Squirrels are hilarious to watch. Yes, they are nasty and dirty AND rodents. However, they make up for those short comings in their absurdity. I remember my father in law laughing over a squirrel pair tearing apart a yarn trellis I’d made in the garden. I was annoyed, but realised a few yards of yarn and several hours of work is nothing compared to a great laugh!
Yesterday, I watched this squirrel in mum’s yard. It got into every bird feeder in the area. Most of which we had assumed were squirrel proof. The shepherd’s hooks the feeders are on do not stop a determined squirrel! Especially, if the hook has a decorative bit on the stem. The twist appeared to be perfectly positioned to hang on to while pulling the dangling feeder close! When the greedy creature tried to climb under the feeder and fell to the ground, I laughed out loud! I think I embarrassed him. He ran off into a tree and didn’t come back for a bit.
What a blessing laughter is! What a blessing squirrels are. At least, when they aren’t getting into your house and making nests in the attic.
Life. You can’t escape it. Even with death, life goes on. I have been thinking about this again. How you can’t really predict what will happen next and how you need to keep paddling.
This little family showed up for the first time this evening. They are a mom with young goldeneyes. I learned why I couldn’t find any nests, these gals put their eggs high up in dead trees, like a wood duck. When the babies hatch, the mom encourages them to tumble from the about 40 foot high nest and join her on the ground. They do and off they go! New life breaks forth in dead trees. It doesn’t matter if it is raining (like in this photo) or shining, they are born and ready to launch. Literally! Their number is strong tonight, but I would almost bet by the end of the week it will be halved or less. Many of the mamas have lost their young to the predators. That somewhat disturbing circle of life. It is a relentless cycle we cannot stop. We can control it with helping the environment of ourselves or the world, but it will not stop. Everything is born, it may have the chance to grow old, and then there is death. Where is the blessing? The blessing I found is that ‘Life will always go on‘.
Blessings come in many forms. This last week, I was overwhelmed with an outpouring of gifts for my mum. It all started with someone saying I should set up a gofundme account for a germinating project. Well, I did and the generosity went beyond my goal. I had no idea anything would come of this, I wasn’t expecting more than maybe $100, and I certainly wasn’t expecting online friends I’ve never met in person to donate and share my campaign!
I have never liked having to ask anyone for money, it is not in my genetics. I recall an experience I had when the boys were in HS. I was in the Anchorage airport and found out the planes were being grounded in Seattle, but they might be flying by the time we got there. I was confident we’d get to Portland, OR. Dad asked if I needed money. I declined and have kicked myself ever since. Being stranded in SeaTac with a million others for 3 days is a life changing experience! So, now, I am a tiny bit better about taking it when offered, but I still don’t like to ask.
Because of my inhibitions, this gofundme campaign was really hard to do. I haven’t told mum, she’d be so upset with me! But, I am so thankful I went through with it. People love her and really do want to do something for her. This was a lovely way for them to show their support for a woman they admire. It was also humbling for me to see how much people want to give me a hand. Even people who already have in one way or another. I’m truly a blessed person and incredibly thankful.
Eagles are fascinating birds. They are also scavengers and predators. It always fascinates me when I find how many verses in the Bible are dedicated to eagles, how many people absolutely revere them, and how often they are touted as nothing more than beautiful. This is a blurry photo, but I chose it to show off the feathers and talons and the beak. This bird is NOT just beautiful, it was created to kill.
It has taken out a number of ducklings on the lake, playing a deadly role in the circle of life. As I watched it soar over the lake, dip down to grab diving babies, and rise back up to land in the trees, I realised something. Those wings are the important part. Rise up on wings as eagles (personally, the terns who came to harass it were even more astounding, but I digress!), soaring with feathers crafted to lift and carry heavy burdens of self and prey. They are incredible birds and I’m sad and glad this one hung out on the lake for so many hours. It reminded me to soar and that unexpected death is a part of life.
Had a pair of these on the lake today and decided to do some research. I knew they were predators, I didn’t know how incredible they were. Their lethal beauty hides a fierce protectiveness and powerful ability to survive. When they kill other avian species, they often spear into the oppositions liver or heart with their formidable beaks. They defend their babies, their nesting spots, and have been known to chase off large fish. The loon isn’t agile on land, but in water, they are poetry. I was able to get really close to them in the kayak today. (it looks further in camera view, but I think I was about 2 kayak lengths away!) What a blessing I was given when I went out on the lake-I thought we had one loon visiting and there were two!!!!
While Eastern Oregon had a storm full of crashings and bashings and cataracts of water today, the rain we had in this part of the Kenai was perfect for flora and fauna. I was sent the photo on the left and captured the one on the right. The duck was with a group of male mallards and stood out. Or at least, the head stood out!!! He is a male American Wigeon and rather dashing. I did look for the female, but on a darkish day most mostly brown ducks all look the same. It is fascinating to watch how rain can affect different areas. I don’t know if EO needed it, but we sure do. I’m pretty sure the lake didn’t rise much, but I don’t need to water the seeds I planted earlier!!! One of my Oregon neighbors said she wasn’t going to need to water either, but she was worried about the plants which had already popped out of the ground.
What a wonderful thing rain is. In abundance it can terrify and cause mayhem. In gentle showers it blesses. Yet, after it is all over, the sky lights up in beauty. What a gift!
Not one of my better photos, but I liked the message. The lake has a LOT of babies on it right now. Ducklings are everywhere and spill across the surface of the lake like tiny balls of down. Thankfully, each day they get a big bigger and stronger. Moms watch over them constantly and sometimes different species band together, forming a flotilla of waterfowl.
Except, nature is NOT G rated. The mom pictured above, in just the last 48 hours, has lost a few more babies and the mallards cannot keep their scattered offspring from the talons of eagles. It is a blessing to live in this raw world of life and death at a time when I’m not sure where my own life is going.
I see the families growing up and know some of the babies will survive to fly away in the fall. Not all of them will be captured or bothered by predators. I will do my part to startle the hawks and eagles, to yell at the neighbor’s lab, and I will try to keep off the lake. At least til the babies are bigger and everyone feels a bit more at peace with odd things happening. What a world there is to observe and be a part of!