," she said. Charles nodded. "People might still be in here," she persisted, not brave enough to be more truthful and say that people definitely would be.
"That's fine," said Charles. "People who work here won't worry about leaving if the fumigation accidentally starts early. The owner of the nest though will be much more worried."
"Oh, we should come down and flush them out!" said the second guard, inspiration lighting up his face.
"No," said Charles. "The shops all close at 17:00. Lock all the doors on this floor when the fumigation starts."

Anonymous said...

The Nest

It was unheard of - two female budgies (parakeets) sharing a nest - but these two did.
Pearl the albino and Citrine the lutino shared a piece of poly pipe, enclosed at one end, and both started laying eggs. Citrine decided she was the dominant bird. Pearl certainly had her own mind and usually had her own spot in the aviary but, for some reason, when breeding season began, she shared a nest, even though there was a breeding box provided specifically for the job. 
All was going well at first until a couple of eggs had been laid, then one day I found broken eggshell on the floor of the aviary. I watched closely and soon the culprit of this eggicide was identified - Citrine had decided that, although she must have enjoyed the attentions of her mate, she didn’t wish to pursue motherhood so she tossed her eggs out once they were laid.
Now, budgies being prone to jealousy an’ all, she didn’t allow Pearl to become a mother, either - she must have scuttled the eggs out from the rear of the nest, one by one, until all were broken on the aviary floor.
It was devastating. 
I should have separated them, because next morning Pearl was outside the nest, scratched and bleeding. She’d been attacked. Since there were other laying and non-laying females in the aviary, it was actually kind of hard to determine the true culprit of this crime, though Citrine was number one on the list of suspects. I separated out two whom I thought were the most likely suspects but it was too late to remove Pearl from the aviary. Her mate was caring for her and trying to net them would have been too upsetting. I just hoped she’d survive.

Next morning there she was, on the floor, dead.
I was devastated but her mate was heartbroken.
I removed her from the curious gaze of the others and performed her burial rite. 
Her mate scouted up and down the perches for three days, calling for her, looking in the empty nest.
His grief was as palpabale as mine was at this outcome.
The loss of my favourite, most innocent, most individually quirky budgie was almost too much to bear.
Life could be difficult, sometimes intolerable.
Who ever said animals cannot perform evil must be 
wrong, or misguided at best. The injustice of this act mimicked the worst in humanity all too closely.

Heather Banschbach said...

Marc- Keep an eye on the nest. It makes for hours of entertainment once the babies hatch. We had a nest in a Christmas wreath once. Our neighbors made a point of letting us know it was July and was probably time to take it down.


Jeff called to tell me he was out of work, but it would still be at least an hour before he would be home. He had a surprise and just needed to prepare one last thing.

I didn't know what to think of it at first, but was intrigued. He called back about 40 minutes later and said he wanted to go out to eat if I hadn't started anything for dinner. I hadn't and agreed we could go someplace.

Then I walked outside where the kids were still playing with fireworks (nothing dangerous) and told them daddy had a surprise for us and he also wanted to go out to eat. "I think he bought a new car," I told them, half joking and half serious. I dismissed the thought within the minute. It's law in Wisconsin that both spouses sign for vehicle loans. I knew we didn't have access to the cash otherwise.

A few minutes later, I heard a car and glanced outside to see a black Lexus in the driveway. I didn't know what to think. Certainly it couldn't be Jeff.... could it? I walked outside to finish sweeping up the pop-its wrappers when my phone rang. Xander answered. It was Jeff.

"Mom, daddy wants me to open the garage and he wants you to come out with me." He was off before I could agree or disagree and he was back just as quickly. His smile was huge and he kept jumping up and down screaming, "Daddy bought a new car! Daddy bought a new car!" Really? A Lexus?

Eva and I quickly followed him outside to see this new car. Kevin, a friend of ours, was standing there filming and I immediately felt so stupid. I'm not usually the one who is completely oblivious to big changes. In my defense, no one else seemed to notice it either. As Jeff later said, "There was always a huge pile of stuff in that corner and there is still a bunch of stuff in that area. How would you know if the Mama bird had left the nest?"

Thanks to a generous financial contributor and a knowledgeable mechanic, Jeff was sitting behind the wheel the functioning Jeep Wrangler. The fictional Mama bird.

Heather Banschbach said...

The story doesn't quite end there though. Jeff wanted to go out to eat to celebrate the resurrection of the blasted Jeep. Kevin took him to pick the truck up from the mechanics shop. I decided I should at least take a couple of pictures of the Jeep before the next mechanical failure left it parked in our garage for an undetermined amount of time.

Xander came out while I was taking a picture and stood on the side step trying to figure out how he was going to climb in over the door. I thought it was kind of funny so thought I would let him try before showing him the door could open, making it much easier to get in. He stepped down so I could open the door and put one foot back up on the side step.

Thankfully he was still on the wrong side of the door because the Jeep began rolling down the hill. I pulled him off the side step with one hand, setting him on the ground. Then I grabbed the door, stepped up on the side bar, tossed my camera into the passenger side seat, sat down as quickly as I could, and applied the brakes. It stopped still in the driveway.

Three thoughts crossed through my mind: 1. It would have been a better story if I had just let it go although with a much more expensive ending. 2. That he parked it at the top of our hill-for-a-driveway still in neutral. Idiot. 3. If I let go of the brake, the Jeep would continue to roll down the and into the street, probably the neighbors yard. I was stuck.

It was, of course, ridiculously hot.... something like 103 degrees not including the heat index.... and Jeff had the only set of keys WITH him in the nice air conditioned comfort of the Lexus. I, on the other hand, was stuck in the driver's seat under the blazing sun trying to calm Xander down and get in touch with Jeff to let him know how many gifts he would owe me for my heroic efforts.

But all is good. The Jeep Wrangler is still alive, parked safely on the flat surface of the garage, and everyone survived the ordeal..... even if just barely.

Morrigan Aoife said...

High up in the trees
Hung a nest of bees
One I wish I would have seen
Before the queen got so mean
I should have jumped down and then ran like hell
But it’s too late for that now so I’ll just lay here and swell!

Marc said...

Greg - I did get a picture, though it's not particularly clear. She's still out there though, so I might have to try again.

You have to hand it to Charles, he really doesn't let anything stand in the way of his solutions!

Writebite - ugh, I hate it when animals are cruel to each other. We have a couple of very large crows in the area that have been feasting on the eggs of smaller birds.

Every time I see them being chased across the sky by angry little birds, I just think: get them. Get them good.

Heather - yeah, another nest must have hatched recently, as there is a massive family of quail running around the area.

I'm very glad that tale ended with everyone safe and sound. Even the Jeep :P

Morrigan - love the rhythm of your poem. That's a definite ouch though. I have nightmares about that sort of thing.