Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snowy Owl

Vermont has been enjoying an influx of Snowy Owls this winter, down from the Arctic for better foraging options. A bad year for lemmings is a good year for Vermont birders. Last weekend, twenty-four Snowy Owls were found in Addison County, which is unprecedented. I found this lovely bird in a field by scanning with my spotting scope in an area where another birder said one had been seen earlier today. I just barely picked it up, sitting on the ground like a pale stump, when it flew on magnificently silent wings to perch in a tree beside the road where we were pulled off. Instantly, about ten other cars pulled in. The owl stayed there at least half an hour, allowing me to take about eighty shots and get my scope on it again so that everyone else in the pull-off could see it up close.

I walked off by myself for a little while to get a different angle, and when I came back, people were saying, "Bob Spear's daughter" in hushed voices. Dennis had squealed on me. Highly embarrassing. I spent another twenty minutes being peppered with questions about owls and the museum, which I plugged shamelessly. Finally, most of them left and I got a turn to look through my scope for a while. There is really nothing in the world like having a Snowy Owl's huge yellow eyes fixed on you.

I caught two deer running across a field while it was getting dark on our way home.

A very nice day.

Sunday, February 16, 2014


I was downloading some photos this morning and realized I'd never posted this photo of my works of art from last semester. (Not that I'm proud of them or anything.) Notice that perfect little blue pot in the middle, that I made on the wheel? The odd green things in front are meant to hang on a wall with a few dried flowers or something in the pockets. My mother had a pair of them that hung on our wall when I was a kid, and I never knew what had happened to them. In a weird twist of fate, I found them while going through the farm, just weeks after making my own. Now I've got four hanging in my kitchen. (Still like my mom's better.)

I had so much fun in the class. I got to make these cool things, the student I was supporting learned a lot about patience and detail, and it was very relaxing. I really appreciated that the teacher worked with me like any other student (not a particularly talented one) and let me use clay and glaze and space in the kiln and all that stuff. (I guess I should thank the Colchester tax payers, too! -- Wait, I am a Colchester tax payer now! Guilt assuaged!)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snowy Evening

After an hour and a half drive home in a near white out, I was seriously wondering why I live so far away, and then I got reminded. Five other deer joined this one in the yard, shadowy and silent in the winter twilight. They're after apples buried under the apple trees, left over from last fall. The competition is fierce -- I saw one deer rear up on its hind legs and run at least fifteen feet to drive away another one from the biggest tree. Then they all walked in single file across the frozen pond, the snow up to their bellies, and disappeared into the woods again.