Who are we? We are our stories.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Oakwood - 09/24/2017 One MORE Warbler

No warblers, at least while I was watching. Finally late in the afternoon a single Myrtle Warbler showed up. Some Warblers are rare or threatened because of loss of habitat. "Butter-butts" ? There are millions of these babies, tens of millions - estimated to be 130,000,000! The Myrtles nest all across northern Canada, right up to the Arctic. They are the first Warblers we see in Spring and the last in Fall. We had an outlier immature female Myrtle a week or so ago, but I am counting this one as my "first" of this Fall. Why? Arbitary - because it is my yard and my list, I make Oakwood Rules. 😏 And when they truly arrive there should be more than one.

When I was young there were Myrtle Warblers in the Midwest and East, and Audubon's Warblers in the West. They are similar except the Audubon's has a yellow throat and different migration patterns. Then they were lumped all together as the "Yellow-rumped". Recently the "splitters", armed with DNA, have stormed the Ivory Towers, overthrown the "lumpers" and cast them into the biological taxa mire. So shortly the species may be split again.              Either way, I'm going with "Myrtle".

After being so wrong for so many years, I may finally be right again. - Gunnar, the right man for the wrong time. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Oakwood - 09/22/2017 One Warbler

I did some light gardening, transplanting things here and there, and digging weeds out of the bricks with a screwdriver because I lost my heavy lock-back knife. The knife functioned really well and it belonged to my long dead brother. It has been gone for a month - a real bummer.

It was hot - in mid 90s. There must have been a hundred pre-school kids splashing in the city water park at the end of Broadway. Then back to 1410, hoping to see a hundred heat-beating birds splashing in my water park.

I sat in the shade, listening to music, drank a beer and waited - lit a cigar. And waited. Waited. Waited. Desperate, I switched to a more butterfly friendly lens and moseyed down to the Weed Garden. ("Mosey" is a distinctly warm weather word. No one has ever "moseyed" through snow.) There were a large number of butterflies feeding on the New England Asters - obviously a good autumn feeder flower. 

Click! Click! So much for butterflies.

More gardening. Very hot. Then back to the bench. Beer two. Re-lit the cigar. Waited. No more birds except the Chickadees, Goldfinches, and Cardinals - no Chipping Sparrows - apparently they have left for warmer (?) climes. Eventually one, one! first year male Redstart showed up - by its black fleck markings, the same one that was there yesterday, though it did stay a little longer this time before the Goldfinches came to splash around and spooked it. 

 No global warming here. Stay cool. - Gunnar

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Oakwood - 09/21/2017: (not much)

It is seriously winding down. Lorna got nice shots of a Red-breasted Nuthatch - me? none. I was dealing with harsh sun and dark shadows ... and very few birds. 😉

The Nashville photo is "okay", nice mostly because there is a kiss of the seldom seen red crown. A first year male Redstart did show up for a heartbeat or two, but he did not pose with his tail fanned - just landed, took drink and flew off.

There were a large number of Monarchs and Painted Ladies feeding in the asters. Lorna took some photos. Maybe it is time for me to switch out lens and become a butterflier.

*sigh* - Gunnar

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Oakwood Park: 09/19/2017

Fall migration winding down. Fewer species, fewer numbers. I did see a male Redstart, but I didn't get a shot at it. So I settled for a Wilson's Warbler and a lone Tennessee Warbler. The Wilson's I expect to be solo, but the Tennessees usually come in flocks.  A Yellow-bellied Flycatcher  nicely posed. And a, what-the-hell take what you get, Chickadee.

If you look closely at the eye you can see  a distorted reflection of the Growlery where I was sitting. Very cool.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Death and Snekkes II

I first posted a version of this in 2009. A year ago Toad died. He was prepared; he even left a list of people to be contacted, poems to be read, and songs to be song. This posting has been edited and updated a little. This one is for Todd Omer Peterson.


My friend, Toad told me I should plan for my demise, so I've been giving it some thought. It all kind of fell into place this afternoon as I was painting door trim. What I really want is a pyre; you know, a big bonfire to burn my body. It just seems to have more theater than just being shoved into a furnace and coming out ashes cooling down for a cremation urn.

Some of the Native Americans added a nice wrinkle. They would let the body decompose up on a rack away from critters, then later collect the bones and burn them. Oakwood is a close knit and pretty laid back community, but off hand, I think some of the downwind neighbors might complain about a decomposing body in Oakwood Park.

But I'm thinking the Viking tradition would be really great - a Snekke, a longship, carrying the deceased atop of a boatload of firewood. A night time service with some Willemoes Stout, Akvavit, some strong cheese and pickled herring, all the folks gathered around a big fire in the center of Oakwood Park.

The crowd is weeping, singing those old songs of joy and grief, laughing at past life stories until they cannot stand - sad from the loss, happy with the memory ... and the Akvavit - "the water of life". Then deep in the Akvavit night, just before dawn kisses the horizon, a cry rises from the dark edges - The Judge calls out, "Time! Time! Time to light'em up!" Then all of Oakwood rises as one to their feet and stumble, fall and crawl to the boat. Those still able, grasp the gunwales. "Heave! Heave! Ho!", calls The Judge, and the snekke begins to inch along on it's last slip-slide down the flowery slope of 1410. As the longship passes, the designated Sober Man lays torch to the snekke, now captained only by the shell of Gunnar, armed with his Bulldog Forge spade and fork, riding atop a burning cord of fine Oakwood Bur Oak. Ipicks up speed, clears the walking path and splashes into the quiet waters of Edgewater Bay. Drifting to the center of the bay, the blazing boat lights up the morning sky, covering the water with a thin skim of  Gunnar ash. 

Permits! Man am I going to need permits and variances for this one. I got to get me a good lawyer. A good Nordic lawyer (man, now that's an oxymoron). I'll get The Judge, Ol' Chesterman; he always likes to challenge the establishment.

Akvavit! Vestfyen Willemoes Stout! I'll need cases of Akvavit! This shouldn't be a BYOB event (although that would lend a certain local Scandinavian touch). Aalborg was the birthplace of my grandfather, my namesake, so that would be appropriate. But not the regular Aalborg Taffel Akvavit, it should be the Aalborg Jubilaeums, the good stuff.

A Snekke? Where can I get a proper Snekke? Maybe the North House Folk School in Grand Marais?


Blogger Todd replied ...

Great to see that you're making such fine pyro plans so early in your life, Gunnar. The old "Toad" always recommends an early start, especially for old guys who require lots of preparation for their demise (fire permits, alcohol, cigars, Mooney's, and a good "reverend" to conduct a service worthy of the deceased). Keep me posted on the status of your legal hassles for the many permits you'll be requesting. And please allow me to "pass on" before you do so I don't get blamed by your Oakwood neighbors for getting you started on this grand blazing plan for making an ash out of yourself!

April 4, 2009 at 11:53 AM