Eastern Screech Owls

Adult and fledgling

A family of Screech Owls has been visiting the back yard every evening all week. They come in from the woods as the fireflies rise from the grass, that brief crepuscular window between dusk and dark.

There are two adults and three fledglings. They are fearless. With full faith in their camouflage, which makes them nearly invisible, and pay me no mind as I stand nearby. They swoop overhead to low hanging branches, dive into the grass just a few feet away, then fly back up to feed whatever they’ve caught to the hungry youngsters. Sometimes so close I feel the wind from their wings.

I almost didn’t notice them. There is no sound when they fly. But sitting in the yard watching the fireflies, I kept seeing a random blur in my peripheral vision. It was only when the mockingbirds started raising a ruckus, mobbing something in a tree, that I went to investigate. I stared at the tree and saw nothing. Then one took flight and went over my head.

The name for these birds is a terrible disservice, and truly misleading. They don’t screech at all. There’s only a soft trilling as they chitter to each other. When one does call at night, it’s a musical mournful sound, more like a child lost in the woods, tired and weeping.

Vintage Travels ~ Guatemala

Lake Atitlan from Casa del Mundo.

A decade ago, we met good friends for a couple of weeks exploring Guatemala. It’s a great way to travel, with friends who know the country well. We went places and saw things we would never have found on our own. And it’s only better when friends have someone to share them with.

Hoping we can get back again soon.

Lake Atitlan from Casa del Mundo.
Sunrise on Atitlan from Casa del Mundo.
Sunrise on Atitlan from Casa del Mundo.
Santiago Atitlan.
Livingston. A half mile walk up the beach takes you to a hotel and small cafe. No access by road.
Down Rio Dulce to Livingston. From a cove of lily pads, a boy and girl paddle up in a dugout to sell crafts.
Around the central square of Solala.
No room inside, riding up top with the luggage.
In Antigua
Calla lilys in a hotel lobby, Antigua.
Back of the cathedral in Guatemala City.

First Snow of the Season

Yesterday afternoon was warm rain and a walk in the woods in shirt sleeves. Overnight we got a foot of snow, so this afternoon was winter coats and skis.

Lots of trees down, roads blocked, power out, etc., but it’s lovely. I stayed out well after dark, coming home in snow fog under the stars.

Home Again

 

Passed a couple of really big milestones this week.

1) Today I finally was able to bring the boats home.

 

 

The Melonseeds have been away rooming in Doug Lawson’s rented garage for well over two years – since a month after the house fire. We needed our shed to store what could be salvaged from the house while cleaning and construction progressed.

 

 

Even after the basement was cleaned out from two feet of sooty water, and purged and repainted, it was temporary storage when we moved back in, until remaining projects got sorted out.

 

 

So Doug gratiously offered to space with his boats about 20 minutes away. We’ve had four boats, plus kayaks, two or three lawn mowers and wheel barrows, etc., all crammed into that two car garage ever since.

Then, of course, we got hit with this little thing you may have heard of – a worldwide plague – which has lasted over a year.

So before I could re-home the boats I had to clean out the shed. To clean out the shed, I had to first clean out the basement. Done, and done.

 

 

 

 

Also, after a year of doing nothing, I’m out of shape, so this project required some concerted hammock time to finish.

 

 

2) And, fortuitously, I was able to schedule my first dose of the anti-plague vaccine last week. Apparently, I’ve been drafted by Team Pfizer. Put me in, coach, I’m ready to play!

 

 

 

Weather was great today, so Doug and I met over at the garage and extracted my boats. Looked just like we left them – a fine dusting of pollen the only sign they hadn’t been on the water a few days ago. And home they came.

 

 

 

 

It’s been a harrowing couple of years, no question. Today, for the first time, it’s starting to feel normal again.

And good.

Looking forward to time on the water again very soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks Doug!

Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid | Colossal

Swamps are such amazing places, and when not maligned and drained, are mercifully neglected.

CHASING GHOSTS | OFFICIAL SCREENER | © GRIZZLY CREEK FILMS from Grizzly Creek Films on Vimeo.

In their quest to identify the pollinator of the ghost orchid for the first time, a team of explorers, photographers, and filmmakers spent three summers standing waist-deep in alligator- and snake-laden water, swatting air blackened by mosquitoes, and climbing to sometimes nausea-inducing heights. They came away with a startling new discovery – and an even deeper love for Florida’s wildest wetlands – revelations that may help to conserve both the endangered orchid and its shrinking home.

WINNER, ‘ECOSYSTEM’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS

WINNER, ‘SCIENCE IN NATURE’ SHORT FORM – JACKSON WILD MEDIA AWARDS

WINNER, ‘LIVING FORESTS’ – WORLD WILDLIFE DAY SHOWCASE

Produced by Grizzly Creek Films in partnership with bioGraphic:

https://grizzlycreekfilms.com/​

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* Instagram: @grizzlycreekfilms @biographic_magazine @bendicci @carltonward @peter_houlihan @macstonephoto

 

Source: Chasing Ghosts: A Short Documentary Debunks a Long-Held Theory About What Pollinates the Ghost Orchid | Colossal

Winter Projects ~ Kitchen Tile

Planning the layout

 

Next up, tile backsplashes behind the kitchen stove and the sink.

Again, after figuring out the plan, it only took a weekend. One day to cut the tiles with a $100 diamond wet saw and attach them with mortar. The next day do the grout and clean up.

Now the spaghetti spatters won’t show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snow Finally

 

You know the tropes:

take an umbrella = it will not rain
wash your car = it will rain

Two years ago, I bought some used cross county skis to replace my old ones.
It has not snowed since.

Until this weekend.