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July 10th 2009

    The outdoor stove has its drawbacks.  When making jam, best not to wear a red shirt.  A combination of that color and the rolling boil of sugar does something to the sensory receptors in the minds of Humming Birds.  

    Near to the location of the stove is a borderland of male Humming Bird territories.  I guess there are two nesting sites close by.  One out beyond the barn, near the far Cedar trees.  The other behind the house near the trumpet vine.  Occasionally the males loudly startle each other in the vegetable garden.

    

    I had anticipated a challenge from flies and Carpenter Bees, but not from Humming Birds.  The former two accidents in the kingdom of flying creatures one can swat without any great remorse and with an occasional  success.  The Humming Bird, I discovered, when around a red shirt and boiling sugar, does not respond to any form of human aggression.  He becomes like Aldous Huxley on mescaline.  Fascinated by everything he sees, and yet without sense of personal space or territory.  

    There were four or five of them attempting to lick nectar off me.  A performance that did not set a good example for a young Mockingbird experimenting with clover blooms while his parent sang arias from the vocabulary of an anxious Wren. 

    The jam itself is so far a dismal failure, my sinuses are struggling from many hours around wood smoke and Humming Birds have acquired a sinister hue in what remains of my other senses.  

    Tomorrow I will sneak into the grocery store to buy pectin, because jam is spread not poured.   

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