A small bobcat was spotted between the Adams house and the church on Friday, August 12th. It looks like a young bobcat that has been “pushed out” of the nest. He/she seemed almost tame and we (John, Patricia and Zelda) were able to watch it for quite a while as he/she pounced, cleaned itself and then stretched out on a log for a rest.
Tom Burnham and his family also saw a Bobcat, on Sunday the 14th in their yard on Ragin Road. We’ve seen Bobcats on and off for years. They are very shy and hard to see, but these two may be “kittens” just learning to fend form themselves.
This spring has been slow, with snow falling as late as May 15, but perhaps this has enhanced the colors that we’ve seen. Rather than spring bursting out in full color, the greens have slowly gotten richer while the yellows and whites deepened. Yellow primrose and blue violets blanketed the forest.
The fresh green grass provided a perfect background for new visitors in our back yard. For the first time we saw Scarlett Tanagers, who at first look like Cardinals but are much more orange and brilliant. Migs Wright and I were walking up by Beech Hill Road and a beautiful tanager hoped along beside us for at least a quarter of a mile. One afternoon we saw two Indigo Buntings sharing the yard with a couple of Robins and at lease six Goldfinches. They were all eating dandelion seeds. We’ve had one of the largest crops of dandelions as well. Two Baltimore Oriels are back, fusing at one another. We usually have two nests, at opposite ends of our lawn. We haven’t seen a bluebird, although others have seen them in the valley.
A beaver has been working hard in the stream that flows by Sally Shea’s. He/she has a series of dams that seem to grow almost daily. However, I’ve never see the beaver at work. But last week I did see a head moving through the water, so I crouched down to watch what was happening. This animal smoothly swam up past the dams holding green grass in its mouth. It dove down into a hole by the side of the stream and then surfaced. But it wasn’t a beaver, it was a Muskrat. I watched as she made three trips with grass to her den, so must have a brood there. We’ve also seen a muskrat in our pond. (Which unfortunately will have the invasive lilies blanketing the pond again this year. We do have a clear reflection pond from October to May, but the lilies return regularly.)
The peepers have left but we have a whole new crop of singing frogs along the banks of the river. We keep watching for newts but have only seen a few. Snakes have emerges but are moving slowly. Above I’ve been watching the pair of Blue Heron’s we see each year and I’m trying to figure out where they have built their nest. Last year it was in the tall hemlocks on the West side of the river just down the river from the bridge. We also have a pair of eagles that fly up and down the river, but no idea where they have their nest.
On the ground and in some bare branches I saw hundreds of spider webs on Mother’s Day. I was amazed at how quickly they had appeared. But was even more amazed at how quickly they disappeared; they were all gone on Monday morning. We did have a heavy rain that night but how ephemeral those delicate looking but strong little webs are John Burroughs said, “To learn something new, take the path that you took yesterday.” I’ve found I learn a great deal by taking the same morning walk along the Beaverkill.
Tim called the house one weekend last October, saying he had a few books for our Blake, then 18 months old. I started to discuss plans for a dinner or some such involved thing, but Tim interrupted me gently, simply suggesting to pop over right away. He stepped out of his car in our driveway 10 minutes later.
Blake, a naturally friendly fellow, took to Tim with particular ease. Perhaps to reward him, Tim proceeded to read to him from The Color Kittens by Margaret Brown, one of the books he brought.
Everybody enjoyed this pop-up book club. And one of the guests who were staying over even had the quick wit to catch it all on his phone.
The above picture is circa 1910ish. The steeple shown is the one we are trying to replicate. A couple of changes need to be made to make it work in today’s world:
1. The openings will be covered by shutters similar to the ones on the windows. They will keep out birds, bats etc. Also, it will protect the interior of the steeple and church from water damage from rain & snow.
2. The finial atop the steeple will differ a bit with the inclusion of lightning protection (nothing major).
3. The spire atop the bell tower will be encased with copper sheeting which initially may seem overly bright but will weather nicely. This covering will eliminate the need to replace shingles and will last many years.
The steeple pre-fabrication is well underway. We are trying to schedule a crane for the second half of September for removal of the old structure and installation of the new one. I will let everyone know once we firm up the date(s) of the work; it might be fun to watch.
Note: There will be a short (24″) lightning rod on the new finial atop the steeple. The existing steeple is shorter than the original, which was destroyed by lightning in the early 1900s. Subsequent steeples were built shorter, probably to facilitate construction so high above the ground. When we undertook the church restoration, we decided to go back to the original design.