(sub) Urban Wild Life

I’ve been working on both a newsletter to my neighbors and a post lately about how lucky I am to have so much wildlife right here in my neighborhood. I live on a long-ish dead end street right in the middle of one of Washington State’s wealthiest cities. It’s one of the few streets left where you can still see traces of the days when this area was considered “out in the country”. In my time living here (almost 45 years now) my little lane has gone from a small handful of older houses with horse acreage, to 25 homes, many qualifying as McMansions (homes with 5,000 plus square footage, selling for well over $1,000,000).

When I saw Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge for this week,

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wildlife

I decided to combine my two projects with her challenge.

So here is the letter I sent out to my neighbors.


Sub-Urban Animals!

A letter from your self-appointed S.E. 7th Street Wild Life reporter and Game Warden.

A few months back, I was pretty low, with all the dark hours and gray skies. I didn’t even want to go for one of my short but usually uplifting walks. It was so dismal out, for so many days in a row, I think I was developing some serious empathy for my clients over the years who have suffered from SAD. (Seasonal Affective Disorder!)

But I made myself go out there anyway.

And a few steps into my climb up the hill (yes, for me, it is a climb) I heard them!

Our SE 7th Street Bald Eagles are back!

Last year they graced us with many regular visits, perched up high on branches that seemed way too skinny to hold their heft. On most days, they could be found facing the sunrise, and later the sunset, either in the trees in my front yard, or up the street to the East across from the Mathes house.

As I hiked up the street on this gloomy day, head tilted back at a neck-killing angle, I saw them. They were circling, very low, right above the treetops, probably hunting for breakfast. Then they landed, and stayed for a long time.

I took this sighting very personally…like they had stopped by just to cheer me up.

gray day, low light, camera phone

I was so uplifted I wanted to write to the whole street to share about my encounter.

That made me remember that I actually used to do that a lot…write to the whole SE 7th Street list. It started with simple reporting of Coyote sightings.

Then one day, I witnessed something so amazing, I wrote a whole article about it.

Early one morning, I saw a Murder of Crows take down a Bald Eagle, on the busy road right at the top of our street. I’m sure the Eagle had gone after a crow’s nest or something but the Crow Call went out and a huge crowd of them came. Some Seagulls even stopped by to join in on the attack.

The event stopped traffic. Well, I guess I kind of stopped the traffic, pulling my car sideways across the street to prevent massive bird death. A cop happened along, saw immediately what was happening and helped chase the birds away and get the traffic moving again. I spent hours afterwards watching, and photographing, the escaped but clearly injured Bald Eagle up in a tree across the street from the Burdick house.

hurt eagle

Soon after this event, I proclaimed myself the Game Warden and Wild Life Reporter for our street. I sent out a “newsletter” article called Urban Bird Gangs.

I had so much fun writing up the story, it is in part what inspired me to start a Blog. Now, I write about my animal adventures right here in our neighborhood all the time. Please feel free to check it out, although I do write about a lot of other things too. Some inane, and some harsh. Lots of animal stories; beautiful seed feeder birds, marauding deer, our neighborhood cats, the brazen Coyote pack (looking for our cats), and many Hummingbird shots. You may even find photos of beautiful plants, trees and flowers from your own yards.


Back to S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder), I think I’m cured now. Especially in the last couple of weeks. It appears, we are being chosen again, by a beautiful pair of Bald Eagles. Maybe the same ones who roosted last summer, sunrise and sunset, in the biggest tree in front-yard (or as James calls it, “frun-chard”.) They seemed to be hanging out around 10:30 AM some mornings, on the more gray, windy days. Not great photos with only my phone but two mornings ago, that really cold, crisp, clear day, they were posing for the local paparazzi, so I ran for my real camera. So glad I did.


What a beautiful, majestic bird!

Again, please feel free to stop by the Blog and tell me what you think!!

Love our street!!


Kathie (your oldest resident…well, longest anyway)


So that was my letter to my wonderful neighbors but for Cee’s Challenge, I want to add this HUGE slide show. (Wish I knew how to do music for it too.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Wildlife

“Satisfaction” for WPC 7-26-17 by ChosenPerspectives


This is going to seem like a post about dis-satisfaction but it is not, honest.

At my house this week, we are experiencing the frustrating, man-made phenomenon of absolute waste.

Next door to me, there is a perfectly lovely home, built in the late 1980’s.



My neighbor had to sell. I understand that. But she sold to a builder of McMansions…(look it up)

Many of us tried for months to get permission to salvage what we could from the soon to be demolished house, for recycle, reclaiming and re-use. I’m talking about perfectly good appliances, beautiful hardwood flooring, lovely tiles, great carpet, two complete sets of kitchen counters and cabinets, shelving, French doors, and beautiful bathroom vanities!

That process was so political. So slow!! Like molasses! Before she moved, we, at least, were able to get the brand new refrigerator out of my neighbor’s student apartment. Perfect timing as we have just moved into our own basement apartment so that Son and Grandsons could move in. But the rest of what would have furnished a sweet kitchen, bathroom and bedroom for us downstairs, well, we just couldn’t cut through the red tape fast enough.

It’s been frustrating to say the least. Especially because James is a custom home designer and builder and is a master at reclaiming older reusable parts and pieces for new homes. Oh, what he could have built us!

At least, several neighbors showed up to save a whole mess of strawberry plants and a stunning long row of Lavender!

20170701_153940 (2)

So at this point you are wondering what in the world this has to do with Satisfaction.

I’m almost there…

Well, the backhoes showed up yesterday. Here’s what James wrote in his family email.

We watched as the machine ate the neighbor’s house like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, gobbling and crunching it like so much soft meat. 

I could not have said it better…except maybe to add the word Bulimia in there somewhere! Chewed it up and vomited it right back out!


In a matter of hours…destroyed…consumed…


the offending backhoe in its “food coma”

OK, OK Satisfaction already!

Trying to ignore what was happening next door yesterday, we focused on fixing up our little apartment, mostly the tiny kitchenette. I was grumbling because the carpet in there is destroyed from a burst pipe earlier this year and has been covered with ugly throw rugs. James was grumbling because he had recently finally thrown away a piece of good carpet he’d kept for years that now, would have come in handy in this kitchenette.

Next thing I know, he is tearing across the lawn between us and the house destruction project. He grabs the project manager, has a quick talk (over the backhoe noise) and literally minutes before the Tyrannosaurus bites into it’s next gourmet house section, James rips out a whole room full of brand new carpet and hauls it across the grass to its new home…our kitchen!!!


Take that, you lazy, wasteful developer!!!

Now THAT was satisfying!


PS I have to admit I also found it very satisfying that there was a clandestine project for the last several nights. After the work crews left and after it got dark enough, a young family, Mom, Dad and 3 little kids, showed up night after night, and for hours, dug out the brick driveway pavers, one beautiful brick at a time. The young man told me they have a place where they can sell them for a lot of money (which they desperately need). And just so you don’t think I support theft, the project manager told me yesterday, they knew it was going on and ignored it. Also satisfying!

Song Lyrics Sunday 3/26/17 #2

This could also go back a couple of weeks and make up for my lack of posting a favorite “Cover”, but it is also to add to Karuna’s perfect post “Imagine”.

There are so many choices online of Joan Baez singing this song. I picked this one because it is recent (she’s still got it!) and kind of fun.


Tree-Daily Prompt from ChosenPerspectives 10-5-16

Here she is, on the far left. She was one of only two big trees the builder saved when he tore down the oldest cottage in our area to build a mini-mansion.

27-memories-of-better-daysHe stripped her body of all her lower limbs, I suppose to enhance the house value by giving the new owners more of a view.


1-moonrise-ottingers-treeHere’s what I could see on Full Moon nights….through her branches.



This was my sunrise view each morning. She towered into those pink skies.


2-21-11-042Then one morning, I heard an awful sound, terrifyingly familiar….There was no warning. Just that terrible roar at 7 AM, on the morning of her murder.


I ran across our adjoining yards to say Good-bye. I had known her for over 40 years. My son had grown up in her shade. They wouldn’t let me near her.


2-21-11a-017It took hours to kill her. I couldn’t watch very much of it but I would return to my window and take a picture now and then…and tell her she was not alone.


11a-final-cutThe final Cut………


14-piled-on-the-hearseHauling off her parts, in a tree Hearse….


16-the-funeralHer decimated stump….


17-still-bleedingStill oozing her life’s blood……….


18-she-was-an-ancient-beautyHer perfume still powerful, all the way across the two yards and into my house….


21-her-perfume-still-potentHer ancient skin…cast aside, in broken chunks……….



But her breath-taking beauty…undeniable!


24-all-thats-left-of-herAll that’s left of her. We grieved for months.


img_7483Now, at sunrise, I can stilllook over at her Sister, spared the tragic fate imposed by the hungry builder.



And the new owners have made the yard around her grave, a lovely spot for all to enjoy.


Optimism for WPC


I can’t think of anything more optimistic than a Primrose! They are relentlessly cheerful! And they just assume they will be back next year!

I watch for the first batch to show up every year, at my grocery store (I know, I know) and this year they are already here!

10 for $10.00!! Pretty cheap so I always load up. You’d think that because they are a perennial I wouldn’t need to replenish my own garden each year. I don’t, but I can’t resist. Some of mine are 7 and 9 years old!

This year I had this idea.

I live on a very unusual, long dead end street that’s a country-like oasis in the middle of a ritzy city. (When I moved here over 40 years ago, there were only 2 other houses and we had horse acreage! Even though my address would imply money to some, I didn’t stand out on this street as a migrating “Hippie”.)

Of course, our lane has built up over the years but we have scored big-time in wonderful neighbors. Everyone knows everyone and we all watch out for each other.

We just lost one of our dear neighbors a few days ago, an unexpected heart attack. The funeral is tomorrow. So tonight, after everyone is down for the night, I am going to plant a Primrose in every yard in honor of our sweet neighbor. They’ll probably figure out it was me because most of them know how obsessed I am with these hearty little flowers, but I don’t care. I like my reputation of being the oldest (and strangest) neighbor on our street.

Only problem is, we all have pneumonia in our house right now, so I may have to elicit some outside help for my clandestine operation. I’m still a little weak, but according to Badfish, my snot color is telling me I’m on the mend. https://badfish2.wordpress.com/

(By the way, if you haven’t read him, he’s wonderful!)

In honor of my neighbor Arul, one of the more kind people I’ve known, I give you the Primrose (and remind you of the story of Johnny Appleseed).