Feeding the Birds

Most of the vacation down in Tybee was spent watching the Weather Channel and going outside occasionally to be sandblasted on the beach. But on Monday while Atlanta was getting drenched by Hurricane Jeanne, the weather was clearing up on Tybee.

That afternoon we were watching as the seagulls would fly in the 20-30 mph winds. By making small adjustments they could stay over one spot on the ground, but if they made a small adjustment they were immediately blown sideways at high speed downwind.

Someone decided we should throw breadcrumbs to some of the birds outside our fourth floor balcony. Although the birds were nearly motionless in relation to the balcony, when you threw a piece of bread from the sheltered balcony it was immediately whipped away by the wind. Sometimes the birds would catch it but more often it went to the ground. Some birds were close enough to the balcony you could throw the bread right at them and have a decent chance of them getting it. So Grant, Jeb, and I stood there throwing bread crumbs for a while (Dad would have no part in this since he (correctly) figured we needed the bread to make sandwiches the next day).

The birds were so close I figured I could just hold out a piece of bread and they could get it from my hand. I leaned over the rail and held a piece of bread as far out as I could and the birds immediately started trying for it. In the strong wind this had to be very difficult, but within a few seconds one had snatched the bread away without biting me. I tried a few more times with similar results.

There were some starlings (?) mixed in with the gulls as well. They were a little smaller and did a lot more flapping than the gulls, but they were more nimble and braver. They could come right up and grab a piece of bread while I held it 40 feet above the ground. Jeb said it looked like they landed on my hand for an instant while they picked the piece up. It was pretty interesting and shows you how well animals can adapt to almost any conditions. Pretty soon the birds lost interest as some other people on the second floor threw more bread crumbs from their balcony. Unfortunately nobody brought a camera so we didn’t get any pictures but you can ask anybody who was there and they will tell you this really happened.

Katie’s Triumphant Return

This weekend Susan was out of town so Beacon and Belle were staying over. With Martti only working Monday thru Friday I asked him if he’d like to go to Red Top Mountain for a dog hike on Sunday (I don’t see how I could handle all 4 dogs by myself). Katie hadn’t been since last fall and the subsequent knee surgery. We had been to Stone Mountain where she has been enjoying swimming after sticks (even Clio is getting to be a good swimmer) and she hasn’t shown any problems with her leg, but I was still worried about Red Top because it is more strenuous.

Once again we managed to get behind the main group of hikers and dogs within minutes of the start. But at least this time it wasn’t from being out of shape (they rerouted the beginning of the trail and made it easier) but because we somehow lost Beacon in the initial confusion. We went back to look for her and found her eventually. Then we continued on, taking a shortcut that I hoped would get us caught up. We found a couple of other people with their dogs who I thought might be stragglers as well, but they said they had taken the same shortcut and the main group wasn’t there yet.

The water was very high from Hurricane Ivan, well up into the woods. So swimming around trees and over limbs wasn’t easy for my dogs. But Lucy and her owner, Matt, were there and Lucy displayed her fearless and enthusiastic swimming. Also one dog chased after a stick and got it confused with the branch of submerged fallen tree that was sticking out and tried over and over to bring the whole tree back pulling on the branch (someone said if all the dogs worked together maybe they could have done it).

Anyway, although Katie looked like she was limping a little at times, she turned out to be just fine. I get scared when I see her running really fast or tumbling around with another dog, but it seems like she has made a 100% recovery.

The saga continues two years later with Katie’s Other Knee.

One Down

Time continues to draw down. After working very hard all summer and earning some sales awards, Madis finished delivering his books ahead of schedule and has left Atlanta. He went to Nashville where the company is located to close out and then will stop by for a party in Gatlinburg to celebrate the end of the sales season before catching a bus up to New York and then home.

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