Wednesday, October 14, 2009

DRIFTING LEAVES, QUACKING DUCKS, AND C-C-C-C-COLD!

It's been a cold, damp, cold, dark, cold, rainy day here along the river.
Cold, too.
There's an old country saying that autumn goes slipping down the river. The truth of this was visibly evident every time the wind blew, which instantly sent a pile of lemon-yellow boxelder leaves pouring onto the water, as if some profligate pirate were suddenly seized by the desire to hurl away a fortune in gold doubloons.
The newly-freed boxelder leaves would join the occasional maple, hackberry, and sycamore, all of them in their various hues bobbing along upon the slow-moving current like autumnal confetti. This wasn't the main leaf-fall that gives the season its name—but a good precursor of things to come…and possibly sooner than we expect if the weather continues to deteriorate.
I did mention it was cold, right?
Okay, so maybe you folks in Canada and Minnesota and North Dakota don't consider 43F degrees cold. Well, neither do we Ohioans, usually. But confound it, it sure felt cold here today. I huddled at my desk, electric heater on HIGH, yet shivering still, chilled to the bones and feeling a lot like Bob Cratchit trying to keep warm with a single lump of coal in Scrooge's counting house.
The cold—or more likely the steady light drizzle—discourage feeder visitors, too. Only the chickadees, nuthatches, and titmice seemed unaffected. The squirrels stayed inside their snug hollow in the big sycamore near the drive. With the bunch of 'em nestled cozily together, all in their nice fur robes, I bet they were toasty.
I wasn't. I was COLD!
Just before the rain came I went out and tossed the ducks a second scoop of cracked corn. I'd given them one early on, soon after daylight, in hopes of keeping them from quacking like dependent fools and waking the neighbors. A duck could get shot for such behavior hereabouts.
Have to told you I've been feeding those two white ducks who came floating dowstream like wandering featherdusters a couple of months back? [post]
Well, I have, and I can assure you that while ducks may not be the smartest birds to ever waddle up from the sandbar, they're easily the loudest. And like any good bum on the lam, they never forget the source of a free meal. All I have to do is step out onto the deck, say "Hey, ducks!" in anything above a whisper, and they come bleating and quacking from a hundred yards away, like sheep with outboard motors strapped to their butts. I swear they displace wakes that threaten to wash out the bank!
Anyway, the winds blew, the leaves came sifting onto the water, and a portion of autumn went slipping down the river…apparently taking every BTU of available heat with it. But the ducks stayed. And the rains came.
AND IT'S STILL COLD!

20 comments:

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

So Griz- was it nice out today?


:)

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

Lynne…

Nooooo…it was NOT a nice day!

IT WAS COLD!

:-D))

Bernie said...

Sorry but I chuckled at your description of your weather, why didn't you build a fire?
We had a major snow storm today, it is still snowing but it is suppose to rain tomorrow and warm up to plus 8.
Now I hope you throw wood on the fire, make a pot of home made soup and nest for a few days until this cold snap passes.
Love how you are feeding the ducks, now keep warm my friend.
....:-) Hugs

Wanda said...

You sound like my husband...45* is invigorating...ask the ducks! Just kidding! This cold does remind me though, that I need new snow boots.
What will the ducks do this winter?
Will they need shelter?
Meanwhile indure the cold 45* and enjoy your "autumnal confetti"!!!

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

Bernie…

Well…I have hauled my sorry carcass out of bed, fed my ducks (including the wild mallard they've adopted) and done what a man needs to do before turning on his computer.

I think plus 8 centigrade is like 46 degrees fahrenheit—but I like the way the fahrenheit sounds a lot better. Plus 8 to me means thermal underwear and mukluks.

I didn't build a fire yesterday because I had to work in my writing room all day—which has a fireplace of its own, though I've never used it won't until I've checked it out and decide it's safe—which I keep meaning to do ONE OF THESE DAYS!

I expect I was so cold because I'm just run down—I haven't been sleeping well, which eventually translates into a body whose internal furnace simply goes on strike.

Funny you should mention soup, though—I'd already planned on making a pot of my mother's vegetable-beef soup today, and will certainly have that woodfire as soon as I get back from the store.

Maybe Moon, the ducks, and I can all huddle later…

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

Wanda…

You know, I always think these damp days in October and November feel colder than the worst days January and February can offer.

I have no idea what the ducks will do come winter—or what I need to do for them, if anything. Actually, I'm not sure what they'll do do come the first high water of the season, which probably isn't all that far off. Right now, I can't get them to come up in the yard to eat, but when the water rises, it will be too swift for them to hang in their pools and backwaters. The mallard will be fine, but my white ducks might wash away. I hope whomever's place they end up at downstream in Louisiana takes care of them—although your average Cajun will probably serve 'em up with some red beans and rice.

And for your information, it never reached 45 degrees here yesterday; 43 was the high point. I could have used those two additional degrees, too!

P.S. You need to work on your sympathy factor…here I am, freezing to death just up the road, and you essentially call me a wuss! How neighborly and understanding is that? And then you drag your poor husband into the fray by offering him as a second example! I think you owe both of us some apple pie. :-)

Richard said...

It's not the temperature that makes you cold but the gray moisture that seems to surround us the last week or two.

Grace said...

Oh this made me laugh! It is cold! I know it's just a small preview of what is to come this winter here in Canada, but it still felt like I damn near froze my hands off planting garlic yesterday.

madcobug said...

Those colorful leaves in the water made a beautiful picture. I imagine your white ducks will hang around in your yard to be fed by you this winter. Helen

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

Richard…

I believe you're right, Richard. I always have several days in the fall, when the weather turns gray and dour and damp, and it feels worse to me than any other time during the winter or spring.

Maybe I am a wuss. But doggone it, I was cold yesterday!

(Of course today is just as gray and rainy, but I've had a good night's sleep and am not cold. Guess I needed a bit more rest.)

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

Grace…

I really don't mind winter—in fact, I like it better than summer (spring, fall, winter, summer is my personal order of favorite seasons) but just sitting and not having enough sleep and not eating anything hearty and being on the cranky side…all worked against me.

Your garlic planting reminded me I have bulbs to plant—though probably not today with the rain and mud.

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

Madcobug…

I want to do a better leaves-on-water shot, but this was how it looked yesterday during the time I was out and before the rains began. The best I could manage at the time—which is, of course, often the case with so many things in life. I'm glad you liked it, though; I did, too.

Re. ducks, I'll feed 'em if they hang around. BTW, I looked out a moment ago and they already have five mallards (counting the one they've adopted) hanging with them. Maybe I'll become a duck herder.

KGMom said...

Scribe--
here too. Cold. An early cold at that.
And I have a cold--first of semester--thanks a lot, students.

The Weaver of Grass said...

That is one lovely piece of writing, Scribe - cold, did you say? I like the look of those two white ducks, they are so incredibly smart and clean aren't they. And of course if you will keep feeding them crack-corn then they will keep up the quacking. I love your likening of golden leaves to dubloons. Beautiful.

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

KGMom…

I've been out and about (stores, not real outside out) all the livelong day! Hence this late reply to your comment.

Sorry to hear you're sick. But if you hang around all those youngsters…you'll get sick. It goes with the job, as I'm sure you know. There's simply no escape.

Build a fire in your fireplace. Curl up with a good book. Have a toddy. And most of all, take care of yourself and get well!

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

Weaver…

Thank you, truly, for your nice words re. writing. I'm just glad you enjoyed it. I'm not one of those writers who gets his kicks from simply having written…I want someone to read and enjoy the piece. Otherwise, what's the point? I always appreciate your words to me.

TheChicGeek said...

LOL....Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, Scribe!
That's one cold day you had!

I'm sending you a big warm hug from sunny California :D
You feelin toasty yet?????

Happy Days, Scribe :D

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

ChicGeek…

Okay, I'm feeling better. Plus I've had some sleep, made a big kettle of beef-veggie soup, and built a fire.

Amazing what heat, food, and rest will do for an incorrigible grizzled one's constitution. (The hug put me over the top, though.)

Debbie said...

What a difference a year makes. My daughter married the first weekend in November last year. The pictures were even more beautiful because of the perfect Fall color. This has been an entirely different Fall. It got colder earlier and we've had a lot of wind and rain. Our color is probably at its peak right now, but the leaves have been blown off so quickly that many of the maples and ash are looking pretty raggedy. The sun is shining today and the temps may reach near 50. We've gotten so used to overcast skies and drizzle we are agog with joy! But it won't make a difference in the conditions of the trees. I'm just glad the wedding isn't this year! Well; we get what we get and we are thankful! I really enjoy your good photos and want to thank you for your advice for shooting. I'll be looking forward to the pictures of your area changes. Didn't they just have some snow over in Pennsylvania?
Debbie
PS Did you see my pictures of Brown County? I know you were thinking of going over there and I hoped those might help you decide it was worth the drive;)

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

Debbie…

You're absolutely right—you can't judge one autumn by another, except as a comparison. I can usually say within a few days when the peak of the color will occur hereabouts, but never how the color will actually turn out. One year the reds—from scarlet to crimson to burgundy—will dazzle you with their intensity, the next it will be the yellows garnering all the attention and those reds will be okay, but nothing special. Then you have dry years, warm years, wet years, windy years—even years of ice or snow—and the color might be great, simply good, or nearly
nonexistent…over before it began.

I've just been out for several hours, checking a few places and taking a number of photos. It is cold and windy, but a beautiful blue-sky day. There's a fair amount of yellow, less orange, not much red. A lot of brown, too. And a lot of trees with leaves already stripped. I expect, when all is said and done, this year's local fall color will—on a 1-to-10 scale—rate no more than a 5 or 6.

It was indeed a blessing that you had great color for your daughter's wedding. Autumn's color is an annual gift, but it's like when someone brings a big tin of homemade cookies…they're good because they're cookies, and made with love, but you liked last year's oatmeal-raisin better than this year's butterscotch-almond. I like all autumn's color shows, but I like some better.

P.S. I did see your Brown County post…but got distracted (from drooling) over the apple pie piece. I may make a close-to-Christmas trip to Nashville, but probably won't go there for the color this year. I have a hard time making the three-hour southwestern drive to that part of Indiana—pretty as it is—when the same three hours going southeast will take me to the hill country along the Ohio River…which is the prettiest part of the Buckeye State any time of the year (IMHO), and absolutely stunning all decked out in autumn. Too many places, too little time…