Saturday, June 14, 2008

Treasures of the day

The day started early, waking me with the supremely loud call of our resident Pileated Woodpecker. Or, I should say residents. Those of you who know me have heard me go on and on about these amazing birds and how much I love them. When we moved here almost four years ago, there was one. Next year there were two babies (so there must have been two to begin with :) Now there is a good sized family who makes the rounds between the Audubon barn and down river to us. Their call is like a loud, medium-high pitched song of several "w's" strung together, as if you were calling someone long ahead on the trail, or like the classic Native American call that kids make to imitate them in a pow-wow. And did I mention how loud it is?

So this morning there were three that I could see right in our trees. The biggest of the woodpeckers, and striking in looks - looks exactly like Woody Woodpecker from the cartoon. Two of them a team, sibling or a couple, were foraging tree trunks for goodies. They do quite literally a spiral dance. In perfect unison, they spiral at a mild angle upwards, using a sapsucker-signature sidestep move. Alternating with the sidestep is a side flap, where they fly in this tandem fashion just one upward loop of their spiral, decorating it with their whooping call, before clawing again. It's one of the coolest bird things to witness.

So the morning was blessed with this great event, and I managed to sneak outside with my camera and steal a photo. Not a great one, but with this creature who is very shy and also fast - it's a real win.

Below, you can see my new experiment. I've inserted several branches of cut pussy willows into a part-shade, fairly moist area behind the house. Rumor has it that willows root and grow if you do this, so we shall see if it works. The smell is so great, that birchy smell from the salicylin.

The Sassy brew?? It is lovely tasting - but doesn't show any signs of fermentation........? No fizz, bubble or bite. Not enough whey?


Oakmoss Changeling said...

Pretty birds! Our woodpeckers sound like crazy monkeys LOL.

Willows easily grow if cut and inserted into wet ground, although they do best in early spring or in fall.

Strange about the brew, how much whey did you use? Try adding a couple slices of ginger and see if that perks it up... My most recent batch is so fizzy I can't hardly drink it without getting it up my nose LOL.

Ananda said...

Yeah! they really do sound kind of monkey like ... which birds do you have that sound like monkeys?

I used 1 cup whey to 1 quart brew, with 3 tablespoons turbinado sugar. I'll have to pick up some ginger. Or maybe a different whey. Darn!

Oakmoss Changeling said...

hrrmmm, and the yogurt had live cultures in it?

at the very least it should have gotten a bit bubbly. i've never had a brew not do ANY thing.

i think it's the gila woodpeckers that sound most like monkeys but i'm not totally sure. i don't know birds nearly as well as i do plants :)

Ananda said...

Wel, they say it has live cultures - this is what I used:
but thhose don't look like the ones I usually see on yogurt. And this kind of yogurt is also pre-strained, so indeed the yeild of whey is less.
Time to try another whey!
(sorry about the pun)