this post has been days in the making..
Last Saturday, I thought I'd post this as a "weekending' post. Later, when I hadn't gotten around to it, I figured I'd plug it into a "walk with me wednesday' post. It is neither. Seems like there ought to a day to mark the first bike ride of the spring.
The weather was SO warm and beautiful (and partly overcast), that we decided to throw all of our previous plans out the window, load the bikes onto the back of the van and head to our nearest bike trail.
The Blackstone River Bikeway, part of the RI State Park system, is a nearly 12 mile trail that runs for a time along an old towpath paralleling both a canal and the river. It travels through history, passing by archaeological ruins of several New England milltowns. For an urban trail, there is a remarkable amount of wildlife. I've seen deer, beaver and muskrat, blue heron, ducks and geese. This weekend it was turtles. They were everywhere!
When we crossed the marsh, we stopped to watch the largest fresh water turtle I've ever seen. It had a shell nearly two feet long! While we watched, it caught dinner, a bird!!!! I still can't believe it. I was very happy to be way up high on the boardwalk. That's one bit of water I don't want to wade in.
Sorry, no pictures. I tried. For the longest time we thought it was a submerged tire. Then it swam. I had only the camera in my phone. Though most of the turtles we saw, and at one place we counted 19, were the painted variety, the big ones must have been snappers.
It was an all too short ride, round trip about 12 miles. Still, perfect.
(okay, I know it isn't Wednesday..)
..we're creatures of habit, drawn to the familiar.
The first shot was taken about a week ago, on a hike through Temescal Canyon. It was a perfect day for a steep uphill climb, overcast and cool. While the northeast enjoyed temps in the 70's, LA was dipping into the 50-60s. Just what we needed, stepping out of winter.
The second picture was taken yesterday on another hike, this time on the east coast. The weather had changed and temps were nearly a match, overcast and cool. Before heading over to Sachuest Point for our real hike, we stopped to look out from the rocks at Pergatory Chasm in Middletown, RI. It is a very small site. I've gone there for years to watch the water surge in and out and to listen. The sound is wonderful.
(*thanks for the bird ID. It is a Scrub Jay. )
Whew! The days have been racing by. Between the longer daylight hours, and the incredibly unusual weather (and flooding) that New England has experienced the past couple weeks, I've let this post slip.
IT"S TIME!!! GET YOUR FEEDERS OUT!
I checked this against last year's map and it looks like they are about 10 days early. If you are interested, compare them yourself for your area. I generally figure that they get to me around the first week in May. Last year I spotted one a week earlier.
Just in case you've forgotten the recipe for hummingbird nectar or are new to this and thinking that you'd like to set up a feeder, here goes:
Bring to a boil: (I do this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave)
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
NO fake coloring.
That's all there is to it. Easy, huh?
Speaking of birds.. Last Sunday, Chris and I headed to the beach with our dinner. Afterward, while C snoozed and read the paper, I took a second walk. A bit down the beach, I spotted a couple kids throwing rocks at a seagull and yelling for it to drop the starfish. I ran for my camera.
At the beginning of the summer, we promised ourselves that we would take Wednesday afternoons off and go somewhere. It didn't happen. Things got in the way. We were always too busy. But after last Sunday's jaunt to a nature preserve, which we thoroughly enjoyed, we decided to make sure to have this past Wednesday afternoon free. I was going to tell you about the picnic, the pork and sweet potato pie, and the chocolate cake, but there isn't room in one post. We ended up in a magic forest. It had to have been . Where else would you walk through a field of dragonflies..? Thousands of them, flying as a cloud around you, hitting each other with a clear clacking sound. I tried to hold the camera and get a short video. It's not much, and terribly blurry. Watch it, then close your eyes and imagine, dragonflies, or fairies.
The trail lead across the field. There we entered a forest of twisted trees, limbs reaching overhead and across the path to meet their neighbors on the other side. We passed through the wood, walking in a shadowy, sun spattered tunnel.
After nearly a mile, we came out of the wood. In front of us was a huge salt pond. Beyond it, the ocean.
There was an observation deck.
Across the pond, sat an osprey on it's nest. Atop a nearby tree, sat the mate. They were too far away to photograph with the camera I had.
Trustom Pond Wildlife Refuge. Amazing place.
Here's a link to some amazing info on dragonflies. Everything that I've read about swarms indicates that although food, mating and migration may be the answer, no one is really sure. There was a lot of food around, and the time of year is perfect for migration.
Don't you love a little mystery?
Labor Day Weekend. It is hard to believe. The summer was so cold and wet, that the past two beautiful weeks feel more like the beginning of the season than the end. The end it is. Migrating species are on the move. As Laurie mentioned yesterday in her comment, the male hummers are gone. Each evening I walk to the field to count the night’s Canada Geese stopovers. The energy level has upped a notch. It is palpable. The surge before the fall. Hunting, and gathering. Preparations for the seasonal change. The moon is full and unbearably bright. The only thing keeping it from waking me at night is that it is low enough in the sky to partially hide behind the still leafed trees. Red squirrels are busy eating and dropping the pine cones from the highest branches. Watch out below. You’re likely to get bopped on the head. I’m in a constant battle with my apple loving neighbors. The deer aren’t waiting for the drops. I saw a rustle of leaves out of the corner of my eye yesterday morning and thought the blue jays were busy pecking at the apples. When I stopped to scare them away, there, instead, was a young buck, on hind legs, pulling at the red apples hanging within reach. The wild trees are full. The deer know the cultivars are sweeter.
With so much activity, I wanted a project that was fairly
easy. Something to take onto the deck with
me at the end of the day to relax.
Onerva looked easy and it is after you get going. I had a bit of trouble figuring out if I had
all the information I needed to begin.
Thank goodness knitting charts cross language barriers. The notes and expanded charts from other
knitters on Ravelry helped.
I chose a new yarn I’m trying for Ball and Skein. It is a silk / sea silk blend, lovely to work
with and a pleasure to dye. It isn’t up
on the site yet, it will be. Silk can be
slippery. I wanted to use a needle with a bit of
grab. Not much, but a little bit to keep
the stitches in place. Knit Picks Zephyrs are perfect. The points are sharp and the needles are very
light weight. That they are transparent
tickles me every time I look at them.
They are sure to become a favorite of mine.
It promises to be a perfect weekend. I’m planning on deck time, some kayaking and maybe even a walk in the woods. No traffic for me.
Have yourself a good one.
The weekend brought the first sound of peepers, only a few, but a sound so welcome that I left the window open so that I could fall asleep to it. The andromeda bloomed and there were small insects flying, everywhere. I heard, but didn't see, my first red winged black- bird of the season.
The sky was an impossible blue, but was it really that blue? I can hardly imagine. Whatever the color, Sunday was gorgeous. The wind came from the land, not from the water. We'd started the morning working. Again. You know the expression "wound up tight"? We needed some time off. Really off. It didn't take much to persuade Chris, just the mention of a picnic and a walk along the water and off we went.
If you are heading up to the NH Sheep & Wool Festival this week end, please stop by the Ball and Skein booth and say "hi". I'll be in the Home Arts Building. It is the first building in through the Blue Gate, on the left. There is a cookie vendor outside and the booth next to me is the "Tea Guy". Free tea! What could be better?? Cookies, tea, and yarn.. hmmm..!
If my plans go well, I'll be walking here tomorrow. It's time for some spring. Mother Nature has her plans. I've got mine. Though I'm quite sure she knows what she's doing; this year, she's taken her time (10" inches this week on top of the now melting 3+ft). While the north still has a white blanket, I've headed south. I've seen robins and heard peepers, sure signs of spring. Now for the long drive. I want flowers.
In preparation, I went through my briefcase checking to see what was in my inventory of just in case patterns. Shocking, I could go for years. Here's the short list:
Maine Morning Mitts, Ice Queen, Gust, Oh! Canada, an Old Shale shawl, A Judy Pascal shawl, That Little Scarf, Crest of the Wave, Chill Out Hybrid Shawl, Taconic V-Neck, a catnip mouse pattern, Dayflower Lace Scarf, Rainy Day scarf, Hypoteneuse Shawl, A Kim Hargreaves lace cardigan, Birch, .. it goes on. I'm packing yarn and beads for Muir and the Ember socks, one extra skein of sock yarn (I don't know what I'm thinking, but I NEED to be prepared), two spindles and some really nice fiber. That's it. All those patterns... they get filed for the time being. I need to lighten my load.
Anyone know a good yarn shop in the Outer Banks?
When I heard the sound, I knew to run. Not for cover, but for the clothes line. The last of the five loads of laundry I had washed were still hanging on the line. This woodlot on a hill where I am, was once named Crow Hill. For good reason. The oak forest that hides this place is home to legions of crows. In the fall, thousands of birds pass through, hour by hour, making their way through the tall thick canopy of oaks. I wonder if they are drawn here to feed, or if it is chance that the route passes this way. The trees are full of acorns. While here, we strategically park our cars in open spots, away from the falling missiles that C is sure can dent the cars. For now, I'll stick to the indoors until they pass by.
Today there is another migration, of knitters and spinners on their way to Rhinebeck. Do you suppose the residents there say, "lock your doors and windows, stay inside, they're coming, again."