Monday Miscellany

For Sale

Today, our house went up for sale. We’ve known for a little while that it was going to be listed, but the agent only just came out today to take photos and put up the sign. Our landlord had originally called us on April 1 to let us know of his intentions to put the house on the market, and though I hoped that it was some cruel April Fool’s joke, it wasn’t.

Unfortunately, the price of the house is more than Dan and I are able to afford at this time, so it looks like we’ll be moving again. I feel a bit like my significant other has just told me that it’s over, but I’m still madly in love. Some denial, a delusional belief that somehow it could still be made to work. Trying to think about alternatives but still in that post-breakup stage where every new suitor is held up to the recently departed for comparison.

We don’t know when we’ll be moving, or to where, just yet – we’ll see how it all plays out. We’re hoping not to have to leave the area, however, in part because Dan is now committed to his research here, but also just because in the brief span of time we’ve been here we’ve really fallen in love with the region. If luck is on our side, we won’t end up too far away.

Hot!

In other news, the weather this weekend and into today has been unseasonably warm. Warm enough for me to dig into storage and pull out my shorts! This thermometer was sitting in the sun, but even so, it wasn’t all that far off.

New leaves

All the warm weather, combined with the rain yesterday, has prompted the trees to start actively putting out their leaves. It’s amazing just how quickly things start to green up once they get going.

Maple flowers

Although the fruit trees aren’t blooming yet, a number of other trees are in flower, including the silver maples. These are male flowers, as they sport many thin club-ended anthers that release the pollen. Female flowers typically have a single “stem”, with a sticky receptive knob at the end, which the pollen sticks to and then grows a root down through the stem to the egg at the stem’s base.

Alder flower?

And whatever this was. Birch? Alder? I’ve run out of time today, wrapped up with the distractions of the housing situation and warm weather. For my birthday I’d like an extra hour to the day.

Sapsucker holes

Speaking of trees, I noticed this recent sapsucker activity on the trunk of a very mature juniper. It seemed the tree had been a favourite in previous years, as well. Sapsucker wells are always distinctive in that they’re square holes, lined up in rows. The birds usually drill the holes, but don’t feed from them right away; they need for the tree to start leaking first. Once it’s dripping sap, the birds remember where they’ve drilled holes and return to feed from them.

Field Sparrow

This Field Sparrow showed up at our feeder last week. It was missing its tail, the result, perhaps, of a run-in with a predator. Birds use their tails as rudders to help them with steering when they’re flying, but can still maneuver without it. It’s better to drop the tail and get away than for the tail feathers to be a potentially life-ending liability, so the birds can drop them easily if they need to.

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Both species of kinglet are back, among the earlier species to return in spring. Ruby-crowned Kinglets are moving through, but some of the Golden-crowns might potentially end up sticking around to breed this summer. They are the tiniest birds, weighing only as much as a couple quarters. It’s amazing that they migrate so early in the season, when cold weather is still potentially a concern.

Ichneumon wasp

Finally, the moths are flying, and these warm evenings we’ve had have been exceptionally busy at the moth sheet. Not just moths, either, coming to the blacklight – also beetles, Giant Water Bugs, midges, and these, ichneumon wasps. Normally I pay these guys very little attention. They seem generally harmless and docile, and we both ignore each other. However, somehow one of them managed to get up inside the leg of my jeans when I was checking the moth sheet a couple evenings ago, and stung me when it got pinched in the fabric. Although not as bad a sting as a honeybee, it was still rather startling, and has left me looking at these wasps with a bit more respect.

That’s it for this week!

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11 responses to “Monday Miscellany

  1. Nice collection of great images (except, perhaps the first one).

    Moving when you like where you are is hard. Hopefully something even better is around the corner.

    The tree after the silver maple flower looks like a hazelnut—male catkins in the background, tiny, twisty red female flower in the foreground.

    Best of luck, home-wise.

  2. The last image is excellent.

    Moving to a new place can be quite exciting sometimes, although the process of packing and getting rid of stuff and unpacking and buying new stuff haunts me. I hate it!

    Good luck finding a new home.

  3. It feels like some sort of dreadful betrayal, doesn’t it? And it’s just such an effort, all that looking and packing etc etc.

    Onwards and upwards!

  4. gosh, I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from a post. Tree names, new birds and insects, (I don’t know what a moth cloth is), the fact that birds can drop their feathers, etc… Wonderful. I’m so sorry to hear about your house. Hopefully these times will delay interest in the house and the landlord will decide to take it off the market til next year?

  5. Great post today. Nice photos. Good luck with moving. It’ll all work out, just wait and see!!! (I think the ichneumon wasp is a handsome fellow!)

  6. Good luck finding a new home.

  7. Oh, I feel for you. I wish you could buy the place! It sounded so ideal.

  8. I’m so sorry about the move . . . that must be very frustrating. Hopefully it will result in your being in an even better place! Fingers crossed!

  9. Thanks for the well-wishes, everyone. I do expect that everything will work out alright in the end, but it is really tough having to move, from a place we love, so soon – we’ve been here less than a year! My hope is that we’ll at least be able to find something nearby, so we’re not having to leave the area altogether; we may have a lead or two there, but we’ll have to see.

    Hugh – thanks for the ID on the hazelnut catkins, it’s a species I’m not familiar with.

    Sydney – a moth sheet is basically just a white sheet that you shine a light on at night, and which draws in moths. They come and land on the sheet, where you can then observe them easily. You can get more information on moths and moth observation techniques at this site.

  10. re: birch or alder: gray birch, I think. I’ve got loads of pix on my blog (musingsfromdave.blogspot.com) of gray birch buds exploding into what I call magenta headdresses, and that’s what you’ve got there, I suspect. I’m having trouble getting decent info on what those little filaments are. my theory is, the universe is just dancing with joy, but there might be a biological function going on as well.

  11. and I’ve just now seen Hugh’s ID of hazelnut – how many Hughs can there be in the world? yes, it’s the same rockpaperlizard guy whose blog I enjoy. small world. female flowers, though – OK, that’s something good to know!

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