weekly report

Weekly Report for Miscellaneous August Days

❄️🌽: Cold this morning. And the bitey bugs are suddenly quiet. They’ll be back again this evening, in time for corn on the cob, but an intermission. Time to scratch the old bites.

⛵🐿️: Flying squirrels, each evening, clockwork at a quarter to nine. Swoop, land and scurry. From roofline down to the tippy maple. When the sky is still too bright for stargazing. Nautical twilight — time for squirrels to sail.

🐮🌊: One neighbour and then another and another tell me there is a moose nearby. I must watch for sign of this maybe moose!

🦇💡: Big brown bats dazzle and swoop over the yard. They’re well-rested after a day spent dreaming in the eaves. Fireflies fire the starting pistol. Each evening first the fireflies then bats then squirrels. They all know the schedule. But only a few embers of fireflies now. Their season is late. A few blinks in the black.

🐣🏡: Phoebe’s babies have long since fledged from their nest, but we still see Phoebe around the yard sometimes, and say hello.

🧛‍♂️🐁: Tiny ticks, waving in the grass, moving Lyme from there to here. Biting the disease out of mice and barfing it into our blood. A story of mice and men. Careful of the freckles that walk, the poppy seeds with legs.

☠️🧵: A mourning dove snatched away from under the feeder. A pile of soft down and a few feathers on the ground. Never noticed before these are polka dot doves. A hawk perhaps, that snipped this dove’s thread, but that day the hawk babies ate and their threads spun a little longer.

🥔🌟: Potato plants pulled, spuds sorted. Dirty treasure. Scrubbed and crisp roasted in rosemary.

I wake a deer on the hill. She raises her white flag and bounces away. This uneven slope her velodrome.

Dark clouds refusing to crack, rain refusing to fall. Careful now, with this water.

Fragrant trimmed tomato branches wheelbarrowed to the compost. Food for next year’s food.

Berries jammed and jammed in jars.
Pickles picked and pickled.

Around and around. A season to stretch out and make ourselves long as the days. The bright dark days of summer.

Happy Thursday folks ☀️


mushrooms thinking big weekly report

Signs of Spring

Scarlet cup fungus (Sarcoscypha austriaca).

Above, Scarlet Cup fungus: “One of the earliest of spring fungi, it often escapes attention because it is hidden under fallen leaves.” (George Barron)

Some years we see great flocks of robins here through the winter, so robins are not the harbingers of spring for me that they once were. At least not until they begin their spring construction season, installing nests all over our eaves.

But we glimpse other sparks, hinting that spring is about to ignite…

The cold nights and warmer days pulsing sap up and down the maples.

The first turkey vulture, the first moss upended by turkeys, the first bluebird. Trills of red-winged blackbirds, chickadees inspecting our bird houses.

A skinny chipmunk hightailing it across the gravel drive.

The brilliant red of scarlet cup fungus, half hidden in the duff.

The vernal pools swelling in the woods, seasonal streams percolating over little rock piles. Suddenly soggy places that in a few more months will be bone dry. The return of mud. The smell of thaw. The first walk up the hill without ice cleats. An extra egg in the chickens’ nest box.

The first ticks. Questing on the low branches we have not yet cleared from the trail.

The sun shining a little further into the kitchen, brighter and warmer. The inevitable surprise snow and the suddenly warm days that follow it.

Happy early inching muddy days spring folks.

Have a wonderful week,


weekly report

Weekly Report

Snow falling on cedars. Though I’ve not read the book or seen the movie, I think the phrase every time the snow falls. Snow fell on cedars. The snowy ground swells up and the heavy cedar branches drift down. It is unapologetically winter here and each luscious cold day is savoured. At the edge of the woods, the wind has sculpted the snowfall into hills and valleys, with drifts higher than our thighs, even with the boost of snowshoes. We pour the winter into ourselves because the snow cannot stay. “…we want more and more and then more of it.”

The chickens’ waterers freeze three times a day, even placed on heaters, but still the little chickens lay their eggs. What must be done. Seasons and bodies both keep their clockwork. On the coldest days, SooZee seems to be doing an impression of a rotisserie chicken, snuggled up so close to the heat lamp’s red light that her feathers look pink. The three “Wyandoodles” and little Turtle — the tiny black and white chicken with the green-shelled eggs — still leave eggs in their nests most days.

Lin, one of our oldest hens, died this week, not from the cold, but from the inevitability of death. She lived a good life here. On her first day with us, she rode shotgun with me, in a box marked “Linens and Mittens”. On her last, she sat in a row with Pedro and SooZee — after pecking Turtle in the head for trying to eat corn before her elders were finished. We did not have to euthanize Lin. She had trouble for a day or so, and then was dead in the morning. There is always a morning you don’t get to see. Fill the days in between with life.

A tiny bunny has started frequenting our yard. Going out around dawn one day, I startled it by the side of the house. A blur of brown bunny darted a few feet, and then decided to “play rock” instead of run. One of the three Fs of self-defence: flee, fight, feign rock. I moved to the outside of the path, and made a show of pointing my forward-facing predator eyes the other way. No rabbits, only rocks here.

On the other side of the house I found a bunny freeway between the dogwoods. A serpentine path of furry feet, stopping for nibbles, and leaving piles of scat. Retracing its path so thoroughly it looks like a trail left by snow snakes. In the dead of winter, bark is delicious. The dogwood can take it. In the warmest months, I’ve pruned it harder.

Tiny mouse tracks are everywhere. Popping out from their world under the snow for a sojourn topside — to run around a twig, and take the next tunnel back underground. I don’t know why that twig is special, but the mouse does. If it could tell me why this one and not that one, I would listen.

Junco tracks zigzag across the fresh blanket of snow, stitching it in place. The little birds are everywhere, their tracks covering the ground so completely you forget that’s not what newfallen snow looks like. My favourites though are when, on a quiet expanse of snow, there is a sudden flurry of feet, with nothing before or after them. Of course I remember, of course. Birds can fly.

“It has always been a happy thought to me that the creek runs on all night, new every minute, whether I wish it or know it or care, as a closed book on a shelf continues to whisper to itself its own inexhaustible tale.”

~Annie Dillard