Today's Special

Trees, Predators, & Tools

Spider mites or something are decimating — one at a time — the spruce trees around our yard. Before having the dead ones cut down, it was necessary to have Leonard, our friendly neighbourhood electrician, come and disconnect the powerline between the pole and the barn.

It took him all of two minutes with his fancy machine that lifted him to the top of the pole and brought him back down again.

Afterward he came inside for a little visit. Leonard and I were in the same small class at Margo School, so we shared tidbits of news about mutual friends and then got talking about birds. He and his wife feed them in their yard in town, as I do here. I told him about the short-eared owl that hunts in our back yard at dusk, and how it makes sounds like both a meowing cat and a barking dog. Why, I wondered, would it make its presence known to its prey?

Leonard had the answer.

“Eagles do it too,” he said. “The noise scares the rodents, which scatter, so the bird can see them on the ground.”

I never thought of that. Makes sense though, doesn’t it, as well as reminding me how unaware I am of things other people know.

By then Scott had returned from wherever he’d been out taking care of farming business, so he joined us at the kitchen table and before long the two got talking about tools. That’s when I went downstairs to put some laundry in, and inserted eggs into the instant pot to try hardboiling. It did a perfect job; now if only it would also peel them.

electrician visit


Looking Back

July 8, 1931
ELFROS: The “Winnie Mae”
airplane, on its round-the-world
trip, was sighted by Mr. and Mrs. D.
McPhail in the early hours of last
Wednesday morning. Its course was
south of town.
Wadena News


down trees



6 thoughts on “Trees, Predators, & Tools

  1. I had to look up spruce spider mites. Yuck. Apparently they particularly like drought stricken trees. My garden is still coming along but not without a lot of help from the watering hose. We’re losing one of our trees, a mayday tree, due to black knot fungus. The big guy doesn’t want to admit it but the tree is a goner. He has a hard time with loss.

    I am always amazed at things other people know.


  2. Wow fascinated with the owls (my spirit animal). How very clever they are!
    Love that wonky photo with the cookie jar.


  3. WWW: There are two barn swallow nests on the upper window ledges on the south side of our house. The adults are swooping all over the place (incredible flyers!), but we’ve yet to see any tiny heads poking out of the nests. Scott saw the owl flying straight toward the house one night; I wonder if it might have managed to take them. Oh well. Nature. ‘Tis what ’tis. Owls have hungry babies too.


Speak to me, dahlink.

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