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.
This is an old entry on my blog from 2011. It popped up in the side column of the blog "On This Day." I am repeating it here because it's kind of they way I am feeling this morning. I hope you enjoy.
Sometimes when I lay in bed at night and don’t drop right off to sleep, words dance around in my head with no place to go. I’ve had some great ideas for blog posts completely formed in my mind—word for word, sentence by sentence—but when I wake in the morning all those thoughts and words have gone, blown out of my window by the same fan cooling my body. The fan lifts the words and disperses them into the night air, never to all be collected in the same place again.
The following post is a result of my finally getting out of bed to get a pad of paper to write what was going through my mind one night last week.
Our lives are like a woven tapestry. The individual threads and fibers that make it up are our immediate family, relatives, and friends. A tapestry of relationships; all different.
Over time some of the threads fray and break. Whether they just don’t withstand the test of time or it’s just normal wear and tear, some just do not hold up like others do. Some hold true and strong no matter what life throws at us.
Some come unravelled, sadly leaving big gaping holes that never fill back in. Some of those threads that have become unravelled can be picked up again and woven back in, never quite reaching the perfection of the first initial weaving, but still part of the tapestry once again.
Some simply come undone and just hang there and dangle, bereft and alone, with no one caring enough to repair the rift.
Others deteriorate over time, leaving small moth-eaten holes where once a relationship was. Some are too small to even notice.
Many things lead to the ebb and flow of these relationships. We may move away, have different life experiences, or just grow further apart naturally. Let’s face it, life is constantly changing. Relationships and friendships take work and both parties have to participate. It’s a game of give and take. Sometimes you have to give more than you take and hopefully someone on the other end will give you more back when you need it most. Sometimes it’s give, give, give and you get nothing in return. In those cases you have to take a long hard look at the relationship. Do you really want to invest in something that gives you nothing, or at best, minimal results back?
I can also categorize these friendships and relationships into knitting terms.
Those that are lasting and strong.
Those that come and go, criss-crossing our lives from time to time.
Ones that don’t last.
Ones that have been given up on.
Today I’d like you to think about your friendships and relationships with others and what kind of person the people in your tapestry think you are. Are you a giver? Mostly a taker? Or do you like to think of yourself as an equally balanced participant?
And, if you are reading this you are also part of my tapestry in some way.
Thanks for sitting through my sleep-starved thoughts.
All photos taken at the New Jersey Botanical Gardens before Hurricane Irene.
I know you all on Facebook have already seen the turkey photos, but this post is for my sister who is not on Facebook. I promised her I would put them on the blog. So here they are: the Baker's Dozen hanging out by the pool. I am thankful I didn't have the pool open on this day or they might have just taken a dip it was that hot!
Silly turks! I could not believe my eyes when I saw them all lined up on the railing.
And while we're here, why not land on the cabana?
They hardly ever come in to the back yard. I like it when they do because they eat all the bugs.
I'm sorry I'm not here more often. I guess my motivation for the blog has diminished. It started to celebrate our new life in New Jersey and all the adventures, flora and fauna that were new and different to us. Now it's just everyday ho-hum. Add to that the fact that we can't wait to move back to Colorado and start the next chapter of our lives together and well, it's hard to keep the blog going. I think you know where I am coming from. But, until the house sells (and it seems we are not having much luck with that) we are trying to enjoy the rest of our time here. We're taking advantage of the pool and swimming lengths most mornings.
I haven't given up the blog, just scaling back a bit.
I’m still here! I just didn’t have anything much to say. I’ve just been going from gray day to gray day, hoping for Spring to arrive in person and not just on the calendar. Saturday was pretty nice when it got up to 50 but the wind spoiled any chance of sitting outside, plus the sun was in and out. Today the sun is out nice and bright but it’s below freezing. Tomorrow we are expecting some (shhh! not too loud) snow. We still haven’t completely gotten rid of our snow cover from the past two months yet, although it’s melting slowly and we have more clear patches of yard than we do snow.
Even though it was cold and there was a chilly wind blowing, I took myself out this morning for a long awaited walk at Long Pond Ironworks. This was the first time since the snow started to fly and pile up week by week that I’ve been there. I wasn’t even sure if my legs would carry me over uneven ground since I’ve only been walking on paved surfaces and grocery store aisles. And also because ever since I slipped and fell on the stupid ice a week ago when taking the girls to the groomers and banged up my knee pretty darned good, I haven’t been walking long distances because of the pain. It’s still swollen some just below the knee around the leg bone, but it’s better than it was.
It was nice to get out in the fresh, but cold air. The snow had pretty much melted but there were lots of spots that were just pure ice and tried to walk around them. When the path became more ice than it was clear I turned around not wanting to chance falling again. I learn pretty quickly that way.
In other news, we are still looking at vehicle. We have decided against the Toyota Sequoia for now because the one we test drove I didn’t like very much. It felt very boxy yet rode like a luxury car. This vehicle, whatever we end up with, can’t be a namby-pamby sort of girl. She’s going to be a country girl. In all other respects the Sequoia ticked most of our boxes except for not having a seat position memory. We also looked at a Nissan Armada which did tick all the boxes except it does not measure up as well in user reviews in Consumer Reports. We did not drive the Armada yet as they did not have a new one available to test drive. But when I sat in the driver’s seat it felt more like our Surburban than looking out over that huge hood of the Sequoia. We will revisit the Ford Expedition since we have just found out that the salesman who showed us the last one we looked at did not know how the seats folded and we dismissed it because they did not fold flat, but I guess they really do.
In the meantime, our Suburban decided to show us just who’s who and test us on our love for it. While Rick was driving it last week the brakes went out! It figures, doesn’t it? Rusted clean through. So, Big Red is in the hospital getting new brake lines and Rick is driving a loaner car. Not really an expected expense, but what else can you do?
That pretty much sums up what’s been going on (or not) around here.
Photos: old window latch; barn shadows
Posted by Rick on 03/24/2014 at 05:17 PM
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