Friday, May 28, 2010

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Native Plants - Grass Iris

According to Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest by Arthur Kruckeberg, the West Coast seems to have a monopoly on grass iris. This one is I. tenax. "The most common and certainly the most beautiful grass iris in the Northwest." I live at its northern limit, and it is plentiful as well as beautiful.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Welcome Lady

Lady, an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, lived happily on a small ranch with a marina for two years. However, when the tide went out she would sneak around the edge of the fence and visit the neighbors. The neighbors started getting upset, and now Lady has found her way to me.

She and her people are sad to be parted, but Charlie and I are thrilled to have her here. She is familiar with peafowl, chickens, sheep and goats - and emu! I think she will fit in well here. Charlie needs the help, he is getting old and his hips are bad. Not that he lets that slow him down much, but hopefully with a young girl to help him out he will take more breaks, and consider retirement.

She'll live in the kennel for awhile, until everyone gets used to her (the sheep are NOT ready to accept a strange dog!), and she gets the feel of the place. She's a lovely girl, very gentle and sweet with a quiet manner. I hope she'll have many happy years here at Ravenwood.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Tiny Visitor

I'd had a busy day. As I climbed the hill to the house my mind was filled with the vegetables and fish I planned to cook for dinner. On my way to the kitchen I heard a very loud buzzing. Bumble bee on steroids? I backed up and listened. What?

With a certain amount of trepidation, I walked into the living room, and the buzzing started again. I recognized the sound at the same time I saw the tiny bird hovering in a high window. A hummingbird had found her way in, and couldn't find her way out. What to do? She's high, she's fast. A net.

Another trip down the hill to get my bird net, and I was ready. I was still hoping to talk her out of the house, so I put the dogs out and opened the front door. As I walked back into the living room she darted past me, stopped briefly at the Christmas Cactus to sip some nectar, and zoomed into the bedroom - where she tasted some more flowers before fluttering into the window.

I grabbed my camera. What would be cooler than a picture of a hummingbird sampling my tame, indoor cactus? Unfortunately the little girl was camera shy, and darted out as soon as I got close enough for a picture. A couple trips later, she was really tired out.

She hovered again as I approached, and I managed to get a quick picture.

It was heartbreaking to see such a small and beautiful creature so exhausted. I carefully covered her with the net, and even more carefully picked her up.

I had to wait for her to recover before I could let her loose. I grabbed the closest flowering cactus, put a drop of water on my hand above her beak, and went out on the porch.

It turns out it's quite difficult to take a good picture with one's left hand while holding a tiny treasure in the right hand. All my photos are fuzzy, but they do show her brilliant feathers. I'm pretty sure this is a Rufous Hummingbird. She did revive and flew off at speed. Blessings, little jewel, and thank you for letting me share your life for a few moments.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hail, Hail

We don't often get hailstorms here, and when we do they tend to be fleeting and light, with small hail pellets. Today was different. The hail came crashing down, and it didn't stop. Just when the intensity ebbed and I thought it was ending, a new wave of pelting white pellets came through.

Millie did not think the hail was amusing.

By the time the storm blew by the ground was covered in pea-sized hail. It stuck around in the shady areas, looking like piled-up snow.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A New Bedroom

A friend gave me a dog house her dog had rejected. I set it up in my back yard, hoping that Hannah or Trey would find it acceptable.

And Trey claimed it for his own. Now when he's stuck outside he has an official house to snuggle up in.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Aerial Attack Alert

I was just checking my email when I heard Millie, my guard against the skies, go nuts. A quick look out the window showed her jumping and lunging at the fence, leaping up to the sky. She was very agitated. I went out to look, and as usual, was very glad I did.

I saw a mature bald eagle swoop down and snag a piece of meat off the ground, then fly to a nearby tree to consume it. All this so close I would have gotten a wonderful picture, had I thought to grab the camera on the way out.

A bald eagle just touched down in my field, in front of me. Wow.

I don't mind sharing some meat with them. Hopefully they'll stick to scavenging and not take my lovely little bantams. Millie is now barking warnings when they circle to closely - still high enough that I can barely tell they are eagles.

I seem to always be rewarded when I check out a dog alert - but I really need to add "snatch the camera" to my routine!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stunning Sunset

Well, Maybe.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Let Us In?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sneak Storm

I am pleased as I go out to feed, because the sky is mostly blue and there is a hint of sun. It's cooler than yesterday, but dry. At the end of my rounds, as I walk towards the sheep, I hear a big wind. It is coming from the north, rattling leaves and buffeting air, making it's approach known. I stand and watch, as one tree and then another is tickled and then bent by the approaching wind. Now leaves are flying, and a bird is diving, soaring, playing in the airstream. Gray clouds are seeping steadily south. I stand and watch, which turns out to be a mistake. I'm struck by an ice ball, then two more, and then it is hailing loudly as I head up the hill to the house. The sky is still half blue, then a hint of blue, then gray. Sheep run for their shelter.

The hail stops. The wind stops, then returns to tickle the treetops. A hole opens in the center of the sky and sun sneaks through. The greens are beautiful against the blue-gray sky, intense as colors are only during storms. The wind gusts, recedes, gusts. What will happen next? The chickens run back out to see if the storm brought any food with it. There remains a hole at the top of the sky where the sun shines through.

Spring storm from the north sneaks in and plays.

Saturday, May 01, 2010