Ah, Spring

I frightened two quail starting a nest in one of the potted plants on my patio this morning when I went out to water.  No wonder the cat had been sitting on the sweet potato vine last night…

Last week when I started to water the pots there was a flapping of wings and cooing as a dove was flushed from the next pot over.  I told it that was a bad place to make a nest, what with a cat living here, but I don’t think it heard me in its hurry to escape.  I tossed out the beginnings of its nest.

This morning a dove was enjoying the nectar in the saguaro flowers.

Killer Bees

Killer bees were checking out my patio to colonize.  A few dozen of them were buzzing around the cabinets yesterday.  All I had was a can of OFF! which I sprayed on the cabinets.  Don’t think that it deterred them, but they couldn’t figure how to get in, so today they’re gone.

I think it was four years ago when I was living in South Carolina and The Ex had moved out of the house which was on the market when the real estate agent called and said that bees were bothering prospective buyers.  I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when I got back to Tucson it turns out a storm had ripped off the end door on the patio cabinets and those bees had built quite a hive, dripping honey.  I called a bee removal company, and the rep said that all Tucson bees have been Africanized, the removal people have to wear hazmat suits to take out the hive, and it’s expensive.  Unfortunately, they never move the hives; they simply kill all of the bees.  How sad!

…if you were to come across a large amount of Africanized honeybees foraging on flowers, you will find they are no more dangerous than any other honeybees in this situation. Bees are, however, very protective of their homes. It is estimated that feral Africanized bees hives can protect their home with up to 4 or 5 times the amount of honey bees and produce more alarm pheromone to excite and alarm the bees in the hive than European bees do. Africanized bees can become agitated more easily, and stay alert longer than European bees.

When bees attack they typically will target your head. Bees also target your hands as they are often in motion. The danger proximity for an Africanized honeybee hive may be anything less than 20 to 40 feet. Once the hive is disturbed, their defensive area can grow much further in range.

All bee removal is difficult, especially bee removal from a wall, roof, chimney or other structure. There are typically five thousand to twenty thousand (5,000 to 20,000) honeybees in a bee hive. Removing Africanized honeybees is extremely challenging and can be very dangerous to persons or animals on neighboring properties in all directions regardless of where the bees are.    http://www.adkinsbeeremoval.com/africanized-honey-bee.php

Coyote

A young coyote, looking hot and tired, just walked across my driveway.  (Temperature at 2:30: 92°.)

Blind

A blind woman at the College, with her guide dog, was attempting to find the correct walkway.  I asked if she needed help.  Yes, she was trying to get to the sidewalk where the bus stands were.  She was only a few steps off.  After I guided her she proceeded to the bus.  Wow!  With the aid of a well-trained dog she was in college and navigating the city!  I have noticed here since then, adeptly finding the correct bus.

When my mother was very ill with a lung disease, mycobacterium avium complex (MAC), for which no cure has been found, the head of the pulmonary department at University Medical Center discussed her case with the rest of the department and experimented with various drugs.  One made her sun sensitive; neither of us had read the small print on the label, and when she went out for fresh air, her skin turned bright red.  Another prescription made her gradually grow blind.  We bought a variety of magnifying lenses, including a large rectangular one for reading the newspaper and a jeweler’s lens with a strap to go around the head, convenient for reading a book or doing a crossword puzzle (as well as cutting a diamond).  But going blind didn’t suit her.  I asked, would you rather breathe or see?  “See,” she answered, so we stopped that prescription and went on to another drug.

Macular degeneration runs in my father’s family.  First, direct sight goes.  I remember my aunt watching television by peeking out of the corner of her eye, as peripheral vision is the last to go.  First she played bridge with cards with giant numbers, and read large print books.  Next she graduated to Books on Tape (this before CD’s).  But without being able to see, she decided to die, and did, at 87.

One of the men I worked with at IBM was blind.  He had a guide dog (a golden retriever who left a circle of golden hair on my friend’s left leg) and a computer screen with a hand-held scanner which, when moved across the screen, translated the computer code to a touch-pad full of pins which raised for the correct Braille symbol, for his left finger.  He had a hereditary disease which had detached his retinas at age 8.  His daughter inherited it from him, but because she had been tested early, they were able to cure her.  Modern medicine!  I checked out hereditary eye diseases on the Web.  There are a number of them.  Possibly he had Coats’ disease:

Coats’ disease is also known as Coats’ Retinitis, Coats’ Syndrome, Exudative Retinitis, and Retinal Telangiectasis. There is some evidence to suggest that Coats’ Disease is caused by a somatic mutation of the NDP gene. Coats’ disease is a very rare  condition where there is abnormal development in the blood vessels behind the retina. The blood rich retinal capillaries break open, leaking the serum portion of the blood into the back of eye. The leakage causes the retina to swell, and can cause partial or complete detachment of the retina. Coats’ disease is seen predominantly in males, about 69 percent of the cases. It progresses gradually and affects central vision. It is almost always unilateral (affects only one eye). If caught early, some level of vision can typically be restored. If not caught until its late stages, complete loss of vision can occur. In its final stages, enucleation (removal of the affected eye) is a potential outcome.

I started reading Ved Mehta in The New Yorker, where his autobiography, Face to Face, was serialized. He wrote of growing up blind in Lahore, where his family lived, and his early years in the U.S.  His recollections, such as describing how he rode a bicycle, are incredible.

Autobiographical excerpt:

“Deprivation often makes a writer. I was born, in 1934, into a Hindu family in India. When I was a couple of months short of my fourth birthday, I lost my sight as the result of an attack of cerebrospinal meningitis. In India, one of the poorest countries the world has ever known, the lot of the blind was to beg with a walking stick in one hand and an alms bowl in the other. Hindus consider blindness a punishment for sins committed in a previous incarnation. But my father, a doctor, tried to fight the superstition and give me an education, like his other children, so that I could become, as he used to say, a self-supporting citizen of the world.”

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One Response to “Ah, Spring”

  1. Jim Says:

    The cottontail rabbits born last spring are now waiting for their breakfast, apple and carrot peelings, and show no fear of us.

    We have so many plants producing nectar for hummingbirds that anytime of the day they can easily observed.

    At this time of year, many ranchers here have put out their white bee boxes. Near our ranch, someone has 30 of them.
    Bees are crucially important because they pollinate flowers.

    If you spend a just few minutes in the earlier or later parts of the day in the sun, wearing minimal clothing, it will provide you with enough vitamin D to inhibit the development of macular degeneration. This will also increase your bone density. Of course, a hat and sunglasses should be worn, to prevent over-exposure of the head and eyes.

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