Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June 26, 2013 Summer is here!

The thunder storms are rolling through this afternoon.  I kind of expected that to happen sooner or later, now that it warmed up and is giving us summer temps.  Yesterday was 84 degrees.  Hot!  I was on the shore for about an hour and a half and it was  56 degrees down there.  That is a drastic change in temperature.  I'm used to having 10 degrees worth of difference...or there-abouts.....but, wow!  That gets ones' attention.
Our gardens, with the new spaces, are ready for business.  They are fenced.  I quite frequently see Shadow or Zoe and their kids moseying around the fence, nibbling.  A few of them know what tasty morsels they got to help themselves to after the frosts last year.  They are probably keeping a close eye on that situation for the coming season.
Plants are coming along nicely, in the beds, that were started early.  A lot of the seeds planted directly into the beds are up now too.  I can't wait for the fresh vegies to start happening.
The deer are now bringing the fawns to the yard to play on a more regular basis.  There is a plus to can nibble and still see what those romping, charging kids are doing.  That doesn't happen in the woods this time of the year.  Growth is lush and you can't see very darned far. 
Yesterday morning, I was just finishing with my weekly orchid maintenance after breakfast....putting the last liner with an orchid in back in its pot, when my husband lets go that there's a $#@*& bear out there.  I guess it was about 200 pounds.  I never did see it.  It was just out of my vision where the pot was.   He was running out to get Toby and I was running for the camera and out on the deck......but, it was gone!  Usually, the bears aren't gone that fast out here.  I prowled around for a few minutes and decided there wasn't going to be a photo.  As long as I was out though, I decided to water the hanging pots.  About that time, northwest of the house, a fawn started bawling, which didn't last very long.  I though oh-oh!  That don't sound good.  Bear just in the vicinity looking for a meal.....not good at all.  The does had been spending quite a bit of time in the yard already this a.m., which I thought was strange.  Usually, this time of year, there isn't quite that much action at once.  Above doe had been out there with her twins.  Several other named does had been out there without theirs.  Sooo.......hmmmm.
Well, I have seen this doe with her kids several times since the bear was here.  Shadow has been out here with her fact, she was out here a few minutes ago.  Zoe, however, has not had her fawn with her since the incident....not yesterday.....or today.  And....she has had that fawn out here a lot. 
Here she is, this afternoon, just before the storm hit.  She had been laying there for well over an hour, which is a spot right outside the window, close by the house.  That is fine if she wants to lay there.  Deer do it all the time.  However, it seems a long time when you have a fawn to be concerned about.  So, I guess time will tell if she needed a break...or if she lost her fawn once again to wolves or bears.  She lost her last years fawn to the wolves.  She lost her first fawn when she was two years old to a wolf or bear also.  She is just over 6 years old.  So, this girl hasn't got a real good track record.  But....she has really been hanging close this year  .....which is why we have seen so much of her fawn. 
Shadow, on the other hand, has raised all of her fawns to far.  Knock on wood!  She is also six years old this spring. 
Here is a photo from a few days ago I took of Zoe and her fawn.  I wanted to show the big scar on her side from when she was two years old and had the whole hide ripped off her side.....from front shoulder to hip.  The hide hung by her hip a while and finally fell off.  She had her whole side showing bare red meat to the elements all summer while that was healing.  It wasn't pretty and the flies chewed the heck out of her.  But, it healed nicely.  The scar, this much later, is very visible. 
Nature isn't always pretty, for sure.  But, survival of the fittest.  I guess she is tough.  I had wondered at the time if she would survive that.  I have seen, in winters past, some deer come through here with big chunks out of their hide and meat taken off their rumps.  They live.  It heals.  It is pretty amazing.  I have learned a lot watching these specific deer these years up here.....and what they can take.
Well, the storm seems to have ended.  There are still clouds around but not so dark.  I will leave you with one more storm cloud....I always think they are neat to look at. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

June 17, 2013 Hmmmmm.......

Yesterday was the big family get together at Tom Lake.  It was Father's Day and my dad's 82nd birthday.  Two of my brother's boys have birthdays this week a few, it was kind of a big party day.  Mostly, tho....since it was actually the was about my dad.  We all made it there and we all had a good time.  With the weather we have been having this year, and as you can see by looking above, the weather wasn't being real predictable.  We have had warm days...yes.  But, then we turn around and have cold days.  It was 45 degrees for quite a while this morning again.  So...maybe it's my age.....I don't know......but, I didn't feel inclined to bring my paddleboard along to the lake yesterday.  I was pretty sure the water would still be cold.  It was.  And.....first day out for the year on the paddleboard.....with my almost 100 pound dog on......with wind.......are you getting a picture here.......I didn't particularly want to take a dunk in the lake.  When the sun came out, it would be 75 degrees.  But, when too many clouds came over, it cooled in a hurry.  Actually, it was comfortable when it cooled.  But, the breezes kept the bugs from eating us alive.
My niece, on the other hand, took her dog out on her mom's paddleboard.  That board is a fair amount bigger than mine and more stable.  Dog is also half the size.  She's a small female lab that isn't overweight. saw a lot less of the swim suits yesterday....compared to normal for this time of year.  But, next trip up, I will definitely have my board.  Toby loves to ride it.
Yesterday.....I guess we were all living right, or something.  My one brother took his motorcycle across from where he lives by way of the back roads.  My sister and her husband came up on their new side by side ATV.  We were all thinking about rain.  However, during the whole part of the day when the activities were happening, the rain storms, thunder and lightening, all split and went around us.  Given the way it looked a number of times, that was pretty amazing.  I left right after 4 p.m. thinking I would beat it out of there before it hit.  Last year I drove out of there in one of those storms when it poured so hard you could barely see to drive. I did drive over to the official boat access to take the photograph on the top of this, just because of the view....looking down the whole lake.  But, I did actually get back out to the main road before the down pour began.  Then, it really came down.
I did hear that they didn't quite get the jetski loaded in time to beat the rain.  But.....all else was good!
One more view down the lake just after 4 o'clock in the afternoon. 
Fog rolling into the valley after the storm went over.  It didn't take long to not be able to see anything.
Here's a fun photo to leave you with.  This is Zoe's fawn, out exploring the world.....driving her mama crazy....not that she can run around and explore.  The little squirt can move these days.  :)
Now, back to working on my Hovland Arts Festival details before that happens July 6 & 7.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

June 8, 2013 Adventures are where you find them........

Yesterday, being it was such a beautiful day, I decided to take the long way to town to do my errands.  Lately, with the high price of gasoline, I go every other week.  I loaded recycling and Toby, camera gear....and left.   We got about a mile from the house when I thought I saw a grouse in the middle of the road....hurt, or what!?  Well, our county road tends to get these little mud/clay plops that come out of the middle in spring while road restrictions are on.  This one was drying out, finally, and the grouse was dusting on it.  It was on its side...just busy.  I drove right along side of it and looked down, out my window, at it.  Then, it finally got up and walked off the road.  Completely in the shade, brown bird on a dirt road....didn't even bother trying a photo.
Got going up the trail. I was slowing down by a beaver pond to watch for a moose.  Just up the road, a deer was standing.  OK.  I  slowly drove toward her, thinking maybe there were fawns.  She proceeded to run up the road in front of me.  Hmmm.  Didn't see wolves of fawns. Still....she ran up the road at 10-12 mph ahead of me for a good mile and then turned off on a forestry road.  What the heck....never had that happen before.  There were plenty of nice places she could have gotten off the road.  Oh yes, when I first started following the deer, a rabbit came tearing out of the woods and ran in front of me too! 
I got to my turn off and started across to the next leg of the trip.  Just when I was slowing to stop by the little lake, I saw a cow moose standing between the road and the beaver dam.  Well, she was in to the woods before I could even stop, what's more pick up the camera.  I stopped,  opened the window and listened.  She was in the woods there....but, I couldn't see her.  I took a photo of the lake with its nice reflections.  I was pretty focused on watching to see whether she would show herself again or if she had calves.  All of a sudden, I saw a moose swimming across the lake from the island to the shore she was on, only a lot farther down the lake.  I  grabbed my 400 mm lens to put on but  wasn't sure I could do it that fast.  That moose was moving!  So, I just used the 18-200 lens I had on and took this.   The bull hit shore and off in to the woods....never saw it again either.  So far, my adventure is being productive in seeing things, anyway.....even if I am not properly prepared!  I thought I was.  I  always put the lens on the camera I think I am most likely to be needing while driving and possibly getting a quick shot.  Well......doesn't always work that way.
This is from the day before.  I was out for a walk on the way home from getting mail.  Toby and I generally stop at someplace along the shore and he gets an adventure and maybe a swim.  Well, it was a grey day, again.  It was trying to sprinkle a bit of rain.  I had done several neat photos here the day before and I knew there was nothing new to be seen in one day.  So....I left my camera in the truck.  We had done the beach route and were coming back up the trail from the kayak campground that goes back to the parking lot.  All of a sudden the deer jumped off the trail and into the woods.  Ok....I see deer there now and then.  I get a couple more steps around the corner.....there are twin fawns standing in the trail....side by side...maybe knee high.  They were so darned cute.  And.....remember where my camera is!?
Here is a photo of the other twin.  I got up to where I had seen them....mind you, I had put Toby on his leash I always carry just for this reason, wondering where they had disappeared to....they were both laying in the grass, right off the trail.  You notice the alder clipped there where they minimally maintain road and power line here.....  They never moved a muscle or looked at me.  Well, I want to tell you that was the quickest return trip to the truck Toby and I ever made.  I put him in, grabbed the camera and hoofed it back there...hoping they hadn't moved.  They hadn't.  I took a half dozen shots and left. cute at that stage.  I see so many deer on a daily basis.....I forget how small they are right now.  At home, none of "my" girls have come to show off their babies yet. 
I made up my mind right then and more leaving the camera.....just because!  Sheesh....but that is irritating.  Of course....given I always will carry the camera now.....I won't see as much....right! 
Anyway, the main thing is, I get to see some of this stuff.  I can't tell you how many times, over the years, I have see really neat stuff...and, no camera.  It is still very vivid in my memory because of what the incident was.  That is special. 
Well, was going to leave you with one final shot of Shadow, my pet deer, standing in the cherry blossoms.  My internet connection won't upload it right now.  So, we will see if this will post and I will continue on this another time.  :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

June.....really!? Where is spring? June 2, 2013

I took this photo of Toby getting ready to cross the creek, yesterday.  We had just had a storm the evening before so the water level was up quite a bit.  We had walked across, right there, on the tops of those rocks two days before.  I had to cross up above, just out of sight.....but, he wasn't paying attention and had to catch up.  Sometimes it seems like he doesn't want to get wet!  Then, he goes for a swim anyway!  Too funny some times. 
Anyway, with all the rain this week, it is not conducive to getting anything done in the yard.  It is just saturated!  Plus, yesterday it started out in the low 50s and dropped to 40 degrees......where it still is this morning.  At least the sun is shining between all the clouds today.  Usually, Memorial weekend is the time to start planting the gardens.  Not this year.  I think everything would sit there and rot.  Then, of course, when we do get a bit of sunshine and 70 with high humidity........we aren't used to it and it feels so hot you just want to sit out there and enjoy the fact we have some sunshine.
Toby and I have had our little adventures all week, rain or not.  It is drier on the shore....relatively.....and there aren't ticks on the Lake Superior shores either.  Right now....ticks are bad!  My tick jar on the counter is filling.  If we go in the woods.......we get ticks.  Picking Toby is just about a full time job. Frontline or Advantix or whatever.......doesn't stop the ticks from getting on him in the first place.  They will still try to attach most of the time.  I don't want any flare ups in his Lyme disease.....for sure.  So, I am vigilant.
The weather has been good for bringing the birds around tho.  The hummers are flocking to the feeders now.  I still have various types of little sparrows, red-winged blackbirds, bluejays, red-breasted nuthatches, rose-breasted grosbeaks, evening grosbeaks, purple finches, gold finches, and as of yesterday and this indigo bunting.  There is no shortage of color out there.  Of course, there are the squirrels and chipmunks wanting their share too.  Haven't seen any sign of the raccoon lately.  It is probably frustrated that I bring all the feeders in at night.  Bear season now, they all have to come in.
I have even gotten to the point I bring the hanging feeders in at night because of the raccoons.  They don't necessarily break the feeders.....but, some are on hanging hooks that hang out from the deck railing.  They don't support the weight of a raccoon.  So, last fall some of them got bent too.  Feeding critters is none-stop fun when it comes to trying to keep everyone happy and have stuff that isn't broken and bent up from the wrong critter getting in to it.
"Can't you see I'm tryin' to eat here!"  Even the squirrels have a lot of ticks this year.  You can see a full one by his ear, there is one on his forehead between and above his eyes, there were two full ones on the top center of his back....that I could see.  Those ticks are such a pain!
The chipmunks are busy too.  I still have a good number of deer coming around.  Many are pretty slow to have their fawns.  Shadow still hasn't brought hers out for us to see.  However, she comes to see us every day.  I sure do enjoy them.  I sometimes think the critters know more about us than we know about ourselves.  They pay a lot of attention to what we are doing and if it means treats for them, for sure.  And, most are not bashful about following us around anymore until we take the hint either.  Many don't even pay that much attention to Toby anymore.  He is pretty settled on the deck watching them most of the time. 
Spring flowers and cherry blossoms are finally out.  It is fun to see some of spring arriving anyway. 
Maybe the weather will soon moderate too......we can hope.