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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Shadows

 


A long, long time ago some wanna be friends ditched the boss at a ball game. It was way below zero and he was a long way from home. His best friend was on a date and had his girl along, but he still came to the rescue and brought him to the bottom of the driveway.

They talked for an hour down there in the cold. Bob was headed for Viet Nam and was leaving right away.

He predicted that they would never meet again.

They didn't.

Two weeks later Bob was another casualty on the terrible lists that were printed every day in local and national newspapers.

Fast forward through a long lifetime here in the states, a family, a farm, plenty of heartbreak and beaucoup de joie..we had the life that Bob was denied and are grateful for it.

We try to visit Bob's grave up in Ephrata at least once every summer. It is a beautiful and solemn place and it means a lot to Ralph to go there.

Knowing this, two young people spent two whole years making a memorial to give Ralph for Father's Day this year. They went to The Wall in Washington, found Bob's name, made rubbings, took photos and saved them all. It took a lot of rubbings to get it right.

They acquired a special flag and had family members fold it appropriately. They got Bob's photo off the Internet, plus the correct badges and patches to honor his sacrifice.

Then they put it all together in a tasteful and beautiful shadow box, which now resides on our mantel.

It moved the boss to helpless tears when they presented it to him, and even though I knew about it all along and followed their progress with my heart, I can say the same right now as I type this. What kind and caring young folks they are!

So thank-you Alan and Amber for the memorial.

And thank-you Robert Smith for your service...you are not forgotten.

And also many thanks for that long ago ride home in the awful cold of a northern winter. It was never forgotten either.






Saturday, June 25, 2022

Don't try this at Home, Part Two


Somewhere near the closing of a busy day
yesterday my younger brother contacted me looking for a little company. His wife is away and he was lonesome.

I would have gone anyhow, as we are close and always have been, but the carrot-on-a-stick of a little birding was thrown in, so I was downright eager.

We had intended to perhaps head into the 'Dacks, but time got short so we opted instead to look for Cline Road Marsh, a Fulton County hotspot of which I had been unaware until recently. Folks have been finding REALLY good birds there so I was ready.



First we indulged in a bit of navigational failure. I had looked at maps, but not paid a lot of attention, as I didn't think I was likely to get to go anytime soon....and there is no service out there. However we wandered down into St. Johnsville, got the GPS running and soon found one half of the place. 



It more than lived up to expectations. We had no more than stopped the truck when Marsh Wrens started chattering from the cattails. A Great Blue Heron perched above. Wandering watery leads led off into the grasses like temptation itself.

I birded my heart out for a bit until Toad started getting hot (canine companion of the French Bulldog persuasion.) With the air conditioning improving his comfort level we went looking for the other half.




I mistakenly (no navigational devices functioning) thought we were in the western part. Nope, eastern. However we set out looking for the other part...to the east...

And ended up off-roading up and down on the fateful and always to be remembered Schulenberg Road.



Schulenberg Road is not actually a road. It is a mountain moose path. It somewhat reminded me of Tom's Tiny Torture Trails of years gone by, although this was done in a big ol' Ford and not on horseback. At least the thousands of voracious deerflies were limited to only trying to eat the mirrors off the truck and couldn't get to us.

Said road is a genuine corduroy road, with gnarled and lumpy logs making up much of its creeping path through swamps and over (large!) rocks and ridges.

I soon discovered what popcorn feels like as we traversed much of its ever-narrowing, ever-wilder, and ever-rockier length. I hereby apologize to every single kernel that has ever bounced around a red-hot pan on my behalf.



I shot a few seconds of video of the ordeal adventure but had to stop for fear of breaking my camera on the dashboard or wresting my head from my neck if I didn't hang on.

But we made it. And now I know where the marsh is and can perhaps coerce coax the boss into an early morning run up that way someday soon. 


Swamp Thang, photo by Matt

It was well worth the headache, whiplash, and general leftover malaise from the trip to have experienced such a journey...put me in mind of both the Golden Road in Maine ("Where does this road lead?" "Canada") or field cars with the Aesch boys BITD. (As a mere girl I always had to ride in the backseat and always came away wrecked, but delighted that the boys let me join the mayhem.)

Anyhow, enjoy the little video...


***Also, a very Happy Birthday to my other brother, Michael, who is back in the 518 for a little bit of Upstate summer. Love you, big guy, hope you have a wonderful day!



Thursday, June 23, 2022

Wow, Two Thou

 


I was amazed today when I went into My eBird to upload audio from some Downy Woodpecker fledglings and a singing Warbling Vireo.

Today is day two thousand of a checklist every consecutive day.


Recently fledged Downy Woodpecker
Every year the parents bring them in to the
suet feeder and try to leave them there.
Kinda like droppin' 'em off at college I guess.

There were days when the only checklist was a couple of Blue Jays seen from the window on the stair landing as I staggered back to bed while suffering from COVID or adenovirus and there were days of over fifty lists when chasing Christmas Bird Counts and Century Runs, but one way or another there were always lists.

This birding thing is a whole lot of fun and I just can't seem to leave it alone.

I want ALL the birds

And there are always more birds....


Brand new fledgling House Wren,
Minutes out of the nestbox

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Happy Father's Day

 



Whether this is your fiftieth Father's Day or your first.




Whether you are trying to be dad, or need to be a dad, or if you wish you were a dad and are waiting.

This day's for you.



Happy Father's Day Ralph, Alan, Scott, Michael, Matthew, Uncle Larry, and all you dads out there and wannabes and all.



And Happy Father's Day to my dad, Roger, up in Heaven I am certain....you must know how we miss you. And both the grandpas and all the missing and much-missed uncles too....

Blessings to all.



Friday, June 10, 2022

Moth Pros

 



Can you tell me what these two are? I figured out for myself that the butterfly is a Viceroy rather than a Monarch, based on the dark line on the hindwing, and the date of its appearance. Have seen several of same up in the fields.

Thanks!


Viceroy Butterfly