Friday, March 30, 2012

Time to Regroup the Bird Feeders...

My family knows and appreciates my enthusiasm in feeding the birds. Every year I am blessed at Christmas time and on my birthday with gifts of new feeders, suet cages, and bags of seed. Over the years I have accumulated quite an assortment. But I learned the hard way that you can't keep your feeders up year 'round in the UP if you want to have them for a long period of time.

The bear are coming out of hibernation and they're hungry.

Also, to my joy this winter, I discovered a wide assortment of new birds up here in the UP, in addition to the finches, blue jays, chickadees, doves, woodpeckers, juncos, and sparrows.

For weeks I thought this little lady was a sparrow. 
But the red spot above her eyes had me baffled.
(This picture isn't mine. I wanted to give you a clear image.)

And she would always be joined by this handsome rolly polly guy.
(This picture isn't mine either.)

But the ones below are mine.

Remember when I posted this picture and asked all of you if you knew what they were?
Silence. So I'm thinking you were baffled, too.

A close up at my feeder outside my window.

After the last snowstorm.
Last week I came across a picture of these birds on Facebook,
and I went ahhhhah! That's my bird!
They are called Common Red Polls.

Below is another newcomer for me.

I showed you these beautiful birds this past winter...Pine Grosbeaks.

And recently I caught a glimpse of yellow and gold fluttering outside my door by the feeder at the corner of my house. I couldn't get a good picture without scaring them all away.
Once again, not my picture, but I wanted to show you a black-headed grosbeak.

It makes me sad to have to take the feeders down, but I will leave one or two old ones up in the tree in the backyard far from a window. The bear are usually too scared to get that close to the house when people are living here. There was a time when we were living downstate that we came up for a visit and my feeder was demolished and there were muddy bear paw prints on my screen, window, and on the siding of the house. I was glad he hadn't broken the window! Like I said, I learned the hard way.

One we caught on camera strolling to the feeders hanging in the tree...

You can pretty much figure out the rest.

I have another animal story to share with you.
Two nights ago Steve, Tess, and I were in the garage. Steve was standing by the window. My dog, Bear, began barking outside in her distressed tone, the way she does when our trapper friend comes over. He usually has dead critters in the back of his pickup truck - beavers, muskrats, otters, etc. - and Bear doesn't like that. We don't think she trusts him, so every time he comes over she barks and growls nonstop, keeping a large distance between herself and the trapper. So, we assumed our friend was coming down the road so Steve popped his head out the door to listen for his truck. At that instant, Ike proceeded to run as fast as he could the opposite way down our driveway disappearing around the corner of the woods onto the truck trail while Bear continued her barking fit at a safe place next to the garage. We thought perhaps they had seen some critter - hopefully not a porcupine. But Ike came back all intact when we yelled for him.
The next morning Steve discovered these tracks.

Moose tracks! 
The tracks made an about-face right at the corner of the woods and our driveway.

We figure there must have been two of them. A smaller one walked down the middle of the truck trail while the larger stayed along the edge. If the dogs hadn't been out, they would have walked right in front of the house. I better keep the dogs in and my camera ready!

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Spring Sunday Stroll

This is a much cleaner post!

Things are drying up I'm thrilled to say. And the yard is getting greener. My chives have pushed through the soil and I'm looking forward to snipping them and using them in meals. However, last night I had to cover up my roses that have already begun to sprout new branches. It is frigid here today - struggling to get out of the 20's - quite a change from a week ago.

Yesterday was a gorgeous day to be outside if you stayed out of the wind. We took a ride down the truck trail about 6 miles to a beautiful spot on the river where the fish bed down. In the fall, you'll find Salmon. In the spring, you'll see Steelhead.

The river is high this time of year and flowing fast, making it hard to spot the fish.

Here's one resting on its bed.

A view from the bridge.
There is a cypress tree lying across the river
which displayed vivid colors where the sun touched it.

This is the bridge that goes over the river.
You may recognize it from our four-wheeling pictures.

We took a stroll down the path...

...and found the feeding place for a hungry woodpecker.
(or desperate bear?)

We happened upon coyote tracks...

and passed by an empty den.

This red squirrel was so busy chowing down on something,
he didn't care that I took his picture.

This snowshoe rabbit was hard to see in the hollow of a tree trunk. 
I don't think she realizes she's still white and we can see her.
She wouldn't move so we assume she is protecting her babies.
Her winter white coat is slowly changing into a brown one.

The day was too nice to go back to the house and sit inside,
which we would have had to do due to the chilling wind,
so we headed north to Lake Superior.
Look at those whitecaps!

To our surprise, the wind was coming directly out of the north.
Getting these shots was very cold, but worth it.
We are looking forward to warm summer beach days!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

WARNING - A Dirty Post!

This post is going to be filthy...
there is mud and muck and streams and puddles EVERYWHERE. 

This is leaving our driveway...

...heading down our road.

We have culverts washing out...

and water is rushing over the road.

Suffice to say, the dogs and I have not been able to do any walking.

On the flip side, my tulips are poking through, 
the sand hill cranes and Canadian geese are returning,
the owls are hooting to each other, 
and a pack of coyotes woke Ike and me up last night.
Ike howled right along with them! Crazy dog.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Winter Storm 2012 Part 2

We are saying goodbye to winter in a big hurry. Yesterday we sat outside in lawn chairs and watched the streams all over the yard trickle their way down to the pond behind our house. Then we uncovered the grill and had a cook out!

It's hard to believe that this is the way things looked a week ago!

Lots of snow at the Grizzly Den, too.

The trails were at their best!

And so much beauty...

We even met up with our downstate friends.

Steve was very happy with the new snowfall. Over the last two weekends, 
he has accumulated over 800 miles on his sled!

But today it rained all day here, is now foggy, and our road is a rutty disaster.
As I type this, I see there are thunderstorm and tornado watches, 
even a tornado warning downstate.
What a crazy March this has been!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winter Storm 2012

Well, this past Friday night, winter finally arrived - all at once!

But let me back up to Friday morning...

Bear, Ike and I went for our morning walk. It was a very quiet balmy morning. If you look past Bear, down the road, you can see the fog lingering in the fields. It was as if Spring was hiding in the woods, waiting to make an entrance, as the birds were everywhere, flying from tree limb to limb, like swirling leaves on a windy fall day. From their perches they were singing at the top of their lungs- chickadees calling pee-diddy (or is it 'Hi Debi'?), nuthatches trilled, and woodpeckers were busy pecking away.

I have not heard a noisier morning this entire winter where the birds are concerned. Sure, I have had birds all winter, they just haven't been this vocal.

Steve went down to the neighbors and cleared out their driveway 
in the event they came to their camp for the weekend.

The snowmobile trail definitely needed more snow.

We spent the rest of Friday snowmobiling.
We met the Westhouse crew - Dave, Nick and Sara - 
for lunch in Cut River and then hit the trails with them.

Then on Friday night Steve groomed the trails from 8:30 pm to 5 am Saturday during the storm.

This was my fence Friday morning.

This was the scene we awoke to on Saturday morning.
It was breathtaking! Everything was clean and white again.

But we lost power around midnight, so we went into town for breakfast, and met more friends from downstate who were up to snowmobile over the weekend. They picked a perfect weekend!

Rudyard was busy cleaning out.

Don't blink or you'll miss this house!

Our road was transformed once again into a beautiful snowmobile trail.

We quickly discovered why our power was out. It would not come back on until 8:30 Saturday night.

Where's my car?

The snow is pretty deep!

On Sunday the sun shone all day with a beautiful blue cloudless sky reminding me of the Colorado sky. Here's a peek into our Sunday afternoon ride which I'll post next time.