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Archive for April, 2010

The Eagles Have Landed

I know the photo to the left doesn’t pair up with the heading, but I missed the most amazing photo op today and I guess the rhododendron is a Rest In Peace replacement to a lost once in a lifetime event; one that took place in my very own backyard.  I will now tell you about it.  Those of you who have visited know that the road to the back of the property has a rise to it and that there is an island surrounded by two separate roads to the back; an island that is filled with salal, rhodies, cedar and the like, but with carefully planned openings and walk ways; mostly determined by where a tree had fallen.   Whew!  Really, it will be worth it to keep reading.

So after a morning down at the coffee shop with the guys and then a laugh fest with William and Dan, William and I started to discuss how eagles work in teams to catch prey.  I recently saw an eagle chase a gull with such resolve that I had to turn away.  So, anyway, William is telling me how he saw two eagles working in tandem one time to down a gull into the water, one coming up behind when the gull thought he was in the clear; a tag team kind of system.  And then the eagle who catches the gull pushes him under water until he drowns.   Okay, maybe telling you it would be worth it to keep reading should have come with a warning.

This afternoon I decided that the rain had cleared enough for me to work on the property so out I went with my wheel barrow and tools to gather up some of the cedar piles that are decorating the roads to the back.  I had my trusty pitch fork in my hand, piling debris into the wheel barrow when I heard this blood curdling cry come from the other side of the fence at the very back of my property.  I saw a flurry of enormous wings.   Whatever was going on in the trees had to be bad for some bird, small animal, junior high kid; I couldn’t tell, but the screams were unsettling to say the least.   And yet, I couldn’t move or take my eyes off what was happening.

Suddenly, and with great speed and an extremely low line of  flight two eagles came flying in the very direction that I was standing.  I was wondering recently if I had lost any reflex timing and I’m happy to say, not when I’m in danger.  My pitch fork which was being held American Gothic tight rose up over my head.  I’m not sure what good I thought that was going to do, but my lizard brain said it was a good idea.  In all honesty those birds were less than ten feet away from me and I could feel the air rush by me.  I watched them fly low to the ground down the road towards the front of the property.  It literally took my breath away.  Pretty great, huh?  Yes, but there’s more, and this is where perhaps my imagination got away from me.   They swerved, shot through the island and came back around in my direction again and I just knew they were going to tag team me!  I held on to my trusty pitch fork and dropped down as they went right over my head; rose up and away back into the trees behind the property.

I must have stood in the same spot for a good ten minutes trying to remember if I had ever read anything about eagles attacking humans…tick, tick, tick…nothing.  And then the sky filled with at least a hundred gulls (they hang around the solid waste site down the road), squawking and flying in every direction.  Overhead I saw the two eagles giving chase until all were out of sight.   When the robins finally flew into the open area at the back of the property I figured it was safe to haul my wheel barrow of debris to the burn pile…after I changed my underwear.

Hoe Time With Michaelene

Last post I promised to tell you about my latest lawnmower incident.  When I told the guys about my latest mower tragedy, they just shook their heads.  “You’re kind of tough on those mowers, aren’t you,” was about the best they could do in the way of comforting me, but my guys know the best places for repairs (I wonder how?).  So, off to Perkins Lawnmowers for repair  – over a week ago now.  I was told then it would take about two weeks before I would get my mower back – always an indicator that $$$ will be involved.   As I’ve mentioned before, I live on land that used to be a quarry, and once a quarry, always a quarry.  When I first arrived and started mowing the property, it wasn’t unusual to hear me let out a girly shriek  and run in the opposite direction when the lawnmower would start kicking out gravel like buckshot hidden in the grass.  Well, time takes its toll and somehow the belt that makes the wheels self propel came loose.  Being right in the middle of mowing, I couldn’t stop so I continued to mow, but without any help from that pesky belt.   I didn’t realize how heavy that motor was until I pushed it up and down the slopes on the property, and maybe that wasn’t such a good idea because it started to smoke out of this little part that looked something like a muffler, but there wasn’t a picture of it in the manual so I don’t know what to call it except that thingamajig.  And maybe a little gas spilled into the motor portion when I tipped it over to see what was wrong.  I didn’t mention to Larry down at Perkins Lawnmowers the smoking, the gas spillage.  It seemed extraneous information at best and I now know when to say less.

Necessity being the mother of invention and a strong memory retained in my rib cage from last summer when I tried to load the first lawnmower that I nearly set aflame into the car, I came up with a plan for loading my mower.  Sometimes I sit on the deck and stare at the property and now I know why.   Unbeknownst to me, I’m figuring out how to solve upcoming problems.  I backed my SUV up the hill to one of the tiers, close to the hut where they kept their kegs of beer during their rock concerts.   It was the exact same height as the opening to the SUV.  I pushed the mower up the hill, spun it around and lickety split it was in the car; no lifting; no damaged ribs.  Life is good.

Larry down at Perkins Lawnmowers hasn’t called yet and the grass is getting high, but the eagles are flying low and that seems like a fair trade.

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I’m Back!

Have  you missed me?  Did you know I was gone?  It’s been awhile since I posted.  I’m busy working on the property (gale force winds a week ago pretty much undid my most current tidying up project), spending time down at the shops and with the guys down at Local Grown.  And finally getting back down to working on my book again.

I went for a bike ride yesterday…no, that’s not my bike n the photo.  Boy, those hills are a lot easier to traverse in an SUV then they are on a bike.  After pumping and pumping to get up that rise, I finally gave in and got off my bike where I proceeded to pretend as if the weeds along the side of the road held something so interesting that I just had to stop and take a look.  If a car had slowed down, they would have heard my heart pounding BABOOM, BABOOM, BABOOM!   Not to mention  the bike lane is about six inches wide until I cross the highway and get on the trail, and I could feel the rush of the cars as they passed me by.   Too much excitement for me.   I’m back to my treadmill in the garage looking out at the property where  it’s safe.

I’ve been trying to save this for the last, you know, building up with a little storytelling to the grand finale, but I can’t wait any longer.  Today a pod of Orcas came into Penn Cove – two babies and two adults.  They were spouting and fluking and having a grand time.  Locals felt it was a transient pod because most Orcas don’t frequent these waters until late June or July.  I think they were Canadians.  No matter.  These were my first Orcas and so it was a big day for me.  A big day for the town, too.  Thirty some years ago the folks at Sea World came to Coupeville and proceeded to net the baby Orcas and, where necessary, kill the mothers.  The townspeople were outraged to the point of cutting nets and protesting.  Unfortunately, thirty years ago we didn’t have the laws we do now.  One of the babies at that time still lives at Sea World –  her name is Lolita.   It wasn’t until recently that the Orcas would even come into the Cove so there was a lot of cheering along Front Street.

Second only to the excitement of the Orcas was the opening of the brand new library.  Saturday is the big celebration, but the doors have been open for almost a month now.  I must say, for a small town it’s a beautiful library.

Spring has definitely sprung here in Coupeville.   The trees, crocus, tulips and daffodils are in bloom, as are the rhododendrons.  The photo below is from one of the rhodies I planted when I arrived.  There are dozens of wild rhodies on the property and I can’t wait until they all come into bloom within the next couple of months.

The Farmers’ Market is back, and I’m pretty sure come late July the produce will be too.  Until then, anything that walks on four legs is being offered – pulled, barbecued and smoked.

Some time ago I was lamenting the fact that I don’t have as many deer on the property as I’d like (of course, I don’t have a garden).  Ralph suggested I put in a salt lick.  My thinking was the deer would probably go down to the beach and get a drink of water if they wanted salt, but I’ve been considering his suggestion for some time.  The other night, Mrs. Ralph, the lovely Peggy, had me over for dinner.   After a few glasses of wine Ralph asked if I had put in the salt lick yet.  I told him I hadn’t.   On my list of things to do, fetch a salt lick sits near the bottom.  Serious as a heart attack, Ralph told me he’d really like me to put one in because it would draw the deer to my property…beat…beat…wait for it… and he really wanted to bag one during hunting season.   I’m usually not at a loss for words, but old Ralph pulled one over on me.   Boy, they were laughing about that down at Local Grown the next day.

Next time I’ll tell you about my latest run in with the lawnmower.  I don’t think they’re supposed to smoke…are they?

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