Sunday, May 12, 2013


 Shrimp salad: asparagus, lettuce and radish from the garden, olives and avocado from afar

We had planned to take a four day camping trip to the mountains this past weekend but when we saw the forecast for rain both Saturday and Sunday we decided to stay home but vowed not to work too much.  We reminded ourselves at regular intervals that we were "on holiday".  Even though we did work a fair amount, we only did things most urgent, like trellising the tomatoes which were flopping on the ground and puttering sorts of tasks that we enjoy like what I call the precious work of weeding, fertilizing and mulching young spring vegetables.  We took great walks in the woods, went kayaking at Jordan Lake on Friday morning, read, took naps and fixed some seriously good meals like the one pictured above.

We did a lot of birding as this is supposed to be the biggest week of bird migration for the spring.  At Jordan Lake we saw loads of great blue herons as always, along with numerous eagles and osprey, brilliant yellow prothonotary warblers and orchard orioles.  The cliff swallows were nesting under the bridge and we watched them a long while and then a brilliant blue tree swallow with a black eye mask and white belly, a real stunner, sat still on the top of a dead tree and let us take a long look, unusual for the swift flying acrobats.  We also saw a spotted sandpiper bobbing its way along the edge of the shore.

Around home we have been checking out some amazing wood ducks both nesting at the pond and cruising down Morgan Creek.  This is a spectacular bird, it looks more like something out of a cartoon than real live ornithology.  Red bill and eyes, iridescent green helmet like mane that hangs off the back of the head like a relaxed mohawk, yellow flanks edged by white pinstripes, this is one stylin' bird.  We stalked three of them along the creek this morning, scaring them up several times, then sneaking up on them again, we kept overestimating how quickly they would move down the creek as they stopped to feed in the rocky riffles, but we got several very nice looks at them.

At the pond we also saw a solitary sandpiper, a good find during migration, on its way to Canada to breed, our resident kingfishers, common yellow throats, and indigo buntings.  In our yard we were treated to a tanager spectacle while we enjoyed elevenses on the back stoop.  First two male scarlet tanagers, neon red with jet black wings, flew across the yard and landed in a big oak, then two male summer tanagers, deep orange with greenish wings, flew in to join the discussion about exactly who was going to get to nest in our yard this year and just how big the territory was and other likely bird kinds of questions.  We also saw the first cuckoos of the season this weekend.

Amidst it all, the bluebirds are feeding a chattering brood of babies, I am guessing four, the babies chirp like mad each time the parents appear at the mouth of the terracotta clay nest pot.  Poor parents, I actually timed them today, they are at the nest almost every 5 minutes to feed.   ALL DAY LONG!  They will be happy when those babies fledge I think.
We've been joking about watching rose TV, as the days have gone by this rose has opened wider and wider, the flowers fuller and fuller, causing us to sit dumbfounded on the back stoop just soaking it in.

In the end, the weather was fantastic here, very little rain accept on Saturday night and a marvelous cold front blew through today bringing dry air and a forecast in the low 40's for tonight!  What a topsy turvy, long wet spring we've had, it's been nice.  I'm vowing to take more staycations, it's free, comfortable, no need to pack or travel, get ready to go or deal with the returning mess.

Clematis Niobe in the foreground, wall o'wood in the back ground

With all that we have right in our own backyard, well Dorothy, there's no place like home.

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