Monthly Archives: January 2007

Rear Window

Being housebound from a recent appendectomy and ice storm, I had the opportunity to do some widlife watching through our rear windows. Deer of course are a common sight, but not usually this close to the house. This day, there were five (a third one is just visible in the photo, if you enlarge it, between the back deer’s head and the power pole). There was even a buck with the group, annoying the does that either are or, soon will be, coming into heat.

The deer were also checking out the seeds around the feeders. You’ll notice a squirrel has managed to bypass the squirrel baffle. He had a little help from a crow. During the ice storm, a crow landed on the tray and dropped it down to the baffle. That put it at an easy leaping height for squirrels. We tried moving the tray back up but somehow one particular squirrel could make a running climb up the baffle, sit on top of the baffle, then leap to the tray, then to the feeder. We had to take the whole assembly apart, raise the tray and baffle so there’s no room on top of the baffle for a squirrel and the tray is too high to reach in one leap. Now, the tray sits just below the hopper feeder and the crows can stand on the tray and feed out of the feeder above. Sighhh! If it’s not one thing it’s another.

The crows did come in handy the other day. I had a big container of leftover stew that you can’t compost because of the fat, and I didn’t want to put it in the garbage. So, I gave it to the crows along with a dead mouse I had trapped in the kitchen. The mouse disappeared first, but the stew was a big hit as well. Somehow without a sense of taste or smell, they knew which morsels were meat and took those first, then ate the veggies at their leisure. Each crow approached the stew pile in their own way, some casually sorting through the pile, setting aside choice pieces, others snatching and flying, but always approaching the pile one at a time, determined by some unknowable hierarchy. It was fascinating to watch. By the end of the day not a scrap was left.

The birds are still coming to the feeders in large numbers. The feeders were empty for a week during the early part of my recovery, but the birds were back within minutes of filling them.
In this photo of our main feeder, there are 20 Cardinals, one Mourning Dove, 12 Dark-eyed Juncos, and two American Goldfinches (and two Fox Squirrels).

No murders, but lots of action from my Rear Window.


The problem with "free" …

Is that you have little or no leverage. Blogger, a free service, seems to have eaten the images that went with last night’s post. If they don’t show up on their own by this evening, I’ll upload them again.

Update @ 2203: OK, the previous post should be fixed now.

More winter – what’s up with that?

We moved 6° 40′ south, in part, to get away from winter. That wasn’t the only reason, of course, but the cold (and the darkness around Winter Solstice) was certainly part of it. So what’s up with this snow and ice and stuff here?

Here we go for this morning’s walk. The ice-storm was well-forecast last week. It came a little sooner than expected (noon on Friday vs supper time that day) and, fortunately, we got more ice pellets than actual freezing rain. KOUN even did an extra midday sounding and the folks at work still couldn’t figure out why we were getting pellets instead of freezing rain. Anyway, it’s good that we did. Folks to the North and East of us seem to have bore the brunt while we sailed through without ever losing power.

We did get freezing rain, just not a lot. My car, the older of the two vehicles, is snug in the garage. Heh.

Enough ice (maybe 1/4″) to make the trees pretty but not to bring them down on the electrical lines. Thank goodness. We were prepared with about 4-5 days worth of wood for the fireplace and two tanks of propane for the Weber. We also filled the tub with water – the well pump is powered from the grid, a situation we hope to remedy later this year.

Even the pond was frozen. It’s had water in it since the last big rain, much to our surprise and delight. In the morning, before the freeze up at least, deer would be drinking from it when it was time to head to work.

The stuff is hard as rock. You can see that the car didn’t even leave much of an impression when we went out yesterday.

Here, the mighty sled dog leads me on his walk.

Odo surveys the scene from the top of the hill before we get to the road. Note that they did spread a sand/salt mix on the road.

I don’t know much about how gophers live their little lives (tho’ we’re sure learning!) but it appears that they don’t hibernate, at least around here. This little mound was fresh Sunday morning and had a little precip on it today. This one is by the driveway and the second one is up in the front yard.

Odo has a task in the morning (aside from the usual doggie stuff, of course) and that is to bring in the paper. When we lived in Chicagoland, he’d run out in the morning and grab the Trib off the driveway and bring it in. Here, he has to work a little harder. And depending on how the delivery person puts it in the tube, he may need some help. Not today, though. What a good boy!

Back the same day … In case you were wondering, it was 16.7° F/ -8.5° C when Odo and I went out for the paper.