Tuesday, August 2, 2022

A Chipmunk, a Bluegill and Lt. Uhura


This is where we sat yesterday morning having our coffee, on the deck of Dave's parents' house in Brownstown, near Detroit. They live in a planned senior community and the whole place looks like this. It's neat and tidy and very beige.

While we were sitting out there, we heard a CLUNK and then a lot of frantic squeaking. We'd seen a chipmunk earlier, and I realized that the lower part of a neighbor's downspout had fallen off and the squeaking was coming from inside. So I went over, thinking the chipmunk might be trapped, but it wasn't in the lower, disconnected part of the downspout. I thought maybe it was stuck up higher.


But then we saw it later -- at least I think it's the same one -- looking quizzically at the spout, which it could no longer reach because that brown part had fallen off.


It seemed concerned so I reattached the brown part, thinking it might have a nest in there. Or maybe it needed to rescue a pal. I'm not sure I did it any favors, and I'm sure the neighbors would rather not have chipmunks in their downspout, but I'll let them sort it out.

Anyway, aside from the chipmunk kerfuffle, it was a pretty quiet day. We did some minor gardening with Dave's dad, dividing and transplanting some decorative grass to a couple of different spots near the house. (Of course in this very beige community there are a lot of rules about what you can plant where.) Dave and I also had some errands to run, picking up a gift for his parents' 60th wedding anniversary in a few days, and mailing his ballot request for November to the local elections office.

In the evening we went to a very casual restaurant at a local golf club, known for its diverse menu of freshwater fish. This prompted a discussion about the difference between a perch and a bluegill. To me, they're basically the same thing -- along with bream and sunfish. When I was a kid everyone used all those names interchangeably for the fish in the lake behind our house in Florida, relatively round and flat stripey things.

According to Wikipedia, though -- and it's ALWAYS right (ha!) -- the bluegill is a specific species, whereas bream and sunfish are more general terms encompassing a range of fishes in different genuses. (A bluegill is in fact a type of sunfish and often called "bream.") And the perch, though somewhat similar in its stripey coloring, is really a whole 'nother type of fish, not even really the same shape.

So, yeah, glad I could iron that out for you.

I had bluegill at the restaurant. Of course it was fried, like everything else I've consumed over the past 48 hours.

When we got home I took a long walk around the very beige neighborhood just to get some exercise and work off some of those battered and breaded calories. And then I came back to the house and had cherry pie.

Today we're driving up north to Dave's parents' deer-hunting cabin, which is in the middle of nowhere in northern Michigan (but still in the Lower Peninsula). We're not sure we'll have Internet access there. Just in case, I've prepared a couple of short posts to publish automatically tomorrow and Thursday -- if I can write fresh ones of course I will, but if not, the automatic ones will appear and believe me, you'll be able to tell. (I must keep up my unbroken record of daily blogging!)

On another topic entirely, as a dedicated "Star Trek" fan, I was sad to read about the death of Nichelle Nichols, who played Lt. Uhura. She was always one of my favorite characters and "The Changeling," in which she features prominently because an interstellar probe called Nomad erases her memory, is one of my favorite episodes.

I saw Nichols in person in January 2011 at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. She appeared on a panel called "Pioneer Women of Television" with Angie Dickinson, Stefanie Powers and Linda Evans. At the time I was in a very brief period of neither blogging nor keeping a journal, so I don't have much record of what I thought about the evening, except that I e-mailed a friend the next day and said: "Stefanie and Angie were awesome, Linda was too quiet, and Nichelle talked too much."

Which sounds a little harsh. Oh well -- I still loved seeing her. Here's a clip of the event, perhaps the part that left me with that impression!

23 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It's a shame that Olga didn't get to meet that cute little chipmunk. They could have become best friends. I trust you wore beige when you walked around the area - beige shorts, beige T-shirt and a beige baseball cap. Surely Brownstown should be renamed Beigetown. Are the flowers beige too?

Colette said...

My family used to vacation in Charlevoix, MI when I was young. My husband's grandparents had a cabin on a lake in the UP where he spent his summers, often dodging mosquitoes. I love Michigan.

gz said...

I remember a small book about a man raising chipmunks...

Rules about gardening!!!! Well I suppose they don't want large trees...what else is prohibited?

Enjoy the trip.. getting out of beige county sounds good!

Pixie said...

We have a retirement community no far from where we live that I used to walk the dogs by all the time. It sounds and looks very similar, I hate it. No fences and I'm sure a whole lot of rules which I'm not a fan off. Oh well, not my life.

The chipmunk is so cute, why wouldn't you help it:)

Unknown said...

Chipmunks were an absolute delight for us when we were Canada. They were so funny to watch and seemed to have no fear of humans.

Naming of fish is a nightmare. I just don't bother.

We have bream, sunfish and perch. Who knows what is what. We try to avoid imported fish that might have another name but be a fish we know.

Beige and gated is probably quite good for older people.

Oh, you are gonna be shooting deer! What fun. Make it a sudden and clear kill.

Bob said...

While not a retirement community, we lived in a Beige Gated Community in Florida and the restrictions were ridiculous.

Ed said...

I am at war with the ground squirrels (aka chipmunks) around my house where they are destroying the water tight quality of my basement. But I have a live and let live policy for those in other yards are in the far reaches of my yard.

As someone who spent countless hours of my childhood fishing in my grandfather's boat, perch and sunfish are definitely different fish and easy to spot the difference when alive. But when battered and fried, I'm not sure I could tell the difference in taste or texture. Both are equally tasty though and one of my preferred fish to eat.

NewRobin13 said...

That chipmunk is very cute. I hope it found its way to where it wanted to be. Nice of you to help it along if it wanted to go back up that downspout.
I'm looking forward to seeing what you see at the deer-hunting cabin.

Barbara R. said...

Yay, the hero for chipmunks! And downspouts! I would not be comfortable in that beige community, though my senior apt. complex fired their landscape crew a few weeks ago, and believe me by 3 weeks time, the grass is now a field! Whoever they hire next will have to get out sickles. Enjoy the woods!

The Bug said...

I love that photo of the chipmunk looking up at the downspout - so cute! I'll bet the area around the deer hunting cabin is GORGEOUS this time of year - I expect some excellent photos!

Sharon said...

Those chipmunk photos are so cute! I was also sad to hear about Nichelle Nichols. I remember loving Star Trek because of its diverse characters. I've always wanted to live in a world where everyone is accepted and respected.

Boud said...

There are, I believe, people who like nature to be neat! And houses uniform so you can't tell which one is yours. Usually retirement communities with planting rules panic about shrubs and vegetables.

I don't see you and Dave ever living anywhere beige!

Ms. Moon said...

"Life is too short for beige" is one of my mottos. I cannot imagine living in BeigeWorld. Ugh. Sorry.
But honestly- what is the point of living in a place that ignores the things that are most joyful in life like color, variation in a garden, and some wildness? For some reason people seem to crave that monotone thing as they grow older. Not me.
Now the cabin sounds great!

ellen abbott said...

I'm pretty sure that cherry pie wiped out any gains you might have got from your walk. And ugh, boring place. I do not understand the need to control what the residents can and cannot do especially what plants and flowers they can plant. I can understand an age requirement for a retirement community but let's have a little color. a little life! They ain't dead yet.

Margaret said...

It might be beige outside but the residents can do whatever they want inside, right? I would have lots of accent colors in there. I'm more of a gray person than beige these days but have lots of greens, purples and blues to liven it up.

Mary said...

My idea of hell is a beige, over 55 only gated community with rules that would make a prison seem like a country club. Oh, and I'm not fond of country clubs, either. To each his/her own. Enjoy your time at the deer hunting cabin. Take lots of bug spray. :)

Kelly said...

I love to bass fish, but do occasionally catch what I call bream. From looking at your links, they might actual be bluegills. Who knows! Then there's crappie....

As an original Star Trek fan, I was sad about Lt. Uhura.

Ellen D. said...

I am glad that Dave's parents are safe and comfortable in their own place. And they have the nice cabin for getaways! Sounds pretty good to me.

James and Brigitta said...

I think I would plant a riot of every color of flowering plants I could find! Surely they can't restrict that? That chipmunk is adorable, the way he looks at that downspout! The ones over here are planting sunflower seeds in all my pots and the vegetable beds. They're coming up everywhere!

River said...

Did you walk off enough calories to earn that Cherry Pie?
I was never an Uhura fan, I liked Spock.

Jeanie said...

I haven't had bluegill or sunfish since our kid days of fishing on the dock here at the lake. One rainy day as we huddled under the boat ramp cover, the four of us hauled in about 40 or more bluegills and sunfish -- not big, but collectively significant. (There was no size limit then; I'm not sure about now.) My dad, bless his heart, cleaned every single one of those fish and pan fried them for a family breakfast. A nice memory -- thanks for triggering it.

I'm so glad you two could help Dave's parents with the garden. You're so good at it and as one of a certain age, doing the garden isn't the fun it used to be!

jenny_o said...

I am so glad you put the downspout back in place for the chipmunk. Like you said, it could have been a mama who used the downspout to access her nest and babies. Chipmunks really did win the cuteness lottery, didn't they, compared to other small furry scampering animals :)

Moving with Mitchell said...

The community looks very pleasant, although I'm not beige. What a nice place for a morning cuppa.