Monday, January 16, 2017

Favorite Friends


I've always had a problem with the whole best friends thing. Best is a superlative, indicating that there can only be one. Thus you might have two friends that you love equally but in different ways. Which one is best? Is the other one second best? One can only hope not.

And then there's the arrogance of the whole best friends deal. Who is anyone to say? Supposing you do have one person in your mind that is the superlative, "best" of all your friends and acquaintances...and they don't feel the same way? Suppose they are closer to someone else, like you a lot, but not the most? Then what? It's all so very middle school-ish.

It's always bugged me, especially since I am not exactly the queen of social interactions, have a mouth big enough for both feet, and fast enough to outrun my brain any day of the week. Who am I to think I am best of anything?

However, favorite...that's a whole nother concept. Someone can be my favorite friend without any commitment on their end. I can have a couple, three, or even a dozen favorites, and enjoy them all quite specially. Of course favorite is also a superlative, but who among us doesn't have dozens of "favorite" songs, favorite books, favorite authors, favorite foods....see, it just works better than best.

If better than best is actually possible. Anyhow, best wishes to my favorite friend; if by chance you may be reading this. I am thinking about you....


Saturday, January 14, 2017

Raven Quest


After a week in Seattle and flying in a plane and all that scary stuff, son and brother are back on the ground in NY. As is not unusual on a Saturday when Alan isn't working, he met me this morning with, "Where shall we go today, Ma?"

The Adirondacks were calling to both of us, so off we went to Long Lake. We weren't really in search of Common Ravens, but we saw a lot of them. They are really big birds and in the brilliant early sunlight they gleamed like the brightest of bright coal. Seemed as if they were everywhere.


There were also snowmobiles and trailers and snow shoers and back packers and a lot of lousy traffic associated with same. Thus there wasn't a lot of peeking into the woods to see what we could see. If I am riding in a car, I can't look away from the road for more than a few seconds....years of driving has made watching the road an ingrained habit....

However, in one spot I looked into the trees and saw a grey stone ledge draped with ice from water flowing out of the ground behind it. In itself that is nothing unusual. All the road cuts along the way are covered with flows of frozen water, some bright blue, many yellowish or greenish or brown, and some just a dull, almost plastic, shade of white.

However, the ice on this little ledge was absolutely crystalline and pristine and perfect. It must have been a foot thick and several feet from top to bottom, but as clear and prismatic as the best optic  you could buy. Except free....Alas, the busy highway full of grannies and NASCAR drivers was no place to slow down let alone stop, so it will only remain in my memories...

Anyhow, home again, home again, out for a quick bird list...brrr....and then not much else today. Have a good one.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

January Thaw


The kitchen reeks of wet dog. 

Not that I mind. At least they are contented, napping, dogs, full of kibble and canz. 

It is raining over ice, melting all the sand that has been scattered on drives and walkways over the past couple of weeks. Not gonna complain though. Warm is good.

The sunlight is thin soup indeed most days..this was a couple days ago

A thing that I like about this time of year is going out before dawn and hearing the Mallards and Canada Geese nattering and complaining as they rock in the gentle curves of the river where the current is quiet. 



With the low cloud ceiling the sound rises clearly to us up here on the hill and it is nice to listen to the muted chatter of hundreds or even thousands of birds.

Yesterday, in bright sunshine and steadily warming temperatures I counted 354 geese taking flight and heading off to cornfields somewhere to the south of us. 

Around dusk they return, crying like a pack of hounds for their beds at the river's edge.

Mallards and Black Ducks, down on the river yesterday

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Gator Quest Serendipity


While finding only the tracks of resident alligators at the Village Point Park in Daphne, Alabama, we happened upon a fascinating surprise.


The park boasts Jackson's Oak, where Andrew Jackson is reputed to have once perched among the branches to give a speech to his troops.




The tree is magnificent, and nicely protected by a raised walkway and railings. I had seen photos of it in books before and it was a delight to stumble upon it while looking for birds and reptiles. Alan got some good birds too, as it happened, Some Hermit Thrushes, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, and there were Carolina Chickadees everywhere.

Hermit Thrush by Alan

Monday, January 09, 2017

Leaving on a Jet Plane

See the "T" field over on the right? It sure fits
its name....

Back in the days of the infamous bar and garage bands, Hereafter (We'll be here after you're gone, but you won't be able to hear after) and Stone Free (AKA dirt cheap), that is one song I used to sing. The other one was this one....I could actually play them too once upon a time.....no more though...

I am not much of a singer...no ear and no range...but that doesn't stop me from loving music and singing every chance I get. I sang a couple of other songs for the bands too, having the advantage of being young and blonde and thus able to get away with a serious lack of actual talent. The boys were all good singers though and most likely made up for the loss.

Anyhow, that song was brought to mind yesterday when our boy and my younger brother hopped on a jet plane for work in Seattle. Alan had never flown before. He liked it though and said that he has to get one of those engines for the Camaro (if he does I'm staying home.)

While they were on layover in Chicago he discovered that the bank had frozen his card for a fraudulent charge. Thus in between walking the dogs and writing the Farm Side guess who has been on the phone for two days......yeah...you got it....the one who can't sing.

I have to say, the folks at our local branch and the people who work fraud during normal business hours are a whole lot more helpful than the weekend warriors. At any rate, chasing down phone numbers and typing in account numbers helped keep my mind off worrying about my kiddo while he ventured off to the left coast for the first time. Hope it's warmer there than it is here.

BTW he took that photo, which is of our farm and some neighbors, from the plane as they flew west. Pretty cool huh?

As close as I need to get to a jet plane in real life