January 23, 2017
First, I’d like to thank all of you who sent me cards, love, and prayers for recovery. It worked and I’m back in the saddle, able to type again (my left hand was semi-paralyzed) and busy working on charts and catching up with office matters.
Second, I want to apologize for the late arrival of this issue of Skywatch – time got away from me and I’ll be certain to get the next issue to you earlier in the month.
We’ve had the coldest December on record in Washington this year. All the big storms usually start here and move east. We had a fabulous dusting of snow earlier in the month and lows in the teens…brrr…but now are back to normal highs of mid 40’s.
The morning routine here is the same whether there is snow on the ground or it’s just raining. Leslie first brings in the feeders for the hummingbirds – one species of hummers winters here. The feeders were frozen solid on the coldest days, so Leslie thaws and refills them – a hungry hummer is waiting for her and eagerly gets on the landing perch to fill up when she arrives with fresh nectar. Next, Leslie feeds the rest of the “livestock” as she calls them. A wicker hamper by the back sliding glass door holds bags of goodies.
She begins by opening the peanut bag and throwing several handfuls of goobers out on the patio. Then she gets the bag of wild birdseed out and spreads it on the grass for the sparrows and the little birds. And last, another bag in the hamper comes out and it is full of oily, black sunflower seeds which are also thrown out on the patio. I sit at the dinner table with the sliding glass door behind me…and by the time I finish my first cup of coffee, we have a backyard full of guests.Leslie whistles when she throws out the goobers and in less than ten minutes more than a dozen hungry jet black crows show up for the peanuts and will grab three at a time in their beaks and fly off. And then here come the clowns, gray squirrels Earl and Pearl joined by their dark cousins, Blackie and son Bubba who sit on the steps of the patio and eat sunflower seeds for almost an hour. Meanwhile, the little birds are gobbling up the seeds out in the grass and staying away from the fat crows. It’s a fun, three ring circus every morning.
Something strange happened after the snow melted, The grass in everyone's front yard was green! This kind of grass is mossy and soft and delightfully green when watered on these Winter days.
The Kodak moment we got while driving the back roads was seeing trumpeter swans out in the barren fields. I saw two, while Leslie saw more than 30 in one spot. They are the largest birds that can fly with up to 10-foot wingspan, pure white bodies, and jet black beaks. They don’t like heat and so stay mostly up north in Canada.
Apples, Apples, we got apples up here. And the locals have just introduced a new variety. It is harvested late in the season “and has a tartness that is balanced by sweetness and noticeable apple freckles’ is what the press release says. They are called Crimson Delight. And I have no idea what apple freckles are. Sweet and tart at the same time? Sounds like “alternative facts”, doesn’t it?
Ah, the Sun is out today…the weather folks here call it “sun-breaks” and we’ll enjoy the ride to the post office, seeing the blue waters of the bay, the green line of pines and huge firs and cedars standing along the roadside, and in the distance, the white capped Cascade mountains and mount Baker. White, green and blue – the colors so pure we never tire of driving into Blaine to get your mail. And we thank you again for all your support and sweet notes.