Happy New Year!!
1st meeting of the Golden Valley Men's Breakfast Club!
Tuesday, January 16th. 8:00 am to 9:30 am, 410 Cafe,
Hwy 410 in Buckley
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"This will be a great time to meet new neighbors, make new friends and to pass around ideas about how to improve the safety and communication in our community. Please call Dick or Dan to reserve a spot."
I walked down to the river the first day of the year before the rains came. Met a neighbor there, and their dog. The river is constantly changing and this visit was no exception. The thumbnail links to a large video file that may take some time to download.
More rain began to fall at this time, so the question becomes, "Will these trees survive, or will they too at some point be swept away by a flood swollen river?" (See comments below.)
Moss covers everything.
On the third evening of the year, early on, the clouds briefly parted, exposing a most radiant full moon rising in the east-south-east, just over the pine trees. Would that qualify as a "moon break"? The following night was a repeat performance with the moon's trajectory moving several degrees to the south.
The 11th day of the month I was pleasantly reminded of my Boy Scout experiences of a few years ago. The topic of 'snipe' hunting was often brought up back then as a way to initiate a new scout. I don't know of any boy who was actually left 'holding the bag'. (Ask me about the rest of that story.) This afternoon around 3 as the sun was preparing to slip away over the top of the hill, I was entertained by a Wilson's Snipe who was busy probing with its extra long bill for a meal in the muddy banks of the stream outside the kitchen window. Although this was a 'first' for me, apparently snipes are common enough to be hunted, and there will undoubtedly be more sightings.
The following morning a mole gave a "in your face, great white hunter" gesture as it created another hill within three feet of where the trap is currently waiting.
A late afternoon walk to the river on 15th gave rise to several interesting revelations. There were tracks in the snow along the lower meadow trail which were either elk or deer. Because of their size, (5" long-actual measurement), my untrained eye would favor the elk theory. I looked for the two trees discussed above. They are gone. One may be in the river, downstream a hundred feet. The soil where they once stood has been badly fractured and remains of the root system are visible. The trail at this point becomes dangerous to transit and new viewing points have been identified.
An early morning snowfall the next day dusted the streets as fourteen neighbor men met at a local restaurant for breakfast and camaraderie. Many ideas of mutual interest were exchanged. Deemed a success it has been agreed to make the gathering a monthly event on the second Thursday.
I was invited on a hike to the river on the 23rd. Led by Dick and Al, we walked another trail system that wound through a fascinating second growth woods over a trail that will see improvements this summer to make it more accessible to the seniors of this community. Along this trail the stream that runs behind the house has increased in size and beavers have dammed it at one point to create a pond. Several hunters' blinds can be found. This trail intercepts the river downstream from the more direct trail and again the river has eroded away its original route. Don't attempt this trail without an experienced guide or you will become lost. (It's happened!)
A garage-sale garden rake was purchased. Exploratory clearing of some natural area rubbish behind the house has revealed the immensity of the project. It will be accomplished a little at a time. The hope is that sowing wild-flower seeds will bring added beauty to the area along the stream this summer.
On the last day of the month I am ready to state an observation. Several days ago on a walk up to the gate I heard a strange animal noise similar to that of a giant bull frog. The croaking came in a series of three or so grunts. I was unable to locate the source of this sound, but had spent my time looking near the ground. Today I observed a large eagle sized bird circling over Golden Valley. It produced the exact same guttural sounds as it disappeared in the direction of the river. As this was not the sound produced by eagles, further research has come to the preliminary finding: Turkey Vulture. My first encounter with this magnificent creature was back in Illinois when two silently circled overhead as I walked along the creek running below my brother's farmhouse in western Illinois. I also encountered one that swooped down for a meal of road kill in our northern Illinois community last year. I am pleased to find them here as our neighbors in Golden Valley.
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