Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

Finding Spring

May 9, 2022

I’ve always lived in northern climes, experiencing the distinct changes in light and weather over the four seasons. Here in southeast Idaho winters are long, and much of spring can feel just like winter.

This past winter was colder and drier than normal. We were walloped with snow in late December, with a couple more storms in January and February, and it pretty much stayed on the ground till March. Here’s a photo I took on March 5.

March roars in and intermittently melts and refurbishes the winter snowpack. It’s a strange experience to stop in traffic on a main thoroughfare in town and find yourself alongside a large snowcapped mountain peak of shoveled snow. How did all that snow turn so black? Surely the parking lots are not that filthy! How much of that soot and grime was deposited by the wind over the last three months?

Mount Filthydomarro

But we’re thawing out and hopeful for signs of spring. By March 12 a local canal thaws into a puddle big enough to accommodate two ducks! But you have to look carefully to see them.

By March 15 our Christmas lights come down.

But on March 16 it feels like Christmas again

And by March 20 we’re back to December.

Do you see the squirrel? He’s back there somewhere

Idaho Falls, March 20

By April 4 the tulips are up and crocuses are blooming!

Things haven’t changed much by April 12. Except we’ve hung a couple bird feeders.

Rudy keeps an eye on things. In between naps.

Can we make you more comfortable, Rudy?

Yeah, well, time to wake up from our long winter’s naps and search for more signs of spring!

What say you Squirrel? No, you’re not getting on the bird feeder.

Oh wow! It’s May 1st and we have a daffodil blooming out front. Yes, one daffodil. Can you see it?

Here’s a better view.

Awesome. A daffodil!

Yeah, find the other hundred daffodiIs I planted last fall. They’re poking up, but hey, what’s the rush? As I said, sometimes in southeast Idaho you have to look carefully for signs of spring.

Can you find the tulip sprouting up in our rock bed? Why of course, I planned it that way.

It’s May now and all the lawns in the neighborhood are greening up. The chickadees keep us busy refilling the bird feeder.

Two ducks have become regular workhorses in our backyard cleaning up the birdseed the chickadees keep flipping out of the bird feeder.

They could almost be disguised as yard art. Notice the proliferation of three daffodils now blooming in our back yard.

The ducks have others joining the team to clean up the mess from the chickadees. Enter, squirrel and mourning dove:

Eurasian doves are helping too. But they all have to be on constant high alert for predators, specifically, raptors circling above. A couple of weeks ago we were passively gazing out our kitchen window at a Eurasian dove in our back lawn, when a hawk swooped in and snatched it up in front of our eyes, leaving only a scattering cloud of feathers. Now you see the Eurasian dove, and ‘poof’, now you don’t. Yikes.

The hawks are circling overhead alright!

Thank God they don’t prey on humans. They could sure ruin a good outdoor picnic, never mind the weather.

Yeah well try having a picnic on a windy day in April or May. Hold onto your sandwich and let the chips blow where they may.

Just last week I was out in the yard in a 20mph wind when I spotted squirrel. Hold on there, buddy!

Morph yourself to a tree limb to keep your bearings!

Can you spot the chickadee in this next photo?

Hint: It’s nearly dead-center (no, not dead) in the arborvitae. Safe from hawk and wind! That’s a May tree by the way, above the arborvitae, so named because they usually bloom by the first of May. Yeah, well it’s May 9th, and it hasn’t bloomed yet. Haven’t seen even one May tree in bloom in town.

Well I guess I should put a wrap on this. Not too motivated today to take a walk and look for spring. Here, I just took a screenshot of our weather app today. High of 44 and cloudy with a wind advisory.

I stepped out and took a photo of our back yard this morning.

More than 3 daffodils blooming in our center garden there! (ya, I knew I planted them last fall). Hopeful signs. The tall lilacs along the fence are shooting out leaves and I swear that flowering crab in the center garden has flower buds. One warm spell and everything will pop!

Oh, and did I mention the robins? We have one tough dude hanging around who thinks he’s a hawk.

A Spring Tail

April 5, 2022

How wonderful the blossoming of spring after a long cold winter! The sweet month of April has arrived, the crocus are blooming, and the summer birds are back to establish their breeding grounds. I spotted our first robin high in a May tree on March 13.

… chirping away as I retrieved the morning paper. I came back out and took a video so you can hear it too.

We have gray squirrels scampering across our back yard all winter long, see all those nests up there in those ancient trees behind our house?

A veritable scurry of squirrels. Okay, so I know squirrels are rodents, part of the scientific order Rodentia. https://www.westernexterminator.com/blog/are-squirrels-rodents/

And they are certainly considered by many humans to be pests and a bit of a nuisance. They chew on things like telephone wires, electrocute themselves on transformers and knock out power lines. They scurry on your roof when you’re trying to sleep and might chew their way into your attic, but hey, they’re just looking for tree nuts and acorns and maybe a place to nest. You have inevitably flattened a squirrel while driving because they are a bit OCD about crossing the road, dang it, make up your mind which direction you’re going there, Mr. Squirrel! Darned if you’re going to slam on your automobile brakes to avoid running over a squirrel.

But I love watching the squirrels in our back yard. It’s a pretty sweet spot for them on account of we have an ever bearing flowering crab apple tree planted right in a center garden. The tree should bloom in the next few weeks, beautiful dark pink blossoms, the fruit comes late summer and hangs on the tree all winter. To feed the squirrels and birds. I love to watch them!

I captured a video of the squirrel from inside the house when our dog decided he was thirsty. A weird soundtrack. Don’t worry. The dog is not sloshing water from the dog dish onto your shoe and you really don’t have to let him out to chase the squirrel.

By mid March the bird feeders come out. What species will we attract? Small woodpeckers perhaps? The chickadees. Yellow warblers?

Squirrels. Let the bird feeder wars begin!

He’s on!

Yes, but I’ve got a solution. Watch this video for the big reveal:

Rabid squirrel-chaser dog. Okay, but I have to step up my game here. Feeder situation not tenable.

I head to my friend Rene’s house. She’s way ahead of me in all areas garden related. She has birds on her feeders. An Audubon book to identify them. Huge trees in her back yard, and at least three gray squirrels foraging around all the time. She thought she had outsmarted them hanging her bird feeder 12 feet down from a tree limb. We were standing at her back door enjoying her utopian garden landscape when suddenly a squirrel leaped from a limb onto the hook 3 feet above the feeder and dropped right down on the feeder. Easy peasy.

Stealthy little bugger!

A few days later Rene looked out her back door and there lying on the ground near the feeder was a tail. Just a tail.

Oh no! A tail without a squirrel attached to it? How did that happen? Is the squirrel dead and eaten? By a …. raccoon? No. Surely they are too slow for squirrels. A hawk? Did a large raptor swoop down and snatch the squirrel? No, would the tail be sitting here right by the back door, then? A cat? A wily quick snatch of its claws, torture and kill, the body eaten, save for the tail. (And a kidney. Is there a squirrel kidney splayed out on a neighbor’s back stoop dropped there as a trophy from the kill, compliments of the cat?)

I just can’t stop thinking about that tail. As it turns out, it isn’t that uncommon for squirrels to lose their tails. Not like lizards lose their tails, where they drop off and bounce on their own to confuse a predator and then the lizard just grows it back. Squirrels can get their tails caught in fences. A predator can rip it off, but once the tail is gone, it’s gone. But I just can’t imagine being a lowly rodent squirrel going forward in life without that bushy tail. A squirrel without a tail? Lowlier than a vole!

A disturbing spring tale.

Here’s a Google link with interesting facts about squirrels losing their tails, not surprising, on a “squirrels at the feeder’ site (you can find anything on the Internet)

Squirrels can live without their thick, bushy tails, albeit, at a higher risk for early death. Their fluffy appendage helps with balance, regulates body temperature, breaks their falls, and serves as a parachute in the air (yeah, we know). A squirrel’s tail is an important thermoregulatory device. Did you think about the tail providing a source of shade for the squirrel in warm weather? The squirrel can wrap its tail around itself in the winter to keep warm and use the tail to protect itself from rain. A squirrel can control blood flow to the tail – rushing blood to the tail to disperse body heat or reducing blood flow to the tail to conserve heat. During a fall, the hairs on the tail separate in order to catch as much air as possible. This slows the squirrel’s fall and provides time for the squirrel to orient its body to land safely. You know, verses falling to its death with a splat from a high tree limb with no tail or a rat tail.

I dunno. This is a dumb squirrel story. I did feel pretty sad thinking about that squirrel tail, obviously belonging to a squirrel, likely a dead squirrel. Rene has been watching out in her back yard for a tail-less squirrel. She hasn’t seen it yet. If alive, it’s likely hiding out somewhere, utterly devasted and depressed over losing its fine bushy appendage. Rene certainly won’t see it on the bird feeder.

Yeah, that thick bushy tail is a pretty dang fancy appendage, for any living thing to lose. Even if the living thing happens to be a medium-sized rodent foraging for tree nuts and acorns, and otherwise, a bit of a pest and, on most accounts, a general nuisance.

Picture taken of our flowering crab, May 7, 2017

Robin Territory!

June 28, 2020

I have a thing for the American robin. Sure, it’s a common bird of North America and who hasn’t seen a robin’s nest, a robin’s egg – a fledgling? Do you ever have a summer pass where you haven’t had robins foraging for food in your front yard? Discovered a nest?

They disappear in the fall and as winter passes into spring I start watching for the first sign of robins.They are a migratory bird, but some do stay through the winter, high up in the trees, hidden out of sight. I never see robins here in the winter months. It’s such a thrill when you first hear one in early spring and to experience that first sighting – which, this year, happened for us on March 17. The robin was high up in our May tree and I captured a photo of it from an upstairs window.

First robin sighting! March 17

We enjoyed sitting on our patio watching for the robins. One robin would perch on a high limb in our honey locust tree and break out into a sharp lilting song – as if announcing the official arrival of spring, yet a new season of hope and rebirth!

Or maybe to lay claim to his (or her) territory – to announce to the world that this robin has found a place to nest and raise a family, possibly two or three broods – in our back yard. (We are careful not to use any lawn chemicals or pesticides – I literally claw the pigweed out between the cracks in our brick walk, to avoid using Roundup.)

Well, sure enough, on May 21 we discovered a nest with at least 3 eggs. Yay!!

Discovered it May 21 – Yippee!

The female was roosting faithfully.

Look carefully and you will see her tail. Female robins build the nest and sit on the eggs.

Robins can produce 3 successful broods in one year, but only 40 per cent of nests successfully produce young. We were hopeful for this nest.

Then on Saturday, May 23, Memorial Day weekend hit. Literally. We woke up to snow on Saturday. And it kept snowing through the morning.

Our back yard, Saturday May 23

We felt like we were living a live scene from the Twilight Zone. I took a video of our back yard. (Notice on the patio table the bubbles we had been playing with the day before with our grandkids):

Nature delivered a cruel blow. Several branches of our blooming lilacs snapped from the weight of the snow

Good thing lilac limbs are flexible

and our front magnificent maple tree lost two large limbs. (Aren’t we used to this? Why don’t we own a chain saw?)

I checked on the robin’s nest. Can you see her tail?

She was faithfully roosting, and, yes, covered in snow. Poor thing.

By days end, though, the skies had cleared and the snow was melting away. And sadly, the nest was empty. Had the mother robin just given up? It was a vicious storm.

I read that 40% of robins’ nests successfully produce young. Tough odds! Would they try again?

Sure enough, on June 9 we discovered a new nest. The female was just finishing it when we discovered it.

New nest! June 9

We kept an eye on the nest for several days, but so far no roosting. Then this past Monday June 22, there she was – sitting on it. Dang! These robins are sneaky. The incubation period for eggs is about 14 days. Will we be hearing the peeps of hatchlings by … July 4th? Maybe. One can hope.

I checked on the nest yesterday – lookin’ good …

I was sitting on our patio when I started hearing what was surely the cries of a hungry robin fledgling, coming from the direction of the large spruce by the shed in our back yard. I wandered closer and, there it was perched on an outer branch about 5 feet off the ground, peeping away. I watched that little bird for a long while and captured some photos and videos. Here’s the first one:

Daddy takes charge

After the robins leave the nest, it’s the dad who takes over their care, feeds them for about two weeks, while they learn how to fly, groom, hunt for earthworms and ripe fruits, how to signal a cry of distress. It’s an extremely vulnerable time! Only 25% of fledged young survive until November. And from that point on, only about half the robins alive in any year will make it to the next year.

A lucky robin can live to be 14 years old, but robins live on average only 2 years in the wild.

Getting back to our little fledgling, he stood quietly for a good while, waiting for daddy to return. Magpies, cousins of the crows, were squawking nearby, and I’m sure this little one knows to keep quiet …

Well, until he got really hungry. Here comes daddy to the rescue.

Our daughter Megan and her friend Olivia were out on the patio with me now, witnessing this little fledgling. It turns out – it could fly – a bit – which I caught in the next video seconds after I took the last one.

I wasn’t sure exactly where it landed, but it was obviously in those tall bushes.

You can see the weather had turned blustery. Yeah, well that wind ushered in a 25-degree drop in temperature and pouring rain overnight, with much cooler weather forecasted to persist through today and tomorrow.

Haven’t even tried to find our little fledgling or checked on the robin’s nest today. I’m all bundled up in layers inside our house made of brick, with the heat blasting. Just glad I’m not a little fledgling, to be honest.

A little Easter Miracle during Covid-19

April 12, 2020

April, 2020 – Spring in southeast Idaho! We’re sheltering in place – David, Megan and I – doing a lot of puzzles at home. I make runs to the grocery store. We do venture out for long walks through our neighboring park, Tautphaus Park, weather permitting. We skipped our walk on April 2:

April 2, 2020

I know the fresh snow is beautiful – pristine! You just have to dress for it, right? Wrong. That much snow is flat out ugly this time of year. But yes, just wear your down parkas, pull up your boot straps and your hoods, don’t forget your gloves! Early spring in Idaho is just like winter. The highs in early April feel like the highs in February.

Then just like that the temperature sails up 20 degrees. You’re in the middle of your walk and you’re burning up in your jacket. You peel it off and tie it around your waist. This happened to us this past Tuesday, just five days after that snow storm. We were walking toward home in a big open area at Tautphaus Park, when I peeled off my jacket, then turned to Megan, grabbed and jerked her arms out of the sleeves of her winter jacket – whew! love it! Spring is here!

But when we got home Megan said, “Mom, my bracelet is gone.” Oh no! It must have come off with the coat! Suddenly in my mind, there has never been a bracelet more loved, more precious, than Megan’s bracelet. We had bought it at a flea market in Beacon, New York – last September – when we were visiting Adam and Meredith – Megan’s oldest brother and his wife. Oh what a wonderful trip that was – all those great memories embodied in that bracelet. Oh why had I been so careless? I loved that bracelet.

The next day, last Wednesday, I said, “Hey Megan, let’s go back and try to retrace our steps on that walk – see if we can find your bracelet.” (Okay, super long shot here, but what the heck, we have to try, right?) “Oh yes, I remember – first we passed that huge old tree with a raptor perched up high in it – then we turned on the street by the skate park past the huge cottonwood forest, then we walked diagonally across that wide open field by the fountain. Half way across that field, that’s where we got hot and pulled our jackets off.”

We were at the wide open area now, with our eyes scanning the ground in circles looking for a stretchy bracelet made of turquoise nuggets and silver beads. Uh-oh. Oops. There’s a guy hitting light golf balls right in our direction. Shoot! Well, lets zig-zag our way quickly toward him – he’ll just have to be patient with us while we look till we get to him.

Sadly, we didn’t find the bracelet. When we made it up to the golfer and his female friend I explained (from ten feet away, of course) our situation. That Megan had lost her bracelet here yesterday and thank you for being patient with us while we looked for it. He said, yes, he’s lost a lot of golf balls too. But he would keep a look out for the bracelet when he’s retrieving his balls. Yeah, sure. Oh, if you happen to find the bracelet, maybe just leave it at the base of that tree over there. He nodded.

Darn it! Oh well. Easy come, easy go. Well, not really, but I’m trying. The following day, Thursday, the three of us, David, Megan and I (and Rudy of course) repeated that walk we had done on Tuesday through Tautphaus Park- past that tree where the raptor was

Some kind of Raptor

(I had taken a picture of it on Tuesday.)

and the huge cottonwood forest

Tautphaus Park

Although, it seemed pretty futile at this point, finding the bracelet. It was a goner. We got all philosophical about it on the walk … “You know what?” I said. “We were lucky to have found that bracelet in the first place. It was really special. Likely made by an American Indian. The Great Spirit led us to it and now the Great Sprit has freed it back to the Universe – to anoint the life of another living creature.” “Yes.” said David. “Maybe a crow.”

“He picked the bracelet up in his beak and flew off with it to drop it in his nest as a bauble.”

“Or perhaps a squirrel. They are very busy this time of year.”

As sad as I am about losing that bracelet – don’t think I’d climb to the top of a tree to retrieve it from a squirrels’ nest.

We’re back at that huge field near the fountain where we took our coats off:

The three of us fanned out to scan a wider area, searched quite thoroughly, as we worked our way to the end of the field. Oh well. No go, Joe. It’s okay. Oh wait, let’s just check the base of that tree, can’t hurt …

What? Megan, come see!

What were the odds? It feels like a miracle!

Back at home we signed a thank you note.

Set it at the base of that tree right where we had found the bracelet.

The next day, Good Friday, we walked over to the park again. Was the note still there?

Megan! Come look!!

It’s an Easter Egg!

We brought it home. Washed the plastic egg with soap and water, of course, wiped it down with a disinfectant wipe, then set it out in the sun for the afternoon, take that, Covid-19!

As always Megan puts her bracelet on first thing every morning.

And Rudy keeps his eye on that wiley squirrel in our back yard,

April 11, 2020

who is expert at social distancing himself from Rudy.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Alpine Mountain Days!

July 2, 2019

Every year the town of Alpine, Wyoming holds a Mountain Days Festival on the third weekend of June, a tradition which started over a quarter-century ago. This year it was held on Friday-Sunday, June 21st – 23rd. The festival includes Mountain Men, Native American Performances, live music, food vendors, commercial booths, a triathlon, chili cookoff, raptor show …

Alpine Mountain Days
June 21-23, 2019

My brother Eric, who owns an Antique/gift store, has a booth at this festival every year. This year David and I decided to travel to Alpine and check it out. We rented a room at the Flying Saddle Resort just outside of town, on account of the motel on the main drag, the Bull Moose Inn and Saloon, was booked. (Do towns with a population of 828 have suburbs?)

Alpine, Wyoming, is about 40 miles south of Jackson Hole (where purportedly the billionaires have run off the millionaires) and many Alpine residents work in Jackson. Alpine sits at the end of the Snake River Canyon where the Snake River enters the Palisades Reservoir. Three rivers converge at Alpine, the Snake, the Salt and the Greys. You would love Alpine if you enjoy snowshoeing, ice fishing, or skiing. The snowfall, on average, is about 500 inches a year.

Here you see an aerial photo of Alpine from this Wiki page (which grants permission to share)

Alpine – uh, somewhere in that valley snowfield

We arrived in Alpine on Friday evening, June 21st. The first day of summer (yay!) and a high of … 58 degrees? Although when I complained about it to Eric he said, “You should have been here two years ago when it was 93 degrees.”

I took a photo of Alpine from our resort – where you can see the convergence of the Greys river into the Snake.

Alpine is hard to catch in photos


The Salt River converges into the Snake near Palisades Reservoir on the other side of Alpine.

Up and at em’ early Saturday to hit the Mountain Days Festivities. Free Pancake breakfast! Or breakfast at the one restaurant in town, the Yankee Doodle Cafe. The triathlon starts at 8 Am – swimming! We heard that participants were jumping in, then back out, on account of the 33-degree water temperature. But they did announce a winner after 10:30 am who crossed the finish line.

Meanwhile check out the booths! At least 30 of them, food vendors and merchants selling American Indian jewelry, photography, alpaca wool clothing, pottery, art, furs, Davy Crockett coon hats (Classic! My brothers each had one, uh, about 55-60 years ago?) – here, I took some photos – :

Shop till you drop!

Might be tempted on a Davy Crockett coon tail hat for nostalgia, but a whole skinned coon?

No country for raccoons

One booth was plastered with wooden signs:

“NO TRESPASSING – VIOLATORS WILL BE SHOT – SURVIVORS WILL BE SHOT AGAIN” (??) Might be a big seller in this part of the country, based on the retail shop on the main drag across the street:

Get your guns and ammo here!

At some point Smokey the Bear made an appearance

“Only YOU can prevent forest fires!”

Smokey on a toke break. (Ha – Just kidding)

Our most favorite booth of all was, of course, Eric’s. We walked right past it the first time through, I was so distracted by the bright merchandise and baubles around me – I was looking left, and you entered his booth to the right, under a little awning, but then it spread out into an open grassy area, because, well, I can only explain this in a video I took of Eric’s booth. (Turn up your sound…)

That’s Eric sitting back there in the blue fleece, on this breezy Saturday in Alpine.

Garden spinners – flowers, eagles and owls, Oh My! Dragonflies, and even a bat – metal garden art of all sorts. Propelled by the wind. Newly refinished antique trunks and dressers. An old carpenter’s work bench. And Sasquatch!

A disgruntled Sasquatch walking out of Eric’s booth

Across the street from the vendors is Mountain Man Trader’s Row and the Indian Village:

A weathered bunch

Where the mountain men and Indians gathered, danced and sold their wares.

The Shoshone Indians performed ceremonial dances. I captured a bit of one – not the most elaborate, but worth sharing

imparts maybe some understanding of the origins of punk rock (??)

And of course, the chili cookoff. Eleven entries – and for five bucks you could sample them all and not be hungry again for six hours.

Chili Cookoff!

The chicken chili won. (Note to self- Make chicken chili next time I enter into a chili cook-off contest with a $50.00 1st place prize. All the red chili’s taste nearly the same, because they look the same.)

On Saturday afternoon The Teton Raptor Center presented two raptor presentations, free to the public. Well worth seeing! Located in Wilson, Wyoming (near Jackson Hole) the Teton Raptor Center receives and rehabilitates injured raptors from private citizens and Fish and Game, with the goal of releasing them back into the wild. They keep the raptors who can’t survive in the wild, due to permanent injuries. They use these birds to educate people about raptors and how human behavior affects their well-being. The presentation today included a Golden Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, Great-horned Owl,a Bald Eagle,a Kestrel, and a Peregrine Falcon. I took photos of them all while listening to their histories.

Meet Gus, the Golden Eagle:

He fledged the nest with a broken wing that never healed properly. So he couldn’t fly. Gus is the second oldest bird in the center, at 14 years old.

Owlie – the Great horned owl – was hit by a truck in Wilson Wyoming.

Owlie and the Bald Eagle

One wing was too badly damaged to heal properly. His disposition was very grumpy until they discovered he had severe arthritis in his damaged wing. They removed the section of wing that was inflamed and learned that owlie’s owlishness had been due to pain. He is now a much happier bird. Owlie is also 14 years old, one of the original birds in the center.

Owlie with the red tailed hawk

Red tailed hawk

The red-tailed hawk – was brought in with a broken wing after being hit by a car. The wing was rehabilitated but when they released him he refused to leave. They finally determined that in addition to a broken wing he suffered from a brain injury.

One point that was driven home in the presentation – Don’t toss apple cores and other edible scraps out your car window thinking it’s fine because they are ‘biodegradable’. Birds fly down to snatch up the food but can’t get aloft enough on take-off to avoid getting hit by passing cars!

The Bald Eagle: Female (you can tell males and females apart by their size – females are much larger than males!)

Bald Eagle!

She was sent to the center from Missouri – found sick from a severe bacterial infection caused by drinking polluted water. She was finally healed, but the infection had seriously damaged the bones in her wings so she could no longer fly.

You can tell her age by the color of her head. It doesn’t turn completely white until the bald eagle is about five years old. This eagle is about four, which is why she has a salt-and-pepper-colored head.

Photo of the kestrel – a much smaller bird, but still a raptor (but I don’t remember the story…)

Kestrel- in the photo above and below

Peregrine Falcon: This guy was captured after not leaving his nest:

It was discovered that he had a bacterial infection in his eyes. The center was able to cure the infection and restore his vision, but the peregrine falcon couldn’t hunt because his cloudy vision had caused him to miss grades K-12 where the parents had taught the fledglings to hunt.

Check out this link to the Teton Raptor Center. You can visit these birds in Wilson and experience educational raptor encounters similar to what we experienced here at Alpine Mountain Days. Or come to Alpine the third weekend of June during any year!

Eric, David and I ate dinner Saturday night at the new brewery in Alpine – Melvin Brewery – that started up in Jackson, Wyoming, and then they moved their headquarters to Alpine and vastly expanded their operation.

The Melvin Brewery sits right at the tip of Palisades Reservoir. They distribute beer to bars in Idaho Falls and other surrounding areas. Here is the view from their patio (although lovely for summer, but a bit too chilly to eat outside today.)

Melvin Brewery Patio overlooking Palisades

It’s Sunday morning and we need to hit the road back home. We stop by Eric’s booth one more time and hang out a bit. The morning is peaceful, the air is calm, and noticeably warmer than yesterday. We sit, entertained by the little children that belong to the Indian family that sells alpaca wool clothing in the booth behind Eric …

Too precious!

David is wearing his new ‘Melvin Brewery’ sweatshirt he bought yesterday from a vendor.

We particularly like the back of it.

Yeah! Don’t hate. Party.

And on that note I think I’ll put a wrap on this.

Baby Robin on the Premises! – Part 2

June 25, 2019

Part 2 of 2 – To continue where I left off … You might be wondering about the fate of that baby robin in our back yard that fledged about June 1. We discovered him on June 2, on our back compost pile with both parents close by. We woke up every day after that looking for that little guy, so tiny, vulnerable and dependent! He didn’t fly at all. He hopped a bit, behind his parents, begging for food, and hopefully would learn quickly to hop up onto tree branches for safety. My previous blog followed him through his first four days as a fledgling – my last video of him was on the evening of June 6, finding him safe and sound (whew!) after a huge thunderstorm.

But then the next day we didn’t see him at all. And the next day after that. Oh no! Both neighbors to the west of us have cats. Our neighbors to the east have a fenced yard with three big dogs!

Meanwhile, Rudy continued to keep the back yard safe from strangers.

And we kept a close eye on Rudy

Rudy demonstrates how to relax in a patio chair

Other birds were busy making nests – helping themselves to inventory from our hanging pots. Hey, glad to help!

The irises were out in full bloom

Blooming snowball bushes graced the whole town,

The horse chestnut tree blossoms are my absolute favorite. The tree blooms in red or white:

Nice try, Rudy, but you missed the shade. Stop dilly-dallying!

Here’s the blossom up close.

horse chestnut

There’s a giant white horse chestnut tree in nearby Tautphaus Park, blooms in early June. I have missed it some years…

Ancient horse chestnut tree!

“Hey David – stand by that tree and let me take your photo!”
(Ugh. If I must …)

June 4, 2019

There, you get a little perspective on how magnificent that tree is.

Close-up – the blossoms stand over 6″ tall!

Okay, but what about your little robin? you ask. Did you see him again? Why yes we did! On the morning of June 12, 8:49 AM, we could hear him chirping. Then, looking out our upstairs bathroom window, we spotted him!

See him in the lilacs! His light round breast (between the limbs)

“Chirp, chirp, chirp!”

Here. I’ll zoom in …

Yes, that’s him! Between the limbs. He’s hungry!

He disappeared into the corner of our yard behind our giant spruce tree but then was back out that afternoon pecking around for food (but mostly still begging from his parents). At 3PM I captured a video from inside our kitchen through our back door window. You don’t hear chirping on the video. What you hear is Rudy whining to be let out, and Megan’s friend Amber disciplining him to stop whining, which he does. I believe Amber to be some kind of dog-whisperer.

That video was taken Wednesday June 12 at 3PM. Yeah, so our little birdie has survived as a fledgling for at least 10 days! And he’s certainly not a strong flyer. I did see him sort of flit up into the lilac bushes once today. He was back out in the lilacs along our back property line again at 8:40 PM. Chirping away. “Daddy I need my bedtime snack!”

The next afternoon the robin family was back in our backyard. The baby still looks tiny but he can surely hop and run faster! I captured this video about 5 PM. June 13 – the baby fledged at least 12 days ago. He looks so tiny still!

Meanwhile the slugs have devoured the hostas.

Yes, I’m sure it’s slugs. We go through this every year.

This year I didn’t use slug bait (is it really safe for birds and animals just because the package says it is? …) I know for sure now that robins eat slugs – and we are surely laying out a feast for our robin family through the slug orgy taking place in our southwest corner garden.

And, well, our our hanging flower basket is looking a little ratty. My, the birds have been busy!

On the evening of June 13 I glanced out our front dining room window. What? Is it snowing? I stepped through the front door into a magical spring atmosphere of birdsong and drifting down

The poplar trees are shedding all over town.

Black Poplar

Saturday, June 15 – 10 AM. There he is! – hopping in our back yard along our landscape curbing. Two weeks after fledging and surely he’s a pretty strong flyer by now. But I haven’t seen him fly. Robins forage for food on the ground and I suspect he has to do most of his own foraging by now. He still looks so young!

Well, he did fly up into a tree. Several days have passed and we haven’t see him. I guess the little birdie has flown away – has he joined the larger flock of robins? Are his parents raising another clutch by now? Do we have some hidden bird nests up in our giant honey locust trees somewhere? Huh. If we do, the wind did its best this past Wednesday and again Thursday (June 20), to knock them out!

I just read today that 90 percent of baby robins don’t live through their first year. I am happy to report though, that our little robin was busy foraging for food just this morning in our back yard – Monday, June 24, a full three weeks after he fledged. I took a couple of photos of him. He still has that distinctive round light belly.

Monday, June 24, 2019

I watched him forage for bugs, worms, slugs and berries for several minutes. Then he flew off. I’ll keep a lookout for him!

David has resumed his game of frisbee with Rudy in the back yard. They have both perfected their technique to where they’ve got a smooth thing going – David with throwing, and Rudy with catching.

Not bad for a 11-yr-old dog and a 73-yr-old man. Yes, I’m capturing it in photos and video … this magical spring in the autumn of our lives.

Life is good!

Baby Robin on the Premises!

June 9, 2019

This story begins on my husband David’s 73rd birthday, June 1, 2019. We’re relaxing on our back deck, basking in the wonders of spring, the fragrant breezes, the chirping of birds, when our tranquility is interrupted by a crow ‘caw-caw-ing’ through the quiet calm from a high tree limb above us. What?

Yeah, I know about crows, and their close relative, the magpie. They prey on the smaller songbirds, the robins, in particular (they clearly don’t prefer starlings, based on their ballooning populations). We experienced the preying magpies three years ago, the last time we knew of a robins’ nest in our back yard. I was so happy to see the nest, then hear the hungry chirping of hatchlings, for a day, maybe. The discovery that the nest was empty occurred on the same day I chased several magpies off our back deck. I did some research on magpies and blogged about the experience (link here). Yes, magpies and crows are smart, dominant birds, higher up on the food chain than robins and other songbirds, and they eat baby birds for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert, pluck them right out of their nests.

So imagine the ruckus caused by that large black crow perched above us in our giant honey locust tree. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it because I captured a video of the moment it was chased off by a flock of robins.

Way to go, robins!

The very next day, June 2, we discover a baby robin perched atop the corner compost pile in our back yard. Whoa! The baby bird hardly moves or startles when we approach. So I capture a pretty good photo of him (I’m calling it a ‘him’ – I just am) .

Baby robin adopts a new nest

His chances of survival? He barely hops, much less fly. Is he injured? Why is he here all by himself? What happened to this little robin family? Did that crow’s presence yesterday have anything to do with the fate of this lonesome little one – where are his siblings? Was he driven from the nest prematurely? He’s lucky to be alive!

Here is a link to robin facts. Most robins die their first year. Robins lay one egg a day for the average of 3-5 eggs in a clutch. They hatch 12-14 days after the last egg was laid. Robins jump from their nest (fledge) when they are about 13 days old and they all fledge within two days.

It takes fledglings about two weeks after they leave the nest to become strong flyers and independent birds. (!!)

In August 2014 (5 years ago already, whew!) I blogged about the last robins’ nest we had – where I captured the three babies on video when they fledged and we watched them hop about the yard for a few days (one of them died the first day). Here’s the link! (There are three parts to the story and when you open the link you scroll to the bottom to read them chronologically.)

Bird banders have found that only about 25% of young robins survive their first year. If they do, most wild robins live to about the age of 5 or 6.

The mother builds the nest and sits on the eggs. She builds a new nest for each brood. Both the mother and father feed the babies. The babies beg for food, even after they fledge.

Speaking of begging baby birds, let’s get back to our baby robin that we discovered in his ‘new nest’ on June 2. I had a good view of him on our compost pile from an inside window, and yes, he basically stood atop that compost pile and begged, and both parents seemingly spent their entire waking hours scavenging for worms, insects and berries to feed him.

He stayed atop that compost pile, begged, and was fed for most of his first day. But then, toward evening, Hey! Where did he go?

Empty nest!

He had mustered up the courage to fly – about three feet where he was now perched on our backyard fence! Here you see him – his tail that is, sticking out the backside of the fence.

See his tail sticking out?

So of course Megan and I sneaked out front and sure enough, there he was, perched on the fence.

See the little guy!

Begging away, calling for his parents, who were scavenging just a few feet away. I captured a video at 7:07 PM:

The parents were always just a few feet away in our front yard as that little guy stayed perched on the fence.

Daddy duty

Finally about 8 pm the little one hopped through the fence back to his ‘nest’:

The end of his first full day and he is learning to hop to safety!

We ended the day happy – he had survived his first day and returned to his nest!

He seemed sated, as well. Good night little birdie! Stay safe!

Monday morning, June 3, Day 2: Megan announces, “Mom, he’s on his nest!” And sure enough, I was able to capture a photo.

Monday, June 3, 8:36 AM

Of course, he was hungry and now hopping after his dad and begging!

Look out little birdie. You’d better take shelter! I am happy to report he made it safely through the whole day, and that evening, there he was back on his ‘nest’, our compost pile.

Whew! Made it safely through another day!


Tuesday morning – June 4 – Day 3! There he is right in plain view on the edge of our neighbor’s driveway:

Beware the cat, little birdie!

Oh boy, he’s getting braver, but still not moving much. Hey little birdie, those neighbors have a cat! But, he makes it through today, and sure enough, he’s back on his nest by bedtime.

Wednesday, day 4 – 11 AM – he’s in the back yard, with his helicopter parents!

Wed, June 5. Yay! See them in the shadows?!

We watched him hop along our back row of lilacs, and peck for food himself. But that night he didn’t return to the nest.

Thursday, Day 5 – We hear thunder through the early morning hours. Why of course, we wake up to a huge thunderstorm. I captured a video of the storm out our back door:

You have to learn to survive little one! Where is he?

The storm has blown over and the sun is out. We hear him, from inside the house, the distinctive hungry chirp from that baby robin … Step outside! There he is!!

Our backyard is so beautiful after a rain!

Storm has blown over – here comes the sun!


Life is good. We took our last video of him that evening at 8:40 pm. – from our upstairs bathroom window:

Good night little birdie! Stay safe! Where was he roosting now? Hopefully up on a tree limb?

It is Sunday now. June 9. We haven’t seen our little birdie since Thursday evening. We’ve been watching out for him though. We keep an eye on our poodle, Rudy, as he did grab a baby bird in his mouth one spring. Rudy, for now, gets his own seat at our patio table.

Little Lord Fauntleroy

And keeps the back yard safe from strangers.

“BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK-BARK” Stop it, Rudy. You’re driving the whole neighborhood nuts!

Tho, can’t do much about the hungry raptors hovering above …

Photo taken from our back yard Sunday, June 9

Plus we have issues with squirrels, who are also known predators of baby robins. These rascals are always out frolicking:

The squirrels are certainly happy

But no worries. Rudy keeps them in tow:

I am hopeful that our little birdie is still alive, practicing his flying and other survival skills. A week has passed since we first met that little fledgling – is it seriously going to take him another week to become a strong flyer?

We still spot adult robins in our yard. So that’s a hopeful sign. Although, this little birdie’s mother has likely already built another nest and is possibly sitting on a second clutch of eggs. So it’s daddy who is feeding and watching over him.

The families stay together for at least three weeks after the babies leave the nest. This is such a dangerous time for baby robins as they need time, and nurturing, and safe places to practice flying, away from cats, dogs, predatory birds, snakes, squirrels, cold, storms …

Take care, little birdie. You gotta grow up smart and fast to beat that 25% chance of surviving through your first year.

Horse Chestnuts, Dandelions and Garden Pests

July 31, 2018

I’ve taken gobs of photos this past spring and summer. It seems summer flies and it’s suddenly gone. Here it is now the first of August and leaves are already turning gold and falling. From the heat? Maybe. But the plants already know, summer is nearly over.

I’ve missed spring in years past. I notice the buds, next thing, the trees are out, all bushy and full, their blossoms long gone. How had I missed it? So I try to pay close attention to the blossoming of spring.

It begins with the dandelions – bees’ first feast!

Nice for the bees, not a great look for your front yard

I love to see fields of dandelions, however, by the end of April it’s a declared war, humans vs. dandelions, daily raging battles, humans extracting dandelions from suburban lawns – a war that can overcome the average adult strapping male.

Dandelions are clever imposters, posing as a fill-in for a gorgeous bouquet

So vibrant!

Ha! You think you can get away with this?

Yeah, like we don’t recognize a clump of dandelions

Oh, you think we don’t recognize that you’re not tulips? We’re totally on to you. Your gig is up!.

By early May tulips and daffodils command the show

Rudy finishes his inspection – May 5

Crab and May Trees flower and alight with buzzing bees

Then the lilacs bloom! – and fade so quickly. Don’t miss it! Fill your kitchen with their marvelous fragrance.

Bury your nose in their velvety moist blossoms!

My absolute favorite tree of all blooms in late May. I watch for it. There’s a big ol’ ancient one in town beside the Broadway Bridge on the Snake River.

“Oh Megan, pose in front of it!”

“Okay, mom, if I must.” June 2, 2018

The 6-inch blossoms stand stately on their limbs like lavishly decorated Christmas trees.

There’s a red variety too. I took a photo of one in Tautphaus Park:

I’d love to plant one of these trees in our back yard. Oh wow! Here’s a plaque by the big tree Megan is standing under identifying what it is:

‘Horsechesnut’
Shouldn’t that be two words?

Horse chestnut??? Hmmm. Well, okay.

By the first of June the flowers were all planted in our pots and flowerbeds – marigolds and zinnias, impatiens, petunias, red and blue salvia. Tomatoes and green peppers. Let the battle begin! You know, against slugs, fungus, heat, insects, weeds, crowding, drought, poor soil, under-fertilizing, over-fertilizing, over-watering, not enough dead-heading. And one more pest – our next-door neighbor’s dog, Einstein. Here – I’ve captured this ‘pest’ problem in this video:

Einstein is an escape artist. It’s simply impossible for his owners to keep him in their fenced back yard. They have given up. You will see in the video the ladder we propped up against the fence beside the arborvitae three summers ago to keep Einstein from jumping directly from his back yard into our garden. But, no matter. He simply jumps their fence and once he’s escaped his yard, we obviously can’t keep him out of ours.

This helps explain why I’ve been remiss all summer in writing my blog. I’ve been crazy busy. “Gardening” among other things. Figuring out why some stuff grows okay and a lot of it doesn’t. I’m not posting any closeup photos of our flowers. There’s just too much explaining to do. I keep learning, though.

This year I learned from the local nursery how important it is to apply their special brand of fertilizer on the flowers and vegetables – at least once a week!, to achieve, say, the desired effect for your next dinner party of showing off your happy bushy flower pots. Except if, on your petunia leaves, you start to notice what looks like a serious case of spider mites or maybe lace bugs, and you run a sick leaf down to your local greenhouse for their expert diagnosis, you might learn that applying liquid fertilizer to plants at the beginning of a 90-degree day will likely burn the leaves as if they’re infested with tiny bugs. On the other hand, with the application of liquid fertilizer on a 90-degree day, you could also maybe burn any existing pests off the leaves? I know. It’s hard to tell about these things, other than to admit your giftedness to kill plants.

Alas, by late summer the plants know to stop growing. So you can relax. I practice relaxing at home on the couch by example of our dog, Rudy.

Rudy demonstrates the proper way to flop

I’ll have you know, we think we’ve made some progress in discouraging Einstein’s over-the-fence leaps directly into our garden with the installation of a wind vane whirly thing we bought at my brother Eric’s shop.

Wind vane

With the persistent Idaho winds, it stands out as one very happy thing in our garden, downright exuberant in a high wind:

Oh, and all those blooming trees are now bearing fruit! We happened upon my favorite spring blooming tree this past week. You know, the “horse chestnut.” Sure enough, it has chestnuts all right.

Can’t wait to walk here barefoot when they ripen and drop off

Chestnuts coated in prickly spikes (Huh. that sentence rings like a new verse for ‘White Christmas.’) I picked a developing horse chestnut to show you, but it was too prickly to put in my pocket. David held it long enough for me to take a photo.

Horse Chestnut

Yeah, well maybe we should plant a horse chestnut tree in that corner by the fence as an added deterrent to Einstein. David did some research – found a link (click here) that tells all about the Horse Chestnut tree or ‘Aesculus indica.’It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen in October. It’s common along the Himalayan Lowlands and its leaves are used as cattle fodder in parts of Northern India. “It is used in traditional Indian medicine, for the treatment of some skin diseases, rheumatism, as an astringent, acrid and narcotic, and in the relief of headaches.” Huh. I believe, with all this stress of gardening, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Except all those horse chestnuts dropping to the ground in October would turn that area of our back yard into a snow-covered no-mans’ land with those horse chestnuts to greet us at next year’s spring thaw…

And I’d likely exhaust myself trying to keep the dumb tree alive, anyway. Maybe just turn our whole back yard over to dandelions.

Hoary Winter, Omega Spring!

April 29, 2016

I took a bunch of photos this past winter, it being so cold, snowy, and, well, hoary. For several weeks through mid-January into February, southeast Idaho experienced a persistent weather phenomenon known in meteorology as a “temperature inversion.” Colder air gets trapped over the valleys under a cap of warmer air, which settles over the higher elevations. For a while, it was warmer in West Yellowstone than here. We’d wake up in a cold fog, which froze like baklava in layers over tree branches.

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Magnificent hoar frost! Also known as ‘rime.’

I’d step outside as if through a wardrobe, into Narnia.

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I had to admit, it was beautiful.

It seemed we were always shoveling. We don’t own a snowblower, but most of our neighbors do.

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I developed a severe case of snowblower envy, watching our neighbor through our dining room window, whizzing through snow drifts, blowing the snow sky high in great arches that settled into huge crusty ridges along his walks and driveway. He’d be backing his truck out at full speed before we could fully contemplate our own laborious snow removal plan.

Who's going to shovel?

Who’s going to shovel?

Simple. David shoveled. Or in our case, scooped.

First the front walks and driveway:

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Then the back deck:

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While I … took photos.

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But then a few hours later we (myself, eventually, out of guilt) would be out there shoveling again. Three inches of fresh snow at a time was about the max either one of us cared to deal with.

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We shoveled paths in the snow for Rudy to navigate so he could take care of business –

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“Rudy, go potty!”

Don't pussy-foot around with David

Don’t pussy-foot around with David

Alas, like the meltdown in Narnia, the inversion lifted, warmer temps settled in and the snow melted away.

March 3. 2016

March 3. 2016

Check out the back yard. Hey – look! Pine cones?

Those aren't pine cones

Those aren’t pine cones

NO! DOG TURDS! EWWWW! You’d think at least some of them would have dissolved in the snow pack. But Noooo. Every single turd dropped over the past 4 months is perfectly intact. I plucked them out of the grass one by one.

Rudy, you messy dog!! You must have left us 600 “twerds” to pick up in the back yard! (‘Turd’ with a French accent since he’s a poodle.)

Making a mess in the house too

Making a mess in the house too

Oh boy, now you’re destuffing Lambchop.

March winter squalls … Not so welcome. We want to put the shovels away!

March 9

March 9

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Several spring storms blow through – bringing hail, snow, and sleet, sometimes simultaneously…

March 14

March 14

But then, bird nest sightings!

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Robins appear. Some are fat with eggs

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My photo is pretty lame, but let me tell you, that was one fat robin I spotted from our kitchen window.

Then, in April, we experienced another extended weather phenomenon known to meteorologists as an “Omega weather pattern.” We were shown a Satellite/radar visual of it about every night on our local news – I finally took a picture of the ‘Omega Pattern.’ Here you can see:

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A giant ‘high’ settled square over Idaho and the west, which locked in a persistent ‘low’ over, uh, the mid west and Texas. The Omega pattern hung over us for 8 days or something, bringing sunny temps 10-15 degrees above normal, while Texas and other areas east of the Omega rim got pelted, soaked, deluged and flooded out. (Sorry, Houston.) I think it is still raining there. The Omega pattern shifted slightly east, then flipped upside down or something, still locking Texas and the lower mid west in a low.

So…spring popped! All of a sudden everything is in bloom. You want to see those same snowy shots of our front yard I took in January? Can you picture my neighbor with his snowblower?

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That’s a giant May tree. Here you see the blossoms up close

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Remember Narnia?

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Our big ‘ol giant Maple is about out

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Flowering crab and plums adorn about every street

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Then there’s the tulips! Bunches of perky yellow tulips bloomed on the west side of the house:

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In our back center garden:

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They just started blooming this week in front of our house, facing north

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Turn on the sprinklers!!

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Oh joy. Never fails. A busted sprinkler head.

David has already mowed once. Dig out the dandelions! Pull weeds! What flowers to plant this year?? …

“Uh, Where’s Rudy?”

WUh?

WUh?

“You stay out of the gardens!!”

A Huntin’ for Morels

May 25, 2014

Every spring in southeast Idaho, around Mother’s Day, if the conditions are favorable, and you know where to look, you can find morel mushrooms. My brother Eric knows about everything there is to know about morels – he’s been picking them for years. If he collects a bumper crop then he sells them on the internet and can make some pretty good money. However, there were hardly any to be found the past two years; it was too warm, or dry, or too cool, or too wet. The conditions have to be just right.

David and I have never hunted for morels, I’m not even sure I’ve tasted morels. All I knew is that in the wild they look like tiny brains that popped out of the earth. They are a prized delicacy, often used in sauces, with a rich complex flavor that compliments many foods.

One morning at the beginning of May, I was talking to Eric on the phone, and he was all fired up on the subject of morels. So far the weather conditions this year looked favorable – and we might find morels this year. So we set a date to go morel hunting – Eric, David and I, on Wednesday, May 14. Luckliy, the weekend before we went, Mother’s Day, it was cool, cloudy and slightly rainy. Prospects looked good!

Now, Eric wouldn’t be too pleased with me if I told you exactly where we went morel hunting, but I can say that the best place to look for them around here is on bottomland (low lying land along a watercourse) near cottonwood trees. We are there now. Hunting.

David hunting for morels

David hunting for morels

Eric gave us strict instructions: You must bring a sharp knife to cut the mushroom and leave the stump (never pull the mushrooms out), and clean the mushroom of any grass or dirt before dropping it in a mesh laundry bag (so they will drop spores as you hunt).

The pickins seemed a little thin, to be honest. Of course, a young lady was coming out of the area with her loot just as we were going in. Early bird gets the worm! I was so anxious to find a mushroom. I got pretty discouraged in my hunt when not finding a one after the first fifteen minutes … Ah! but then …

I did find one! Yes. One.

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Impressive, eh? They look like tiny brains all right.

Then I hear Eric holler from about 50 feet away. He had found some.

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A small colony! You can see they are already beginning to dry out.

Then I found a colony. I learned that when you see one mushroom, look closely at the area all around it – they tend to grow in clusters.

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What a thrill! – makes your heart pound right out of your chest!

We gathered them up.

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Okay. Walk with me in this video – we’ll go a huntin’ for morels!

Did your heart just jump out of your chest, or what? Later, when I played the video back I realized there were TWO morels there (a smaller one was nestled in the underbrush to the left).

Time to stop now, park your hiney on a stump, and dig the stick-tites out of your mesh bag.

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My bag had gotten all knarled up with about a hundred stick-tites, and as I viciously tore at every single one to get it off, I realized how velcro was invented.

We ended up in an open field of ancient sagebrush. Amidst a buzzing of bees. You can stand there with me in this video and listen (as David continues his hunt). Turn your sound way up –

A little later we passed the hives

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We also collected some fresh asparagus. We only found maybe 3/4 pound between the three of us, which David and I took home. Mmmmmm … Steamed fresh asparagus! Another prized delicacy! We graciously offered it to Megan and Glen (Megan’s boyfirend) for dinner. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Have some fresh asparagus!”

Glen: “Never heard of it.”

David: “Wha…? How could you not have heard of asparagus? It grows wild along the canal banks here in Idaho!”

Glen: “Nope. Never heard of it.”

I shared this conversation with our older son, Aaron. He replied, “I don’t blame him. I didn’t willingly eat asparagus for close to 20 years after you guys forced it on me when I was about 7.”

Sheezh! What’s so intimidating about fresh asparagus?

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This is the only live colony we happened upon. Anywhere it wasn’t sheltered, the delicate, tender stalks were killed off by the light freeze we experienced two nights before.

Well, the light is waning now and it’s time to head toward the car.

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Oh thrill! “POUND! Boom-boom…” Someone actually dropped a precious morel, adding to our spoils!

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Which look like this:

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Eric was going to dry the mushrooms.

8:45 PM. Driving into a beautiful sunset toward home now.

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With images of succulent morel colonies prancing in my head.

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Now we can hone our French cooking skills.

Oh, and try to convince Aaron that that bit about us forcing fresh asparagus on him at age 7 to where he wouldn’t willingly eat asparagus for the next 20 years, is a false memory.