Sunday, March 29, 2009

Morning run

The morning air was still chilly, in the 20's, when I set out, but the sun already had warmth to it and the eaves were dripping.

About a hundred yards from where I started, an immature bald eagle took flight and crossed the road ahead of me. Of course the camera was not ready. But I anticipated what I saw next, and the camera was ready:

Posted by Picasa
These two pairs of Canada geese have been enjoying the deep pool on Sand Creek for the last few days. One day I saw a pair of hooded mergansers with them, but they were not there today.

Further up the road I was serenaded by bluebirds.
blue on blue

I was doing my "creek run", where I cross Sand Creek, run up to the corner, turn right and run to where that road crosses Sand Creek, upstream from the first crossing. The creek was flowing strong with the spring runoff, but from the ice suspended above the water surface I could tell it had been higher a few days ago.

I have forgotten the exact length of this run; perhaps 2 1/2 miles. The middle of the run is uphill, with the corner being the highest point. Even if I have been a slacker at running the last few months, today felt good and even after I turned the corner and headed for home, I felt as if I could go on much further.

Running gets me into this meditative state that is hard to describe. Words form in my head, poetry comes effortlessly, and I feel during that time that all is right in my corner of the world. Indeed I have the luxury of beautiful surroundings, and of rarely having to contend with traffic. There is no need to listen to my iPod while I run; it would only be a distraction from what is real.

Friday, March 27, 2009

New 'puter!

I came home from work and hooked the whole thing up. Now we're online in the new house, and if I want to blog at 3 AM there isn't a long walk thru cold and mud to stop me!

Ahem...more coherent posts are forthcoming. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring unfolds...

...and it's hard to keep up. Within a week we've gone from redpolls to juncos, robins, and bluebirds. Kestrels, killdeers, and sandhill cranes. Woodcock, the original twitterers. And lots of eagles lately.

Me, I've been slogging through the mud between the house and the cabin, hearing the rain on the roof and dreading more mud. But mud is a fact of life.

I've been playing flute and banjo more, hoping to establish a good habit in my life. I've decided my new musical goal is to learn to play on flute, completely up to speed, The Bothy Band's set "A Jig and Five Reels". I downloaded and arranged a two page copy of the tunes, and tonight I sat down and learned them. Not up to speed by any means, but I have a core understanding of the tunes now.

Too bad the nice weather will come along soon and take away my music learning momentum!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

more posts coming...soon

I have been quieter than usual on this blog lately, and I apologize for it. There are a few reasons, including:

Spring is in the air, and I want to be out experiencing it. Heard my first sandhill cranes today!

I am uncomfortable with doing more than a quick post from work lately...I'm sure there's already a file on me...

I am on Facebook now, which makes it easier for me to write a quick "what's on my mind" there rather than write a coherent blog post here about every little thing that happens. I think it's a win win situation; I get the instant gratification, this blog gets the stuff I've actually taken time to think about. Don't worry, I still enjoy all of your blogs, even if you're not my Facebook friend. :)

Our home computer, a monstrously slow beast, is still in the cabin so I have to slog through the mud to see the "low disk space" alert that pops up every minute. I've worked on the disk space, but I think it comes down to the fact this thing has a small brain to begin with. The computer, not me. :)

By the time I get to the cabin, I don't feel like typing out a thoughtfully long blog post and fighting to upload pictures.

The last couple of reasons will soon change. The Hermit and I, after much discussion, have decided to buy a new 'puter. There's a local business ten miles away that puts together custom systems at a reasonable price, and we'd rather give them our business than buy something on the Internet. It will be ready on Friday, and we will set it up in the new house. One less reason to go to the cabin, although I still have my seed starting shelf in here. I think with the computer in the house I will be more inclined to sit down in the evening, maybe even morning, and compose a blog post or two.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One for the life list!

There are some advantages to not having indoor plumbing yet.

This morning I was outside at 4 AM, and besides the usual rumble of freight trains off in the distance (4 AM seems like the usual time for them), I heard something from nearby in the woods. It sounded like someone blowing the same note on a pennywhistle over and over.

Northern Saw-whet Owl!

I have been hoping to hear one of these little owls here; we are right within their year round range and we have the mixed conifer/hardwood forest that is their preferred habitat. Now if I could only find it and take a look; I've seen photos and they are so cute. Of course, I should probably not use the word "cute" to describe something that could rip my flesh apart with its talons and bill.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Yes, I saw my first robin since Christmas today. It was in the 50's here. Spring has arrived. :)

I took a nice run/walk this morning and the new header photo is one of the results. I had to spend way too much time loading Kodak Easyshare, which somehow disappeared from our hard drive, so by the time I was done with that I didn't feel like blogging about my walk. I'll try to do it tomorrow.

I have a new post up on Under the Blue Roof. I have lots more ideas for posts there, so stay tuned.

Tonight I'm cooking stuffed pork chops, probably with peas and an oriental cabbage salad. I actually made out a meal plan for the entire week, and meat is thawing in the refrigerator. I guess spring weather does that to me.

UPDATE: There is enough leftover pork to make fried rice tomorrow! Which bumps my meal plan, which I guess is okay.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I took off work two hours early just because. Just because I was tired of being there, and it was so nice outside, and I really had no pressing need to be there.

When I got home, The Hermit asked if I wanted to drive with him to Moose Lake, where he needed to pick up a couple prescriptions. I was up for a ride.

On the way we saw three snow buntings. I had not seen any of them in about a month. Then, as we drove into town, crossing the river and seeing open water, we saw them. Two Canada geese.

Spring is here!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

fun on a freezing day

Just for fun, go to Google and type in "Minnesotans for". You don't have to type anything else. The top search match that shows up in the drop down list is...

"Minnesotans for Global Warming"

For more fun, Google "if we had some global warming" and watch the YouTube video that shows up. I'm too lazy to embed it here, but it is hilarious.

I'm all for it. The temp got down to 20 below zero last night. Even when winters were more "normal" back when I was a kid, I don't remember it being that cold in March.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


A few things I'm thankful for lately:

The weather. It has been melting, thawing, sun feels warm on your face March weather. Don't expect it to last forever though.

The birds I saw today: black capped chickadees, white breasted nuthatches, red breasted nuthatches, blue jays, crows, ravens, one cardinal, goldfinches, one female purple finch, one American tree sparrow, and the redpolls. Lots of them. And I saw a juvenile bald eagle yesterday morning. And turkey tracks today when I took my run.

Running. I am easily able to talk myself into it when the weather is nice, and I am always rewarded.

Neighbors. While I was running, I had a brief chat with the best neighbors in the world. Must invite them over soon.

Music. I played my banjo briefly today , but I recall a practice session yesterday when I was doing some incredible things. Too bad I can't recall most of them.

House. I love my house. Even though it isn't finished yet, we don't even have indoor plumbing for God's sake! I love it. And no mortgage.

Husband. He told me today how much he loves me. We are made for each other; nobody else would be crazy enough to love either of us!!

Kids. They are wonderful. They all cleaned and rearranged their rooms today. Perhaps my housecleaning efforts inspired them. I doubt it. Calvin insists on my practicing pitching and catching with him every day in our slushy driveway. Today he got his saxophone out, in part to annoy his siblings, but he got into a playing groove and I heard some really good stuff. Stuff you would not expect from an eleven year old! So I'm going to try and encourage him, and maybe lead by example, to practice every day.

This day. I am so glad I got to spend this day at home, rediscovering the every day wonder it is to be here. That is all.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring training

This made me smile when I uploaded it this morning. If you have your sound turned on, you can hear Sally bark and hear the crack of the bat.

On a sad note, Starflower's pet rabbit Cocoa died last night. Cocoa was the rabbit who had an eye problem last summer. Her eye never quite returned to normal, and I think it may have been bulging due to a tumor underneath. Cocoa had been losing weight recently, and last night she looked very listless. Poor thing.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

backyard grouse

Yesterday afternoon, just before sunset, I looked out my back door and saw something in the tamaracks and birches. I took four photos, all blurry, but this one is the best:

Ruffed grouse! There were four of them (only two in the picture) eating buds. These are the first grouse I've seen around the house this year. They do tend to be more visible this time of year for some reason; I recall blogging about them before.

After I took the pictures, Calvin persuaded me to come outdoors to catch while he worked on his slider. It's spring training time, after all!

Monday, March 02, 2009

It is March. Let the optimism begin!

...Thoreau's Journal: 2-Mar-1859
As I go through Cassandra Ponds, I look round on the young oak woods still clad with rustling leaves as in winter, with a feeling as if it were their last rustle before the spring, but then I reflect how faraway still is the time when the new buds swelling will cause these leaves to fall. We thus commonly antedate the spring more than any other season, for we look forward to it with more longing. We talk about spring as at hand before the end of February, and yet it will be two good months, one sixth part of the whole year, before we can go a-maying. There may be a month of solid and uninterrupted winter yet, plenty of ice and good sleighing. We may not even see the bare ground, and hardly the water, and yet we sit down and warm our spirits annually with distant prospect of spring. As if a man were to warm his hands by stretching them toward the rising sun and rubbing them.

-From The Blog of Henry David Thoreau

When winter lasts nearly six months out of the year, one tends to greet any sign of the warmer half with gratitude. Whether it is the higher angle of the sun, the paired flight of ravens, or even just the date on the calendar, the distant prospect of spring does warm the soul.

This morning the thermometer read fifteen degrees below zero. I had to look at the calendar to make sure what day it was, as if the lightening eastern sky at 6 AM didn't tip me off. It is March. The month of thawing, freezing, and thawing some more. The month when, early one morning, the first pair of Canada geese will announce their arrival with raucous calls. The month of sandhill cranes, of red winged blackbirds, robins, juncos, hooded mergansers, and woodcock peenting at twilight. The month when one bright sunny day the temperature will rise to 50 degrees and Minnesotans will drop their daily business and head outdoors to bask in the promise of warmth.

These thoughts warmed me as much as the fire in the wood stove and the wool socks on my feet. Sure there will be more snow; it would not be March without it. There will be ice, and slush, and mud, and rain. But we're getting there. Our spirits are thawing with the rising sun.