Sunday, January 20, 2019

Without my help

Today, I rested. It's rare that I have a day without a ton on my calendar. There was stuff I could have done, but I decided to let it wait.

Strangely enough, the wind still blew, the birds still dined at our feeders, and tonight the full moon rose. All without my help.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

No much to say

I choose to post a picture tonight in lieu of words. Sorry. I'm whupped.  I'll do better tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Chicken trauma

An owl got one of our chickens yesterday. Chickens are vulnerable to a number of predators. Weasels, opossums, raccoons, and hawks.

I know it was an owl because yesterday afternoon right at dark, I heard the chickens. That's rare with these chickens. They are hens and so they don't crow at daybreak like roosters.

When I stepped down to check on them, an owl was in their coop eating corn from their feeders. Once the owl saw me, it flew up to a low branch of a nearby sweet gum tree and observed me.

After putting the chickens into their coop and latching the door, I stepped back inside my house for my BB gun.  I didn't want to hurt the owl but I wanted him to know I was unhappy. I fired several times into the tree. One of the shots must have gotten close because he flew away.

I'm on call at the paper, but Sunday I plan to put up netting which is a deterrent for hawks and owls.

On the lighter side, Jilda and I went to one of our favorite restaurants tonight. The food was off the charts. The paper had given me a gift certificate to this restaurant for Christmas and it seemed like a perfect time to use it.

The only pictures I took today were of more moss and lichen. Heading into the archives, I found this picture of sparrows munching birdseed off the back deck banister. I love these little critters and they would never hurt my chickens.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lichen bouquet

We walked in the rain today. Normally, the dogs are ecstatic, but today I think they wished they had sweaters. 

On the first lap, I noticed what looked like a bouquet on the ground. It was a beautiful piece that had fallen off of one of the dead limbs on the ancient oak down by the barn. The limb it fell from once had a tire swing attached to it.

The swing has been gone for years but you can still see where the cable attached near the trunk.

Years of swinging children rubbed the bark off the limb where the cable was attached. The oak is so noble, it holds on to its limbs as long as possible.

You can see lichen growing on the limb. When I saw the lichen bouquet this morning, it didn't touch it. I wasn't sure if it was toxic. Neither was I sure if it was harmful to the tree.

I did a Google search a few minutes ago and found that there is nothing to fear.

The bark of trees such as the live oak provides a stable surface for lichen growth. Lichens may, in fact, help live oaks by discouraging insects and fungi. The long strands of lichen provide nest-building material for birds, as well as camouflage from predators.

I was so happy to read this.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Green velvet

The walk this morning was "chillified" as my grandmother might have said. The sun was out, but the wind out of the north punched a hole through my sweat pants and shirt. It made me glad I'd put my gloves in my pocket before heading out.

I was a bit distracted because I had no clue what my column for Sunday's paper would be. As much as I preach the Be Here Now sermon, I was not there during the first part of my walk. 

Then on the second lap, I looked to the side of the barn road and saw a tree the wind had blown across the road years ago. We chainsawed it away from the road but left part of it in the hollow. The end closest to the road is the one I saw.

Pulling the phone from my pocket, I snapped a picture. I know my lovely spouse will call me a copycat because she took moss pictures earlier in the week, but since the green velvet of moss is about the only color now, it ends up being a frequent subject of our pictures.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Rain = No fishing

One of my goals for the new year is to go fly fishing at least once a month. So far, that hasn't happened. Since late December, we've had torrential rain at least once a week. When it rains that much, the lake rises so they have to run the turbines at the dam to keep water from breaching the dam.

We had an editorial meeting today at the paper. Afterward, I headed home the long way around which took me by the dam.

I pulled to the water's edge and watched. Normal the water is as green as an emerald, but when it rains this much it turns the color of chocolate milk. The places where I normally wade is under ten feet of water.

I've come up with a solution to my issue. If I don't get a chance to go in January, I'll go twice in February.

The picture below was taken earlier in the fall before the rain set in.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Getting garden ready

We had seed catalogs in the mail when we returned from our short vaycay. These days, seed catalogs are like the Sears and Roebuck Wishbooks when I was a kid. Each page is a wonder.

As I peruse the pages, I start thinking about places where I can plant grapes, pear trees, or walnut trees. I'd love to have a yard full of walnut trees, but I fear we'd never get to crack any. They grow slowly.

Last week, I went to the hardware store and bought what I need to build raised beds. I will build those this coming weekend and start planting thing we can plant early

It is my intention to get garden-ready this year so we can enjoy fresh veggies all summer long. The past few years, the weather has dictated the outcomes but that's because I didn't do my homework prior to planting season.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, but my actual birthday is tomorrow the15th.

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