GL 236 Short eared Owl by Joe Poliquin

Outdoor Adventures with Gary Lee - Vol. 236

So far, the storm coming up the east coast hasn’t done much in this area other than rain. They are predicting that it is going to change to snow overnight but who could tell with this up and down weather we have been having. Some people to the south of us in Tennessee got hammered with Tornados just outside of Nashville with six people killed, hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed and thousands without power. The warm weather to the east clashed with the cold air coming from the west causing these tornadoes. It was a thin line looking on the weather map but if you were in it that’s where the tornadoes happened. 

Here at Eight Acre Wood the little intermittent stream was gushing this morning as I heard rain beating on the tin roof during the night. The pond outlet was also rushing out the overflow pipe, but the pond remained frozen, covered with about three inches of ice. Rain had stopped this morning only to start up again at about ten. I walked out the ski trail out back to check the culverts that sometimes get clogged with leaves, but they were clear. There was a lot of little debris blown down by the wind that came with rain overnight which I picked- stick out of the trail.

Yesterday was Karen’s fruit cake making day here at the house. We had collected ingredients for the secret recipe on our many trips to Utica and Boonville. We even found some locally that last day. She gets out the bottom of the turkey roast pan to put it all together but the day before she makes a big cooking pot of the fruit part of the recipe which is done on the stove top. This sits overnight so it’s ready the next day. She adds this to the turkey roaster filled with sugar, flour, and some of the secret recipe. The roaster is filled just about to the top as she mixes all the ingredients together with a big stirring spoon. The fumes coming up during the stirring are quite intoxicating and you don’t want to get a match too close to this operation. These are all Christmas gifts except for the two we keep for ourselves; you must try it. You wouldn’t want it to be a bad batch which has never happened. She puts this in six larger baking tins and twelve smaller ones. Into the oven they go, and she keeps checking them as there is no time given on the recipe she has. The odor in the whole house is of fruit cake and I know Christmas is not far away. Many people don’t like fruit cake. I remember when Mr. Kalil used to make the big fruit cakes and sell them in the store. We would get one and they were as big as a regular cake. Some of our children liked them and some did not, that meant more for us. Some locals who enjoy them will be getting theirs this week to enjoy this Christmas season. I am so glad Karen was able to make them as it would not be Christmas around this house without a fruit cake. 

Birds are still on the move south. Every time there is a break in the weather and a clear night a few more of my feeder birds move on. When we got a couple inches of snow at the beginning of the week and few new ones showed up. I had four American Tree Sparrows and three Slate-Colored Juncos come for a snack and they all left here wearing bands that day. I did catch a couple new Black Capped Chickadees and a couple that I banded earlier this fall. A couple that I did not catch were a Brown Creeper, a Tufted Titmouse, and a pair of Red Breasted Nuthatches. The Blue Jay population goes up and down daily depending on the weather, but I did band five of them one day and got a repeat from last spring. 

Over by Point Au Roche Park on Lake Champlain north of Plattsburgh there are still thousands of Snow Geese, some Canada Geese, Horned Larks, Snow Bunting and at least one Short Eared Owl which Joe Poliquin got a nice shot of while looking for the geese. There are still lots of standing corn in the area and as they cut it the geese move in to pick up what corn is left. They go from the lake to the corn fields many times during the day. If you get the Snow Geese in flight it is quite a sight against a blue sky. 

There was a big crowd for Snodeo in Old Forge but very little snow for riding. I did see some tracks on trail five along the road, but it was all dirt by Sunday morning after the rain came. I was over in Indian Lake Tuesday, and they had enough snow to ride on. I saw machines going up the Cedar River Road on trailers so they may have been able to use that end of the Moose River Plains Road.

We got a nice Christmas present last week, but that’s another story. See ya. 

Photo above: Short-eared Owl by Joe Poliquin