Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pressing Our Luck, But Not the Panic Button....YET!!

This is a "BEFORE" snapshot of our current undertaking. We are into our 4th week now of our patio replacement project. The impetus for this project, planned over two years ago, is the need to install new drains on the UP-hill side of our farmhouse, as the house has had a perpetual water-in-the basement-when-it-rains problem, probably since it was built in 1870. Our contractor is Stoy Excavating, the same excellent company that built our beautiful lake over 10 years ago. Jim Stoy is also our neighbor and our friend. We had a long, dry summer this year, and actually that would have been the perfect time to have had this work done. However, masonry contractors (the guys who pour and work the wet concrete) were too busy with other projects to get to us.....until now. YIKES!! We are pushing the limits of good weather in which to pour concrete, that mysterious alkaline substance that starts out heavy and wet and very quickly ends up permanently cast in place. You've gotta respect the guys who mold this stuff. They are strong and have endurance, much like the medium with which they work. Tomorrow morning, good Lord willing, they will pour and work 20 yards of concrete which, by evening, will be our new patio. The next day, by the good Lord's grace, we will have two new sidewalks and new front porch steps. The day after that comes the predicted snowstorm. So, our backs are to the wall; we are on a tight schedule here; we are pushing our luck. It's SO EXCITING though!!

A familiar sight these days are the formations of Canadian Geese. I love to see them fly over each day and listen for their calls at dawn and dusk. I miss them when they leave and welcome them joyously when they return in the spring. I find them fascinating and beautiful creatures. I think they are my favorite wild bird species.  

Their life expectancy is about 20 years. They weigh around 20-25 pounds. Migration is a learned process and migratory geese have a flight range of 2 – 3 thousand miles. Resident geese fly 100 –200 miles to find food, water, and safety. Resident geese can fly long distances as their migratory cousins, but generally have learned that it is not necessary.
Migratory geese do not become resident geese unless they are injured. Their mating season is February to March. Geese mate for life and will stay together during all seasons. However, they will find a new mate if their mate dies or is killed. Migratory geese nest in Canada. Geese nesting in the U.S. are "resident" geese who were born here. Resident geese were imported to the area for rebuilding dwindling numbers for conservation or hunting. The urban nuisance was not anticipated.

Their nesting season is generally mid March to mid May. The age of geese when they begin to nest is 3 years. Geese return to the general area of their birth each year to mate and nest, sometimes to the exact site, sometimes a nearby pond or other body of water. The instinct to return to their general area of birth is very strong. Migratory geese fly 2,000–3,000 miles to return to these sites, but resident geese do not know how to migrate. When geese are chased from their traditional nesting area, or the nesting area has too many nesting pairs, they find alternative sites to nest … sometimes farther from water, sometimes in nearby ponds, sometimes on rooftops or balconies. They will hide their nests. However, geese prefer isolated sites near water to nest, and islands are their favorite location. Nests are usually on the ground, in the open.
• Sometimes geese nest in brushy or swampy areas not subject to flooding.
• When egg laying begins the "Father" goose will stand sentinel watch nearby, but not so close as to give away the location of nest to a predator. When a solitary goose is seen during nesting season a nest is somewhere in the vicinity.
• The eggs in a nest are called a "clutch".
• Average number of eggs in a nest is five.
• Mother goose lays each egg approximately 1 day apart until a full clutch is obtained.
• Eggs not being incubated are cool to the touch.
• Mother goose waits until all eggs are laid before she begins to sit on the nest to incubate eggs.
• Incubation time is 28 – 30 days.
• Undeveloped eggs (still fluid) will sink or float vertically, with the wider portion of the egg pointing down.
• Developed eggs will float horizontally or at a slight angle and break the surface of the water. At that point they are one to two weeks away from hatching.
• All geese eggs in a single clutch hatch on approximately the same day.
• Baby geese are called "goslings".
• Natural predators of geese are foxes, raccoons, owls and snapping turtles, and in our area, coyotes.
• Goslings can fly approximately 2-3 months after hatching.
• During June adult geese lose wing feathers and are unable to fly. This is called molting.
• Molting season runs from early June to late July.
• Geese can fly again approximately 6 weeks after molting.
• Generally by early August all geese (except injured geese) are able to fly.
• During the molt, geese need to be near water (any water) for easy escape from predators. The molting area needs an easily accessible food supply. 

Geese facts taken from:

The perfect end to a perfect summer is the much anticipated glorious blaze of autumn leaf color. Because we were so deficient in rainfall this summer, predictions for spectacularly colorful trees were not good. Our mountain foliage changes colors about 3 weeks before the surrounding lower elevations and, being a destination for tourists, sight-seers, and fall festival goers, many businesses depend on this season of the year for a good portion of their annual incomes. Autumn arrived a bit ahead of schedule but we were blessed with vibrantly hued hills. I love to share the beauty of this magical and special season, and photos are the perfect medium. Each autumn is different - no two are alike...just like all of God's creations. Photos document the uniqueness of nature and leave us with lasting memories.

And finally.........RIP
Tonto Crail Cox
A brave-hearted, beautiful, loyal, loving boy who passed on October 20, 2010.


If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me to where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.



  1. Good luck with concrete and cold weather. Hope you get a warm spell for that. Are they going to score the patio? We used a guy who really wasn't very skilled in his craft, and wound up with some nasty cracks in our sidewalk and patio very soon after he was finished.

    Canadian geese...great! We don't have those here, but I sure do remember them in NJ!

    Thanks for sharing the fall colors; don't have that here either and miss having a "real" fall.

    What a beautiful dog Tonto is. R.I.P. Feeling your loss.

  2. Thanks Gerry, glad you enjoy reading about our goings on! We poured 25 yards of concrete this morning at 7am and will pour the rest of the job tomorrow. (Look for another blog post on that experience.) Yes, our contractor will score the concrete to control the cracking...he knows his stuff! They say that concrete WILL crack, so they just try to control where that happens. Tonto, a white German Shepherd Dog was a stray who was lucky to be adopted by good friends of ours who adored him. He developed cancer and his people helped him over the Rainbow Bridge when the time came. He lived a wonderful life with them. We all feel lost with his passing.

  3. Fabulous as always (but that's not Moses in the photo RIP, is it, I hope) ... re the geese, I grew up in Pierre, SD, home to many of those lovely creatures. In fact, here'a a YouTube video of their winter habitat on capitol lake ... heated naturally and on the state capitol grounds. Beautiful, breathtaking @

    The fall colors above ... inspirational in every way. Autumn is the season of contemplation ... I find it profound, in fact, in how it represents the many colors of life.

    Best always, your friend, in SunnyRoomStudio!