A visit from Santa Owl

Originally posted on Amy's Backyard Birds:

snowy owl

A Visit from Santa Owl
By Amy Kane, with apologies to Clement C. Moore

Twas a few weeks before Christmas when along the coast
Mice quaked in fear when they saw the white ghost
A fearsome large owl from the snow-covered north
From the vast frozen tundra took wing and flew forth
The birders were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of rare birds danced in their heads
When they read the reports next day, oh my,
They sprang to their Subarus and drove east to Rye
Then in a twinkling they set up tripods and scopes
Spotted Bubo scandiacus, fulfilling their hopes!

snowy owl rye
His eyes how they winked, his feathers how fluffed
Having recently eaten he was looking quite stuffed
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old raptor
With his majestic beauty he was the humans’ captor
It was cold, it was bitter, and the wind…

View original 41 more words

Blog post nouveau

beaujolais nouveau

A pleasant wine, redolent of red fruit and berry – and so silky smooth you can’t believe it’s alcoholic. Light-bodied, tannin-free, goes down like Kool-Aid on a hot summer day.


Home in New Hampshire today after Thanksgiving in Pennsylvania.

Nine-and-a-half-hour drive down on Tuesday night, with horrible tractor-trailer accident-in-progress narrowly avoided at 1 a.m. on PA Turnpike just before Blue Route. Only 6 and half hours back yesterday, but the hangover was probably equivalent to an extra two hours in the car. Tastykakes didn’t really help.


Whimsical Thanksgiving decorations by artistic sisters.

The family was in good form, everyone being themselves and doing what they do. For example, I always peel potatoes (only 20 lbs this year). My sister Lauren (foreground) helped and we talked about birds.

peeling potatoes

(That’s a pumpkin pie hat on the table next to me.)

Hot water heater quit just after dinner for 36 in heated tent in backyard, so cleanup was postponed until midday Friday when new heater could be delivered.

I have been keeping up with the backyard bird blog a little better than this one, including the first snowy owl sighting of the winter – even if that isn’t exactly in my backyard. There are a few new newspaper stories on my clips blog. I might do a local story on Seacoast snowy owls.

And, having finally passed my CDL after much more training and practice than I had anticipated, I have been driving a big yellow school bus on a scenic, semi-rural route in nearby Hampton Falls for kindergarten through 8th grade kids.

Conversation overheard on bus the other day: “Did your dad get a deer yet?” “No, did yours?” “Not yet.”

Corn hobby

Glass Gem corn

My pretty corn.

pretty corn

Glass Gem corn is a variety of popcorn, which is a type of flint corn aka Indian corn, decorative corn.

The story of Glass Gem corn

Its origin traces back to Carl Barnes, a part-Cherokee farmer living in Oklahoma. Barnes had an uncanny knack for corn breeding. More specifically, he excelled at selecting and saving seed from those cobs that exhibited vivid, translucent colors.

indian corn

Backyard amethysts.

I have a Flickr photo album of corn pictures HERE.

I haven’t had much success popping it, but probably because for fun I tossed a whole ear in the microwave last year to see what would happen. Just some mini-explosions of white right on the cob which were hard to pick off. Maybe this year I will thoroughly dry some ears, then pick off the kernels and try to pop it right.

It can also be dried and ground into corn flour for hominy, polenta, tortillas. They say.


More knowin’… Business Insider: The Story Behind Glass Gem Corn

Ox Tamers

Fryeburg Fair, Maine, on Monday…

The Ox-Tamer
By Walt Whitman

In a far-away northern county in the placid pastoral region,
Lives my farmer friend, the theme of my recitative, a famous tamer of oxen,
There they bring him the three-year-olds and the four-year-olds to break them,
He will take the wildest steer in the world and break him and tame him,
He will go fearless without any whip where the young bullock chafes up and down the yard,
The bullock’s head tosses restless high in the air with raging eyes,
Yet see you! how soon his rage subsides–how soon this tamer tames him;
See you! on the farms hereabout a hundred oxen young and old,
and he is the man who has tamed them,
They all know him, all are affectionate to him;
See you! some are such beautiful animals, so lofty looking;
Some are buff-color’d, some mottled, one has a white line running along his back, some are brindled,
Some have wide flaring horns (a good sign)–see you! the bright hides,
See, the two with stars on their foreheads–see, the round bodies and broad backs,
How straight and square they stand on their legs–what fine sagacious eyes!
How straight they watch their tamer–they wish him near them–how they turn to look after him!
What yearning expression! how uneasy they are when he moves away from them;
Now I marvel what it can be he appears to them, (books, politics, poems, depart–all else departs,)
I confess I envy only his fascination–my silent, illiterate friend,
Whom a hundred oxen love there in his life on farms,
In the northern county far, in the placid pastoral region.