Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwing potatoes

I'm a bit sleep deprived these days. Here in the valley during summer we have a very short season to sleep with the windows open at night. Soon it's going to get too hot and we will have to keep the house closed up and the air conditioner running, sometimes for 24 hours.  But it's not the heat keeping me up at night, it's the birds.
Mockingbirds like to sing at night because all the other little birdies are quietly tucked in dreaming about tomorrows worms, and therefore they have the whole stage to themselves.  With no other noises competing for air space, they sing long and loud to attract a mate.  Long. And. Loud.  Usually right outside our bedroom window.
Wednesday at 3:30 am, after listening to a series of twitters, whistles, trills, squawks, peeps, and a sound that eerily sounded like my daughter calling the dog "Come here!" (Only like a bird on crack "C'mere!C'mere!Cmere!", I decided I'd had enough.  Yes I know, I could have just shut the window, but the breeze was so nice.....
Anyway after slamming the screen door a few time to no avail, I started to look around for something to throw. There was nothing heavy enough in my closet I was willing to risk breaking.  So I went downstairs and pulled a russet potato out of the pantry.
Now before anyone gets cross with me for throwing something at a bird let me tell you no mockingbirds were harmed during Wednesdays' potato toss.  There are 2 reasons why this would never happen,
Reason 1
I am barely 5'2.  The chances of me heaving a potato up into a 20 foot Camphor tree in complete darkness, and actually hitting a bird were very slim.
Reason 2
I really like birds and I was just trying to get it to fly off and find another tree.  Preferably next door.
I also own a  Sibley's field guide, binoculars recommended for use when birding, and have 2 bird identifying apps. on my phone. There.  Not a bird hater.
So.  The potato soared into the tree and landed on the other side with a soft thud, and the bird took off. Finally.  Peace at last.
Back in the house I faced my sleepy husband.
Him: (calmly)"What are you doing?" (Translation, "What are you doing now, Crazy?")
Me: (through giggles and snorts, realizing how ridiculous a 56 year old woman, in rumpled pajamas and wild bed hair must look, throwing potatoes in trees.) "I threw a potato at the mockingbird."
 No need to over explain.  I went back to bed.
Afterwards, when I was almost asleep, I could barely hear the Mockingbird at the back of the property, running through his litany and taunting me with "C'mere!,C'mere! C'mere!"
Yeah I'll come over there alright.  I have a whole bag of potatoes.

The green quilt is almost done, but I'm heading to Napa with the husband for a couple of days.  I will not be bringing any potatoes.


  1. The quilt is looking pretty. Funny story about the potato throwing. Nice visual. :)

  2. Your post cracked me up. My husband used to throw potatoes 'sort of' at my moms basset hound. It always worked to shut him up and he never ever actually hit him.:) Sounds like a tried and true method!

  3. Hi Lynne! First time posting a comment. I could not resist this time. Those dang mockingbirds deserve getting anything thrown at them! I know exactly how you feel being sleep deprived with a husband who can sleep through anything. Mine even finds it soothing! It is mating season here in east county San Diego too. I can hear one across the way at night and feel strangely blessed that it's not right outside my window. Love, love, love the new green quilt. All your quilts have inspired me in my own designs. Thank you for writing it all out and sharing the fun.

    1. Hi Debbie in SoCal! Thanks for the comment. Our state seems to be full of the noisy critters. Thanks to the current heat wave the windows are closed tight and I can't hear a thing. Have a great weekend :)

  4. Your story is hysterical. I feel a duel happening between the two of you. We do not sleep with the windows open here more than a week or two a year. It is too hot and humid, and just when it gets nice the world is covered in green pollen that seeps inside open windows and wreaks havoc.

  5. I wish I could have seen you! That sound hillarious.

  6. I love your story! I do have another perspective though... My husband and I have two outside antennas mounted on our roof. Since they are the highest roosts in the area, buzzards LOVE to roost , poop and break the antenna fingers, at least until my husband mounted a black plastic hanger (I know, LOL) on top. Now the top roost is too small for a buzzard, who has now been replaced by a mockingbird! I agree, the mockingbird does drive us a little crazy, but a huge improvement to the buzzard problem! Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. We have wood pigeons that love to sit on our chimney top, we use a water pistol: I figure in the unlikely even I get him (her?) wet it's not very powerful after 3 or 4 yards! Hopefully they'll learn soon!

  8. Too funny!! We get Magpies in our cherry tree. I hurl stale muffins at them. Potatoes are a much better idea ; )

  9. Oh my goodness. I have giggled myself silly reading your story. We have Mockingbirds also. Here in Tennessee they are the state bird. They do love to do their thing in the middle of the night. Sometimes, even with the windows closed, I can hear them. But with the weather being really nice at night, all the windows are open and my feathered choir has entertained me several times. I could just picture you throwing that potato.


You guys are awesome! Thank you for the comments!