10 October 2011

Snoozing in the Rain

Now that fall has finally dropped in, the flock and I have enjoyed leaving the windows and patio door open throughout the day and especially the night. Letting the cool breeze of this season of harvest and holidays waft in has a calming effect on me, an enriching effect on the birds as they mimic the songbirds, and a particularly relaxing effect on Kenobi as he sleeps most of the day and night away on the porch. 
The little guy happily hops out the door almost as soon as I open it. He attempts to taste the many plants we now have out there, and I do my best to keep them out of his reach. Bunnies provide an incredibly efficient pruning service, but many decorative plants are more toxic to them than a 3-week Phish festival in Western Oregon. The Feather Dorm will be just fine without a hallucinating, tweeking, or OD bunny. After giving up on reaching any contraband snacks, he sniffs the air and then finds a suitable spot to lay down and enjoy a snooze.
This past weekend, a low pressure system developed off the coast which spun on top of us for 3 days, dumping super sized rain buckets and walloping the building with fierce wind gusts. Kenobi, however, remained undeterred. He spent all weekend on the porch with the rain blowing in on him. Each time he’d come in to grab some tasty pellets or welcome Ms. Flock Advisor home, I’d notice little water beads on his coat. 
This rabbit hates being wet. I know this because I gave him a nearly coronary-inducing bath a little over a year ago. The minute his fur matted down under the sink faucet, his whole body froze. His eyes got wide at first, and then the lids began to droop down. I thought he was a goner for sure. Scooping him out of the sink I could feel his heart vibrating against his chest, so I knew he was still alive for a moment. I then determined that the water had scared him and proceeded to do away with it hastily by employing Ms. Flock Advisor’s hair dryer. As soon as that thing started howling and whooshing warm air on his back, he went to sleep. His whole body was limp and when I sat him on the couch he just laid there. I ran a towel over his fur to get off any excess water, then left him. The fur of a domesticated rabbit is extremely dense and impossible to get dry in a hurry. He began to hop around on his own after a bit, but wasn’t himself until the dampness was gone. I was thankful that he didn’t stroke out and resolved to never subject him to a water faucet again. 
You can imagine my surprise when I noticed that he was voluntarily spending his day out in the rain. Even when he came in from the storm he only appeared energized. Something about being out in the rain gave him the energy of a puppy, or whatever a tiny bunny is. I’m not about to dunk him in the bath tub, but it has been a real joy to see him enjoy the outdoors and all the elements.
I also got out for a 10k run in stormy conditions this weekend, and I’m still buzzing from that. It was part of a virtual set of races promoted on several websites as the Worldwide Festival of Races. The object is to have runners go out together, in spirit, once a year no matter how many miles separate them. Having that run on my schedule was a great goal considering my somewhat painful experience at the previous weekend’s half marathon, and getting to go out in the pouring rain and heaving wind only it made more invigorating. It was more like playing than pounding out 6.2 miles. 
The rain has cleared for now, but the windows and patio are still open. A fresh pumpkin pie is in the fridge next to an assortment of seasonal brews and farmer’s market vegetables. Add to all of that some great football on tonight (Bears v. Lions) and it has already been an incredible fall season. Here’s to yours!

01 October 2011

Come on in, October!

Today is the first day of October, and for me that means the season of good food, great beer and perfect weather has arrived. I love fall more than any other season. In addition to the aforementioned reasons, the redfish are hungry, the hurricane swells arrive and I can enjoy watching football with the door and windows open. 
This morning, the flock greeted my preferred season’s first sunrise with me. The air had cooled some twenty degrees from the high yesterday, making it a perfect morning to enjoy my coffee on the porch while the English Premier League’s early game got underway. Everton couldn’t best the striking force of Liverpool, but I don’t think Sprite and Kenobi cared. They were both happy to play in the crisp morning air as the sun blazed up from behind the tree line. 
Our birds chirp, squawk and call first thing in the morning when they hear us begin to stir. It’s typical bird behavior. Sort of their way of saying, “I made it through the night! Did you? Yay! I’m so glad! Lets eat, and then take a nap.” I don’t know if our local song birds’ message is the same, but they of course greet the sun every morning with their own more melodic voices. With the door open this morning as the wild birds began their calls, Sprite, Lennon, Cher and Coconut were able to answer them back. It is really funny to hear a whistling cockatiel answer a raspy-voiced mockingbird. Sprite made a few whistles of his own, but ended up showing more interest in the neighbors walking by on the sidewalk: “Hi!, Hello. He-ll-oooo! Com’ ere.” If we Free-Willyed him into the rainforest somewhere, I wonder if the locals would think an incredibly friendly but hard to find American had been lost amongst the brush?
In addition to being the first day of my favorite time of year, it’s also the Saturday of the Disney Wine and Food Festival Half Marathon at Epcot! This is my favorite race, and I can’t wait to get in the car and head over this afternoon. The start gun pops at 10pm, so I’ll get to enjoy my first cool-weather run of the year tonight. This cold front couldn’t have picked a better time to come sweeping down from up yonder.
Kenobi has obviously been anticipating this cool down for a while--he’s been wearing his winter coat all year.