October 27th, 2011

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

The Birdfeeder Saga, Second Installment

Went back to the store that had the birdfeeder we THOUGHT we wanted. Turns out that craning my neck through the shop window wasnt' quite adequate, and the feeder I saw was way too small for our requirements. They did, however, have a selection of tray feeders, which is more than we have found anywhere else in this town - and we eventually walked out of there with not QUITE the thing that we were after but with something that Would Do - it was, in theory, a cedarwood hutch feeder with a roof - one side of the roof lifts up so you can fill it, and you can actually take out that side of the feeder, a transparent plastic thing that slides into the grooves of the feeder, and when you do that and close the roof it becomes a tray feeder of a reasonable size - the other side of the roof, and therefore the transparent wall, is fixed in place and cannot be removed... but I'm getting to that. Keep reading.

So. We bring it home. The cats... are a little nonplussed by it. Perhaps because it is metal, and cold, the mesh on the feeder's bottom which holds the seed is not something they appear happy to walk ou - their sensitive footsies don't like it or something. But be that as it may, they inspected it from top to bottom, and then they decided that it was nothing to do with them after all, yawned in bored superiority, and went back to tuck their feet under the heater.

This morning, we went out to fix the feeder in place - required drilling a couple of holes, screwing in a couple of screws, and lo, there it is, sitting on the railing. We took out the front plastic divider but the back, remember, is still there.

Then we sat back to watch.

The first visitors were a trio of VERY wary and baffled grey squirrels. The "WTF?!?" faces were priceless as they made darting forays ever closer to the new monster, but did not quit dare get close enough to it to take food. They'd touch the edge with one foot, and hten dart away, spooked at their own courage. FInally, one of them ventured far enough to snag a peanut.

That did it. The second guy figured that if the first guy (a) didn't actually get eaten and (b) found something to eat, it HAD to be safe.

The trouble was, he went around the BACK. And then he tried to go back inside under the roof... through the transparent back panel. BONK. His expression was a joy to behold, this semi-affronted semi-terrified outrage - "They put up a Magic! Feeder! With Invisible Walls!"

They seem to have got over their intial fright, now - at least the grey squirrels have. I haven't seen one of our little brown ones yet, and the bluejays have been circling but haven't landed yet. SO there's more fun and games to come. I really should have taken a video of all this but by the time I thought to go get the camera all the really funny initial exploration stuff was already over. Sigh. My timing sucked.

Oh, and we bought something else, too. The squirrels had chewed through the hinges of the lid of our plastic food bin. Yes, AGAIN. This meant that the lid had no purchase any more and required large heavy objects parked on top of it to keep it in place. A visiting raccoon figured out how to knowck down the planter which we put on top of the bin, and even if it wasn't for the annoyance and the frustration of sweeping up spilled soil from all over the deck every morning there was also the affront that once he knocked down the planter kicking the lid aside was an easy matter and we kept on finding the thing off and all the peanuts in the feed, well, EATEN. Well, this could not be allowed to go on, clearly. So this time we got a metal bucket with a tight-fitting lid on (NO HINGES!!!) and we'll see how the raccoons and the squirrels like THAT. But in the meantime it's added to the hilarity to watch the squirrles make gleeful leaps into the plastic bin which they KNEW held food... and emerge baffled, empty-handed, and furiously frustrated at the fact that it contains nothing but the latest crop of the dry leaves coming off our big leaf maple in the back.

I love my wildlife.
book and glasses


Here we are, and we are very close to the arrival of "River", the anthology. My thanks to Dark Quest publishing and hard-working production editor and designer Danielle Ackley-Mcphail.

I am keeping one thing under wraps until the book comes out and that is the utterly utterly fabulous "map of contents" (which was produced by ou own plunderpuss) but it's about time I released a full TOC revealing all the wonderful stories by all my wonderful contributors.

They are:

"The Well Keeper and the WOlf" by Tiffany Trent
"Rites" by Mary Victoria
"Fall" by Irene Radford
"They Are Forgotten Until They Come Again" by Jay Lake
"Scatological" by Deb Taber
"Floodlust" by Jacey Bedford
"Five Bullets on the Banks of the Sadji" by Keffy R.M. Kehrli
"My Grandfather's River" by Brenda Cooper
"The RIver" by Joshua Palmatier
"Lady of the Waters" by Seanan McGuire
"Vodnik Laughter" by Ada Milenkovich Brown
"River-kissed" by Joyce Reynolds Ward
"Beyond the Lighthouse" by Nisi Shawl

Between them, these writers have been nominated for or have won any number of industry awards (the Tiptree, the Nebula, World Fantasy Award, even the Hugo); they have been published in what reads like a who's who of industry magazines and othe ranthologies; they have written acclaimed novels which have been published, or are at work at novels which are yet to be acclaimed; they are survivors... er, graduates... of eminent writing workshops like Clarion or the Milford group, but over and above all of this they are two things.

They are all FABULOUS WRITERS. As the stories began to come in for this anthology I was beside myself with joy, with amazement, with absolute gratitude that writers of this ilk would come out to play in my world and give me stories like these. This collection will be a treasure.

They are all, also, all of them, writers and artist, my friends. I had a vision for this anthology when I was pulling it together, and I reached out to the people who I hoped would help me bring it to life, and they responded, all of them, with THIS COLLECTION.

They are my friends and they are some of the best writers working in the genre today. This is going to be a keeper. AND it will be out in good time for Christmas. If you love somebody VERY MUCH, put this book under their tree.

Ladies and gentlemen of "River", thank you once again for coming with me on this journey. I think you will all love the company that you are in.

You may now all go out and Start Spreading the Word. As soon as I have a URL where it is possible to go and order or pre-order the book, I will be disseminating that information.