Friday, May 24, 2019

Loon!

 I was going to put all the waterfowl in one post, but I can imagine looking at dubious bird photo after bird photo might be a bit daunting! So, this one is just loon. I'd not been up here long before I noticed these lovely predators paddling around again. I'm not sure how long they will stick around, the lake is clear and there appear to be fish of some sort in it.Loon prefer clear lakes with fish.  I'd love to see them raise babies, but this lake is often a decoy lake. As they fowl look similar, except in size, it is difficult to know which is which. At any rate, often only one will be here being territorial and the other is on a different lake raising kids. If you read loon websites, their lethal boss gang methods are rarely mentioned. I've seen them at the far end of the lake watching a young duckling blithely paddling around and suddenly the loon is gone and seconds later, so is the baby. They don't eat them, or so I'm told, but they will drown the ducks they sneak up under. I was in the kayak one evening watching a family and an adult duck jumped into the air, followed by the sharp beak of a loon! At the moment, there aren't any babies around. I'm not sure how many families will be here this summer. Mum used to put out cracked corn for the ducks, I'm not going to. I assume some will settle here, we'll just need to wait and see!
This photo made me laugh. Auto focus is so annoying sometimes, but every so often something fun shows up! 


 These last three were a couple of days later. There is only one loon hanging around now, I think the other is nesting. Although, according to loon information, BOTH parents take care of the nest. Maybe they are taking turns on our lake? The birds have been just offshore. I've never seen them this close to the bank before, but the water is a bit deeper than usual summers.They are such a fascinating bird!




Waterfowl

Golden Eye are fairly common. Actually, the one we  see more often were not the Common Golden Eye, but the Barrows. The former has a lot more white on it and is a definite bright spot on the green water. Most of these photos were taken from the house through a window. For some reason the darn things didn't care to have me sit on the hill or on the bench near the water. Silly birds!!! 
We had some serious rain the first week I was in Alaska. It made me laugh to see the Golden Eye pair bobbing along on the rain pummeled water with their heads tucked under their wings! 

 This photo was one of those surprise shots. I had tiptoed outside and was focusing on the male when he noticed me and took off. Both of us were startled and I snapped the shutter in reflex. The picture isn't that great, but I was impressed it even remotely resembled a duck!!
This pair mom would have been thrilled to see. Last year was the first time we spied an American Wigeon male. It came up to feed with the mallards at mom's bowl of cracked corn. This year, there is a pair. The  lady looks a tad like a mallard, but not exactly. They are such a pretty couple!! I think he's still getting his summer feathers. The white on the top of his head isn't quite as white as it will get. 


It will be fun to see who else shows up around here and if any of them hang around! We could be a fly by sort of lake or maybe, just maybe, a few will attempt to raise broods. No matter, wherever the waterfowl eventually stay, that will be where they will build the best nest. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Mother's Day Weekend

The Saturday before Mother's Day, it was decided we'd take the Mercury out for lunch. Steve drove the three of us to Walla Walla, where we picked up a very good meal at a place just a smidge older than the Mercury. The Ice-burg was first opened in 1952. It is always a super busy little restaurant. 


Steve noticed the locust in the parking lot was blooming. He said he used to suck the nectar out of the snapdragon like blossoms from a tree in their yard when he was a kid.  



Just a strange sort of angle. I was trying to get Steve and Jon, but not the young people I didn't know! It didn't exactly work. 
The menu is fairly extensive. Especially in the shake department. Jon decided to get a cheesecake shake. The burgers we received were wrapped in paper bags with little ears, I didn't get a photo of those. When the worker bagged them, she twirled them around, making 'ears'-pretty snazzy! I wasn't thrilled with the sweet relish. I didn't realise that was a choice I could have removed! The fries were excellent and all of us could have eaten more of those!
We opted to take our lunch to a nearby park. Steve and Jon moved a picnic table to the shade so we could eat our lunches in relative comfort. It was HOT!!!!!


Jon's shake was pretty thick and cheesecake kept getting caught in the straw! So, I fished a spoon from my bag for him. He was surprised I had one. I actually had two! 

After he ate, Steve went over to see the baby geese. The birds were fairly calm, but he didn't get too close. Later, we all stopped by the pond/lake and admired the lanky legged family. We decided they look a bit like emu! 


On Sunday, we took Dorothy to Roosters Country Kitchen for their Mother's Day brunch buffet. We left after church and boy were we glad I'd made reservations. It was very busy and all of us ended up completely stuffed with delicious food. I didn't get photos.  The restaurant was dark and I needed to get back to the house and finish packing for my trip north when we got back to Athena. 
I left Walla Walla around 7 pm and landed in ANC just after midnight. I got to Kenai on a earlier flight Monday, but needed to wait for my luggage. It was still scheduled for the later flight. The Kenai airport appears to be going through a complete remodel. I didn't recognize it and my view from the table near the dining room looks out onto a lovely green and rusty brown colored garbage dumpster. Thankfully, above the dumpster, you can still see the sky!! 


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Flowers and cats and frogs and birds, oh my!

So many things in one post!!! First, Steve's thrilled his (actually mine, but I'm terrible with houseplants) African Violet has finally started blooming again. It hasn't bloomed in ages, just a lot of green leaves. You can text him to give him pointers if you have his cell number! 

Jon got out his dad's birthday present. Moses wasn't as impressed as he was last year, mostly cuz he was alone in it!! 

 Mittens seemed to tolerate it for a while with her new two legger. .
 Maxwell T. Silverstone, however, was in bliss. A breeze, a safe warm haven, and a human to purr on top of.
This annoyed me. Jon thought it was a bag hung up on a tree, it was gone a few days later. Whatever it was, it does not belong out there floating around. 
Lovely lady bugs are everywhere. 
 This is the Lazuli Bunting Jon saw three of. All males waiting to stake out spots for a female. The girls are definitely going to be a lot more difficult to find, as usual, the guys are best dressed.

Saturday Jon went up to the Mountain Ranch. It snowed briefly, he saw numerous turkey and deer, and a lot of frogs. 



On Sunday, Jon was doing something outside while hummingbirds visited the feeder. The Rufous was fighting with a Calliope! Thankfully, Jon got photos of them visiting at different times. 

 And now we've come to the end of April 2019's posts!!!!! I leave for Alaska in a couple of weeks, so a mixed bag of photos will be forthcoming.


Monday, April 08, 2019

Eventually Hopping Away

This month of April we've had those 136 different kinds of weather in 24 hours that Mark Twain noted ages past. In one of the lulls on Friday, I decided it was time to remove my hops plant. I don't want to toss it out, it is such a lovely herb. Dangerous, aggressive beyond belief, unknown, but lovely! A much missed Tillamook friend and I brought plants back from Imbler (maybe?) and I put mine in a bottomless container. You can see in this very early photo of the yard where it is waiting to be put into the earth by the pink tub. (2009) It didn't take long to establish. 
June 2010, this plant has taken off! Every year it needed cut back to the base. Jodi trimmed on Tex's side, Steve and I trimmed on ours. 
Sometimes it seemed to not be quite as vigorous, it was biding its time! This photo below is from August 2011. 
 Eventually, it was everywhere. By 2014 no one was entirely fond of it, but I still didn't want to get rid of it. I do like the flowers,  they smell heavenly! A small plant I'd separated out for Tex didn't stay in her yard long and my host plant didn't seem to mind having been divided one bit.
 However, looking at the yard and the work involved in controlling the creature, it was time. So, I decided to attempt removal during a break in the April rains. Thankfully, Jonathan came home from work to apply more leverage and weight than I could.



 I had hoped we could pull it out with the bobcat and it would still be sort of in the pot. Not a chance. It had broken through the pot, a million giant roots were everywhere, and a good portion of the root ball was still firmly entrenched by the time it commenced raining again. I'm hoping it can finish being removed as soon as possible. I have a honeysuckle I'd like to move in. Also vigorous, yet less dangerous. Except for the stinging insects!

 It has grown under the very heavy pink bathtub and might even be veering off into what is now Jodi's yard. I'd not be surprised. The thing is almost an Audrey 2! Thankfully, most of the injuries it leaves end up as small scars instead of entire bodies being consumed. I'll need to be diligent about picking up bits of the hops plant, each one will most likely root!
 After the digging and rainstorms, we (and most of Oregon, it appeared from the pictures online) were graced with a beautiful double rainbow. A sign and a promise in the midst of mud and change.