Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25, 2013 Hard to get inspired......outside!

"Sharing"        The young deer and the yellow-headed blackbird are sharing some seeds and corn treats on the ground.  As you can see, a lot of the grass is still not greening up as well as it should.  It probably doesn't help that it just rained 3" and the deer are turning it to mud!  I have been back in the woods each day.  I am finally seeing some of the spring flowers coming up and a few ferns popping through with their fiddleheads sticking up.  But, food for the critters, in the woods, is still pretty scarce.
I have plenty of outside work to do.....for sure.  Trees are down on every trail ...... and half the woods, after that nasty wind that blew through with that rain. just wasn't nice out there.  Then, I think about what happened in Oklahoma and think.....well, I guess I don't have it so bad.  I can't even imagine starting clean up in a mess of that magnitude.  I can't! 
But, the inspiration isn't there yet.  What with the mud and the soft trails.....I would create some mess and ruts of my own trying to clean up the mess made by Mother Nature.  So.....I haven't.  I have done a little work in my flower beds; but, not much.  26 degrees this morning making two white frost mornings in a row.  I am trying to keep cover on everything for that reason and so the deer don't eat every green bite that comes up in it.  Some of the yearling fawns have been standing in the dirt inside of the retaining walls and even under the deck when I have gotten up lately.....scrounging any green thing they can find.  I feel sorry for those critters after the winter that wouldn't quit and the spring that won't come.  They're hungry!
Shadow has had her fawn(s) this week.  I have it marked on the calendar the time frame of the one afternoon I saw her at 3:30 and still round.  I next saw her at 5:30 the next afternoon and she had been nursing her fawn(s).  Her trips to the yard to see me are quick now.  She tears in here, follows me around for some attention and treats.....always with an ear turned toward where her babies are stashed.  It used to be, in her early years....she would just disappear for a week or two and I wouldn't see her at all.  She was, and still is, very protective of her babies.  However, she has learned I will help protect her too and she trusts her babies with me now.  I will be curious how old they will be now that I have the timing down  so much more exact.....til she brings them to show me. 
I did get one huge pile of branches and brush chipped closer to the house this week anyway.  I had been doing some work getting ready for it.  I have another pile, too, that I can just see from the house.  However, can't get the heavy chipper there yet either because of wet ground.  Heavens, the mallards are still over there playing in the water every day!
Speaking of mallards.....the big salty water hole that the deer absolutely also being enjoyed by the ducks.  The pair go in there and swim and splash every day.  They have clean water ponds and the beaver ponds over the ridges north and east and south too......and, they like the salt lick.  Go figure.  I would think they would feel all slimy, briny, or something. 
Working on the Hovland Arts Festival stuff is keeping me busy too.  So, it isn't like I am bored.  But...hopefully the weather shapes up and the inspirations start coming on again........soon!

Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013 Extremes in Temperatures!

 Yesterday's hike in the woods with Toby left us both sweated up.  It wasn't exceptionally warm yesterday, as it was earlier in the week.  But, this neat area we were in has gotten to the point there isn't just the initial blowdown where you enter the woods....but, it never ended.  We were crawling over, under or walking around everything.  It got to be  W O R K after a while.  I was trying to do something more interesting than usual with Toby since it was his birthday!  He loves woods adventures.  However, I wasn't trying, when I left, to give him a heart attack or something.  Jeez was nasty.  I was, of course, hunting sheds.  I didn't find any.  We both came home with 2 ticks each.  They were the first of the season.  And.....hey, 2 ticks isn't bad when I have previously come in with as many as 100 on me and the dog.  That ain't fun......
I was a bit surprised on my way out of the woods to go back to the truck. I had just heard voices.  I was wondering to myself who in the heck would be nutty enough to be out here?!  Soon, Toby got on their track and I caught up to the guy....who was carrying a baby in a backpack on his back....and wondering if I had seen anyone else.  I hadn't ...but, Toby had smelled the other person and was about to go that way when I called him back.  He also asked me what I was doing.....if I was just walking around in the woods.  I told him I was and Toby was sick of windfalls!  I almost had to wonder.....what they were up to.....since they....he anyway, as I didn't see the woman, was not white and I never did see a vehicle anywhere.  We do get people sneaking across the border now and then.  It wouldn't be that difficult around this country to do.  However, with it being Spring and higher water....not quite as easy.  It wasn't anyone I knew and a strange, strange place to be out hiking with a baby in that nasty woods full of windfalls.  A mystery, I guess.
Anyway, we hopefully are done with Winter now.  But, the weather could stand to moderate.  It was barely above 20 degrees again the other morning with most being in the 30s.  However, the other morning this week, it started out 52 degrees and went to 74 degrees....that I saw.  Early in the day, too!  It was nice. felt really hot when it had been a week of cool weather again.  Hard to adjust the body to the changes and feel like working when you are too hot!
Also, those big, early mosquitoes are around in the evenings now.  If you sit outside, you will get bitten.  I was sitting in my chair by Shadow the last couple of nights, watching her nibble grass.....seeing those big mosquitoes chewing on her too. 
Hopefully, we are soon on the way to weather in moderation and on with the gardening and chipping projects about the yard.  Of course, with all the wind.....the trails are all in need of some chainsaw work too.  But, standing water around the yard keeps me from being able to pull the chipper over there and get busy.  I would get it stuck.  Some spots on the trails are still soft fact, a couple of shady spots still have decent amounts of snow on them. 
The grouse are drumming more regularly now.  More birds are back and singing away.  The woodcocks are busy peenting  in the evenings.  We have quite a few voices in the wet spot in the yard just about dark. 
This morning, when out with Toby on our walk.....I heard a new voice in the sky.  It almost, but not quite, sounded like a goose.  I finally had gotten a glimpse of white.....wondering...snow goose?!  Soon, I got  closer back toward our yard and in an opening and could see them.  There were two swans with their long necks stretched out in front of them flying circles around and "talking."  Cool.    Now I have heard swans.  There were a pair on Big Bay of Lake Superior on Sunday. 
Today...pretty cloudy and so far kind of cool.  It hadn't frozen anyway, but 30s as usual.  Time to get to work on some projects. 
Rose-breasted grosbeak waiting a turn on the bird feeder.  I have several males and 1 female so far. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013 Seasonal Changes

This is....."Grumpy Robin!" looks grumpy, doesn't it?  Given the changing "spring" weather we have been's enough to make anyone grumpy.  There is mud, snow, rain, mess....more mess....everywhere you look....mess and mud.  Yes.....hadn't been really inspiring out there.
However, this week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday....we had marvelous spring weather.  The sun came out and the temperatures soared in to the 60s and then on Wednesday up to 73 degrees.  My word, I was sweating! 
I tried to do some yard work and raking.  But.....again, so much mud yet!'s hard to rake or pick up stuff in mud or snow....both of which I still have a good plenty of.  It gave me a good excuse to spend some time sitting outside by my critter friends as they came for treats and went about their business of looking for spring also. 
In fact, Fancy's Girl and Shadow's soon to be 2 year old daughter both did all but give me kisses this week.  On separate days, they came up to me....nose just almost touching mine....looked at me....Fancy's Girl actually did put her nose to my cap brim after almost giving me a deer kiss....then, sniffed my hand, and went back about their business.  They are too cute.  But, I wasn't expecting that ....especially out of Fancy's Girl.....who tends to be rather shy.  The more time I spend outdoors with my wild friends, the more I appreciate them.  I talk to them on a regular basis and several of them will acknowledge me when I do.  Even this cute little buck fawn that has decided I am his friend.....if I talk to him...he pays attention and comes right on over.  They are not dumb animals!
Then, of course, there are the antics of the chipmunks when they try to crawl in the feed bucket by my feet with a deer nose in it....or 3!  Shadow and the twins sometimes all have their faces in there at the same time!  The chipmunk is is the deer. 
This week, some mallards have learned that "corn" shows up at different times in the yard also.  One drake, in particular, will get right in there and get his!  Usually tho, there is a pair that will follow behind the deer and pick crumbs.....if there are any.
I have started hiking some of the game trails closer to the shore.....less snow.....looking for sheds this week too.  It has been rather slow going as there is getting to be so much brush and wind falls on these old trails.  There still is a lot of standing water and snow banks too.  It could be a short shed hunting season this year.  If it ever warms up and stays that way, it could green up fast ....given how late it will be.  I found this small beaver skull in a deer trail the other day.  That wasn't what I would have been expecting there.  But, they are interesting so I  picked it up and hauled it home.  :)
Today the sun is out and the wind is blowing.  However, it is only barely over  40 degrees.  That doesn't melt much.
The fishing opener is this weekend.  A friend posted a photo from Clearwater Lake, I believe it was, a  couple of days ago.  There was  still 21 or 24 inches of ice on that lake.  I forget which he said.  But, there is a lot of that.  I don't expect anything to be open for opener.  That can be a serious loss of revenue to a place like Cook County....that is so highly tourism oriented. 
Well.....sun is shining, things to do.....gotta make hay while the sun shines!