January 29th, 2011 §
I was talking with a friend the other day about the seasons when I realized I am craving color in the landscape. As much as I have grown to love the muted palette of winter with its shadowy violets and cool bark tones, what I am missing is bright. Like hot-pink bougainvillea blossom bright. Or golden zinnia or tomato red. As I thought more about this, and looked around outside, I realized that in the absence of summer flowers, jewel green grass and warm blue skies, the only really brightly colored natural things in winter are the birds:
Of course birds are here year-round, but in the winter, against a canvas of taupe and grey, they are the quite truly the brightest spots in my natural world.
January 26th, 2011 §
Quickly, before I lose my satellite internet connection again, I wanted to toss up this post about the intense snow we’re getting right now. What started as rain has switched over to a rapidly accumulating wet snow. The view off my porch now:
And less than an hour earlier. The speed with which the landscape is morphing before my eyes is incredible.
It’s so quiet out but for the sound of the wind, which is blowing the snow in horizontal billows. I just saw my neighbor skid past his driveway on his way home…he slowly backed up and made the turn. The hay in the field is weighed down, and I worry about my young trees.
And I can’t help but thinking about wet snow + high winds maybe = power outage. But no real worries: I have the woodstove burning hot and a gas range. Is there any better feeling than being tucked up warm and cozy next to a fire, with plenty of food and no place to go, while a blizzard rages outside? I think not.
I refilled my bird feeders and the little guys are going nuts. They don’t have the luxury of a woodstove, but at least they will not go hungry!
I am looking forward to what the morning will bring, and hope that you are safely enjoying the weather where ever you are.
January 19th, 2011 §
Rises over Buck Ridge
January 15th, 2011 §
After a year of playing landlord to generations of starlings, I’ve finally given them their notice. The birds took up residence among the rafters of the unfinished back porch, and though I love birds these particular birds are no friends of mine. Because they leave the porch looking like this:
And, when their nests are full of tasty eggs, they attract gigantic black snakes that try to crawl up my house and scare me to death.
I thought the starling residence was going to be seasonal in that they’d make their nests, raise their young and leave. But that didn’t turn out to be the case as even in the dead of winter they are having a racaus party on my back porch and trashing it in the process. Time for an intervention.
I got some of the deer netting I’d used around my young trees, trimmed it to size, climbed on a ladder and began the long process of stapling it to the ceiling and rafters in an attempt to seal out the birds. Midway through I went into the well house to grab a wad of old netting I’d stashed there after removing it from some trees. It wasn’t until I was back on the porch that I noticed a suspiciously familiar dark shadow deep in the black netting.
Last summer I had a rangy stray cat appear around my well house. He was wearing a collar, but wouldn’t let me get close to him. Even though I put out food, he stayed skittish and one day disappeared. Shortly thereafter I noticed a smell of rotten flesh in the well house. I figured the cat had climbed into the roof of the structure, got hung up on his collar, and died. It stunk to high heaven, and I fully expected to find a feline skeleton if I ever dismantled the well house. After a few months the smell abated and I figured whatever it was had decomposed.
But, after today’s discovery I am revising my story to say that the source of the stink was this black snake who had the bad luck to twist his way deep into the pile of netting and die. It was a sad discovery, but part of me is relieved to have figured out the mystery.
I cut away the part of the netting that wasn’t covered in dessicated rotten snake guts and with it finished finished sealing off the starling apartments.
January 5th, 2011 §