Not making this up, folks. That title is perfect for the last 10 days!
First of all, the humming : Mom’s been trying for two summers to attract birds. As in song birds. This lack of them each spring has improved due to winter feedings, but Mom doesn’t think they have because a) her hearing aids aren’t in her ears or b) they aren’t working properly. (The aids, not the birds). But she’s also managed to finally attract more humming birds. This has taken some t&e to figure out the best place for the red glass feeder so that they’ll both feel safe and where she can see them. Where she put it this year, R and I can enjoy them from our kitchen table, but Mom can only see them if kneeling on her toilet seat! However, this is better for her than never seeing them at all! And at dusk I sit on the front porch and they just BUZZ around me! (Remember to click on the photos to expand them)
I’m surprised how much they like to perch on branches (like the wee grapevine branch I was going to cut off, but now won’t!), but I’m disappointed not to catch them just coming in for a landing, or hovering in the air as those I think are the best shots. I also didn’t really get the red band around the neck and the gorgeous glossy turquoise on their backs!
What I did get was THIS:
Don’t know what you’re looking at? Well, in the bottom right of the red glass, magnified by the water and glass but otherwise hidden perfectly behind it is a humming bird! See his long beak looking like it’s 3 inches?
By the way, don’t put red food colouring in for the h.b.’s It’s actually bad for them! And your feeder doesn’t HAVE to be red; that’s a bit of a myth, apparently – A clear container with a bit of sugar water is supposed to work just as well. Also, as we discovered: they are afraid of chickens!
So that’s it for the humming. Now what’s with the drumming and the piping? Well, Mom and I having McKenzie blood in us (and me living for 9 months in the Highlands) we finally traipsed off to the Gathering of the Scots in our local Perth. This is the 4th June I’ve been here and finally got there! (Mom’s only been here 3 Junes, but she finally felt up to it). We even dressed up in the McKenzie tartan for the occasion!
Mom/Joy is wearing her McKenzie kilt from high school, Richard’s got on my beret and the McKenzie tartan blanket given us by my Scottish ‘daughter’ Leanne (worked for me when I was stable manager over there) and I’ve got a McKenzie-sort-of-tartan in the middle of my hat. We look pretty good, except Mom’s got 5 cavities she needs filled, and I have 3 teeth missing that need a partial soon! Richard is smart; he just keeps his lips shut! (There’s a first!)
It always does our hearts good to hear the pipes, and some good whacks on the big drums. I was pleased with this photo, (above) though I had to take a lot to get everything in I wanted to show!
I couldn’t walk much and Richard just wanted to watch the sporting events, so we sat on the McKenzie blanket on the bleachers whilst Mom toured the tents. She said that while there was haggis being served and kilt pins and socks, no one was selling a sporran! She was disappointed as she’d wanted to pick one up for Sydney who is apparently to inherit her kilt.
First we watched a lot of strong muscley gals through the shot, all in the kilts of their clan and wearing Gathering of the Scots t-shirts. Apparently most felt it necessary to immediately cut the sleeves off so as to further present their muscles to us.
My favourite of the gals was this next one. Don’t care for the Jaded Jewel (my cross-country competing colours) socks, but love her twirling kilt. She ended up being the winner of this discipline, by the way.
Next, some big lads came to throw it backwards over the high pole, which kept getting raised to about 20 ft.
My favourite photo of this particular event is this, with the two Scottish flags, the bright sky and the shot JUST about to make it…
Another female event was the hammer throw:
And then some REAL excitement as two caber champs (Dirk is local) set out to break the Guiness World Record for most tosses in 3 minutes. Here’s an article: https://www.cumberlandnewsnow.com/sports/other-sports/danny-frame-dirk-bishop-after-tandem-caber-toss-guinness-world-record-june-1-312005/and a local post: https://gatheringofthescots.com/2019/04/21/worlds-record-at-the-gathering/
Here’s a video if you aren’t sure what a caber toss is:
Here’s the lads in Perth trying for the world record; they’d need, between the two of them (and a lot of volunteers to grab the caber and get it into position for each of them) to pitch it end over end 16 times in 3 minutes:
And they did it! A Guiness World Record set in front of our eyes right in l’il ole Perth-Andover, N.B.! Here’s the whole ‘team’ – the throwers are the two in the middle:
Next – what a wondrous sight/sound. ALL the piping/drumming bands got together and marched down the street to come into the grounds and perform!
The excitement of seeing this marching down your local street in the Appalachian highlands along a river is truly soul-stirring! You should be able to view it live in this video, although you may need a Facebook account, not sure: https://www.facebook.com/ScotchColony/videos/410428222880377/UzpfSTEwMDAwMTA0NzEyOTgyOToyNTg2OTg3Mjg0Njc5NDg0/
and some delightful drum-thwackers:
Every year they do a March of the Clans, with each clan carrying a cloth banner with their crest and name. Sadly, no McKenzies – but I have asked for one for next year.
One of the characters in the musical I’ve written (1st table reading in Perth-Andover next Thursday night!) is called McLaughlin, as there are a LOT from that clan. He’s a bit of a curmudgeonly old bagpiper, so Richard fittingly posed beside their banner for a publicity shot for me. I was quite impressed when I got home and found I’d even managed to capture a blowing Canadian flag in the photo! Perfect to promo an all-Canadian musical!
Next, what’s with ‘striping’? Well, folks, Richard is away in Ontario visiting family this week and that means I can do the grass-cutting on the riding mower the way I like. Which this week is saving huge patches of wild strawberries – with the flowers bigger than I’ve ever seen them~! I want to eat some this year, so I’m not going to buzz all over them. The other reason I cut stripes is to save some dandelions for the bees, although our meadows are now covered in them, so that likely isn’t so necessary:
And lastly, the typing. Since I started feeling better in April I’ve done nothing but read manuscripts and retype, rewrite, revise. My fingers ache and my eyes are blurry most nights, but I am having some success with publications for this year, and I’m excited to get this musical read and see how much more REVISING I’ll want to do from that first time hearing the voices to my dialogue!
And by the way, I haven’t proof-read this blog post as I usually try to do. So forgive mistakes, I’m just too tired and frankly fed up with re-reading everything I’ve ever written —-for the moment!
And really, as a grumpy ole Scots would say: “A nod’s as guid as a wink tae a blind horse”. So what difference does it make, anyway?