Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cloud-bathing on the Porch

June 22 Early Morning Pond Report:
Misty Mountains

Clouds cover the sunrise and mountaintops. Mist rises from Elmira Pond, from hidden canyons on the slopes west and hovers like dragon's breath around firs, tamaracks and pines. Good morning, Tolkien; I just woke up in the Misty Mountains.

Horse Smudges
The horses stand out like fresh smudges of paint
on a misty-green canvas, orange and brown. If they were on quest in Middle Earth I'd like to think that they'd be the swift steeds of elves. Elegant, leggy and smart; they are too beautiful for grubby, gold-digging elves and too tall for hobbits.

A black and slate-gray bird whistles on a
Black and Whistles
Another Ring-necked Female
A Couple? Stay Tuned
Open to the Max
Lady Rose, How Do I Draw Thee?
Sister Roses
New Fangled Laundry Machinery
Second Tree Over, Bent Treetop
For Now, A Red-tail Hawk
Belted Kingfisher Fishing
Kingfisher in a Willow
fencepost like a red-winged blackbird. But he has no red-wing. It's not a female, as female red-winged blackbirds are mottled brown. This guy is black and whistles. Thus, you can see my dilemma when it comes to recognition. No birding book or website has a section on "black and whistles." It might be a gray catbird. The shape and colors are correct and if the sound is wrong, well, they do mimic other birds.

Ring-necked ducks, a couple, might be living together on a trial basis. After a few days of posturing on the pond, the female seems to have a mate. But wait...there is another ring-necked female swimming a path through ever-growing reeds. The soap opera continues. Migrating or mating, I do not know. Only future ducklings will tell.

Blue Heron is absent, yet another morning.

June 22 Porch Report:

My head is as stuffy as the clouds in the sky. Whatever happened to cold-and-flu season? It's June, and I can't recall ever having a head-cold in June. It is not sunny, but cloud-bathing is not half-bad. In fact, I feel better just being outside in the fresh air. It's not cold or wet, but goose-pimples rise on my arms. Yet the wood slats of the porch feel warm to the soles of my feet.

I watch the sky, I watch the roses. The teacup roses have stretched fully open, and Lady Rose is perfect, soon to welcome her budding sisters. She is exactly the kind of rose that used to baffle me for drawing. I could never figure out the shape of the petals, the delicate unfurling.

My kitchen is fragrant with snipped roses adorning the window sill above my sink. Soon, I will snip more roses, tie together the stems and hang them to air dry in my laundry room. My plans are to make Lavender Rose Potpourri. A simple recipe: petals from 12 dried roses, bits of dried orange peel from one orange, 1/2 cup of dried lavender and eight drops of lavender essential oil. Toss lightly in a bowl and transfer to glass jars. Send to friends.

While it may not matter to what is happening out on the porch, it is worth noting that my laundry room is now truly a laundry room. It houses a Maytag washer and dryer with features I do not understand. Why does the A.T.C. cold/cold use hot water? What does the setting "energy saver" mean on the dryer? Why does the washer tell me the cycle has ended 20 times (I was on the phone upstairs!)?

Good-bye Logger's Daughter Laundromat.

June 22 Evening Pond Report:

Raptor in the sky. It's not an osprey. It's not an eagle. It's...a hawk. And he's made a perch of the bent tree-top of the tamarack next to the 75-foot Douglas fir at the edge of the south pasture. Don't quote me on that height. I grew up around western men who fished and exaggerated lengths. What I can tell you is that the two trees are pretty darn tall.

The hawk looks to be a red-tail, but I seem to think every hawk I see is a red-tail. My buteo/accipiter  expert is turning wrenches on planes 300 miles least I think that is the distance. He'd point out the tail, the stripes, the colors and size. For now, let's say a red-tail hawk is sitting in a tree.

A sparrow-hawk swoops over the driveway, chased by a small fleet of tree-swallows. No osprey today, though.

But wait...there's a flutter over the pond. It is the belted king-fisher. He flies like he's part hummingbird, part osprey. To my eye his head looks white, but that's actually a marking at his throat. Put the binos on this fluttering guy and, whoa--his head is huge above that white stripe and blue-gray body.

He drops on the pond several times before retiring to a willow. Then he's back at the pond. His movements are so quick, compared to the osprey who seem to hunt with slower deliberation. The kingfisher seems overly caffeinated.

And that is it for today. Time to rest my stuffy head.

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