Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy as a 25.8 pound pea.

That would be Michael Ray.

Michael has decided to get those daffodils out of the way since their blooms are gone (note to future self.....what a crazy winter, what a crazy a couple days 90 degree weather starts.....and it's still March!!!!!).

Michael's passion is to take down the peonies as soon as he can every year but this year he seems to be pacing himself since there are so few clumps of stalks coming up. Looks like some time will be spent flattening the daffodils while he circles the peonies and calculates when his intolerance for them is at its peak.

I'm not going to get mad at him. First, this has been going on for years.........decades even. But this morning he did something nice. It's that transitional time of year where the turtles can go outdoors but still too cold for them to be out there 24/7. If the temperature is warm enough in the morning, I put them out. At night I bring them in and let them find their sleeping spots in the house (who wants to sleep in a stinky basement if they don't have to?). So this morning, I was looking for Michael and found him in the back room, under the printer...but he had moved a big plastic bin from somewhere that I had forgotten about so completely that I did not even recognize any of the clothes that were in it. But they were clean.......and heck, completely new outfits I did not have to shop for, and when I tried them on, they actually fit.

So I was happy as a pea (but substantially more than Michael's 25.8) and when I drove down the street on my way to work and saw a police officer on his motorcycle at a crosswalk.....I waved.

That is just reckless behavior, I knew that after I waved, but it was such a pretty day....why should anything happen?

Within a minute, flashing lights were right behind me.

Why oh why do police officers always introduce themselves with a "Do you know what you just did?" Errrgh. At least his question was preceded with a statement that it was not my driving speed......turns out it was my front license plate. It was missing.

Well, of course it was. I had no idea where to attach the front license plate when I bought the car and I was not about to start drilling holes into it. I had him point out where I should put the plate and then asked him whether I needed a drill bit for metal or if I was drilling into plastic, what size screws, etc. etc. Poor Officer Whipple was dealing with a crafter and he soon focused on getting me on my way and out of his. I was written up with a non-hazardous/no fine violation.

When I was talking with Jeff at work about my interaction with the police officer, we both had to wonder why police officers never say hello, they always start out with a "Do you know what you just did?" Jeff said he heard a comedian make a comment on that one time. The comedian said he liked to run red lights when it was raining. And when the cop would stop him and ask him, "Do you know what you just did?," the comedian would reply to the officer standing in the pouring rain, "Yes. And do you know why?"

Well, today there was no rain...just beautiful sunshine. However, yesterday it did rain......even though there were no clouds in the sky. If I wanted to get back at a police officer by making him stand in the rain, it was not going to work if he was standing in sunshine at the same time.

Spring this year has just been too darn pretty. Turtles can't quite take down all the peonies when given the opportunity. Police officers can't quite write a ticket for an infraction (albeit a very minor, minor, minor one). Too much prettiness. And every day, it just gets prettier.

It's been an out of the ordinary spring resulting in out of the ordinary behavior and I'm loving it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Beavers. Yes, beavers!

Meg wanted to show me what was going on in the woods by the lake where she lives. A beaver had settled in and she wanted to show me what happens to trees when they get sculpted by an energetic, talented, enthusiastic, driven beaver who apparently has not yet been interrupted with his work.

The beaver would gnaw the trees to a point and position the cut so that the tree would fall towards the lake.....and once it fell, would then complete the job of removing all the bark before floating it to the lodge construction site.

The rest of the trees on this beaver trail of "damstruction" had some of the bark removed prior to being felled.

What that beaver did with just his teeth is incredible...and also exquisite. The wood was so perfectly polished and smooth where it had been cut and where the bark had been removed...I sort of wish I could have brought one of the stumps home and displayed it as an art object because that is what those sculpted trees looked like. Meg admitted to rolling one of the small logs home and hoped the beaver wouldn't miss it.

This tree had a vine wrapping around it which got gnawed off in the same area as the bark that was removed.

This is the back of that tree. Just a little bit more gnawing on the other side will bring this tree down with its top part almost hitting the lake (you can see the lake in the upper left corner).

If you're not already impressed with what those beaver teeth can do, this is a hickory stump. Hickory is a very, very hard wood. It will dull a saw.

This is the rest of the hickory tree on the ground, bark completely removed, ready for shipment.

This beautiful stump of a tree looked like it had been polished. The wood was that smooth. Meg said not to get too impressed with all the trees we had seen so far because there was one at the end of the trail that was the grand finale to this nightly beaver business.

It was a tree that had to be at least a hundred years old. This was the beaver's biggest and most ambitious project yet.

The outer bark had been removed and now the inner wood was being worked on...this would take more than one night to complete (!!!).

And even though this tree was getting killed, it's hard not to just stare with your eyebrows as far up as they will go, and admire what this driven beaver had done.

All of these trees were a short walk from Meg's house and Meg kind of wondered, but didn't really, but kind of thought....why no beaver activity on her land? Well, we discovered he had been busy on her land too. He had just moved on to bigger trees.

There's a reason the word "dam*" goes so well with the word "beaver." Beavers cause so much damage to build their dams but dammit, what they do is pretty amazing.

I was telling Mary V about Meg's neighborhood beaver and Mary said that she and some friends were eating lunch outdoors somewhere in Colorado and while they ate their lunch, they watched some beavers build a dam nearby. By the time Mary and her friends had finished their lunch, the beavers were done building their dam and she insisted that she and her friends were not slow eaters. Beavers are just very fast at getting what they need to get done, done! You just have to beaver-y impressed with what they do, you know?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Violet is eighteen years old today! Eighteen!

I thought she was sixteen going on seventeen...

...but nope. I had to check to be sure and she's eighteen. Eighteen!

And she knows what she wants.*

*(a can of Fancy Feast just about every two hours.......and she usually gets it because well, you know, she's eighteen!!!!!)