Tuesday, March 16, 2010

On star-lings.

Rainclouds cling to the mountain sides, hanging over us like a massive, suffocating mess of unprocessed felt. Warmth of the spring isn’t too keen on getting here just yet, but the grass is already reaching up, sending green spears, that summarily turn unsightly tan slopes into unsightly tan slopes with a vague sheen of a more interesting color. The overall effect is a vomit-green with sore orange patches, where the clay-laden soil shows through.

The little speckled bastards don’t mind, and descend upon these same mountain sides in a flurry of black wings and gnashing beaks. White specks on their plumage are surely why they are named ‘star-lings’, European Starlings, to be exact, an invasive specie in the Americas and another sign that spring is, indeed, upon us.

“Skvoretz” is what a starling is called in Russian; “skvortzy” in plural, a name that is fitting to the unholy squawks that pass for starling language. The batch which occasionally frequents our back yard is quite intent on showing the world just how verbal they can be. The chirps and squeaks resemble anything from a dying cat to a very creaky door, slammed over an over by an enthusiastic poltergeist.

On occasion, an uppity male might decide that that isn’t enough, and would impose himself onto one of the surrounding trees, to perform the horrifying solo, punctuated by an ecstatic flapping of wings. Yes, sir. As if we can’t tell where you are by your (rather melodious, truth be told) creaks alone.


Plants

African violets continue to bloom. Not a white one among them.



I’m seriously contemplating on getting a named one from a breeder, probably Lyndon Lyon greenhouses. Maybe, Easter Angel- a standard, though that’s not exactly pure white. Or even Winter Smiles, which is a white Russian variety.. Both of these are going to be rather large plants, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that quantity=/=quality. Might as well get the big, pretty ones that I’d enjoy, rather than three mini-sized ones, which I’d have difficulty keeping watered. (Never did get a hang of the wick-watering trick).


Repotted the non-variegated hoya and the odd oak, which sprouted in a cactus pot from an acorn which I’ve apparently put there and forgotten about. Maybe this means that I should be watering the cactus in question less?