Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bold was there

Yesterday we spent several hours at Redwood House showing the new owners the property and how to work the various systems around the house.  We arrived a little early and I went out on the deck for one last time.  No sooner had I sat down then here came Bold!  He sat over my head and made all the raven sounds  and then flew around and did a barrel roll- what a send off for me!  It was so great!  Fortunately there is a good food supply up there between raven fanciers, road kill squirrels and the ravens natural ability to find food.  I am not worried that they will go hungry without me.  I am in Concord this morning and nary a raven sound to be heard.  I am so used to hearing the ravens each morning that something really does seem amiss.  I do hear a woodpecker however and of course the crazy dogs running up and down the hallway.  Andy the old cat is sitting right next to me and life is good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Saying goodby to Bold

Yesterday, my last day at Redwood House, I sat on the deck overlooking the Napa Valley and listened to all of the bird sounds.  It was a cacophony of sounds as it was a beautiful day and all the birds were singing.  I could hear the chesnut backed chickadees, the piliated woodpecker pounding on a telephone pole, the quail making their special little sounds, the bluejays and their raucous calls and the grosbeaks with their lovely songs.  About this time, Bold raven showed up!  He sat over my head on a redwood tree branch and started his showing off routine.  He was dipping his head and croaking.  The feathers on his head were all fluffed out and he was bringing his wings up to his shoulders.  It was a perfect send off!  He was full of energy and having a good time.  I was having a good time too watching him go through his raven show off routine.  Then he flew over to another tree and started pulling bacon strips out of a tree crevice.  I had put bacon out the day before.  He must have cached it in the tree crevice and now came back to eat some.  How I will miss the raven antics and the raven sounds as background music to my day.   I just hope I can find another pair of ravens at my new home.  Ravens are in evidence all over the Napa Valley so I think I stand a good chance.  I am thinking positive about this as I do seem to attrack wildlife.  I will put out a couple of raw chicken eggs and see what happens as this is how I found Bold and Shy initially.
Tomorrow we are meeting with the 2 ladies that bought our house to show them how to work the drip irrigation system and all the other systems required in the country.   They are interested in the wildlife and I wll tell them all about the ravens.  The ravens will be fine as they have other admirers up on Mt. Veeder who will look after their welfare.  I will be visiting periodically to see friends we have made on Mt. Veeder and will look for Bold and Shy and hope to get a glimpse of them.  I did see a western wood peewee yesterday- that was a great thing to see as I very rarely get to see one of those- a going away present I said to myself.
As for now we are staying in Concord at our daughter's house.  She is in Hawaii and we are taking care of her 2 dogs and cat with our old cat Andy in tow.  She has a boxer puppy- talk about WILD life- he got my purse- dumped it out and was eating my cell phone when I caught him at it.  BAD DOG!!  We will return to Napa Valley when our new house is available.  Meanwhile I am looking for Concord ravens and know just where to go.  I am taking along a couple of raw eggs and will report on my raven success!

Monday, June 21, 2010

What alot of Raven Racket

The ravens have been getting lots of treats this past week as I clean out the refrigerator.  Today I put out 5 eggs and a pound of bacon- bacon and eggs for breakfast!!!  This was all well and good until the movers arrived- 6 guys and two trucks.  Now the ravens got really annoyed because they don't like to come down and get the food when there are strangers or unknown vehicles around.  So they sat in the trees above the food and made raven racket for several hours.  They finally gave up and went down by their redwood tree hangout where their nest is located.  Chuck and I then went out on the deck to have a little picnic lunch and to admire the view across the valley for one last time.  While we were sitting there, the two ravens began flying back and forth over our heads, flying in tandem- quite an aerial display.  They did a few rolls also- showing off for us I want to believe.  Ravens do like to have fun!  I so enjoy hearing their raven talk in the trees.  I have been listening to them for five years now so that I know most of their sounds and more of less what the sounds indicate- a good mood, a bad mood, annoyed, friendly, curious, or angry.  I really hope there will be ravens at my new home.  The new home is near a creek and has big redwood trees so I think I stand a good chance.  There are open vineyard lands nearby which is very similar to the Mt. Veeder landscape except for the lower altitude.  We will now be located in the valley instead of in the western hills of the Napa Valley.  I will miss the hills for their beauty but will not miss the hard winters, hauling wood, sliding roads, power outages, downed trees and torrential rains.  It has all been good and quite an adventure but we are getting too old for all this excitement!!  We are going to stay with our daughter Lexy in Concord, CA until our new house is available.  I found a raven pair over in Concord near the swimming pool where Chuck likes to swim laps- so I can get my raven fix and hear some raven sounds.  Maybe I will take a couple of eggs along and see what happens!!  Wherever I go I search the skies for ravens and they really are found in all types of terrain.  I doubt I will ever have the opportunity to communicate and get to know a raven pair like Bold and Shy again.  Sad for me.  I think that it had been a very special occurance but if it hadn't been for them I would never have developed such an interest in ravens and had so much raven enjoyment.  So I thank them for letting me enter their world for a short time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

What are those crows doing here?

Yesterday as I was packing in the garage I heard crows calling.  Crows on Mt. Veeder?  I have never in 16 years heard a crow up here.  I think they must have heard about the food supply and flown up from the valley.  We took a break from packing the other day and sat by the creek and listened to the ravens.  They were in the trees above watching what the humans were doing below.  They were very interested and were talking among themselves making all the usual raven sounds.  I love to hear the ravens talk!  I have high hopes for our new house as it has very large redwood trees and is near a creek- so can a raven be far away?
The new owners of our mountain retreat are very interested in the birds and what to feed them and the plants and how to care for them, so I am feeling very positive that the land will be left in good hands. 
The other night as we drove home we saw a fox jump into a ditch by the side of the road and then a fawn got in front of our car and was running up the road until it finally jumped to the side.  I will miss these wildlife sightings which have been so much of our everyday life up here on the mountain.  I will miss the ravens following my car up the driveway when I arrive home from shopping.  They are so nosey- want to know where I have been and did I bring any snacks!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Saying Goodby

It has been a very difficult time the last couple of weeks.  Our beautiful retreat of Redwood House has sold and we will be moving to a rental next week while our new house gets ready for our occupancy.  I have been saying goodby to all my bird and animal friends.  The ravens will be fine as other neighbors do leave treats out for them and there are several compost piles that they visit with regularity.  Yesterday I found a chicken egg almost completely buried in a pile of redwood bark pieces.  Mr. Raven was saving it for another day.  It has been such a treat to know Bold and Shy.  I am not sure if the ravens that come every morning are Bold and Shy but a pair does come every morning and make racket for food.  They do not come as close to the house as Bold used to do.  They sit in the redwood trees above the spot on the path where I have been feeding them for the last month or so.  They sit and talk, and knock and canoodle- I can always tell what is going on by the sounds they make.  It is so wonderful to hear the raven sounds each morning- I will miss that so much.  I am hoping there will be ravens at my new house.  It was built in 1986 and has very mature landscaping and big trees and is next to a creek.  There should be lots of birds and there just may be a raven pair in the big redwood trees by the house- I certainly hope so!  I will miss Mr. Fox who comes every evening and of course the piliated woodpecker who makes such a racket pecking away on the telephone poles.

We have had a lot of buzzards flying around the house lately.  When they come all the other birds scatter, including the ravens.  They are so big and must be frightening and look like a raptor in flight.  They have discovered the spot where I feed the ravens so they come looking every day to see if there is anything big enough for them to consider eating.  A steak bone perhaps?

I was over at the rental house the other day and two perky crows came and sat in the tree right over my head.  I guess I will have crows to talk to for the short time I will be living there.  I would like to know a crow.  I wonder if they eat raw chicken eggs?  I don't believe they could pick them up like the ravens do and fly off with them but I will put some out and see what happens.

I will tell the new owners of Redwood House about the raven pair.  I hope they will take an interest.  I have not had good luck with this sort of thing.  My last house had two types of orioles that came each spring to nest in the palm trees.  We lived there 16 years and they came every year.  I told the new owners about it and then they cut down EVERY single tree on the 1/2 acre lot and then parked trucks on my beautiful lawn and tore out all the flower beds.  Had I known I never would have sold to those idiots.  Who could tell?  The ladies who are buying Redwood House do seem to love nature and flowers and are buying it as a second home so I think they will appreciate what nature has to offer.  One of the ladies did ask me- "does the fox bite?"- how to respond to that????  It has been wonderful to live in these mountains in synch with nature and the seasons.  I will miss it so much.  Life will be easier in the flat lands of the valley but so much less inspiring.  It is too bad we got old and find it difficult to deal with splitting firewood and hauling it and all the rest that goes with mountain living- it is time to leave it and hope that the new owners with treat it with the kindness and love it deserves.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Raven comes a knocking

Raven was up in the tree knocking this morning for the morning treat.  I did not feel like getting up so the raven had to wait for me to roll out of bed and deliver breakfast.  Lamb chop bones and chicken eggs this morning.  My neighbors have told me that the raven pair have been spending alot of time down in the their vineyard below their house rooting around in the weeds.  There must be something to eat down in that vineyard- what could it be?  I have only seen one pair of ravens in our valley the last two weeks.  I wonder where the other pair went and whether the pair that remains is Bold and Shy.  The remaining  pair do not seem to have the same personalities or habits as Bold and Shy.  It is a RAVEN mystery.  Perhaps Bold and Shy got displaced?  The other possibility is that so many people and cars have been coming and going that it has disturbed the ravens.  Yesterday Pacific Gas and Electric was here with a truck to change out our two electric meters with Smart Meters- which translates to higher bills I am sure.  I wish I knew the answer to the raven mystery.
Mr. Fox was here last evening about 6 PM.  He is not afraid of us- just sort of looks at me when I open the door and look out.  He scouts all the places where I feed the ravens to see if anything is left.  We have so many grosbeaks this year.  They have such a lovely song and come to the black oil sunflower seed feeders.  I have to fill the seed feeders and the hummingbird feeders every day.  Mr. Bad Squirrel is up to his tricks- hanging on the seed feeders trying to figure out how to get the seeds.  Usually he ends up dumping the whole works on the ground and sometimes dragging the feeder off into the bunches.  I end up under the camellia bushes searching for the feeders.   It is so much fun to watch the wildlife that I don't mind their antics.
It is a foggy morning in Napa Valley.  The sun is out up here on the mountain but we can look out and see the fog down in the valley.  It looks like a big fluffy blanket.  It will be a beautiful day.  Time to fill the feeders!