Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bird Count, Sweaty Horse, and Agents

Here's a challenge: try counting gold finches and pine siskins at your feeder for Cornell's backyard bird count! They move in and away in waves at my feeder, tiny, mouse-sized birds: the goldfinches buffy golden and the siskins stripey golden--fluttering in, then pouf! the whole flock spooks. I think I had 25-30 siskins and 20-25 goldfinches today, and I know I had one redpoll, his red poll gleaming like a ruby in the late winter sunlight. Sometimes I look out and they are swarming on the ground like feathered maggots! Not a nice image I know, but what busy little creatures! A number of other visitors were ransacking suet and sunflower seed, jays, nuthatches, juncos, woodpeckers, etc.
When Fred and I skied this morning, we only saw a couple of chickadees in the woods. I wonder how big an area of woodlnd is represented at my feeder? After lunch I talked a willful and rebellious Katy into allowing herself to be captured for a ride, but but first she grabbed a mouthful of horse treats, turned tail and made me tromp up to the upper pasture after her. I think she has spring fever. We headed accross the road because Fred had seen the coyote hunters go up the hill. All winter Katy has been content to walk fairly sedately through the snow, but today she wanted to gallop! And I let her! This winter I've been riding bareback, surprised at how safe I feel, even at 55 and not exactly Olymic fitness level. It's warmer too, and a treat to grab a helmet, bridle, snag Katy or Star and go. Of course I have to take my noble steed to the picnic table for this shorty to get on without stirrups to help. I learned that when your horse stops, and she is not lifting her tail, she has a reason. Sure enough, there a the edge of the woodlot behind Jerry Smith's tunble down barn, were two deer. Then I spotted a pair of redtail hawks, but try to convince ole Fireball to stand still long enough for me to get my mini-binoculars on them. Ha! She did finally consent to go into her lovely, smooth jog. It's only taken her sixteen years to learn it. It was a treat to watch her roll in the snow afterwards.
I managed to write a synopsis (I hate and despise writint them) of my middle grade novel, Chestnut, compose a letter to go with it, and YIKES attach the manuscript. So there it will be on Michael's desk tomorrow morning. For better or worse. Well, I know it's been worse. Hopefully it is better now. So I guess it's also ready to send to Jill as well. Here goes.

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