Last year, a huge, beautiful home in our neighborhood went up for bid at a foreclosure sale. Though we knew we could never afford it, my husband and I decided to go to the auction. It would be fun. (As long as one of us didn’t scratch our nose and accidentally buy an abandoned, gas station.) The morning of the sale a horrible snow storm hit, and we were surprised to find that no one but the bank was at the courthouse to bid on the house, and they didn’t really want it. We bought an incredible house for an embarrassingly low price. Our plan is to put it back on the market, and our dream is that some wealthy person will look at the eye-popping interior, the huge lot, and the secluded, wooded surroundings and decide they just have to have it.
With the arrival of Spring. (AT LAST!) our work has shifted to the outside of the house, and it’s my job to finish cleaning up the ninety feet of brick flower boxes that surround the veranda at the front of the house, and to replant the boxes with flowers and shrubs. It was an interesting job for the first fifteen feet. After that, I got a little sick of looking at dirt and wood chips. But just as I was getting bored, the air was filled with the most beautiful, bird song. A song that I had never heard before. I searched unsuccessfully for the musician for a while, then went back to my work. That song continued for the entire evening, and as I gathered my tools to put them away a handsome, brown bird with a white chest landed in the hickory tree across the road and sang a few more choruses. I knew that brown thrashers existed, but this is the first one I have ever seen, and what an incredible song!
You can hear some of the songs of the brown thrasher here https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Brown_Thrasher
Our shag bark hickory tree is at least eighty feet tall, and this thrasher is sitting at the top! I love my new camera! (Taken with the Nikon Coolpix B500)
Hang upside down when eating
Touch their Adam’s Apple with their mouth???
Prepare dinner while standing on a thin branch
Build a home out of trash
And look so cute that people forgive you for sticking your paw in their mashed potatoes!
Porcupine showing an amateur photographer the business end.
Because we live on the very edge of the forest, our family has had the privilege of becoming acquainted with a wide variety of wildlife. We’ve seen bears (very, very close up),white tailed deer, raccoons, fishers, bobcats, and plenty of squirrels and song birds. Coyote and fox tracks often appear in the mud along the lane. Hawks and vultures soar over head. Owls serenade us on summer nights. This spring, however, something new has moved into the neighborhood.
At first we thought the large, dark shape, that appeared in a treetop seventy feet above the forest floor, was a nest of some sort, but after taking photos from every angle and enlarging them on the computer, we realized that our nest was changing positions and had claws.
In the first series of photos we shot it looked like a bear cub, and at that distance, my Nikon was straining to pick up details. (Especially when the photographer holding the camera couldn’t keep her hands still. I have got start using the tripod.) After a couple of sessions, we realized that the animal’s nose was all wrong, and our baby bear had quills!
I would like to introduce you to one very, very large porcupine. She has been in the same tree for a couple of weeks now, and has been working diligently at removing all of the bark from a very large branch. The few photos we have gotten of our porcupine’s belly show that she is either extremely well fed, or that we can expect to see tiny porcupines in the near future.
Old Man Winter is back with a vengeance, but the snow is so beautiful that I decided to slip outside and catch a couple of photos while it’s still falling. It seems that the birds had a few things to say about this chilly weather.
Bird watching house kitten style
The robins have come back to the hollow and we are hoping that spring will be shortly behind them. I’ve been monitoring the weather forecast, and it seems they are always promising fifty degree weather in the distant future, but that future never seems to grow nearer. After the family left yesterday, I used the final hour of good daylight to practice with the new camera, and I cannot believe the distance it will allow you to be from a subject and still take a clear photo. The little guy at the bottom was sitting at the top of the tallest tree in the yard. These two robins were not at all disturbed by this amateur photographer, because I was quite a ways from them. Let’s hope these little fellows brought some warmer weather with them.
The performance that follows is a primeval tale of crime and punishment starring:
Blue – as the Amazon warrior princess
Specs – as brave young knight no. 1
Boots- as brave young knight no. 2
Jazzy – as the talkative spectator in the peanut gallery
and in his first appearance Vacuum Cleaner – playing himself.
The warrior princess celebrates her awesome victory on Mount Olym… (Okay, Blue that’s a little much!)
The sad fate of a terrible tyrant.
In our house if the remote control is missing, blame it on the cat. It’s probably true. Our Boots has a fascination for electronic gadgets. (As the scratches on the screen of my Kindle will tell you.) He cuddles the remote controls, plays with actors on the TV screen, and destroyed my cell phone charger. If you called me recently and the person who answered merely purred with contentment, I must apologize. Someone left the phone on the cat tree.
Winter is getting me down, and being in the house is driving me a little crazy. I’ve already pruned the apple trees, and I’ve been inspecting the peach tree almost daily to see if it’s ready for a trim. The peach is usually the first tree to show signs of life, and so far it’s been disappointing me. Sigh… But today I was wandering around outside looking for a nightgown that had blown off the line when I found sure signs of spring!! Like a giddy kid, I just have to show everyone what I found.