end of summer camping

September 10, 2018

I’m not ready for summer to be over. I feel like I never got enough camping/outdoor time. So I wrangled some friends together for a random weekend of non-SCA camping, just sitting around the fire and chilling out and drinking cider and all that good stuff.

Did some birding. Heard what I think was a Great Horned owl and saw a bunch of Wilson’s warblers, which are adorable. Some flycatchers which I was entirely unable to identify. Got one lifer: a Cassin’s vireo.

On one of my walks I encountered this:

I think this is the remains of an abandoned irrigation canal. My suspicion is this chunk of decayed concrete isn’t all that old. Sixty years, maybe? It really doesn’t take all that long for vegetation and the freeze/thaw cycle to do their damage. When working on Bannerless and The Wild Dead, I worried that I was being too radical, showing too much of civilization vanishing in too short a time. Then I come across something like this and think, no, civilization vanishes a lot quicker than we think it does.

This is at Pawnee National Grassland, an area I want to explore more of. I think I’d like to camp there in the spring, to catch some of the spring migration/breeding season. Camping, so I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn and can just roll out of the sleeping bag, grab the binoculars and go.

 

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pony!

June 22, 2018

This is the mini-horse who lives at the farm where I’ve been riding. She’s so fluffy!

Tomorrow is Cornell Lab’s Global Big Day, where thousands of birders go out and try to spot as many different species as they can. I’ve had some other things come up tomorrow (SCA Kingdom of the Outlands Coronation, with some good friends of mine stepping up as King and Queen so I’d like to be there), so I’m not sure I’ll get a full day in. But we’ll see what I can do. Barr Lake is right on the way to the event, so I can drop by and get my annual quota of Western Grebes in. Aren’t they pretty?

 

birds!

April 18, 2018

As you might have gathered, birds make me happy. They’re interesting, and they’re everywhere.

As I do every year, I’d like to point you to the local Osprey nest cam. This pair of ospreys have been nesting here for more than a decade, and the current brood is well under way. Yesterday, we had a massive wind storm in the area. 80 mph gusts. (We sometimes remind ourselves, if we lived on the coast this would classify as hurricane-force, but because we don’t, it’s just WIND.) The camera on the nest went out, which was a bit nerve wracking. But lo and behold, while the nest took some damage, the ospreys and eggs are all well. Love those guys.

And in two weeks, the Global Big Day is once again upon us. I’m not sure what my strategy is going to be this year, but I’m definitely going to get out and try to turn in some counts.

 

more birding adventures!

April 11, 2018

I got tired of holding my point-and-shoot up to the spotting scope to try to get pictures, so I got an adapter to attach my phone to it, to try to take pictures that way. Went out to try the setup for the first time yesterday. I can see there’s going to be a learning curve — the phone and attachment throw the scope off balance and it’s hard to get it all steady. But I managed to get a few shots I’m willing to show off. Here’s one, a pair of American Avocets.

I love the detail that comes through with the scope and my phone. Those colors are so sharp. And I love avocets, they’re so slick and graceful. Now I need to work on getting the whole scope set up better and figure out photo processing to clean them all up. But, not bad for a raw image.

I’m not sure how people get pictures of songbirds with their spotting scopes. Water birds are there in the open, easy to see, and you generally have time to point, focus, etc. Near as I can figure, to get pictures of the little manic birds you basically have to point the scope somewhere and wait for something to fly into view?

 

spring!

March 16, 2018

Every year I think the crocus are coming up earlier, and then I check blog posts from previous years and no, they’re right on schedule. Which means we’re due for a big snow right when the tulips start blooming. I don’t think my tulips — which are sprouting all over the place — have ever actually bloomed, because the buds get caught in that late freeze.

Given that my attitude on gardening is “Let’s put some things in the dirt and see what happens!” I suppose I can’t expect too much more than what I’ve got. Which is actually quite nice if chaotic. Those crocus in spring make me so happy, every single year.

My container sage appears to have survived the winter and is re-sprouting. One of my back-burner projects is researching cocktails with herbs as garnish. I’ve seen some that use sage. Time to dig out those recipes!

Oh god it’s finally spring, I’m feeling so much better about, well, everything.

Current WiP:  crossed 80,000 words this weeks. It’s probably going to end up being the longest thing I’ve ever written.

 

clearing the head

March 2, 2018

I had to get out this morning to clear my head. Yeah, that’ll do:

Bonus:  I finally found the local great blue heron rookery. There are herons present, prepping their nests. This is joyous to me.