Wednesday, May 30, 2007

3 things from 2 weeks past

since there is no time to blog now, here are three unposted things from early may....

The most beautiful, non-people thing I saw in Oklahoma was the scissor tail fly catcher. What a strange and wonderous bird, like a living, breathing kite fighting with the sunny wind over the lake.Early morning misty
Sunlight on the rice field.
Inverted furrows of curving irrigation mounds, two toned glowing and shadowed green. Looking like the serpentine mounds of an ancient culture, they are just modern agricultural features of the Arkansas river bottoms on the way to Memphis from Oklahoma.

A glance out the greyhound bus window looks level and directly across into the cab of an adjacent semi truck. It finds the driver blending himself a breakfast drink. The puree is just at the stage of adding the banana and he juggles the steering wheel with his knees and deftly, without a splash, operates the battery powered hand held mixer.
It generates amusement and hungrification for the 3-more-hour-away destination and the first chance to eat something more than banana chips and almonds from the bottom of the knitting bag.

Friday, May 25, 2007

green rampage

Three perfect days in a row
Weather-wise,that is. Came back to the holler to find the brown and wilted leaves and bare branches covered over by rampaging green growth.
My boys tell me we had a frog-thumping rain while I was gone. The front moved out and left a trail of 40 degree nights and painfully perfect blue days. The hills are now so green they look like piles of broccoli illuminated from the side by neon light.
Close up, the bright leaves are still tender like salad bowl lettuce. Next month they will firm up and darken and summer will be official.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

searching for patterns (again)

I woke up wanting to knit a cabled sweater arm, like it was winter, starting over again.
Slept under two quilts to a marvelous rain and frogs chorusing out both bedroom windows.
Creeks up!!!!!!

Friday, May 4, 2007

bird sex

Caution, this post really is about sex.
I am noticing something that I have not noticed in other springs...crazy, wild and obsessive bird mating. Evan and I were in the back of the holler and we saw this titmouse couple, chasing and then coupled together in flight and staying that way for a long, long time....down the creek and back up and down again, then once around the pond for good measure.
We were impressed.
I didn't give it any more thought, then this morning, I watched phoebes doing it, then a couple of chickadees, more phoebes, titmice and some hummingbirds....The seemed to stay together longer than what I have observed before and were generally making more of a commotion than what I consider normal. And I had to ask myself, why is everybody doing this in my front yard on this particular morning?
I have seen birds mate before, but this behavior is different. Kinda reminds me of the goings on of the current younger generation downtown Nashville in the club scene....extreme, frantic, and a different person every night.
Then I saw something that really wrinkled my forehead in pondering.
I saw a carolina wren pair. They were making alot of noise and commotion, doing what they were doing....a male cardinal came swooping in, I thought to break up the commotion. But he ran off the male wren and then he jumped on the female wren like a big rooster on a little banty hen. When he finally fisnished what he was doing and it was not a "mutual in flight thing" like the other pairs, he flew off of her. She was pretty ruffled up and hid under the forsythia bush for a while, regaining her composure before she flew off.
Is bird rape normal? is this rape, if it is not your species? Has this been going on all along and I just didn't notice?

Thursday, May 3, 2007

pawpaws and turtle and the light

Looky here! I found one! better than a magic easter egg!
Course, in all my wanderings, I have only found a few, and most pawpaws are just leafing out and chucking the whole reprodutction trip for this year, but for some reason, even this little effort means something, somehow. Will they make fruit?
My scientific mind skirts the primitive superstition that I doomed the pawpaws by posting in glee over their prolific blossoming just before the freeze, so am I tempting fate now by mentioning these little buds, seen here behind the previous attempt?

I believe I have a gajillion turtle photographs, they are such accommodating wildlife when it comes to study. At one time, I was photographing and cataloging shell pattern types, looking for, well, I don't really know....
There is a very interesting and well written article here by Marcia Bonta about saving box turtles, that discusses their wandering ways.
Anyway, this photo is good of his face because of the light. And the light is really what this post is about. Isn't this an unnatural light for first of May? (if you were from around here, you would say, yes, by now the trees would be in full leaf and the forest floor would be dark enough to need a flash to determine if he had red or yellow eyes.) But, no, the diffused light is still unnaturally bright. It makes the holler hotter than usual, and maybe the extra light is what is encouraging the paw paws to go ahead and give it another try?
What else will so much light this time of year do? I can already see grasses seeding rampantly in the understory...hmmmm.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

may day morning

Random Acts of Recovery, Oak Tree

Here we have a white oak in an overgrow field near the Cumberland River. By this time last year, it would be in full, but young, bright green leaf.

And in our close up, amongst the freeze dried leaves, randomly (to our eyes anyway) the recovery leaves are popping out here and there.

This time last year, the forest itself would be a multitude of shades of green light and green shadow. This year, it appears as multi-hued as an impressionist painting endeavoring to capture the light through contrasting colors.

No, this is not an autumn scene, this is late April in middle Tennessee.

Do you see it!? No, silly, not the bird, the green oak recovery leaves up in the corner!

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