Archive for December 16th, 2006

It seems odd to have been out on the river floating today.  After all, it is the middle of December.  You would think that it would be a trifle too chilly to want to be out in a canoe.  But the big rain/ice/snow storm a couple of weeks ago has been melting, and the river is up for a change.   It was in the low to mid sixties today, too; very comfortable.

 We agreed that the water is just a little too high and little too cold for the dogs, so we elected to leave them at home. The second we locked them in the house and started down the hill to put in, they began complaining.  A chorus of yips and wails and barks  arose, accompanied by the slamming sounds of dogs throwing themselves against the door.  We ignored them.

The river was wide.


As soon as we put in and got around the first corner, we surprised a pair of bald eagles.  They were perched on a sycamore branch overhanging a nice hole, and they didn’t appear any too pleased to have had their fishing disturbed.   They flew off down the river in front of us, and as we proceeded down stream we watched them turn north and circle around to get back to where they had been.  As they flew off, Jeri and I began to whistle the opening of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony in unison. 

It was the first of several hawk sightings.  Of course, I did not get pictures of any of them, I don’t have good enough lenses for that.   We did see a Cooper’s hawk, red shouldered hawks (a mated pair), and an American kestrel.  There was a kingfisher who was adamantly opposed to having his picture taken.  He frustrated me for several minutes until I finally gave up.  We were scolded by numerous chickadees, and about two miles down the river we watched a flock of cedar waxwings cross the river in front of us.  They lighted in the high branches of the trees and talked about the party they had just been at and chattered in anticipation about the one they were on their way to.

We saw lots of beaver sign too.


This is the base of a tree in the bottom which has been completely chewed around by the beavers.  Farthur back up the river, there is a side stream where there is a very well constructed beaver dam, with a large lodge in the middle of it.


We also saw a couple of otter dens.  They had to dig some temporary homes since the river rose so precipitously after the storm.  We came across a place where they had moved up into a shallow cave, and we could see their path along the ledge to a bush , where it ended.  There were plenty of tracks and the bush at the end was mashed down; it was pretty obvious the otters had been using that as a jumping off place.   Just up stream you could see the place where they hauled out on the bank for the scramble back up to the cave.

Of course, the best part of the float was that when we were done, Jim and Jay came and picked us up and when we got back to the house there was spaghetti and home made meat balls all ready for us to eat.  Just as soon as we went to the store, that is, to get salad stuff. 

On the way to the store we stopped off and met one Alice Angelika C. who was born 45 hours before Jeri and I visited.  It was absolutely magical to hold that tiny little girl in our hands, admire her perfect feet and hands.  She has extremely long fingers, seems like maybe she should be a piano player.  And her head is so soft and delicate as it rests in the palm of my hand.  Hard to believe that in 16 years she will be an impossible and hard headed teenager. 

Then we went on back home and enjoyed our wonderful meal, and afterwards we listened to the entire recording of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Haitink.  Don’t ask me who the soloists were, they did a creditable job.  After that we watched Rumor Has It just so we could admire one of our heroes, Shirley (don’t call me Grandma) MacLaine.

And so to bed.  Ruby is exhausted, so is Jim.  He thinks I need to be kept on task in regards to the Alaska tales.  But I just had to write about this today.  It was such a beautiful day all around.  Tomorrow we are going out to Cole’s Tree Farm and get our Christmas tree, set it up.  Then I can decorate it while Jim watches a little football and then we are planning a little half-time celebration.  It has been far too long since we did that sort of thing, and we are both looking forward to it.

Mike says “Hi.”


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