Friday, October 3, 2008

Woody at Work ... and Clouds

For the past several years we've enjoyed a Downy Woodpecker which often visits our suet feeder by the kitchen window. Her sound is unmistakable - a quick chip - so that I know when she is around even when I can't see her. The female, by the way, has no red patch on the back of her neck and is quite easily identified. We put up the suet feeder again as cooler weather moved in and there she was.

In the picture above you'll notice that she's found one of our blue-painted birdhouses to be of particular interest. Because it is old and probably beginning to rot, there are insects within the wood. Here you can see she's pecked a hole near the roof (the normal entrance is on the left of this picture). We watched with some interest as the wood chips fell and our beautiful birdhouse began to be reduced to sawdust.

But what to do besides accept that this is nature's way and so we're doing no more than simply providing this birdhouse for an unexpected use. In the meantime, I've enjoyed watching the sun angle lower in the sky and the beautiful clouds of autumn. I walked outside late in the afternoon two days ago and marveled at this three-dimensional layers of clouds. How I wish I could capture the effect on a single frame. The shot (below) is taken facing west with Scotch Pines silhouetted against the late day sky. I planted these 21 years ago as a wind break and they've done their job well.

Then, looking east, a small cumulus billowed over West Carrollton (below). I felt a few drops of rain every now but nothing to measure. The corn is dry, as you can see, and mostly blown down by the the hurricane anyway. Nothing has been done yet to harvest the crop.

There is such a change in the fall sky that one could walk outside blindfolded, look up and name the season. It is the angle of light, to be sure - less harsh and glaring. The cool evenings begin to gather now. Two nights have dropped into the low 40's and blankets spread across the beds have been welcome. We've not turned on the heat yet - that traditionally waits until November - but I'm not so pure in my conviction that I don't turn on a space heater in the bathroom when I'm shaving each morning. It feels good to have the air warmed before I step into the shower.