Bucatini, smoke, and helicopters

Howdy!

The new year is a perfect opportunity to take stock of how lucky you are. Which we totally have done.

However, we also wanted to take a minute to complain about a couple of the weird things that bugged us amongst the huge problems of last year. There were so many big things wrong, it’s easy to forget the myriad of smaller irritations.

For example, we were glad that Grub Street finally did the work and discovered the source of the bucatini shortage. One of the causes was this Caramelized Shallot Pasta recipe which I think sounds good, but Pepper does not. Bon Appétit declared bucatini the best long pasta in 2018. Pepper wanted me to mention that although it’s expensive, this is also one of the best bucatini brands.

The couple of weeks of smoke in September were bizarre. The helicopter that flew over our house 24 hours a day for a month was crazy-making. But, we had one another to get us through and that made all the difference.

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Pepper decided to try and reneact The Crowening from Schitt’s Creek. This is the time of year when large groups of crows gather together, so as soon as we put peanuts down they swoop in. The usual group of three crows in front our house that get a handful of peanuts in the morning turns into a group of 100 crows that gather and stare into our house until we bring peanuts for them.

Did you know crows and owls are enemies? So much so that freshly hatched crow fledglings recognize and hate owls immediately. In some kind of negotiated peace agreement, crows get the daytime and owls get the nighttime.

As the seasons change, the amount of time they have to live their lives varies. During the spring and summer, with long leisurely days, the crows don’t need a group for survival. They split off, reproduce, and have territorial disputes with other crows. During the fall and winter, they forgo independence and gather in groups. They notify one another when food is available and depend on their community for safety.

For us, that means if we go for a walk in the afternoon, we can give away a five pound bag of peanuts to the flock of crows that trails behind us. Often, people walking towards us see clouds of crows swirling around us like hungry witch’s familiars.

Did I also mention that I sometimes just refer to night as “owl time” now when I’m talking to Pepper? “We need to go for our walk before owl time,” I might say to her at three in the afternoon. I honestly think that is the crow term for night.

This is a picture of a crow in the smoke in September. It was in the middle of the day and the sun was almost completely obscured.

The entire CHOP situation in June and July was complicated, messy, and important. If you look at the national news, it’s easy to have a single broad opinion about what happened in our neighborhood, but, as usual, our local blog did the best job of covering it. The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog covered the daily reality of a situation that became a symbolic abstraction to most of America.

Here are a few of the masks that Pepper has started to make in the origami style that lifts the fabric off of your mouth. She looks great in the beetle mask, although we are afraid it could confuse a hungry crow in the midst of a peanut frenzy.

Thanks for reading and listening,

David and Pepper

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