"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Monday, August 9, 2021

Hawks and Bears and Old Wasabi

A hydro ax crew is chewing up trees and murdering wildflowers along Lower Summit Lake as part of the highway rebuild, right in the area where I left several filled litter bags for pick up. Knowing that the local DOT guys are short-staffed due to COVID, I made plans to pick up the bags and get them out of the way. I drove up there Thursday morning and all the bags were gone! Curses. Foiled again. 
 Now I had three hours to fill because my plan was to get those bags, stop at home, get stuff ready to mail, make a few business calls, and head for the dumping station 13 miles away, stopping at the post office along the way. Then, I would return to another area for a second load of litter bags and take them to the Cooper Landing dump site, which is closer at only nine miles.
 I stopped at Tern Lake on the way home. I had cleaned up all the cigarette butts in the pullout on Tuesday—there were at least two quarts of them. Yesterday, you’d never know it had once been butt-free. I talked with a couple from New Hampshire who thanked me for cleaning up and said they did the same thing back home. We commiserated with each other and found we were likewise appalled at the amount of beer cans we find, knowing that people were drinking while driving. Took some photos of four brothers from Minnesota at their request, picked up litter, and headed out. 
A sub-adult bald eagle.

I went home, made one business call, and started to take care of another online when the power went out. Curses! Foiled again.
 I sat in my nest in the living room, playing Candy Crush and revising my plans. Too hot to split wood, tired of picking up litter. 
Suddenly, all heck broke loose outside the big windows. A raptor (I think a sharp-shinned hawk) was after the Steller’s jays. Around and around it chased a jay and at one point the two birds were beak to beak in the air and only inches apart. How that hawk didn’t snag that jay is beyond belief. All four jays later appeared, so all was well.
 A jay hiding from the hawk.
I noticed a Steller’s jay sitting on a window ledge. So that’s how they always know where I am. If I go near the “bird feeding door” they land on the dining room window sill and wait.
I watched a nuthatch hanging upside down from a seed cake feeder for at least ten minutes until a magpie appeared.

Now what? I have to do something today. Can't wash the truck or the windows because I had no water. Couldn't work with photo memory cards because the computer needs electricity. Couldn't vacuum, scrub down the bathrooms, straighten up the garage. Of all my various options, a nap won out.
I didn’t wake up until almost 8 in the evening. Well, power is still out. I know. I’ll drive to the Kenai River and see if I can find any bears. No bears. A raft came down the river with two fishermen and it landed across from me where the bears usually come out of the forest. I sat on a big boulder, waiting, waiting, waiting for bears. The fishermen loaded up and floated downstream and just then two bears appeared upriver! I’m pretty sure from their markings that these are the two I called “The Orphans” last year. They are now third season cubs. They were far away but I got a few photos even though it's after nine o-clock and the sun is behind clouds. Nine-thirty, light is fading. Time to go home. 

The second bear is in the river, hidden by the tree branches on the right.

One bear caught a fish and both headed into the forest.

I saw the electric power crew at the Quartz Creek substation and pulled in. A raven had landed in the wrong spot in the complex, causing arcing that almost took out a large transformer. “An hour and a half,” said 2C, “and we’ll have the power back on. Thanks for your patience.” I didn’t tell him I’d slept through most of it.
The inner workings of the substation.
Just as I got to Tern Lake, I saw the trumpeter swan family right by the highway and stopped to take photos. The swans are VERY protective of their four cygnets this year, far more so than in other years.
Back home, the power was still out. Cold dinner tonight, which turned out to be the shrimp I’d bought at Costco the day before. The provided cocktail sauce had the gelled consistency of being frozen and thawed. I poured a bunch of four-years-out-of-date ketchup in a dish, opened a tube of wasabi that’s been in the cupboard for many years and mixed the two. I was working by lantern-light and the wasabi looked more yellow than green, but it tasted better than Costco’s sauce.
A cygnet with dinner hanging from its bill.
The cob watches me carefully.
Today, I’m still alive and well despite the out of date ketchup and yellow wasabi  so I think I’ll mix more tonight and finish off the shrimp.
Today, I wrote this story. I had to edit some photos to post along with it. Some of the software to do that wanted to update. It’s taking forever!

1 comment:

  1. You had a pretty busy day for being without power. Then again, having known you for something over 50 years, I know you make lemonade out of lemons every time! Enjoyed your "out of power" day!! Smiles, Patti and Cap