Monday, June 20, 2016

Father's Day and The Day After

Johnny wanted to tour the farm in his EZ Go on Father's Day plus walk through the ox-eye daisy field that I had photographed a couple days earlier. So we did. A butterfly flitted from daisy to daisy as we walked behind and I took photos. From the web, I learned it was a Checkerspot Butterfly. I don't remember seeing one here before. We have many Swallowtails, but this butterfly was new to me.

Beside the daisy field is a steep drop-off to Agency Creek. I took Johnny to my lookout spot where I sit and watch birds and whatever else is around the water. Johnny found it to be a very restful spot.

Here is the shirt he was wearing...

After he woke up, we took an EZ Go ride past the goat field...

Johnny measured a gate that needs replacing while I hiked to another spot on the creek... to see what I could see... but I was so noisy crashing through the underbrush that has grown up considerably since the last time I went that way that anything around would have been long gone before I reached the creek.

As I came back out to the horse field, the horses looked to see what was emerging from the woods... Mr. Smith and Nightingale wear grazing muzzles to slow down their munchings so they don't kill themselves on grass. Jessie Anne (the palomino) does not have the metabolic problems of the other two so she doesn't have to wear a muzzle.

Johnny noticed a Red-breasted Sapsucker flying back and forth between a shrub (behind the horses in the above photo) and a big maple down by the gate Johnny had been measuring.

He investigated the shrub and found it riddled with sap wells that the Sapsuckers had drilled. The holes were swarming with happy yellow-jackets. The two Sapsuckers were  busily carting either insects stuck in the sap or the sap itself? to the big maple that must have had a nest hole on the back side. The sapsuckers were presumably feeding nestlings.

They made a lot of trips back and forth.

As usual, there was a lovely sunset that evening...

followed by a full moon...

After such a restful, peaceful Father's Day, I guess Johnny needed some excitement. When I came home from my morning Qi Gong practice the next day, Johnny was behind his shop with a row of bottles. I didn't know what he was doing until later, when I saw the photos he had taken and heard his explanations. Oh my.

These are bottles of cider he made that have started to work. See the white bubbles?

Johnny decided he needed to pop them outdoors before they exploded indoors. So he found a tool to poke a hole in a bottle... from a distance.

It worked.  Here the mist is beginning to escape.

Each bottle emptied quickly after being stabbed open...

Often, more quickly than Johnny could get out of the way...

So he tried a pitchfork with a longer handle.

It didn't work. Johnny came in for lunch covered in sticky hard cider. But I think he had fun.

That night, the first day of summer ended with another lovely sunset...

 that grew more and more brilliant...

And would not quit...

 A beautiful and lasting finale to The Day After Father's Day... and the first day of summer.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Hay is in the Barn!

It was a challenge between broken-down equipment, unsettled weather, and illness. Johnny was nearly over his bad cold when he finally rounded up a neighbor, Bruce, to cut our hay. The usual neighbor, Paul, had not repaired his equipment over winter and although Johnny spent two days running around trying to get parts, it was hopeless. Then he borrowed Paul's rake and had to replace numerous tines before he could use it. Paul brought the baler over but had not looked at it, either, since last summer and the baler had a broken hose that had to be repaired before it could be used. In spite of all that and a little mist right after the hay was cut, it all got dried, baled and in the barn.

Of course, the day we had to put it in the barn was 95 degrees. I was still sick with a bad cold and so was neighbor Irv who usually drives the tractor while we load and stack, so Johnny loaded the hay wagon himself. Johnny and I unloaded after the sun went down and finished at 11:30 at night.  The next day the rest of the hay was baled and we got it in a little earlier, since it was a little cooler that day (June 5). So glad to have that job done! The operation, in photos:

Bruce, mowing

Johnny, raking

Paul baling while Johnny pitchforks hay into place to make it more efficient for the baler

Johnny loading the trailer

It was a lot of work for Johnny. Of course, other things fell apart at the same time: the barn refrigerator quit working; the barn hot water heater sprung a leak... all over the milk room floor. But Johnny managed to replace the hot water heater before too many days and we have given up on a refrigerator in the milk room for the time being. I haul baby goat bottles back and forth from house to barn. Soon the two little wethers will be weaned!

This week I transplanted tomatoes, peppers and artichokes into the garden, and weeded and watered from the rain tank that collects water off Johnny's shop... lots of water. Now it has rained and filled the tank again. It is a wonderful system that gravity flows water from the tank through a hose to the garden at just the right rate. Of course, that newly devised system had to be reconfigured and repaired a bit before being put into use this week.

Johnny has earned his afternoon naps.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

More Black Oystercatcher Surveys

For the first time, I was actually relieved when I found no nesting BLOY at the end of one of my most unfavorite survey hikes... the North OP (Observation Point) at Road's End. The view once I arrive is spectacular. But... the hike is difficult. I amused myself along the way by taking photos of Johnny climbing up the steep Thumb to his OP. That little dot in the middle of the green cliff is him.

And cropped...

 However, that's the only tough part of his hike. Then he gets to sit on top and watch for BLOY on the two nest rocks below him. Here he is from my vantage point on the North OP, where, by the way, I saw no BLOY on the North nest rock. So I don't have to go back there this year!

Can't see Johnny? He's between the two trees on top. Here...

 And up close with my Nikon...

Johnny watched the two pair that nest on South Rock and Middle Rock, while I took close-ups of the rocks from my OP... but saw nothing on them. Thank goodness for the lovely view in all directions...

In the afternoon, we went from Road's End to another site where Johnny had an even shorter hike and sat for two hours watching a pair of BLOY wander around the top of Refusal Rock looking for a suitable nest site, apparently. Meanwhile I hiked in on a very rough non-trail to the North Cascade Head nest site... and found nothing. This is the site where I had found a Turkey Vulture lurking two weeks ago. I suspected it had disrupted the BLOY nesting plans. This was the second time with no BLOY so I don't have to make that hike again either!

The next day, we looked for BLOY on Cascade Head itself. Johnny hiked in to look toward one known BLOY nesting area while I hiked to another. (We have a permit to enter these areas to monitor BLOY in this otherwise closed-to-the-public season.) Johnny had interesting encounters. First with a couple herds of elk.

And then, with a pair of eagles just building a new nest. The rocks in the distance are where Johnny is supposed to be looking for BLOY. The leaning trees between him and the rocks were where the eagles were bringing long sticks for their new nest. If you have exceptional eyesight, you might see a white dot in one of the leaning trees. That's an eagle.

 Here it is closer...
Johnny said some of the sticks the eagles carried in were twice as long as their wing span. You can see some of them in this photo. A pretty messy looking nest so far!

Meanwhile I was hiking the long Hart's Cove trail to a point where I head downward through the brush to a viewpoint looking out on the big rocky island where a pair of BLOY traditionally nest.

They were there, but not yet nesting. Instead, they tried out one spot after another.

All the while I was serenaded, if you can call it that, by dozens and dozens of sea lions on the rocks in that cove.

After an hour, I gave up and hiked back up the long, steep, 7 switch-back trail to my car. I will be back to this site next week to find out if the BLOY have actually laid eggs and begun to incubate.

It was a relief to rest up today after two days of strenuous hikes. But we did have two evenings of wonderful dinners at our favorite Thai restaurant in Lincoln City. And enjoyed meeting Dawn for one of them and swapping BLOY stories with her. Only another BLOY nest monitor can understand why we do what we do. Some days, after long hikes, I wonder myself...


What a year this is for roses. They are blooming so heavily I've had to tie them up off the ground. Maybe if I'd pruned them they would be sturdier...

John F. Kennedy does not usually get this carried away.

This floribunda (I guess) was here when we moved here in 1977 and always blooms like crazy with blooms that last a very short time but just keep coming

Oklahoma with just a few flowers open yet

Burgundy Iceberg, my only purple rose

Armada (I think) is out of control this year

Gebruder Grimm with the lovely shiny foliage is in bud, soon to be loaded with flowers that constantly change color

and here they are

This old-fashioned rose was here when we moved here in 1977. I have no idea what it is.

One of my few hybrid teas, Love was just beginning to bloom when I took this photo. Kitty was keeping me company as I photographed.

Playboy has to be seen in person to be believed. Constantly in bloom.

 Here's a close-up of some of the color variations Playboy's blooms go through.

And a bud...

Climbing Iceberg covers one side of the chicken yard fence.

Climbing Iceberg has a little help from Queen Elizabeth. At least that's what I think this lovely pink rose is. I started it from a cutting many years ago that a friend had on her place when she moved there. I've read that Queen Elizabeth was a popular rose that many settlers apparently brought with them to Oregon from points east.

This is a cutting of Zepherine Drouhin that I started from my original bush. It is usually the first rose to open but was beat out this year by Playboy and Armada and others
The rambling rose Paul's Himalayan Musk has rambled high up our Hybrid Poplar next to the front drive. It looks white here, in bad lighting, but it is really a light pink.

This is an ongoing post as I take more photos of roses in bloom...

English Violet
English Violet with all those buds open

Disco Dancer