Cooper’s Hawk goes to Rehab

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My husband was driving on a nearby road and saw a Cooper’s Hawk sitting on the yellow line, apparently injured.  He jumped out of the car, stopped traffic, tucked the bird under his arm and drove home.  He found an appropriate box and put the bird in, closing it up in hopes it was just stunned.  I returned from the store a few minutes later and he wanted to show it to me.  When he opened the box Ms. Coop burst out and ran across the lawn but couldn’t get any lift to fly off.  Suddenly a Red-tailed Hawk swooped down on the Coop in an attack.  The Red-tail must have seen us as it abandoned the attempt and flew off without touching the Coop.  After a prolonged chase my husband recaptured the Coop (we think female due to the size) and we took her to Wildlife in Crisis, the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.  We hoped it was just a soft tissue injury as the wings were not displaced and a preliminary exam found no obvious break, but an x-ray showed a break that would require a three month rest and recuperation.  The prognosis is good.  She is a stunningly beautiful bird but a stone cold killer of our feeder birds.  They may have a three month rest as well. (photos by George Van Der Aue)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

These are the Valentines I made for our Grandchildren.  I thought I’d try pop-up cards and had such fun with them.  Julia loves Origami so gave her a butterfly for the cover and made her a flight of doves for the inside.  This gave me some ideas for adding color to the background, etc.

 

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Planting Onions

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Today I reached forward into spring and planted my onions, 250 of them.  With the “Bomb Cyclone” in full force, a thought of spring to come was welcome.  This year I’m trying Yellow Spanish Onion “Sedona Organic F1” which is resistant to pink root, a virus still in the soil after 125+ years.  They’ll be ready for harvest in July.  These will be a nice size for transplanting into the garden in April.  The days are getting longer!

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Making Wreaths

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One activity I enjoy at this time of year is making a wreath for the door.  I especially like a natural wreath made with local materials.  For this project the  most fun is going into the woods to search out just the right boughs, berries and cones.  They must have variation in color and form to make it interesting.  There are a surprising variety of coniferous trees in our Maine woods so I quickly gather a nice assortment.

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Cup of tea and binoculars at hand (just in case a bird lands by the window), materials sorted, wire, wreath form and clippers at the ready.  Let us begin!

 

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Wire your elements together.  First wire cones, (leaving wire “tails” to secure them) then make an attractive bundle, (see below) wiring it all together with florist wire.  Leave about 4 inch wire “tails” on your bundle so you can wire it to the form.

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When you’ve got 10 or 12 bundles start wiring them to your wreath form individually using the 4″ lengths.  Attach the end of a roll of florist wire securely and wrap it around further securing each bundle as you go.  Place each bundle so it hides the base of the one before (I was working counter-clockwise in the picture above).

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When you get to the final bundle arrange it so the base of the first bundle is hidden under the loose end of the last bundle.  You will have secured each bundle plus made sure it won’t get dislodged by wrapping it around the form with the running length of florist wire.

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When you are finished make a loop in the wire for hanging, securing it tightly.  Then cut the wire off the roll.

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If you don’t think your finished wreath will be full enough, put down a plain layer of branches for a base and lay your bundles over them.  This base will be secured by the running wire wrap as you go along.

OTHER WREATHS:

herb wreath

Wreath of fresh herbs (smells  sooo good!)

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Magnolia Wreath (see my post of December 14, 2013 for instructions)

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Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures

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After 30 loaves of squash bread and 9 quarts of minestrone for the freezer not to mention several meals, I am ready to take a break.  This is just from two days!  I only planted three hills.   The food pantry I donate to is only open on Wednesdays but this method has worked in the past.  We’ll see how many people still cook.

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Bridled Tern: A Rare Connecticut Visitor

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Bridled Tern (Onychoprion anaethetus) Photo courtesy of Valerie Gebert

Yesterday we had the opportunity to see this rare visitor from southern waters in Connecticut, only the second record sighting of a Bridled Tern here.  The bird was sighted about 10 days ago on Falkner Island which is under conservation as a portion of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge.

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Falkner Island a/k/a Faulkner’s Island.  The island has been drastically reduced in size by erosion, reducing the size of the Roseate Tern nesting area available.  It was estimated at 8 acres in 1639 and reduced to 2.87 acres by 1987.  Hurricane Sandy and other storms have done even more damage and the Army Corps of Engineers have reinforced the eastern boundary in an attempt to slow the damage.

Andy Griswold took a day off from work to take his boat out to try and see it and we were lucky enough to get seats.  We waited 2.5 hours before the bird made its appearance.  It was a life bird for all of us.  During the wait we constantly scanned the rocks, enjoying the interactions between the parents and chicks of the many terns that nest there.  Most were Common Terns, a few the endangered Roseate terns (the island hosts the largest breeding colony in the State) and a couple of Black Terns were sighted as well.

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Just a few of the thousands of terns coming and going around us.  What a cacophony!

Finally Andy spotted it and we watched delighted for 16 minutes as it perched, flew and was chased by the Common Terns.

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A Walk in the Woods Yields a Mushroom Frittata

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Chanterelles and boletes, trimmed and ready

We found quite a few chanterelles and boletes on our morning walk, one bolete was the prized “penny bun” and a good size too.  I trimmed them, caramelized a vidalia onion and sauteed the mushrooms until they released their liquid and browned a little.  I added fresh thyme and spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  I added salt and a small glug of water to five eggs, beat them with a fork until creamy then spread them over the mushrooms in the pan.  I cooked them on the stove top on low heat until I saw the edges start to harden then finished it off under the broiler (this ensures a tender interior without the trauma of trying to turn it over in the pan).

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Yum!

We rounded off our lunch with a slice of a lemon/ginger/rhubarb pie which I had brought from home.  I gave the recipe for this pie in my July 25, 2016 post on this blog.

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