These were taken in 1993 when we had a tree care business and lived above the office. We had a family of alley cats back then. We fed them every morning at 5 and every evening at 6. They would eat with the possums. Eventually MomCat moved into the apartment with us and the rest followed. Kitten Britches is the last remaining member of that family. She is now 18 and still spry and lively. Our neighbor who lives across the alley misses Kitten Britches and the others because they kept the rabbit population in check. MomCat and Kitten Britches were a great team, and viewed us as part of the pack. To show their affection they would bring live mice into the house in the middle of the night and drop them on the bed so we could play with them. (Dennis became very adept at catch and release in thoes years).
We finally made it out to the arboretum yesterday to get a take on what wildflowers are up. We missed all of last year due to pandemic, and even now are leery of going. We used to go early in the mornings- 6 or so, before anyone else was there, with a few exceptions. But now there are restrictions and they don’t open until 8 AM, by which time we feel like half the day is gone already. But I am glad we went- we saw many of our old friends, still in the same places they were in 2019. Here is a sampling.
Then home, to begin spread a truckload of leaf mold on the garden. More on that later-
On Sunday last we drove up the River Road, above Alton in Illinois. Crossed over the Illinois River on the Brussels Ferry at Grafton, over into Calhoun County, where we saw a few eagles, a few pelicans, and thousands of snow geese massing up on the river and Canada geese flying overhead in chevron after chevron. We also went to Meppen, where Dennis used to go every August on his motorcycle to eat turtle soup and drink beer at the annual festival at the Catholic church, where he visited the many Droeges in the graveyard there.
Snow yesterday, full moon this morning. And Dennis saw a fox in our back yard this morning. Its prints are all over the yard in the snow.
New Year- We have a new President and the vermin that infested that office for four years is gone, thank God, if not the people who somehow thought he actually represented them and was worthy of their support and a bunch of cynical or reality-challenged politicians, not sure which is worse. Everyone I know, myself included, is smiling more, sleeping better, feeling lighter, even in the midst of the other storms we are facing- pandemic, sour economy, racism, polarization. There is at least some hope again that things can get better.
On the home front, the goldfinches are beginning to change from their winter olive green to goldish-green, to be followed by their brilliant gold. There is a Carolina wren who has been around all winter. I have seen him recently diving into the old sherbet tubs that we fill with food scraps and put out at night for the possum. There are still lots of juncos and white-throated sparrows and woodpeckers and cardinals and crested nuthatches and chickadees. And of course house finches, too many house finches, and squirrels. The eagles are here and we will go on the weekend to see them up on the river in Illinois.
So 2021 begins.
I took off this morning for a much-needed walk in the woods with Dennis. It was raining little ice pellets most of the time we were out. They looked like little white fertilizer pellets:
And when we got down by the creek we saw an amazing collection of frost flowers.
And to top it all off, we saw TWO pileated woodpeckers!
Here’s hoping for a better 2021 than 2020. The bar is not too high.