Tag Archives: flivvervaats

Books on Ice

My dear friend Miranda K√ľnstler is back from Berlin. She has spent the past two months following the elusive and deadly Spider Swallows on their migratory journey east from Lisbon into Mongolia.

I made a huge pitcher of cold brewed ice coffee and she brought me back this delightful tote bag! The perfect size for my flivvervaat tracking notebook, my camera, and my flask. And Bubo snacks. We’re running low on vole jerky, hopefully Mordecai will send a package from wherever he may be. (I’m trying to feel unconcerned since I have not heard from him in months and his last letter left me feeling oddly unsettled.)

We gathered on the widow’s walk with friends last night to watch the burgundy sliver moon sink and to watch the fireworks on Coney Island rise. It’s hard to believe that another summer has passed and soon fall will be upon us. The leaves are already turning a bit – the cool weather after Hurricane Irene has made the trees believe it is fall and so they are gearing up for their showcase of colors before winter. Bubo and the dragons soared through the smoke down at Coney Island and came back with hot dogs for everyone.

I never ask her for particulars. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

And, because I know you so well, below is my recipe for Ice Coffee, Miranda K√ľnstler Style:

1. In a large jar (I use an enormous Mason jar) stir together 1 cup of ground coffee and 4 1/2 cups of water. Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight (or 12 hours).

2. Strain twice through a fine mesh sieve or coffee filters or a sieve lined with cheese cloth or a sieve lined with coffee filters, etc. etc. etc.

3. Add equal parts cold water to your coffee concentrate. That’s 4 1/2 cups, dears.

4. Serve in a tall glass with ice and cinnamon milk. (That’s milk mixed with cinnamon and a dash of sugar.)

5. Sip and pontificate.

Peaceful Morning

How did you fair through Hurricane Irene? Or Tropical Storm Irene.

Saturday afternoon, I became distressed – the catacombs are full of history and as-yet-discovered items, and my fear was that the storm surge would cause my subterranean river to seep through the sandbag and rock wall we’d constructed. So I began moving items to higher ground, which took hours. When I pulled a crate of old shaving kits (some relative must have been a traveling salesman) away from near the entrance to the grotto, I discovered an even larger crate, this one filled with Madagascarin Singing Sponges!

These sponges are about the size of a regulation American softball, yet they can absorb approximately 5 gallons of water each. When they absorb water, they sing! I carefully stuffed all the sponges into the sandbags, and even made a little pile around the edges of the sandbag wall. Exhausted and anxious, I shuttered the windows and sat in my library, hoping for sleep and waiting for the power to go out.

The Vivarium was nearly silent which is incredibly rare, but the birds had huddled into their wings waiting for the storm. Bubo sat vigilant on the back of my reading chair and the flivvervaats were emitting their slight cumin scent – a sure sign that they were petrified.

I must have drifted into a sleep, because I woke to singing around 4 am. At first it sounded like a hymn, but then I realized that it was Chains of Love by Erasure. In French AND Malagasy. Based on the fact that the singing wasn’t very loud, I reasoned that not all of the sponges had become wet, and so we were safe.

And then it was morning. The Kurundu Bird was singing its rain drop songs, and the flivvervaats were trilling from the cabinets. Bubo was outside in the garden and the air was gentle. The singing from the catacombs/grotto was much louder. Still Chains of Love in both languages.

We were lucky.

The name Irene comes from the ancient Greek eirene which means peace. I felt no eirene all yesterday, since the Singing Sponges were all fully saturated.

I had very little damage at the house. The garden was a bit of a mess but not terribly so. The creatures were all anxious and they made a bit of a mess of the laboratory, even from their cages and cases. But I cannot complain.

Now I am exhausted from the preparations and am relieved that the Singing Sponges have dried out and fallen silent. Erasure in French and Malagasy simultaneously must be some sort of torture. Though they did the job, so I will take the slight mental anguish.

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Breakfast Ring Debates and Other Musings

Breakfast debate with Phil this morning over the taste of Saturn’s rings. I say they taste like dust. He says cocoa. Who’s to say who’s right and who’s wrong? Neither one of us is an astronaut. (Though I seriously doubt they taste like cocoa. Honestly. Malt balls maybe but not straight cocoa. That’s preposterous.)

It’s shaping up to be a beautiful day and the whole house seems to be infected with a case of the sillies. I’ve managed to soothe the flivvervaat father and babies by playing Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on repeat in the kitchen. With the volume kept low, it’s rather comforting, actually. Though I understand that when flivvervaats hit the week-old mark, they start testing out their voices by mimicking the sounds they hear around them.

Which explains why sometimes it sounds like there are 300 police sirens towards the south end of Prospect Park.

Happy Friday, my fellow oddlings. Do something small yet extraordinary today and then tell me about it, won’t you?

 

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Flivvervaat Breeding Was a Bad Idea

When the severely pregnant flivvervaat appeared in the garden, I was overjoyed. They are such secretive and private creatures that I took it as a species-wide acceptance.

When the creature headed into the kitchen on my heels the other evening, after an especially moving lute performance by Eggburn (apparently this dragon is more than your run-of-the-mill jazz flutist), I silently clapped my hands, anxious to bear witness to the birthing process and ecstatic that this flivvervaat felt comfortable enough with me to enter my house whilst pregnant.

I should have listened to that little voice that tells me I’m not thinking things through. That little voice being, of course, Bubo, who was tutting and shaking her head so vigorously on my shoulder that a feather got lodged in my ear.

The flivvervaat soon made the lower left cabinet the birthing area. Luckily the only thing I keep in there is rice and a few fire extinguishers, so the loss of the cabinet was no big loss.

This morning I could hear the heavy breathing and dissonant whistling sounds that signal the beginnings of birth. I ambled to the kitchen, soft towels in hand, prepared to boil water or whatever is needed for a new litter of flivvervaats to safely and healthfully enter the world.

Those little beasts have teeth like needles! There are currently fifteen of the bloody things making quick work of my favorite wicker rocker and I’ve blockaded them in a corner of the breakfast nook with piles of Gordon Lightfoot vinyl records. Apparently the creatures have no taste for either records or folk music. (Oh, do not judge, pets. First off, you must admit to knowing most of the words to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” and secondly, Mordecai sent me a case of them at some point.)

In any case, the flivvervaat is still birthing and according to Dr. Thompkins I can expect about twenty more of the buggers. Once their third eyes open you can bet I’ll be putting them up for adoption. Unless their father takes them back to the park. Which works for me as well. So much of this place is wood and I worry what will happen if they have a run-in with Barkley. One sentient vegetative creatures versus an army of flivvervaat young means I am witnessing the destruction of one sentient vegetative creature.

Did I mention that flivvervaat fathers give birth to the young? Much like the male seahorse carries the incubating eggs of that species, the male filvvervaat carries the young in a hairy satchel that expands beneath his tail. The female flivvervaat, it seems, gets incredibly anxious around the young and will kill them.

I can’t say I blame her.

Oh, goodness. Here comes another batch. I think I have some Pete Seeger and Carly Simon records in the basement.

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