READY FOR WINTER

After years of many yard and house chores to be ready for winter, our life has changed. Sure we took out our two spent tomato plants and covered some of the flowers I donít want to lose but life is different in a retirement community. We donít have day and night leaf blowers going, the leaves and mowing are taken care of mid day, the dogs are walked and neighborhood visiting at the mailboxes done mid afternoon. Hardly anyone comes home right at dinnertime, the coming and going is usually over by then and the neighborhood is settled in.

Even the bird life is different. The last ten or so years my fall was kept interesting by large flocks of crows harvesting the walnuts down the street. They had fascinating ways to get the nuts cracked, dropping them on the street from a telephone pole, was one. That usually didnít work so the next step was to retrieve the nut and drop it in the middle of the street and wait on my roof for a car to run over the nut. The crows had other ways to keep me interested, arguing and fussing at each other, even in gloomy weather.

Those days in that area are gone now. We live near a small lake so we have a variety of other bird activity to keep me interested. Weíve had Mallards in our yard, Canada Geese are swimming in the lake a lot. Hawks fly over to fish and an occasional Heron flies in so there is constant activity.

This fall a newspaper article featured a story on migrating birds, Tundra Swans and Canada Geese stopping at nearby Finley Wildlife Refuge to rest on their way south. A friend and I had discussed wanting to visit there more than a year ago but hadnít made the trip. That article called us to finally head up Highway 99 W to visit the Refuge on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. The experience was incredible with each bird sighting outdoing the one before. We had a friendly volunteer guiding us which probably doubled all we could see. My first ever view of a male Heron in full display, Tundra Swans, shy Wood Ducks, a hawk making a successful dive, so many small birds Iíd never seen before and then the finale of hundreds of Canada Geese suddenly rising with flapping wings and warning honks at some danger we couldnít see. Just a week or so later and the sunshine, swans and geese are gone but I know a place Iíll have on my list as a highlight of my winter preparation from now on.

Copyright Jo-Brew 2018

Author of OREGON'S MAIN STREET: U.S.HIGHWAY 99, The Stories
Co Author of OREGON'S MAIN STREET: U.S. HIGHWAY 99, The Folk History

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