Late December

_LME4387Cooper enjoys riding solo.

There has been plenty of work this holiday season and more to come, but it has been the family times that have made it worthwhile.

_LME4396 Scarlett winks as she rides by.

Plenty of fresh air and good food. More importantly most of our children have come to visit. We take what we can get when we can get it. We miss our children but are happy they are doing well. These times are a highlight.

_LME4503Loud and proud. Two peas in a pod.

_LME4375Teaching the youngsters how to tackle a corner.

 

 

American Dipper

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Lisa and I had breakfast up the creek. Willow ran hither and yon, nose down then up, sniffing tracks and tracing birdcall.

We saw Bald Eagles on a freshly killed deer. They flew as soon as I put the camera up. I didn’t pursue the photo by camping out near the deer. Although the temperature is only -8°c, I shouldn’t be interrupting a feast of much needed energy for these animals. We moved on so they could return.

Once above the creek we spotted the tell tale rings on the side of a pond; an American Dipper. They are fun to watch, we hiked down to creek bottom where it dipped and flitted oblivious to us. I snapped a couple photos. Willow barked but it had little effect on the happy Water Ouzel.

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The bird with the short tail is often seen alone or in pairs. I know I have a good photo when I am able to photography it’s white eyelid. This morning the light was low, with snow falling, I wasn’t able to capture any sharp photos. That is okay. It’s the encounter that is cherished. These photos will serve as a reminder of our luck on this fine day.

Thank you to everyone who stops by and reads these posts and looks at the photos. I appreciate it. Lisa and I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy Holiday Season. All the best in 2020. Take care out there.  Bob

looking for eagles

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Not a lot of snow but enough to shovel each day. We went looking for eagles after work in the last of the light. There was only a lone Magpie picking at the remains left over from the Eagles. How I enjoyed watching these animals when I was a youngster. Their flash and gregarious call. Flying from branch to branch above the nest. Under the nest were half eaten fish, small bones, and pieces of birds; ducks by the looks of it. It must be good to be an Eagle. Willow took advantage, rolling on anything that smelled, mostly fish, but carried a ducks wingspan for a length, before I scolded, and demanded she dropped it. She gets sick on feathers. Those Eagles like to spread the love, discounting fish, rodents and any bird smaller than them, of course.

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Venus and Saturn sat above the mountain at dusk. Venus is unmistakeable in evening or dawn either east or west. It’s hard not to be roused by it’s sight, hanging above the ridges against a not yet dark sky.

Lisa gave Willow a bath when we arrived home.

Very fine day,

bunting

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The plan is working. Song birds are stopping at the sunflowers left. They gorge themselves like it’s their last meal. A tell-tale of wildness,. The same is true of people too. Winter’s coming.

early February

RCE_1852The garden gate.

Here it is the start of February and the temperature is 8°c., in a month it can go as low as -40!

A warm wind rolled in yesterday. The snow has mostly melted in the valley bottom, leaving puddles on the frozen ground.

RCE_1854Willow with a full coat of hair, looking worried, while winter seems to be coming to a premature end. “Did I grow this hair for nothing?” she was heard to say.

I had three people mention gardening to me today. It seems too early to consider. Still I looked at seeds online. Willow and I even strolled out to the garden. The deer have really trampled my garlic rows. Hopefully the plants won’t be effected. There is deer shit from asshole to tea kettle (asshole to tea kettle, was a saying my father regularly used. It means a lot and afar).

The forecast is calling for cold temps.

It was a good day to hang out in the wood pile.

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Cooper’s and Papa’s axes.

Pussy Willows

rce_1838Fresh cut pussy willows for the studio.

This is a first. Pussy willows in January. Before this, the earliest I have seen them is mid-February. They appear much more commonly in March.

I wasn’t looking for them, it being too early. They just caught me eye. At first I thought they were ice or snow. It is hard to believe they are out so early.

This has been a strange year. Not only have we not had a cold streak of -20° for an extended period, we have not had much snow in the valley bottom.

The ice on the lake is also thinner than it is usually. There haven’t been many trucks or ice shacks on the surface. Nor has the Whiteway, a skating and skiing track on Lake Windermere, been able to open.

Last year near the end of February, after a warm spell, I convinced Lisa to come with me to look for pussy willows. She said we were too early and she was right, we didn’t find any. We were in the same spot I found this years. On the way back down the mountain I got the truck stuck and had to dig it out of the snow.

This year we can get higher into the mountains. There is still plenty of snow, but I suspect the snowpack is way down.

There is still lots of winter left and things could turn around. If not this will go down  as a very mild winter.