Sunday, October 22, 2017

a wet, wet, beautifully wet Sunday

There were only two things wrong with this day (and even as I affix the label "wrong," I'm thinking that this exaggerates the gravity of the situation). First of all, Flickr -- my Internet photo storage place -- seems to be having panda issues tonight (anyone who uses Flickr will know that "panda" is a stand-in for a Flickr crash). I cannot upload photos and we're getting dangerously close to the witching hour. That's a slight annoyance.

Secondly, I saw not a single sandhill crane today. And this was a surprise, since Ed and I made a special effort to track these beautiful birds on this wet and gray day.

Let me explain, and as always, let me stick with chronology because when I sit down to write and photos are not loading and the day's activities and the evening's wine are (predictably) making me very sleepy, there is not a better way to tackle an Ocean post. Believe me, years of effort have taught me this much.

First of all, I am up early. Significantly earlier than on other days. Snowdrop is sleeping over at the farmhouse and I like to be up and ready and putzing in the kitchen by the time she is fully awake and ready to join the world.

(Her first breakfast is little more than a cereal snack.)

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I shout up to Ed that I've not seen the chickens this morning. This isn't a worry -- it's just a recognition of the fact that the coop doors didn't automatically open today. He trots out to fix the problem. Snowdrop, as always, wants to come along for the ride and, too, for her first siting of the two new hens.

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And now comes breakfast number two. This is a bigger deal. Snowdrop and I stir up the pancake batter...

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... and the three of us sit down to a lovely indoor breakfast.

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I'd forgotten to get her beloved bacon for the occasion, but the little one is sweetly undisturbed. The maple syrup is flowing freely and the fruits are plentiful and she finds no reason to complain.

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After I drive her home, Ed and I embark on our own adventure. A friend told us that the Fall colors just to the north of us are looking especially gorgeous right now. Ed searches for a good driving loop and proposes an easy circle around the Baraboo hills. Typically, I would recoil at the idea of a driving adventure (as would Ed), but it really is raining today and, too, there is a small hiking opportunity that seems positively exciting -- if only because it may be the only hike with in an hour's drive of here that we haven't yet taken. And to add frosting to this sweet deal -- we would be very close to the sand bars of the Wisconsin River.

Why is this such a good thing?

Well, we are just at the early stage of the great Sandhill migration. And if you want to see a whole bunch of cranes ("whole bunch" means, I am told, hundreds upon hundreds), you'll travel up to the river and sit back and admire their wonderfulness as they fly in great numbers to these sandy stretches of the riverbank.

And so we set out to do our scenic loop. And it is a magnificent drive! The rain? Is it raining? Does it matter? Of course not!

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The misty wet skies add beauty to the landscape...

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...They stand up well to the fiery oranges and reds!

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Eventually, we find an access point to the river (it takes a while!)...

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Most likely we are too early. On this afternoon, there are no cranes here.

... Just the gold of a beautiful Wisconsin forest!

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Toward the final stretch of the loop, we come to Durward's Glen.

It's a curious place -- we'd stopped here a few months back, on the way to the mushroom farm further down the road. We found a religious retreat, nothing more. Today, we probed harder and further and were rewarded with a beautiful (if hard to follow) trail past the stream and up into the forested bluffs.

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It is a stunning little place!

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And yes, the Fall colors are at their prime.

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It's raining of course, but then we knew we'd be in for a wet walk. It doesn't bother us in the slightest.

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Deeply satisfied, we return to the farmette.

I rush now to prepare dinner. The young family is here for our Sunday meal. And again Ed ventures out to fix the doors to the chicken coop and again Snowdrop begs to go with him to the barn.

And look! The clouds have moved on! What an incredible sunset (viewed from the top of a large wood chip pile)!

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We eat, she plays, we eat some more...

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And eventually, very close to midnight, Flickr returns to its normal functional mode, and I'm sure the cranes are returning to the river sand bars, and this makes for a most perfect day for us all, rain or no rain.