Strix the harbinger
guards the exit gate, quizzing all
Who will pass this night?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Last Rose

The curse, "May you live in interesting times". No problem here. It's been a slow week in Oakwood Park.

The weather has been classic clear autumn sunshine this past week. One late morning a few days ago I took a break from some inconsequential tasks in the garden, starting to put things to bed, and went up to the house for my 14th cup of coffee. There was knock and I was surprised to see the hulking figure of J.F. at the door. Surprised, as J.F. never telegraphs his arrival - he just shows up unexpectedly at the door on his way to or from Rapid City. "I checked the Growlery first. You are a trusting soul, an open door, your camera on a chair and a Filson vest! hanging on the hook outside."  "Yeah, its Oakwood." We left the Growlery door open, the vest still on the hook to guard the place and went to the Elbow Room for lunch - eating hamburgers and speaking thoughts that need to be spoken, things that only people who have known each other for half a century can truly understand - talk of children, relationships, ailments, and death. 



This water feature thing in the garden has really worked out me, even better than I thought it would and the birds seem to really like it. Today my friend Christy came over. He said he had stopped by the other day. He assumed I was around because from the street he could could see the Filson hanging on the peg. He said he came down to the Growlery looking for me, but I wasn't around, so he just sat on the bench in the sunshine for half an hour enjoying the little waterfall. He said he contemplated stealing the vest when he left, but feared the consequences. A wise choice.


Somehow today between his place and ours Christy misplaced his old lab, Cricket, who apparently went for a walkabout. Christy isn't very mobile these days so I was in charge of dog retrieval. I covered all of Oakwood. No luck. When I got back to Christy with the bad news, he said someone found her and left a phone message. Because of his hearing, or lack thereof, he couldn't decipher it. I was able to hear it better. Spencer, a kid down the street, was holding the runaway for us to pick up. God, that Cricket is a great dog. And Spencer a great kid.

The end of the season in Oakwood, time for the last flower pictures. The roses are expected, usually the last to go - the iris is a bit of an outlier. It was supposed to bloom in early summer. Maybe it did and still had extra energy to spend, or maybe its timing is just off. 
















A red rose is always classic and beautiful, but I like the wilted, tattered symbolic end of summer rose clinging to an old rusty fence even better. These are for Todd Peterson, who at the end could only walk to the coffee shop and back, but still always taking and sharing photographs of every flower along his path. Toad died on August 8th.



























Enjoy the roses while you can, -Gunnar

Monday, October 10, 2016

More Rock Garden Birds

Today I put a new top on a little outdoor table. After I finished it I sat down beside it in an old chair, armed with my binoculars, a cigar, a glass of beer, and of course my camera in my lap. The chair is sited looking directly down (up?) the little stream cut into the new rock garden. The birds seem to enjoy the enclosure of the ravine, which has surprised me a little, thinking they would want to be able to see approaching predators rather than hiding. 

House Finch

White-throated Sparrow

Red-breasted Nuthatch
The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a surprise. A migrant from the far north, I have seen a handful of them this year - the first time in decades. Apparently their food supply up north is in short supply forcing them further south than normal.

Take care - Gunnar

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Bird Canyon?


I previously posted some photos of this feature. It all started with a visit this Spring to the Hvoslef WMA east of Preston, Minnesota when we came upon a spring running into the South Branch of the Root River. It was beautiful. The sound was wonderful. The thought percolated in my mind as I was building the new steps to the deck. I decided I could build a spring in my garden in Oakwood for my pleasure and to attract more birds the garden. Birds. I imagined birds playing in the waterfall, splashing in the pool. I built the pool with various levels for the different sized birds.


And so 100+ hours later I have a spring spilling into a pool .... a pool which the birds pretty much ignore. They seem to prefer splashing in the 1/4" deep rivulet in the mini canyon.



















Be well, - Gunnar