Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Back to the Salt Mines

It's another slow news cycle, so I thought  I'd do a "What I Did on My Summer Vacation" piece.

Today I head back to work after a week's vacation. I didn't go anywhere, but I did have a nice, relaxing stay-cation here at Morning Wood Acres. I slept in and took naps whenever I wanted to. I spent time hanging out in the yard with the cats and the ducks and just enjoyed the final days of Summer.

Summer has always been my favorite time of year. Even when it gets unbearably hot for most people, I'm the guy that says, "bring it on!" I love hot weather. When I was a kid, I always thought of Summer as the life I should be having and school was an interruption of that life. I felt like that again over the last week as I really got into the simplicity of enjoying the home that Paul and I have spent years creating.

On Friday I went for a walk in the woods behind our back yard. We have a huge rhododendron grove that stretches for about an acre. The deer have eaten away at the leaves on the lower branches, leaving the canape above and a maze-like series of trails. I spent three days clearing away the dead branches and debris and now have a very cool to place to hike. I also have several scrapes and bruises to show for my efforts.

Oh, yeah, I also lost my glasses somewhere out the in the woods. I had been working for about an hour and must not have been paying attention. Suddenly I realized that I wasn't wearing my glasses. You might wonder how could I have not noticed that my glasses had fallen off. Well, first of all, my vision isn't that terrible. I wear bifocals that allow me to read and to drive. My mid-range vision is still pretty good. So visually, I didn't notice right away. They must have come off while I was wrestling with some branches that hit me in the face. It happens sometimes in the woods. I have spent the last three days retracing my steps, and wearing my old, very scratched glasses. Aside from that, I am enjoying my new hiking trails very much and dreading the expense of replacing my specs again.

BD (Baby Duck) is growing like a weed. At six weeks old, she is nearly fully grown and has feathers coming in. I say she, because we have figured out that she is, in fact, a girl. Her voice is now a full quack and she has lost her "peep". It's been interesting to watch her grow and develop.

As BD gets older, Momma Duck has been trying to rejoin the rest of the flock. Since she first started sitting on the nest in June, she has stayed away from the other three. When BD came along, she was very protective and would not let the others near her. Now that BD is getting bigger, it's time for them both to find their places within the flock. Momma is still very protective, but Daddy Duck is the alpha male and is asserting his authority over BD by being something of a bully. He doesn't hurt BD, but he does shoo her away from Momma now and then to try to break her dependence and to show that he's in charge. BD always finds her way back to Momma before long. Daddy Duck  is also spending more time hanging out with them both to establish a family bond. It's been fascinating to watch. I'll post some pics soon.

Have a great (short) week!
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