I wondered what I should do about harvesting and decorating a tree for Christmas this year. I live alone and have no one to share a Yule tree with. Do I really want a tree? Then I looked out into the yard and saw this tree already decorated with bright yellow ornaments. Hey, I’ll call this my Christmas tree. Then later…………….a good fairy came along and flocked it for me. Doesn’t it look nice?
The day after Christmas I made a visit to my daughter’s home near Cascade. A view from the window revealed a sleeping red fox laying curled up sleeping on the snow in an open field below the house. It remained there for several hours shifting position occasionally. Late in the afternoon it aroused itself and trotted off toward some nearby trees where it paused long enough for me to shoot the above picture. I was shooting through a double pane window, using a 30 power zoom with the subject several hundred yards distant. This was just before sundown evidenced by the long shadows.
With the weather cooling off I thought I’d take a look at a Springtime photo. Here is a busy little nuthatch with plum blossoms in the background.
The North American Bluebird Society has an annual meeting every year at various cities in North America. This year, 2014, Boise, ID was chosen for the second time as host city. The first time was in 1994. The meeting was sponsored by Wild Lens Inc. assisted by the Golden Eagle Audubon Society. Matt Podolski, the gentleman at the extreme left, is President of Wild Lens. Sherry Linn, the lady standing fifth from the right, is President of NABS. Others in the photo are bluebirders from many of the states throughout the U.S.
Two of our field trips were to Prairie and the Owyhees. We observed both Mountain and Western bluebirds which were life birds for many of the folks from east coast states. As an added bonus some held the nestlings during banding operations.
The out-of -state people were amazed at the spectacular scenery, canyons and rock formations at Prairie and high desert juniper and mahogany trees in the Owyhee mountains. The above picture was taken at over 6000′ above sea level. The two rounded peaks in the background are Quicksilver Mountain on Cinnabar Ridge. We are about ten miles south of Silver City. If we were to swing our view about 90 degrees to the right we would see the Snake River Plain some 3000′ below stretching from Weiser to Mtn. Home.
This is my favorite nestbox site for photography. I call this nestbox, “A home with a view.”
This little locust tree is saying, “Autumn has arrived.”
The site of the old cabin
This scene takes me back 80 years to my early childhood. Left of lower center one can see the skeletons of two dead Lombardi poplar trees. Originaly there were four of these trees set around a spring-fed well. About 30 or 40 feet behind and to the right of these trees stood a small three-room board cabin. A few hundred yards up Cattle Creek to the right were pieces of iron and a chopped up boiler, reminants of an old whiskey still. In later years I refered to the cabin as a “moon-shiner’s cabin.” Norton, an older brother of mine, was living in this cabin when I arrived in May 1934.
My mother died in January ’34 while our home was in Boise, Idaho. My step-father left Boise and placed me in the care of my oldest brother, Stanley, presumably so I could finish out the school year at Park School. My grades in school were always average or above. Soon my grades began to fall and I was behind my classmates in learning. One day a representative from the Welfare Department paid us a visit at home inquiring about my well being. Shortly thereafter I was whisked away from all this to live with Norton in the cabin mentioned above. I never finished the 6th grade. I was just 12 years old.
Summer rolled around and Norton found work during the haying season about three miles away. He would come home from work every night and leave early the next morning. My chore was to milk the old Jersey cow and take care of the calf. What was a poor kid to do that had been brought up in the city with playmates and people around? Here on Cattle Creek the closest neighbor was a mile away and they were elderly with a grown daughter. Our cabin was located a mile off the Pleasant Valley road about 12 miles south of Jordan Valley, Oregon. Teddy, our dog, was my sole companion during most of my waking hours during those hot summer days in 1934. Teddy and I roamed about in this desolate sagebrush landscape with nothing particular in mind. I was lonely.
Mother Nature came to my rescue and introduced me to flowers, birds and other wildlife. I got acquainted with a nest of Brewer’s blackbirds and the Bullock’s Oriole which I called a canary. I recall a group of Sage Grouse, Red-tailed Hawks, ground squirrels and snakes. My first encounter with a rattle-snake was when one entered an open door and rattled a warning when I started through the room. All of these things and many more experiences flashed across my mind when I revisited this scene 80 years later. While I feel sorry for this orphaned waif thrust into early hardships I am grateful for lessons learned as a result.
Outside the window I see patches of snow on the brown frozen turf. Buds may be starting to swell on the deciduous shrubs and trees but it is too chilly to venture out to do yard work. It is getting close to spring and cabin fever is almost unbearable. I browsed through my albums and happened upon this picture. This summer photo of a Red-naped Sapsucker helped shake the winter blaaas.
I’ve been looking foreward to Spring. The ground was mostly free of snow and a Snowdrop peeked around a piece of snow in the flower garden. So much for that! This morning I was greeted by five and a half inches of new snow. I broke out the snow remover and cleared a path out to the woodshed. The scene demanded a photo. Here’s one of the better ones.
While browsing through my photo files I came across another fall color taken last month. This patch of yellow stands out beyond a field of brush and framed from above by a rocky canyon. I never tire of the scenery presented in our beautiful state of Idaho.
I made a trip to Prairie a few days ago to make a final check of the bluebird nestboxes. On the way I paused occasionally to marvel at the changing color of the aspens and cottonwoods. The above photo was taken on the south fork of the Boise river. The bottom photo was taken on Smith creek just north of the little town of Prairie.