Treats of Seeds and Nuts

I read recently that birds would eat cantaloupe seeds. We have melon fairly often, since we all enjoy it, so why not put the seeds on the deck? Hoping they didn’t need to be roasted, I cleaned them and scattered them outside. It didn’t take long for song sparrows and Eastern towhees to help themselves. Tufted titmice used the spread as a fast food takeaway. Doves would have won an eating contest, since they practically swallowed the seeds whole.

I thought a mockingbird was coming for food, but he took a bath instead. I’ve seen birds flick a bit of water over themselves, but this bird meant business. He shimmied and shook, then flipped himself violently. It looked like he did a cartwheel, using his beak rather than hands. He was facing the opposite direction when he landed. He looked like a drowned mouse, and he didn’t seem to fly very well, either. It was the first time I’d seen an extreme bath routine worthy of a reality show.

Treats outside were one thing, but what we had inside was quite another. Nathaniel reads more recipes than I do, and he found the instructions for a Pecan Praline Layer Cake. Making it took hours from his two days off. I took a photo when he was finally satisfied with it.

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The filling had tons of nuts, and the frosting was decorated with candied pecans. Before we cut it, I took a shot of the hungry men. The taste of the dessert lived up to its appearance. It was scrumptious.

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We spoke to neighbor Bob and son Logan (7) the other day as they passed us while we walked. John said we’d missed seeing Logan and hoped he’d come over to play. As soon as his parents gave permission, the boy streaked over here. I saw him flying up our front steps and pushing the button of the defunct doorbell. He was through the door as soon as it was opened wide enough to let him through. In three seconds he shed his shoes, jumped up, pointed toward the living room, and said, “I want to play checkers with David.”

They played three games before having a short war with Nerf guns. Last, they pitted themselves against a computer game with motorcycles and loud explosions. Logan had control of the keyboard, with David giving advice on the side. When Bob called for Logan to come home, David turned the sound off and had the computer to himself to hone his game. I asked if Logan had improved with checkers, and David said, “Yes! He’s much better than he was at Christmas. He won one game, and I won two.”

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It was lovely to have the house energized again with Logan’s enthusiasm.

Logan’s Afternoon

Neighbor Logan (6) had no school this week, and we wondered if we would see him. He had been in Tennessee two days and came over about 1 in the afternoon the third day, saying he could stay until 2:30. John and Logan played basketball outside for a while. We hadn’t had lunch, so I fixed popcorn for a snack to tide us over. We eat late, anyway. When the boy found out at 2:30 that we hadn’t had our meal, he thought it would be a good idea if he stayed to eat with us. His dad agreed he could stay. We had half a ground turkey pie that would feed three easily. Knowing how picky children can be with vegetables, we asked what he liked. Butter beans. The photo below shows how he concentrated on spearing about six at a time on his fork. He even volunteered to finish the ones left in the serving bowl.

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Logan was ready to leave the table in jig time, not being used to our leisurely meals. When he asked to be excused, we suggested he stay on the porch with us. That was insurance that he wouldn’t watch too much TV. He said, “Let’s have a spelling test.”

Have you EVER known a child who wanted a spelling challenge? John gave him a short word which he spelled easily, but he wanted something harder. He spelled strawberry for me. John asked for Pullman, and I gave him daffodill (his spelling). Crazy was too easy. When we couldn’t stump him, he asked to be excused. In two seconds he was climbing on my exercise bike, which was still way too big for him. He is getting better at it, though. He kept his feet on the pedals, but he had to let the handles go with each down stroke. Watch his tongue. Do you think he could ride the bike with his mouth shut?

The fellows played checkers while I took a nap. John is not a game person, but thankfully he does like checkers. The game snack, which John prepared, was a bowl of mixed nuts and raisins. At five John sent Logan home, because he needed to get ready to go to choir rehearsal. It was great to have a big chunk of time with our favorite neighborhood child.

Up for Adoption

Logan came bouncing in the front door, eager to give John a big red paper heart and a Valentine card he’d made himself. John found out he wanted to play on the computer first, and after that they read a book. It wasn’t until after he left that John and I realized he had included a “thank you” with every single request. That might not have been true a week or so ago. Shawn and Bob have worked on his manners, and suddenly they seemed automatic.

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Several weeks ago John told me of a very interesting radio interview. He didn’t hear the beginning or the ending, so he doesn’t know who was talking. The subject of that segment was why you call your children by the wrong name. It seems people file names in folders in the brain. There are folders for coworkers, friends, family, etc. When you are calling your child by name, you go to the family folder, but you might come up with a sibling’s name. Once in a while you get your folders mixed, and that’s why you might say the dog’s name instead of your child. However, you never call a child by the cat’s name. It doesn’t seem politically correct, but that’s what the person said.

I was glad John shared that interview with me. I was really taken by surprise when I heard John stumble and call Logan by grandson Nathaniel’s name. What do you make of that? Could there be a grandchild folder? If so, Logan may have slipped in there. Just for the record, we are available for adoption. If anyone wants to adopt us as grandparents, you know where to find us.