Thursday, July 21, 2016

Ballet Of The Little Ones...

I got their pics, but no autographs
Nearly every morning--after I have a cup of coffee and the rising sun begins turning the blackness of night into the soft grey of dawn--I step onto the front porch to begin my walk. Ruby throated hummingbirds swirling around the feeder we keep filled for our tiny visitors scatter.

"Hummies" are mesmerizing. Delicate and beautiful; swift and acrobatic; territorial and feisty, they provide cheerful entertainment.

Airborne, yet stationary, they sometimes hover and stare into our front window; always the same one. I'm told the reason they do so is somewhat narcissistic--their reflection is a selfie of sorts. This may be true, but it is uncanny how they only do this at The Shire when their feeder is empty. I know I've probably mentioned this before, but I prefer to believe they are letting us know we need to get with it!

As I write, thunder rumbles and cracks in the distance, but undaunted, the ballet of the little ones goes on. Dancing upon a stage of humid, stormy air they flit back and forth, stopping only long enough to take a graceful bow and plunge their needle-like beaks into the rose colored wells of sugary water.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Spartan Place In The Woods...

Recently, I returned from Maine. It was the first time I have been there in two years. Arriving in the early evening, I turned down the dirt road leading to the Penobscot River where our rustic cabin sits perched close to its edge on high-ground.

Removing the padlocked from the door, I opened it and crossed the threshold. Once inside, the unique spartan ambiance surrounded me. Within those four walls time seems to be in a different dimension, and the world a different era. My eyes swept around its borders at the unique features. Sandy's decorative touch is there--simple, but elegant expressions. Justin, Josh, Meg, and I have all left our impressions. An eclectic collection of books from a broad array of genres are grouped here and there. Leaned against the edge of the loft is the handmade ladder I made from birch trees using pegs rather than nails to attach the rungs. On unfinished 2x4 studded walls are giant feathers of ospreys and eagles plucked off the river by our family and friends. A 1950's gas stove we cook on, its enamel chipped and yellowed, sits next to the fairly modern gas refrigerator. Journals and a collage of other things meaningful to each family member look back at me. No theme, but it all fits together perfectly.

If there is a more beautiful and calming sound than the trills of a wood thrush, and the soft moan of the Penobscot River as it flows over the contour of the ledges, I have yet to experience it.

Like big blue eyes opening and closing, and then opening for good, the dull, gray, sleepy face of the sky above awakened; remnants of a dissipating low pressure broke up and were whisked away by gentle breezes.

Before it was completely dark, I struck a wooden match, and turned the lever on the gas lanterns hanging from the rafters above the wood stove. First, there is the hiss of gas filling the mantels. Then, the pop when it ignites. Shadows redecorated the interior of the Spartan place in the woods...

Sunday, July 10, 2016


A doe and its fawn has shown up at The Shire. Based on the size of the little one, it appears it was born in the last few days. Usually, does dropped their fawns weeks ago. But there is also a second  rutting season that can extend into January, and a few babies come into the world at this late date.

Last Friday, Sandy watched the baby as it lay alone, curled up beneath the river birch tree in our front yard. Newborns have no scent, so the mother--who does--will stay away so as to not attract predators. From time-to-time mothers show up to nurse them. For a couple of days there has been no sign of either mom or offspring. So, like nervous parents, we fret. Always concerned about the abundance  of coyotes that roam the woodlands around our home.

Tonight, just before dark, a doe nervously paced around on our side lawn. We believe her baby is hidden away in the blackberry briars behind the cottage. After a while, I circled the area--not too closely--but didn't see mom or baby. Hopefully, they are safely bedded down. Tomorrow I will buy some deer-corn and make life a little easier for our new mother and child.

I will also have my rifle nearby to discourage any coyotes from predation.