Thursday, September 5, 2013

On the Wing

Fall is indeed on its way. This week the plethora of beautiful, unusual and sometimes unidentified songbirds quit this cheap (or is it cheep?), seed stand and moved on. In fact, it happened over night, literally. Nothing left but our year round resident chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, turkeys, ravens, juncos and jays. As of yesterday only two hummers were buzzing around and at that, I only saw them in the morning. They have all started their journey to warmer climates in what is a great migration for many. I also thought my foxes had dispersed. No egg offering had been taken for two days but this morning, I see the single offering has disappeared. It is likely the family has broken up. The pups are plenty old enough to strike out on their own, the vixen abandons the den area for good and all will lead a solitary life until mating season in February or March. Gray fox territories range from 1 to 4 miles. I am guessing that with little human activity up here in the monument our foxes are able to stake out the more ample ranges on that scale. The youngsters will travel quite a distance before finding their own territories. With 60,000 acres give or take, there is plenty to pick from. Gray foxes are not a plentiful species in this area. The deer are still around. The fawns now sporting their new standard issue tan grey winter coats.

I'm on the home stretch with the painting.

 Every time I open a can of paint I thank Dean Cohen for a better way to manage the job. Dean and his company did all the original plastering and painting.  No flimsy trays here, a 5 gallon bucket and hanging paint screen makes the job easier and safer.

 I am less likely to tip a big bucket over than a tray that's for sure. And no stupid critter (or human!), is going to step in it.  The set up is more stable on the ladder and I can wrap a plastic bags over the bucket, the roller and a baggie on the brush and take break or even overnight them. The last bits to be done are refreshing the trim and painting the new hallway chair rail.

I did allow myself some time at the beginning of the week to obsess over a new and simple tunic pattern. Green Bee is a small indie pattern company and this is their Lela pattern. It could go into scrub territory with the wrong fabric choices, but it is a fun, easy and comfortable everyday kind of tunic. My wearable muslin is all scraps out of stash.

The second rendition out of a light Japanese canvas I've had waiting for the right pattern. This was it.

 I could let the interesting fabric just be itself.

Barn cleaning and some cutting back and weeding in the garden rounded out the week.
Soon we'll bring in our hay, mulch out the beds and walkways, get the wood split and stacked and in general start buttoning up for winter. The warm sun never seems so sweet as right now. Summer days, fall's crisp nights.

Parting shot: The Old Man


  1. I love the tunic made from the Japanese fabric!! (But you knew I would...that handwoven aesthetic...)'s been very quiet here for about a month already. It seemed early this year, but there has also been a hawk screeching every morning, so I was blaming it on that. But the almanac says and early, hard winter so who knows?

    Wow.....your activity level tires me out. Must go take my after breakfast rest!

  2. The paint color is wonderful! I love the sea gray. The japanese canvas was a perfect choice for the tunic, and while I like #1, your final version is stellar.

    We have had very few visiting birds so far. I hope I see some migrating through...

  3. In our neck of the woods it is the tourists who leave. Everyone, including the merchants, breathes a huge sigh of relief after Labor Day. Now we can hear the birds and the sigh of the ocean, and yes, the migrating birds too. I love your description of nature's activities around you. The tunic is lovely and I like the detail shot.
    Pats for the sweet old guy at the end.

  4. Love the canvas tunic, what a terrific print. Am looking forward to my winter visitors! First the turkey vultures will start swooping in the sky overhead, then (hopefully) my goldfinch couple will return to the yard. They have dull winter coats when they're here, as they are molting, but I love seeing them. Sweet fellow in the parting shot...

  5. That Japanese fabric tunic is divine!!!! Our hummers down here in the valley are going crazy racing and chasing each other and I'm thinking they have to get a move on soon! The raccoon families will be emerging from the storm drains soon with their new kids to dig for grubs and such in the garden and we will find all sorts of new animal scat around the compost bins but Sept is such a cool month signalling a slow-down for some but a speed-up for others especially those of you who cut wood and stock up for the cold months ahead. The smell of fresh clean and inviting!