Background Switcher (Hidden)

She'll be Comin' Round the Mountain

Thursday, January 5, 2006

Today was nasty, rainy and cold, and I had work to do, cleaning house again to get ready for some very special guests arriving tomorrow. My friend Janet McKnight is driving all the way from Knoxville TN (about eight hours) to bring Nancy Tanner for a visit! I met Janet in the lobby of a motel in Jamestown, North Dakota--she had read a piece I wrote on birding the prairie potholes, and her opening line was, "I came here from Tennessee because of you." There seemed to be nothing else to do but spend the rest of the 2nd Annual Prairies and Potholes Festival together, and we did--and had a total blast. Janet is a kick in the pants.
Nancy, Jim Tanner and I met back in the 80's in Connecticut. I shyly asked Jim to sign my copy of his book, The Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Well, it wasn't exactly a book--it was the bootleg Xerox copy I made as a freshman in college. But I wouldn't trade that signed title page for much of anything. I feel honored to have met Jim (who passed away not long thereafter), and to have become a friend of Nancy's. Our friendship solidified when I interviewed her for my 1999 article on ivory-bills for Bird Watcher's Digest. She told me things about ivory-bills that nobody else did--she was privy to some pretty special observations. And she's one of the last people living who knew the bird in the Singer Tract--perhaps the last. When everything is spic and span, some food prepared ahead, and the house is quiet, I'm going to sit down and think, "What would I ask Jim Tanner if he were alive today?" And then I'm going to ask Nancy those questions. I'm going to pull a nice rocking chair into the studio, and sit her down in it, and fire away.
Southern Ohio doesn't show all that well in January; I wish it were June, so I could cut a bunch of flowers for the table. If the sun's out, it still makes a good impression, but the thick, dreary cloud cover that's plagued us for most of this winter can be oppressive. I've decided that my mood could be charted by the ceiling height--the lower the clouds, the more I have to work to be productive and cheery. It's not nearly as bad now as when we first moved here; I couldn't believe how dark an Ohio Valley winter could be. I set to planting gray birches , because they're my favorite tree, but also because their white trunks light up the lawn. My other coping mechanism is the Garden Pod, the little space capsule visible at lower right in this picture. I can sneak out to the Pod and sink my hands into moist soil, smell the heliotrope, pinch here and prune there, clap my hands on a few whiteflies, and it straightens my head out just like a walk around the Loop.
I had some help with cleaning last night. Phoebe has decided she likes to vacuum (:-0). She straightened the living room, and vacuumed it, too. She put Chet behind a gate because it's impossible to make beds or cover the couch with him around. He leaps up onto the bed or couch, stands on his hind legs, and grabs for the covers. His idea of a party is being made up into a bed, and then rooting his way back out. I have to lock him out of the bedroom to get the beds made in the morning. Sure hope Nancy Tanner likes noogy little dogs.
I love how Phoebe is a little three-handed red and blue blur in this time exposure. The digital camera continues to amaze me, as does my carrot-top.
Bill called from Columbus, where he did some serious damage at the Apple Store. Soon after his return, we will be a wireless family. I'm sure he has a vision of tapping away on his laptop from the apex of the birding tower. He also purchased an external hard drive so we don't gag our computers with the thousands of digital images we are helpless to resist making. When I open iPhoto, over 3500 images download, and it's getting slower all the time. I used to burn them to CD's, but out of sight is out of mind, and I want them ALL THERE ALL THE TIME. Is that so much for a girl to ask? Hence the external hard drive. A photo warehouse.
And so to bed, to rest up for tomorrow! I have a 21-lb Boston on my lap now, telling me I've been fooling with the 'puter for too long, and two kids needing baths. Until tomorrow...


[Back to Top]