Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hanging On!

I saw this pretty little moth outside in 29 degree weather with snow falling.
Posted by Picasa She was a beautiful surprise.

Little Lake

There is a pretty little lake about a mile from our place at Hasty Brook. I'm sure it has a real name but I've always thought of it as Little Lake.
The tamaracks were glowing along one part of the shoreline. They seem brighter on cloudy days.
I saw loon babies riding on mama's back for the first time this summer. There are only 2 house/cabins on this lake. I've nevere seen a motorized boat on it.
There is a wide spot in the road where folks fish for sunnies here. I think we'll try that next summer. Posted by Picasa

Animal Tracks and Wildlife

Anyone out there know animal tracks? We found some big ones around our campsite. Look at the size of this one! That is an adult sized hand for comparison. This track looks like two overlapped tracks to me, but the top half is so wide.
Here is another wide track. I can't believe it's a dog.
We saw this lovely group about a half mile from our place. They were grazing peacefully, but at least one of the herd always had its head up watching.
Posted by Picasa This pretty ruffed grouse was strolling up our driveway. Once it was is the brush it was nearly impossible to see unless it moved. Art and I followed it a while and eventually flushed a group of 5 grouse!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Break on Through to the Other Side

We found what we think is an old logging road on the east side of Hasty Brook. You can't really see the wheel ruts but we could feel them walking. The young aspen growth is thick on both sides of the road. I did find a stand of 4-5 huge, old aspen that the loggers left behind. We can see the tops of these tall trees from our campsite. In the top of one is a red-tailed hawk nest. John couldn't reach his arms around this tree. We walked quite a while along this road as the snow fell.
I didn't want to leave.
I wanted to stay and look and listen.
I want to be here in winter when the woods are quiet and blanketed in white.
I want to be here in the spring when the earth warms and life awakens.
I want to be here in summer when life sings and there are too many greens to count.
But I know this place is here, waiting for me.
And that makes me smile.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Bridging the Gap

I crossed the beaver dam over and back once. Coming back over I knew where all of the really bouncy parts were and my legs started shaking before I got to them. Art coached me to keep moving, don't stop, and to keep my feet apart to spread out my weight. Huh. I crept across to a sinky spot, stopped, clamped my feet together and shook. And shook. And started to sink. I stood there long enough to fully realize that there was no way to get a cherry picker down there to haul me out. I don't remember the rest.

But I'd been to the other side and I was determined to explore more. A trip to the lumber yard and some creative balancing by Art, and we had a bridge, of sorts!
John had no fear. He scampered back and forth many times without any hesitations!
The planks gave me some confidence. If I stay on the boards, my legs won't fall through the branches. (If I tip over, I'll be impaled on pointy beaver sticks!) I was able to relax enough to snap this picture of Hasty Brook upstream from the middle of the dam. Wow.
It was really interesting to look down at the dam construction. For the most part, the branches were very tightly woven. I was surprised at how much dirt there was. There were many rocks, some of them 8-10 pounds, packed into the works. The sturdiest areas supported growing plants, including a few aspen seedlings.
Hasty Brook is a DNR designated trout stream. We've assumed that there were fish in there, and looking closely at the dam we found several scattered piles of fish scales. Some critter has been fishing! I did see 2 river otters in the creek in May, maybe they're back! Posted by Picasa

Crossing Hasty Brook

Hasty Brook has a different face when the leaves are down. The tall grasses that grow along the banks have died back and the contours of the land are visible. Here is the west side of our land, across the creek, out of reach.
The water is much clearer than it looks in this photo. I liked the reflection of the trees on the water. The pines are more visible with the leaves down too. I notice the range of greens in them, more so on such a cloudy day.
Art has been wanting to check out the old beaver dam all summer. He felt confident that we could cross the creek over the dam. He's much more daring than I! The water just this side of the dam is 4-5 feet deep and COLD!
He crossed it! At this point I'm so envious it's unbearable. I NEED to be on the other side. Not sure how, but I did it. The dam was squishy and bouncy. If you look down while standing on it, you can see the water running through under your feet. For most folks this is no big deal, but it was for me. (I really cannot climb stairs that I can see through) The land over there was beautiful- all high and dry. It must have been logged out some years ago as there is a lot of younger (4-6 inch) aspen growth along with old balsam, black spruce and birch.

Blogger won't upload pictures at all this morning, but I can post 4 pictures through "Blog this" in Picasa, so it will have to be lots of short posts for me! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Going Up North!

FINALLY!! We didn't get on the road until Thursday morning. It was yet another gray, chilly day- winter does seem to have an early grip. We've definitely missed the fall color peak in northern Minnesota. To be honest, these more muted reds, golds and rust colors are my favorites. The oaks in the central part of the state hold on to their leaves a little longer and the colors are gentler.
Further north we drove into beautiful patches of tamaracks. Deb at Sand Creek Almanac did a lovely post about tamarack trees that is beautifully descriptive of these pretty trees. As a girl I always thought tamaracks were junky swamp trees. Nonsense!

Here we are! The view turning into Hasty Brook makes my heart glad. The birches had just started to yellow when I was there last, and now all of the leaves are down. The little puffs of white on stems along the driveway are the asters gone to seed. The creek runs about 150 feet to the left of the road, makes a curve beyond the pines seen in the distance, and doubles back 150 feet along the right side of the road. We have 10 acres, with roughly 5 acres on each side of the creek. All of our exploring has been on this, the west side of the creek- until Thursday! I'll post more when blogger allows me to upload more pictures. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Going Up North

I took this picture of our front entryway last week before the frost made slime out of the impatiens. I swapped them out with bright yellow mums and they look pretty nice. Look closely at the little hay bale on the cart at the right. I found the two fake crows at a local craft store! A couple of visitors have been convinced that they are real birds!

Finally, tomorrow after school we're heading up to Hasty Brook. We haven't been up there since the end of August. Between my working every other weekend and school activities for the kids, we couldn't get away. I'm going in to work a short shift (2300-0200) tonight and I have a bunch of errands to do tomorrow before the kids get home, then pack up the car, drive 2 1/2 hours, hook up the electricity, air out the camper, get the furnace going, make supper... A long day on not much sleep, but I'm going to Hasty Brook- truely the most beautiful place in my world!

AMEN!!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 16, 2006

Fox Sparrows

A few fox sparrows joined the mixed flock at the feeders on Saturday. These guys are pretty skittish compared to the rest of the sparrows and juncoes. They race through the gravel under the feeders, scratching up fallen seed.
This is a new yard bird for me. I'm sure they've been here, but I have only tried telling sparrows apart since spring. A great book for sparrow identification is Identify Yourself by Bill Thompson III. Maybe I'll try warblers next.

Friday, October 13, 2006


The juncoes moved in with the cold front on Sunday. They started in a trickle and this morning there are 50+ in the yard! Some might find their colors drab, but I think they are elegant little birds. Their bills and feet look especially pink against the snow.

Hey you photographer bloggers out there- any ideas why the majority of my bird pics have white eyes? It makes them look a bit evil! I need advice please.

 Posted by Picasa

Feeding Frenzy

Brisk winds and temperatures in the upper 20's sparked a feeding frenzy in the back yard. These goldfinches were bickering over thistle rights, while others were in a holding pattern in the lilacs waiting for an open spot.
This downy chased off a hairy to get a this suet feeder. Cheeky little bugger!
Earlier this summer Claudia Cardinale would never have allowed these house finches so close while eating.

The white-throated sparrows have been around for about two weeks now. I look foreward to their arrival, scratching around the yard. This one was enjoying a sun-dried tomato (fell off the vine and dried on the patio!). I've noticed that their "Poor Sam Peabody" song sounds very puny and watery this fall. Is it the season? Any ideas?

The high temps are supposed to move back into the 50's this weekend. We need alot more fall weather before the big white cold comes. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

First Flake!

Here it comes boys and girls! I just saw my first SNOWFLAKE of the season!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Sunday was alot of good things. The Vikings beat Detroit in a painfully exciting game at the Dome. Can you say Ba-OOOO!!! There were penalties and turn-overs and odd plays that kept me jumping in my seat!

This beautiful Red-bellied Woodpecker came through the back yard checking out the suet. I had just put fresh suet out in all three feeders so I hope he comes back. What a gorgeous bird!

I got a new camera for my birthday. It's a Nikon Coolpix S10- so cool! The monitor pivots away from the lens, so I can take pictures at odd angles and around corners. Super stealth! Lot's of time on Sunday to play around with it.

I didn't have to work. (healthcare is open 24-7 and sometimes I hate that)

Sunday was Lynne-designated Lynne day- no cooking, no cleaning, no running any where!

Sigh... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday is Bath Day!

Hey you! Get out of here! Some privacy please.