Tuesday, July 29, 2014

a few pix from the doldrums

Bachelor loons are using the lake this year because there are no breeders to chase them off. Four five and six are the daily norm. Post card birds.
Rescued from the landfill, a vintage paddleboat (free) has been added to the fleet. Three dogs, an old guy and a bunch of fishing equipment in a weird old tub = absolute mayhem!
Still a male guarding a nest at the end of July. Staggered spawning times would seem a good strategy for success.
 The frog hunter revs it up................

Thursday, July 24, 2014

And the Great Blue Heron shiteth.........................

It started out back in May. The snow had finally come off the barn roof in late April, assembling itself in a massive pile that, on the shady northern side, would not finally disappear until the first of June. As that big glacier melted through the month of May most of the water it produced just percolated straight down into the sandy soils, but some of it moved laterally into the barn floor. It didn't take long until the north side of the barn's interior was a right good quagmire for much of the month, hence the three big overhead doors were wide open, night and day, in an effort to keep the rest of the place from becoming the proverbial sea of mud.

Enter the robins.  Not unusual for birds to nest in the rafters of the barn. Mostly it has been least flycatchers or phoebes, but when a pair of robins moved in and began to set up house, I didn't pay them much attention.
Everything was going along just fine for awhile, the mudline remained close to the north wall, the robins incubated their brood and worked over their share of the insect population, the Piscator puttered around the barn tending his junk and the big snow pile was daily reduced.
Enter the June rains.  One Sunday evening after a weekend of walleye whacking with the boys, I arrived home too tired to properly put away all the gear and park the truck back in the barn, where it resides most of the time. Instead I left it out overnight with the windows down - of course during the night there occured one of those glorious one inch thunderless rainstorms that comprised almost every other day of the month!
In the morning the seats and floor of the old pickup were soaked, so into the barn it went. Truck with open windows in a barn with open doors and high hopes that barn floor and truck upholstery would eventually dessicate. Seemed like a good enough plan.

Enter the robins - again. Why fly outside of a cozy barn to take a crap, when there is a ready made perch in the shape of a truck only half the distance away. The pair or the pair and perhaps seventeen of their friends sat on the rolled down window of the drivers side of the truck and shit inside the vehicle for a week! Grrrrr!

A couple of weeks after the truck was finally clean and dry, I was out on the evening walkabout with the dogs when a I heard a "splat" to my near right.  Before I could look (a stupid reaction) up to see where it came from, another large "splat" hit me right in the bald spot on the top of the head.  Now I don't know the internal body temperature of a crow, but I suspect that it's warmer than mine, because there was a noticeable heat to that well placed bomb. Two crows flushed out of the big silver maple that we were passing under. They might have been laughing. Bastards! I had never pondered the consistency of bird turds before having  to scrub them out of my truck, but here again I found myself  pondering and wiping both the smooth and crunchy aspects out of my hair. Glad I didn't have time to look up.

So a couple of weeks after that, and down at the little landing, Zane flushed a great blue heron out of the cattails and came bounding back with a freshly skewered bullhead. He's a retriever of weird stuff. A bullhead? Come on......
And so maybe it's revenge or maybe I should look up to see if there is a terrific perching branch before leaving the kayak someplace. Or maybe it is good things coming in threes? OK, sure. At least the kayak was turned over.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


After the June rains have passed
and the summer solstice is still a close memory
and all the fruits of the forest are bursting forth
it would seem that the cranial monsters
should be as far away and as impossible to find
as a toad in the night
densely shrouded under the verdant woods
Yet the downward pull persists
and cabin fever turned upside down
is still cabin fever for all that

Monday, July 14, 2014


Waking abruptly from a rare afternoon doze
Spidy senses on high alert
There in the yard stalking omnivorously
Mom and Pop and a couple of downy Sandhill kids