Thursday, March 15, 2018



The funeral was small but beautiful with a few old friends and at least one new one....the sweet pastor who performed the service. We were very taken with her words of spiritual comfort and kind demeanor.

Then we took a short birding run to clear our minds and feel normal for a few...

Canada Geese foraging in an Amish stack yard

Along the way we found the beautiful Merlin Falcon above, shuddering in the wind at the top of a tree, as he hunted a cloud of Snow Buntings. Merlins are little guys, midway between Kestrels...Sparrow Hawks in the vernacular...and Peregrine Falcons. I only saw two last year, both at great distance, so this one was a thrill.

Alan sent me this Western Grebe

It's been a hard week for all concerned. Ralph and I have found comfort in these short birding runs. Kinda took our minds off things, you know. Through driving snow and howling winds we watched an immature Bald Eagle pursuing a Ring-billed Gull one evening. 

You would not imagine that so gigantic a bird could swoop and spin and duck and dive as he did....and still miss.

And this Scrub Jay

What a show!

Snowy Bald Eagle after defeat at the wings of a Ring-billed Gull

The birds of the far north are still here. Hundreds of Slate-colored Juncos. Snow Buntings flashing white-and-black like winter traffic signals. Horned Larks, drab as the Buntings are bright, but still cool to see along the shoulders of the back roads.

To add to all this the kids on the left coast sent me 51 photos of lovely western birds I may never see in person. Gratitude abounds! Such beauty and all free for the enjoying.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

There is Never

A good day for a funeral...there are fitting days though I guess, and I suppose this one will do well enough.

It's cold and windy; the trees are coated with frozen snow that makes them clack and clatter almost threateningly. The sun appears not to intend to grace us with much of its benevolence either.

The little lamb is a Dorper ewe the kids got from friends. One day last week when the rest of the family was caught up in the many things that follow the loss of a family member she managed to get out of her pen and find the wettest place in the barn to lie down.

When Liz brought her inside in a little cardboard box, she was nearly gone, even the inside of her mouth was ice cold...and Liz had to leave right then and there for a meeting...

For a few hours she was mine to hold or lose.

All afternoon I heated soda bottles of water and tucked them around her, put her in one of Mack's doggy coats, put one of my warmest hats on her head, and toweled and rubbed and scrubbed her and dried her ears over and over....

To no avail. Even sips of really warm water from her lamb bottle didn't seem to help.

Then I thought of the product folks used to put in their shoes when they are not warm enough, the time-honored covering for suffering bench sleepers, and solace for cold people who haven't anything better....


I raided the boss's stack of old Country Folks and Lancaster Farmers and piled them under her and made her a thick tent of them.

It worked. By evening she was lively...and noisy...enough to return to the barn, after disrupting the poor dogs beyond reason. Finn was afraid of her. Mack wanted to eat her, and Ren thought she should be allowed to get right in with her to snuggle.

She is nameless yet, as far as I know, but I think they should name her Hope, or Joy, or maybe Little Lambie Blessing Pie.

Update: And look what Liz just traded for some eggs.......

Sunday, March 11, 2018