Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Small Tragedy

As promised, I took a few pictures of the sky after the storm as reference photos for painting. There were so many colors it would be difficult to describe them all.

I had a small tragedy here last week. In the morning I was up making coffee, enjoying the sound of birds and seeing some sunshine for a change, when I heard a sound like a door hinge popping. I checked the French doors, nothing was amiss, the mastiff Kylie had not shoved it open as she sometimes does. I looked around the front studio and all seemed fine. I forgot about it for a while.
When I went out to do some weeding under the windows later, I found a flicker, dead, below the window. It must have flown in directly -- there was a split down its beak for a few inches as if it had driven itself into the glass very hard.
I brought it inside and took some reference photos of it as well. I never knew how brilliant the yellow was on the underside of its wings. My windows are not very reflective, I don't know what compelled it to fly into them, they usually have a layer of dust on them from the road, but perhaps the rain and hail washed them clean enough to be confusing to a bird. Later in the summer that window is covered by hops, but too late to help this poor fellow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Summer begins

Our summer so far has been cool and rainy. My garden is at least a month behind because of the cold weather and above average rainfall. Things got off to a slow start, it snowed on June 4.

Here is the nearby valley road. I often see mule deer and red deer here. It is lush this year thanks to the rain.

This old mailbox has been around for a few generations. It's one of my favorites on the road because of its textures and color.

These wildflowers grow by the side of the road. A deer had just browsed through them. See how pink everything looks in the gray light.

I rescued this unknown fledgling a week ago. If anyone knows what it is, please let me know. It had a brown body with a few speckles, and long legs and long toes. It's the fourth bird I've rescued this season: the others were a sapsucker I found in the middle of the road (he rode in the front passenger seat until I got home to get my camera and then flew out as soon as I opened the door) and a wren who was in my bedroom. Oh, there was also a grackle I rescued from my woodstove, it flew down the chimney twice. No pictures though.

This flicker was sitting on the bird feeder.  The flickers seem to enjoy the sunflower seeds.

A storm just passed through here. Extremely strong winds, hail the size of cranberries. As it moved south east, the clouds parted and illuminated the farm across the hill. See how bright the canola is in the sunlight.  Canola is a manmade modification of rapeseed. It has a very acidic color and isn't a particularly pretty crop: the plant itself looks like a gangly broccoli leaf, and the flowers are small clusters of yellow petals that soon shrivel into seeds.

And to the east the hay field and my old rake and baler.

And here is one of the great beauties of the season. They were five weeks late blooming, but how wonderful when they appear.

I'll have some treats for sky watchers next time.  I've just taken some amazing pictures of the sky after the storm -- you won't believe the colors are real. The skies here are incredible, the country is so open that you can see as far as possible. It must be like this on the ocean. Sometimes I feel adrift in a sea of grass.