Enough weather

This is my last weather post for a while.  It should settle into normal spring weather at this point, right? No more snow.  IMG_9044Good old thunderstorms instead.

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We had a slew of visitors, 4 sets, last week!  The first set arrived the day we learned our well had bacteria in it.  Ouch.  I began boiling water and advising guests.  Then the rains came and the rivers rose.

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It was very dramatic at the local gorge.

I found a quiet moment or two to get back to spinning.  The funny thing is, I don’t think I took this photo but there it was, on my camera.  Very nice.  Andre?

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I am spinning a local alpaca fleece from the lock.  I washed it last year or so and now  I just grab a lock, flick it on a brush and spin away.  I have been plying it with some Blue Faced Leicester and may dye it with my lichen stash.  What will it be, what will it be?

The Indigo Bunting woke me yesterday and I managed to get a better photo of it later in the day.  Dawn is about 4:30 here and the birds sing their little hearts out.  Better than an alarm clock but  I wish I could set it a little later.

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More spring visitors

Avian and mammal.  Spring brings feathered friends and family.  All welcome.

Bluebirds found the new house by the cabin and are making a nest. IMG_9017

My sister-in-law and I walked through the grasslands and she spotted a Chestnut sided warbler by the road.  You can just make it out hidden to the left in the brambles.  It’s not the large tan leaf in the upper rightChestnut sided warbler.  IMG_9020She also spotted an Indigo bunting just outside our screened in porch.IMG_9004

The lilacs are in bloom all around us. Their scent is the harbinger of spring.  With nice weather, cool (40f) nights, visitors return to the Adirondacks in heaps.  I love hosting guests during this time of year although there was snow in the forecast for tonight (Memorial Day Weekend)!

So I clean my house before guests arrive.  Tim likes to wait until they leave.  Any thoughts?
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Snow is in the forecast but the birds are unaware

The temperature is below freezing again but hasn’t stopped the bird migration. It seems every day we hear new songs and see more species at the feeder. This morning a flock of common redpolls stopped by for a frenetic visit. Mourning doves have returned and their song echoes in the woods.

Today a plump, Tufted Titmouse was stopped by and settled in the tree among the spring buds.
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As long as the birds don’t care about our Hazardous Weather Outlook, neither will we.

A study in blues and greys

Blue jays and a female hairy woodpecker ate like birds at our feeders today. The blue jays are especially crafty. One pecks from above and makes a mess while another cleans up below. A pair of chickadees were flitting around and we only saw the tail end of a new arrival with a white belly and long tail. ID to follow if we ever see its head. It was hidden behind one of the feeders and ate for about 5 minutes. Even though we awoke to snow this morning, spring is definitely in the air. Just to prove it, we lose an hour of sleep tonight. It was too cloudy last night to see the Aurora Borealis but maybe today? I’m forever hopeful.

Below is a recent weaving disaster. I had problems when I “dressed” the loom. So bad and the weaving was so unpleasant that I employed a desperate measure. Rather than waiting to weave the whole mess off the loom, I “undressed” it. What would have been four placemats became a mat for under one of the cat bowls.

In better progress is the Na Craga sweater for my son. He asked me to lengthen it so I frogged back the neck and shoulder decreases and lengthened the front and back. Now the front will become the back because there is a minor flaw in what would have been the front. I’m sure only I will see it, but it’s all I will see. Not even a flaw, just one stitch which looks looser and may block out. But just in case.

The big picture

Loki spends a lot of time sitting on the windowsills and basking in the sun.  He is actually not all that interested in the birds at the feeder and in fact the crows and blue jays scare him away.  We’ve had some lovely snow and the birds spend a lot of time at the feeders.  I heard robins this morning and a woodpecker tapping a tree across the road.  We seem to be feeding all the wildlife.  I saw deer tracks around the tree and only hope they are eating from the feeder’s spill and not the tree itself!

Goldfinch on the sunflower feeder

 

 

There must be something good in the feeders because the birds leave the most colorful eggs.  This batch has been sent south in search of the Easter Bunny. I believe in spring, fertility and rebirth but never understood why a bunny delivered eggs.  Why don’t we have an Easter Chicken?

Love is in the air

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It’s finally spring in the Adirondacks. We have had plenty of April showers, in fact it has rained all May. The grass needed mowing and the birds are going wild. There are all sorts of feathered visitors at our feeders. Not so much the bird bath but maybe they are waiting for summer warmth. We have at least three ruby throated hummingbirds drinking our homebrew nectar (4:1 water to sugar). This morning, we saw a male perform a courtship dance, flying in a vertical arc, like a “U”, back and forth, over and over again. Then the female came to the feeder and drank primly. I’m not sure if he won her over. Here’s the male stoking up.
We’re investigating ways to stoke ourselves up. We’ve been looking into CSA’s and/or farmstands as a way to continue to eat healthy. Farm stands are only seasonal but a couple of the CSA’s produce all year. I don’t think I will get a garden prepared and planted this year, but maybe next year. In the meantime, we are checking out local produce, dairy products and meat. Sounds like we’ll be tromping through a lot of cow manure to get there.

Adjusting to the sun’s southern exposure

I’m reminded of the differences between home and Australia daily.  No huntsmen spiders or tiger snakes is one of them.  Instead, I hear coyotes howling when I am in the hot tub and wonder what their plans are.  The night sky is different.  Orion is not a saucepan but is once again a sword bearing hunter.  We no longer look for the Southern Cross and the pointers to find south but use the Big Dipper as a guide to the North Star.  During the day, I have to remind myself that the sun comes from the south, no longer from the north.  I still don’t even know how the toilets flush here or there.  We’re trying to extend our healthy eating habits by investing in a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) where we can get organic vegetables, meat and dairy products.

Scarlet Tanager

Yesterday, I enjoyed a walk with friends on a trail (not a track) led by naturalists on the Champlain Area Trail System (CATS).  When we stopped chatting long enough to listen, we had lots of sites, plants and birds pointed out along the way.  Here’s a red bird.  It’s not a Beautiful Fire Tail or a European Goldfinch,  or a Black Swan.  It’s a Scarlet Tanager.  It flew around the branches over our heads and belted out a beautiful song.

Many wildflowers were pointed out along the way as they began to bud but their names elude me.  These were pretty yellow flowers.

My head is still in the clouds

I can’t believe we’ve been home a month already. We’ve been busy organizing and getting reacquainted with family, friends and our lovely home in the mountains.

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I made my first batch of cream cheese from a batch of yogurt that I heated too high and killed all that good bacteria. It was delicious on home made toast with jam. ‘ve got bread, bagels and, almost, english muffins perfected, I still need to get those nooks and crannies like Thomas’ does. Now that I’m discussing food, I imported ten boxes of Tim Tams and gave them away to a select few (and ate a couple of boxes myself with a little help from Tim). I was shopping in Brooklyn, NY and right at the checkout counter my son discovered Pepperidge Farms Tim Tams. Apparently they are an affiliate of Arnott, the original Tim Tam baker and sell them in the United States from October to April. So we can all enjoy the Tim Tam slam next winter and fill the void when the Girl Scout thin mints are all gone.

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We’ve got a new visitor too. This pheasant seems to enjoy our house, walks up to the window and pecks and cleans up after the birds at the feeders

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House hunting and foraging

Not us, the birds. We are comfortably settling in at home and are adjusting to a life among people again. I am very happy to get to spend time with my family and to become reacquainted with friends.

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The birds, however, are just moving in. A pair of blue birds checked out all the bird houses (five in total) and selected one on the fence. They got down to business and built their nest in it. The feeder has attracted goldfinches, chickadees, purple finches and blue jays. The northern flickers, robins and blue birds are dining on whatever they find in the grass.

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In the meantime, we are having our own little Caddyshack battle. Moles are digging up the back lawn faster than Tim can flatten the mounds. He was even standing on one while it was still getting bigger. Soon there will be dynamite and those words, “Hello Mr. Mole, it’s just me Mr. Squirrel”.