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Just for fun: the random, useless announcements thread!

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Comments

  • @Jeroen said:
    I was on my bicycle on my way to the apothecary to collect medications when I saw a beautiful bird with white, powder blue and light grey plumage, I was later told it was a Jay. Lovely.

    Jays are members of the crow family. Here they used to be made into hats and are feisty and elusive. A pairing, like all crows, will protect their young ferociously, attacking humans who come too close to the nesting site.

    I saw this a few years ago with jays attacking a young man they felt threatened by. I had to go through the same area but was safe from their interest. We also had a couple of garden magpie (also crows) chicks who were pushed out of the nest and have oversized claws to defend themselves from cats and foxes, with watching parents as back up … Fearless.

    Here is my first jay this year, pictured a few days ago. Beautiful feathers for mad milliners …

    Jeroen
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2023

    In Vancouver, crows often nested in trees overhanging the neighborhood side walks. Getting dive bombed by protective crows was routine for a couple of months every year and even the mail service could be stopped for some homes where more aggressive crows were scaring the mail delivery people.

    Nest-protecting Crows will usually only attack at someone's head from behind where they can get in and out safely and dish out surprise strikes with relative impunity. They do the same with other predator's as well.
    Years ago I learned that if you turn around and walk backward when passing by a problem nest, the crows are too unnerved to effectively attack when they dive in from behind to effect a strike upon a cowed head and instead find a face staring right at them.

    lobster
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Years ago, my wife had a team of sled dogs. One winter, we had a large number of Ravens that hung out in our yard, and they amused themselves by picking up frozen dog poop and playing with it - carrying it high into the air and passing it from one bird to another. When they tired of the game, they would drop the poop into the woods or into other people's yards, saving me a lot of trouble - they kept the dogyard cleaned up all winter. They also harassed dogs, cats and people walking on the road - not defensively, but - apparently - for their own amusement.

    Shoshin1Kotishkalobster
  • howhow Veteran Veteran


    It's still too early for much gardening but 51 out of 52 planted garlic plants started in Oct 2022 seem pretty excited to get going.

    Shoshin1KotishkaVastmindFleaMarket
  • @how garlic is the new Western Zen onion concentrate …
    Spring onions, powered shallots, mini leeks, seeds and alliums all in one health package

    Next March month, I go here or similar for my GB seeds
    https://vitalseeds.co.uk/

    … must be similar in Canada and seed swapping initiatives etc …

    At the moment I only have some french marigold seeds from last year …

    Pansies I planted in autumn are starting to bud, primulas are in flower,
    Lots of greenery and daffy daffodils, self heal has weathered well …

    Shoshin1howJeroen
  • Didn't know you could eat lavender...it grows here pretty well. Might be time to harvest some of them.

    Also....if I had a crow nest / raven spot next to my house, I would definitely call their "leader" Saruman.

    Birds here are mostly garzas and sparrows. They mostly stay away from humans. There is also a cernícalo in the 'hood that hunts the other two types of birds down from time to time... we also get robins sometimes, but they are rarer.

    In fact... The only time I had a "stand off" with a bird was with a robin; yes, these mini birds with their reddish brick coloured chests. I knew they were extremely territorial...but not to the point that he would try to pick a fight with a human....probably a warrior in a former life? Or a drunken brawler..?

    Shoshin1FleaMarket
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran
    edited March 2023


    Well I headed to the beach for a refreshing dip .. it's bloody hot today...
    Another cyclone has formed in the tropics cyclone Judy, however according to the cyclone watchers it's not going to hit Aotearoa, but sadly it's heading to Vanuatu and possibly Fiji...hope it's not a powerful one like Gabrielle...

    On my way back up the track I spotted a tiny 'tailless' skink dart across the track and then came across this...

    worker ants busily carving up the skink's tail to take back to feed the colony...

    The skink lives to fight another day and the ant colony will feast on its tail...All in a day's work for Mother Nature....

    And further up at the midway lookout point I spotted 'shark bait' ... a lone swimmer swimming across the bay...

    Fosdick
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    Went for a skinny dip earlier, the water was like getting into a lukewarm bath nice... Today is also Census day, where we all (included those who sleep in their cars or sleep rough) have to stand up and be counted, so on the island there are around a dozen Census people whose job is to deliver census information packs to people...As I was packing up to leave the beach I saw a Census guy making his way along the beach asking people if they have received and completed the census forms...
    This is him on his way back along the beach...He had just finished with most of the nude sunbathers ...

    On the way down the track this morning for some strange reason I was thinking about dragonflies, and that I hadn't seen many this year...And on my way back up the track I came across this wonderful aerial display of not only dragonflies but also monarchs ...


    First the dragonflies were chasing the monarchs, then the other way round...
    It was a wonderful sight to see...

    Fosdick
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Hah, that's great. Reminds me of the time a few years ago when I saw a Merlin chasing down and eating dragonflies, on the tidal flats at Eklutna.

    Shoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    I'm at the airport waiting to board a flight to Wellington to visit my daughter for the weekend... Looking forward to seeing her and doing some sightseeing...Got searched going through security, the alarm went off even though I had made sure I didn't have anything on me which would set the alarm off ( in the past I had forgotten that I had coins on me which set the alarm off) ...It must have been my earrings which set it off this time...

    Kotishka
  • Have a good trip @Shoshin1 .

    My yard's been busy lately. The other day there was a coyote, today an egret caught a skink... Here's a picture of the coyote and the bird consortium from earlier. The two owls are in the tree below the hawk somewhere.


    FosdickJeroenShoshin1lobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Wildlife is sometimes closer than you think. Just yesterday a pigeon crashed into my living room window, but it turned out that it was being chased by a hawk. On impact, the hawk killed it and took the corpse into our garden and started devouring it. Feathers everywhere!

    lobster
  • @Jeroen said:
    Wildlife is sometimes closer than you think. Just yesterday a pigeon crashed into my living room window, but it turned out that it was being chased by a hawk. On impact, the hawk killed it and took the corpse into our garden and started devouring it. Feathers everywhere!

    It's weird watching stuff like that happen. Like that thing that was just alive is now food.
    I was listening to some youtube videos by Ven. Thanissaro and in one I think he said the thing we all have in common is that we are each other's food.

    lobster
  • although this is a wet year, the Western US drought is expected to last another 7 years +/-.

  • This year has been a bit of a welcome oddity. Many people around are landscaping to drought resistant options, and organizations have restricted water use on grassy areas with more restrictions coming. I believe everyone is coming around to the direction. I'll be happy to see the grass out front change when it does though not sure what it will be yet. Open to suggestions.

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    When I visited my daughter in Wellington, she took me to Zealandia wildlife sanctuary ..
    Where we saw Tuatara, Takahē. and a number of other wildlife...

    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/XbvIRxm8G4M
    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/ZF1yNOCjZwY
    The leaf canopy under which the Tuatara has its nest, is from the Kawakawa bush... herbal medicine, you can make tea with it...
    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/M8HhMdMonUE
    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/HtxMp_BfPfo

    Enjoyed catching up with my daughter and the visit to Zealandia...Other times when I've visited Wellington, the weather wasn't the best so we never managed to get out there...

    KotishkalobsterFosdick
  • @FleaMarket said:
    This year has been a bit of a welcome oddity. Many people around are landscaping to drought resistant options, and organizations have restricted water use on grassy areas with more restrictions coming. I believe everyone is coming around to the direction. I'll be happy to see the grass out front change when it does though not sure what it will be yet. Open to suggestions.

    Drought resistant herbs, meadow, chamomile lawn, miniature forest, gnome/buddha/sculpture sanctuary, pot garden, weed sanctuary, rock garden … dependent on circumstances 😁😌🙏🏽

    FleaMarket
  • I have a pretty big (will take a picture today to share) Myoporum laetum which I have to say it is pretty resistant to drought. It will still need water...but it looks really beautiful and the flowers it produces smell very sweet. It is original from @Shoshin1 's Aotearoa.

    ....also....I began to study Dogen today.... Bendowa.....haiya..... ! There will be many posts coming up soon....!

    Shoshin1
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @Kotishka
    ....also....I began to study Dogen today.... Bendowa.....haiya..... ! There will be many posts coming up soon....!

    Although Dogen purists would be offended by what I write here....

    I thought Bendowa is largely Dogen's marketing proposal for why his teaching was superior to any of his contemporaries of the time. While I am sure Bendowa provided much initial motivation & comfort for many of his followers, the adversarial flavor of it, seems like a dangerous flirtation where one's worldly attachments are in danger of only getting exchanged for spiritual equivalents of the same.

    Yes, it also includes beautiful representations of truth, & the practices of those days were historically combative, & this might have also been Dogen's true Koan, but I think that Bendowa, on its own, compounds as many delusions as it addresses.

    I'll be interested to hear what your studies of it are.

    lobster
  • There will be many posts coming up soon....!

    Hooray!

    “… let's have a heated debate” - Mrs Merton

    FleaMarketShoshin1
  • I took the opportunity to properly sit for the first time in a while.
    It was nice. I might do it more.

    Shoshin1Jeroenlobster
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Kotishka said:
    ....also....I began to study Dogen today.... Bendowa.....haiya..... ! There will be many posts coming up soon....!

    I will gladly lend my grey matter to commenting upon such an endeavour! Well done I say!

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    First jolk in ten days

    A little ray of sunshine,,,

    lobsterFleaMarketFosdick
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran
    edited April 2023

    It's another beautiful Autumn's day, so I headed to the beach...

    I had my first skinny dip yesterday after being in isolation...
    With all the cyclones and floodings over the last few months, we haven't really had a summer to speak of...
    So I'm making the most of it...

    Also ...I was washing up on Sunday and happened to look out the kitchen window and this little fellow was making its way a cross the drive to the pond close by...

    It turns out it had escaped from one of the houses on the property a couple of months ago...
    Anyhow I put it in a box and its owner came and picked it up...

    FleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Happy Easter Sunday everyone!

    FleaMarket
  • @Jeroen said:
    Happy Easter Sunday everyone!

    Happy Easter @Jeroen, and a nice day out at that.

    Jeroen
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Happy Easter - We are risen!

    Shoshin1
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    Happy Easter - We are risen!

    Zombies ? ;);)

    Fosdick
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited April 2023

    At least two interpretations: Either we have successfully hauled ourselves out of bed this AM, or ego has died and we have ascended into the light of Realization. In my case at least, odds heavily favor the first possibility. Zombies you mention might occur in the second case - the remains of ego drifting like hungry ghosts and calling out for brains.

    I tend to, at least partially, equate the idea of resurrection with the process of enlightenment. Resurrection, seems to me, to be rather on the order of a metaphor.

    Shoshin1
  • Anyone know where I can find or how could I make myself a good square meditation stool? I cannot use the cushion and I just discovered these exist!

    Thank you!

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2023

    Are you talking about a meditation bench? They are pretty easy to make. You just need to know how high or low you want it to be, along with what angle you'd like the sitting surface to be. Usually, you want the sitting surface of the bench to point directly from where you're sitting on it, to the center of where your kneeling knees are on the floor.. The idea is to have the sitting surface be sloped enough to be comfortable supporting you without any undue impingement on the back of your legs by its front edge...but not to be so sloped that you'd slide off of it or unduly offload your weight onto your knees.
    Some like the supporting bottoms of the legs of the bench to be rounded slightly so that you can adjust the angle of the bench to what best suits you. If you are going to be carrying this around with you, you can also have the bench legs hinged so that it folds into a more compact and portable design. The basic support structure of your typical meditation bench can be cut from a single 3ft long by 6" wide by 1/2 to 3/4 " deep board.

    lobster
  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited April 2023

    Hmm... it is time to visit the old hardware store then!

    Studying Dogen has "re-kindled" my zazen but after a magnetic resonance imaging test they've discovered I have Chondromalacia in my knee caps and grade I, so it can still be "saved". He recommended me, that if I wanted to have healthy knees, I had to get a good piece of equipment to not have them either in suspension nor bent in any way or form (90 degrees is the "no-go" border).

    What you described sounds like I cannot use as kneeling, seiza, would put too much stress on my knee caps. I was thinking on something more like this...

    Or this....the man sitting with the singing bowl to his left.

    Edit: @how Maybe "edit" the kneeling bench to make it slightly bigger and that's it?

    Edit 2: Or simply go Swedish? https://www.islas.ikea.es/lanzarote/es/pd/nammaro-taburete-ext-tinte-marron-claro-art-70510300

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2023

    @Kotishka
    That Swedish option looks good..
    While everyone's body is unique, there are some basic sitting instructions about the physical postures that seem to apply to most folks.

    A chair has been my solution whenever I've injured a hip, knee, or ankle and have been forced out of the Seiza option. Here, the only warnings are about choosing a chair whose sitting height that allows one's feet to rest firmly upon the floor with the legs bent straight up & down at 90 degrees and the seat surface to match the height of your knees so as to allow unimpeded blood circulation and maximum upper body stability.
    A small wedge of cushion to help tilt the coccyx and allow a comfortably upright spine is also recommended.

    Yes, it's understandable to wish to be able to sit in a way that matches with the rest of those practicing Sangha members, but isn't the real deal about what works best for your own present and particular physical limitations?
    Cross-legged sitting positions only really make sense when they can add to ones overall sitting stability. Pyramidal-based sitting positions actually decline in stability in a cross-legged sitting position, the higher one's knees are off the ground.

    Avoid resting against the back of the chair if you can, as it tends one towards a sleepier sit. The final concern is to watch that your sitting hand mudra can still rest comfortably in your lap in this setup so that your arms & shoulders are not unduly tensed to maintain your posture.
    A small folding chair whose back can be cut off without reducing its structural integrity might be interesting. It sounds like you might have a bit of a fun experiment ahead of you.

    Kotishka
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited April 2023

    @kotishka you have an ikea on Lanzarote? I don’t know why but that rather surprises me… I guess they truly are everywhere.

  • KotishkaKotishka Veteran
    edited April 2023

    @Jeroen
    Yep! And I have to say...they have provided a great meditation stool for my burning knees. Also around 3kg weight...so quite portable. Also 29 euros.... Spiritual / Zen tax avoided :pleased:

    @how This device is probably the best alternative if someone cannot sit crossed legged on top of a zafu. I put it on top of my zabuton and it is the same. No pain, no discomfort, no more worries of "will I be sore after this sitting?".
    I can also now go to different locations when my main room is busy for just sitting and doing nothing. I have to say being observed while doing zazen is like trying to pick your nose during school without being caught: it is simply not possible for me.

    Gassho! Good zazen to all.

    Shoshin1Jeroenlobster
  • I walked to the market today for the first time. I got a little soft-cooler backpack big enough to carry a carton of eggs and a few other things. The walk isn't too far, maybe 3/4 mile. It was the longest I'd been outside in some time and the sun felt good with the breeze. I'm going to do it again next week.

    Kotishkalobster
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    Had a busy day today....Had to go over to Auckland, dental appointment, the dentist had to drill clean out and re-fill the tooth at no charge...

    After I took the train to Onehunga did a bit of shopping, and on the way back to the city central train the train stopped at a station it was not meant to stop at and the passengers were told there was a big fire close to Newmarket station (the station the train was meant to stop at, we were given the option of waiting on the train or catching a bus, I opt for the bus...Got to the ferry terminal with a minute to spare...

    When I arrived at my car, I spotted what I first thought was a 'dead' bird laying by my front tire, but then it moved, but couldn't fly away....I picked it up off the busy road and put it on a bush twig by the footpath...Tauhou AKA Wax-eye
    https://www.youtube.com/shorts/PtG1jDkX_W0

    FleaMarketKotishka
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    Well, here it is the middle of April and we've still got 2 feet of snow on the ground. Normally, there are actual leaves sprouting on the trees by May 1st, but I'm not sure they're going to make the deadline this year. I don't even see any leaf buds yet.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Well here we’ve had leaves on the trees for a good month, it’s been steadily progressing from frosty mornings to what we have now, 7 degrees celsius at night and 16 during the day. Not quite t-shirt weather yet but there have been blossoming trees, birds seeking out nesting spots in the hedges, and flowerbeds in bloom. Spring is here, if not quite in Alaska yet.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2023

    Despite the last three years of a slow spring show, and my written warnings to myself on my yearly calendar to not plant my veggies till May, got fooled again by some false weather starts to try it in March...again! Steller Sealion announcements from offshore rockeries, exotic once-a-year woodpecker mating cries, peacocks goose-stepping in slow motion doing full feather displays across main streets just to show us they can and pregnant deer everywhere.....say that I'm probably not the only one with ill-met expectations of warmer weather.

    Kotishka
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran

    Windy weather here also expecting a drop in temperature with heavy rain and gale force winds forecast for the weekend...Autumn is finally making its presence felt...Still can't complain, could be worse...

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Glad to see that you don’t live in one of those places where its all oriented about the car, @fleamarket. I was reading about urban planning in Houston, and it seems a lot of roads there don’t have pavements next to them, so you can’t go anywhere on foot!

    Beautiful flowers!

    FleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Shoshin1lobster
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Sentient Being Oceania Veteran
    edited April 2023

    @Jeroen said:

    Nice one @Jeroen ...
    Perhaps it should be in this order ...like administering medicine ...
    Dopamine
    Oxytocin
    Serotonin
    Endorphins

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited April 2023

    A friend of mine is doing a sleep course… she sleeps very badly, but it does make me wonder, what can you teach people about sleeping better? I would have thought that everyone who makes it to middle age would be an expert sleeper. :)

    Of course buddhists are more interested in Awakening than sleeping.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited April 2023

    @Jeroen

    Outside of the possible medical causes for sleeping poorly....

    I would suggest that sleep, like meditation, is best to be approached as a life lesson, rather than as a limited-time event. Thinking of sleep (or meditation) as a relatively isolated experience can obfuscate all of our moment-to-moment reactions to phenomena we make in daily life that eventually make up much of the foundation of that sleep (or meditation). What are suffering's causes and the means of its cessation?

    It's not that the teachings for a night of better sleep are not easily available to everyone, it's that what's called for to consistently achieve a better sleep is a far bigger ask than what most people are prepared to put up with.

    Jeroen
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    There are over 1,000 bot applicants. I ain't touchin' em. When @Linc does a forum upgrade, they'll disappear anyway, so....

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited April 2023

    @Jeroen said:
    Well here we’ve had leaves on the trees for a good month, it’s been steadily progressing from frosty mornings to what we have now, 7 degrees celsius at night and 16 during the day. Not quite t-shirt weather yet but there have been blossoming trees, birds seeking out nesting spots in the hedges, and flowerbeds in bloom. Spring is here, if not quite in Alaska yet.

    The Maybush, or Hawthorn, is out in full flower, which heralds the promise of finer weather and ,no more frosts. Some plants have pushed ahead early, others are lazily biding their time...
    I adore this time of year...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Today is May Day. Pole dancing.
    Had the door to the garden open yesterday to cool cats and little blue butterflies but brought my seedlings in for the night …
    Heard a bee buzzing happily sucking out nectar.
    Saw one brave nasturtium coming up, self seeded from last year.

    tiny mint moths are flying excited by my lime and after 8 mints …

    Iz summer? Iz scorchio? I luvs seasoning. Nasturtiums and morning glory in soak to plant in a few hours … My new pineapple sage is growing fiercely …

    I am doing elemental focus (shingon practice now).
    NAMU DASHI KONGO RENGHE HUM HRIH

    May May be auspicious ♥️🌞🫶

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