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Friday, March 01, 2024

Gothic Horror Story


The sky was threatening. Gloomy, hung over with bulging yellow and grey clouds, pregnant with the promise of fear. She was alone with a grandkid and the dogs in the big gothic spooky house. A storm was incoming. 

She ventured out to the back porch to look east and south.

A thick cable of blackness dangled from the sky like a snaking tentacle, looming close, and coming closer.

She raced inside, screaming for the grandchild to get to the cellar. Grab a blanket. Be quick.

Down the crumbling wooden stair they went, to sit at the bottom clutching the dull red sleeping bag the child had chosen.

But, no! The dogs. They were in the kitchen in their crates.

Stay, small one, stay while I go.

Leash on the white one, where is the grey?

Back down to the kiddo to find the white one tied to a cluster of Easter ribbons and the grey one replaced by a small stuffed toy dog. Weird.

Go back for the grey.

Too late.

The cellar windows were man-high, laid-up stone tunnels reaching out from the cellar to shallow, root and vine-grown trenches in the ground. Through the frame of dangling vines and roots they could see blackness coming and the horrible mouth of the thing open and sucking.

She tried to call 911 but the phone only showed video games in violent reds and purples. No key pad. No contacts list. Though she had memorized the sheriff's phone number a long time ago there was no way to call them.

She tried the small one's phone but it was the same.

The mouth of the maelstrom hovered outside one of the window tunnels, howling in rage.

Then, just like that, it was gone and the house still stood.

Next strangers came, strolling through the cellar, lying down on platforms of boards, looking into nooks and corners. She tried everything to make them leave, even hitting them and dumping water on them. They would not go and more and more of them stumbled down to join the peering throng.

Then I woke up.

 And thought, "Holy crap! That was the most vivid and realistic dream I have ever had!!" Weirdest too and I've had some doozies. 

A lot of stuff going on around here and I guess I am realizing that there are things I can't control, no matter how much of an excessively controlling person I am.

But, man, oh, man, I wish I could bottle my imagination...it's got to be worth something. LOL

Thursday, February 08, 2024

The Cats


Are rearranging the furniture again.

I don't know how they do it...or why

But you can hear them at it.

Early morning pills and bills

Dogs for walking

Wrens are talking.

Just another winter day 

Cold bright sunrise 

Cold dull routine.

But, wait, what light through yonder window breaks?

Migration is starting...

Yeah, it is!

Yesterday a Wood Duck

Tuesday a Great Blue Heron.

Who knows what today might bring?

Anticipation is the spice of everything!

Five Bald Eagles in one spot

Wednesday, January 31, 2024


While not much else is going right,
birding has been awesome lately. Finding Short-eared Owls has been one great treat, but today it was Bald Eagles.

Short-eared Owl

There was one sitting on a log in the pool at the boat launch today. Although I tried for a photo, something unseen blew all the ducks off the Schoharie and spooked him too, just as I aimed.

He flew over to the tree at the confluence, where eagles often perch. Then he landed by the pool and strutted around for a bit. I think he may have left prey near the log, as his crop looked full.

Back to the tree he went. 

Suddenly another one bombed in (probably what scared the ducks) and started going after him in the tree. A third came after that one and the two of them flew over to land in a tree near the aqueduct.

Sure was fun to watch them until they all flew off.

The ducks, however, were not impressed. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Recycling Part II


Some weeks ago, on a section of road we call "Raptor Row" because it is a great spot to find several species of hawks and owls, we passed a road-killed White-tailed Deer.

It was a big one, fresh and mostly intact.

Soon it looked much different

 Many creatures had their way with it. Friends reported Bald Eagles stopping by to feast. Coyote tracks surrounded it on many occasions and something dragged it from the roadside out into the surrounding fields. We saw Red-tailed Hawks and the corvids, jay, crow, and raven, frequenting the field. A pair of Rough-legged Hawks started hanging around.

Rough-Legged Hawk

Soon there was really nothing left to see. Snow covered whatever bones were left, and to be honest I had mostly forgotten about it.

Then yesterday, my best birding buddy and I were out hunting photo ops and good birds. It was a day for it, with snow clinging to every blade of grass, twig and limb. Every curve in the road revealed another calendar-worthy view of Winter's best beauty pageant.

We stopped to photograph a lovely Rough-legged Hawk that floated up out of the corn stubble to land in a nearby tree, glaring at us most frightfully.

We were ready to drive away when I realized that almost next to the car was a flight of nearly forty Horned Larks, skipping and scrambling around after something in the corn.

Click me! Click me!

They did not fly. If you are a peruser of "Field birds" or "Road Birds", the Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and Lapland Longspurs, you know how skittish they are. Approach with your car...they flit away only to land behind you, or depart altogether. Get a nice shot lined up and another car will spook them. Get out of your car with your camera and they vanish as if someone was standing by with a magic wand. Hey! Presto! Gone in a flash.

Who? Us? Never happen

However, we hadn't even seen these birds
, right next to the car, as they were not flying away. They stayed all the while we shot dozens of photos and were still there when we went off in search of other goodies. They were still there in late afternoon when we headed out owling. My friend figured out what was going on... I'm sure you have guessed by now. They were rummaging around in the corn for bits of that poor deer.

It was amazing to watch them squabbling and scuffling over tufts of hair, which must have had something nourishing still clinging to them. Their jingle bell calls belied their grisly business.

Nothing is wasted out there in the wild world. Not one tiny morsel of something that can feed something else in the food chain goes to waste. By Spring there will be nothing left, except many a lingering scent, just enough for a Border Collie to take a nice roll, and come back indoors reeking of puppy perfume.

Mourning Dove

Thanks deer, for the lesson and the chance to get some goodish photos of elusive and challenging birds. You've done your part.

Thursday, January 25, 2024


Drainage holes bored with a screw setter

Hinged lid

The wait begins

 An empty kitty litter jug.

Now, if only they don't damp off on me