Saturday, November 10, 2018

Oh, What a Night

Last night was one for the books. Becky got out of work late, but we had to get groceries for two families, so off we went into the wilds of what was supposed to be rain and flurries.

Flurries my foot. Our instinctive inclination to prepare for bad was spot on...a lot more accurate than the weather forecast. A torrential downpour collided with 30 to 31 degree temperatures and Friday evening rush hour to produce a travel nightmare.

Worse still our boy and my brother and his son were all on the road home from their week of work in Connecticut. Many hours and many miles over very bad roads.

Even walking across the parking lot at Wally World was fraught with peril, as the half-frozen slush built up on every surface and melted just enough to get slipperier. It was worse on the roads.

Huge sigh of relief to get home last night and an even bigger one when we received notice that everyone else was home safe as well.

Today it is nearly 40 with a vigorous west wind and dripping but not actively raining. I wonder what the storm blew in by way of birds. I can hear chipping on the feeders already even though it is still pretty dark. All week there have been cute little Buffleheads on the river....they remind me of bathtub toys....and lots of good winter birds on the feeder. However, I am hoping for that Ruddy Duck, maybe a Pied-billed Grebe....or some Evening Grosbeaks would be nice.

Might as well dream, right?

Update, we went up to Herkimer County looking for some Cattle Egrets seen there two days ago. Missed them but got an utterly unexpected Golden Eagle so that was good.

Photos taken before the storm except for the crows

Friday, November 09, 2018


When you have pigs.

And chickens....

And your neighbors grow pumpkins

And Halloween is over and the patch is closed for the year....waste not, want not...the motto of the rural countryside

Gratuitous son and grandpuppy photo
from this weekend

Winter Business

Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, Northern Spy, and Granny Smith apples combined here

Making applesauce for us and for my mama, who thought some unsweetened style might be just the thing for difficult diet changes. Aunt Sandy taught me to make it years 'n' years ago, along with the process of preparing rhubarb sauce, the finest chuck roast ditto, and to tie my shoes as well. Impressive, huh? They just don't make aunts like that any more.

East wind blows nobody good

Or mamas like my mama either for that matter.

Where we park the car

While I've been cooking and counting finches on the feeder outside the kitchen window, the boss and Liz have been loading out hay for a customer and doing chores. Now the boss is fixing driveways with some gravel he had hauled in and moving firewood, ditto.

It doesn't even feel like work to scurry around preparing for the weekend and for the coming season. It is supposed to storm tonight and you can feel it....Makes you want to run around getting your nest ready for the bad. I think the birds do too, as things have been getting busier and busier as the sky has turned greyer and greyer.

And yet, the grass is still green......

A "drop" under the Winesap tree...not the kind I make the sauce with.
We get them at Bellinger's

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Good Bird

Schoharie Crossing SHS yesterday afternoon. Checked the point, turned toward the bay to count the gulls.

The boss started waving and gesturing from the car where he was waiting. Bird on the point, which I had just turned away from.

Great Blue Heron, a nice big guy. We see him all the time there.

Guess he sees us too, and finds us unimpressive, because when I turned back to check the confluence of Mohawk and Schoharie, he flew right over and landed a few feet from me.

Didn't bother to fly away at all, just walked into the river to look for fish.

Good bird.

Good model.


Clouds like smokey isinglass, sun from behind them like bouncing flames in the old wood stove in the shop when we were kids...back when mica made clear stone windows for stoves and when kids would ply the stoveblack on dull, rusty walls when needed...

Always in summer because winter stoves were busy.....

Stream-o-crows horizon to horizon, crow-go-home time, much closer to crow-go-out time than when the days are longer and brighter. Follow the river to the far west horizon and you can just barely spot them, dots of pepper at the white edge of the blue sky.

Ditto to the east, but overhead great big birds with a lot to say.....pepper to pepper, dust to dust. Caw.....caw.....caw.....

Water noisy in the wagon ruts and in the little freshet that runs down by the spring and in the fields themselves, muttering and chattering like so many blackbirds and fooling me every time.

A careful step is needed to wend in muddy rubber boots down coiling pathways from the hilltop toward the river.

It's pretty out there, the first sunny day in ages it would seem, but it's good to be down as well. Night is falling fast this 7th of November.

**Yes, I know mica and isinglass are not the same thing, but when we were kids they were synonymous and referred to the clear phyllocilicate  mineral used to make windows in old fashioned wood and coal stoves. The stuff would crack in layers and darken with smoke, forming magical patterns when the flames danced behind it.