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There’s lots of activity at the feeder these days. I do have to get outside to fill the feeder, but viewing the birds is done as I wash dishes at the kitchen window.

A whole extended family of mourning doves showed up for breakfast a few days ago. Then a bluejay or two arrived…

mourning-doves

to be shooed off by a visiting squirrel.

squirrel

Then it was the cardinal’s turn.

cardinal

All the while at the suet feeder, the woodpeckers dined…

woodpecker2

until this fellow arrived for his dinner.

hawk2

And that was the end of the woodpecker.

hawk

With no enemies, this little Cooper’s hawk took his time over his supper, and all that was left was a scattering of feathers.

Look what I saw outside my window this morning.

view-from-my-window

Not that it’s all that unexpected. But I’m not ready. The garden has not been cleared out, the tomato cages are still outside, leaves abound, and I’m just not in the mood for winter.

This blog cannot be called Heading Outside today. My photos are all taken from indoors. Lazy me. I did manage to find my boots at the back of the closet so I could feed the chickens, but the rest of my morning will be here inside where it’s warm.

Here’s a very wintry view looking past the old well to the pond below.

a-wintry-feel-today

The poor birds have to endure. I have a good view of the suet feeder from my kitchen window. The feeder has had many visitors this morning.

at-the-feeder

Before heading to work I will do a little rearranging of my houseplants. These, which are mostly ones I inherited from my daughter when she moved to Seattle, will be moved to the kitchen for the winter, where it’s warm.

time-to-move-the-plants

I don’t head outside as much as I used to do. I lost my little dog Bo a month or so ago, and I find it sad to walk the trails without my companion. Besides that, I have been spending so much time painting that I can barely tear myself away to get outside.

I am reviving my other wordpress blog which has been dormant for almost four years. Today I made another entry (see bellartwork.com). I find I must get busy with the business of trying to sell art work. I will soon have a website and a link to the blog.

Early spring before I’d started my garden I came across an article about Purslane, a common “weed” which is extremely nutritious, and grows just about everywhere. I was astonished. I’d been pulling it up and tossing it for years. [Edible and Delicious Weed]

Yesterday I headed out to the garden to make a stab at the weeds that were growing abundantly in my vegetable garden.

Vegetable Garden July 3 2016

It’s hard to tell the weeds from the sprouting veggies.

While weeding, what should I come upon but Purslane – in abundance!

Edible Weeds

One little patch of Purslane among many in the garden.

So…I picked and washed the Purslane and then removed the root portion. Quite an easy job.

Washing the weeds

The roots are easily pinched off. I had several meals worth just in that one little patch.

You eat the Purslane raw in salads.

My Supper

I will have the same meal tonight! (Well, not the same meal .)  Remove the egg and you have a perfect vegan supper.

I waited to post this today so you would know that I survived without any ill effects.

Enjoy!

Who could resist

What? That’s not a fawn, you say.

True.

Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me when I encountered the fawn yesterday. So instead of posting relevant photos while I tell the tale, I’m posting photos I’ve been taking since my last posting. We all like a photo or two, I know.

Handsome felow

This fellow was around here for weeks. The females seemed unimpressed, but I bet they are busy sitting on eggs right now.

The girls are not frequent visitor just now. At least not many of them. Today one female arrived at the feeder with three males. The males kept shooing her away, so she, smart turkey, leapt up onto the feeder itself and helped herself from there.

clever turkey

Those are teen-aged guys (I think). Except for the striped bird – that’s one of my hens, chowing down with the turkeys.

So…yesterday I rounded the corner of my house and came upon a beautiful fawn at the end of the drive. She was eating the hostas which I have not yet covered. I immediately froze. She seemed not to be worried about me. She looked up, and then went back to ripping leaves off the plant. Okay, I muttered, I guess you’re going to eat my plants because I’m not going to shoo you off.

The Girls

Then Bo, my little, deaf, poodle, wandered past me and into the garage, He was hoping I had not cleared away the old cat food he’d found days earlier in a garbage bag that was destined for the dump. When he realized it was gone, he turned and saw the fawn.

Perrenial beauty

I was standing right on the other side of these flowers when I froze.

The Fawn became quite excited. Her ears perked up, her tail swished back and forth and around in half circles. Slowly she came toward us.

Heirloom Iris

Bo stood watching. Then he looked over at me. I don’t know what he thought since I never stand still like that.

Suddenly the fawn started stamping her feet. Not pawing the ground the way a horse does, but pouncing on her front feet the way a dog does to invite play.

The Wanderer

The Wanderer

Unfortunately, Bo didn’t pick up on the message. He’s old, and deaf, and not much into play.

Iris Beauties

The fawn wouldn’t give up. By now she was up nearly at the garage, and right in front of me, only ten feet away.

Lupin

She circled the drive, and pranced her feet, then then snorted at Bo. I wanted to go and dance with her. But I didn’t dare move.

Sweet Woodland Rhododendron

This went on for fifteen minutes. My legs were going numb.

IMG_5839

The fawn gave up on Bo and went back down the drive and continued snacking on the hosta.

Bridal V

I cut my bridal veil down to the ground a few years ago – it was in such a sorry state. But it’s coming back.

Sadly, Bo wandered back to the cat door and disappeared inside. I stayed and watched the fawn until she too gave up and headed off through the woods.

Spider Hiding

This yellow spider was on the front of a the blossom when I arrived. He slowly crawled around to the back to hide.

Not a very exciting story to tell, but believe me, it was quite amazing to stand there and watch.

The weather was beautiful Sunday. So beautiful that my guilt over painting indoors with my dog snoring beside me, finally forced me put up the brushes and get my shoes on for a walk. As I headed outside with Bo, I made note of  where the cats were. Lately Finn, my granddaughter’s cat whose been living here while she is at college, has taken to following me around the yard. I was afraid he might try to follow us on our longer trek. I was not sure he wouldn’t wander off and get lost, or get stuck up a tree (which he has done several times). I saw he was safely indoors. Good, I thought.

We were half way down the driveway when Finn came bounding along. He’s free to go in and out the cat door as he pleases. I had wrongly assumed he was happy snoozing inside.

So, I decided to see how it went.

Finn is very much like Max, the neighborhood cat, who used to follow me, Buddy, and Bo, frequently on our walks. Max is featured in many of my past blogs. Max moved away, and I’ve missed his company. Of course I didn’t have to worry about Max – he was a roaming cat and not mine. But I was not keen to have to tell my granddaughter that I’d lost her cat.

01 How does he know the way

How does he know the way?

Right away Finn took the lead.

02 Bo and Finn Heading for the water

Bo and Finn just rambling on toward the water.

 

03 Beaver Dam Across the way

The beaver dam across the road.

 

05 Someone Else Passed This Way

Stopping for a little scent exploration.

 

04 Following along

Sometimes Finn leads – sometimes he follows.

06 High Alert - Ducks

On high alert – ducks ahead!

 

08 Marsh Path

Someone has made a path through the marsh. Hmmm?

 

09 Finn, come back!

No Finn – come back!

 

10 Not a good idea

That’s not a great idea either. Remember how you got stuck up the tree all night?

 

IMG_5468

Thank you!

07 Happy Cat

Happy cat!

 

11 Taking the shortcut home

Taking the short cut back towards home. We went far enough for a first foray.

 

12 Back out on the road

Back on the road.

 

13 Stopped to roll in the dirt

Finn stops for a roll in the sand.

 

14 Heading Home

Heading back home. Finn knows the way. Why do I think he’s roamed farther than the yard before?

 

15 Back safe and sound

Home sweet home, safe and sound.

 

We’ll have to do that again!

(No apologies for all the cat pictures.)

Signing off.

 

I took a stroll in the drizzle today, down to the wetlands where I like to sit and contemplate. Nearly there I sadly discovered that the beautifully shaped ash that I’d wrapped a few years ago against the beaver who’d been taking my trees, had been chewed down to the last half inch.

IMG_5010 - ineffective barrier

Why the beaver stopped there, I don’t know. Probably he knew it wasn’t going to be an easy haul down to the water and simply needed a tooth sharpening.

I strolled on to the water and spotted the beginnings of a new dam.

IMG_5013 beginnings of a new dam

You can see three newly stripped saplings. One laid across the gap, one that must have fallen through, and one further away at the edge of the grasses. That one will probably be part of the dam tomorrow. Above the dam is the pond where I sit and watch the ducks and the sunset. On this side below the new dam is the stream that runs down to the old skating pond area, and on under the road to the big water reserve across the road from me.

IMG_5018 probably the dam starter

I think that dam starter was probably growing here yesterday.

IMG_5019 ugly but effective sheilds

This was my attempt at saving some of my trees. It’s ugly I know, especially during a winter with no snow. But it was necessary to save some of my hardwoods. I wish the beaver liked snap pine. I have plenty of those I wouldn’t mind losing. I put this flashing around these trees two years ago. And though I did leave some saplings for the beaver, once I’d done this, he moved on – probably discouraged by the metal barriers.  But now he’s back.

IMG_5025 beaver dam

This is the major dam the beaver has built over the last two years. When I first moved here 18 years ago, a different dam was in place here. The effect is to create a large pond above which became a skating pond for the grandchildren. I spent hours clearing off the snow, are we all have many happy memories playing down here on the ice.

icepond

The ice pond with small area cleared after snow storm.

If you’ve been following me, you will have seen this ice pond before.

IMG_5020 skating pond again

Here’s the same area today with the same old tree stump – a little more decayed. We didn’t have enough snow and cold for a safe ice pond this year, but next year, perhaps.

The old dam that created the first ice pond was eventually torn down by the town. I was very upset, especially as I knew the beavers were living in the lodge that was now unprotected due to the falling water level.

But come spring and fall, there was a new benefit. The apple tree that had been overhanging the pond was now water free. That fall I had a large bounty of apples (blogged about a few years ago).

But now again, the apple tree is hanging over the pond.

IMG_5021 apple tree

Here’s the apple tree. It fell over during the ice storm of 2008, but it continues to bloom and produce apples. Unfortunately I cannot reach the apples now due to the new dam.

As you can see, the beaver has been at the apple tree. There won’t be any apples, whether or not I can pick them, if he continues.

IMG_5028 skating pond2

Here’s another view of the skating pond. The apple tree is out of sight at the left. The dam is just below at the right.

IMG_5031 water under the bridge2

And here is the water under the bridge – a really lovely old stone bridge. The dam is just to my left, quite visible from the road. Now I don’t know whether I’d rather have apples or a skating pond. I guess what I really want is for the beavers to be able to do their thing without deliberate destruction of their creations. It’s true, I don’t want them to take all my hardwoods, but I wouldn’t destroy their dams and lodge to protect my trees. I like the idea of living in peace together.

This morning when I went out to feed the chickens I heard the first red winged black bird of the season. This is a sure sign spring is here. I couldn’t catch sight of the newly arrived, but a few minutes later I saw her (or him) under the feeder – no doubt chowing down after a long journey.

Red Winged Blackbird 3-9-16

I’m so happy to see her as last year I saw no red winged blackbirds at all. Usually they are plentiful. I feared my birds were some of those found dead on the roads down south.

Normally this time of year snow still covers the ground. Not so this year. In fact I have not had to take out the snow blower even once (knock on wood).

Along with the blackbird came a gloriously warm winter day – 75 degrees (f). I let the girls out of their penned area to enjoy the weather.

The girls out composting

Here they are composting away.

Poor me…I had to choose between staying indoors and working on an oil painting that is near completion, or heading outside to enjoy the day. Of course I did both.

Beautiful afternoon on the pond

The pond across the way.

Ice still on the pondYou can see we still have ice on the pond.

Bo still trekingMy old dog Bo came along for the walk. He’s still a trouper despite his old age.

IMG_4936 croppedHere’s a photo from yesterday. Another beautiful day it was. The sun was setting – but I cheated and put this on “fall” setting to bring out the light.

Their turn under the feeder

When we returned from our walk today, the girls had made their way to the feeder to clean up what was left after the birds, squirrels, and turkeys had had their fill.

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