Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter weekend

I have returned from my Easter weekend up north with the folks. As always, a good time was had by all.

The weekend was very good for wildlife. There were a large number of birds right there in the yard. Plenty of the usual suspects; juncos, hairy and downy woodpeckers, nuthatches, and both the blue and Canada jays. We also had flocks of cute little redpolls; I’m talking hundreds of these colorful birds, on the move to their nesting grounds! There were dozens of purple finches that were sitting in the cedar trees and looking like Christmas ornaments. And, we had a couple of the subtly beautiful fox sparrows thrashing away on the forest floor in search of food.

During a walk in the woods, I was lucky enough to find another female American three-toed woodpecker. Dad and I were able to watch her at a pretty close distance for close to a half hour. What a thrill! She is such a beautiful and rare bird, and it is always exciting to see her. And, while we were out there, a couple of chickadees found us to say hello (we always carry sunflower seeds just in case).

Dad with a feathered friend



A funny moment occurred one evening. Dad had remarked earlier in the weekend that they had not seen “Bottlebrush” for some time. “Bottlebrush” is the name of the favorite resident red squirrel. She has been a fixture in my parents’ bird feeder for three springs now. The reason for the name is because of the flared fur on the tip of her tail. She is a cute and unique looking squirrel who has become one of the mascots of the yard.

Anyhow, it was just about getting dark outside, and a red squirrel came up to the picture window. It was Bottlebrush! Dad peeked outside, and she ran to her bird feeder on the other side of the house, which was empty. Dad went outside and topped of the tray with sunflower seeds, much to the delight of the happy squirrel. Essentially, Bottlebrush came and got us because she wanted to be fed! Too funny. And nice to see that Bottlebrush is still hanging in there.

A photo of Bottlebrush from Christmas



Good eats abounded over the Easter weekend. Mom and I made a trip into Grand Marais and had lunch at a fun little restaurant, the Gun Flint Tavern (I highly recommend the Cuban sandwich). I shopped at the food co-op in town to pick up a few things. On my way home today, I even stopped for some smoked salmon at Lou’s Fish House in Two Harbors, and also at TJ’s Country Store in Mahtowa for some Swedish potato sausage and assorted wursts. My brother even sent home some of his own homemade sausage, as well as a duck.

As far as homemade food is concerned, Mom made her awesome homemade pizza. Dad prepared his famous applewood smoked BBQ ribs. And after Easter service on Sunday, the whole family came home for the traditional Easter ham dinner (magnificent!). Needless to say, with all the shopping I did, coupled with the abundance of leftovers Mom and Dad sent home with me, I had no reason to shop for groceries!

The traditional Easter dinner



I got in three runs over the course of the weekend, which is good considering all that I ate! There was a 4 1/2, 8 1/2, and a 5 miler, all conducted on trails and gravel roads. Always a treat to run on those surfaces! Despite the fact that it is now spring, it was darn cold. Single digits and really windy on two of the mornings, but it was most pleasant today with sunshine and hardly a breeze. All in all, the runs were very good.

It was a wonderful weekend with my family. It was great to see everyone, and we had a fun time. I am counting the days until my next visit over Memorial Day weekend. Hopefully the weather will be warmer by then, and we will be in the midst of the warbler migration, one of the highlights of the birding year.

Even the cat had a good weekend with us!



Until next time,

Jean
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