It was actually under the wharf head where the river otters, Otto and Olive, had fun “under the boardwalk.”
“She was just here a minute ago,” says Otto. “I can smell her sweet perfume. I believe it’s ‘Tang of Sea Lettuce'” by Otter de la Rent Her. Very expensive stuff. Maybe she ducked in this pool for a dip.”
“Oh there you are, Olive. (Sniff, sniff!) I’ve been searching for you everywhere.”
“Yeah?” says Olive. “Whaddaya want from me, Otto?”
“That’s easy,” sniffs Otto. “Huh! Whaddo I want from you…? Olive you! Hahahaha! Gettit? Huh? Gettit?… OLIVE you!
By Poseidon, you do smell delicious. Come on. Let’s play under the boardwalk!”
(Under the boardwalk) Out of the sun
(Under the boardwalk) We’ll be havin’ some fun
(Under the boardwalk) People walking above
(Under the boardwalk) We’ll be fallin’ in love
(Under the boardwalk — boardwalk!)
A new load of firewood waits for someone to move it into the shed. Doesn’t seem like a big job unless you consider that each piece of firewood must be picked up and set down again. If there are 300 pieces of firewood that means I have to bend down to pick up or put down wood 600 times. My back hurts already!
If I thought this prospect was daunting, how do you think young Benny Bunny felt when his hiding place was discovered after only a short time and he came bouncing out from under the firewood? Now he will have to find another place to hide.
“Don’t fret, Benny,” said Bonnie Bunny. “As long as we have each other, we can snuggle up together tonight. But for now, let’s get out of here. Quick like a bunny!”
You can see how tiny Bonnie is compared to the piece of firewood she’s sitting beside.
Last time we had firewood delivered, I found a badge at the bottom of the pile of wood.
Forty-one years ago, someone was a volunteer at the Summer Games held in Comox on Vancouver Island.
Somehow the badge they wore became a part of my collection of curiosities. I don’t know who wore this badge, but perhaps I brushed by that person as I climbed up into the stadium to watch the dressage competition.
I had just moved back to the island after being away for several years working in other parts of the province, and when I heard that the Summer Games were on, I went there to have a look.
The riding competitions caught my attention and I was impressed by how royal the riders looked. I even wondered if by some remote chance a young Prince Charles had entered our humble competition. He looked fine in his riding jacket and helmet.
The horse was brushed until he gleamed and his mane was braided. I was enthralled by the spectacle of this rider guiding his horse over barricades and around the ring to jump the various hurdles. The whole show made the Comox Valley feel like Buckingham Palace.
Riders work with their horses for years to train them and form a bond that leads to easy co-operation in the show. Discipline takes on new meaning in dressage. I don’t know much about the rules of dressage competitions, but I know that the event was a real pleasure to watch.
Here are some photos from the Internet that relate to what I saw locally on a smaller scale.
I would go to another event like this in a heartbeat if it were held here again. Meanwhile, I will always wonder who lost this badge and where it has been for the last 41 years.
The lack of a steady supply of water makes it hard to grow much. And look at the terrain. Can you imagine an expensive piece of farm machinery trying to negotiate those hillsides? I think farming this area is out of the question.
Still, some vegetation just plants itself. It has to be tough to survive. Grasses are real survivors if they only have a chance to sprout.
But seeds are easily washed away if not in the sparse rain, then at least in the run-off from snowmelt. The wind lends a hand too. Between them, wind and water carve out a landscape full of curves, rifts, pillars, and odd-shaped hills.
So what is the good of these badlands? That is, if there is anything good about them.
At first glance, it looks like a wasteland. You’d be surprised though, how much life it supports. Insects, obviously, and those attract birds and snakes. Lots of snakes. I guess that’s a good thing, if you like snakes. They have to go somewhere.
The carved out crumbling rock formations provide many crevices and holes for a snake to hide in – a place to get out of the hot sun. In the late fall, rattlers will travel miles through prairie grasslands to the badlands where they seek out underground chambers (caves and tunnels) and scooped-out areas where they can snuggle up together for the winter in their very own hibernaculum. These dens are often underground and close to the water table, but preferably in a place where it stays above freezing.
The erosion in the badlands creates all kinds of possible hiding places for small animals. The fields at the edge of a badlands area could provide food for insects, small rodents, rabbits, and game birds such as grouse and pheasants, which in turn attract predators such as hawks and owls.
Even deer may be found wandering through the badlands.
If you have a dog though, watch where it goes. You don’t want it to be bitten by a sneaky snake. If you take your dog there, maybe to hunt a partridge or other game bird for dinner, the best time to do that is probably early in the morning when it is cool and the snakes are still a bit poky.
A friend told me of a time when his dog (same breed as our Emma – an English field cocker) was running down a path ahead of him and a rattler was in the path directly in front of her. The dog leaped over the coiled up snake and kept going. It was lucky that, because of the cold morning, the snake was still quite lethargic. A few hours later, this scenario could have had an unhappy ending.
If you’re ever in a badlands area, keep your eyes open and your camera handy, and bring along your snakebite kit and the local vet’s phone number.
The robin’s nest lies empty, and four little newly feathered babies are braving the unseasonably cold spring. The wind ruffles the baby featherlets. Drips of rain plaster the down onto their skinny pink bodies. What little body heat they had must be replenished quickly with food brought to them by their parents.
Junior #1 sits, wondering what to do.
Junior #2 sits a little more hidden, waiting for his mother to feed him.
Mother robin wonders where she should look for food for her brood. She also needs to find Junior #3 and #4.
I felt so sorry for them all that I went out into the miserable, cold wind, and dug up a few shovelfuls of dirt in my garden, knowing that it is infested with the grubs of the ten-lined beetles. I threw them onto the upturned lid of an old garbage can.
These grubs hide deep in the soil and wait for potatoes to grow so they can eat them before I try to harvest them.
Then, satiated, they wait for the first very hot day to come out of the ground and fly around as ten-lined beetles, again, as they do every year, looking for me so they can land on my back where I can’t reach them, and I have to run around the yard screaming until the Captain comes out to save me.
But this year I’m getting my revenge on them. At the same time I’m helping the mother robin to feed her brood.
Watch this video of how “Man” (in this case “Woman”) has helped Nature.
Then you can tell me if I did a bad thing or a good thing.
You may also remember that there were four pretty blue eggs in it.
A few days after discovering the eggs, I peeked into the nest when the mother wasn’t on the nest and I saw that the eggs had hatched, but I couldn’t tell how many.
About ten days later, I dared to take another quick peek with my camera ready. I had to hurry before the mother came back. I didn’t want to upset her. Balancing on a few toes, I leaned into the yew tree, held the branches back with one hand and took the picture with the camera flailing around in the other hand. Hence, the challenge for you to figure out what you’re looking at.
Can you sort out how many baby robins have hatched? It helps to look for big eyes and beaks.
Don’t forget to visit my other blog for helpful hints in writing-related topics.
If you have any tree stumps on your property, you might want to think twice before getting them removed. They are the equivalent of a gourmet restaurant for a woodpecker. Here is Dryocopus pileatus (the pileated woodpecker) working for his meal. Pileatus means capped and refers to his red cap.
As the wood decays, all sorts of worms and bugs feed off it, and in turn they become food for some birds. This pileated woodpecker is chipping into the bark of the stump and must be finding something good to eat. See his tongue sticking out, slurping up the appetizers?
Now he’s discovered a crack where the wood has split. This is typically a good place to look for bugs, as the rainwater has dripped into the split and rotted the wood, making it ideal for the bugs that the woodpecker is looking for.
Notice how the pileated woodpecker is using his tail for balance as he hammers away at the stump looking for his supper.
In the video below, I had some trouble holding the camera still, but halfway through, I finally got it settled. Have a look at Woody pecking for his dinner.
I had to name the squirrel triplets, so Tom, Dick, and Harry came to mind, but then I thought, what if they’re girls or even if one is a girl. I decided that if I find out that they are girls, I can change the names easily enough to Tammy, Dixie, and Harriet.
They were out playing on their version of the Jungle Gym (the woodshed), which includes a great climbing wall.