Monday, October 12, 2015

You could Part your Hair

With Chickadees.  

They keep me ducking when I'm hanging out the clothes, flying so low over my head that I can feel the breeze from their wings. I jump every time. They simply do not see me as any more of an obstacle to be avoided than.... say..... a lawn chair.

The titmice aren't much wilder, letting me get two feet from them before they fly. Goldfinches ditto. Sometimes they don't move at all when I walk next to the feeder...maybe six inches away or so...and it hangs right at my head level....and I don't see them. I have nearly hit the ground a couple times when they finally fly at the last possible second.

Even the Blue Jays are tamer than I have ever seen them, although fifteen or twenty feet is close enough to suit them..

I don't know if they are accustomed to me or what the reason is for all that friendliness, but I love it....despite the adrenaline.... 

Grumpy old Nuthatches

Yesterday I was trying to take some pictures of the lettuce before I pull it out for the hens. It is bolting and pretty much past its best. 

Something grey scuttled along the edge of the porch right behind it and was scratching around in the plastic insulation next to the door.

Eek, a rat!!! I poked the plastic to get a better look at it and it ran back the way it came, right on the concrete rim of the porch. I followed it around the corner of the house with mayhem in my mind and murder in my eye.

And then....and then...I saw that it had a beak and wings. It was a tiny, greyish bird, I believe a Yellow-rumped Warbler. I think it was gobbling up the box elder bugs and lady bugs and all the other insects that were clinging to the south side of the house. They are being normal insects and trying to get in. (How I wish they were outsects.)

It didn't fly even when I walked right next to it, just scuttled off in the bushes. 


National Farmers Day


Hope all our farmer friends and neighbors, a hard-working 1% of the population, have a safe and productive day as they go about the  business of growing our food and fiber.

The colors

 We are pretty much done farming for the year. Days too short to bale hay, the garden mostly finished, except for those amazing late planted beans that are still thriving as we wait for frost. Time to bring the machinery down from the hills.

of the season

The weather couldn't be much nicer. When I went out on puppy walk this morning the stars were so bright that they reflected off the upstairs windows.




Then with the dawn came fog like smoke, shrouding the maples in mystery until they seemed to glow from within like traffic lights set on caution or maybe even stop.

And yes, I would like to stop this season right here in its glorious tracks. Pause. Halt. 

come from
Because it doesn't get any better than this.

The only downside to the best of October that I can see is the crick in my neck from looking up for warblers. They are everywhere. Speaking of which, dear friend from Ohio, I think I saw your warbler this morning...a pair of them in fact. But of course, no binoculars so I can't be sure. I will sure be watching for yellow with a midnight cap flitting in the honey locust. 

That and how short it is.....or at least the good part.

Anyhow, Happy National Farmers Day, whether you are a farmer or just enjoy their products.

Maple trees

Sunday, October 11, 2015

To Explain

I am da bossa dis bear

A shaky, sleepy, not quite daybreak,
 shot of the moon lined up with several planets.

Goodbye Grapes


Days without posting. There is so much going on outside...inside too...every single daylight hour.

Pixie princess....
It is too hard to resist going out  to see what is going on.

Yellow-rumped Warblers debugging the house

See what I mean?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This is the Road

Where milk trucks used to travel.

And grain trucks



Seed, feed, semen salesmen, doctors of animals, friends, and neighbors.

Sixty cows morning and night, coming in from pasture and heading out again.

It used to be clear, clean gravel, smooth as we could make it, protected by barriers so no one would slide into the creek.

Now, like the cows and trucks and people, it is just a memory of a life gone by.

Kind of pretty though.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Space Aliens of the Northeastern World

This scout for peeps from other planets gives himself away
to the alert human by hiding in an old refrigerator

Space chicken hiding among the real ones, but you can always tell

The mother ship

Pod Children

Pod Children spawning



A birding hot spot up on the hill

Surfs up! Shoals of birds wash over the land, wave on wave, wild songs and whipping wings.

Dim sky and fading season drain the color from the world, painting trees drab and hillsides dismal. Fog falls. Watercolor light shines a maple here, a cottonwood there, bright red and yellow like a beacon.

A White Tailed Deer barks and snorts behind the cow barn, right next to the Warlock, then bounds north, all flash and flagging. Watch the road you silly thing. It is much more dangerous than an old lady, too slow to even catch you with a camera, and a pair of binoculars that will not shoot.

The Warlock

So many sparrows on this unscheduled bird walk. Song, White-throated, White-crowned abound. Was that a Tree Sparrow? Coulda been but maybe not. The light is so dim today, although it is sunny over on the mountains.

It's sunny over on the mountains

Poplars are companionable trees, gossiping as I pass. The tiniest zephyr sets them singing stories that will soon be silenced. 

Ooh, a House Wren. It announces itself to me, chatter, chatter, chatter, out to branch tip scold. In come a half a dozen Song Sparrows. No wonder you can always pish up a Song Sparrow. They must be friends of wrens.

Somebody's been gossiping around the water cooler

A leaf is as loud as a lark these days, tumbling down, down, down, with a crackle and a ricochet, leaf to leaf to leaf mold.

I think they are all birds and look every time one falls.

And then, as I crest the first set of hills into the Thirty-Acre Lot, a different call. The strident and distinctive song of some large construction machine backing up.

It is very loud and very close.

What the heck? 

And so my little idea to hike up to my favorite little hotspot between barn and first hay field to look for warblers is suddenly extended. Back and back and back to the Old Spreader Field, just to be sure. 

Yep, it's over at the neighbors. They are building a new barn. We took a spin yesterday to take a look. Very nice.  

Then down the hill again to breakfast and a second cup of coffee. So many fine things to see today out here on these north-looking hills. 

I spotted one of these on our Sunday hike...or a fruit of one.
 Thimble Berry, Flowering Raspberry, call it what you always seemed to me to be the very taste of summer and all the better for its scarcity.
Sunday's berry was just a little sour like the fading of the season but delicious all the same.
Birds seen: 
Canada Goose
American Crow
American Kestrel
American Robin
American Goldfinch
Cedar Waxwing
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
House Wren
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-Winged Blackbird
Birds looked for and maybe heard but their call is so indistinct and insect-like...Palm Warbler. I paused at the spot where I have seen them and played their call on my phone...answers quickly came from several places. Were they? Or were they not? I just don't know.

Update: Second time this has happened in recent weeks. .....You probably think I'm making it up but I'm not..... After all that hiking looking for a Palm Warbler and picking up a tick in the process I was out walking the pups.....Standing next to the garden pond looking up at the place where years ago I once saw a Wilson's Warbler. 

And there's a little warbler. Two white spots under the tail. 
It came down and LANDED ON THE GARDEN POND rim!!!! about ten feet from me and sat there so I could get a good look.

Rusty crown, yellow undertail, flicking tail. Yeah, Palm Warbler. It noodled around me for a while and then got into a battle with another one and off they went...only the second and third ones I have ever seen! I swear my hair stood on end. Just uncanny.

Why the Dachsie Wears no Collar

Normally Miss Daisy sports a little red collar, quite generic but it serves. Mack's is blue and smaller, but of similar ilk.

We have no fear of gender labeling here. Boys is boys and girls is girls and we know it and deal with it. And, hey, our girls fix trucks and drive tractors and the boys is good cooks and do their own laundry when needed, so it works for us.

Anyhow, yesterday, along about the middle, Daisy started snorking and horking and making bad noises. At first I didn't think much of it. Dachshunds are big on unappealing sounds and she is a pro.

Then I looked at her. OMG, she was puffed up like a Shar Pei! Her face was fat and wrinkled to nearly melon-size and her whole body resembled an overstuffed sausage.

Of course, no one was home but Jade, Peggy, and me, and the vehicles were all absent on errands.

Thank goodness for cell phones. Jade called Liz and I called Becky and we sent them both in search of children's Benadryl. Liz found it first.

By the time they made it home I had to remove her collar....she was that swollen.

The medicine did the trick though and in a couple of hours she was able to enthusiastically eat her dinner.

This morning she is still making a few funky noises so I guess I will give her another dose, and I think she will be fine in a couple of days, but dang!!! 

That was not fun.

Judging by the welt on the side of her muzzle after the swelling receded, I think she was stung by a wasp or hornet. There was a live one swilling around in the pups' water bowl earlier and I'll bet she was the culprit. I gave her a swirly in the kitchen sink before I noticed poor Daisy's distress.

We are awash in a tide of them! They come inside on the laundry, creep in through cracks, and are everywhere we look or step. I use a W when I think about the hornets of the clan and despise them roundly.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Old Age is Like a Hangover

Okay, I suppose I'm not that old yet, but I am fast approaching the age mentioned in a certain old Beatles song.

I first worked at anything other than babysitting or selling in my parents' stores when I was fifteen.

I was hired to clean kennels and walk and feed dogs for our local veterinarian. I stayed with the job for a goodly number of years, well up into my twenties.

Those years involved certain behaviors in which I would not indulge today, and indeed have not indulged for decades 'n' decades.

Said activities made Saturday and Sunday mornings spent kneeling on the floor, head in a kennel, cleaning up papers decorated with the results of whatever the occupant did over night, problematic to say the least.

Our patients were sick and scared. Or if they were boarders, very unhappy at not being home with their folks.

They reacted accordingly. The papers were daunting. Weekend mornings were painful.

This morning, straight-laced and sober sided, I picked Mack's papers up off the floor in the kitchen. Though my only indulgence last night was a good dinner and a good night's sleep, I was catapulted back to the days in the dog ward. Headache, yes, queasy, well, not that at least, aching all over? Yup.

 I didn't even have fun getting that way. Oh, well, puppies is worth it....

And I do have a very professional paper piling technique left over from all those kennels...didn't spill a drop.

Or a plop.