Blogging the Infinite Static


Sat, 08 Jul 2023

Partner's Mom passed away early this morning.




Uploaded Mon 26 Feb 2024

Tuesday 23 January 2024... At the River

They have already done great work at the park, gathering branches and trying to make it safer for the humans.

This is the edge of the playing fields at Maurie Jacobs Park... where I started out watching the eclipse, last year. There are several trees that will need to be chopped down. Sighs.

Major limb broken off a tree, a grassy field in the background

Oh my goodness! The clouds today!

Clouds over the river

clouds over the hill and car bridge over the river

Silhouette of a Cormorant standing in a winter bare tree

Wow. There's so much water coming over the spillover, there's hardly a separation at all between the river and the ponds!

spillover

The sweet little Golden Crown Sparrows are still so friendly!

Two Golden Crown Sparrows standing on the ground in the leaf litter

Golden Crown Sparrow standing in the grass

Weird that the turtles are out in winter. But I guess the sun has warmed things up enough for them.

Three turtles on a log in the water

The turtle on the far left is our native Western Pond Turtle. The other two are invasive Red Ear Sliders.

There are a few of these printed signs around the park. The paved paths are all clear, but maybe not the trails.

Small printed *Hazards* sign, next to official *Delta Ponds* sign

Cute female Lesser Scaups...

Two female Lesser Scaups paddling on the water

Scaup is a weird word. Several dictionaries say scaup probably means scalp, which is a bed of shellfish. And it looks like Scaups like to eat Mollusks.

Oh wow! A week ago it was 20° (-7°C) and now the Osoberries are leafing out! Crazy!

Leaf bud

Ah. Yes it is.

Graffiti, drawing of a brain with connected eyeballs and *Racism is fucked* written underneath

Clouds, looking upriver

Red Ear Slider on a log

Common Mergansers sitting on a log in the water

Male Downy Woodpecker, standing on a twig

American Coot on the water

Well, that was a lot of photos for the day! That makes me happy! :)

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Uploaded Mon 26 Feb 2024

Monday 22 January 2024... More Ice Damage

This is a sweet little Willow tree along the bike path, one of its big limbs cracked and lying on the ground.

willow tree

I'd assume this tree is low priority, since it's in no one's way. And I really really hope that by the time they get around to it, they will have time to prune off the limb... Rather than just chopping the whole tree down.

So many trees are going to have to be removed completely. I just wish they would leave some, who are damaged but still alive!

I stop by the Leaning Tree again.

Leaning Tree downed

Tree branched down across the creek

The trees in the neighborhood -- on private property -- are being cared for properly. Just getting their limbs trimmed.

Men working on a large tree with a limb down

I'm looking around for Angle, but don't see her.

three mallards standing on a still, just above the creek water

Oh, shoot. It's warm enough today to wake up a caterpillar!

Bright green Caterpillar, walking on the sidewalk

Her bright green would look great in the grass! *laughs* And I make sure she gets to the grass before I leave her.

Close up of bright green caterpillar

My cute lil leaf muncher!

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Uploaded Sat 24 Feb 2024

Sunday 21 January 2024... a rainy day

I can hear the Varied Thrush from my bedroom window, again this morning. I've only seen him twice so far, once during the ice storm. It would be nice to take his picture, even if I have to aim the camera out the window, but I haven't had the opportunity yet... I am happy just to hear from him, now and then in the mornings!

Trees on the hill

It's sprinkling and so there's not much picture taking, today. That's okay, it's good to just be outside and get some exercise!

American Robin standing on a twig

Oh, Look! There's a Grebe at the creek! Just having a wander today, my dear?

Pied Bill Grebe paddling on the water with raindrops

Such a cute face, but I can't get over how weird they look without tail!

Pied Bill Grebe paddling on the water

They were saying, out at the Raptor Center there was a tree down, across the driveway up to the center, which had also taken out the electrical lines.

So they had to haul up fuel for the generators, thru the forest!

Oh my gosh, I can just imagine how much hard work that is... not only getting thru the the shrubs and thorns of the forest floor, but also going up hill, which will be muddy and slippery with all this wet!

But it's important! The generators supply power to the wildlife hospital. There are about 20 birds in the hospital right now. and I suppose they have their rat room there too, which must be kept warm.

Eugene wildlife care facility forced to close following severe winter weather

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Uploaded Sat 24 Feb 2024

Saturday 20 January 2024... More Ice Damage

Oh My GOSH!

Cascades Raptor Center grapples with damage after ice storm

Two aviaries destroyed!

They were able to rescue Atticus, the Bald Eagle, right away.

But the tree had fallen on Great Horned Owl Lorax's aviary over night... The frantically looked for her in her crushed aviary, moving branches and structure aside and fearing the worst... but they couldn't find her! She was missing!

Ay Yai Yai! The Raptor Ambassadors who live at the center cannot be returned to the wild because they would not survive.

They started calling for her, and Lorax hooted back!!

She was nearby and when her human partner held up her gloved hand, Lorax came straight down to her! YAY!

She had a scratch on her face, but was otherwise unharmed. phew!

I have a photo of Lorax from a few years ago, that I made into a postcard, so she is especially precious to me! But since our Raptor Center is open to the public, you def get to know all the Raptor Ambassadors when you visit, so there is an undeniable connection!

They estimated 30,000$ for repairs and I think they got it in donations within about 24 hours! I love my community! :)


Out for my walk.

Large tree limb resting against the roof of a house

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a twig

Golden Crown Sparrow standing in the grass

American Crow standing on a wood fence, cawing

I was too far away for decent photos, but I really wish I knew what was going on here...

Two female Northern Flickers standing on a telephone pole

There were actually three Northern Flickers standing on this telephone pole, all female. Were they having a conference? Were they family, just having a get-together? What are they discussing? So many questions!

Sighs. I just cannot get over the new configuration of my Leaning Tree.

Leaning Tree down

Leaning Tree, down

Leaning Tree, down

Remember when the vultures sat here?

Leaning Tree, down

The Vulture Gathering was so cool. And it will never happen again here.

Leaning Tree trunks

Eugene focused on clearing roadways, begins park damage assessment

Nothing is going to stop Mother Nature: Was this ice storm Eugene-Springfield's worst ever?
Don't bother clicking on this, it's behind a pay wall. But here are the highlights...

The storm made a major impact in one of Oregon's most populated areas in numerous ways, including:

* At the peak of power outages, at least 40,000 were without electricity in Eugene-Springfield while another 10,000 lost power in the south valley. It may take a week or longer to restore everyone's power, officials said.

* A boil water notice was issued for Springfield due to power outages that caused a loss of pressure in pipes, which can lead to contamination. No contamination was detected and the advisory was lifted by Saturday morning.
[The boil water notice started on Tuesday, I believe, and included over half the city... So that took five days to sort out!]

* At various points, state highways 126, 99, 36 and 20 were all closed -- while I-5 near Cottage Grove became so gridlocked some spent the night in their cars.

* In Springfield, officials estimate 20,000 city trees were damaged and tens of thousands more were damaged on private property, city officials said. Similar levels of destruction were present across rural areas and the south valley.

* Some schools were closed all week. Springfield Public Schools declared a state of emergency Wednesday night after determining significant damage had been dealt to multiple facilities.

* Lane County, city governments, fire districts and public utilities have collectively spent more than $2 million to respond to the ice storm, and that number will continue to rise.

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Uploaded Thurs 22 Feb 2024

Friday 19 January 2024... Stewart Pond

Good Morning My Dear! You are looking dapper!

Squirrel sitting on the top step of the sidewalk

Let's head out and see what we can see today!

Trees down...

Trees and branches down

Uncooperative birds...

Birds perched on thorny vines, looking away

Ah! There are ducks at the ponds, at last!

Two pairs of Northern Shovelers, paddling on the water

Oh, hey! There's a Heron here, too! That's different.

Great Blue Heron standing in the grass near the pond

Is that you, Henrietta? I don't think so. And I wonder if there's much food here for a carnivore in a temporary, seasonal pond!

oop. Oh Wow!

Great Blue Heron flying

Definitely reminded about how big these birds are when they open up their wings!

Great Blue Heron flying

Bye!

Great Blue Heron flying

Lots of trees and branches down in the little patch of forest, too.

Trees leaning

American Robin standing under a downed tree, surrounded by mossy, downed sticks

More uncooperative birds! *laughs*

Blurry Brown Creeper, standing on the side of a tree trunk

People have been pulling branches off the path... but this one is too big to move easily. I step over it and continue on.

Branch down across the path

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Uploaded Thurs 22 Feb 2024

Thursday 18 January 2024... Leaning Tree

There's still some bits of snow left on the ground, even tho it stayed well above freezing last night and it's 46° this morning.

And when I get out the door, the branch with the power lines is still blocking part of the street. Here's the car under the branch...

Branch on the roof of a blue suv, the roof dented

The frame is okay but the roof will probably leak, now. They are lucky it didn't bust their windshield!

I walk further today, going around the bridges since the bike path is still flooded.

Branches and trees down all over the place.

Pine Tree down, across half the street

American Robin standing in the grass

oops, this tree took out a street lamp.

Tree down across the bike path

heh. It's ironic because this is the same area where vandals were pushing over the street lamps here a couple years ago. The city has probably already replaced that pole two or three times! *laughs*

Tree with a branch down across the sidewalk

Oh. My Leaning Tree...

Tree down

It's leaning on the ground. I am so upset. This is such a beautiful tree.

Tree down

Yep. It's done. The trunks are broken away from their roots.

They'll have to chop it up and remove it.

*cries*

Squirrel standing on a branch

Nutria standing in the grass

When I come back home, on my street, there's a good Samaritan with a chainsaw, cutting away the part of the branch that's blocking the road. It doesn't look very safe, he's standing on top of his car to reach.

But there's work for everyone who owns a chainsaw, and you can hear them in the distance, running constantly. I hope they all stay safe!

Hundreds of downed tree limbs and branches causes immense damage across Eugene

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Uploaded Tues 20 Feb 2024

Wednesday 17 January 2024... The Mess the Ice Leaves Behind

It's 43° and raining. The ice is gone from the trees. Still ice on the ground tho, I suppose it will take a while to melt it all.

Here's the branch that fell past my bedroom window at 7pm...

Sticks and a branch on the ground with snow and bushes

The little round things are Sweet Gum Balls, spikey little seed pods from the trees above.

And this must be the 10pm branch... I think the sound of it falling must have echoed in between the two buildings to make it sound like it fell in the parking lot!

Branch down across a sidewalk

This branch is blocking half the street, has power lines involved, and has dented the roof of the blue suv. What a mess.

city street with cars parked along it

And the creek is full of melt water.

Bike path next to a creek

There are branches down all over the place.

Branch down across the bike path

The bike path under the bridges is flooded... deeper than my boots! *laughs* Yep, I tried! So I didn't walk very far today.

American Robin standing in the grass, surrounded by snow

Coming back home on a different route, I saw a couple Big trees had come down across our side street. They had already been chainsawed into pieces, and weren't blocking the road. But I wonder when it happened, and how is it I didn't hear it!

Trees down with chopped up sections laying about

The buses are still not running, but the airport started up with flights, in and out today.

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Uploaded Tues 20 Feb 2024

Tuesday 16 January 2024... ICE... Worse Before It Gets Better!

Holy Shit! I should not have gone out there!

Icy trees along the bike path

The sun is out, briefly, and the top molecules of the ice have melted. It is slick. So slick! Walking over that is just terrifying... Dang, I thought it was scary before, but this is a hundred times worse!

The slightest incline is horrifying. I was slipping even when I walked in the grass, because it's an ice sheet as well.

Icy trees

Walking back thru the neighborhood, a car and I both came to an intersection at the same time. The car stopped for me, but I waved them thru, since they were going a tiny bit faster than I was! ha.

The passenger rolled down his window. I'm having fun, he announced. He indicated the driver, She's NOT! I laughed and nodded and replied, It's terrifying!

I just walked around the block. It's maybe ¾ mile, and even less than a mile felt like a huge mistake! It took me almost an hour to walk that little bit!

3:15pm... It's been raining for an hour or so. It's still 27° so it's freezing rain again. I watch the wildlife out the window. Lesser Goldfinches, the Varied Thrush flies by, and a squirrel.

And I watch several branches come down. I wonder if the squirrels know to stay out of the trees? The one I see just goes up and down the trunk, but I can't tell if she's avoiding the branches on purpose.

4:05pm... I was working on photos on the computer and the power went out! It goes off and on several times, each time there's a loud noise coming from down the street. After a few seconds, the power is out for good.

I hope the computer is okay. I hope I didn't lose much from the photo file I was working on! I can't remember if I had hit the Save button at all! ha.

I get down to write a letter of the day. And asked Partner to get the candles out.

By the time I'm finishing my letter, I do need the candle light! Done with that, I take my candle and set it in the window sill. My kindle is an E-Ink -- it's not backlit and has no front illumination either -- so I need the candle to read on it! It's got a good charge, so I won't have to worry about that.

When I get hungry for some dinner, I have a peanut butter sandwich and some pistachios. Hot food would have been nicer! heh.

6:30pm Power back on? Yes, it seems to be back on. Computer is good, Internet seems fine as well! And the automatic backup on my software caught most of the work I was doing on that photo file I had been working on! Yay Technology! *laughs*

7:04pm A big branch just hit the roof and slid and fell right in front of my bedroom window. And I'm suddenly scared that the trees are going to kill us!

There's little branches snapping and coming down, almost constantly. But now and then, bigger branches crash down.

Mass cancellations at Eugene Airport strand travelers

EWEB crews restore power to water treatment plant, continue working to address outages
Our water treatment plant had a generator, so it was okay. They weren't as lucky over in Springfield... In the coming days, half the city will be on a boil water notice!

On NextDoor, I see that some of the grocery stores have been open... but the shelves are pretty empty because the trucks haven't been able to get into town to deliver!

User Photos: Winter Weather Gallery KVAL is a local tv station.
This is great, some really good photos here!

9pm... It's warmed up to 30° and it seems like it will continue to get warmer thru the night! Good, I hope it melts before the trees do too much damage.

9:30pm... I go to bed, but I can't sleep. It's so noisy, branches are falling, hail is falling, other unidentifiable sounds. It's very worrisome.

Just after 10pm, there was cracking and a crashing and a very loud thump, and oh, that did not sound good. Not good at all!

I sat up in bed and looked out the window. I expected there to be a big branch down. But I can't see a thing in the darkness.

The shades part in two apartments across the parking lot. A guy came out and then another. It sounded like it hit a car. Yeah, that's what I thought, at first... But then I realized it was just a thump, no glass shattering and no sound of metal.

But we don't see anything, and I lie back down and try to sleep.

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Uploaded Sun 18 Feb 2024

Monday 15 January 2024... ICE Continues

It feels like a repeat of yesterday! It's 21° with the wind chill bringing it down to 9° and the hard ice continues.

Walking oh so slowly and carefully again, and the trees are still beautiful.

Icy trees along the bike path

close up of icy trees

Icy trees on the hill

No sign of the Hermit Thrushes who were here the first day, but the Killdeers are still hanging out.

Killdeers standing in icy grass

And Henrietta still has ice on his back.

Great Blue Heron with ice on his back, standing in water, facing the bank behind him

I really wanted to go into the Community Garden... I'm pretty sure the ice has done in the Fava cover crop, it wasn't doing all that great anyway. But I wondered what the volunteer Elephant Garlics were doing...

It turns out, there was no way I was getting into the Garden! *laughs*

Lock and chain on a wood gate, covered in thick ice

The ice is so thick and hard, I couldn't even move the chain! So crazy!

Oh! But look at this! The water in the creek is so warm it's melted a perfect line up on the bank! Ha!

icy branches over the creek

At my turn around point, I pause for a moment and take in the day. And then I realize there's a little brown bird moving around at the edge of the water, under the frozen line...

Wilson Snipe standing in mud

Oh my gosh! She's a Wilson Snipe! What is she doing here? I've never seen any shorebirds at the creek. She she lost? Or just wandering around on her own? What's her story?!

whoa!

Wilson Snipe with her long beak buried in the mud!

AllAboutBirds says Wilson Snipes feed by burying their bills deep into soft, wet soil to probe for insect larvae, worms, and other invertebrate prey. The bill's flexible tip can open to grasp food while the base of the bill stays closed.

Okay, this is super interesting. How does this work?! I guess there's muscles and ligaments and blood flow inside their beak? I've never thought about this before! Weird!

Wilson Snipe standing in mud

Hm. I'm headed back home, and this one has been standing at this fence the entire time I've been walking. To be respectful of her space, I inch around her, as far away as I can.

Crow on an icy fence

I suppose she's having trouble flying. Poor thing.

Crow on an icy fence, cawing

The ice is hard on everyone. The city is completely shut down since Saturday. Nothing is open, the buses aren't running, the damn Urgent Care is closed! (But don't get me started about how evil Peacehealth is!) All the flights at the airport are cancelled, stranding people. Today's Martin Luther King Jr Celebrations have been cancelled, which is a bummer.

icy trees on the hill

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Uploaded Sun 18 Feb 2024

Sunday 14 January 2024... Snow to ICE!

Freezing rain continued thru the night, and the temperature has settled at 21°F this morning tho the wind chill makes it 15°. Gah.

And it still looks like nice fluffy snow covering everything...

Except it's not snow anymore. It's ice.

Thick, solid, scary ice.

Utterly treacherous, especially since they couldn't be bothered to do anything with the roads yesterday.

Close up of a squirrel in front of snow

I put on all the layers and head out. It is pretty terrifying to walk on the ice. It's smooth, it's hard. I walk slow and a lot of brain power is going into how I place my feet!

Thick ice on Oak leaves

The ice is just crazy!

Trees along the creek, covered with ice. the bike path curves around on the right

But everything is so beautiful.

Ice covered trees along the bike path

Here's a male Brewer Blackbird, down near the water.

Blackbird standing on a stick over the water

He's drinking, and it's probably several degrees warmer down next to the water... but dang. The ice on his back and tail!

Feathers are excellent insulation, keeping the warmth in. But that ice sticking to him must be really annoying.

Everybody I see has ice on them!

Sparrow with ice on her tail

And I notice, too, when they fly, their tail hangs down! It looks incredibly awkward. I feel bad for them.

Sparrow standing on a icey twig

Close up of a Junco looking down

Plus they have to stand directly on that ice. eee.

Junco standing on an icy twig

Pine needles loaded down with thick ice

Icy scene of trees over a iced pond

American Robin standing at the top of an icy tree

4 American Robins standing in the snow with a starling behind them in the green bushes

Three American Robins, standing in the snow with green bushes behind them

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Thursday 15 February 2024... A New Place to Hike? Wild Iris Ridge!

I have been meaning to check out Wild Iris Ridge for a while now. There was an article in the Eugene Weekly about the park and it looks like a nice little hike... the park is 255 acres and the loop trail is 3.7 miles long.

The problem is, the park is just over 2miles from home. All together, with the hike, that would be a pretty long walk for me... and if there's any kind of hills to go up and down on the trail, that's going to be a tough walk home!

So it might be better to drive over there. But before I get the car out for a ridiculously short trip, I want to make sure it's worth it by walking to the trail head and checking it out!

And I've been putting this off for months...

I've never been up that road, and since it connects with 11th -- a major thoroughfare -- I figured it would be nothing but strip malls and businesses, and I'd have to be avoiding cars coming in and out of parking lots. And blah, right? Boring!

But then, today. The sun was out, there was blue sky all the way across. Except for that bit in the west.

I thought I was going to walk up Hidden Trail. But I got outside, and that bit of grey cloud in the west had completely taken over! It started sprinkling, and then raining. And it wasn't going to let up at all!

Squirrel standing on a wood post with fir tree behind him

So, yeah. I don't want to bother going up Hidden in the rain. And I decided to go find Wild Iris Ridge instead!

I walk thru part of the same neighborhood...
(These are some dwarf irises in someone's front yard. This variety pops up way earlier than normal irises which bloom in May or so!)

Purple Irises

And then cut thru to get to the road that leads to the park.

And it turns out, the road is really nice...

I come up the hill to what looks like a city park, with grass and a line of fir trees. It turns out to be a sprawling middle school. And there's neighborhood and community buildings all along the way. I don't have to dodge a single car, even on the streets I cross! So nice!

And then I find the park!

Wild Iris Ridge park sign

Yay! But the parking lot is tiny. And full of cars. hmm. That could be a problem.

I check out the map at the kiosk and then go up the trail to see what the park looks like. It's not terribly inviting from here...

Trail leading away into the distance

um? The trail follows the power line clearing? Okay, this is kind of terrible.

trail going up the hill under power lines

But I keep going... Okay! This is more like it!!

trail curves into the forest

I go a little bit further, just to make sure. And yep, there's a split in the trail and you can go up the hill thru the forest, and avoid the stupid power lines!

I think we have a winner!

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Uploaded Thurs 15 Feb 2024

Saturday 13 January 2024... Snow!

I awoke to a Winter Wonderland this morning! And little flurries still coming down! And cold! Dang, it's just 27° (-3°C) and not going to warm up much at all today!

I bundled up in my snow gear... heavy shirts under my rain jacket, snow pants and my boots! That should do it! Nice to be able to use the snow pants every few years. ha.

There's Juncos on the steps, right outside...

Junco standing on snow with a peanut in her beak

He's eating a peanut bit, and I don't think you want that snow on your tail feathers, dear!

And while I was looking at the cute lil birds, this one has been trying to get into a walnut for long minutes!

Squirrel sitting in the crook of a tree, holding a walnut

There you go, it's coming open now!

Squirrel sitting in a tree holding a walnut

The snow on the bike path is on the crunchy side of slush. It's not slick, and fairly easy to walk.

snow on the bike path

Wet prairie pond with snow covering the water and trees

There's a whole flock of... Hermit Thrushes? Running around on the snow, here! Where'd they all come from all of a sudden?

blurry Hermit Thrush in the snow

Smiley face marked in the snow on the bike path

And a little bit further on, there are loads of Killdeers running around in the grass! So interesting! Why are they all gathering here?

Killdeer standing in the icy grass

The Leaning Tree looks lovely in the snow...

winter bare oak tree

Little do I know that these will be the last photos I take of the tree in one piece. Or. You know... Three pieces that are actually alive.

The ice will bring it down.

winter bare oak tree

Sighs. But it's beautiful right now.

winter bare oak tree

The novelty and delight in the snow suddenly wore off tho... When I turn around to come home, I was walking into the wind and getting hit in the face with frozen rain -- Hey! OUCH! *laughs*

Not even a trace of ice in the creek, despite the cold. The water is usually in the mid-40s (7°C), this time of year.

snowy bike path next to the creek

Ice coating weeds by the creek

Ice coating spent Teasel blooms

Hi Henrietta! You got ice on your shoulders!

Great Blue Heron with a male Mallard behind

When I got back home, I found that the temperature had actually dropped a degree, now at 26°F. And the Wintery Mix kept coming down, all thru the day and into the night.

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Uploaded Thurs 15 Feb 2024

Friday 12 January 2024... Fly Away!

heh. Here's my friend, the female Belted Kingfisher, doing what is normal and flying away from me!

blurry bird flying with a dark background

Every year, this pair of Kingfishers flies up and down the creek. I assume they are scouting out good nesting locations. Kingfishers dig their nest into the bank, and I have no idea if they've ever actually nested here.

Every once in a while, one or the other sits long enough for me to get a blurry portrait. But mostly, they fly once they see me looking at them, and stop on a perch just close enough that I think I can try again. But when I get there they fly again.

Yes. They are def making fun of me!

I appreciate the game. But I have cursed at them a lot! *laughs*

I walk almost my entire walk and I'm practically home and I'm wondering if today will be the day that I don't get any decent photos.

But then this one sits for me!

Scrub Jay standing on a mossy stick

I thank her for her time.

I usually try to thank all the birds for sticking around and letting me click the camera at them. It's just polite, but I do wonder if random humans coming up behind me think I'm crazy! ha!

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Uploaded Mon 12 Feb 2024

Thursday 11 January 2024... A Happy Walk with Angle!

I see a duck down in the water and for an instant, I think it's Angle, the Mallard with the messed up wing who is not an Angel. I saw her right before I left for my December travels, but haven't seen her since I got back, and I'm worried!

But then that duck in the water flaps her wings, to rearrange all the feathers properly. And I'm disappointed, Angle can't move her wing that much.

But I can't let go of my suspicion, and I watch her carefully.

She walks up on the bank and settles on some trash, and when I come around to see her right side... oh my gosh! It IS Angle!!!

Female Mallard sitting on a red duffle bag on the bank of the creek

Angle! Her wing is healing! And she can move it! The pain is getting better! oh wow...

I still doubt she'll ever be able to fly. But I'm so happy to know the pain is lessening and her range of motion is improving! Yay!

Female Mallard preening on a red duffle bag on the bank of the creek


Robins standing in a winter bare awthorn sapling, full of berries

I think this is a little Hawthorn tree.

And I think the robins will make quick work of all the berries!

Robin standing on a hawthorn twig, reaching down to eat berries

Robin standing on a hawthorn twig

heh... She looks funny...

Hooded Merganser, paddling on the water

A Song Sparrow singing from the Red Osier Dogwoods...

Song Sparrow standing on red twigs

Nutria standing in water at the creek bank

And when I come back thru... Angle is still here, napping!

Female Mallard on a red duffle with her head tucked under her wing

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Uploaded Mon 12 Feb 2024

Wednesday 10 January 2024... Fun Birds

The Crows are making a ruckus this morning at the wet prairie and I stop to watch them.

There is something in the grass that's making them bounce around and talk excitedly. And then one Crow flies up and a couple others are chasing after her! She flies all around but isn't losing her friends...

Two crows flying, one is carrying a chunk of food in her beak

She's got a huge chunk of, what? bread or something that she wants to keep for herself! *laughs* I don't know... these photos just amuse me greatly.

Very blurry three crows flying

Okay. Moving on. Here's a cute Kinglet...

Ruby Crown Kinglet standing on a twig, looking down

Ha! This is such a small patch of grass that's getting some habitat restoration! I wonder what they've planted.

sticks marked with orange ribbons, in grass

The Leaning Tree from the other side, looking west. (I usually take pictures on the way out, looking east!)

Winter bare Oak Tree

A White Crown Sparrow.

White Crown Sparrow, standing on a branch

Ah! The Beaver munched trees, of yesterday with the pink ribbons... They put fencing around those marked trees to keep the Beaver away.

trees along the creek with wire fencing around the trunks

Seems odd. I mean, a Beaver has to chew! Are they going to put fences around all the trees?

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Uploaded Sat 10 Feb 2024

Tuesday 9 January 2024... The Rain Pours

Good Morning, Cuteness! It looks like you're having a good breakfast of peanuts in the shell!

Squirrel standing on the step, surrounded by empty peanut shells

Ah, it looks like you've been burying some of those peanuts, too... Mud on your nose! *laughs*

Squirrel standing on the step

It is pouring down rain and this is my kind of weather! I mostly have the bike path to myself. There's not as much wildlife out and about, but I can usually find something interesting to take pictures of!

Ducks floating in a wet prairie pond surrounded by grass and trees

Ha! I am amused by the raindrops in the water!

Sleeping mallard and a raindrop deforming the water behind her
Sleeping mallard and a raindrop deforming the water behind her

Sleeping mallard and a raindrop deforming the water behind her

Oh wow! Our Wayward Beaver doing her important work! And someone official has noticed... I'm not sure what the pink ribbons mean!?

Trees along the creek that have been chewed down by a beaver

Going past the Community Garden, and Oh My Gosh... She's a youngster! Too Cute!

Young Squirrel standing on a wood post

Hi Baby! Is this your first day away from Mama?

Young Squirrel standing on a wood post

Aw. She looks a little cold. Poor Baby. You got to eat a lot of nuts, and then you'll be nice and fat and you won't notice the cold so much, little one!

female Hooded Merganser paddling on the water

When I turn around to go home, I'm walking into the wind. I get soaked, despite the rain jacket and wet clothes make it a little chilly.

But! My energy is finally starting to come back. Yesterday I was able to get a couple chores done, and it felt good to run the vacuum!

And this afternoon, I've finally emptied my luggage from traveling in December. Ha, yep, the bags have been sitting out in the hallway all this time, since I got back!

Now it's nice and tidy!

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Monday 8 January 2024... Stewart Pond

Our cute little Lesser Goldfinches are so much brighter than their cousins the American Goldfinches, this time of year!

Lesser Goldfinches standing on Teasel stalks

Lesser Goldfinch in front of a spent Teasel bloom

Suspish graffiti

Well, here I am at the ponds... and there are no ducks, no geese, and no little shore birds. Where is everybody??!

Shallow pond with trees in the distance

I don't see my friend the Kestrel, either. Sighs!

There are some robins bouncing around in the forest area, tho!

Robin standing near a grassy puddle

And when I go around to the back of the park... Oh! It looks like they've had a Tree Planting Party! Awesome!

A road, next to a grassy strip, and bright yellow streamers marking new trees

I wonder what kind of trees they are. I'll have to look at them when they get some leaves!

Oh, hey! I've not seen this one before!

Blond Mallard paddling in water, surrounded by sticks

And I get the feeling I won't see her again... she is very shy and is high tailing it away from me! ha. Oh well. Have a good life, Beautiful One!

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Sunday 7 January 2024... Another Day

I don't know, do I feel better, or not? I'm still sniffly, and my energy just isn't coming back and I'm kind of grumpy about it!

And then, this morning... look at what I did.

Coffee carafe with a crack in it

There were other dishes in the sink when I was washing the coffee pot, and I tapped them as I was swishing water around. I didn't even notice it had broken until I went to make coffee... haha. It wasn't a fast leak, but there was def coffee all over the place!

Sheesh.

Hi Henrietta!

Great Blue Heron standing in water near the bank

Clouds above the hill

Squirrel sitting on a wood fence, holding a walnut in her mouth

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Saturday 6 January 2024... A Day

Pardon me. Um, the fur on your face is a little messed up. If you'd just swipe your hand across your cheek, you'll look all pretty again! :)

Squirrel standing up on the sidewalk

Three Canada Geese standing in the grass

The clouds are moving around and eventually some blue sky appears.

blue sky with clouds around the edges

Ah. A little book burning on the bike path.

A burned book laying on the sidewalk

Hopefully the book was boring.

And a Blurry Bird! A tiny Ruby Crown Kinglet -- with just a bit of his crown showing! As usual, he was bouncing around too quickly for me and the camera!

blurry Ruby Crown Kinglet surrounded by sticks and leaves

The forecast is saying we might have some weather next week... snow up in the hills and then the potiential for the coldest temperatures of the season. blah.

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Tuesday 6 February 2024... Month of Letters

Ha. Yep, a week of February has already gone by, and I've suddenly decided to login at LetterMo... It's okay tho, since I have sent some postcards every day so far! :)

They have ported into a new design again this year, and consequentially, I've lost my extensive friends list. This is a bummer. And additionally, they still don't have DMs or any kind of private messaging.

The lack of functionality on the LetterMo website is what drove me away in the past.

On top of that... I hate that font!

But it is what it is. And I've updated my profile. And I've sent out a few friend requests.

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Friday 5 January 2024... Today

Oh the cute little Hooded Mergansers!

A pair of Hooded Mergansers on the water

Usually so shy! but today they are a little bit more bold and I get to take a couple pics before they paddle behind some bushes to hide themselves.

Female Hooded Merganser on the water

Song Sparrow standing on a thorny vine

And at home, I get food and take a nice hot shower and lie down for a long, two hour nap. Again.

Sighs! Will I ever get my energy back??!

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Thursday 4 January 2024... Blah

There is a Varied Thrush singing who I can hear from my bedroom window in the morning!

They have the most wonderful and interesting song... it is just a single tone whistle. You can listen to it here: AllAboutBirds Varied Thrush, sounds

That song belongs in the forest! And every time I hear it, I imagine an old temperate rain forest in winter... the grey sky, the drizzle coming down, the huge old trees covered in mosses, and the ferns. And the eerie song of a Varied Thrush.

But... I'm still kinda blah today, so I won't be visiting any forests in real life! Just walking down the bike path...

Mallards walking on the bike path

Two Crows standing on a wood fence

Female Mallard standing in water and grass

Still looking for Angle.

Back at home, and another nap today.

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Monday 5 February 2024... A Loved Tree. Tribute to the Leaning Tree.

My Leaning Tree fell over during the ice storm of mid-January... It's three trunks are now leaning on the ground in three different directions.

Today, I found it had been turned into an art installation!

Fallen tree with small streamers tied to its limbs

Blue streamer hanging from fallen tree limbs

Blue stream with writing on it
[Oak trees hold] Onto their leaves so long in fall

Blue streamer with writing on it
And watching people go by

Yellow streamers hanging from fallen tree limbs

Looking up at the branches and twigs

Blue and white streamers hanging from a fallen tree

Blue streamer with writing on it
Hug trees, Love trees, Climb trees, Plant trees

Blue streamer with writing on it
Teaching us to look up. I Loved...

Card on a string, held open
Dearest Amazing Tree.
I am so thankful for you!!!
Held in love

Okay. That one made me cry. *sad smile*

I will miss this tree so much.

But this beautiful memorial from the community really is heart-warming.

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Wednesday 3 January 2024... Today

Fog in the hills

Yep, I'm going out for a walk again today. I thought I felt better but I run out of energy pretty quickly. I am seeing interesting things and I just keep walking for some stupid reason!

Hi Henrietta! You are looking very handsome today!

Great Blue Heron standing in water, near the bank of the creek

A new Graffiti Artist! I like it! Tho the snail's face needs some help. Maybe they got distracted before they were done.

Graffiti of a snail on a mushroom

Poor little guy with messed up toes. Sighs. Looks like it will be another year of Sick and Injured Wildlife.

Lesser Goldfinch standing on a twig

Female Lesser Goldfinch, surrounded by twigs

I've not seen Angle yet, since I got back from my travels. So I'm studying all the ducks I come across. I hope she's okay!

Female Mallard sitting in the grass

Food, hot shower and then a LONG, two hour nap. heh, that walk completely exhausted me!

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Tuesday 2 January 2024... A Day

Oh, the fog on the hills is lovely.

Foggy trees on the hill

But, Ugh.

I want to be over the stupid head cold I picked up while travelling in december... But today it's decidedly worse: my throat hurts and the sinus headache is back with a vengeance.

I wonder if I just shouldn't stay home, but once I get out... the fresh air feels so good in my lungs!

There's a pair of Hooded Mergansers at the creek. The female is less shy.

Female Hooded Merganser paddling in the water

I walk out to the Events Center, but maybe I shouldn't have gone that far?

Pine Trees and a big, bare Oak Tree

Sparrow in the grass

On the way home, I run out of energy.

And after some food and a hot shower, I lie down for a nap.

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Monday 1 January 2024... Happy New Year!

I am thrilled to start off the New Year with a squirrel!

Squirrel sitting on the sidewalk

I still haven't gotten over the cold I caught while traveling in December. I'm just a bit sniffly, but it's def annoying.

trees and fog on the hill

Henrietta, up in the fir tree he likes to hang out in.

Great Blue Heron standing in a fir tree

I go to the Community Garden, and I lay claim to that big trellis that I left behind the other day, and haul it to my plot!

Garden plot with tomato cages and stock fence trellis laying on the leafy ground

Yes, I am being entirely selfish with all the freebie stuff I've taken! But I've decided that no one wants this big trellis as much as I want this big trellis! *laughs*

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Monday 1 January 2024... Happy New Year! Review and Revise!

XXX

Place holder for the New Year's blog post!

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Sunday 31 December 2023... Stewart Pond

Two Squirrels standing on the steps

Happy to see that Stewart Pond Park has some decent ponds!

pond with trees in the background

The far away ducks today are Green Wing Teals.

Oh, yay! The Kestrel is still hanging out here!! I'm so glad, I hope I get to see more of her!

American Kestrel standing on a twig

Once I get to the little forest, there are the usual mix of little birds and robins chatting amongst themselves. But this Flicker is the only one who lets me take his picture.

Northern Flicker standing on the trunk of a tree

*laughs* My Tripping Hazard marker is still here!

Path thru the forest

Good thing, too. With all the muddy places, this trail could def use some maintenance.

Singularly unconcerned about the state of the trail...

Squirrel sitting up on a branch

Henrietta! But, gah, seriously?

Great Blue Heron standing on trash in the creek

And some ducks!

a pair of Hooded Mergansers, paddling on the water with some Mallards

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Friday 2 February 2023... Tea Time!

I am a coffee drinker. I'm pretty serious about it.

But I've decided to teach myself to drink tea!

You know... Afternoon Tea! just sounds like something nice. And I think I'm the type of person who should be doing something nice like Afternoon Tea!

To that end, I've gotten myself some herbal teas that looked good...

Packets of Herbal Teas next to a mug of water with a tea bag in it!

I tried out the Berry one today. It's kind of... meh.

Probably it needs some crumpets or something to go along with it?

*laughs*

Well. This morning I got some sun again, for my walk.

Wet Prairie pond surrounded by trees in a grassy area

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a branch, looking over her shoulder

oh, hey. The field behind the Events Center is getting a new, cute fence. I wonder why.

street and trees and sidewalk and fence

The clouds are moving around a lot and being pretty!

White puffy clouds with blue sky and grey clouds

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Saturday 30 December 2023... Garden Score!

Home Again!

And the squirrel outside the door is surprised to see me...

Squirrel standing on the sidewalk, dropping her peanut

It's misting and sprinkling this morning, but no wind and nice and warm at 48° (9°C)... perfect Oregon weather!

But why is the wet prairie pond so small? Has it not been raining here?

small puddle of water under some trees in a grassy area

The birds can't believe I'm home, either!

Dark Eye Junco standing on a twig

I decide to stop in at the Community Garden. And oh my gosh! Look!

Picnic table with garden items on and around it

They must have cleared out some abandoned garden plots! Everything left at the table is free for anyone to pick up and use! I grab a handful of wood stakes, the instant I lay eyes on them... wood stakes are always so useful to have around! (Not just for murdering vampires!!)

I drop them off in my garden plot and come back for a closer look. There's some large tomato cages, nice! And I also get the smaller of the two trellises. They both just fold out in an upside-down V and the green one is about 3 feet tall... I think some Lemon Cucumbers would be happy to grow on it!

Garden plot with trellis and tomato cages

It would be nice to have the big trellis as well... It's two stock panels are 4x6 feet. It would be so nice to have something sturdy for the wax beans to grow on!

But, after I take a few black bricks... yeah, I feel like I'm being selfish. Taking all the good stuff without giving anyone else a chance. heh. So I leave the big trellis where it is. Maybe I'll come back next week, and if it's still here, I'll grab it!

Scrub Jay standing on a wood fence

It's good to be home!

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Friday 29 December 2023... Getting Home

I am not looking forward to the plane ride home... the altitide will take my little cold and turn my sinuses and ears into a living hell. But, that's not until this afternoon, and there's stuff to be done before then.

I get up and take the sheets off the bed. And I start getting luggage organized.

Downstairs, it's a normal morning, people gathered around the kitchen table. Reading the newspaper, reading on laptop, doing crossword puzzles.

When I get the Emily Laptop out to read my own newspaper...

Where's the Damn Paper? Eugene Weekly is fighting to come back after a massive financial blow

oh jeez! The Eugene Weekly is our alternate paper, it goes out once a week and the print edition is free, paid for with advertising. Their bookkeeper had been siphoning off thousands and thousands of dollars, for years.

And they had to lay off everyone, right before Christmas. UGH!

So that's a bummer. But again, stuff to be done!

Brother and I load up with cookies to take home with us, leaving a couple of each kind for Mom and Dad to eat. I get back to the luggage, trying to fit as many of the Christmas presents in as I can, along with the cookies!

I've stolen all of Dad's photos... thinking it would be nice to print up a couple to mail back to them. And we work on our new calendars, writing in the family birthdays and anniversaries.

Eventually, it's time to go to the airport. And eventually, it's time to get on the plane. And eventually, we get home. And eventually, get to bed.

Awesome trip. But it's good to be home!

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Thursday 28 December 2023... More Christmas Time

I coughed all thru the night, which was a bummer for my sleep. But at least I don't feel too terrible.

We take it easy today. And the highlight of the day is our own personal Christmas time.

I am excited about this little microscope that Mom and Dad got for me... it's going to be so fun! But I don't pull it out of it's packaging right away like I want to because we'll be traveling again tomorrow.

And my brother got the Good Omens dvds for me, and I'm def looking forward to watching that and all the extras!

There were gifts galore, and we had a great time!

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Wednesday 27 December 2023... Travel Day

There is still a good bit of snow on the ground...

Trees and ground covered in snow

But the roads are okay! We are doing our 10 hour drive from Iowa, back to Colorado.

Dad overslept but says the sleep did him good and he's feeling okay even tho he's caught our germs. We were on the road just a couple minutes after our planned time.

There were some snow flurries that worried me, for a few hours around lunch time. The road got wet but no problems. And eventually we were in Colorado and the clouds broke and it was dry and much warmer!

We traditionally get pizza when we return home to Mom and Dad's house. But the closest pizza place was out of a lot of veggies! haha! No black olives or mushrooms for my vegan pizza. And no green peppers for the other pizzas. It was so pathetic! and after complaining about it for a long time, they finally gave us a decent discount on the price.

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Tuesday 26 December 2023... Last Crazy Day in Iowa

Snow!

Dusting of snow in the back yard

Just a dusting, but still coming down! Some Christmas Snow! So that's nice, except we are driving back to Colorado tomorrow, so it needs to clear up quickly!!

The Aunts and fams arrive again for lunch. Someone had brought a jar of Green Olives stuffed with Lemons. Whoa! It was good... in a very strong way. You could not avoid making a lemon face! *laughs*

We played a big game of 10 card Flipper Golf and just hung out for a while.

We were supposed to go back to the other Uncle's in the afternoon, but they never texted to say everyone had arrived. We waited and waited and finally Brother got a text...

It turns out they were trying to text the landline, back in Colorado, instead of anyone's phone!! Haha! I guess that tells you a little about our relationship with technology!

Anyway. We went and most all the cousins were there with all their kids and everything was crazy. We had Traditional Christmas Part 2, with the dinner and the presents again. Like I said, you can't stop these people with their craziness about the gift giving.

We hung out for a while but Dad and I left early. Dad was starting to get sick as well, and I was just tired of my constant cough. Plus, Partner had stayed in bed, again, and I wanted to check on him.

Dad went to bed, and I watched the game of Hand And Foot that the Aunts and Uncle were playing. Yet again, the men were winning by so much, they didn't even play the last hand. Ha. It seems to be a theme!

Partner got up so he could prepare for tomorrow's drive. Mom and Brother got a ride back and we sat around for a little while before getting to bed.

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Monday 25 December 2023... Christmas Day

Christmas Day is traditionally a lazy day for us! It's nice to relax after the crazy fun we have on Christmas Eve.

I coughed most all night, so the sleep wasn't great. I'm stuffed up and sniffly, have a sinus headache and still with the cough and sneezes. It's annoying, but I'm not too bad off.

There's always birds to be watched at Uncle's house... Here's a fun woodpecker. She's an eastern bird, not to be seen in Colorado or Oregon. Red Belly Woodpecker!

Red Belly Woodpecker standing on the truck of a tree

For the most part, it's too dark and dreary for taking photos of birds out the window. Oh well. It's nice to see them flitting about all the bird feeders in the back yard, anyway.

With my cold, I do wander down to the basement for a good chunk of the day, to suffer in peace.

In the evening, more family shows up, both Aunts this time with parts of their families. After dinner we play some games

With so much of the family around, Nerts is definitely going to come up. This is a ... very physical card game. *laughs* I don't play, and some of the guys hate to play. And yet they always end up playing a couple rounds!

Playing field of a game of Nerts

We also played a fun game of Natalia's Golf and a good game of 65.

Again, just good family time!

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Friday 26 January 2024... A Tribute to Blazey

Today is the one year anniversary of Blazey's death, and I thought I would put up a little memorial. I miss Blazey so much. His place on the bike path is empty and sad and I think about him often.

Blazey was the best Bike Path Ambassador! He was always eager to greet all the humans on the bike path, and most of the dogs as well.

As we got to know each other, Blazey would sometimes jog towards me when he saw me. He was so wonderful and sweet!

My last photo of him, on the day that he died...

Blazey with a squirrel on his throne in the background

That squirrel in the background was on one of Blazey's Thrones and eating his dry cat food. But Blazey wasn't too worried about it!

And then a few days later...

Beloved Blazey has been missing since Jan26

Sighs. He deserved better. But this is what happens to outside cats, even loved cats with happy homes.

Blazey on his throne

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Sunday 24 December 2023... Christmas Eve

Partner, Brother and I decide to skip morning church... we are all sick and Partner just stays in bed.

Brother isn't too bad off, tho he's been ill for a couple days. He thinks we caught the germs at last week's church service. Super Spreader

*laughs* At least we know it's just a cold, and a mild one at that, because Partner and I had gotten both the flu shot and covid vax a couple weeks ago... those immunizations are at full immunizing capacity right now!

I try to be social, but my face keeps exploding. Gah, so annoying.

Brother is feeling better and decides to go with Parents to see the children's Christmas Play at the local church in the evening. I am sad that I'm missing out, and demand he report back to me if anything interesting happens!

And this evening is our traditional Christmas celebration. We go back over to Mom's Brother's house, have a fantastic dinner. And then we open packages.

I have been trying to get these people to scale back on this Christmas Present Thing for years! *laughs* I don't buy anyone any presents, anymore. For me, the stress outweighs the enjoyment.

But you can't stop these crazy people. *Affectionate Eye Roll*

And then we played some more games... We tried to play a weirdly modified partners game of Hand And Foot, because we had seven players. Uncle flip-flopped between the Mens side and the Womens side, and it started out well. But then the Men+Uncle could not get their canastas down in the third round and Uncle ended up with negative 10,000. Bahaha!

It was a fun evening, good family time. And I was happy that my face didn't explode too much.

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Saturday 23 December 2023... A Change of Place

Hibiscus bloom

I get up in the morning and am nominally sick, so I just get on with the day. We play a couple games in the morning and then after lunch we pack up our stuff into the pickup and drive down the road to my other uncle's house.

I start sneezing.

Another Aunt, Cousin and Child come over for a visit. The child has a couple games that are fun to play even tho she's little. Moving the little metal ball around the obstacles is on the frustrating side. But the Whack A Mole is fun... I win a few games before I retreat the the basement so that I can not sniffle at everyone for a while.

I come back later to play a game of 65... different rules at this house and extra wild cards. Aunt is always very lucky at this game and she easily won. But as we were finishing up the last round, she pointed out that I was using the wild cards wrong. haha! No wonder I'm losing so terribly!

Or maybe I'm just sick! I go to bed early, only to lay there and sneeze and cough for most of the night.

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Friday 22 December 2023... Games All Day

A panopoly of games today!

Monopoly Deals and another attempt at Coup.
Sixty-Five and the dice game Qwixx.

We pull out Wits and Wagers and that was a fun game... Brother and I were winning, but then Dad bet all he had on William Shakespeare for the last question! Brother had 19, I had 17 and Dad had a crazy 40 for the win!

The game Blank Slate was out and we dug into it for a pseudo game, asking the questions but not keeping score or anything.

After dinner we played Blank Slate again, keeping score this time. Brother won, then Mom won.

We also played more Wits and Wagers and Brother knew the last question, and bet it all and won! FYI, in the traditional Monopoly game, you start out with 1500$. *laughs* Something I will probably never care about! ;)

In the evening, I realize I've got some kind of disease. My throat is sore and I've sneezed more than normal and I'm a little stuffy. Arg. This is annoying, I don't want to be sick!

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Thursday 21 December 2023... Out for a Walk

Uncle and Aunt live right on the edge of town, and it's a pleasant, short walk to downtown. Nobody wanted to walk with me, and I'm happy to go out alone. It's good to get some exercise!

I LOVE their black squirrels!!

Black squirrel standing on the grass

This is a colour variation in their Eastern Grey Squirrels. Very cute!

I go across the main road that goes thru town and find the library.

Public Library building

Yep, I go in and check it out! It seems pretty cozy. There's a fireplace to gather at and nice places to read by the big windows.

Couches and potted plants next to big windows

I continue thru the neighborhoods. Yay Art!

Art, dog statue made of colourful metal pieces

I go across a few blocks to make a loop and come back thru the Square. My great aunt worked in the courthouse, when I was a kid and so I've been inside a few times. I didn't feel like going past the construction, so I didn't go in today.

Courthouse with a clock tower

A squirrel who looks more familiar... Eastern Fox Squirrels are the invasive species we've got, back in Oregon!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a concrete wall

A Little Free Library outside a church. And yep, a hefty section inside the box was taken up with religious tracks. Ha.

Little Library outside a church

Back at the house, I watched the end of a Camel game. Mom was kicking butt, and she won!

I joined in for a men against women game of Hand And Foot. The men came in really strong and after the first round they were beating the women by 2000 points! But the women made a come back and we caught up... we had done so well, our scores were almost even, the men were ahead by just five points!

The pendulum swung back to the men for the third round and they were ahead by 3000 points. The fourth round is the last one, and we women started out great! But then the men put their 150 down and built canastas quickly. Dad went out to finish the game and unfortunately we didn't even need to count for the final score because the men were still over 2000 points ahead.

We are tidying up a little after the game...

And Brother found Dad's Foot on the window sill! He had set it out of the way, and then forgot to play it!

Cheater!!

Bahaha! We decided to call it an even game, instead!

Uncle and Aunt have an excellent game room in their basement. A foosball and a pool table.

My brother is an expert at the foosball. My dad and I ganged up against him, and we lost miserably! And then later in the evenng he thrashed my uncle at a couple games!

We played some pool as well. I happened to get paired up with Aunt, and it was good! I'm terrible, tho I can occasionally make a good shot. But Aunt is brilliant. She's by far the best player in the house! So we won a few games against everyone! Yay!

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Wednesday 20 December 2023... Games

I slept in and then it became a day of games!

Unknown houseplant

We pulled out the Camel game, and my brother won.

And then a game of 65, Aunt thrashed us all.

After dinner we set up a partners game of Hand And Foot, women against men. Sadly, the men killed us in that game.

A couple games of Wits and Wagers. Mom won the first and Partner won the second.

Apples To Apples was incredible... Mom guessed correctly every single round, until one or two at the end.

And then a ten card Golf game. We play a few different varieties of Golf card games, and I'm always getting them mixed up. This one, Brother came in first with -75. I was in second but I trailed far behind with -39...

There were a couple other negative scores, but a few people had really bad positive scores. It's a fun game, but when you get the luck and finish the rounds quickly, you can really exacerbate other people's bad luck!

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Tuesday 19 December 2023... Road Trip

The sunrise in Colorado.

Sunrise

And then we jumped in the truck and drove to Iowa!

It's a hefty 10 hour drive. I love road trips, even when I don't get to drive!

It is a long day, tho.

We were going to be staying at Mom's brother's house, and as we drove past Dad's brother's house, Dad laid on the horn!

Gah! The people in the back seat had no idea what was going on, especially since the horn was on for practically 30 seconds or more. I thought the check engine light had suddenly gotten a lot worse! haha!

And the truck that was in front of us... way, _way_ out in front of us, didn't know what was going on either!! They pulled over and were probably confused for hours. I wonder what story they will tell about that incident!! *laughs*

We arrived and got settled, and then Uncle and Aunt kept chatting and chatting even tho all I wanted to do was go to bed! They are def night people and of course excited to see us. But that was pretty funny!

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Monday 18 December 2023... Day of Chores and Games

Tomorrow we are heading to Iowa, so I need to do a load of laundry and re-pack my bags. Dad is getting stuff done as well, organizing the pickup.

Dad, Bro and I play a game of Monopoly Deals... Dad gets all the good cards, Bro and I lay down a couple of things which quickly get stolen.

In the afternoon, Bro and I decide to see how fast we can walk the 2mile loop to the back of the subdivision. We walked at 17.38 minutes per mile... I'm not sure if that average includes me stopping for photos! *laughs*

European Starlings...

Starlings in a tree

And Eurasian Collared Doves...

Eurasian Collarded Dove standing on a branch, surrounded by twigs

Ha, there's more than just invasive species here! But the Robins and far off Magpies were not sitting for their portraits today!

The same curious goat as the other day... I wonder if this is the leader!

Black, white and red goat standing on the roof of a play structure

The other goats are relaxing and enjoying the day!

Goats lying on playground equipment

Partner came down as we were thinking about playing a game of Hand and Foot. That's a tough game with five players, so we switched to Group and Run. That ended up being a very slow game, anyway... but Partner eventually won!

Dinner was fridge wipe out! And when we were all done with our last minute chores for tomorrows car trip, Brother started up a movie. Oblivion, 2013. It was pretty good, but had some major plot issues.

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Sunday 17 December 2023... Sunday Cookie Decorating!

Church this morning and then some football on the tv, to be ignored by most of the house. Brother and I wrapped our Christmas presents and then Mom was working on more cookies!

We had fun decorating the sugar cookies!

decorated sugar cookies cut into shapes!

Never mind the box of Triscuits... they're vegan and pretty tasty, but now we have cookies to munch on!

And the newspaper puzzles are a morning tradition, at the parents house!

We played Can't Stop, it's a dice game with a board and I enjoy it. But the race was between Dad and Brother, and Brother won. And I lost miserably, of course.

Coup card game

Then we tried out a first game of Coup. It is very complicated and the language around challenges and blocks definitely needs improvement. And then the game ended abruptly when Brother just paid to outright murder me! That was lame, and no one wanted to play again.

Later in the evening we played some City Guesser. Last year we played the heck out of this game, and it was really fun.

This time around, there were some very boring walks along the way and it was def not as fun. Oh well!

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Saturday 16 December 2023... Raptor Center!

Today the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program in Fort Collins is having an open house!

Outside the building, they have a Bald Eagle mascot dressed up and dancing around! haha!

And inside the building we are greeted by the smallest of their raptor ambassadors, an Eastern Screech Owl!

The links go to each of the ambassador's personal pages at the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program website. You can learn about what brought them into the program! For instance, this Screech Owl had a broken jaw which now makes it hard for him to eat.

Eastern Screech Owl standing on someones arm

A terrible photo... but the cuteness!

None of the photos today are any good. The light was just really bad in their building. That's okay, it's fun to meet all the bird ambassadors, anyway!

I asked about his name, and they have a whole speech! Rebekah said they were changing their policy about names... Formerly, they didn't name the raptors because they are wild animals.

But they've recently decided to name them after all, because it creates a connection and fosters empathy.

Personally, yeah, you know I give names to the wild lives!

But I can respect what they were trying to do by not naming anyone. I do wonder how they refer to everyone when the public isn't around, tho. For instance, they've got two Eastern Screech Owls and a Western, who are all ambassadors, not to mention three Red Tail Hawks. They must have some kind of identification, beyond their species, to figure out who's who!

Eastern Screech Owl standing on someones arm

And then we get to meet the biggest raptor... a Golden Eagle.

Golden Eagle standing on someones arm

He was happily ripping flesh off the spine of a bunny. eh. Carnivores.

This is a Northern Goshawk. He is almost completely blind, but very sweet and gentle.

Northern Goshawk

This taxidermied Prairie Dog amused me with her Holiday Bow.

Taxidermy Prairie Dog with a Christmas ribbon bow

They did have a sign that said No animals were killed or harmed for the purpose of creating these specimens... That's good to know... tho they do kill a lot of mice and bunnies and whoever to feed the raptors.

There's also a sign reminding people that it's illegal for regular people to possess feathers, bones, eggs, nests and the bodies (living or dead) of these protected species.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act covers ALL native North American birds. It's illegal to keep even a sparrow's feather! The Rocky Mountain Raptor Program has state and federal permits, which allow them to keep the birds and bird parts.

Like this owl skeleton. Wow, that eye socket is just crazy!

Owl Skeleton inside a glass case

I think the next hawk is this Red Tail Hawk, who had West Nile Virus and was treated and survived encephalitis (brain swelling) that left her with neurological deficits.

Red Tail Hawk, jessed and standing on someones arm

Red Tail Hawk, close up of her face

And finally, we've got this Swainson Hawk who is blind in his right eye.

Swainson Hawk

I was so excited to see these Hawks, and Eagle and Owl, and learn about them and hear their stories. And then I went and spent some money at their gift shop. I got a tee-shirt with Kestrels, since I get to see Kestrels at home, now and then. I also bought a couple notecards that I'll keep for the art! A Turkey Vulture photo and an illustrated Silby card of Owls of the western US.

And now that I'm looking at their online shop... oh my gosh, I kind of want the Dodo! *laughs* And the Turkey Vulture. And. Well. They've got a lot of fun stuffies!!

Anyway. We headed back home to my parent's house, and Dad got to work with the fire pit!

We had a lovely time out there, gathered round the fire and drinking hot mulled wine, a gift brought by the lovely Amber.

CamelUp board game

In the evening we pulled out the new Camels game again. This board game is a bit complicated and the first time we tried to play, Dad was grumpy about it, for whatever reason. That's fine. We are humans and we have emotions. We are allowed to be grumpy! And he apologized.

The game this evening went much more smoothly, now that we are figuring it out. And it's interesting, once you get the hang of it! Mom won with the most money, and I lost pitifully.

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Friday 15 December 2023... Birds and the Barn Star

My Dad keeps some bird feeders in their back yard, and I was taking some photos today.

Altho our homes in Oregon and Colorado are split by the Rocky Mountains, our Northern Flickers are the same: Red Shafted!

Female Northern Flicker at a suet bird feeder

They also have Oregon Juncos in Colorado. But one bird that is different... Blue Jays! We don't have any in Oregon.

Blue Jay eating at a bird feeder

Blue Jay

Another bird in Colorado that we don't see in Oregon is Magpies. I never get to take good photos of the Magpies, tho. I don't know anything about their personality or anything, so I'm not sure what it would take to get a portrait of one of them.


The parents have a lit star on the top of their barn, as a Christmas decoration. But the lights on one of the arms of the star have gone out... I said it has Starfish Wasting Disease!

This is vaguely funny for an inanimate object... but in real life, this is a horrifying disease that has killed almost all of the precious Sunflower Sea Stars. The die-off started in the Pacific in 2013, populations crashed by 99.2% and they still don't know the cause or treatment of the disease.

SeaStarWasting.org

Wikipedia, Sea Star Wasting Disease

Nat Park Service, Southwest Alaska, Sea Star Wasting Disease

Anyway. Dad wanted to bring the star down and replace the ribbon lights on it. My brother said he is scared of heights, but I'm not, so I volunteered to help!

Barn with a star at the top

Yep, I climbed up there! and We got it done! I should have taken a photo of the fixed, lit star at night... but nope, I didn't.

Unknown dried up wildflowers

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk in the sun.

Goats on wood play structures

Rock Doves standing on a power line

Mom and brother and I played a game of Blokus. I enjoyed it, a fun game with tetris type bits that you have to place on the board. Brother won, of course.

A completed game of Blokus on the table

In the evening, we went to my Dad's favorite brewery, City Star. That was fun! Mom and I had Fizzes, these Passion Fruit thingees. And we chatted and people watched, it was a fun night!

And then we went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. For some reason, me being a vegan was a huge production! *laughs* The servers had this conference to figure out what I could eat, even tho they had the Impossible Burger on their menu. It turns out, their specialty made burger buns are not vegan so that was kind of a bummer. But I'm really grateful that they were able to accommodate me. And hopefully the next vegan who walks in will get smoother service!

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Thursday 14 December 2023... Shooting Stars!

Today my parents had some stuff to do in town. And my brother had forgotten a couple things at his house and I wanted to check out his neighborhood. And my parents' cleaning service was working and we needed to stay out of her way!

So we piled into the car.

I had been to my brother's house before, but had never gotten to walk around. The weather is decent today, not too cold and not too windy! So I was excited because he's got a nearby bike path just like I do...

Dead end road and a walking bridge

This neighborhood street dead-ends at the creek, and a walking bridge takes you over to the bike path!

I was amazed because it looks a lot like my bike path at home!

Bike path next to a creek in a neighborhood

Except this is a much more narrow green and blue space, going thru the neighborhoods. The bike path here is maybe 5 or 6feet wide, whereas mine at home is 8 or 10feet wide.

Creek with trees and a bike path with people walking

We also walked thru the city park that backs up to the creek. There's a baseball field and some playground equipment. And a small utility building with this Amazing mural on the side of it!!

Fox and Hare mural on the side of a building

Isn't that brilliant! I love it!


In the evening, after dinner, Mom went out to the mail box to check for packages. The Amazon delivery guys have been stuffing packages into the mailbox, illegally, instead of bringing them up to the porch. It's annoying. And yeah, illegal.

She came back and told us she had seen a Shooting Star!

Wow! I want to see a shooting star! She told us where it was, and I got bundled up and went out to look for some meteors!

But, dang it's cold. I look around at the sky, but after about five minutes I have to go back inside to warm up.

I keep trying, but don't see any shooting stars.

After the parents go to bed, I get the Emily Laptop out and look to see what's going on in the sky...

It's the Geminid meteor shower... today and yesterday are the peak viewing nights with 150 meteors per hour. And it turns out, the Gemini Constellation, where many of the meteors are coming from, is on the opposite side of the sky! It was just a happy happenstance that Mom had seen a shooting star in the west!

So I put my coat on again and went out on the back porch. I didn't see anything and after about five minutes I came back in to warm up again.

But now I've convinced my brother to be excited as well... and we both go out for the next attempt.

Yay! A Shooting Star! It's long! Not just a little flash! and then Another one, in the same area! Wow! So Cool!

We both saw some smaller ones as well, mostly out of the corners of our eyes.

What a great day! To see Shooting Stars! Awesome!

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Wednesday 13 December 2023... Colorado

oh my gosh. It is just so nice to lounge around and hang out with my family at my parents house! So relaxing and good!

My brother and I went for a short walk in the neighborhood. My parents live on the front range of the Rocky Mountains, it's dry and grassy with few trees. Very different from home in Oregon.

And there are bunnies!

Wild Cottontail sitting in the grass

Partner had slept all day yesterday, after we arrived. So I was happy that he was able to join us for his first game of Monopoly Deals. We had played several games yesterday, and it's such a fun game! But this round was really dragging on, for whatever reason.

Partner got frustrated and suddenly Rage Quit and went back to bed. We kept playing without him... I paid his rent, and I was going to play his hand when the round got to his turn.

But when I looked at his hand of cards, and the properties he already had down... I realized that if I flipped a wild property, Partner actually had three sets complete! He had WON!!! Haha. I went and told him but he stayed in bed.

Phase 10, card game

Phase10 is also a fun game we played today. It's more fun when I happen to win! *laughs* I'm usually extremely unlucky when it comes to card games. So it's pretty exciting when I do get to win! :)

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Tuesday 12 December 2023... Travelling

I am flying to Colorado today, with Partner, to visit my family.

I gotta say... I hate flying. Airports give me anxiety and I get motion sick on airplanes. It's just terrible all around.

But I get to see my parents and my brother at the end of it. :)

We arrived in the morning, and got to my parents house, and just lazed for the rest of the day.

Monopoly Deal, card game

It was so nice to sit at the kitchen table and watch Mom make Gingerbread Cookies! *laughs*

And my brother brought a new game, Monopoly Deals. It's a card game and it's really fun!

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Monday 11 December 2023... A Day of Birds!!

Northern Flicker standing on a mossy tree branch

Anna Hummingbird standing on the tip of a twig

oh, delight! There's some Robins munching on this big, beautiful Pyracantha bush!!

American Robin standing in a Pyracantha bush with many berries

Blurry American Robin eating a Pyracantha berry

Two American Robins standing in a Pyracantha bush with many berries

American Robin standing on a Pyracantha twig

Hermit Thrush standing on a metal fence

And, today I have the new code to get past the Community Garden gates! I've grabbed the Hand Hoe to take home, and I'm happy with the state of the garden plot!

Garden plot covered with leaves

And on the way home... oh cool! A Common Merganser! I don't think I've ever seen one at the creek before!

Common Merganser paddling on the water

And then I realized I should be paying attention to who he's hanging out with!! Haha! It's Angle!!

Female Mallard standing on the bank, Male Common Merganser paddling in the water nearby

Female Mallard standing on the bank with twigs and dead leaves

I'm so glad I got to see her, one last time before the trip tomorrow!

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Sunday 10 December 2023... Oops

Hill Trees

I was going to the garden today to pick up the hand hoe.

I've worked hard to winterize the garden plot... there's a couple areas of cover crop, the rest is covered with a thick layer of leaves.

I was going to make sure everything was perfect for the inspection that happens a couple days after we fly outta here on Tuesday...

But, all the gates suddenly have locks on them, and my code isn't working!

ARG! I walk home and complain bitterly. Because I had a plan for today, to bring home the stupid hand hoe, and I was twarted!

It turns out that SOMEONE didn't send me the email with the new code. (That SOMEONE is Partner, who is usually very good about sending me the emails.) *laughs*

oh well. I guess I'll try again tomorrow.

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Saturday 9 December 2023... Walk at the River

Aw, really? That's not nice.

Rental bikes in a rack and rental eScooters that have been pushed over

Looking upriver

Yay, spillover!

Spillover from the river into the ponds

It starts sprinkling... and then some tiny hails come down as well. ack!

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on the ground

Ha. That one white goose who always hangs out with her Canada Goose friends!

Geese paddling on the water

I'm not going to get any decent photos today with the weather being what it is. So I try for something artsy!

Silhouette of a American Robin in an Alder tree

Spotted Towhee

Looking across the river

Mile 2 marker

Oregon Grape

*laughs*

Pied Bill Grebe, diving into the water

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Friday 8 December 2023... Hidden Trail

Okay! The clouds are starting to break up as I head out this morning! That's a nice change!

Trees and fog on the hill

Christmas blow up decorations

Christmas blow up decorations, Penguins and a Narwhale

Wild Turkeys standing on the roof of a house

Wild Turkeys walking in a yard

Western Grey Squirrel, sitting on a wood fence, eating something held in his hands

small waterfall around mossy logs and rocks

Small Waterfall next to a paved path

And here I am at the top, in the Acorn Woodpeckers' territory.

Acorn Woodpecker standing on a mossy branch

And yet again, they are too far away for decent photos. SIGHS!

Acorn Woodpecker standing at the top of a snag

Oh well. It's fun just to spend time with them.

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Thursday 7 December 2023... Yep... Rain.

Enough rain to flood the bike path under the bridges again.

flooded bike path

Happy I get to see Angle, tho!

a pair of Mallards, standing on the bank of the creek

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Wednesday 6 December 2023... More Rain

Dark and dreary today, and it rained and sprinkled the entire morning.

Here's a different view of the hill I usually photograph...

Safe Spot Community

Safe Spot Community

There are 18 pallet houses here... Conestoga Huts are 6x10 on the inside, have a bed and an electric plug-in but no water.

The community area includes port-a-potties, hand washing station, shower station, and a kitchen.

I'm not taking very many photos today because of the rain, but this flock of Rock Doves delights me.

Rock Doves walking on the ground

Look at how individual they all are!

Two Rock Doves walking on the ground

And they are so focused on the ground. What are they even looking at??!

Rock Dove looking at the ground

I don't know, but I suppose they are finding good things to eat.

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Tuesday 5 December 2023... Finishing Up at the Garden

Well, my arms are a bit sore from all the vaccinations I got yesterday. And I'm maybe a little bit tired, as well.

But it's a dry day, so I've got to work at the garden. In a week, I'll be traveling to see family for the holidays and I don't want to leave this for the last minute!

Clouds in the sky above winter bare trees

I heard this one begging like a baby, as I was pulling a wheelbarrow out of the shed. She was too far away, but she was easy to spot: her bright red self in the mossy tree stood out like a beacon!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing in a mossy tree

Okay. Here I am in the back corner of the garden plot... Jerkface is on the left, and you can see how far away that landscaping fabric is. Jerkface.

garden plot

I'm ripping up the bit of grass there, and then I will put down a deep layer of leaves. It won't kill the grass, and I can't imagine that Jerkface will every get a clue. But doesn't that look much nicer!

garden plot

And I'm done!

The bits of green that aren't covered by leafy mulch are cover crop... some Fava and some Dead Nettle. There are also a couple of Elephant Garlics volunteers!

I'm really kind of exhausted, as I head home. Side effect of all those shots yesteray. Def taking a nap this afternoon!

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Monday 4 December 2023... Covid Vax!

No mass vax drive-thrus this year, to get vaccinated for covid, and it's no longer a free shot. That's a bummer. But I made an appointment, online, at a pharamcy in a nearby grocery store, and I'm walking there this morning. I'm grateful that it's not raining!

Oh my gosh! It's Knotty!

Great Blue Heron standing in water

It's been over a month since I've seen her! And of course, she shows up today when I can't spend much time. foo.

It's great to see you, Knotty! But I gotta run!

Great Blue Heron standing in water behind stick

And then the sun comes out and I see a bit of blue sky. Oh, the trees are shining in the sun and being all beautiful!

autumn trees with fir trees on the hill in the background

And then, under the bridge... it's no longer flooded, but the silt left behind is soft and has evidence of all who have walked by!

Animal prints in the mud

That's a raccoon! And a dog. And duck footprints at the bottom! How cool is that?

But I mustn't get distracted! I've got an appointment!

Oh beautiful TNR kitty! No more distractions!

Long haired cat sitting in the leaves

I turned off the bike path and went into the grocery store a few minutes early for my appointment. I stood near the Vaccination Check In sign for a few. They weren't busy, and I waited long enough to get annoyed. I could have spent more time with Knotty, dang it!

The doctor finally got to me and I told her my appt time and literally only had to say my name and confirm my health plan. Just like the drive-thru vax clinics, I didn't have to show my ID or my insurance card or anything!

But then I had to wait some more for her to set up all my shots... I was also getting a flu shot and I was way, way overdue for a tetnus shot!

I wandered over to the nearby stationery section and looked at greeting cards... they have some of the Papyrus line, which have beautiful artwork! That made me happy. And then I sat down and waited and wished I had something interesting to do besides fiddling with the camera.

Finally, I was called up with my last name... I could tell she didn't want to attempt my first name! Haha! It's a doozy, and while most people pronounce it approximately correctly the first time, I understand why you'd want to avoid it! :)

I went back to a TINY little sheltered area in front of the door to the pharmacy. She sat me down, we chatted for a second while she got organized with her cotton balls and bandaids. I asked if I'd have to wait the 15mins and she said that wasn't a requirement anymore.

I got my shots and my bandaids and my information sheets, and I was out after about 25 minutes, total. Not too bad, but def could have been streamlined a little better.

I got back on the bike path for more walking, and soon passed a couple who had been in the pharmacy line. I made pleasantries at them and they agreed it was a beautiful day.

Perhaps a little too beautiful? It's so warm, this one woke up from her winter hibernation! That can't be good!

Caterpillar walking across dead leaves on the ground

But at least I didn't need to rescue her from the path... I hope she finds a good place to sleep some more.

And then on the walk home, oh wow! It's the Wood Duck couple who have tried to raise a family here at the creek, the last couple of springs.

a pair of Wood Ducks behind several Mallards sitting on the bank of the creek

They lost their babies to H5N1, and I'm surprised to see them again. In general, birds find a new place after a nest failure... Trying to escape sad memories, you know.

Wood Ducks sitting on the bank of the creek

They are so beautiful, and I just love them. I've gotten to see lots of good wildlife people today!

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Sunday 3 December 2023... Rain, Rain

Yep, it's pouring down rain again...

Squirrel standing on the side of a tree trunk

The creek is getting towards full, and the trees along the bank are under water!

Creek next to the bike path

Here comes Angle!

Female Mallard paddling on the water

Here's her more familiar side with her hurt wing.

Female Mallard on the water behind some grass

I walk past the Community Garden... and now even the back gates are missing the locks!

Community Garden gate, missing a lock

ARG! This is so frustrating. Who is running this stupid show?? I can't believe Becca would be so negligent.

Well. There's nothing I can do about this ridiculous situation, so I walk on.

And the funny ducks at the next bridge, cheer me up...

Flooded bike path with ducks paddling

The bike path is flooded, the creek is supposed to stay on the left side of that railing! And it amuses me greatly that the ducks are paddling over the bike path!

Mallards standing under a railing

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Saturday 2 December 2023... Today in the rain

It's pouring down rain this morning, so I'm going to keep my walk in the neighborhood.

Trees on the hill

How cute... there are a couple of female Teals hanging out with some Mallards. The size difference!

Mallards and a Green Wing Teal paddling on the water

I just keep walking. In the downtown area, the creek is contained in a canal.

Fern under a pipe where water is coming out

As I walk out to 18th, there happens to be a break in traffic, so I go on across! I've never walked out here before, and it's good to see some new things.

It's a much richer neighborhood, the houses are bigger and they are further apart with bigger yards.

I walk thru Washington Park... no nature, but there's a baseball field, basketball court, playground and stuff. I don't bother to take any photos... it's still pouring down rain, I'm soaked and when I turned around, I started walking into the breeze. The wet clothes are uncomfortable and I'm a little bit chilly.

But at the other end of the park... oh my gosh, they have a little community center!

There's a big indoor meeting space, with natural light coming thru a wall of French doors. And a fire place with a colourful rug and comfortable chairs around makes it look so cozy! A kitchen and public restrooms.

It looks so nice, and dang I am jealous! *laughs*

Autumn and winter bare trees with trees on the hill in the distance

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Friday 1 December 2023... Continue Garden Work

The trees are so grey now.

trees on the hill in the distance

Clouds and a bright spot where the sun is

Good Morning My Dear!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a wood fence post

And Good Morning, My Other Dear!

Eastern Fox Squrrel standing on the leaf pile

And then I noticed that the gate I was going into the Community Garden, didn't have a lock. What the heck?? And the tool shed was missing it's lock as well.

Well. This is not cool. I assume they are maybe replacing the locks, or changing the codes? But they have never just removed locks before, so that's weird. And I'm really NOT COMFORTABLE about this.

But I have work that must be done. So I get to it! I haul eight wheelbarrows of leaves today... and I'm really close to being done!

Garden plot mostly covered with leaves

On the walk home, I'm happy to see Henrietta. He's focused on the hunt!

Great Blue Heron standing in water

Crow standing on a street sign that say *Amazon Creek*

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Thursday 30 November 2023... Cool Birds at Stewart Pond

It stayed above freezing last night, and it sprinkled for hours before sun up. And it's just much nicer, so I'm heading west for my walk today.

House Finch standing on a blackberry vine

I walk past the wet prairie, which is still just a prairie, and Stewart Pond Park is not a pond yet but there's some geese hanging out...

Canada Geese and Cackling Geese standing in the grass

It took me a minute to realize this is a mixed group! The above pic has Canada Geese in front and the two in the back are the smallest cousin, Cackling Geese!

Here you can see the differences in their faces. The Canada Goose on the left has a longer beak and the Cackling Goose on the right, has a cute little snub-nosed beak.

Canada Goose and Cackling Goose standing in the grass

And of course the Canadas are quite a bit bigger than the Cacklers.

Cackling Goose and Canada Goose

An then, just before the entrance to the park, someone is fluttering up on the power line...

American Kestrel standing on a power line, fluttering her wings

Oh my gosh! An American Kestrel!! This is so cool! But, oh, I wish it wasn't so dark and dreary... the photos aren't great, but I'm so glad I got to meet her!

American Kestrel standing on a power line, looking down at me!

Somebody has disturbed the flock of geese!

Flock of geese, in the sky

I was walking on the path thru the little forest, and I tripped on a tree root that's poking up. I caught myself but felt stupid because I've stumbled over that root before! But now, there's a hole on the one side of the root, so the potiential for harm is much increased.

I looked around for something to mark the danger and I found some white boards, a bit up the path! Perfect! I put the board over the hole and this will prevent the tree root from murdering the humans!

leafy path

A Golden Crown Sparrow. Hopefully her weird toe nail doesn't give her much trouble. It must be annoying tho, that she can't grip the branch with that toe!

Golden Crown Sparrow, standing on a twig

I'm back on the bike path, heading home, when I see a flash of red. Oh! Sapsucker!

Red Breast Sapsucker, standing on the side of a tree trunk

S/he is So Sweet, they let me walk around the tree for a better view!

Red Breast Sapsucker, standing on the side of a tree trunk

Red Breast Sapsucker closeup

What a great day with an awesome variety of birds!! It's always exciting when I get to see new and different birds!

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Wednesday 29 November 2023... Garden

Still with the below freezing temperatures in the morning, and I'm so tired of it.

heh, I was tired of it on day one! Normal temp for this time of year is 49/36 and that sounds perfectly nice!

Winter trees with foggy trees in the background

The little Nutrias are out and running around again!

Two Nutrias standing in the grass with Mallards

They are so cute.

Nutria

And you can see how little they are, with the ducks to compare to!

Nutria standing on a steep grass covered bank with female mallards

Okay! I am switching gears today at the garden. Going to kill some grass that's been annoying me...

Garden Before

Since it's not rained for seven days straight, I get the hand fork out, to do some serious weeding. But nope. The dirt is Still too muddy, and I can't pull out any grass roots. foo.

Garden after

Heading home.

Male Hooded Merganser, paddling on the water

I am learning about a tree... Alder!

Alder cones and catkins

They are easy to identify right now, the leaves have fallen but the small cones stay on for a good long while. And of course, the catkins are starting to do their thing!

The odd thing about their autumn leaves... they fall off when they are still green! No autumn colour at all. On the ground, the green leaves will slowly break down to dark brown.

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Tuesday 28 November 2023... Hauling leaves at the garden

It's another frozen but dry morning. Looks like warmer temps and rain will be returning by the end of the week, so I'd better hurry up and get as much done at the garden that I can!

But on the way, I'm distracted by the Magnolia Trees.

Magnolia cone with red berries in it, surrounded by leaves

And Henrietta!

Great Blue Heron standing in water

And one of the little Nutrias that I saw yesterday.

Nutria in the grass

Okay! Today I'm working on the left side of the garden plot. Which means I need to chop down the big Comfrey. I was happy to have Comfrey finally growing in the plot... But this one has just gotten too big and I'm going to try to remove it.

It's huge, easily 6 or 7 feet diameter, and the roots are very well established. So it will probably take years to kill it! ha. And the killing starts today, with me hacking at the roots with my hand hoe, like an axe!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take before and after pics.

But here's what the garden plot looks like after 10 more wheelbarrow loads of leaves!

On the way home, I see Angle. She's preening, and I'm pretty happy to see that she's able to move her bad wing a little!

Preening female Mallard standing in shallow water

I assume she won't be able to fly again... She's only got a few primary flight feathers, tho those will grow back eventually. But she's also holding her wing in a weird way, and I don't know if whatever is wrong there will ever heal.

I wish there was a magical clinic where the wildlife knew they could get medicine and get healing. But that's not the way stupid nature works.

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Monday 27 November 2023... The Birds and The Garden

Another frosty morning. But little wind, so once I get to work at the garden, I'll be able to take my jacket off.

Frosty trees along the bike path

Oh. This is new...

Wood cross next to the bike path, engraved

My condolences to Billy Skinner's people.

The cute little Teals are paddling away from the crazy human. But look at that splash of teal!!!

Male and Female Green Wing Teals, on the water, another male behind leaves

Heh. The Hooded Mergansers look kind of worried when their hood is down!

Two male Hooded Mergansers paddling on the water

I just love all of our winter visitors at the creek!

Male Hooded Merganser paddling on the water

Okay! I'm at the garden, and the same deal as yesterday... I have to work hard to get to the good pile of leaves, which is hidden well behind the crappy fir needles.

But then!!!

Garden and a dump truck behind the fence

A new batch of leaves has arrived! I stay out of the way and wave happiness at the driver!

And these leaves were PERFECT! Light and fluffy, no pine/fir needles, few sticks, no trash!! YAY.

I got 2 wheel barrow loads of those... and then a street cleaner came and dumped 2 loads of absolute crap in the way. Muddy, and needle-y. ARG!

But it's relatively easy to get to the light fluffy leaves, and I don't have to perform heavy gymnastics to get to them! So that's great!

And, because of the lighter leaves, I was able to haul extra today! I got 9 wheel barrow loads, when I was planning on 4.

garden

Also, you see that Possibly Not Evil Neighbor has thrown down a tarp. Sighs. It does not cover his entire plot, not even close. And of course he couldn't place it so that it would stiffle the grass along my edge. Jerkface.

Heading home.

Yellow Rump Warbler standing on a wood fence post

Oh! Hello!

Nutria standing in the grass

Oh! And Hello!

Nutria peeking out of the grass

You all are just all over the place! *laughs*

Nutria peeking from behind a bush

Cute lil critters!

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Sunday 26 November 2023... Garden

Henrietta. And a lot of sticks!

Great Blue Heron, standing in water behind a lot of bare twigs

It's well below freezing again, and dry so I'm heading to the garden to start hauling leaves to the plot.

Autumn trees with foggy hill in the background

Squirrel sitting in the fork of a mossy tree

I get to the Community Garden and pull out a wheel barrow and two forks. I put on my garden gloves and get to work!

The front pile of leaves... is TERRIBLE. oh my gosh, it's so bad! There's few leaves, it's mostly fir needles, and there's sticks and I'm picking out trash as well.

Dang it. So, that's just not going to work... the fir needles are bad for the soil. They won't break down like the leaves do, and they'll decrease the pH of the soil, making it more acidic. Rhododendrons like that. But garden veggies do not!

So I poke around the leaf piles before loading up a 2nd wheel barrow load. About 8feet behind the fir needles are some actual leaves. I can't get the wheel barrow back there, so I have to reach with the fork between the leaf pile and the wheel barrow. And these leaves are wet, molding and heavy! It's really really hard work.

I don't want to kill myself on day one, so I only haul five wheel barrow loads...

garden

heh, yep, just a bit of the corner is covered.

And, yeah, going a good bit over the border, into JerkFace's plot.

Is this second round of freezing temps going to finish off the favas??

Frosty Favas

On the walk home... oh, hey! It's Angle!! I've not seen her in a couple days and was a little worried.

Female Mallard napping on a rock in the water, her head tucked under her wing

Oh, look how cute!

Golden Crown Sparrows standing on twigs

Top Sparrow: You've got something on your face.
2nd Sparrow: Oh, thanks! *wipes face on branch*

*laughs*

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Saturday 25 November 2023... Day of Woodpeckers, Up Hidden Trail

Brrr! It got below freezing last night.

Frosty Oregon Grape leaves

ugh. I don't like it! But it gives me something new to take photos of!

Frosty Big Leaf Maple leaf

Sun beans coming thru Douglas Fir trees

Wild turkeys

At the base of the hill, where Hidden Trail starts going up, I hear an odd "Thump. Thump. Thump." I look up in the tree... Oh My Gosh! There's a Pileated Woodpecker up there!!

the back of a Pileated Woodpecker

These woodpeckers are so cool. They are big! And they look a lot like the extinct Ivory Billed Woodpecker.

I walked around the tree, trying to get a decent photo... to no avail! Ha! Bird was not interested!

Pileated Woodpecker standing on the side of a tree trunk

Oh well. Another time, maybe! :)

Small path bridge strewn with fallen yellow leaves

waterfall

I get to the top of the trail and start walking up to the Acorn Woodpeckers' territory. Oh Foo...

Hawk standing at the top of a pine tree, framed with branches of another tree

This is NOT who I came up here for!

She's a Red Tail, and doesn't even do me the courtesy of giving me a good photo. *laughs*

She's scared most of the little birds into hiding, but there are a few brave souls flitting, low in the shrubbery.

Golden Crown Sparrow

And a single Acorn Woodpecker has stuck his head up to guard the precious hoard of acorns!

Acorn Woodpecker standing at the top of a snag

I follow the road, which curves around to the other side of their territory. Still just the one, and he's preening now.

Acorn Woodpecker standing at the top of a snag, preening

Hey! You, up there! Are you allowed to preen when you're on guard duty??

*laughs*

Frosty Lupine leaves

sighs. Am I ever going to get close enough for decent photos of this family?

Acorn Woodpecker standing on a dead branch

Certainly not today.

oh well. :)

Back at home, the African Violet is blooming!

Purple blooms surrounded by leaves

And that's the happy Spider Plant, too.

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Friday 24 November 2023... Garden

Hi Henrietta!

Great Blue Heron standing in water, looking at the bank

He's busy looking for some breakfast.

At the garden, I am weeding again along the border with Probably Not Evil neighbor. But you can hardly tell the difference when I'm done, so I think I'm going to ignore the rest of the grass. Next time I come, I'll start hauling leaves!

The Columbine has expanded a little bit this year, happy to see little babies sprouting up here and there. The flowers are pretty of course, but I love the leaves, too.

Columbine leaves

And the way they catch the dew!

Columbine leaves with water drops

And then something in the back Fava cover crop patch, caught my eye...

Favas sprouting from the base of damaged stalks

Oh, Yay! We had some below freezing nights at the end of October that damaged many of the Favas... But they are re-sprouting at the base!

I checked the front Fava patch, and some of them are re-spouting as well!

Fava sprouting from the base of a damaged stalk

So that's good. It's nice when the winter cover crop actually lives thru the winter! ha.

Mushrooms

On the way home, Henrietta is still at the same spot at the creek. Are you Still looking for breakfast, My Dear??

Great Blue Heron

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Thursday 23 November 2023... Garden

It's chillier again today, with some uncomfortable wind. But it's dry, so I'm weeding at the garden today.

trees on the hill in the distance

oh foo. Little Bird? Why you gotta be that way?

Sparrow standing on a twig, looking away

Here's where I worked today.

garden

The raised beds are the back neighbor. The end of the board stops at the red post, which is the back corner for our four plots.

You can see I have, yet again, weeded well beyond the edge of my plot and into Probably Not Evil Neighbor's plot...

And, ya know? He might not be evil, like the last guy was, but he is kind of a jerk. This has been his first season, but I assume he's seen that I Consistently weed the edge of his plot. And he's done nothing for me in return. I'm starting to get annoyed.

And that's the corner with the Horseradish investation. I use the dandelion tool, and most of the horseradishes break off a couple inches down. But when I pulled this one up, it just kept coming!

Horseradish root on the grassy ground with a dandelion tool next to it for size reference

As I'm walking out of the Community Garden, a hawk flies by and settles on a nearby utility pole!

Hawk standing at the top of a utility pole

That long tail gives her away... she's a juvenile Cooper Hawk!

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Wednesday 22 November 2023... A Day with Birds!

So much nicer today with our insulating clouds keeping us a little bit warmer. It was 50°F when I left the house this morning and the day was 53/37... perfectly, wonderfully normal for this time of year. And it's just about my favorite!

Autumn trees on the hill

Here's our sweet Angle (not an Angel)... right after she was abandoned by the two ducks she was hanging out with. Jerks. They flew down to the water, but Angle can't fly. She has to slowly walk down the bank of the creek.

Female Mallard on a muddy bank

Poor Girl.

There was a Kingfisher flying up the creek. For once, she didn't notice me... so she wasn't flying circles over my head and wasn't laughing at me! And I was able to hide behind the shrubbery and get her photo! Yay!

Female Belted Kingfisher standing on a branch

The big flock of Cackling Geese were hanging out at the school field again.

Cackling Geese walking in the grass

And the Pigeons again! Just the two this time, I didn't see the third one.

Two Rock Doves up on a wood beam

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think
Jennifer Ackerman

Pigeons are so cool. In the book I'm reading right now the author says that we domesticated pigeons so thoroughly that even now, when you hold a wild pigeon, they will sit quietly in your hand. They remember.

The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think by Jennifer Ackerman

It's excellent reading and I highly recommend it. Birds are ever so interesting!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a branch, up in a bare tree

Red shoulder Hawk standing on a branch, up in a bare tree

Autumn trees

Scrub Jay standing on a mossy branch

*laughs* I made her nervous when I talked to her! She jumped when she heard my voice and is now ready to push off and fly away.

I was just saying hi and how is your day going! :) but if people can't appreciate a simple greeting... Well. What're you gonna do?

My day is brilliant, thanks for asking! What a great walk! *laughs*

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Tuesday 21 November 2023... A Walk to the West

Oh, hey! Here's somebody I've not seen in a while! A Black Phoebe!

Black Phoebe on a metal post

This is about 100miles north of their official range. Climage change, you know.

Aw, really?

Blurry Chickadee, taking off from a mossy branch

Hi Henrietta!

Great Blue Heron walking in the water

Great Blue Heron

Here I am at the un-named wetlands. The sky is nice today!

Raised path past a tree, thru the grass

Cute lil Song Sparrow!

Song Sparrow standing on a twig, surrounded by other twigs

Oh my goodness! Do birds Sneeze?

Song Sparrow standing on a twig, caught in a sneeze

Well, of course birds sneeze! Everybody who has lungs needs to be able to sneeze. I just never thought about it before!

*Gesundheit*

Song Sparrow with her back turned, standing on a twig, surrounded by other twigs

Henrietta is still hanging out!

Great Blue Heron

I'm bummed that I've not seen Knotty in a while. I hope Henrietta hasn't kicked her out!

Sky over grass land with some autumn trees

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Monday 20 November 2023... A Lovely Walk at the River

It's chilly again today. And it's so late in the season, I'm surprised to see some rose blooms, still hanging on!

Pink rose bloom with trees and benches in the background

Pink rose bloom and fallen autumn leaves

And I've got the Riverbank path mostly to myself! That's nice... yesterday's bike path crowds kind of made me ... non-relaxed.

Bike path surrounded by trees, with the river on the left

foggy trees

The art pavilion at the Downtown Riverfront Park...

Which reminds me! The park won another award recently!

That's cool! It's a small park, but it really is amazingly beautiful. Especially when you consider what it was before... the bike path did go thru this area, but it was lined with chainlink fencing, blackberry brambles and was just kind of sketchy.

And now we've got this lovely place, with walking access to downtown. It's really something to be proud of!

Great Blue Heron standing in a tree, surrounded by mossy sticks

I'll cross the bridge to make a loop at my turn around point.

River with autumn trees on the far bank

I love listening to the river here.

river going over grassy rocks

I try to get artsy with the trees...

Mossy Oak branches

And here's the Heritage Cherry Tree in all it's autumn glory.

Tree with autumn yellow leaves and dark branches

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Sunday 19 November 2023... A Beautiful Day

foggy trees in the distance

It is MUCH warmer and nicer today with the sun... and there are a crazy amount of people out walking on my bike path.

Lesser Goldfinch standing on a stalk of grass

Here's Angle again, our ducky friend who is not an Angel yet. She's still hanging out near the bridge, and this is our third sighting for her.

Female Mallard standing on a flat rock, surrounded by dark water

American Robin standing on a branch

Autumn trees

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Saturday 18 November 2023... Today. With Amusement.

Heavy fog today, and because it's not raining, I need to get down to the garden and do some weeding. There's probably not so many non-rainy days left in the year, so I gotta make use of the ones I have!

Foggy trees along the bike path

Hi Henrietta!

Great Blue Heron, walking in shallow water

I was thinking. Since I'm pretty sure Henrietta is bigger than Knotty (who I've not seen since my revelation about the two herons) ... and since female herons are smaller than males... Yeah. I think I've mis-gendered Henrietta. I should start saying Him!

Not gonna change his name to Henry, tho... I like Henrietta too much! *laughs*

It'll be like the man they call Jayne. Bahaha!

Hi My Cute Little Mergansers!

Male and female Hooded Mergansers paddling on the water

Female Hooded Merganser

Hi Robin!

American Robin standing in a tree

Okay. At the garden. I SAY I'm weeding... but the ground is too muddy for that and I'm actually just ripping out the grass. Every once in a while I get a good long grass root to come out. But I'm mostly just mowing with my hands!

garden

On the way home, I see that duck with the messed up wing again.

Female Mallard standing in shallow water

It's only the second time I've seen her, but I think she's a keeper. Which means I can name her.

Since I thought she had an angel wing at first, I figure I should call her Angel. But I don't want to call her that.

I think I'll call her Angle.

She'll be a little ode to my spelling problems! heh.

...

and I'm still *giggling* about the man they call Jayne!

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Friday 17 November 2023... Garden Freebies and Henrietta Eats a Fish

Two crows, standing on a wood fence, one is cawing

I thought I was going to do some work at the Garden plot today, but when I wandered past the front, I saw someone had left some freebies!!

strawberry plants and sunchoke roots laying in the grass

Strawberry plants and a huge SunChoke root!

Yes Please! I grab one of the bigger strawberry plants and the SunChoke root ball!

I've been wanting some Sunchoke plants for a while. I actually got a couple roots last year... but I just barely covered them and squirrels munched them all! None of them survived.

So this time, I am going to bury them deeper!

Hole dug with SunChoke roots in it

That should be deep enough to protect them from the squirrels. And just gotta cross my fingers to see if the roots survive our muddy winter.

Sunchoke roots in the dirt

I'm heading home... and Henrietta has just caught a fish!

Great Blue Heron with a fish in her mouth

oh, ugh. Poor fish is still flopping about. Henrietta jostles the fish around a bit.

Great Blue Heron holding a fish in her beak

She throws the fish down in a shallow part...

Great Blue Heron

And then stabs him.

Great Blue Heron stabs a fish

But the fish is still wriggling! Dang, that poor fish lives thru multiple stabbings.

Great Blue Heron holding a fish in her beak

I think Henrietta just doesn't want the fish wiggling and alive in her stomach.

After a few more stabbings, she finally swallows the poor, tortured fish.

Great Blue Heron, swallowing a fish

The fish is so big, she has to force him down.

Great Blue Heron

A pretty big meal. She won't have to think about eating for a while. I wonder what kinds of hobbies she can work on now!

Great Blue Heron

A moment of silence for our fishy friend... I'm sorry his death was so hard, and may his remains give good nutrition.

Autumn trees

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Thursday 16 November 2023... dreary

It's misting this morning, and dark and dreary...

... But not actually THAT dreary! I hadn't fixed the exposure on the camera from yesterday's sunny day. *laughs* so the photo came out a bit wonky!

Here's something bright and cheerful to counteract the dreary.

Mural of a hummingbird with coloured hexagons, trees in the background

This is the pollinator mural at Charnel Mulligan Park. It's called *Honey Forever* by David C.P. Placencia.

(I really like the concept art, Park Mural Project... it's too bad the finished art had to be so square.)

foggy autumn trees

Not a very exciting walk. ha. Sometimes that happens.

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Wednesday 15 November 2023... Hidden Trail with Sun

It was raining when I got out of bed this morning. But the day lightens up and I am thinking about visiting the Acorn Woodpecker family.

Squirrel hanging from the truck of a tree

There were a couple turkeys walking across the street, and a car had to stop for one of them. The turkey kept sauntering and the driver waited patiently.

Wild Turkey standing on the grass

Squirrel standing on the ground at the base of a tree, surrounded by fallen autumn leaves

Water comeing down rocks

Water comeing down rocks

Oh! Here's something super cool...

Squirrel standing on the branch of a Madrone Tree

My Squirrel friend is standing in a Pacific Madrone Tree!

It's one of our natives, they range along the Pacific from British Columbia to half way down California. That peeling bark is normal. And you can tell it's related to Rhododendrons, because that's what it's leaves look like!

I've never seen the berries before, they must get eaten up pretty quickly. But it's nicknamed the Strawberry Tree because the berries are bright red.

I get to the top and wander thru the Acorn Woodpeckers territory.

Acorn Woodpecker standing on a branch

Looks like just males, again... The females have a band of black across their forehead, between the white and red.

I wonder if females ever have guard duty.

Acorn Woodpecker standing on a branch, with green fir in the background

Blue sky past some autumn and fir trees

Fallen autumn leaves on the ground

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Tuesday 14 November 2023... a New Bird

Scrub Jay standing on a twig, looking back

Here's a different view of the foggy trees on the hill for you!

Bridge surrounded by trees

Aw, what happened to your tail, Little One?

Squirrel stading on a branch, holding an acorn in his mouth, missing part of his tail

And who's this?

Brown bird standing on a branch

You know what happens when you look up Little brown bird in Oregon? *Laughs* You get lots of sparrows, lots of wrens, and you don't get any of these birds!

Brown bird standing on a branch

And then she flies away without even showing me what she looks like from the front! sheesh.

Brown bird flies away

But that warm, cinnamon red tail gives her away!

Hermit Thrush!

Looks like they are another one of our winter visitors.

Orange Calendula bloom

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Monday 13 November 2023... Work at the Garden

I had just gotten on the bike path and a Nutria swims by. She's quick and I don't get a good photo before she disappears under the bank. I wonder if she has a home there.

blurry  nutria swimming

Autumn trees and a foggy hill in the distance

Okay. Today I'm clearing out the Second Cucumber Empire. Pulling up all the veggie plants, untangling the tomato cages, and doing a bit of weeding. Here's the result!

garden

*laughs* All the Tomatillos that didn't get ripe! and look!

skeletonized tomatillos laying on the ground

They are all skeletonized!

That red plant is a volunteer and I wasn't sure if it was a beet or chard. I decided to look it up when I got home...

A beet with dark leaves growing in the garden

Turns out... Beetroots and Chards are the Same Species!!

What?!! Yep, they are just different cultivars. That is just crazy and it totally blew mind!

wikipedia, Beta vulgaris

It's good to learn things!

The back Fava patch is mostly recovering from the below freezing nights we had a couple weeks ago.

Fava in the garden

The Fava in the front was too tall and it's having a harder time with recovery.

broken fava stems

But this stuff is also growing in amongst the front Fava...

Dead Nettle growing in the garden

I'm pretty sure this is Dead Nettle. I don't know if it will survive the entire winter, but right now it's doing a great job of filling in for the failed fava cover crop!

Before I left, I threw the Soybean hulls down, to add some fiber to the tomatillo compost banquet! haha! At some point I'll be covering all this with leaves, and it'll decompose and add nutriets to the soil.

garden ground

I finished shelling the soybeans last night! There were 1288 pods and it took me four days to finish, working about 40 or 45 minutes a day.

There were no bugs. Which was surprising, considering how buggy the Favas were when I gathered them.

Shelling the soybeans was not big deal at all, and it was kind of meditative. Regardless of how the homemade tofu turns out, I am def going to plant soybeans again!

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Sunday 12 November 2023... Sunday Stroll with a Hawk!

Pink Camellia blooms

Oak leaves on the tree in autumn colours

Autumn trees and a foggy hill in the distance

I came up behind this one, and with the sun, all I could see was a dark silhouette. But right away my brain said That's a funny looking Crow! *laughs*

Cooper Hawk standing on a stick, surrounded by mossy twigs

Cooper Hawks are about the size of Crows. They eat song birds and so they must be small and maneuverable to fly thru the trees!

I obsess over those trees out there!

Autumn trees

This news item is a couple weeks old now, but I've been meaning to talk about it...

American Ornithological Society, English Bird Names Project
The AOS commits to changing all English-language names of birds within its geographic jurisdiction that are named directly after people (eponyms), along with other names deemed offensive and exclusionary, focusing first on those species that occur primarily within the U.S. or Canada.

This is so awesome, I can't even tell you how excited I am!!!

I despise all the old, white men names in the bird world... So much so, that when I talk about these birds, I always remove the possessive...

That Cooper Hawk above? Technically they are called Cooper's Hawks, and I hate that!

I can't wait for them to start renaming our birds! The Bird Names FAQ says there are about 70 to 80 birds to rename.

Anna Hummingbirds will be someone new! Maybe Steller Jays can be Stellar! OR maybe they can be Blue Magnificants! haha! Bewick Wrens. There are lots of Townsend's and Audubon's... I'll be glad to see them go!!

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Saturday 11 November 2023... River

Warm and windy today, a pleasant 52° (11°C). The river is brown with mud and is flowing better for the rain we've gotten.

river with a hill on the other side

The ponds are higher, and muddy as well. But no spillover from the river yet.

muddy pond with a heron and the river behind trees

Just glancing at the ponds... I can see our winter visitors are ever so much more happy. The muddy water is yucky, but there's more space for everyone.

The Cormorants are always just a bit too far away for the camera to do them justice. Their beautiful eyes!

Cormorant standing on a log in the water

Cormorant standing on a log in the water, with wings spread out to dry

Cute little Grebe... but they look so weird without a tail.

Pied Bill Grebe paddling in muddy water

Listening to the river at my meditation spot.

looking across the river

Yellow Calendula blooms

heron standing on an island, surrounded by the river

It is just so beautiful out here!

Trees lining the bike path, with a mile maker partially covered with fallen leaves

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Friday 10 November 2023... a day

Autumn trees on the hill

That house is always in the way of the photographic trees.

I wonder if they ever see me pausing on the bike path to point my camera in their direction!

Well. Now that I think about it... That's kinda creepy!

*laughs* Great. I'm the creepy person putting random houses under surveillance.

Trees on the hill

Aw, Ducky. That isn't good for you!

Female Mallard eating bread on the path

She's hanging out with the homeless people under the bridge, and at first I thought she had an angel wing from eating junk food.

Female Mallard standing on path

But I look again and realize her wing is damaged. She's hurt!

The Year of the Sick and Injured Wildlife continues. Sighs.

Crow walking on the path

Squirrel standing on a branch, holding an acorn in his mouth

I'm wandering in a new neighborhood, past the end of the bike path. And I discover the Eugene Weekly office!

Graffiti fish on a red building

The Eugene Weekly is our local, alternative newspaper. It is only published once a week, but it's good and fills a needed niche that our corporate newspaper fails at: Letters to the Editor.

Suspish was invited to decorate the building with their signature fish, and I'm glad to see it. It's been ages since they've put up new art and I miss that.

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Thursday 9 November 2023... West and Henrietta Mix-up!

It's a little chilly this morning, 39° tho the wind chill makes it 33°, brr. But the forecast says the rain will hold off until this evening, so I decide to walk west on the bike path today.

I thought this was Henrietta...

Great Blue Heron in the water

But the more I look at all the pics from today, that's def not the same heron I have been seeing! That dark blue patch at her shoulder is quite a bit bigger. huh.

And now I'm looking at previous photos. oh my gosh! There are def two Great Blue Herons at the creek! This one, with the big blue shoulder patch and another one with a very small patch. And I've been calling them both Henrietta! haha!

I need to look into this! *** But first...

I'm going out to the unnamed wetlands again.

Path thru the grass

There's nothing special here.

Or, I should say... I haven't yet discovered what's special here!

Path thru the grass

But I always seem to find some birds on the walk back!

There's a little flock of Bushtits.

Bushtit standing on a twig

As usual, they bounce around too quickly for me and the camera!

And a Spotted Towhee.

Spotted Towhee standing on a stick

Spotted Towhee standing on a stick

And some sparrows.

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a twig

I turn off the bike path to walk thru Stewart Pond Park... But we still don't have a pond yet. It's still all prairie out here.

grassland with trees in the distance

But there's a flock of Cackling Geese here, anyway. I'm sure they would prefer to have some ponds here too.

Rain! Where are you, Rain?!

Far off Cackling Geese hidden in the grass

Okay. It's time to figure out who this really is!

Great Blue Heron standing on a snag

I go clear back to the beginning...

I named Henrietta on Feb28, and here's her pic from back then...

Great Blue Heron

This is def the same heron that I saw today. Big blue shoulder patches, plus you can see some of the dark blue feathers underneath her wing too.

And here's a pic of the other Great Blue Heron I've been seeing...

Great Blue Heron

We'll call her Not-Henrietta, for the moment! Very small shoulder patch, and you can see some of the cinnamon coloured feathers behind it too.

And it might be the angle or her stance, but I feel like this heron is a bit more petite, and doesn't have as many of those fancy feathers hanging down at her chest.

Not-Henrietta back in July...

Great Blue Heron

So, she's been around... and been mixed up with Henrietta for a good long while! Ha. It's funny! I'm glad I finally noticed! :)

And yes, I will go back thru the old posts and correct them! (Looks like our first sighting of Not-Henrietta was in June.)

And since I've seen her so many times, and can now identify her in the future, I've decided to call her Knotty!

Knotty is in keeping with the not theme of Not-Henrietta. And when you say it out loud, it sounds like Naughty. She didn't trick me on purpose, of course! But she is def messing with me! *laughs*

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Wednesday 8 November 2023... Sweet Potatoes!

There's more rain in the forecast, so today I'm digging up the sweet potatoes. The vines had died with the below freezing temperatures at the end of October and it's time to see what we've got!

trees along the bike path under a blue sky

Foggy trees

At the garden, I dig!

I am pleased with all the Sweet Potatoes I dig up under the first plant! There are some good sized tubers, tho they all have cracks in them. That's a bummer, I don't know why that happens.

Sweet Potatoes gathered

Under the second plant... there's hardly anything! I dig more and find a couple of potatoes that may have belonged to the first plant. ha. oh well!

The water is still on, which makes this a lot easier! The dirt is mud and I'm glad I get to wash off the sweet potatoes before I haul them home.

Once home, I set a fan on them to get them as dry as possible. I always lose a couple anyway because mold starts growing on some of them right away. And they don't keep, I'll have to eat them quickly!

While in the porch room, I notice the Peace Lily is blooming!

Close up of a Peace Lily bloom

In the evening, I get back to the soybeans.

Shelling Soybeans

I've now shelled 500 soybeans. And my shelling technique is def getting more efficient.

When I started, it took over 15min to shell 100 soybeans. Now it's taking closer to 10mins.

So that's good. And I've made a pretty good dent in the pile.

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Tuesday 7 November 2023... Right Past the Garden

I thought I was going to work at the garden today. But it started sprinkling before I got there... and I walked right on past!

I do regret the backpack, tho. It's got the hand tools in it: spade, shears and dandelion tool, along with other odds and ends like garden gloves and such. It's not terribly heavy, but my back was hurting a lot by the time I got home, having walked around 5 miles with it!

Clouds

Tree covered hill in the distance

American Robin standing on a branch, surrounded by autumn leaves

Ha! We are almost the same colour as the leaves and branches!

American Robin standing on a branch, surrounded by autumn leaves

Oh! Pigeons!

Rock Doves standing on the ground

They are cool, but weren't very interested in getting their portrait taken.

Rock Dove walking in very short grass

Back at home, I decide to do some shelling!

Shelling Soybeans

Well. This is not going very quickly. I glanced at the time while I shelled 100 Soybeans, and it took me over 15minutes. Dang. How long to do all of these??!

Hopefully I will get faster!

Shelling Soybeans

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Monday 6 November 2023... Up Hidden Trail to visit the Acorn Woodpecker Family

Oh, hey! It's that youngster I saw in the park the other day with the shortened tail!

Western Grey Squirrel standing in a tree eating a peanut

I've seen him three times now - I also saw him out my bedroom window a couple days ago. And that's the point where I usually give someone a name. But... I don't know. I get the feeling that he's still wandering and doesn't have an actual territory yet.

I'll hold off on the name until I see him again.

Autumn trees over a street

Autumn leaves in front of grey sky

Hiking trail steps next to a small creek

Water coming over mossy rocks

I get to the top of the trail and walk up to the Acorn Woodpeckers home. The sun is coming out... and can you see? There's the faintest of rainbows leading right to my woodpecker friend!

Faint rainbow in the sky with some pine trees and a snag

Acorn Woodpecker standing onthe side of the trunk of a snag

Acorn Woodpecker standing on the side of a snag

Acorn Woodpekcer standing on the side of a snag

They are just SO interesting!

Granary tree with many holes filled with acorns

They've managed to jam two acorns into some of the holes!

Acorns in granary tree holes

Artsy ferns

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Sunday 5 November 2023... Cackling Geese

Good Morning, Friend!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the ground, surrounded by fallen autumn leaves

Henrietta is busy hunting. (Yep, it's Henrietta!)

Great Blue Heron standing in the water, staring at the bank

Last night got too chilly and I had to close my bedroom window again. I guess I need to get used to the fact that winter is coming!

Clouds over the bike path

Blazey's Guy, running errands on his bike, passes me twice! When he goes by the second time, he tells me there are geese, way out at the school. I wasn't going to walk that far today... but I can't turn down the first flock of Cackling Geese of the season!

Cackling Geese standing on the grass

Cackling Geese are the smallest cousins of Canada Geese. We have both species this time of year, but the Cacklings... uh, Cacklers? heh. Tend to gather together in huge flocks.

Cackling Geese standing on the grass

The clouds are starting to break up.

Red Maples, showing their autumn colour, on the bike path

Autumn trees

On my way back, I noticed a spider web, glistening in the sunlight...

Looking at the creek, some ducks in silhouette

Wow, her anchor lines are at least 12feet long! And she's caught lots of food.

Spider in her web

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Saturday 4 November 2023... Trees in the Rain

It's been mid-60s (18°C), and even the nights have been warmer, in the mid-50s (13°C). And yesterday afternoon, it got so warm I was able to open up my bedroom window again.

I got to listen to the rain all night, and that's the best thing ever!

Today, still it rains!

Autumn yellow tree on the other side of the creek, rain drops in the water

So I'm just walking in the neighborhood today. The rain means I probably won't see much wildlife, and the camera will remain tucked under the rain jacket.

But the trees are so lovely, I just can't resist a little bit of photography!

Autumn Red Maple over the bike path

Autumn trees, a hill in the distance

Autumn trees, a hill in the distance

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Friday 3 November 2023... Gathering Soybeans! and Crime.

Hello Young Fellow!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the side of a tree trunk

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the side of a tree trunk

There was some excitement on the way to the Community Garden.

On the bike path, barely a block away from the Garden, it's probably 9:40ish am. There are two cops, woman and man, on the path talking to a homeless guy on the other side of the creek. I couldn't see him at all, thru the trees.

Woman Cop: okay. Thank you.
Man Cop: (Indistinct but asking a question)
Homeless guy: ahhhh. (Long pause) No.

(I don't even know what's going on... but that very long pause jumped out at me. That guy is SO guilty!) I'm within hearing disance now, walking on by.

Cop: So you didn't shoot a pistol or something like that?
Homeless guy: I was just listening to my music. (Indistinct)
Cop: Because it was reported in this area. (Pause) Exactly where you are.

So that's just great. Shots fired at the bike path.

And now I'm kinda freaked because somebody's shooting their stupid gun... and are they even paying attention to where they are pointing that thing?!

Sighs.

And then I get to the garden and I'm starting to futz around in my plot when I notice there's a woman, on the inside of the Garden fence walking past all the gates. She stops at the gate I had just come in and rattles the chain. I always spin the lock well.

She walks back the way she came... and climbs up on a chair...

Woman climbing over the Community Garden fence

I have so many questions. Like how the heck did she get in? And what did she do, while she was in here? She obviously didn't take anything.

Well. Some things you just have to let go. I keep an eye on her, but I've got stuff to do today!

Gathering Soybeans

I started out the season with about 30 soybean plants. Not all of them grew up to normal size, but most of them did.

As I pulled pods off the stalks, I counted what I was getting from each plant... there were 60 to 70 pods on an average plant. They were in clusters of 1 to 5 pods every 6 or 8 inches going up each stalk, and a plant had at least a couple branches of stalks.

Gathering Soybeans

I had brought three small ziplocks with me... but those filled up quickly! ha! I pulled out one of the gallon ziplocks that I always carry with me, and got it mostly filled as well!

Ziplocks filled with soybean pods

Awesome!

On the way home... there were different cops, and a couple of Parks employees poking around the bike path, their trucks parked on the grass nearby.

I checked the police dispatch log when I got home. And sure enough...

Call time: 09:09:33 AM
Dispatch time: 09:29:30 AM
Incident Desc: Shot(s) Fired
Disposition: PATROL CHECK

Sighs.

Autumn trees and a hill in the background

Back at home, I spread out the soybean pods and put a fan on them. Most of the soybeans were on stalks that were standing up and those were ovbiously good and dry, they rattled in their pod. But some stalks had fallen over and were on the ground and wet. This should help!

Drying soybean pods

And, wow, that's a lot of pods I'm gonna need to shell out!

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Thursday 2 November 2023... Garden Work

oh, poor mangy dearheart... barely has any fur.

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the steps

I don't know. Do squirrels get the mange? I bet she's terribly cold. And just another continuation of The Year of Sick and Injured Wildlife. Sighs.

I wish I could magically throw some medicine at her and make her better!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the steps

Trees along the bike path

Autumn trees with a hill in the background

Okay. Here I am at the Community Garden, with another, healthier squirrel. She's got a small sunflower head... They like to cut the heads off and just take them with them, to munch on at their leisure!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a wood post, holding a small sunflower head in her hands

Here's a sunflower head in my plot that the squirrels didn't take! It's empty of seeds... it provided food to many birds!

Empty sunflower head

This is the section I'm going to work on today.

garden

You can see all the Early Girl tomatoes, from where I pulled up that plant the other day. Today I'm going to untangle the two SunGolds from their tomato cages, and the Striped German.

garden

And wow, those SunGolds had some roots! It was really hard to pull them out of the ground! And, of course, they were sprawling all over the place, so getting them out of the tomato cages wasn't easy either!

I really need to think about doing something with the soybeans!

Soybeans

Someone else's kale.

close up of kale

American Robin standing on a stick

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Wednesday 1 November 2023... Turkeys Up Hidden Trail

Autumn trees with a tree covered hill in the background

Blow up Jack-o-lantern

Well, this one is scary! But look at the adorable dragon gargoyle!

Halloween Decorations, Blow up Skull Spider

Halloween Decorations, skeletons and a hurse

Okay! Up the hill!

I saw the deers first, but the camera was not being agreeable...

Blurry

And then the deers were being skittish. I assumed someone was walking a dog, around the corner. But actually it was these guys! haha!

Two turkeys walking by, Deers hiding behind a bush

Hiking trail thru the trees, over a small bridge

Mourning Doves! So nice to see our native doves for once!

Doves standing on dead branches of a snag

But I'm actually up here to visit the Acorn Woodpeckers.

They are too far away again. SIGHS!

Woodpecker at the top of a far away snag

SIGHS!

Blurry Acorn Woodpecker standing on a dead branch

Well. That's not a woodpecker! haha.

Blurry Varied Thrush standing on a pine tree branch

Varied Thrush. There is such a great diversity of native birds up here. They are doing construction, further up the hill and dang, I hope they don't cut these trees down.

Acorn Woodpecker at the top of a broken snag

That's all I get today. That's okay, I'll keep coming up here and they'll come closer eventually!

Back down the hill, and there's a whole flock of female Turkeys... Over a dozen! And they were just walking on past me!

Wild Turkeys walking on the ground

And checking out the patios!

Turkeys standing on patio furnature

So Cool!

Wild Turkey walking on the ground

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Tuesday 31 October 2023... Garden Work

Another morning with frost, ugh. They promised me some warmer mornings this week!

Trees with a hill in the distance

Moon

Juvenile White Crown Sparrow standing at the top of trellised beans

Juvenile Golden Crown Sparrow standing at the top of trellised beans

Dark Eye Junco standing on a wood post

Okay. Since the frost has killed all the veggie plants at the Garden plot, I'm going to start the winter tidy today.

I've pulled up the Wax Beans, and weeded a bit there. and then I pulled out the Early Girl. That monster had been held up with four tomato cages. But then it made so many tomatoes, all four cages fell over with the weight!

Crazy thing! And untangling the plant from all the cages took a bit of work. And look at all the tomatoes that were still on the plant...

Green and red tomatoes, scattered on the ground

There are 40 in this photo, and I tossed more from the plant in other directions! Not to mention all the ones I took home right before it got frosty! So incredibly prolific!

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Monday 30 October 2023... Oh my gosh! An OWL!!

Halloween decorations

It's another frosty morning. But warmer nights are on the way!

Trees and hills in the background

Trees and hills in the background

Golden Crown Sparrow standing behind frosty green leaves

Female Hooded Merganser paddling in the water

Frosty wildflower leaves

Frosty wildflower leaves

American Robin standing on a twig

On the way out, I had heard some crows caw-cawing, but there were trees in the way and I couldn't see if there was anything going on.

On the way back, the crows were still yelling and I took a different route thru the neighborhood.

And now I could see what the crows were talking about!

two crows, in silhouette, and an owl

oh my gosh, how awesome! She's a Great Horned Owl!

two crows and an owl

And the crows are standing sooo close! And just cawing. Nothing else.

I wonder if the owl is all, Dang it you all are loud with your stupid Cawing! Will you shut up already so I can get some sleep?!

*laughs*

That beak! Those ears!

Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl standing on a branch in a tree

So, so Awesome. I've never seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild before! It's just so cool!!

Unfortunately, my photos aren't clear enough for printing. But, you know... I think I will make a postcard anyway!

Ha! See me embracing imperfection! :)

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Sunday 29 October 2023... Frozen Garden

It got down to 25° (-4°C) last night! Brr! I do not like it! It's not supposed to be this cold, this early in the season!

Autumn trees and hill in the distance

The Egan Warming Centers are preparing for another record breaking winter. Last season they were open 31 nights, which beat the old record.

Halloween decorations

The Fava I planted on 1 Sept was too tall. These plants will survive, even tho they are permanently bent over. The smaller plants, that self seeded, are much happier, no damage at all.

Fava

The soybeans are still standing. I need to do something about these at some point! ha!

Soybeans

These things caught my eye again. Some kind of lily seeds. and this time I grabbed a few to see if they will grow for me!

Red berrys in pods

Squirrel on a wood post eating a small, frozen sunflower head

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Saturday 28 October 2023... River Loop

Steller Jay feather on the sidewalk with fallen oak leaves

It was 28° (-2°C) when I left the house this morning... The first frozen night of the season! There's some frost in the shade, but the sun is melting it as soon as it hits.

A bridge spans the river with trees on either side

A Heron, and some headless Teals! haha...

Great Blue Heron standing on a snag over the water, Green Wing Teals in the background

Some are sleeping, with their head tucked under a wing. Some are eating, dabbling in the water.

A Red Tail! But she's being mobbed by a handful of crows.

Red Tail Hawk standing on a branch with sticks in front of her face, sighs.

And she doesn't stick around very long.

Red Tail Hawk taking off from the branch she was standing on

But it's so nice that I can just show up at the wildlife area and get to take photos right away!

Not _good_ photos, but photos! *laughs*

Great Egret standing in water

River with trees on the opposite bank

River flowing over rocks

I just love this little flower bed, next to the path, and there's a bench here too. It was created earlier this year and someone local must maintain it, which is nice!

Echinacea bloom and the river in the background

Coreopsis blooms

Two miles on from my starting point, Owosso walking bridge is my turn-around point. I decide to cross it today and walk back on the other side of the river. The other side isn't as exciting, but it's nice to see different things!

Looking north, and downriver, that's the Beltline in the distance.

A bridge spans the river with trees on either side

Upriver with Skinner Butte in the distance

Cormorants sunning on a tiny island in the river

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Friday 27 October 2023... West and Wetlands Past Stewart

*laughs* The Little Free Pantry Cat does not want to be photogenic today!

Siamese cat standing on a book

And why are these books out here, anyway? There's a Little Free Library right there! Sheesh.

One of the Persimmon trees. The colour combination of that particular shade of orange with the green... and the shapes of the leaves! Just makes me happy.

Persimmons on the tree

Song Sparrow standing on a blackberry vine

Oh, Henrietta! Do you hunt all up and down the creek? (Nov9 note... Yes, this is Henrietta!)

Great Blue Heron standing in water

Still just a dry prairie out here. I wonder if ducks will come when the ponds fill up.

walk way thru grass with some trees

Downy Woodpecker behind sticks

Back to Stewart Pond Park.

grasslands with trees in the background

Ha! Artsy!

silhouette of a bird on a branch

Juvenile Golden Crown Sparrows bouncing around just outside the park.

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a stick

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a blackberry vine

And an Eastern Fox Squirrel bouncing around inside the park. This park isn't big enough to accommodate our native Western Grey Squirrels.

Squirrel standing on the ground surrounded by fallen leaves

stone steps going up from a grassy area thru the trees

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Thursday 26 October 2023... The Last Day of the Veggie Garden

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the sidewalk

It's chilly today... I'm still wearing my cut-offs, but I'm glad I put on a heavy shirt!

Autumn trees with fog on the hill in the background

Oh wow! There's a Red Shoulder right outside the Community Garden!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a mossy stick in a tree

And she's totally not detected at all... there are little birds bouncing around in the garden and singing without a clue about the danger!

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a stick in a tree

Red Shoulder Hawk standing on a stick in a tree

See? Lesser Goldfinches, all out in the open and happy and playing without a care... barely 30feet away from the hawk!

Lesser Goldfinch standing on a sunflower stalk

Well. I don't think Red Shoulders normally eat little birds, and the hawk flies away before too long.

And on to my plot...

The forecast has a freeze advisory, this weekend the over night temperatures will be in the upper 20s (-3°C).

That will do in all of the remaining veggie plants here at the garden, so today I'm picking everything that I can carry!

The biggest zucs are barely 6inches, but I pull them. I'll have to eat that slug munched one quickly before it goes bad!

Yellow Zucchini squashes on the plant

The Striped German.

Green tomato growing on the vine

That one is so green and I don't pick it. Just as well. It would not have fit in the backpack...

harvest

I have to leave so many tomatoes on the Early Girl... But the backpack will be full, and that's a lot of tomatoes to eat as it is!

On the way out, I stop to admire the Fava patch that I planted at the beginning of September as a bit of winter cover crop.

Fava

Hey! Wait a second...

Aphic

An aphid! Ha! Munch away, little bug!

I am happy to support bugs. Yep, even the pests.

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Wednesday 25 October 2023... Bad Day

You should skip this top part. It's bad. And then I go into some doom. sighs.

Clouds over the bike path

The bike path goes by an apartment complex that has a dog area right next to the fence. Today I witnessed a person hitting their dog. 1. 2. 3.

I was shocked into silence and I was so mad I started to cry. The person yanked the poor dog back into their apartment pretty quickly. And I was left on the bike path, crying and I don't even have any tissues in my pocket.

Could they have broken the dogs ribs? But even bruised ribs are terrible, it will hurt to move for days and days.

God damn. Why are humans so awful? I hope humans go extinct soon. Unfortunately, in the process, humans are trying to make everyone else extinct as well.

If things were to change for the better right now, there might be a chance for cockroaches to survive, once it's all said and done. But that's not happening... humans aren't doing a single thing to fix climate change or to fix the poisons we spew. The way things are going, it's going to be a runaway greenhouse effect, with the poisons thrown in for funsies. The whole planet will be dead, like Venus with plastic, except maybe some bacteria in the stratosphere.

I'm pretty down. But it's always good to see Henrietta.

Great Blue Heron standing in water

And the clouds are nice today.

Clouds

But then I didn't have the exposure set correctly on the camera for this split second photo. ha. oh well. It's still kind of a cool photo.

blurry and part over exposed hummingbird at a flower

Black cat sitting on a porch

And then my friend Eric rides by and has a friendly wave and a big smile. That cheers me up.

And a sweet squirrel stops to have a conversation.

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing in the grass, surrounded by fallen leaves

Eastern Fox Squirrel walks in the grass, surrounded by fallen leaves

Okay, now I have something to munch on. What did you want to talk about?

Eastern Fox Squirrel eating a peanut

Not very professional for a therapist, is it? :)

Starling standing on a wood nesting box

My Squirrel therapist says I need to counteract the doom...

Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows Detailed analysis finds plant diets lead to 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution and land use than meat-rich ones

Go Vegan for the squirrels!

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Tuesday 24 October 2023... Up Hidden Trail

*laughs*

Blurry Siamese cat looking up

Little Free Pantry Cat!

Siamese cat standing inside a Little Free Pantry

While this goofy fellow is amusing and sweet... all cats should be indoor cats! But Siamese Cats especially should stay indoors.

Because of their breeding, Siamese Cats can't see very well at night. The genes that make their point colouration also screw up their optic nerves and they are missing tapetum lucidums in their eyes, a retroreflector which amplifies dim light.

So please just keep your kitties inside!

Siamese cat

Looking up at Persimmons ripening on the tree

Autumn trees along a street with fir trees on the hill in the background

hiking trail winding thru trees

This house def has my favorite Halloween decorations!
Clowns, NO! Skeletons, YES! :)

Halloween decorations

But this bat cracks me up (top middle)... it has ears! haha. Ears would not be included in anyones skeleton!

Halloween decorations

Ferns and moss on a rock, surrounded by fallen leaves

I've come up the hill to see the Acorn Woodpecker family who lives up here. But dang it, the couple who are here are standing in trees way too far away.

Acorn Woodpecker on the side of a tree, far away

I walk up the road a bit, to see if I can get closer. Their granery trees just fascinate me!

Tree trunk with holes, some filled with acorns

Acorn Woodpecker standing on a branch

Some of their words are Wika-Wika-Wika and a Churrr sound.

Acorn Woodpecker standing on the side of a granery tree

This is a fun article!

Acorn Woodpeckers Hoard Thousands of Acorns in a Single Tree That's not even the weirdest thing about them.

And on reddit I learn about trypophobia, aversion to the sight of holes. ha!

A Woodpecker's acorn stash in a granary tree

Back down the hill.

Mushrooms growing on a fallen tree trunk

Lupine seed pods, open and empty

Didn't know dragons were Halloweeny!

Blow up Halloween decorations in a yard

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Monday 23 October 2023... Neighborhood Observations

Autumn colours of trees on the hill

This Geranium growing out in the wild, right next to the bike path has put out one last flower for the season.

Purple Geranium bloom under leaves in the grass and clover

Still some signs of our busy Beaver at the creek!

Beaver munched tree on the other side of the creek

Neighborhood sidewalk

Halloween decorations

Dark Eyed Junco standing on a stick, surrounded by yellow leaves

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Sunday 22 October 2023... Garden

I'm checking my PO Box mail this morning, and there's a small Nutria in the front yard of the Post Office! ha.

Nutria standing in the grass with dandelions

This is crazy! Where's the nearest creek? I'm not even sure, but there's no water close by that I know of! You have dispursed to the wrong place, little one! Altho I'm sure those dandelions are delicious.

Nutria standing in the grass with dandelions

Okay, on to the garden!

Trees with autumn colours and foggy hill in the distance

oop, gotta move somebody off the bike path!

Woolly Bear caterpillar on the sidewalk

I gather what veggies there are!

harvest

The smaller Tomatillos at the top are from the volunteer plant living in the tofu patch. That one actually started growing before the two or three in the Second Cucumber Empire, so I'm not sure why all of it's fruits are so much smaller. They are a lot more lime-y, too. The bigger ones kind of mellow out a bit.

Oh cool, I found a Tomatillo where the husk has skeletonized but the fruit is still good!

Tomatillo on a wood board

I do some exploring in the Community Garden and find this a couple plots down...

Yellow blooms

What is it? Is it a crop? I have no clue! The internets aren't helping me, either. huh.

Orange Dahlia bloom and some clover

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a wood post

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Saturday 21 October 2023... Interesting Things on a Dreary Day

The sky was dripping this morning but once the sun rose, it resolved into some on-and-off misting. I decided to go out to the river, despite the wet... it probably won't be very exciting since not much wildlife comes out when it rains.

But that's okay. Just getting some exercise in an amazingly beautiful place, is a good thing!

oh my gosh, the colours!

Beauty Berries surrounded by red and yellow and green leaves

and the vines!

Song Sparrow surrounded by vines

And more colours!

Japanese Anemone with Beauty Berries in the background

purplish-pink rose bud

Silver Lining is def my favorite!

purplish-pink rose

Yellow roses with blooms and autumn colour in the background

Yellow rose

Orange rose covered in dew

Sheesh. I am such a sucker for the roses! Moving on!

oh my gosh! There is an art installation at the Downtown Riverfront Park! Colourful banners up on the path lamps!

Colourful banners

Aw! It's LGBTQ+ positive artwork! With bears! I love it!

Colourful banner

Aw... but it's making me cry.

Cultural Currents Artist Highlight, Coda Stone
Everyday Bears!

The second artist has a way with wonderfully bright colours!

art banners along the bike path

Seahorse!!

art banners

Cultural Currents Artist Highlight, Pattrick Price
The Colors of Formline

art banner

I get off the main path because it seems to be filling up with humans wearing green shirts. Heading towards the university arena? I thought the football game was at the new stadium. So I'm not sure what is going on.

But then I get distracted by this one! what the heck?!

Hawk standing on a snag, holding all their feathers out

Gives it a shake... but now she looks even more pathetic!

Hawk standing on a snag

She is NOT going to dry off any time soon with this misty weather happening.

And what did she do? Was there food down in the water? Did she intentionally take a bath? Today, of all days?! What were you thinking?!

hawk standing on a snag

Okay... no red on the shoulder. Is she a Red Tail? ah, no. Red Tails don't have bands on their tail feathers. And that super long tail... This is a juvenile Cooper Hawk.

She notices me watching her!

hawk standing on a snag

Silly kid! I bet we are really cold too. brr.
Well, I hope you live to tell the tale, kid!

The bridge is my turn-around point to make a loop over to the other side of the river. But, oh jeez, so many humans. I never did figure out what was going on.

But I walk past a fabulous group on the drums. And I walk thru a parade of people to get to the other side.

lots of humans on the bike path in the forest

And then, walking back... there is a huge and beautiful tree, just outside the Rose Garden that I really love. And it has fruits!

Green Olives hanging from the tree

And they look like Olives?!

They are quite a bit bigger than the olives you'd get in a can, well over an inch long and nice and fat. And there's a bunch on the ground, but they are all still green.

Well. I don't know. But I pick one up and put it in my pocket. I will dissect it at home to see what's inside. I will report back soon!

This turned out to be an awesomely incredible day.

I thought I was going out for a non-exciting walk! But interesting things were happening all around me!

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Friday 20 October 2023... Dreary and Blurry Day

Another foggy and misty day!

trees along the bike path

I love the cloudy days... tho when the clouds are thick like this and it's so dark and dreary, the photos will be blurry since the camera likes a lot more light!

Well. You know. More blurry than usual! haha! Once upon a time I had the idea to redo the design here from the silly old sunflowers to some Blurry Birds! Maybe I should think about that again.

Nutria standing in water close to the muddy bank

Oh! Henrietta nabs someone right as I come up! A poor Crawdad. (Nov9 note... this is Not-Henrietta!)

Great Blue Heron with a crawdad in her beak

Great Blue Heron with a crawdad in her beak

Great Blue Heron walks in the water

Female and male Mallard sitting on the bank of the creek

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on the ground with two fallen apples in the background

Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a thorny stick

Cosmos blooms in front of a chain link fence

oh foo.

Blurry Varied Thrush on a metal fence

We mostly see Varied Thrushes in the winter, when they come down from the hills where they've raised their children.

Their song is a simple, one note whistle which is very beautiful.

Robin standng in a shrub surrounded by leaves and red berris

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Thursday 19 October 2023... Two Crow Stories

Extremely heavy fog this morning, visibility is hardly anything.

Halloween decorations in a downstairs entry way

Magnolia cone

Yellow Nasturtium blooms

Zinnia blooms in red and orange and pink

Zinnia blooms in orange and yellow

Halloween decorations surrounded by flowers

*laughs* I wonder if eating flowers is like candy for snails!

Sun Choke bloom with a snail

Sun Choke blooms

I thought the crows were just having a meeting...

Nine Crows standing in a tree

... but they kept getting louder and more angry and ever more were flying in. They are so loud and WHAT is going on? There's dozens of crows yelling! I watch them and think they are mobbing a hawk or somebody in the next tree over.

But then I hear, kekeke a begging juvenile hawk. And he sounds so pathetic... and desperate. And I'm all You Crows are mobbing a CHILD!

The kid keeps begging, and he is sooo intimidated and desperate, and he doesn't know what to do, and you can hear all of that in his voice and it's just breaking my heart!

And How? How can the crows keep going, knowing this is a child, hearing his distressed crying??! Are they heartless??! They should be ashamed of themselves!

Well. They can't keep it up. The mob starts breaking up. In just a couple minutes they're gone. A couple crows remain to keep an eye on the situation, and nobody's cawing.

They're not heartless, after all.

I hope the juvenile hawk is okay... physically, anyway. He probably has emotional scars and PTSD from all those stupid bullying crows who were probably just bored and wanted some drama. Poor little hawk.

Meantime, I've been gathering...

harvest

That's Butternut #2, the third one is still green and the vine has died, so that's it for the butternuts.

And the fuzzy pods are a test run of the Soybeans! To see what the beans look like and if they are getting dry yet!

Last week, I got a tofu press. And I already have cheesecloth. So I think I'm set with tofu making supplies!

AND THEN!

As I was coming out of the Community Garden and walking out on the side path... This crow flew right over me.

And she was OBVIOUSLY holding one foot higher than the other, in her flight!

Falkor! But look!

Crow standing on a street lamp

She's putting both feet down, to stand! Oh my gosh! Falkor? Is that really you?!

She flies right over me again... and again, I see that she is obviously holding up a foot as she flies. She lands in a nearby tree and turns to look at me.

Crow standing on a twig in a tree

Oh my gosh, look at that tiny twig she's standing on! She's healed!

Crow standing on a twig in a tree

She's healed! And I can hardly believe it!

But it must be her! It has to be!

Why else would she get my attention, by flying right over me. Twice!

Crow standing in a tree

Thank You Falkor! Thank you so much for saying hi! :)

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Wednesday 18 October 2023... Today

The forecast said no chance of rain, but I'm getting misted on! It's kinda chilly, too, even tho it's supposed to warm up to 66° this afternoon.

Trees next to the bike path

Trees next to the bike path

This is a terrible photo of a Western Bluebird standing on the Community Garden fence... but those pale, washed out colours!

Western Bluebird standing on a wood fence, blurry trees in the background

Misty tree in the distance

Oh, ha! Here's another wild squash on the bank of the creek!

squash plant with a bloom, surrounded by other plants

I couldn't get a decent pic of the plants surrounding the squash. But the little white flowers are some kind of nightshade. The purple blooms are a garden flower that I recognize but don't know the name of. And along the top is the ubiquitous Himalayan Blackberry.

I found another wild rose bush where I can pick hips for tea.

Rose hips on the plant

But it turns out you need quite a few rose hips for a cup of tea. And you need to boil the heck out of them for 15 or 20 minutes. And a couple sites say that you should also steep them overnight. And then of course, you've got to strain the whole thing.

So this is sounding like more kitchen work than I want to do! But... it would be interesting to try!

red maple leave in the grass

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Tuesday 17 October 2023... Wetlands and Stewart Pond and Happy Birds

I'm walking west today for something different.

Green and red leaves

Ha! I found a tiny skateboard!

miniature skateboard on a concrete block

It's good to hear the contact calls of the Song Sparrows again. Jeep. Jeep. Jeep.

Song Sparrow standing in a blackberry bush

Instead of turning off the bike path to go to Steward Pond Park, I just keep walking!

Bike Path art

This is a raised path that goes thru some Wet Prairie and makes a loop with the bike path. It's not rained enough, and the wetlands are still in their dry prairie stage.

path thru grasslands with a couple trees

This little walk doesn't have an official name, other than it's part of the West Eugene Wetlands.

wooden bridge

I make that my turn around point and start heading back.

AWWW! This is awesome... Cedar Waxwing kids!

juvenile Cedar Waxwing standing on a twig

Cedar Waxwing standing on a twig, and surrounded by silhouettes of twigs and dried leaves

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing standing on a twig surrouded by dogwood leaves and berries

There's a Nootka Rose bush right before the turnoff, going to Stewart Pond, and I pull a few rose hips and stick them in my pocket. I've been thinking about trying some Rose Tea!

Rose hip

My public service announcement...

Never, never eat anything in nature unless you are 100% sure about what you have!

And this time I've got an addendum...

Never eat anything in nature unless you know all the look-alikes as well!

Fortunately, roses are easy. And none of them are poisonous.

Here I am, coming up on Stewart Pond. It's still a dry prairie as well.

grassy area and then trees

Inside the park, there are several groups of guys playing Frisbee Golf so the little forest is quiet and empty again. But just outside the park, there's a happy little flock of Golden Crown Sparrows...

Juvenile Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a twig

Bahaha! She's got a wing poking in one direction and a toe poking in another direction!!

And she's all What? *snort*

Juvenile Golden Crown Sparrow standing on a twig

Golden Crown Sparrow standing in a dead Cow Parsnip plant

Golden Crown Sparrow standing in a dead Cow Parsnip plant

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Monday 16 October 2023... Rain

Oh my gosh, I walk out the door and it's just pouring down rain! Camera gets tucked under the rain jacket and I wonder if I will take any photos today... beyond the cute squirrel who greets me from the sidewalk!

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on the sidewalk, holding a sunflower seed in her hands

The rain backs off to a sprinkle, and some things in the neighborhood catch my eyes!

Oak leaves, most green, some tan

This hell strip is just amazing. Look at all the colours!

Plants and flowers

Pink and white flower

Dark Leaf Dahlias

Dark Leaf Dahlias

Plants and flowers

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Sunday 15 October 2023... Garden

It never did rain yesterday after the eclipse, even tho it was 40% rain in the afternoon. The clouds kept things warmer over night... I've still got my bedroom window open, and I didn't have to pull up the quilts to sleep comfortably.

Trees next to the bike path, a bit of autumn colour

Squirrel standing on a wood post of a fence

Western Bluebird standing on a wood fence

Cosmos with other flowers in the background

Garden Pinks with other flowers in the background

Dark Leaf Dahlia blooms

*laughs* I know! I'm always taking photos of the same garden plots! But they have the best flowers!

Snap Dragons, Cocks Comb and Red Amaranth

Here's something different! A tiny little Violet!

A single Violet bloom on a small plant

The volunteer pea plant in the front garden square that I cleared for some cover crop.

Lots of green plants

A juvenile White Crow Sparrow, they are winter visitors here. And an enthusiastic tomato plant!

White Crown Sparrow standing on a metal trellis

I wasn't going to gather anything today... but I happened across some ripe tomatillos. The leaves are tomatillo too.

Gathered Tomatillo fruits

The neighbor has some pretty peppers.

Red and green Peppers growing on the plant

Red and green Peppers growing on the plant

huh. Lily ... berries? Or I guess we can just call them seeds!

Red seeds coming out of black pods

*eyes a little sunflower head* Probably picked and abandoned by a squirrel!

Bird standing on a post, eyeing a small sunflower head

This is the Audubon subspecies of Yellow Rump Warbler... Yesterday was the Myrtle subspecies, with the white throat!

Bird standing on a wood post

Bird standing on a wood post

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Saturday 14 October 2023... A Walk After the Eclipse

The Eclipse isn't officially over, but the clouds are covering it up completely now. It's maybe a little bit darker than a normal cloudy day... but I'm surprised at how NOT dark it is!

There is a huge group of crows wheeling and chasing each other, over the main pond! They know something's going on and have decided to celebrate! ha!

21 crows flying

But for everyone else, the business of life and death goes on.

Great Egret standing in water, hunting

Looking across the river

river flowing around rocks

I love this little flower bed... they put it in earlier this year, along with a bench, and it's just been so happy!

Calendulas blooming with the river in the background

Echinacea blooms with Prairie Coreopsis, and the river in the background

A Yellow Rump Warbler...

Yellow Rump Warbler standing on a twig

We have both subspecies here. This one, with a white throat is the *Myrtle* Warbler. *Audubon* Warblers have a yellow throat.

river flowing over rocks

oh, great. Another shorebird. ugh. Shorebirds are so hard to identify, their winter plummage all looks the same. but yep. I'm going to give this one a try. Because look how pretty.

Long Billed Dowitcher standing in water with their beak in the water

Oh! They paddle like ducks?! ha, with those skinny toes! heh, I don't know why that surprises me, but I've never noticed a shorebird paddling!

shorebird paddling in the water

I think this might be a Long Billed Dowitcher.

But don't quote me on that... because the bill on the Short Billed Dowitcher looks just as long to me! haha!

American Coot on the water

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Saturday 14 October 2023... Eclipse

I have been watching the weather forecast for weeks, even tho I *knew* it would be cloudy and maybe raining today!

At the beginning of the week, it was to be cloudy with a good chance of rain. Thursday the forecast said 60% chance of rain. Fridays forecast said 40% rain!

This morning the forecast still said 40% rain, but the rain was supposed to hold off until after 11am! The morning was to be partly cloudy!

Oh my gosh! There might be a chance... the tiniest chance to see the eclipse!

The day starts with clouds and fog, but when dawn breaks there is a moment when the sunbeams come thru, under the cloud layer.

Hope Springs! But only for a moment. The clouds roll in.

The eclipse starts at 8:06am and the Ring Of Fire will occur from 9:17 to 9:19. And then completely over at 10:39am.

I leave the house around 8:50. It's cloudy, but the clouds are moving around quite a bit... So I'm having an inordinate amount of hope now!

As I drive, it seems like a normal, cloudy day even tho the moon is covering well over half the sun by now!

At the park, the parking lot is fuller than usual for a saturday, but there are a decent number of spaces left. A few people have arrived at the same time, and more are trickling in behind me. I have to walk out to the field, because there's trees in the way.

At 9:06am, this is the 2nd photo I snap... No zoom, no cropping, no colour adjustment. Look closely, the sun is just left of center!

Eclipse, 9:06am

Wow.

The river flows to the northwest here, and Greenway walking bridge would have a clear view of the east. As I suspected, a lot of other people had my same idea...

people on the bridge

I stay in the park for the moment and Oh My Gosh!

Eclipse, 9:07am

It's SO AMAZING!

Eclipse, 9:08am

And I can SEE IT! The clouds are heavy enough that I can look directly at the sun, without any trouble!

Eclipse, 9:08am

sky

The camera is having such a hard time with the auto-focus! It's just clouds, it says! So I point it at the trees and hope they are far enough away that the eclipse is in focus as well. It kind of works.

Eclipse, 9:12am

Eclipse, 9:12am

The clouds start moving around and suddenly it's way too bright to look at the sun any more! I crank up the exposure on the camera, but it doesn't help.

Eclipse, 9:13am

With a break in the action upstairs, I decide to move out to the bridge.

People standing at the rails of the bridge

Oh, nice! The view is lovely here!

looking upriver at a bridge and morning light coming thru the clouds

And the clouds are moving around again... and oh my gosh, we are so close to the perfect Ring of Fire!

Eclipse, 9:17am

SO FREAKING AWESOME!!

Eclipse, 9:17am

And with that, the clouds got heavier and there were no more views of the eclipse.

sky over the river

A lady in the crowd, asked people to join her song, to see if they could move the clouds along... ♪ Here comes the sun... ♪ she sang, and the crowd sang the Dah-da-doo-doo! :)

She sang a couple more lines, but it fell apart pretty quickly since nobody quite remembered how the song went!! But so delightful and it made me feel really good to see people come together and be happy together.

One last photo upriver, with the beautiful morning sky...

Looking upriver

And then on with my walk.

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Friday 13 October 2023... Flowers and Garden

the path with trees and sky

oh, cool! The dew has revealed the Grass Spider webs!

Grassy field with Grass Spider webs

The spider in this one ran into her den as I approached.

Grass Spider web

Grass Spiders have to be quick and smart because their web isn't sticky. When someone walks across their web, the spider has to know whether to run out and capture the prey or hide out in the den if the creature is too dangerous!

That decision has to be made in an instant. Can you imagine having to live your whole life like that!

Cloudy sky above tree lined hills

It must be too chilly this morning... this one was just standing in the middle of the stupid bike path! sheesh!

Curled up Woolly Bear

Pink Zinnia with yellow flowers in the background

Milkweed is setting it's seeds free...

Open Milkweed pod with seeds coming out

But look! There's someone tucked up, inside! They might be a baby Lady Bug!

Bug inside the milkweed pod

This pretty thing is in the demonstration flower bed, but I didn't see it's label, so I don't know what it is.

Blue flowers

Orange Zinnia with red and pink blooms in the background

Sun Choke blooms

Oh, hey! A Pine Siskin! That's somebody different, for a change!

Pine Siskin standing on a wood post

Several small zucchinis growing on the plant

Soybean pods on stalks

The Nasturtium in the tofu patch has decided to bloom after all!

Orange Nasturtium blooms

Ha! This one was drumming for a while before I realized that sound wasn't a human with a hammer! *laughs*

Downy Woodpecker standing on the side of a post

He flew away before I could get closer. But ha, he's doing a number on the back of this Bluebird nesting box!

Downy Woodpecker standing on the side of a post

Lots of veggies to bring home today! But oh, the SunGolds are not sweet.

Harvest

The Tomatillos are fun to find, tho! I squeeze each one on the vine, and if the fruit has filled up the husk, I turn it over to see if the husk is starting to split. If it is, I give it a little tug and it pulls right off. And then I go up the branch, because any fruits closer to the roots are going to be ready to pick as well!

The Striped German has decided to try making tomatoes again! That's nice, I thought it was quite done!

Small, green tomato growing on the vine

And of course the SunGolds continue.

Green cherry tomatoes on the vine with a tomato bloom

And on the walk home, Henrietta! (Nov9 note... this is Not-Henrietta!)

Great Blue Heron standing in water, with her reflection

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Thursday 12 October 2023... Up Hidden Trail

Oh Hi, Kitty! Aren't you beautiful. Hey could you do me a favor and tell your hooman the Little Free Pantry needs some more food in it? Thanks!

open Little Free Pantry with a few apples and a can, with a Siamese Cat standing on the ground

Persimmons ripening on the tree

Turkeys!

Wild Turkeys standing on the sidewalk

Their cute lil frowny faces!

Close up of a turkey

Wild Turkey walking on the sidewalk

More Turkeys! Ha, they are every where!

Two Turkeys standing in the grass

Close up of a turkey

Halloween display with human skulls, skeletons and grave markers

Eeee! Clowns are too scary for me... But the trapeze skeleton with rainbow hair is awesome!!

Scary Clown Halloween decorations

Okay. Here we are at the hiking trail!

small waterfall surrounded by logs and leaves

I come across a bachelor band of three Black Tail Deers! Ha: big, medium and small antlers!

Three deers walking away

oh, Small Antlers has broken one off already! Playing too hard!

Three dees, one turned to look back

Leaves caught in the sunlight

Small waterfall surrounded by mossy rocks

I go up past the end of the hiking trail, I'm hoping to see the Acorn Woodpeckers again. But dang it! This one was just flying thru!

Red Tail Hawk standing at the top of a broken off snag

A Red Tail Hawk, obviously. She standing at the top of one of the granary trees, see the holes? Ha, I bet the woodpeckers are mad about that, but what can they do?

The hawk has scared most every body away, but the guardians of the territory slowly reveal themselves!

Acorn Woodpecker at the top of a broken snag

I don't get any good portraits of the Acorn Woodpeckers today. But wow, their trees are so interesting!

Granery tree with acorns stuck in holes

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Wednesday 11 October 2023... Rainy Day with Playing Crows

Sprinkles and rain today, so the camera mostly stayed tucked under my rain jacket. But there was also a breeze coming out of the south...

Ugh, so annoying! Even with my hat, and pulling the hood of my jacket around, my eye glasses are still getting misty droplets on them. Humph!

Cloudy sky above trees

But when I saw a couple Crow families playing Top of the Tree, ha! The camera came out regardless of the damp consequences!

Two Crows standing on twigs at the top of the tree

Two Crows, flying, just taken off from the tree

I win! ... No! Me! I Win!

... Nooo, I'm pretty sure I'm higher! ... But Look, I'm so high I can't even stand!

But to Win, you have to be able to stand! I'm standing, I win! ... No, that's not how it works! I'm the winner!

Two Crows standing at the tops of two trees

And then this one decides to play a different game.

Two Crows flying, one has just dropped a small twig

*laughs* I don't know if anyone caught that little bit of twig on it's way down!


I have been eating about one Spaghetti Squash from the garden, every week.

It takes a lot of kitchen work, and once a week is about all I can stand! *laughs* I hate cooking and I hate spending time in the kitchen.

You know how they say that celery is a negative calorie food because it takes more energy to chew it? I think Spaghetti Squash is like that too...

You have to cut it into quarters, that's sometimes pretty hard. And then you have to get the stupid seeds out. And then after you cook it, you have to rake out the spaghetti-ness!

So. Much. Work!

I guess it's worth it, tho. I do love eating it.

I am a little sad, tho, seeing my huge stash of Spaghetti Squash get whittled down, week by week!

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Tuesday 10 October 2023... Todays Wildlife

It rained all night! And all morning! Ah! So nice! How I love the rain!

The slugs love the rain too. I found this one right as a Parks truck was passing me on the bike path. Slug is intimidated by the vibrations: she-he has stopped and eye-stalks are pulled in! But I made sure the truck didn't squish her-him!!

Slug on the path

That hole is her-his air mouth, called a pneumostome. The chamber acts like a lung and the hole opens and closes on a two minute cycle.

The ducks are happy too.

Female Mallard duck standing near the water

Oh Cool! A Cooper Hawk!!

Cooper Hawk standing on a branch

I'm so happy that I'm seeing more birds, lately! I think many birds molt after their nesting time, and keep a low profile at the end of the summer.

heh. There are two crows mobbing, and the hawk has to duck as the crows dive bomb her!

Cooper Hawk standing on a branch, hunched over

Cooper Hawk standing on a branch

Okay, time to leave.

Cooper Hawk taking off from the branch

Western Bluebird standing on a post in the rain

Northern Flicker standing on the muddy ground

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Monday 9 October 2023... Neighborhood Walk

Cooler today, and much more ordinary weather than the mid-80°s we had over the weekend... 65° and it starts sprinkling around my turn-around point!

Trees showing autumn colour

This one was bouncing around happily!

Towhee standing in a bush

Bouncing around and being goofy! What's the leaf for, Sweets??

Towhee standing in a bush holding a leaf in her beak

Hey Human... get your own leaf to play with!

Towhee standing in a bush holding a leaf in her beak

(Drops leaf, randomly.) Okay. What's next?

Towhee standing in a bush

I don't know why I am obsessed with these Buckeyes! There are just a couple big trees in the neighborhood beyond the end of the bike path, that I walk under.

Buckeye nuts and hulls laying in the grass

I pick up three of the nuts... they are a good size to hold comfortably in your hand and pleasantly smooth.

Skeleton and grave marker, Halloween decorations

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Sunday 8 October 2023... Garden

Trees showing autumn leaves

While I'm gathering veggies, I notice this one is munching on their own harvest!

Squirrel hanging from a sunflower where the blooms are droopy

Eating that way cannot be good for your digestion!

Squirrel hanging from a sunflower where the blooms are droopy

Squirrel hanging from a sunflower

Eastern Fox Squirrel standing on a branch with food in her hands

The Zucchini plant is trying so hard!

small Zucchini squashes growing on the plant

And so is this Crookneck in the 2nd Cucumber Empire.

small Crookneck squashes growing on the plant

The Soybeans are still doing their thing.

Soybean pods hanging from the plant

Oh, haha! I didn't notice this one until I looked at the photos! A cute little Seven Spot Ladybug!

Ladybug hidden in a Sunflower leaf

Sunflower bloom surrounded by spent heads

The first big harvest of Tomatillos! I guess they need a long growing season. The SunGolds aren't ripening, so maybe they will sweeten up at home.

harvest

At home, in the porch room, I notice the Spider Plant is blooming!

Spider Plant bloom

Yay! I'm so happy! I think it was last year that I transplanted it and put all the Spiderlings in the dirt!

Those varigated leaves are the Dumb Cane plant. Dieffenbachia. It blooms all the time, it's a very happy plant, along with the Peace Lily which blooms a lot too.

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Saturday 7 October 2023... River and Lots of Wildlife!

Tho the rain started early in September, there's only been a day of rain here and a day of sprinkles there. Not enough to bring up the ponds, and certainly not enough for the spillover.

Dry spillover

And the turtles are enjoying the unusual hot weather we've had. 87°F yesterday and 85° today. The bottom turtle is a native Western Pond Turtle, the rest are the terribly invasive Red Ear Sliders.

Turtles on a log in the water

The main pond is full of Gadwalls, who are diving in the middle of the pond, and Green Wing Teals, who are dabbling in the mud at the edge of the pond.

Gadwall duck paddling on the water

Red Wing Blackbird standing on a twig

It's too bright to be taking photos of Egrets. But... Wait a second! ...

Great Egret and turtles standing on a log in the water

We are totally STANDING on that turtle! Haha!

Egret has one foot on a small turtle on the log in the water

Little turtle is all Dude! Seriously?! *laughs*

I walk around the pond, and the Egret has gotten a clue and both feet are on the log. But I think the little turtle is still thinking, Sheesh!

Great Egret stands on a log with turtles

There's a few cute Coots at the ponds, too.

American Coot walking at the edge of the pond

My place on the river to listen to the water.

Looking across the river at the trees on the other side

River water flowing around rocks

On the way back, past the ponds... Oh great. Some stupid Shorebird, that I'll try to look up but won't be able to identify. Shorebirds are hard! Their winter plumage makes them look all the same. Just some with long beaks, and some with short beaks. SIGHS!

Shorebird walking in shallow water

But this one does look pretty distinctive. Maybe it'll be worth it to TRY looking them up?

Shorebird walking in shallow water

... They are Snipes? Ha! What? I thought Snipes weren't real! *laughs* Well. It's good to learn things!

Wilson Snipes.

Two shorebirds looking for food in the mud

And, one last turtle, swimming in the side pond.

Turtle swimming in the water

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Saturday 7 October 2023... Green Heron Photo Series

Oh! Oh my gosh! This Green Heron has caught a frog!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Poor little frog.

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Frog squirms! He wants to live!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Smack!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Frog is less lively now.

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

And now he's mostly dead. Eee.

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Gulp!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Mmmm. Tasty!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

Urp!

Green Heron standing in water with a frog in her beak

A big meal for Green Heron, and she's happy. But I need a moment of silence for poor frog.

The river, lined with trees

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Friday 6 October 2023... Hendricks Park

Oh foo. Just as I get here, they are closing the Rhododendron Garden so they can spray and kill the Azalea Lace Bugs. They are invasive and do some damage, but who else gets killed when they spray? Everybody gets poisoned. :(

I sneak thru the edge of the Rhody Garden, so I can wander thru the Native Plants Garden.

Asters

Maiden Hair Fern

Leaves and fir cones arranged on the ground to make a sunflower shape!

Oh my gosh! I have seen this bird bath before, but today there are birds!

Sparrow standing at the edge of a stone bird bath

Birds splashing in a stone bird bath

Sparrow standing in shallow water of a stone bird bath

Pink Hydrangea blossoms, drooping

I was wandering the internets the other day and watched a video talking about edible berries... and I recognized some leaves! There are a couple sections along the hiking trails here, that are lined with ThimbleBerry!

Thimbleberry leaves

Song Sparrow singing on a mossy branch

Mushrooms

Ferns and English Ivy

There are sadly lots of dead Douglas Fir trees along the Ribbon Trail. Climate change... it's not so much the lack of rain, it's the too hot summers. It stresses them. And then Bark Beetles finish them off.

Snag

When I was done taking pictures of the dead Douglas Fir, I looked around the forest, "CHEEP!" Haha! I startled a chipmunk, and boy was she mad about it!

"Che-che-che-che-che-che-CHEEP!" heh. Sorry to upset you, but it's kinda funny!

Oh, nice! The trail head has gotten a kiosk!

Kiosk on the trail surrounded by forest

I walk a little bit beyond the trail head... but the sun is beating down here and it gets uncomfortable pretty quickly. It's abnormally hot today... 87° where normal for this time of year is 70°F!

Trail with trees on the hill and blue sky

In addition to the new trail head kiosk, this sign says they'll also be repairing the trail here! That's good... there are places where the trail is starting to slough down the hill!

Hiking trail in the forest, with a white paper sign

And, for once, a Woolly Bear who I don't have to rescue... She's already made it to the edge of the path and is heading back into the forest! But first we need to munch on the greenery.

Woolly Bear standing next to some seedlings

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Thursday 5 October 2023... Neighborhood

This is Frodo, our one-eyed stray cat that the neighbor feeds. Frodo has been around for ages, she must be getting pretty old by now.

Tortoiseshell cat sitting on the pavement, looking away

Eastern Fox Squirrel, standing on the edge of the sidewalk, holding a peanut with broken shells in front of him

No rain, but clouds until 1pm. I am thinking about the eclipse that's happening here, next weekend, in nine days. But this cloudiness is standard for autumn... So I don't think there's any hope about actually seeing the eclipse. sighs.

Trees with autumn colour

Bewick Wren standing on a tree branch

Oh! It's damp enough for mushrooms!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms surrounded by fallen leaves

And these are pretty, with their little twirly thingees!

Red flowers

Red flowers

Mimosa tree leaves and seed pod

You gotta be careful walking under the Buckeye Trees!

Buckeye fruit and empty husks on the sidewalk

Bright yellow Dahlia blooms

Orange Dahlia blooms

A blurry pic of the first Mergansers of the season at the creek! heh, the closer girl must have molted her head feathers all at once!

Two female Mergansers, paddling on the water

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Wednesday 4 October 2023... Flowers and Garden!

No chance of rain today, but the clouds are pretty low this morning!

Trees with autumn colours and fog in the hills in the distance

There's Zinnias galore at the Community Garden!

Orange Zinnia bloom with dots of colour in the background

Red Zinnia bloom with Cosmos in the background

Purple Zinnia blooms

And these Mini Zinnias are happy to look at!

Many Zinnina blooms in reds and yellows

Yellow SnapDragons, Cockscomb blooms and Zinnias

And then you've got the Dahlias!

Pink Dahlia bloom

Pink Dahlia blooms

And here we are at my garden plot.

Snail sleeping on a leaf

The Tofu patch is getting increasingly yellow!

garden

And the pods are starting to dry out! There's so many of them! I can't wait to gather them up and make tofu!

Soybean pods hanging from the plant

And while I was back there in the tofu patch, I decided to grab this one, tiny Spaghetti Squash...

Spaghetti Squash hidden under leaves

I had tried growing some squash plants from seeds of a Spaghetti Squash I had eaten last year! Seed saving is cool!

I started some in pots at home, and planted some directly. Neither of these methods really work out... There's not enough sunlight for seedlings at home, and they don't usually recover. And then slugs like to munch on all the baby squash seedlings and transplants.

But, yep, one plant lived to make that tiny Spaghetti Squash!

And then, when I was checking for ripe Tomatillos... Wow!

Tomatillo husk

A Tomatillo husk has been turned into a skeleton!! So cool!

Tomatillo husk

And the big volunteer Sunflower is still trying to be pretty!

Small Sunflower bloom on a dying plant

Small Sunflower blooms on a dying plant

Since I got that Spaghetti Squash, I decided to get the littlest Butternut as well! A good harvest today!

harvest

and I'm on my way... only to see more beautiful things on the walk home!

Bittersweet Nightshade berries.

Bittersweet Nightshade berries hanging from the plant in various stages of ripeness

I had to search to see what this is... it might be Silky Dogwood. Aren't the colours just delightful!!

Blue coloured berries

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Tuesday 3 October 2023... Stewart Pond

There's a Western Grey Squirrel in the park again... but this one is obviously a youngster. Not Worf.

blurry Western Grey Squirrel standing against the base of a tree

And again, I don't get close enough for a decent photo. But I will be able to identify this kid again if I see him... His tail is a little bit short.

The other Persimmon tree. I just love the wavy leaves!

Unripe Persimmon fruit hanging from the tree

There are two types of Persimmon... Astringent Persimmons, which are the heart shaped ones. And these Non-Astringent Persimmons, which are squat shaped.

The habitat at Stewart Pond park is a Wet Prairie... It's a dry prairie during the summer and shallow ponds during the winter rainy season.

Grassland with trees in the distance

We've gotten a good bit of rain, here and there. But not enough to start the ponds yet.

Unfortunately, they were mowing in the park when I arrived. So this Robin outside th park was the only wildlife I found.

American Robin standing on a power line

The little bit of forest is still a pretty place, but I prefer bird song over the sound of mowing!

Path thru the forest

looking up at the trees in a forest

Ha! I love that I can just point and click with the camera at the moon... and can actually see some craters and stuff!

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Monday 2 October 2023... Today

Another bit of sprinkles today. It's nice!

Trees in autumn colours

Spent Teasel blooms

Berries of Red Osier Dogwood surrounded by green and purple leaves

I wander across the street into a neighborhood I've never walked thru before. And I find this...

Pink snowberries draping over a wooden fence

What... it looks like huge, pink snowberries!

And I get home and look it up. And sure enough. They sell a variety of different shades of pink Snowberries.

ha!

And here's a crow I liked so much I decided to turn her into a postcard!

Crow standing in a tree

Postcrossing: US-9788171, USA to Japan
She's already been Favorited a couple times!

Hi Henrietta. Long time, no see. You should stop by more often!

Great Blue Heron standing in water

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Sunday 1 October 2023... Today

Trees with autumn leaves

You can't be on the bike path, Little One! This Woolly Bear was a little hesitant to climb up onto my hand...

Woolly Bear walking on the path

But then she didn't want to leave! She clung to my hand with a hard grip. Okay. I figured she just thought this place in the grass I had picked for her was a terrible idea. And yeah, it was in the shade, and really wet with dew. So I walked a bit further and found a sunny place for her.

But she was still gripping my hand. Look, you! I can't just carry you around all day! But she was upset about being abandoned.

Woolly Bear, rolled up on a leaf

Sunflower bloom with blue sky

The Goldfinches are stuffing their faces and filling their tummys with Sunflower seeds.

Goldfinch standing on a sunflower stalk with a seed in their mouth

Goldfinch standing on a sunflower stalk with a seed in their mouth

I decided to pick that funny looking Crookneck today. And when I went to get that stealthy Lemon Cucumber... there was another one right next to it! Yay! I ate them for my lunch today! Num num!!

harvest

Hello my little Grasshopper friend.

Grasshopper standing on a borage stem

Hawthorn pomes

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2023... Archived Blog Posts

February 2023 (partial)

March 2023

April 2023

May 2023 (partial)

June 2023 (partial)

July 2023

August 2023

September 2023

October 2023

November 2023

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Saturday 16 July 2022... New Osprey Nest!

So I've looked at a map, and I hope I get around the new Downtown Riverfront Park without getting lost this time. It's closed because they are using it for the World Athletics Championships, which started yesterday and runs until the 25th.

This amazing mural just outside the Rose Garden was finished just in time for the Championships.

Mural of birds and roses

And, of course, you can't go by the Rose Garden without obsessively taking photos of the roses.

Strike It Rich, Grandiflora rose

Grande Dame, Hybrid Tea rose

And then we gotta check the Osprey nest on the other side of the river. There's one child there today, and she takes off ... only to make a loop and come back to the nest.

Osprey flying back to the nest platform

Osprey lands in the nest

XXX... Goal: Finish this post!

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I'm archiving the 2022 posts...

January 2022


February 2022


March 2022
Story of nesting Anna Hummingbird begins here!


April 2022
... And the nesting Hummer story continues here, until the babies fly away in mid-April!


May 2022


June 2022


July 2022





2021... BLOG POSTS

(completed 28 May 2023...)

January thru July 2021 Archive

August 2021 Archive

September 2021 Archive

October 2021 Archive

(No entries for November 2021)

December 2021 Archive

Goal: revisit August 2021... Road Trip to Utah!

And then keep filling in posts from there thru the end of 2021.

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2020... BLOG POSTS

(completed 27 Dec 2020 thru 5 Jan 2021...)

2020 Archive... January thru July

(posted 21 Apr 2023...)

2020 Archive... Aug thru Dec

GOAL...

Revisit the Aug thru Dec archive page and add photos and clear out the xxx!

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2019... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 22 Dec 2020...)

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2019 journal entries

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2018... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 18 Dec 2020...)

I have managed to move all of the 2018 journal entries into an archive page. I did not write very much in 2018, so I decided not to divide them up into months, like I usually do.

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2018 journal entries

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2017... BLOG POSTS

(Posted 19 Dec 2020...)

I have managed to move all of the 2017 journal entries into an archive page. And again, I didn't write very much, so the posts for the entire year are on one page.

The new archive is HTML5, and completely validated!

2017 journal entries

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Welcome
rifts avatar
I am rift vegan!

I live in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, with my Partner in a tiny townhouse. I am vegan for ethical and environmental reasons, my love for animals and nature is a very important part of my life.

This blog is currently a place for the photos I take while out walking.
Topics include...
Nature! Flora, Fauna, Funga and Phenomena.
Clouds and the fog on the hill.
Trees, native plants, blossoms and botanicals.
Wildlife! Mostly birds and squirrels. Occasionally other creatures, including bugs.
Reading and Journaling.
Veganic Gardening.
Rants!

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2023

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Yep, you can email me. and you can write to me.
Email

rift vegan
PO Box 23724
Eugene OR 97402
USA


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