Thursday, February 14, 2019

Cedar Waxwings

Identified by their head crest, yellow tipped tail, and olive colored wings, cedar waxwings, Bombycilla cedrorum,  are easy to identify when they return from their southerly migration out of our state. I see them in flocks of twenty to fifty birds feeding on the viburnum berries in my yard that entice them to return "home". They are harbingers of spring and their arrival in mid February is a sure sign that, while spring isn't really here yet, it is on the way. Are there rough winter days still in our future. Of course. But soon the balance will shift and a real spring will arrive. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

Today I heard other birds in downtown Sandusky, Michigan starting their breeding territorial calls. Probably just the too common English sparrows or house sparrows, Passer domesticus. Their winter silence has also been broken by the coming change of seasons.

Meanwhile the suet feeding birds are still appreciative of my gifts to them. I love the nuthatches, probably in part because they are not as common as their near relatives the chickadees.

I am hopeful that little Gunnar the Icelandic Sheepdog puppy from Buland farm in Iceland will arrive sometime soon. I'm not sure yet if he will. Crossed fingers.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Here are the Icelandic Sheepdogs on a recent overcast day in Michigan's Thumb. They are always there for me. Karma - that's what I get back from my dogs. And my returnee, Kit. All of them now have their Lyme vaccines and boosters, their Seresto flea and tick collars, and have finished their "cure". Ignore the gray skies out the windows.

Almost every day starts out gorgeous but later on the days here are mostly Michigan Grey - so of course I rise early to get the right start to the day. The sun, when available, sometimes is reflected on the float ice that washes up along the snow drifts. Diamonds in the snow.

After a recent ice storm, the frozen roof ice was sliding off the roof in rather interesting sheets and crashing on the porch - which surprised dogs had to deal with as they exited for potty breaks and yard explorations.

I had dozens of orchids years ago and they did extremely well for me. Even though I don't have as many orchids as I used to have, the ones I do have are special. Because of limited space I have much smaller ones, they must flower in the winter, they must have a splendid fragrance, and they must be "easy". This one surprised me with a great February bloom.

The various species of woodpeckers and their allies the nuthatches, brown creepers, chickadees, and titmice love the suet feeders. They entertain us with their antics.

Two recent mornings that belied the coming gray (grey) days. Is it any wonder at all that I love mornings here.

I'm rising above another SNAFU. A breeder, this one in Iceland, has apparently reneged on a puppy promise because I haven't heard from her in about a week. I'm hoping it's because there's a crisis on her farm. It is, after, Iceland in the winter. The sun, if it rises at all, must be low on the horizon and not be there for more than an hour or so. And I have the temerity to complain about the dark days a Michigan winter. Shame on me. I cannot imagine the determination and the strong will and spirit it must take to survive in the very, very long dark days of an Icelandic Winter.

Don't get me started on my chair again.

I wrenched my lower back from which took me a while to recover. Thank goodness I had David's cane and plenty of food.

I have had some rough winters in my long life. I cannot imagine how my Danish/Swedish/Norwegian ancestors managed to survive the long hard times of arctic-ness.  This current winter has been harder on me than even the winter more than a decade ago immediately following my cancer diagnosis and surgery. Nonetheless, I will persevere and look forward to spring and working in my west forest aka the "door woods". One of the reasons I moved north is that I finally realized that my friends were not there for me so I might just as well be up here alone as down there alone. I haven't talked about that before and I won't talk about it again; I'm OK with being alone even though I'm occasionally but rarely lonely. Thank goodness for Carolyn, David, and Kathy who spend hours on the phone with me as needed therapy.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Early Morning Visitors

Shoveling the snow early this morning I looked up to see two black cats trotting along the edge of the ice pack. I thought they must be feral cats and I was going to try and call them. BUT. When I got back inside with the dogs and dropped my coat, boots, gloves, I took another look using the camera. Not cats, coyotes. I don't know what the wind chill is but frigid. I suspect they were at my bird feeders this morning as the dogs went crazy - I saw nothing.

I realize that the last two weeks of January are, historically, the coldest time of the year so this cold snap did not surprise me. I'm so grateful that Rick Conquergood arrives promptly and clears the snow from the driveway - not that I plan on going anywhere for a few days. It's just really nice to know that I could if I wanted to. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

I hope they keep going and never return. Although I've never heard them howling or calling around me, I do know they are now virtually everywhere, probably or possibly filling a niche left open by the demise of wolves. Tough animals, eh?

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I have two paths down from the bluff to the beach; both are pretty steep and could be dangerous to walk down while they are snow and ice covered. Nonetheless, I wanted to see the beach today so I used the beach access of my neighbors. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

Seriously, these are views from my front windows. I have this view every day. I am so fortunate.

My brother David called before I took my beach walk and was confused about an earlier post. He suggested I clean it up so here goes. Three of my six Icelandics are fifteen, fifteen and fourteen years old. Although two have mostly good days now, they sometimes have difficulties and I'm afraid about their future. Two more are eleven. So I have quite a few older dogs that I am concerned about. I never want to be without a dog or dogs. They give me reasons to live, simply put. I started looking for another puppy to add more than a year ago but I am fussy. I know Icelandic Sheepdogs are generally speaking a very healthy and long lived breed. They have few health issues or problems. I am cognizant of the backgrounds of many Icies and I want to avoid as much as possible dogs with issues in their ancestry.

I have managed to find several litters in the last year with puppies that interested me but, even though I tried, the deals never were finalized. Which made me wonder "why". Then I heard that there was a rumor that I had a will in which I stipulated that when I died my surviving dogs would be put down, euthanized. It is, in my opinion, virtually impossible to dispute a rumor like that. One breeder actually told me that I was too old to have a puppy. My mother and father lived long full lives passing at 90 and 85 respectively. My grandparents also lived full long lives. I can understand why a breeder might ask about plans for a puppy in case of an accident or an illness or a death, which could happen at any age. That's prudent.

Here's what is true. I do not have a will; I have a trust. Nowhere in that trust does it say that my dogs should be euthanized. And I do not believe that they should be when I die. My cousin is responsible for dissolving my trust. She will find homes, good homes, for any of my dogs that survive me. I have suggested that she allocate funds from my estate to help in their care if necessary. She has many connections in the dog world so I think she can manage to do that. In case she predeceases me, I have agreed to do the same for her surviving dogs.

In short: I love Icelandic Sheepdogs. I want to have dogs as long as I am capable of caring for them. All things considered, I have more than a few good years left to live, hopefully. I can only hope that that rumor won't prevent me from having another "Iceland Dog".  If I cannot find another Icelandic Sheepdog, then, what? A Norwegian Buhund? Who knows.

And now on to the beach. Only people who have been here and seen my summer beach can appreciate the following winter spectacle.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Although it doesn't seem to give much warmth at this time of the year when we are 1.) tilted away from the sun and 2.) at the furthest distance in our orbit from the sun, yet the first light and sunrises  still make for some gorgeous mornings. These are some photos from the last three days. One of my favorite trees is still a sapling but it has the most interesting branches that reach out archingly, gracefully beautiful. It is at the edge of my neighbors' bluff so I'm guessing as it gets older and heavier, it might slip off and fall towards the beach. Gravity. Meanwhile I love its artistic beauty. Early mornings give us fabulous blue snow. Clicking on photos will enlarge them.

On Friday the sun couldn't seem to penetrate the frosty clouds.

Today the mist was rising from the frozen ice between the distant ice cliffs and the nearby shore.

Unfortunately I now sometimes have deer at my bird feeders. Totty is my watch dog and howls wolf-like when they get into the yard - for which she gets rewarded with treats and praise. I enjoy watching the birds - not the deer. I would love to know a way to discourage them - - -