Wednesday, January 9, 2013

MAKING PLANS…


The hungry Cooper's hawk just made a sudden breakfasting recon pass through the yard, doubtless hoping to surprise a tasty sparrow or chickadee. Unfortunately for the hawk, all potential victims scattered safely—no one zigged when they should have zagged—so the frustrated Cooper's ended up landing on a nearby limb where it began preening vehemently while casting evil stares to every quadrant.   

I had my own breakfast several hours ago, without any attendant stalking or drama, and have already finished all necessary desk work—meaning the remainder of the day is mine to do with as I please. Not that my chore and errand list is free and clear, mind you. There's always plenty "to do" stuff pending. But at least I'll be able to get out and about, and if the weather cooperates, maybe even take a photo ramble.

At the moment it's dark with a heavy overcast, though partial sun is predicted for later on. Already the outside temperature is up to 40˚F, and the eaves are dripping. Most of the snow cover should be gone by day's end. The down side is that trails will be sloppy, so I'll have to limit my investigations to places I can explore without getting too muddy. 

Or maybe I'll just do the grocery shopping, make a book run to the library, stop by the hardware for some bird seed, and afterwards take a long country drive…perhaps to that little rural café 30 miles northwest of here where they still fix real cheeseburgers and onion rings and chocolate malts. Too bad I can't treat that Cooper's hawk to lunch.    

16 comments:

Gail said...

HEY GRIZZ- so many blessings in your day - I revel in your humble life decidedly purposeful in the kindest and natural of ways up to and including that "real" cheeseburger, onion rings and malted. Given the warmer temps this day we are doing some work on our deck - sweeping, organizing, hanging some of our "stuff" and finding places for our bird feeders s we can see them enjoy their meals - we are adjusting and as much as we are so blessed to be here and it is quite comfortable and free our hearts do che for our home of 21+ years - perhaps also for the harsh reasons that prompted this blessing with matters such as illness, loss of a job and Mom's passing - every emotion is wrapped up in every emotion!! We are finding our rhythm - Skipp's guitar is out of its case and we are beginning..........
Love to you my friend
Gail
peace..
p.s. you inspire and "ground" me more than words can say

Johanna said...

Great picture! I was walking from the parking lot to work this morning and saw (well, heard first) a hawk (young red-tail?) getting a rabbit for breakfast. I pulled my camera out of my bag, but the hawk was sitting in the shadows with some sun-lit leftover snow in the foreground--my shots did not turn out well. I didn't want to disturb him, so I gave up. Good to see someone got a clear shot of a hawk this morning!

Carolyn H said...

I love this shot of the Cooper's Hawk. It's a great one!

The Weaver of Grass said...

I always feel sorry for the small birds Grizz - they have to be on constant look out for birds of prey. We are lucky that we have a big hedge of holly close to our bird feeding aread and the little birds dash into that at the first sign of trouble. It is too prickly and close knit for hawks to enter (I hope_)

Bonnie said...

Aaaah ... life is good. :)

bonifer said...

Hi Grizz,
You asked on my blog what trouble I was having with blogger, seems I can't post a pic the way I used to. When I click on the 'pic icon', the board that comes up does not have the 'browse' box, so I was unable to post a pic, the way I always did, couldn't figure it out, so asked in a post and montanagirl, said that there were a few others complaining about this, and for me to post pics in html and then change back to compose, back and forth to write and post pics.. just confusing to me so am waiting, hopefully for them to correct the problem. I check every day and still not working so not sure what to do now, other than continue to do it this way.
If you don't want to post this, I understand, I just wanted to explain to you. Do you know anything about this problem?

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Sounds like you're doding what you have to do, settling in, making the place home, getting comfortable…and moving on.

I just got back in—and still have groceries to put away and photos to offload. If you're wondering about that "real cheeseburger, onion rings, and chocolate malt" I'm meaning a hand-formed patty of ground beef seasoned and done on a cook top (preferbably cast iron) and a big old onion, fresh-sliced into rings which are only lightly breaded and dipped very lightly in thin egg batter—then deep-fried until golden. None of that food service pseudo-food…and especially not those god-awful onion rings which are limp, soggy, greasy, and more breading than ring. As to the malt, it's just whole milk, ice cream, malt powder (2 big scoops!) and chocolate syrup. Not a milkshake, a malt. Food like I got at Beal's (which everyone pronounced Bee-Alls) in the 1950s, or at the counter at McCrory's dime store downtown. The great eats every short-order cook in the country could produce with their eyes closed…but which is nearly impossible to find nowadays. REAL. GOOD. FOOD!

Grizz………… said...

Johanna…

A minute or two after I posted this, the Cooper's returned, I grabbed the camera, the hawk landed on the end of a log…and I took 20-something shots, all of them too dark because my ISO setting of 400 and 250th shutter speed was way too little exposure for the dim light. We all miss shots, but you did the right thing in not putting making your image before over-stressing or disturbing the redtail.

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn H…

Thank you. He really did all the posing, I just took advantage.

AfromTO said...

okay I read,looked at photo and only processed "real chocolate malt" it's a bit before my time but I know I deserve to taste one sometime in my lifetime. Malted milk balls are the closest I have come.I will now have to travel our highways looking for an old soda shop.or is there someway you can mail one out to me.:)

Grizz………… said...

Weaver…

That's exactly why I repurpose my Christmas tree into a makeshift "hedge" close to the feeders—to provide that escape hatch of dense branches. Just lay the tree on its side nearby, and it works like a champ—the birds dive into it at the hawk's appearance, the hawk can't follow—at least not quickly—and generally, everyone escapes…plus you simply drag the tree on off to the composte pile after winter feeding season ends. An all-around tidy solution.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

Tiz, indeed…at least often enough to make it worthwhile.

Grizz………… said...

Bonifer…

I'm not having any problems along those lines. Good thing, too, because I've never tried to post a pix in html. Have you tried switching from the new compose window back to the old-style? And what's missing—the picture icon that allows you to select a photo from your desktop files into an upend window, or can you load your photos into that opened window, but can't get them to go from there into your post column?

BTW, you can reply if you'd prefer to my email:

macscribe[at sign]gmail[dot]com

I'll see if I can recreate your problem on one of my "shadow" blogs.

KGMom said...

Scribe--your account puts me in mind of our decision regarding bird feeders this winter. We enjoy putting out seed, but we are mindful that we not just set up a buffet for visiting hawks. I don't begrudge them their catch, but I don't want to make songbirds sitting ducks (as it were).
We used to place our feeders next to some arbor vitae, and feeding birds could duck into a safety zone when we had hawks swooping through. Then last summer, we had all the arbor vitae dug out (good thing, too, as they were all infested with carpenter ants).
So the dilemma was, where to place our feeders. We have a large Douglas fir in our front yard, just outside our all-weather sunporch. Voila--the perfect site. And the birds LOVE the new location.

I didn't want to just say--in response to your post--great photo. But it IS a great photo of the Cooper's hawk.

Grizz………… said...

AfromTO…

Oh, no, no, no no nonononono…I'm not going to let you get away with that one—pulling the "Innocence of Youth" card! Nope. Not happening.

Malts are not "before your time." They are not some old-timey, retro, antediluvian food known only to historians and a few remaining geezers. Maybe if you were 13 years old…and even then, that really would not be a sufficient excuse.

AND…malts are not sodas, which are like fizzy milkshakes without the milk. Only way better. Or are they like Brown Cows or Rootbeer Floats. All those you DO get at a soda shop—but good luck finding one of those!

No, my poor drink-deprived paint-dabbing friend, malts are quite similar to milkshakes EXCEPT they have the addition of malted milk powder. That is the absolute must have key ingredient in a genuine malted milkshakes. Malted milk is what fills the center of chocolate malted milk balls—though their malt flavor is greatly diluted and additionally sweetened, so crumbling and crushing a handfull and tossing it in a milkshake just doesn't get'er done. You can buy the real stuff, malted milk powder—made from barley malt, wheat, evaporated whole milk, sugar, and a touch of salt—in good grocery stores, some bake and cooking shops, and online. Carnation brand from Nestlé is pretty easy to find, but it's a bit sweet; Horlick's is another one I often see around.

Most really good ice cream shops—even some Dairy-Queen types which do mostly soft-serve—can make you a malt…that is, they have the ingredients, though the kid behind the counter may not know how to integrate them.

Everyone has their own recipe. I won't get into mine, but I will say that a chocolate malt ought to be rich, creamy, and taste both distinctly chocolaty AND malty. In my prejudiced opinion, it's better to err on the side of too much than too little.

Grizz………… said...

KGMom…

I've been recycling my Christmas trees this way for years—and they really work amazingly well as a safety retreat.

The Cooper's knows the birds are in there, and will hop and sit on top for a quarter hour or more, hoping someone tries to make a break. Which they do…and sometimes the hawk spots them quickly enough to fly/pounce and they're lunch. But more often they dart out and get the jump on the hawk, and manage to escape. Sometimes, too, the hawk gets mad enough that it worms it's way inside the tangles of branches—at which point an astonishing number of sparrows and the like come pouring out the opposite side of the horizontal tree to safety. But…sometimes, somehow, the hawk manages to corner a bird within the tangles, and subsequently comes hopping out with his meal a moment later.

I don't mind this, frankly. In fact I sort of feel a little guilty about providing the shelter. I figure if I'm feeding the cardinals and chickadees, why shouldn't the hawk get to eat? But then I think, well, I'm attracting an unusual density of feeding birds with my free food, which is why the hawk hunts here—so why not create an artificial hideout and sort of even the odds back? Which is the way I rationalize the whole business.