Monday, May 30, 2016

Home Improvement

Before we get to today's theme of home improvement I want to revisit "da boids" for a moment. The barn swallows are back to nesting and eating bugs, but now and then take a moment to check out their digs. Here is a male perched in the barn doing an impromptu survey.
Meanwhile, on the outside of the barn, a group of local herring gulls are checking out their kingdom. The barn is 72' long (22 meters) so it looks like I have at least 50' (15 meters) worth of gulls standing there.
So much for this week in critters.

It has been raining a lot lately and I was getting a little antsy to get outside and actually do something. Yesterday I remembered bring home enough lumber to make a little project. Yesterday, before running off to a high school graduation party, I decided to make a bench. It is a simple design and didn't take much time to cut the pieces and assemble them. Had I been uninterrupted it would have taken about an hour, but you know how it is. The garage has a nice dry space in which to work, so I did.
Things are a bit spartan by the ponds, so I decided to replace the seating there with this more comfortable seat. Here was the one that has been there for a few years.
Alas, it had served us well, but there comes a time to upgrade one's comfort level. This morning we did the exchange and said our farewells to "old reliable" and put "new reliable" in place.
Here's the view.
It is a nice place to relax and observe the birds and bugs and whatever else comes along. Remember last year's beavers?

On the way back up to the house I noticed the "lawn". If it weren't for dandelions I wouldn't have a lawn at all. Since yesterday, Stitch made dandelion cookies (actually more of a natural dietary supplement) and dandelion tea which were both edible and good for us. It's not likely that we'll ever run out of dandelions.

Not likely, at all.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Da boids is back and other springy thingys

From the title you might assume I am drunk. You can assume anything you want, but the fact remains that I have had only one beer today. The birds have come back from their off season at the beaches and other touristy places they must hang out when they are not here. Here are a few hanging around the homestead.

The barn is hosting many nesting pairs of barn swallows. What do they swallow you might ask? They swallow bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. A couple of hundred apiece every day which really adds up when you have a couple of dozen birds. They move pretty fast, though, and are hard to see unless they are perching. I tried to catch them in flight which is silly, but you get the idea.

When spring hits and the grass is just starting to grow you have a chance to see what has been laying around for decades that you never saw before or were to lazy to pick up if you did. There is a certain history involved with daily living. Here is an old oil can and some bones that were right under my feet the whole time.

What beautiful sunny day would be complete without a walk by the creek and ponds? Did you know that male cattails just wither up and die (I know what you're thinking) and the females ripen and blossom into a seed machine waiting for the wind to distribute their little offspring? They look different than the fuzzy brown cigar look they have most of the time. Here are a couple about to let it go.

The marsh marigolds are now in bloom, so where ever there is a wet spot (that doesn't sound right) there may be marsh marigolds. They sort of look like this in my imagination.
But in real life they look like this.
A last look back at the old bait house that hasn't been used for about 25 years. I have thought about tearing it down, but just can't do it yet. Maybe because I am too lazy, have better things to do, just don't care, or would rather take a nap, but I just haven't done it. It had been used for 20 or twenty five years as the working building in a leech raising business  by the people who own this.
The locally famous Beaver House bait shop. So you see, it has historical connotations that I just can't get past. It might just be bad karma to tear down the source of so much happiness for walleye fisherpersons, so I haven't. It still has a significance in my life and local history so here it is in all it's abandoned glory. I leave you with The Bait Shack.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Meanwhile, back on the farm...

While the weather does its yo-yo into spring thing with alternating nice days and some not so nice days, nature in general moves on. Yesterday we had snow flurries several times, but by next weekend we may hit 70F. You never get totally used to it. The shipping season is in full swing with freight, iron ore, and grain moving throughout the area.
The building season is getting started in earnest now that the spring weight restrictions are coming off the roads and things are getting very busy at work. We still have a moment of silliness now and then when one of our builders brought his daughters by after school. This one wanted to sit with Pinky so who are we to say no when she asked so nicely.
Gravity does funny things to his feet.

With the constantly changing weather we sometimes get fog. Being 600 feet above the lake we sometimes get to see the line between conditions. Sometimes it is a weather front or just an atmospheric thermocline, but from here we get different perspectives.  This time it was warmer air over the cooler lake.

Sometimes we can see the lake "breathe".

The birds are nesting and fighting for territory. Today there were a bunch of blue jays making a lot of noise, when suddenly there was a commotion and change in the noise. A Cooper's Hawk had swooped down on their party and got one. Here it is mantling at the edge of the yard. You can see blue jay wings protruding out from under it.
A bit gruesome, perhaps, but the hawk has a family to feed, also. It is just that we see a bit of raw nature being this far from civilization and at the edge of the boreal forest.

With the grass starting to grow everything that grazes is interested in grazing and getting along. Deer carry diseases and parasites that very adversely effect the moose population. So far there doesn't seem to be any harm being done to the horses. Maybe they are developing a cross species friendship.
Let's graze together and be friends seems to be the theme lately. It's okay with me.