Thursday, July 2, 2009

DARK DAY HERON

It has been a cool, overcast afternoon here along the river. The weather prognosticators guessed a high of 70 degrees for today, and have steadfastly stuck to their optimistic prediction. So far, my bankside thermometer hasn’t made it past the 66 degree mark. Inside the cottage, it remains a decidedly chilly 62 degrees—which is what probably prompted me to make a pot of beef and noodles for supper; I’m thinking of cornbread to round the meal out. I’ve also been debating a hearthfire later this evening. What’s more, it’s cool coming upon the heels of cool, since yesterday’s weather was much the same. While I’ll take cool weather over hot any day, this isn’t my idea of early July or summer in Ohio. Not the usual fare. And the interesting thing is, I just received an email from my daughter who’s in Swaziland, Africa, where she reports the weather there is also in the mid-60s—much cooler than anyone expected, including folks who’ve spent years in the area. I think the lower temperatures have the birds a bit confused, as well. They’ve been busy at the feeders all day—fighting and squabbling for perching room, as intent on their eating as if they expected a snow storm to come pushing down from Canada. Even the red-bellied woodpeckers have been going at the sunflower seeds hot and heavy, more so than any day since mid-May. A light-to-medium overcast is actually the best of all photo lighting conditions for most outdoor subjects. It’s particularly good for things such as landscapes (sans-sky), wildflowers, and birds or animals if you’re not trying to “stop” action. The soft light eliminates harsh shadows and makes colors appear “saturated.” It’s great for flattering portraits, too. However, today’s heavy overcast seemed too dim for my photo plans of doing some shooting at a pocket prairie up the road. So I postponed my plans until a brighter day and decided to stay home and work on things that needed working on. A good decision, I suspect, since the light was still too dim when I kept trying to sneak up on a great blue heron late this afternoon. And before you ask, no, taking heron shots isn’t my idea of working—although as I skulked along, from sycamore to sycamore, attempting to get close without spooking the wading bird, trying to steady my handheld zoom lens against the boles of trees…and knowing immediately every time the shutter released that I’d likely failed to capture any usable image—at that moment I might have indeed claimed it was getting to be an effort awfully close to work. But, I admit, I was just a tad frustrated. And kinda chilled, too. Because the day was cool, the light was poor, I couldn’t get my shot, plus the bird was getting nervous and— And then—well, then I remembered how, no more than a week ago, when it was 91 degrees out, I’d whined and complained about sweating and being soooo-o-o hot! So, least you think I’m an ungrateful wuss (I am a wuss, but I don’t want you to think that) I hereby state I’m not whining or complaining one iota! Nope, I’m perfectly happy if summer highs never break the 80 degree mark. I’ll build fires, cook hearty food, keep the birds well fed, and gladly exchange shorts and tees for long pants and flannel shirts. I won’t say a word about losing my tan or having to wait an extra month for sweet corn to ripen. I would, however, appreciate just a teensy bit more sunlight…

14 comments:

Gail said...

Hi Grizz-

I can't believe I am first to comment. I feel like I just won the "Blog Olympics." :-)

I LOVE the photo of the heron. Great mood and color. I, like you, SO prefer cooler weather and jeans and flannel shirts and a hearth fire to take out the damp chill AND beef and noodles and corn bread??? !!!!! Are you serious? If this were an ad on "E-Harmony" the women would be lined up on the rivers edge by your cottage.
It is ALL so inviting.

Love to you
Gail
peace.......

KGMom said...

Swaziland? Very near the land of my youth. My parents were missionaries, and I grew up in what is today Zambia and Zimbabwe--then Northern and Southern Rhodesia.
It's lovely country there--though not so wet as river-side.

giggles said...

Beautiful... You know the golden mean? Cuz I believe you have found it!!
Roll call: As I was lounging in my backyard hammock reading a delicious book, I glanced up regularly to spy fledgling bluebirds (a pair), a phoebe (or pee wee, I can't tell the difference and it didn't sing for me) cardinal, crows, blue jays, cowbirds and many many many robins....and I learned today that they cock their ears to hear earthworms digging in the earth!!!!!

Happy Fourth!! I plan to get out the watercolors since I have a few days off strung together...wish me luck. I'm thinking about that rose bush near the wagon wheel....

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Gail…

Why, you are indeed the winner—and as the prize for being first, your headshot will remain in perpetuity at the top of this posting's comments page! Can't beat that honor with a stick!

I'll let you know about those lined-up women…

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

KGMom…

You know what…my son-in-law's grandparents were also missionaries thereabouts, and I'm thinking Zambia and Zimbabwe. Also my son-in-law's father—who's also along on the same trip—is putting together a sort of history of the missionaries within that area. He was born there, as well. I'll bet he might know your parents, or his parents might know them, or he might at least have some info regarding them in his files. He has tons of photos and documents gathered already, and is hoping to fill in some blanks, talk to people, etc. while on this trip.

If you don't mind, write me at the email listed on the blog and give me your parents' names, and maybe the years they were in the region. I'll pass it along when everyone gets back and we'll see if there's a connection. In those days and that region, I imagine most missionaries were known to one another.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Giggles…

I do…and I use it.

Your roll call sounds better than mine—even with herons and ducks. I'm pretty much overrun with finches and nuthatches and cardinals, a lot of robins, an occasional blue jay, a few sparrows, the odd wren, titmice, swifts (over the river) and hummingbirds. Oh, and my beloved buzzards! A man can't forget his buzzards. There are a few additional species, but not many.

What did you think those robins were doing cocking their ears to the ground? Them little red-breasted suckers are efficient at waylaying worms and tugging them from their tunnels!

You wouldn't want to paint that rosebush now…it's one sorry looking plant. Happy Fourth to you, too!

Wanda said...

I noticed the same thing in my birds here...We have 6 feeders, some rather large and they were just all over this small one on the back porch...commented to my husband about why are they all out back and he commented that they were all bunched up out front too...acting a little frantic...My husband said like you...they think it's winter...Strange weather!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Wanda…

Now, when the juncos and snow buntings flap in, I think that'll be a sign for us southwestern-Ohio bloggers to load some duffel on a motor home and make tracks down I-75…because the next thing heading our way might be a glacier!

Bernie said...

Snow storm from Canada eh!...Oh gosh I hope not but we are cool here as well and tonight it is raining. (Our farmers really need the moisture) Your day sounded great but your supper, now that sounds delicious. Have a great 4th of July Griz....:-) Bernie

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Bernie…

I was delicious. And the right meal for the day, I think.

Today is starting off sunny and the temperature is supposed to reach 80 degrees; it's already warmer than it managed yesterday.

I have no idea what I'll do for the Fourth. Go see some fireworks somewhere maybe, or a street fair earlier in the afternoon. Or just laze here… It will probably come down to weather and whim.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Don't know what a Wuss is, Scribe but I am sure you are not one. That blue heron photo is wonderful - I wish they came near to my doorstep. Happy 4th July for tomorrow.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…

A "wuss" is about like it sounds, and not at all the masculine Redneck River Rat persona I hope to project—perception being preferred over possible reality.

Speaking of a heron coming near doorsteps…last night, about 11:00 p.m. and just before I headed to bed, I came in here to my writing room to switch off a light and check my email one last time. In the midst of that, a blue heron, suddenly disturbed by something (possibly me) began squawking to beat the band…which set off the dogs (Moon and Will, as I'm currently dog-sitting for my daughter and son-in-law while they shiver in Africa) to barking, eliciting more loud squawking from the heron. The clatter and commotion was terrific! Such a racket! And though I couldn't see it, that heron had to be in the yard or even on the deck, and was certainly not over the bank in or close to the water. So if the cottage actually had doorsteps, that crazy bird would have been there.

Thanks for the holiday well wishes, but from the sound of things weather-wise, the Fourth hereabouts is apt to be soggy—70 percent chance of rain during the day, 60 percent tomorrow evening. I hate it for the kids looking forward to the fireworks.

Jayne said...

I love the lighting with your heron, and it looks like you snuck up on him quite effectively. As for 60's in July.... OK, I won't go there for it will sound like I am also whining that the grass is crunchy under my feet. Ahem. We'll each take what nature gives us. (Though secretly, I'd love a day in the 70's!)

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Jayne…

You're right, of course. I don't like hot weather, so why am I making such a fuss? Human nature is a bear, sometimes.

Nope, I did not sneak up on that heron—he eyed and considered me and my threat potential the entire time. I believe I did sneak up on several sycamores, though.