Archive for March 19th, 2007

Catching up

The blackbirds are in town.   The flock is making its customary rest and feeding stop on its way north.



Both of these picture were taken right in my back yard yesterday during a rather spectacular sunset.   The flock is mixed: brewer’s blackbirds, redwinged blackbirds, grackles, and brown headed cowbirds.  It consists of thousands of birds.  Every tree in the area is laden with birds just as the trees in the close-up picture is.  It is truly an amazing sight.

During the day they scatter all over the area to forage.   At sundown, they gather on the trees around this neighborhood.   A block and a half away is a small lake that has been here since before Lebanon was established.   It has a large area of cedars and brush where the flock sleeps at night.   It is amazing to watch them swirling around, a tornado of birds, all vociferously discussing the fact that it is bed time, exchanging the news of the day, discussing whether it is time to start heading farther north.   As dusk transitions to dark, the swirling cloud lowers over the cedar woods, settles in for the night.   I imagine that if you walked through the area at night, every tree there would be laden with birds.

When they leave, which will probably be in a few days, they will leave a few individuals behind to nest here.  I generally have two or three pairs of redwinged blackbirds, and two or three pairs of grackles nesting here and using my feeders during the summer.   I like having the grackles.   They are quite efficient bug-eaters, and form almost military phalanxes across the lawn as they march across in search of their dinner.   They are quite good at eating grasshoppers and june bugs, so I like them a lot.  It doesn’t hurt that they are quite handsome birds, with their iridescent blue heads and long graceful tails.

The flickers are back, looking for a place to rear their young.  This means I have started plinking at the starlings to keep them from pre-empting the cavity the flickers are interested in.   There is a pair of red-bellied woodpeckers also searching for a home site.  Night before last we heard a pair of great horned owls in the tree outside our bedroom talking quietly to each other.   I am hoping that they decide to utilize the loft of our barn as a home.   Them, or a pair of barn owls.   I’m not choosy.

My peas are almost an inch tall now.   Soon it will be time to remove the row cover and mulch them, and let them start climbing their fences.   The little lettuces I planted at the same time as the peas are starting their first set of true leaves, time to thin them.  I need to get my carrot bed ready, but I’ve been running around in my activist phase and not playing gardener.   Tomorrow.   Maybe.

Today we planted one of the replacement trees we bought for the front yard where we had two elms removed.   The other will go into the ground tomorrow.   Jim has worked hard today, digging a hole for the tree, moving dirt.   I cleaned up the extra rocks that came out of the hole, hauled dirt for the planting, then mulch after the tree was settled in.  It looks very small.

We had a fire all day yesterday.   Much of the brush that was too big to run through the compost grinder and too small to really use as firewood got burned.   It was still going this morning.  I was hoping it would still be hot enough to get rid of the prunings from my raspberry patch.  I went through it in a big hurry today, suddenly realizing that the canes were no longer dormant and had not been cut back yet.  But there has been a small rain, and the fire has died down too far.   Manana.

I had a lot of “catch-up” work to do in side, too.  The house needed vacuuming, the bathroom had to be made suitable for clients to use.   All my house plants were accusing me of being a bad mother and withholding water from them, so I had to remedy that situation.   Now I have three loads of laundry to do.   Somewhere in there I’d like to spend a little time reading.   But first I have a fiddle lesson to deliver.

There were five massages to do today, one of the people wanted to sauna afterwards, so we got that fired up.   I’ll be keeping it warm this evening so that Jim can use it when he gets home.  The detox will be good for him, plus it is extremely relaxing.   He has been doing amazingly well today, not antsy or irritable at all.   I know I am not supposed to praise him, but I am so proud of him.  I have never been a smoker but I have been around a lot of people who were and wanted to quit, so I am aware of how hard it is.   I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will take this time.

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