Saturday, June 23, 2012


Here are some photos of this year's feature performers

Here's what all the fuss is about.
I swear these cedar waxwings like to pose for photos.
A somewhat impressionistic shot of young raccoons
A female hummer at one of the feeders

Raccoon mama was displeased with us and growling

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'm having a nostalgic moment.  I'm missing Spain.  It doesn't help that its in the news daily for its financial woes.  When I hear the news that the bottom is falling out of the real estate market there, naturally, I feel bad for the Spanish people, but one craven piece of my heart rejoices because this increases (infinitesimally) the possibility that I might one day have a little piece of property high in the Asturian hills, to restore lovingly and to make my base for hiking holidays to come.  In my dreams, it is a place for my Camino pals and I to reconnect, and a way to share Spain with all my loved ones.  Did I mention the lottery win which would have to be part of this plan?

It doesn't help that Nick is having a motorcycle adventure for the next week or so. See what happened here! It's not that I'm jealous of his fun, (if you can call hundreds of miles on rough gravel roads through spruce bog, being chewed up by "bulldogs" and blackflies whenever you stop for more than five minutes, into the heart of nowhere fun) I just wish I were having some too.

In recognition of my incurable addiction in the face of all logic, and as a way of venting my frustration at wanderlust thwarted, I present my poem, written in Spain, with photographs from two Caminos.

(clears throat)


O, Spain!

Land of skulking cats, too much perfume and every thing deep fried.
Where people sing on the buses and each day is celebrated with rich red wine seven o'clock in the morning.

O, Spain!
 land of bored, tired dogs who bark at EVERYTHING
because there is nothing else for them to do.
Why do I love thee?

Is it because your women can negotiate cobble streets in stilettos?
Or because a grandee in kid leather boots
Riding his sweating gray down the street behind the bullring
paused to ask after my health?

Or is it the wagon ruts worn into stone on Roman roadways
Or any number of other reverberations of the past
That make me recognize the non-linear nature of time?

Perhaps it is the sturdy kind of common sense
that makes city fathers install escalators on the cliffs which pass for streets
in the seaside towns.

The "get on with it "spirit that rebuilt Gernika

Or the rich broth of comfort
that comes from millennia of human presence.

Whatever it is, I miss its taste.
Oh, Spain......


The mulberry tree which shades the southwest corner of our house has  begun its yearly transformation into a restaurant.  Its branches are now dragging on the ground, burdened with what must be a million pale green berries nearing ripeness.  The call has gone out into the forests and the creatures are coming in droves to munch on the sweet fruit.  The berries don't look that appetizing, and their texture leaves something to be desired as far as I'm concerned, but their juice is both fragrant and delicately sweet.

This morning, as we had that first lifegiving coffee on the deck at seven, before the world turned into a sauna, we spotted a pair of shy catbirds, and a group of waxwings in their geisha-like perfection.  They made the robins look lumpen and clumsy as they flitted from branch to branch doing their best to remain unseen.  In the distance, I could see the inevitable black squirrels hugging the trunk.  The hummingbirds, who believe that tree to be their property, gave the occasional buzz of annoyance and decided to use the feeder nearer our table instead of the one by the tree.  Its not that they couldn't take all comers with one wing tied behind their iridescent backs, its just that in their wisdom, they take the path of least resistance.  When you have a metabolism revving as fast as theirs does, you don't need any extra stress in your life.  This is fine by me, because next to crows and ravens, hummingbirds are my favourites and I like to see them up close.

At night, the raccoons will come.  We'll sometimes hear them squabbling, which sets the dog off. In the morning their leavings will wreathe the trunk of the tree.  Going barefoot is not an option at this time of year.  Occasionally, the adults will leave their babies in the tree for the evening while they go off hunting for something with a little more protein, confident in the tree's ability to babysit.  Sometimes, we're lucky enough to catch them on film (well, you know what I mean).

Red squirrels also favour the tree at this time of year, though our chipmunks don't seem to.  Too much competition, maybe?

For the birds and animals, the tree is food.  For us its like a great program we look forward to every summer. I prefer Mulberryvision to Television, any day of the week.  Stay tuned!