I leave for Flagstaff just two weeks from today, and a mild panic is beginning to overtake me, thinking of all the things I must get done before departure. Silly really. It’s not like I’m moving to Mars, or Titan, where the supply lines are limited. It’s very civilized in Flagstaff.
And I’m ready, I think. For almost ten years this huge geologic map of the Grand Canyon has loomed over my desk. I’ve been memorizing the Colorado Plateau for forever.
Even so, today is a day of many lists, with check boxes for all the things I must accomplish, all the things I need to pack, all the loose things that need tying up or tying down.
At least my desk is a tidy refuge from all the tumult and disarray.
My Desk - a partial inventory: 1 liter glass water bottle (I go through four refills a day); 1 “Heart Arizona” mug; 1 mini yellow legal pad; books-in-progress (The Good Lord Bird by James McBride, Tabloid Dreams by Robert Olen Butler, A Whaler’s Dictionary by Dan Beachy-Quick, and Moby Dick as a companion to Whaler’s Dictionary); 12 sharpened Ticonderoga pencils; 4 Muji gel pens; and a glassine envelope full of postage and pre-stamped postcards.
Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis ♀), in Chesapeake, Virginia.
My brother-in-law has voice trained the resident bluebirds. He makes a whooping noise when he puts meal worms in their feeder to alert them that food is available.
I don’t think I’m fooling anyone. This is a bird blog after all.
Today family and friends gathered at my sister’s home in Chesapeake for Easter lunch, and of course the conversation turned (as it always does) to the birds we have sighted recently, those that have just arrived or departed for the season, who’s nesting in our respective yards. It’s not a competition exactly, but only in the sense that we don’t formally keep score. We do it for the vainglory.
At Parr Lane the big news is the killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) nesting in the gravel drive where the Zodiac and trailer are parked. At least this year the bird isn’t nesting in the path of cars.
The killdeer has made a shallow depression in the rocks, and is brooding a clutch of four eggs, which will incubate for three to four weeks. Sadly, I won’t be around when the little fuzz balls hatch. No points for me.
Ghost Sign: Burroughs-Pittman / Everybodys [sic] Store. Scotland Neck, North Carolina.
A print ad for the store from the1920’s reads:
BURROUGHS-PITTMAN WHEELER CO. Everybody’s Store
OUR MOTTO: Satisfaction for Everybody in Everything
Telephone - 23
Dry Goods, Notions, Shoes, Clothing,
Tailor-Made Suits for Ladies and Men,
Sole Agents for Harsisburg [sic] and Tilt’s
Shoes Hardware, Groceries,
Fertilizers, Furniture, Coffins
Cotton and Peanut Bayers [sic]
Ladies’ and Gentlemen’s Furnishings and Millinery —-
Complete Supplies for
Farmers and Housekeepers,
In Short: Everything for Everybody
Jingle for Ballard’s Obelisk Flour, performed by Earl Scruggs, Little Roy Lewis, and Lizzie Long, on Lifetimes, 2007.
This song would have been heard widely on radio stations like Louisville’s WHAS or Cincinnati’s WLW, sponsoring country music theme programs with a sentimental bent, like “Sunday Morning Gatherin’,” “Memories of Mother,” or “The Old Homestead.”
The jingle’s lyrics: “Song and music for a quarter of a hour, A few kind words about Obelisk Flour, Obelisk Flour. “Yes Ma’am” that’s what were praising.”
Ghost Sign: Use Obelisk Flour, with satellite dish.
Scotland Neck, North Carolina.
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