Category Archives: Birds

Dee’s Birthday: Once More to Wolfe’s Neck

The last week of October—a vacation week for us—was rainy, and much of it was spent playing a board game (Reign of Cthulhu) and watching movies and television series. (For sheer fun, Free Guy is hard to beat, and if you want a series that is scary, character driven, and philosophical, Midnight Mass is the one for you.)

Fortunately, the weather gods were with us on Friday, Dee’s actual birthday. It was one of those beautiful golden October days I like to gush about. Therefore, off to Freeport we went, back to Wolfe’s Neck State Park, which has become a favorite. It takes about an hour for us to get there, and if we lived closer, we’d go more often.

The air was crisp but not uncomfortably cold. While Dee and Clif went on the trails, I did my usual pottering. Before we left home, Dee had asked, “Will you be bored by yourself?”

“No,” I had answered. “I am never bored on my own.”

I think this is true for most of us who like to write, read, and take pictures, for those of us who are content to just sit and be. There is always something to absorb our attention.

The last time we visited Wolfe’s Neck, I had turned left on the Casco Bay Trail. This time I went right, to the lookout where the osprey nest can be spotted across the water on an island. The ospreys, having raised their family, are long gone, but they will be back next spring to begin again.

I carefully went down these stone steps

and came to a small cove that captures the essence of the Maine coast.that

After taking pictures, I went back to the trail and sat on the edge of a small bridge overlooking the sparkling bay. I smelled spicy balsam—which reminds me of Christmas—mingled with the salty scent of the ocean. Beside me, water from a small stream trickled into the bay. All around me was the dry rustle of falling leaves.

After Clif and Dee were finished with their walk, they joined me at a picnic table in the sun. I had brought a thermos of tea and a pack of Pepperidge Farm cookies, and we chatted as we ate and drank.

Another fine day filled with sweet simple pleasures. Yet again, I am grateful that we are a family who cherishes simple pleasures, not expensive, not fancy, but ever so satisfying.

 

 

Clif’s 70th Birthday

Yesterday was the actual date of Clif’s birthday. As regular readers know, we are firm believers in celebrating birthdays early and often. We had his big party a week or so ago, but we couldn’t let the 27th go by without doing a little something.

So off to Hallowell we went, to grab appetizers from the local Chinese restaurant and settle by the river to enjoy them.

The day was cloudy but warm, perfect, actually, to be by the water.  In a flash, two hours went by as we ate, chatted, and watched the river, which caught bands of rippling blue from the sky.

We saw a number of cormorants swimming, fishing, and resting. Here is a picture of one flapping its wings.

We also saw gulls, but I wasn’t able to get a good picture as they were on the move.

Afterward, we came home and had drinks on the patio.

We all agreed it was a lovely way to celebrate a birthday.

Yellow Jacket Update

In a previous post, I wrote about how we were being bothered by yellow jackets, a type of wasp common in Maine. They were buzzing the hummingbird feeders. They were buzzing us. No fun at all.

Sadly, we took down the hummingbird feeders. This took care of yellow jackets terrorizing the hummingbirds, but they still continued to pester us. Online, we read a tip about drawing away yellow jackets by putting sugar water in a bowl and setting it some distance from where you sit.

Easy enough, and that’s exactly what we did.

I am happy to report that this plan is working beautifully. The yellow jackets are so drawn to the bowl of sugar water that they leave us alone. Japanese beetles and ants are also attracted to it, and it seems that many of them can’t figure out how to eat without drowning. Every day, there is a collection of insect corpses—including yellow jackets—and the dish must be emptied, cleaned and refilled.

No matter. Cleaning and refilling the dish doesn’t take long, and it’s wonderful to sit on the patio and not have to worry about being stung by a yellow jacket.

As for the hummingbirds…the bee balm is still in bloom, providing plenty of nectar for those little Wills-o’-the-wisp.

In a week or so, we might put up one of the feeders to see what happens. We’ll see.

In the meantime, no pesky yellow jackets and hummingbirds that are getting what they need.

Chickens in the Woods and Episode 6 of my podcast tales from the other green door

Late afternoon, when we sit on the patio, we hear their gentle scratching as they look for tasty tidbits at the edge of the woods. We raise our glasses to the chickens: Get those ticks!

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Another Wednesday, and another episode of my podcast, Tales from the Other Green Door. In “Iris’s Flash,” Episode 6 of the story “The Wings of Luck,” Iris has a premonition of things going horribly, horribly wrong.

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Finally, on another subject…for some reason known only to the WordPress gods, I have not been getting email notices of new posts from all my lovely blogging friends. When Clif and I checked the settings on WordPress, we noticed that the box for receiving email notices was not ticked. Why? Who knows? As far as I can remember, I did not go to that setting and untick the box. Anyway, the box is now ticked, and I hope I will resume getting email notices. Fingers, toes, and everything else crossed because for me this is the best way of keeping up with everyone’s blogs.

Goings-on in the Backyard in April

So far, April has been very kind to Mainers. The weather has been warm—at times downright hot—and the bugs have been few. The mud is pretty much gone. Accordingly, we have been diligently working on spring chores.

For our wood stove, we get blocks of wood delivered on pallets.  Over the past two years, we have acquired quite a collection of them. Time for Handyman Clif to break out his hammer and saw and take them apart. Some of the wood will be used for projects, and some of it will be used in our fire pit when the kids come for a visit this summer.

As for me…my job is to rake the yard and clear the gardens.

Before, in the backyard.

And after.

However hard we work, we are never too busy to take a break on the patio and watch the fluttering beauties that come and go.

Somehow, I never get tired of taking pictures of cardinals. Part of me can’t believe that we actually have them in our backyard. Cardinals are relative newcomers to Maine, and Clif’s mother and my mother died before ever having a chance to view one of these lovelies. How I wish they had lived long enough to see them.

Here is the flashy male,

and his less flashy but still attractive mate.

We do have other birds visit us, including chipper little chickadees, our state bird.

And robins, which we actually don’t see that often. I think they like open areas better.

We have other birds visit us, too, and I will be ready with the camera to take picture of them.

Now, onward to the front yard!