Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wood Duck Nest Box

We've been noticing that the Wood Ducks are coming around very often now. They found the sunflower seeds we scatter for the finches and the millet we scatter for the doves. They love it. We found duck prints in the fresh snow on Saturday morning (yes, we had yet another snowfall!) coming right up to the front of the house. I think we have accepted that we have wood ducks to care for this year.
So Roger decided Sunday morning to build them a nest box. He checked online and found some great instructions. It took four hours from start to finish. We're hoping that at least one of the many pairs that have been hanging around the house will move in. Of course, I'm already feeling that we should build another box, just in case the second (or third) pair don't have their heart set on a place yet. In the almost dark Sunday evening, we saw a pair walk by the window on their way to some place in the yard. How can we resist their spring desires? We can't.

I have to say, watching Roger work for hours on this box, dig the hole for the post, and then place it, reminded me of my old Rogie. He worked hard and had the energy for it. Yes, he was tired afterward, but he took a break and then split some firewood. I couldn't believe how GREAT it was to have that Rogie back. My heart was singing.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sometimes The Weather...

...overwhelms everything. Demands your attention and won't leave you alone. It's an entity that must be dealt with. We think about it, plan for it, have the snow plowed or shovel it ourselves. We must shop for food with the weather in mind; we carry a shovel in the car when we head out; we pack extra boots and heavy jackets, just in case. We keep a pot of water on the stove in case we need to boil it for hot water in the morning. The extension cords stay in place now for quick attachment to the generator. Yes, we've had another storm, and another extended power outage.
The weather. It has whupped our butts this year, and not only ours but our entire county's; the PG&E crews constantly trying to restore power, and the telephone companies keeping connections humming. Tree crews, road crews, and law enforcement are all working non-stop. There's hardly been a day since mid February that we haven't seen some work truck on the side of the road with a cherry-picker bucket high up in the trees or the top of a pole, and some person doing his/her damnedest to solve a problem.
The weather. And there's more on the way. Out of the Gulf of Alaska (thanks, Dave!). One storm ends, another begins, with hardly a breather in between. It's the trees that seem to take the brunt of it. Limbs strewn everywhere, tops blown off like they were nothing but insignificant toothpicks, and whole trees spread across roadways as if they had always planned to fall just this way.

The weather.
So sometimes, we take a break and head out to watch the Wood Ducks in the snowy pond. It almost balances the madness, but not quite.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Distant Encounters of the First Kind

We saw our neighbors walking along our road Saturday afternoon. It was a balmy sunny day, and their three old grand-daughter was running around with an exuberance only a three-old knows. We walked out to say hello and meet their son and daughter-in-law and their beautiful Sophie. It was the kind of day meant for chatting in the afternoon sun. Our neighbors are bird watchers. So, I was intrigued when Jackie started out saying, "We saw those birds, oh what are they? They fly in large flocks and make this incredible sound." I had no idea what she was talking about. She said, "Sam, what are those birds we saw? They winter in the wetlands in the valley, and migrate right over us on their way north. What are they?" Sam says, "Oh I remember, they're Sandhill Cranes."

I shouted, "What? Sandhill Cranes fly over our house on their way to somewhere every spring and fall?" I couldn't believe it.

Jackie says she just saw a flock fly over earlier in the week, and if there are no more this time, we should be ready for them in fall. She said she'll even call us if and when she sees them.

I am thrilled by all of this.
Later that same day, I grabbed the telephone to call my mom and headed out on the deck to sit while we talked. The phone rang once at her house, and I looked up into the sky. There was a large of flock of very big birds flying towards us. My first thought was, "Wow, those are huge geese." But then I heard their sound, the sound only a Sandhill Crane makes. I hung up the phone before my mom answered, and ran to get Roger. We stood out on the deck and had our first very distant encounter with Sandhill Cranes. The phone rang. I thought it must be my mom, calling to ask why I had hung up, but it was our very good and kind neighbor calling to say, "Go out and look at the sky. There are cranes flying over your house." I told her that we were looking at them and I was trying to get a photo. The above pic is the best I could do. They were high in the sky and moving. It was quite exciting.

How lucky we are again to have such good neighbors. If we hadn't had that conversation earlier in the day, I would have never guessed such a thing were possible. We're on the flight path of migrating Sandhill Cranes.
But then something else happened. On Sunday I remembered that I had photographed a large flock of what I thought were geese heading south last October. I thought they were pretty lousy photographs, but I saved them anyway. I just took a good look at them and discovered I had already photographed the migrating Sandhill Cranes then.

Life is good.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Oh, hello...


Monday, March 07, 2011

Where There Should Be A New Post

But isn't.


What can I say? Roger is still experiencing the side effects of the chemo. It's only been six days, and that stuff is cumulative and invasive. He's been working on a post about it. Not sure if or when it will be appear here.

February's two back-to-back snowstorms kicked our butts. The snow is gone, but it was driven away by driving rain. We were once stronger (and younger) than we are now.

We drove to the co-op on Sunday morning (our favorite time to shop) and were listening to CarTalk. We always love the banter on that show, so good for a laugh. They did their usual puzzler, and for some reason we both knew the answer, so I decided to actually send it in to their show.

Here is their response.

Thanks for sending us your answer to this week's Car Talk puzzler!

In case you were wondering, here's the process we go through to select each week's winner:

First, we have to be certain you have the correct answer. We start by sending your answer to Paul Murky, at Murky Research. Murky, working with our Statistician Marge Innovera, will place your puzzler answer in one of two heaps: "not even close" and "pretty much right."

Assuming it passes by Paul and Marge, your answer will then be zipped along to Central Processing, where it will be date and time stamped, and searched for attached currency. Next, it will be shipped electronically to our Correct Answer Verification Center, where our legions of lackeys once again search your answer for any lingering currency-- just in case someone at Central Processing missed it. Then, they make certain that your response fits the criterion we have established for correct answers.

Please note that since we're often unsure of what the right answer is ourselves, we have very wide latitude in determining what constitutes a correct answer. Incorrect answers, however, will be sent to Nigerian Email Schemers.

Lastly, correct answers will be sent to Ms. Shirley Wright, who operates under the auspices of the Committee for Reviewing Answers to Puzzlers. There, operating under complete secrecy, Ms. Wright will pick a winner.

If your response is selected as this week's winning entry, we'll announce your name on the air. You'll also get a $26 gift certificate to our Shameless Commerce Division-- but only if you catch us. Which means, what? You'll need to e mail us and mention that you heard your name on the air. If you're smart, you'll then trade your new Shameless Commerce Gift Certificate to an unsuspecting co-worker, for a cup of coffee and twenty-five cents. Why $26? Simple. It used to be $25... but we adjusted for inflation. About ten years ago. (No kidding.)


Tom and Ray Magliozzi
Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers

We love this's so them.

We were lucky enough to see some Wood Ducks down by the pond on Saturday. I'm hoping they'll come around again so can get a better look at the male in his breeding plumage (he's there in the photo, in the bushes next to the female).

And in case you're wondering, life is still good!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Word Wednesday: Two Thrushes Meet

We haven't seen a Varied Thrush since we left Port Townsend. What a grand treat, and so lovely to see it with a Robin. I believe the Varied Thrush is just passing through on its way north, and the Robin has just returned from somewhere warmer. The cusp of seasons brings such riches, and especially now that we can enjoy it because we have POWER and Roger has finished chemo.

Life is good.

PS: Lousy photo taken from inside the house through a particularly winter-smudged window. Oh well, better than nothing, right?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Countdown LAST DAY!

It's true, it's true! Today is the last day Roger has to take four pills in the morning and four pills in the evening. Today this insane, fakakta medical/pharmaceutical intervention ends. We are absolutely, crazily giddy with excitement, and that's not bad for a 68 year-old cancer survivor and his 58-year old neurotic care-taking wife. WE DID IT. Let me rephrase that: WE FUCKING DID IT!

So, here's a photo we both agree is the photo to end this countdown. It's a tree we've passed many times on many walks out on the trail. It's a still-alive tree that's been struck by lightning. We know it's not really true that lightning only strikes once. But we also know, that even after it has struck, life goes on in the forests of the world.

Thank you from our deepest hearts for hanging in there with us.

roger's update-------------------

thanks for all the support. here's a song for the occasion.

this is the last time