A pair of blue jays built a nest right outside my kitchen window, in a tree near the front door. I have been watching them construct the nest for days, a tangle of sticks and roots, surprised they would choose a spot so close to the house. Here is the lone egg they are incubating. I have been reading up on blue jays since they set up house - a member of the crow family, they typically lay between 3-6 eggs, so I'm not sure if she will be laying more, or they will hatch this single chick. I love watching them, and have stopped using the front door as much as I can so not to freak them out. The egg is large and speckled green, and those bits of white are the fallen petals from the ornamental crab apple tree the nest is in.
Two weeks ago I visited my good friend Laurie's cherry farm up on the Old Mission Peninsula, the land that comprises the Easterly part of the Grand Traverse Bay, in Traverse City, Michigan. A beautiful place, especially this time of year when all of the fruit trees are in bloom. Laurie and I took a walk back on their property with the intention of looking for morel mushrooms, but as we walked past the bee hives, we were attacked! Laurie and I ran for it, but the bees were stuck in our hair, and seemed to be buzzing all around us - it was awful, but also comical. I had a bee get inside my shirt, which I proceeded to tear off. We managed to get them off of us, but were both stung several times - and both suffered stings to our heads. Neither of us are allergic, but stings really, really hurt. In our frenzy of running and trying to brush the attackers off of us, I lost my eyeglasses. I had just gotten them, and try as we did, we could not find them. So last week Mom and I returned to the scene of the incident to look again, and this time we came prepared: here's Mom in a hair net (borrowed from Boss Mouse) which would keep angry bees out of our hair should we be attacked again - and we covered ourselves in bug spray - it worked! We weren't bothered by bees, but also didn't find the glasses. Add to Mom's ensemble a purple western-style shirt, and giant red sunglasses that she is wearing over the top of her regular glasses.
Mabel, my very senior cat, died peacefully at home on Saturday. I adopted her from Missaukee Humane Society in Lake City, MI in December of 2012, where I understand she had been living inside a linen cabinet. They told she was "about 13", but who knows what her exact age was. When I got her back to the farm, she spent the next two years living in my basement; she could come upstairs at any time, but chose to stay down there. She was a small and delicate cat, with one blind eye. I believe she couldn't handle the boisterousness of the dogs, and preferred the warmth and stillness of the empty basement. She finally started coming upstairs, sitting on furniture, sitting on my lap in the evening. That gave way to full time living with the rest of us, and even becoming the dominant of my two house cats, regularly chasing and hissing at my other cat Rudy, squarely slapping the dogs in the face with a clawed paw, sleeping sprawled out on the kitchen rug, and even spending hours outside exploring the farm. She came a long way from when we first met, and I am glad she got to live at the farm for the last 5 years of her life. I buried her out in my animal cemetery behind the big barn, next to Pucci and the others, at the edge of the woods.
I received a thank you card from a class of students I did a cheese class with back in March, and this was one of the sentiments inside. As I suspected it is a song lyric, and no, that's not a fake name. I love that he did this and reminds me of something I would have done when I was his age (15) when I had a song stuck in my head and was made to write a thank you card to a stranger
The top of the rhubarb crumble looked so plain and boring I wanted to garnish it in some way. This one went to a friend who has a 3 year old son, so I got some of those sticky-fisted and footed guys you throw at the wall and decorated the top - perfect!