Yesterday afternoon I was graced with a visit from Mr./Mrs. Pileated Woodpecker! If you look closely in the photo above you can see a newly pecked big wood chip on its chest right by the claw. Its been hanging around this tree for about a week now but my camera battery always turned out to be dead. (My camera is eating battery life these days. Lack of use?)
I had noticed this tree which stands at the back of the grass yard and the beginning of the woods part of the yard some time ago and wondered at its bark loss. It stands out like a sore thumb. I had even gone down to look at it a few weeks back, thinking in my head that it was the work of a bear. But on closer inspeciton I didn't see any claw marks. It looked like it had been chiseled. A few days later I saw the pileated pecking away at it and it became clear that it was doing the damage. Here is a photo so you can see how much of tree is without bark.
This time I had my camera battery waiting and fully charged. I made my way slowly and carefully down the yard in my house slippers, tip-toeing in the snow and below freezing temperatures closer and closer to it until I dared not get any closer. The result is this set of photos. I am thinking that it was worth the discomfort of frozen body parts.
It would sit there cocking its head back and forth, intently listening to whatever bug it could hear moving inside the tree. The attack of the big beak is brutal and deliberate —and loud. What it must feel like inside the bird's head is beyond me!
I like this last pic because you can see the wind blowing its crest.
A truly magnificent bird, and one that I will miss when we move. We are so lucky to have them in the neighborhood, and even better in my yard!
They only happen under the most particular of circumstances: freezing temperatures (but not enough to freeze the water surface itself), wind-whipped waves, and cattails of course. From the first time I saw them form on Green Turtle Pond I have been intrigued and inspired. They cluster against the dam, frozen in a moment of time all unto themselves. Let's look a bit closer, shall we?
The Three Musketeers
The Elf's Hat
They never cease to delight. They are always in a state of flux, taking whatever form nature shapes them in. Each of them unique and beautiful.
Take a very good look at this wonderful cartoon that friend Rand Kruback did for us as a gift. Rand is an old HP friend from way back and has recently been doing the yearly calendars for Vision Research. Don't forget to notice the Phantom camera strapped in there!
This blog post of ours on Off the Grid inspired him.
I think he captured us pretty well right down to Rick's curly hair! A Bernese Mountain Dog, wine, Cooking "901" and more! What do you see ? We will treasure this, thank you Rand for being so generous with your amazing talent!
In the new year, COLORADO OR BUST, for sure.
Posted by Lynne on 12/26/2015 at 06:57 AM
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Fire Truck Santa a few years ago.
Last night Fire Truck Santa finally came by. I had been waiting for him all day. It was dark by the time he arrived in his sleigh aboard a flat bed trailer, pulled by the local fire department's truck. Poor Santa, no snow for his sleigh. He used to come by as pictured above but he's been upgraded in the past few years to a more comfortable ride. I have to say that had I seen this sight as a child I would have been entranced and delighted. Santa! Oh heck, I'm still delighted even if the fire trucks do make a lot of noise on our quiet little cul-de-sac. Santa arrives with flashing lights and sirens you can't miss him.
I was in my "house only" slippers and thought I would be satisfied peeking through the curtains. But I wasn't. I grabbed a $20 bill from Rick, turned on our outside driveway lights and headed up to the street. He was stopped at our neighbors at the end of the cul-de-sac and I couldn't really see what was going on. I was hoping that either the Corbetts or the Murrays were also contribuitng to the Christmas cheer.
It took them a long time to finish whatever was going on, but the truck finally pulled up next to me. Santa was not in his sleigh but sitting in the passenger side of the truck. I jokingly asked him why he wasn't in the sleigh and he said "Santa's pooped out!" He had his beard and hat off by then. I guess he figured I was grown up enough not to care. But I sort of did. I told him that I'd been watching for him all day and that they were late this year. He said there were just so many kids out this year that it took longer than usual. We were their last stop before heading back to the station.
I told him that our house was sold and we were leaving so I wouldn't be seeing them next year. He said he was sorry to see me go, we'll miss you, he said. He asked a few more questions like where were we moving and the like. I told him that I had thoroughly enjoyed his visit each year and I'd miss him too.
Really, if a volunteer fire department solicits for donations, what better way than Santa in a sleigh?
Posted by Lynne on 12/21/2015 at 11:59 AM
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Here he is: our Home Gnome. At least that's what I call him.
When we were trying to sell our house in Fort Collins, our realtor here in New Jersey told us we needed a St. Joseph statue to help the house sell faster. We had never heard of such a thing but she swore that they worked. She bought us one and we followed directions for planting Joe in the ground, upside down in our herb bed back in Colorado. Ater a year went by and we returned to the house to do some repairs, we exhumed Old Joe to make sure he was pointing the right direction and we hadn't botched the burial. He was just fine, albeit a little dirty, and assuming the proper position. Poor Joe. All alone standing on his head for two years and he wasn't really the least bit of help.
In similar fashion, Rick came home with this cute little gnome to help the sell the house. At least he didn't have to stand on his pointy head, but instead has graced our front porch right outside the door since he came home in late July. The people who put the contract on our house came to look at it in August. We didn't hear much from them except that they were still interested and "working on things" until they requested a second showing on Colombus Day weekend. Since then things have moved pretty fast. We couldn't be happier and hope that they don't sell their house too soon.
We were here sitting out by the pool with the dogs when they visited the house the first time. They seemed like a really nice young couple and we could tell they were interested in the house. They asked a lot of good questions, and best of all, they noticed the artwork in the house and that all the canvases were signed by the same person — my Dad. Were were amazed that they had noticed. You have to be pretty observant to find his signature on all the paintings. Our estimation of them when up 100-fold right then and there!
So, Mr. Home Gnome I hope you bring this contract to a sale!
Did he really help? Who knows, but we like to think he did.
Sidenote: I can't see or hear the word gnome without thinking of my dear Mom. She always pronounced it "ga-nomee." Makes me smile even today. I'm not sure if she really thought that was how you pronounced it or if she was just being funny. Bless you, Mom wherever you are. We miss you so.
P.S. Follow the link to the St. Joseph statue above for the full story.