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Turkeys in the Straw, Geese on the Levee

Thursday, January 26, 2017

In our birding safari, we proceeded from the Harmar Bridge in Marietta, Ohio, to the Levee, where Canada geese gather to stare out at the river, poop, honk, and wait for the people who feed them. This gentleman liked their lineup, and got down low to photograph them. It's not often I see people doing the things I do.

Several photos taken, he strode off.

I swung the lens around just in time to catch another smooch in progress. My goodness those young people do a lot of smooching.

I'm sorry. I can't help it. It's just so sweet. I'll leave you alone now. I'll go photograph somebody else. 

I found some hipsters taking pictures of each other. 

They were extremely skinny, and the guy had a big ol' bee beard. Somebody please explain to me the big ol' bee beard thing, especially when it's paired with super skinny cigarette pants and knit hats. I don't get it. Nah, that's OK. There's no explaining fashion to me. Fashion left me in the fog years ago. These people clearly know what they're doing. I'm wearing the same dung-colored clothes I've always worn.

We walked toward the confluence of the Muskingum and the Ohio, where it's legal to feed ducks and geese (they don't let people do that on the Levee. Too much poop.)

There was a young musician practicing guitar there. What a nice thing to see! On this murky warmish day, people were out doing interesting things. I love walking around Marietta. It's waking up in so many wonderful ways.

And there was Greta, Queen of the Levee! I love seeing my good old friends. She was looking strong as always. 

A pretty good looking black duck...but I had a feeling it had mallard genes, or it wouldn't have been sleeping on the levee with me standing right there. 

A sleepy mallard drake peeked at us, then closed his eye, then peeked. His eyelids are white. I explained to Liam how birds can sleep with one half of their brain at a time, and keep the other half engaged and peeking around for danger. I think I do something like that, too.

I was searching the levee's earthen slopes for a familiar shape. 

Mr. Lonely! the hybrid goose (Canada x Chinese swan-necked) who I saved from entangling monofilament back on Nov. 3, 2016. 

photo by Dorothy Lowe

I always fancy he remembers me. He looks like he does. I was pleased to see his feet healthy and unswollen once again. What a guy, what a goose. I love his spirit. 

He showed me how well his feet work. 

The next thing we did was drive across the river. We were driving along the flats in Boaz, WV, just across the river from Marietta, when we saw a zillion dark specks in a cornfield. 

We piled out of the car at an historic cemetery to get a closer look.

Ivy climbs the old oaks, and yuccas mark the graves.

I love cemeteries. Without this one, there'd surely be a housing development there. But such old cemeteries represent sacred ground, and nobody wants to mess with the people sleeping there.

We peered out of the trees at the massive flock of wild turkeys feeding on waste corn.

When they finally clumped together to adjourn to the forest, I counted 72--my largest flock ever.

I would not be surprised if this spectacular abundance of turkeys is a direct result of the periodical cicada brood of the summer of 2016. Every poult that needed something to eat got it, in spades.  The biggest flock I'd ever counted until now was 17 years ago, during the last cicada outbreak, and that was 41 hens and poults right in our meadow. And they were all eating cicadas.

Our last bird of the day was a rattling kingfisher, somewhere in the mists on the mighty Ohio.

Well, the time has come for another fiddle tune from the Talented Mr. Husic and the Talented Mr. Thompson.

This KitchenMusic tune comes with snap peas AND cauliflower, and a girl eating that cauliflower! Here's "Squirrel Hunters!" I love this one because Bill and Corey are nice and loose from an afternoon of sledding with Liam and Phoebe. I did not partake, for shingly reasons. I could not imagine sitting on a plastic sled, bumping over frozen ground at a high rate of speed. I may never be able to imagine that again.

 Please pardon my hillbilly hollering at the end. I get excited. I love having live old-time music in my kitchen!!!!! WOOOOO!!!


Thank you for sharing your family traditions, old and new, with your followers.I have really enjoyed the Husic Music!

Never seen so many wild turkeys! Great story line and nice photos.

Oh my gosh, that video was such fun to watch! Your home seems so warm and happy. I really needed to see something this life-affirming today. :) ~Kim

Posted by Anonymous January 26, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Yes, kitchen music IS the best! Thanks for sharing it!

Wonderful time! Loved Corey's look at about 2:02 -- so funny, but he got right into the hopping! Good family fun. Thanks for sharing something so many of us don't seem to have. I think family fun requires cultivation if it doesn't come naturally. Yours seems to flow naturally, and I appreciate the sharing. Kim in PA

So many things to live about that video, but esp Bill's jumping and your cooking the peas.

The sight of all those turkeys in the field reminded me of the vision of blue cranes all lined up in the field in South Africa...

Wayne, PA

It's so good to see Greta and Mr. Lonely again! I've grown to love these recurring characters that show up in your blog, and I'm so glad that they are doing well.

Posted by Anonymous January 26, 2017 at 1:04 PM

This reminds me that I need to update my papers and specify that no one ever plant yucca on my grave. Gosh I hate that plant. Phoebe's beautiful hair shines even brighter amid the grey! I'm not feeling shingly but I don't think I'd be feeling the youthful joy to sled over dirt either! Bless them and their frontier spirit. There's a flock of turkeys I only encounter on Sunday mornings and I've enjoyed getting to know them and realizing they're rather pretty when you look closely with their palette of iridescent emerald and topaz. The things one appreciates when he looks closely! Thanks as always for the reminder to look closely, even in the fog.

LOVE the music. Thank you!

I keep coming back to this music video -it just makes me happy. Lots going on - the music, the faces (nice to see Bill, who encouraged myhusband and me to build and set up a bat house we had underway on our Marietta property 20 years ago. We met you and Bill at Mother O'Riley's bookstore for an evening of nighthawk viewing and learning), the cooking, the eating, the card playing.... Do we all thank you enough for your time and words? Loved learning about the cicada hatch / turkey connection. Nature is grand. And so is your family, including Corey. Kim in PA

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