Friday, October 25, 2013

What does the fox say?

I recorded this from my front porch one night.

Turn up the volume and let your dogs hear it. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013


I have a pair of Killdeer nesting in my back yard about 20 steps from my back door. Killdeer are a type of plover, and they like open ground. In years past I would hear them down in the marsh below my house, but something brought a pair up the hill to the yard this spring. Maybe too many llamas down there.

Although they have quite distinct markings, they can camouflage themselves very well.

Mom is checking me out.

She calls for her mate to join her. I am about 4 feet away from her clutch.

They begin a big show to distract me away from the nest. I stand very still, I don't want to alarm them too much, and I only visit for about a minute.

Come after me, my wings are broken!!

I'm really helpless over here. Come this way.

Look how wounded I am, I'd be an easy catch!

Mom and Dad both put on a charade for me. Somehow this must work for them.

Since it's in the middle of my back yard, I've had to stop mowing that particular area until the family is gone.  For more on the killdeer see this excellent site: 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

the Doubtful Guest

I've been a fan of Edward Gorey for a loooong time..... maybe 40 years. If you don't know him, you might know his work. He did a lot of book jackets, and he did the PBS Mystery! series animated intro. I love his macabre sense of humor. The Gashlycrumb Tinies is one of my favorites. Check it out.  I always identified with N is for Neville who died of ennui.  

One of his iconic characters is the eponymous the Doubtful Guest.

Here is the drawing from Gorey's Leaves from a Mislaid Album.

I decided to make him into a dimensional character. 

Here he is in 3D. He's done in canvas and has a knitted scarf and embroidered tennis shoes.

 He's been uncharacteristically well behaved so far, no disappearing watches or ripped books.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stupid Old Man

Old Man Winter just couldn't say goodbye. Like that guest that eats all your leftovers then falls asleep on the sofa and won't let you call him a cab to go home, so he just lays there snoring and rolling in false teeth and crumbs from the bowl of nachos he fell asleep with on his chest.

Looky here, he smeared dentucream and vaporub all over my window.

Yesterday there was grass and the gravel was dry on the driveway. Today not.

The red polls have given up looking for predators and are down in the hollow of the pots, so I put some black seed there for them.

Temperature is zero.  It has been at least 10 degrees below "normal" for over a month. I'll be snowed in again by the afternoon, unless some global warming comes along and shines it up.

Three jobs you can have with zero accountability: parenting, paleontology and forecasting the weather.I'm sure there are more, these three just "sprang" to mind for some reason.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Fever

This is day six of spring. As of today, we have had winter for five months. I wish I could make peace with winter, I wish I could be like Dick Proenneke and actually prefer winter, but I don't. Maybe if I fully committed to a dog sled team I might be more amenable to this season. As it is I dream of a land where there are birds and greenery more than half of the time.

I enjoy what few birds there are here. Right now there are chickadees, and sapsuckers, magpies and red polls at the feeders.

Last week, on the first day of spring we got a snowstorm that snowed me in overnight. My driveway is as long as a city block and it was full of three feet of packed snow. The only thing that could plow me out was a highway grader. At a cost of course since we are entitled to no services in the country. It's all do-it-yourself, your own sewer, your own water treatment, your own garbage collection and recycling, your own furnace repair, drain maintenance and heating fuel supply, and it's all up to you. There are no services out here. You need to be resourceful and strong.

The quiet and solitude is a big incentive to living out here though.

Perhaps any dissatisfaction I have is spring fever. Here is what Mark Twain had to say about that:

"It just makes a boy homesick to look ahead like that and see how far off summer is. Yes, and it sets him to sighing and saddening around, and there's something the matter with him, he don't know what. But anyway, he gets out by himself and mopes and thinks; and mostly he hunts for a lonesome place high up on the hill in the edge of the woods, and sets there and looks away off on the big Mississippi down there a-reaching miles and miles around the points where the timber looks smoky and dim it's so far off and still, and everything's so solemn it seems like everybody you've loved is dead and gone, and you 'most wish you was dead and gone too, and done with it all.

Don't you know what that is? It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want -- oh, you don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! It seems to you that mainly what you want is to get away, get away from the same old tedious things you're so used to seeing and so tired of, and set something new. That is the idea; you want to go and be a wanderer, you want to go wandering far away to strange countries where everything is mysterious and wonderful and romantic. And if you can't do that, you'll put up with considerable less; you'll go anywhere you CAN go, just so as to get away, and be thankful of the chance, too."