On assignment for the Ogemaw County Voice: Cover the Open House at the West Branch Area Wastewater Treatment Plant.
One advantage to living in a county with less than 22,000 residents is that events tend to be less crowded. I was privileged with a personal tour of the facility by Joe, one of three full-time employees at the plant.
Especially the “ear-full” of Cedar Waxwings flitting about the dredging tanks. They must have thought it was a water museum.
Christmas, 2010. Our Wisconsin family gave us a long, square box to unwrap. It contained a woven hammock.
Today we strung it up between two oak trees in our front yard.
Andy was the first to take a nap in it.
He said, “It’s an anti-productivity device.”
sand pit velodrome
swallows chatter in pursuit
swoop in for feeding
I bought another box of suet cakes. Seems we have hungry hairy woodpeckers nesting nearby.
I wonder if things aren’t getting a bit too easy around here.
A few weeks back I lamented the lack of my camera. I was leashing up the three dogs for a walk down Brady Road and for half a second I thought about throwing the strap around my neck. Nah, too much to handle with the three of them.
I was more than sorry when we reached the woods/field boundary about a half-mile south. A whoosh of wings startled all of us as four or five turkey vultures lit up from the ditch ahead. We stopped. As my camera-less eye followed the big birds I caught sight of an eagle perched high in a dead tree a few yards from the road.
We four stood and watched in awe, long enough for me to bury myself in regret. The eagle sat and watched us in return. The dogs stood alert, but easy.
Would of, could of, should of. Ah well.
We continued and found the vulture’s breakfast…a decimated deer carcass.
I turned and the eagle finally dropped from his branch, wings spread like a hang-glider. He dropped earthward, and at the last, one flap lifted him toward the sky. A second flap later he caught an updraft and soared. Out of nowhere a kamikaze-crow (less than half his size) flew in from the starboard side, cawing.
Not only did I lament not having my camera, I wished I had attached my 300-500mm lens!
But. Today. I had my camera. And my long lens.
On the way home from an assignment covering the West Branch Classic Road Race, I spotted two eagles enjoying brunch in a farmer’s field. Enjoy….
After a mild winter, Andy checks the propane level on the pig tank.
He calls me over.
“Isn’t the sky the most amazing blue?” I say. “It’s like we’re wearing polarizing lenses over our eyes.”
“Talk about blue,” he responds, and lifts the peeling and somewhat rusty blue lid of the propane tank.
Smart momma-robin to build her nest under a roof!
“Greening” takes on a whole old meaning in rural Michigan after an early spring rain.
Andy says, “Do I look like the Monument?”
(He refers to the Lumberman’s Monument along the AuSable River.)
One day before my story about wildfires is published in the Ogemaw County Voice, Andy sits working at his desk. The phone rings. It’s the conference call from Habitat International that he’s been expecting. As he eases back for what he knows will be an extended conversation, a flicker outside the window catches his eye.
“I’m going to have to drop off here for a minute,” he says dryly to the group, as dry as the brush in our rain-deprived woods. “My backyard is filled with smoke and fire.”
Drew replies, “That’s more creative than ‘my dog ate my homework.'”
A 9-1-1 call later and Andy gets back into the call while the Lupton Fire Department puts out a fire at the edge of our woods.
Is this irony?
The cause of the fire was ashes from our outdoor wood boiler that I dumped out earlier that morning. Turns out they were still smoldering, even after cooling in a covered trash can overnight.
The fireman said, “I put mine in a cement bunker for a week before dumping them.”
I prefer calling it experience.
In other words: surviving stupidity.