World Vegan Day | November 1

“Every time we eat, we have the power to radically transform the world we live in.” Ed Winters

 From the amazing and dedicated Earthling Ed:

“Happy #WorldVeganDay everyone. I hope that you can take five minutes today to tune into my new short film which will be live on my YouTube at 6pm (GMT).

It would mean the world to me if you watched the film and shared it with someone in your life who still consumes dairy products. World Vegan Day would be a wonderful day for them to make the change.

Thank you so much for your support as always, I’m so proud of this project and incredibly honoured to have worked with so many kind and talented people on it.”

Earthling Ed (Ed Winters) is a vegan educator, best-selling author, public speaker, and content creator, widely known for his viral debates, speeches, and video essays.

In 2018 Ed announced the opening of Unity Diner, a non-profit vegan restaurant in London where all of the profits go directly back into helping animals.

He was a guest lecturer at Harvard University in 2019 and 2020.

In 2020, Ed founded Surge Sanctuary, a forever home to abused and unwanted animals on an 18 acre site in England. The sanctuary is currently home to more than one hundred rescued animals.
Learn more about him and being vegan at https://earthlinged.org/

“Here Kitty, Kitty!”

Besides me, who wants to pet my beautiful bobcat?

It’s the witching hour…the veil is thinning…it’s the time when all my nocturnal creatures visit Casa de Enchanted Seashells. PS Check out the exact time of this video, lol.

‘Tis the Witching Time of Night

by John Keats

‘Tis ” the witching time of night”,
Orbed is the moon and bright,
And the stars they glisten, glisten,
Seeming with bright eyes to listen —
For what listen they?
For a song and for a charm,
See they glisten in alarm,
And the moon is waxing warm
To hear what I shall say.
Moon! keep wide thy golden ears —
Hearken, stars! and hearken, spheres!
Hearken, thou eternal sky!
I sing an infant’s lullaby,
A pretty lullaby.
Listen, listen, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Though the rushes that will make
Its cradle still are in the lake;
Though the linen then that will be
Its swathe, is on the cotton tree;
Though the woollen that will keep
It warm is on the silly sheep —
Listen, stars’ light, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Child, I see thee! Child, I’ve found thee
Midst of the quiet all around thee!
Child, I see thee! Child, I spy thee!
And thy mother sweet is nigh thee!
Child, I know thee! Child no more,
But a Poet evermore!
See, see, the lyre, the lyre,
In a flame of fire,
Upon the little cradle’s top
Flaring, flaring, flaring,
Past the eyesight’s bearing.
Awake it from its sleep,
And see if it can keep
Its eyes upon the blaze —
Amaze, amaze!
It stares, it stares, it stares,
It dares what no one dares!
It lifts its little hand into the flame
Unharmed, and on the strings
Paddles a little tune, and sings,
With dumb endeavour sweetly —
Bard art thou completely!
Little child
O’ th’ western wild,
Bard art thou completely!
Sweetly with dumb endeavour,
A Poet now or never,
Little child
O’ the western wild,
A Poet now or never!

Lurking Lizard: Search and Rescue

I’m involved in a search, rescue, and release mission because a baby lizard somehow sneaked in the house.

Right now he’s lying low, evading my efforts to liberate him, lurking behind the sofa.

I’ve tried everything; this isn’t the first time it’s happened, but so far I’m not successful in this rescue and release.

And that means neither is that lizard because there’s nothing for him to eat here – no flies, worms, caterpillars, nada.

I’m only trying to help.

I cleaned behind the sofa and now there’s no dust, either.

WHERE ARE YOU, LIZARD?

A brief Google search let me know that lizards symbolize resurrection, rebirth, and regeneration. In Egyptian hieroglyphics, the symbol of the lizard was representative of plentiful abundance. A lizard in one’s house is often seen to represent an old friend or acquaintance, reminding you of their spirit. 

The next morning…still no sign of this lizard, but I’m still looking. I haven’t given up yet.

Just after noon, I almost stepped on this little lizard as he was well camouflaged on a floral rug, but he made a wise choice to reveal his location. I grabbed a plastic container, pushed him in, and ran outside to set him free.

Enjoy your freedom, my friend!

Mission accomplished.

Crickets | Philosophy

Update to my dining room cricket dilemma…I was in the bathroom last night, brushing my teeth, when I looked down and witnessed the offensively loud chirping cricket hop onto the rug right near my feet.

This was quite a distance for a cricket to travel, but without really thinking about that (and I should have), I reached down, scooped him up with a page hastily torn out of a book, and dropped him in the toilet.

And flushed.

As the water was swirling and he “swam” away, I instantly thought that I had missed a valuable opportunity to have a chat with another species.

Why in the world did s/he visit me like that? Was it random or was there a message I was meant to hear?

I should have paused and taken a moment to put myself in that little cricket’s shoes (so to speak) and I now wonder what that action attempted to communicate or convey.

Instead, I lost a potential new friend and even more importantly, I acted in haste and without concern for his/her welfare.

Anyway, I’m really, REALLY sorry. Je regrette mes actions.

On the other hand, that was apparently the source of the late night chirps…

Arthur Schopenhauer said it best:

Bird of Prey

I wonder if this is the same hawk or a family member. Look at those talons!
It seems as if they no longer care if I’m outside and simply carry on with their business.
How cool is that?

Through the Window: Red Shouldered Hawk

My kitchen window is an ever-changing movie screen.

Throughout the years, it’s been the best location to view all kinds of memorable events; observing the original Angel Boy in his sandbox, throwing balls for his Border Collie, skating with his friends on the half pipe while they ate the cookies and drank the smoothies I’d bring out to them, to the fresher 2.0 versions enjoying mango-black cherry ice cream cones and playing baseball in the garden or chasing butterflies, to birds and bunnies and coyotes and bobcats, (never forgetting the rats).

Today I saw a beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk perched on a low branch in the ash tree surveying the lawn for a late lunch.

Now I know where the feathery treasures come from. I’ve been finding them where I had first seen the rodents and I had a hunch they might be silent gifts–messages to communicate that my vermin problem is being taken care of, and I think I’m right!

Red Shouldered Hawks are about 17-24 inches tall and can live 15-20 years. So regal, so lovely, so important to the balance of nature. We need to protect them and their habitats, too.

I saw him fly away but wasn’t quick enough to focus the camera to capture the incredible wingspan.

Look Down! Baby Bird Alert!

When it cooled off slightly in late afternoon, I went out to the garden to water plants because it’s been SO HOT and everything is parched. We haven’t had rain in a long, long time.

I heard chirpy calls that sounded a bit distressful. How could I tell? I like to think that I can communicate with animals–whether or not that’s true, it does make me listen to them, and I feel that I can distinguish one sound from another, sort of like when you know why your baby is crying, whether it’s hungry or tired or frustrated…

At that precise moment that I heard those chirps, I was walking on my stone pathway and I looked down. There, camouflaged on a rock, I spied a tiny bird. If I hadn’t paid attention, I would have stepped on him/her!

I ran back on the deck to grab my phone, and he had hopped up on an exposed tree root.

I began to have a chat with this darling creature who appeared to be lost and a bit scared. I can understand why, because he’s definitely NOT supposed to be sitting on a gray rock exposed to all sorts of danger.

I brought over a small pan of fresh water and watched him hop around a little and flex his wings, so I surmised he had fallen out of a nest and wasn’t actually injured.

Again I became aware of lots of birds circling the area, yellow chirpy finches calling out to this little guy, so I knew it was a Lesser Goldfinch fledgling, a common bird in Southern California and one I often am lucky enough to see around here.

From the tree root he hopped onto a hanging succulent and finally made it all the way into a basin shaped planter on top of the tree stump. With his family encouraging him to join them and fly to safety, I thought it was best to give them all space and went in the house.

Later, just before dark, I checked and he was gone. As soon as I woke up this morning, I checked again and there’s no sign of him.

Fingers crossed, I’m hopeful that this was another happy ending at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

I discovered a lovely poem by Mary Oliver:

Goldfinches

In the fields
we let them have-
in the fields
we don’t want yet-

where thistles rise
out of the marshlands of spring, and spring open-
each bud
a settlement of riches-

a coin of reddish fire-
the finches
wait for midsummer,
for the long days,

for the brass heat,
for the seeds to begin to form in the hardening thistles,
dazzling as the teeth of mice,
but black,

filling the face of every flower.
Then they drop from the sky.
A buttery gold,
they swing on the thistles, they gather

the silvery down, they carry it
in their finchy beaks
to the edges of the fields,
to the trees,

as though their minds were on fire
with the flower of one perfect idea-
and there they build their nests
and lay their pale-blue eggs,

every year,
and every year
the hatchlings wake in the swaying branches,
in the silver baskets,

and love the world.
Is it necessary to say any more?
Have you heard them singing in the wind, above the final fields?
Have you ever been so happy in your life?

Compassion

“Compassion is the awareness of a deep connection between yourself and all creatures.”

This picture could totally be me.

Someone once told me I was a wolf in a former life and I wasn’t actually all that surprised. Even as a little girl in Detroit. somehow I always knew that wolves and coyotes were my spirit animals.

During my lifetime, I rescued a wolf hybrid, studied wolves in college, and worked with wolves at a wildlife refuge.

There’s nothing to compare with the feeling of deep intelligence when a wolf looks directly into your eyes. It’s transcendent.

Humans really really need to stop murdering sentient beings. Really. It breaks my heart.

From Don’t Fund the Wolf Massacre States

Dove and Hawk Encounter

Intently absorbed in my dishwashing chore, I heard a scuffling sort of sound from the backyard and looked out the kitchen window.

Perched on top of the canvas awning shading a garden bench was a giant hawk. I followed his eyes and saw a dove rush for safety under a lavender bush.

I watched him fly a few feet away to the fence and grabbed my camera. It’s not as sharp a photo as I wished, but it’s better than nothing!

I hoped the dove had escaped even though I know doves are a favorite meal of birds of prey. Honestly, with all the rats and mice and bunnies running rampant in my garden, I think those creatures are much better options than a poor little bird.

I heard a familiar “coocoocoo” — take a look at what I found on my deck, none other than the dove. She wasn’t alone; there was a baby dove, too! They weren’t at all scared of me as I crept closer and closer to see if anyone was injured by the hawk.

I’ve never before seen them on the deck. As usual, I didn’t want to interfere unless it was necessary. They sat close together for a couple of hours, then mom flew up to the roof.

She spent a long time calling to the baby to encourage him to fly to her, to no avail. Just as I was prepping a box with a soft towel to scoop up the baby for a visit to Project Wildlife, the mom came back.

This time, they flew away together.

It was a happy ending for the doves and I was once again impressed but not surprised by the obvious caring and affectionate behavior of animals to their children that often far surpasses human maternal actions.

Mom’s devotion to her child was inspiring. Who can claim animals aren’t sentient beings?

Animal moms are some of the best moms on this planet.

Don’t Move, Hummingbird!

Finally, I was swift enough to snap a couple photos of this tiny hummingbird perched for the briefest of moments on a string of outdoor lights.

I haven’t had one nest on the deck in a couple of years, but they’re all around.

Hello, friend!