Ciao, Occoneechee

We had another leisurely awakening and breakfast for our last day in camp (March 24, 2016). Noticed a lot of pollen on the car, table tops, and Roomba. From certain angles, the exterior appeared green instead of Roomba’s normal blue.

Another short bicycle “prowl” through the entire campground was on the schedule, and we visited closed-off camping areas, two marinas, and took the roller-coaster road out to and back from the equestrian camping center again. Ended up putting about 11 miles on the year’s tally.

During the ride we saw two more red-tailed hawks, and at least two red-headed woodpeckers. It is very weird to hear blue jays mimicking hawks/osprey and they had us fooled several times during our stay here.

I forgot to mention that, while in camp yesterday AM, we watched a (probably) nursing momma squirrel emerge from her cavity nest and just sun herself on the side of a tree, alternately stretching her front limbs, and taking an enormous yawn. Then she just “hung” there, plastered to the side of the tree, head-downwards, presumably warming herself for a while before returning to her hole.

It was pretty hot as we returned to camp, but the wind picked up (again), and we had lunch before beginning the stow-and-pack process. We began rolling out toward the dump station, to finalize the de-winterizing process, at about 2:30P.

Completely uneventful drive home, although we felt like it was almost entirely uphill from Danville to Meadows of Dan: about 2 hours of the drive. By the time we were trying to back Roomba up the gravel drive into the garage, the Soobie-Roo was decidedly hot. Had to take a few re-tries to get everything aligned right, and finally unhitched to let the TV (tow vehicle) rest and cool down.

We had a brief thought that we’d make Happy Hour at our local in Floyd (Dogtown Road House) but it was simply too late and frankly, we were tired. Strange, how sitting in a car for a few hours can make one feel exhausted. But, as light as an Alto is, hauling any type of trailer is just somewhat more stressful than simply driving. In addition, I always stress out trying to back Roomba into his chalet.

Saved all the unpacking until Friday, and we’re definitely getting into a “groove” on that front. It went quickly and easily, especially since we planned very well for our food needs this time, and didn’t have too much left to remove from Roomba’s ‘fridge to the house.

We’re thinking this will have to be a more frequent trip than only on our anniversary. Occoneechee State Park is truly lovely and there’s lots of cycling opportunities at and near the park.

Ciao, Occoneechee. Until next time.


Falconry Season: February Crows

It’s been a strange season for flying birds. First the crash of the squirrel population. Then the wicked cold temps keeping everything (including me and my red tail) tucked into shelter.

So this has been the season I’ve reversed my “normal” A and B team concentrations. Where my most dependable and fun outings in the past have been flying the red tail on squirrels, and the falcon-on-crows focus was more of a “dawdle,” I have found myself frustrated and un-inspired by working with the red tail and the new dog. 

For one thing, the dog remains clueless. It’s hard to get the dog to understand what we’re doing out there when there are no squirrels to chase. So when I’ve looked for red-tail-style dinner options, we have devolved to rabbits. Not many of them around, either. So both the bird and the dog get bored. The other day, on one of those rare warm days, the bird found a significant snake crawling around — who’d have thought that a snake would be active in 45-50 degrees? And it wasn’t a little shoestring-sized snake, either. When the bird had finished eating it, we were done for the day.

A bored red-tailed hawk picks up bad habits. It might even think that the white-and-black canine running around randomly and not noticeably helping flush anything might just do for a quick meal.

Enter the traditionally-dubbed “B-Team.” My Crow Joe (CJ) the falcon has been spot on his targets. The thing about the crows, however, is that my fave time for getting out before too much human activity starts up for the day is right after dawn. But when the temps are in the teens and below, the crows are waiting for the sun to warm things up a bit before they start pecking around on the frozen-solid ground. Crows are smart, remember.

So it’s been tough finding the right timing and putting together the situations where both CJ is at weight and ready to fly, and the crows are out, messing around on the ground feeding. But it hasn’t been so tough that I have been unable to offer CJ opportunities to fly, and he has been eating heartily on fresh dinner á la corvid. 

I guess the upshot of all this is the following. You’re never too old to learn something new. If you try different things, you’re likely to find an alternative that works. If you’re patient, and try not to get your knickers all knotted up, the rough patches will smooth. And its useless to cry over situations that you cannot change; instead, make an effort to adapt.

So this is the winter of my adaptation. And I love my falcon.

February Crows: