Impending Autumn

I thought I’d post a few timely pictures to show I’m still alive and kicking! Fall is my favorite time of the year; the weather starts cooling and I can cozy up to thick, soft clothes. Who doesn’t enjoy the vibrant colors of a majestic hardwood forest? And fortunate me – I live in the midst of a beautiful one. See the flocks of silhouetted birds headed for the beaches, see some of the squirrels hoarding nuts while other sneak up and steal them, see the evening sun arrive sooner and sooner.

 

Write down what size furnace filters you need and get a pack now because you’ll be too busy with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas to think of them later. And a note to self, make up some of that superlatively soft fleece and faux fur you got on sale last spring…you have the patterns, now find the time!

News, Gratitude and Pictures

  1. Cabin 020My sci-fi eBook The Might of Defiance is FREE for the next couple days! If you wanted to be kind and review it, now would be a good time to get your Kindle copy. Remember, you can get a Kindle reader download for whatever device you’re using, if not a Kindle.
  2. Second but not second class, thanks so much for all the wonderful wishes for my birthday. Birthdays can be depressing, but not when so many leave such warm comments. Happiness to all!
  3. Here are some cabin-related pictures, photos of the place on Earth I treasure the most.

Cabin 20130721 040Strawberry in the leaves

Cabin 049.JPG

Come On, Spring!

Narrow Narcs 2Could there be a brighter harbinger?

 

 

 

A panorama of flowers trying to ward off the mean old coldWoodrose Narcs broad view

Peach BlossomsLeafy vs notAlgae spring close

 

 

The bright early plum

She wants to bloom free

Says winter’s a bum

I agree with the tree

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apples, coaching the laggard trees beyond

And the moss the moss on the stone is listening

As is the little strawberry nestled in the hay

Spring is coming, surely any day!

 

MARCH SNOW?  NO!

Narrow stawb in hay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Brown Bat Family

I shall describe this without pictures of the bats, bear with me. For the month of July, I heard almost nothing of my petite friends. I got the occasional peep and rustle from the nest in my big upstairs studio/library. I sleep upstairs at the other end of the house where I used to hear Falco flying out the small opening at the apex of the roof. I had asked the rascal to move out and he did, but the nest remained.

Friday night I was wakened in the very early hours by a flurry of flutters and cheeps all around me! Nothing else matches the soft beat of bats on the wing. At least one perched on the ledge above and just behind the bed. That one uttered commanding chirps to the others that were landing on the curtain rods, the clothes poles and the rafters. One seemed to be herding the others.

Now my interpretation: The babes in the nest were ready to go out into the great night! Falco directed the exodus from on high and Mama tried leading them to the high exit. Since these bats usually have only one tyke at a time, there may have been more than one Mama and my studio is a ‘nursery colony’ in the making, oh my. Or maybe there were fewer than my sight-deprived, abruptly waken state made me think. It sounded like bat mayhem at 2 AM. Ever hear of herding cats? Try herding bats! I might have been able to get a photo or two, but any light, or worse a flash, would have frightened them and ruined the parents’ efforts.

They flew out and left me in peace, however many there were. I looked about the next morning and found no mess, no destruction. I heard nothing bat-like the rest of the weekend. The Little Brown Bat family has taken to the skies of the marvelous woodland that surrounds the cabin. Hurray and the best of luck to them!

Honeysuckles, A Kid’s Delight

Honeysuckles!

IMG_4350Walking around the woods, the honeysuckles are about over now. They have beautiful flowers and strangling vines; woe unto the bush they get near. Another rampant Asian import! Of course this one is pretty, as are many of the others. As choke-worthy as they are, few folks have them in their yards by choice. As I have many acres of dense woodland as my front yard, I let ’em rip.

I remember as a wee child dodging the honeybees servicing the honeysuckles on the narrow woodsy footpath we used to taken to the Winn-Dixie. The massive display of flowers and the heady scent made Ma hurry (hay fever) and made me linger. I never worried abut honeybees becauseI mowed the grass with a gas push mower since the time I could reach the IMG_4351handle, and I always went barefoot unless in school or church. I counted 17 bees stepped on one summer. My feet didn’t stay swollen for long at a time, not enough to impede my rambling in any case. I digress.

I don’t recall where I heard about it from, but it was probably a book – go figure. I recently checked the Audubon Guide to Eastern Wildflowers and that authority actually mentioned it. Just pluck a flower and pinch off the green trumpet tip. Suck the honey out! I reckon that’s how they got their name. The process was a novelty for me, as the amount of honey in one of those is miniscule. Still, how many jillion folks go right by these vines every IMG_4353durned day and never dream of tasting them?

A Milkweed Memory

Walking about the woodland Saturday, I some noticed milkweeds along the driveway ditch which Blog 047brought to mind a story. It’s a story that gives a little idea of what Dad was like.

Dad was sitting out with Mom and me in the side yard late one summer. He had a Falls City beer in hand and his green work uniform on; that’s all I ever saw him wear. I believe he left the matching green cap inside that hot day, but the Vitalis kept his hair neatly in place.

Finishing his Kool Mild, he looked over to me with a grin. “Hootenanny (yes, really), go in there and get a bag and bring it out, a big bag.”

I raced in, eager to participate in whatever he had planned. I reached behind the Warm Morning coal stove in the kitchen and selected a folded grocery sack. They were made from nice, heavy brown paper with a flat rectangular bottom and straight sides for those of you unfamiliar with the pre-plastic trash days. I ran back out and presented it to him with a conspiratorial grin.

He didn’t take it. “Go over across the road and fill that about half full with milkweed pods.”

I said, “They ain’t ripe yet!”

He said, “Just go get ’em.”

Blog 051I did as bade, harvesting the plump green pods with dexterous 9 year old fingers. We lived on a white gravel road, had a white gravel driveway that segued into our white gravel sitting area under a tall poplar tree. Inured to the sharp edges, I ran back, barefooted as always. You only wear shoes to church and school, right? Dying to see that he would do with them, I passed them over and stood waiting.

“Go put ’em in the car and bring me another beer.”

Oh dern it! Would I ever know what they were for?

Fast forward a couple months. We were all in the living room watching Hee-Haw. In a commercial break, he laughed and told Mom the rest of the tale. For it to make sense, you Cabin June 2015 076must know he stopped by Ron and Herm’s beer joint after work every day and came home in time for supper. We pick up the story after supper, TV time. Well, here it is:

“Remember I took that milkweed up with me a while back? I emptied the bag in the heat pipes when George wasn’t looking. They set in there all this time! I got there just in time today to see white snow flying all over the damned place! He was cussin’ and havin’ a fit and it was in his hair and everything!” He laughed and nearly spilled his beer, then added, “It looked like it was snowin’ up a storm!” He looked so satisfied.

I was so proud to have done my part! Then Buck Owens sang ‘The Race Is On” or something and the event became the past. Maybe sometime I’ll write about what I did with the ant-covered dead roof rat…

 

Spider Barrage!

Spiders 012As I went through some photographs on my terribly overloaded computer, I saw these about the windborne spider invasion a while back. I was here rather late and the night shift guy ran in and said it was snowing spiders!

Oh no! Invading Spiders From Mars! Indeed, the tiny spiders came in great drifts; had they been from Mars we’d have been Spiders 016goners!

 

 

Spiders 011

 

 

 

 

This picture should show the drifters, but I doubt the resolution. Alas!

 

 

Of course if you want to see a REAL spider threat, come to the cabin and meet Harvey!

HarveyCabin spider 2

 

I Met A New Guy!

Walking around the woods, I keep an eye out for the newest wildflower blooms, snakes, and for something unusual. Saturday was a beauteous day, sunny without excess heat and thankfully rainless.

Fleabanes in grassThe ever-present fleabane is very pretty in the white and pink forms. I love the idea of them being flea banes, but have only found them to harbor ticks and mites.

Cabin bb blooms closeThere are many blackberry brambles around here, and never are they as obvious as when they are blooming. Wondrous cascades of white! Watch out for the fine thorns…

Yellow weed flowersThese fill entire fields, making pre-plowed farms have seas of bold yellow. Individually, they’re not much. An acre thick with them is spectacular.Woods 003.JPGOh, let’s not forget the flying flowers!

 

Then there he stood, frozen in place by the mere sight of me. I came closer, coy, not wishing to spook him. He may have been around since Day 1; I had not noted one before. Meet the Red Spotted Newt!Handsome little fellow, isn’t he?

Woods 006

Tarzan, I’m Ready!

Apparently my woodland aspires to be a jungle. We do have a wide variety of bird songs and noises, and avian visitors Blog 040from far down south. If you’ve never heard the raucous call of the Pileated Woodpecker, think ‘The Land That Time Forgot” and add volume! We have the misplaced marsupial Opossum, the Raccoon is a Coati Mundi’s size XXL uncle and the Bobcat is our version of the dangerously fanged feline. We don’t have Boas or Pythons, but we do have pit vipers that Blog 048would rather bite you than squeeze you.

I been around woods all my life, but never have I seen such vines as here. Take these for example; fat and mossy, long and criss-crossy. When I built the cabin eons ago, the vines were merely honeysuckle gage. I’ve watched this mega-choker evolve from my marvelous vantage point, the front porch. I always thought these were jungly-enough, but recently we had some mighty winds blow through here.

This greeted me at the mailbox, “Hey baby, want to swing a while?” Oh, please. I walked around it while avoiding the poison ivy – no thanks. Um, now my arm itches. If I can find the address, I’ll send the pictures to Tarzan and George (George, George, George of the Blog 030Jungle friend of you and me! George, George, George of the Jungle watch out for that tree!). They’re both probably happily retired in Pingi-Pangi or something…but what about the Georgettes and Tarzan Juniors?

I heard that! Somebody thinks I just want to start a woodsy side show and sell tickets. That affronts my environmental sensibilities, having all that traffic and attendant trash. Somebody else thinks I want to see a scantily clad, well muscled, handsome man swinging through my hickories, yodeling. Who, me?