tales of the osprey

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Here’s what I saw on the beach yesterday morning at 6:00 AM.  I had looked out the window to check out the smoke and saw something that definitely didn’t look like a rock or a log.  I raced upstairs for the binoculars while the guys slept and realized my visitor was an osprey.

One who didn’t want to move off of his rock.

You can see from the picture that after I threw on some clothes and hustled down the hill with the camera and the phone (these pics were taken on the phone) he let me get pretty close before trying to fly away.

Flying away didn’t work and I felt sorry that I had disturbed him.  He didn’t get in the air, landed in the lake, and swam a few yards before turning around and swimming back to his rock.

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By this time I was halfway up the hill to the house, hoping that my departure would calm him down.

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Banjo Man was awake by then, so I told him we had a visitor whose wings looked fine but couldn’t fly.

Time to call the rescue groups and find out what to do!  After some googling, I left a message with “Birds of Prey Northwest”.  And then left a message with the American Heritage Wildlife Foundation based a few miles east.

The Birds of Prey guy called me back in a few minutes and I explained the situation.

“He’s probably a young osprey just out of the nest that has gotten himself in trouble.  It happens a lot.  They’re fully grown but they’re young and stupid.  We’d be glad to come pick him up,” he said.  “I’ve got volunteers who will get him and drive him here.  But you’re going to have to get him in a box.”

“Get him in a box?”

“It’s not as hard as it sounds,” he assured me.  “Just throw a blanket over him and put him in a box, keep the box in a cool, dark place and call us.”

“Wow,” I said.  “I can’t imagine throwing a blanket over an osprey and getting him into a box.”  Meanwhile I’m thinking what the hell is he talking about!!

“It’s pretty simple,” he continued cheerfully.  “You’d better wear gloves.  Just watch out for the feet.  That’s the ‘business end’ of the bird and can do some damage.  Call us when you’ve got him and a volunteer will pick him up.”

“Uh, thanks,” I replied.  And as I relayed the information to Banjo Man I added that I wish a volunteer would come catch the osprey and I would be the one driving him to St. Maries.  Driving a bird in a box seemed a lot easier than putting a bird in a box.

Don’t you agree?

The AHWF lady called.  I explained the bird’s behavior.  I thought one leg was a bit wobbly but his wings were fine.  He just didn’t seem to be able to fly.

She thought he might have gotten into trouble while fishing and was simply resting on the beach for a while as he tried to recover.  By this time he’d been resting about three hours, which was a bit excessive.

“Well,” she said, “you need to get him in a box and we’ll pick him up.”

We were back to the box again.

“I don’t know about that,” I hedged, not having been born a falconer.

“Throw a couple of towels over him,” she said.  “He’ll flip over on his back and try to defend himself with his feet.  But once he feels the blanket he should calm down.  Wear gloves and a puffy jacket.  Oh, and approach from the water to create a barrier with the towel so he doesn’t fly into the water again.  You want to trap him on the beach.”

I thanked her and said we would do our best but I wasn’t sure if we could pull it off.

“Just call me as soon as you have him.”

I thanked her, hung up and explained the process to Banjo Man.  By this time I was on my second mug of coffee, the osprey was still on his rock and the smoke was lifting to reveal a pleasant day.

“You know,” he mused.  “I think I want to try.  I think I’ll catch the osprey.”

Huh?  You think you can put a huge wild bird in a box???

“Come on,” Banjo Man said.  “I have an extra pair of leather gloves for you and we have that box from Pier One, the one the seat cushions came in.”

Which was a huge box.  Big enough to hold an osprey wrapped in a blanket.

So we changed into bird-trapping clothes, donned our water shoes, retrieved old blankets from storage and headed down the hill.

We weren’t even halfway there when the osprey turned its head to look at us, saw the box and took off over the water.  He managed to fly about two feet above the lake as he did a figure eight close to shore and then headed west to the neighbors (we assumed).

Banjo Man was disappointed.  I worried about the bird.  We put all the Bird Trapping equipment away and then I called both rescue groups and told them what happened.

Everyone was happy for the osprey and relieved that he could fly.

He returned later on yesterday afternoon.  He sat on the beach for an hour and then was gone.  I do think he’s young and inexperienced and probably not a very good fisherman.  He could have been weak from hunger.  He could have hurt his leg trying to catch a fish.  I wouldn’t think all this smoke in the air would make it easy to spot a meal.

It’s a cold, cruel world.

But Banjo Man and I are standing by.  We have a box and we know what to do.

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smoky sunday sunset

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The sun was red.  You can see the haze that is really smoke from the California (and Oregon and British Columbia) fires.  It’s coming in thicker every day.

This was Sunday night at a nearby RV resort and restaurant.  They have music on the lawn, facing the beach, docks and water.

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Here we are enjoying ourselves.  I’ve never been to a Sunday evening here before, so I was determined that this would be the year.  To heck with the smoke!  I packed a picnic of wine, cheese, crackers, chips and salsa.  I tossed plastic wine glasses in the basket and was ready to party.

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Doug–our music teacher–and Marty entertained the crowd.

Today the smoke has come in much thicker than the previous days.  It smells like a campfire outside, so we have the windows closed.

We are waiting for rain, as are millions of others sitting in smoke and fire zones.  And we check the updates on the Cougar Fire, only five miles away.

It’s August and this is what we do.

 

 

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touristy day in town

Saturday was a big day for Sandpoint (as is today).  So much going on!  This year I was bound and determined to do it all, so I hustled Banjo Man out of the house at 8:45 in order to get a parking spot in town without having to walk a mile or two in the heat.

That worked.  Except…Banjo Man forgot his wallet.  And left the cooler behind.

Now there is a policy here when you live thirty minutes away from the nearest grocery store:  you always have a cooler in your car.  Just in case.

Banjo Man broke the rule.  And not for the first time.  I can see how I will have to be on Cooler Patrol for the rest of the summer.  He can’t be trusted.

So sadly there would be no purchasing of artisan goat cheese at the Farmer’s Market.  We bought breads and a game and huckleberry sauce and a gift or two.  I gave Banjo Man half of my cash.

Then we wandered through the Arts & Crafts Festival, which was as wonderful and varied as always.  I did find the best birthday gift in the universe for Son #2.  Banjo Man and I were mesmerized watching the demo.  Deer antlers were involved, that’s all I can say (until after October 24th).

At 11 AM we were hot and thirsty and I was even a little bit dizzy–the heat always gets to me–so we found a booth at MickDuff’s, a burger and beer restaurant on First.  Since Banjo Man was no longer driving due to his non-wallet issue, he decided to drink a few beers and relax.

I was itching to get to the quilt show, but I bit my tongue and practiced patience.  Sort of.

Eventually we made it out of MickDuff’s and walked the three blocks to the community hall, where there was a great display of quilts to peruse.  Banjo Man loves quilts and quilt shows and quilters, so he had a good time (believe it or not).

When I looked at my photos last night, this is what I saw:

On the left is a vegetable stand from the market.  On the right is a gorgeous quilt.  Funny how the colors are so similar!

I want to try the quilting pattern in the big yellow square, so I took a pic to remember it.

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We went on to the grocery store, where Banjo Man lost his sunglasses by leaving them in his shopping cart.  He roamed through the store until he found a woman pushing the cart with his glasses in it.

After that drama was over I treated myself to a frozen iced coffee and waited in the car while he went into Walmart for oranges and lemons.

Because, you know, Walmart is the only store in the northwest that carries lemons and oranges.

This morning the air smells smoky but the sun is trying to get through and doing a fine job.  We’re expecting a much cooler day (mid 70’s?) before the summer heat returns tomorrow.

We’re taking advantage of the cool air and doing some cleaning.  And later?  Music outdoors at Beyond Hope, with wine and cheese and a glorious sunset.

Life at the lake continues…

 

 

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heat wave

It was 102 here in my little town yesterday afternoon.

I didn’t know it.  I was on the dock reading.  I’ve discovered a new author, Maddie Dawson, who writes unlikely romances with lots of wonderfully quirky characters.  I’m keeping things light this month as my brain can’t do anything but relax.

Banjo Man joined me on the dock around 4 PM.  He was carrying life jackets and wanted to go kayaking.

“It’s really hot,” he said, sounding surprised.

I realized it was.  I’d finished my book and could now pay attention to the weather.  I checked the weather app on my phone.  102.  Is that some kind of record?????

We went kayaking, heading around the Point to the shaded shore of the  Forest Service.  Heaven.  We paddled around and pretended we were exercising (we were not) before heading back home to swim for a little while.

By 8:00 we were heating up chicken leftovers and sipping wine.  With the AC on!!!!

The forecast is for temps of 104 today, with a storm tonight predicted to break the heat wave.  We’re a bit worried about a storm of lightning and wind.  We would love some rain!

I’m heading to town for lunch with an old friend today.  I will wear my coolest sundress and bring a hat, just in case we eat outside somewhere (but eating outside is not my plan).  Later on I suspect Banjo Man and I will be back in the kayaks, enjoying the water and the shade on the hottest day of the year.

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Banjo Man takes a break from practicing chords on his new banjo.

 

 

 

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when your uncle is in town

…this is what you do.

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Last month Uncle Will arrived for eight days of swimming, games, squirt gun fights, teasing and fishing.

There was some success in the fishing department.

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They threw it back and hope to catch it again next summer.

There was also a lot of arrowhead hunting, of which Uncle Will is a master.  He found three in the first couple of days he was here, which is nothing short of a miracle.

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I think they might be talking about Nebraska football.

It is now August 9 and the smoke from distant fires in California and Oregon are filling the skies.  It’s worse in the morning and eventually gets better as the day goes on.  So, for now, it’s bearable.

The Cougar Fire is about 8 miles away and burning slowly eastward (a good thing).  The fire crews have set up camp at the school for the time being.  I’m thinking I should bake some brownies and take them over there.  Banjo Man says there is no hungrier group than a fire crew.

This weekend is traditionally the busiest weekend of the summer in Sandpoint.  The music Festival concludes and the Arts & Crafts Festival is Saturday and Sunday.  The Sandpoint quilters are holding their biennial show and of course Saturday is the Farmer’s Market.  There is also a self-guided Artists Walk and Trail, too.

We won’t be attending the Festival Saturday night, but we’re going to try to hit the rest first thing Saturday morning.

I’ve spent a couple of days cleaning my office and the lower deck.  Now there is room for the music stuff and the sewing machine.  I’m getting prepared in case the smoke forces us indoors next week and there are no hours spent reading on the beach or floating on my inflated chaise lounge.

I love to float.  I tether my “chair” to the dock so I don’t drift into shore every ten minutes.  It’s ridiculous and heavenly at the same time.

The best things are.

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i have a ticket

Oh, my goodness!  Joshua Bell is performing at the Long Center in Austin October 6.  I’m going to this.  Can you believe it?  

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“The Long Center and KMFA present an evening with Joshua Bell accompanied by pianist Sam Haywood, Saturday, October 6 in Dell Hall.

With a career spanning more than 30 years as a soloist, chamber musician, recording artist and conductor, Joshua Bell is one of the most celebrated violinists of his era. An exclusive Sony Classical artist, Bell has recorded more than 40 CDs garnering Grammy, Mercury, Gramophone and Echo Klassik awards and is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize. Named the Music Director of the Academy of St Martin in the Fields in 2011, he is the only person to hold this post since Sir Neville Marriner formed the orchestra in 1958.

Bell frequently plays with orchestras and at festivals world-wide, include appearances at Bravo! Vail Festival, Edinburgh Festival, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with BBC Proms in London, as well as virtually every major city across the globe. Apart from experimenting with music in technology & VR and constantly collaborating with orchestras and other projects, Bell currently serves as a senior lecturer at the Jacobs School of Music, his alma mater at Indiana University which has also honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Service Award. He has been named an “Indiana Living Legend: and is the recipient of the Indiana Governor’s Arts Award.

Bell performs on the 1713 Huberman Stradivarius violin and uses a late 18th century French bow by François Tourte.”

I’ll be in Austin that week, having promised the Funny Grandson that I would give him an “Early Birthday Party” again this year.  He loved having “two birthdays” and I loved doing it.  Will and I decorated the condo with all sorts of birthday stuff from the Dollar Store, plus the FG spent the night with us in South Austin and was able to stroll down the street to the local cafe for pancakes.  

Thank goodness it is so easy to make a seven year old happy.

And, speaking of happy, this woman is over the moon.  Joshua Bell!!  In person!!!

 

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sunset clouds on a saturday night

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Saturday night found us at the Floater, a restaurant that–yes–floats.  At the end of the bay.

The sunsets are always spectacular.

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It was a time to catch up with our friend Linda.  We never run out of things to talk about, so we’re going to have some “girl time” next week and head to town for lunch and maybe even some shopping.

Though I don’t need anything.

Can you tell we had a great time together?

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banjo man’s new baby

Happy Birthday, Banjo Man!

img_1506.jpgThis is the new member of our musical instrument collection:  a plectrum banjo.  It’s a beautiful vintage instrument and is exactly what Banjo Man has been searching for.  It came from that hotbed of banjo players:  Utah.  (Huh?)

Do not ask me what a plectrum banjo is.  Banjo Man has explained it several times and I still don’t get the concept.  It is a 4-string banjo but not a tenor.  And there you  have it.

This morning we are going kayaking, in honor of Banjo Man’s birthday.  The lake is like glass right now and it is a bit cloudy.  As soon as I finish typing this I will tug on my bathing suit and find my life jacket.

Yesterday we actually went swimming!

This evening we’re heading to a fancy restaurant near Sandpoint for a special dinner.  I’m very excited about going out.  Last night I grilled marinated chicken breasts and steamed corn on the cob.

That just about did me in.  I would eat cheese and crackers and drink wine for every dinner for the rest of the summer.

We are still trying to adjust to Life Without The Grandson.  We were so spoiled having him here for an entire month.

Back to the banjo…Banjo Man is thrilled.  He is taking lessons on you tube, as the plectrum banjo has a different tuning than a tenor or a regular banjo and therefore all the chords are new and different.

So, happy birthday!  Pluck away!

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pure joy

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Do you remember the summer when you were old enough–and brave enough–to take that first leap off the dock (or the diving board or, in my case, the float?

It’s big.  Really big.

And this summer was the Funny Grandson’s  time to be brave and jump.

And then he jumped again.  A lot.  As in maybe seventy times.

What a feeling!

(This might be my favorite photo of the summer).

 

 

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close call

Alaskan-moose-og

photo from alaskapublic.org

Since 1971 I’ve looked for a moose in the shady ponds by the Pack River Bridge every time we’ve driven to town.  There have been three–three–spottings.  Always a thrill.

I think I saw one in a distant field while I was driving through Yellowstone years ago, one of those, “Wait! Wow!  Was that a moose?” as we sped past at 40 mph.

That was it for moose.

Until Saturday.

Banjo Man and I had headed east to Clark Fork to return the Funny Grandson’s library books and get ice cream at the Pantry.  Son #1 was entertaining friends at the house and their son and the FG were making friends with each other on the beach.  We did our errands and ate our “baby” ice cream cones and resisted buying freshly baked bread and pastries before heading back to the lake to grill hot dogs and hamburgers for the younger generations.

Clark Fork has very little cell phone coverage, so as we were a mile or two from the town and heading home, my phone pinged.  There was a text message from Dancing Mandolin Player answering a question I’d sent about seating at the night’s big fundraiser for the community center.  I began to read it out loud to Banjo Man, who loves to listen to anything newsy or informative from my little electronic world.

And that’s what saved us.  Banjo Man had both hands on the wheel and his full attention on the road (as opposed to his typical admiring the gorgeous scenery or looking for herons out of his side of the car).

Next thing I knew–as I was describing DMP’s opinion of her raspberry-filled kitchen–the brakes squealed, Banjo Man yelled and I looked up to see our windshield filled with moose.

We braced ourselves for the crash.  It was going to be bad.

A car coming in the opposite direction braked and squealed as the panicked animal somehow escaped hitting our car and ran across theirs.  And then it was gone, into the wetlands of the Clark Fork River slough.

We were all very, very lucky.  A second either way would have meant disaster.  A female moose can weigh between 440 and 790 pounds and can stand 7 feet tall at the shoulder.

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photo from gohunt.com

You wouldn’t expect a moose to run out of a wooded ditch on the mountain side of the road.  Not at 1:30 in the afternoon.  But…when you’re driving in this part of the country you have to be ready for anything at any time.

So no more gawking at the lake or the river.  Hands on the wheel!  Eyes on the road!

We’re not going to press our luck.

 

 

 

 

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