Monday, June 10, 2013


Visiting Wigeons
June 10 5 a.m. Pond Report:
Day dawns mist-free, and we have visitors on the pond. Two black and gray ducks with white bills are swimming; wigeons! Earlier this spring the pond had at least 10 of these ducks and I loved their sweet little, "peep, peep." In a single night they fled. What, we are not certain. Perhaps it was simply time to go.

Lady Merganser on Log
Lady Merganser with her narrow saw-bill tucked atop her wing is sleeping on the merganser log. Her mate must be diving or resting elsewhere. They must have tummies full of frogs. Ah, and the bull-frogs...their tuba gig is coming to end as their
mating croaks are now mere moans. So it begins, a quiet morning on Elmira Pond with water as smooth as blades of summer grass.

June 10 9 a.m. Pond Report:

Flapping Silent Wings
High on the thermals, two osprey soar. I can barely make out enough white to see they are osprey. After yesterday's chatter, they don't even pay a visit. The air is warm and calm; most likely they've had successful fishing elsewhere without the wind challenging their hunt. A hawk visits, circles, then continues north up the valley.

Today marks the first time the gooslings dabble. It's funny to watch them turn tail-feathers to the sky as they submerge for an aquatic meal. In less than a
Dabbling Geese
week they have gone from drab little geese to ones with defined markings of Canada geese. Amazing; there are still 14.

Blue heron hides easily now that the reeds are taller. The outline of his body looks like light and shadow along the shore, a part of the vegetation. Until he strikes a frog. On a roll, he eats three. Silently he rises and flaps away to the back pasture. How is it that wings spanning over 6 feet make no sound?

June 10 Garden Report:

Rows of Beets and Radishes
The carrot seeds! I forgot to soak them last night. Nonetheless, I hoe trenches and plant six rows of beets and six rows of radishes. The garden is now planted north and south, east and west. Using a stash of plastic cutlery from the pantry, I sharpie my plantings on plastic knives, pressing them into the dirt by rows and hills. The bright white looks orderly, as if there really is more than dirt within this fenced food-yard.
State of WA Tax Token

Garden Glass
Soaking Seeds
Watering feels good, so good I finish by watering my own dirty feet with the hose. The cold well-water feels like balm. I've nicked the bottom of my right foot on a piece of glass. I have mined pocketfuls of glass from this garden. It's curious, as some of it is purple with age and some of it smooth lumps of slag. It was an old thick broken base of an insulator from an old electrical or telegraph line that bit into my foot. I save the pieces in a clear vase.

More unusual than the glass is a translucent agate marble. It's not a modern machined marble, but on old hand-blown variety, pre-1960s. Today I unearth an aluminum token. Turns out, it's a State of Washington Tax Token issued between 1930-1940. A few month back, gophers kicked out an old rifle casing which Todd estimated to be from the 1930s.

Elmira was not founded until 1901. The schoolhouse next door was constructed in 1910 
and a glance at 1940s census records show that many people who lived here worked at a mill or logged. At one time, a train station served the

town. All that remains of the station are the railroad
signs, Elmira. You have to cross the highway, the train tracks and travel a dirt road to see the actual town-site sign. But there is no town.

No one visits Elmira regularly but the birds, waterfowl and raptors.

Going Off-Pond

I'll be visiting my good friend in Montana the next three days and will be off-pond. Birds will carry on without me I'm sure. Maybe I'll return to a sprout or two.

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