Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Murder of Crows, A Mischief of Mice!

We woke up this morning to the screams of dozens of crows on our front lawn.  I jumped out of bed and grabbed my sketchbook, stood at the bedroom window and drew gesture drawings.  I love it when the crows descend for one of their noisy, busy conventions.  As I was sketching I remembered that the name for a big group of crows is a "murder of crows."  What could be better?  I decided that today's drawings would be of large groups of animals or birds or insects.  I found one of the websites that lists these fanciful names ( and copied down some of the ones I was most likely to see today.

Right away I went to my back studio, where the day before there had been a small army of ants making their way across the door sill that separates one studio from the other.  I could already see it, the marching ants, stopping to salute each other when they meet on the chemical trail-- I had been watching them yesterday and noticed how they pause when they encounter another one.  But this morning there wasn't a trace of the army.  Well, this is probably the first time ever that I've been disappointed not to find ants in the house;  so I put down my pen and went over to mist the olive  and lemon trees that are pouting in their winter quarters over in a somewhat sunny corner.  And then I noticed a spattering of scale on the lemon tree!  Not a very mobile insect, but an insect nonetheless.  It's not on the list, so I had to make up a name for the group, and I think "spattering" sounds about right.

For my third group of animals I have chosen a mischief of mice, actually Jesse's toy mousies;  but thanks to Jesse, these are the only mice around our house.  The little one down in the front without a tail is his Old Favorite, his Velveteen Rabbit of mousies.  But lately he has actually been sleeping with Big Gray in the center.  The others live on the floor in various rooms, get lost under closet doors, and are corralled each month when our cleaner comes and puts all to rights.

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