Apr 30, 2008

Leaf Out in Scotch Valley

Driving down from Saint Francis today the shades of yellows and greens against the mountains. Some trees have already flowered, like the maples, but now those are leafing out. The red flowers of the red buds and the white flowers of service berry offer bursts of bright color contrasting against the dark trees.

Scotch Valley and the Canoe Creek area offer the random placements of these trees in the untamed areas and the neatly planted rows of them in the domesticated landscaping of the homes and lawns of the tame. Give me the surprise of a splash of color. You can keep the neat and tidy landscaping.

Even the birds are coloring up. Goldfinches have their yellow and black feathers back. A male bluebird is frequenting property offering flashes of blue and orange as he flies from perch to perch. Purple finches are frequenting the yard in search of sunflower seed. Their is nothing quite like their raspberry red coloring. Even the female offers a brown and white pattern that is quite pleasing.

Apr 25, 2008

Spring Marches Forward

As April has moved along, warming temperatures accompanying some rain has brought numerous wildflowers and some wildlife to Red House. Spring peepers have been joined by the trill of toads while the wood frogs have fallen silent. April 20th in the evening after a good soaking rain, I found two mallard ducks in my yard. I watched them for a few minutes and then caught some distant movement out of my eye. A large snapping turtle was traversing the wettest part of the property, moving towards a drainage ditch that connects to Canoe Creek. I wished my daughter had been here to see it.

Other noteworthy events include the discovery of the heron rookery I had heard about. I saw 11 nests, but I am told there are 18. Also, I drove (slowly) through Scotch Valley April 17th I think, counting the deer that were emerging as the light of day disappeared. 54 deer were seen. I can't recall the last time I saw that many deer in one day, let alone 15 minutes.

Greening grass and emerging spring wildflowers have also been a pleasure to watch. While skunk cabbage was definitely an early arrival months ago, I have found trout lily, at least two species of violet, and Christmas fern up and active in the last two weeks. Beautiful to say the least.

Apr 7, 2008

Energy Bad and Good News

I came home this evening to an error message on my propane boiler, leading me to spend an hour and a half to figure out why my boiler wasn't working. I called the guy that installed it. Then after some additional attempts to get it to light, we found the problem. No propane. I had been watching the gauge for a month, trying to gauge the costs of this new furnace and the fuel it will consume, and the gauge hadn't moved. I have no experience with propane, and the boiler is an Energy Star appliance so I thought it might be what to expect. I should have realized the propane gauge was stuck. So the propane truck is on the way.

The good news is the woodburner was ready to serve and the living room thermostat is now reading 78 degrees and a fan is blowing heat into the bedroom. A red glowing fire with the occasional cracks and pops of the burning wood is very comforting.

Apr 6, 2008

Spring Peepers & Wood Frogs

The onslaught of warm weather and rains has pushed us into spring. I have added a great blue heron to my yard list, as well as a belted kingfisher, and Canada geese. I have heard a kinglet, but I don't remember if it is a ruby- or golden-crowned kinglet. The most exciting sound in the evening is the frog calls. Wood frogs call their duck like "chucks" while the peepers scream out their peep calls from the yard not more than 30 feet from the house. The attached video is nothing but sound, so don't hope for a picture. It's dark at night and I don't want to silence the chorus with light!