Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hummingbird, Hydrangea and Found Goat

Yesterday our friend Brenda Cooper stopped on her way from Seattle down to Portland. She was having breakfast with us when she casually mentions the hummingbird by our door. What! I caught a blurr of it before it disappeared.

I dropped my fork in my pancakes and mixed up a batch of hummer food and Dean went out and filled the feeder; it's always a special day when the first hummingbird of the year shows up.

And today while taking off the dried blossoms of the hydrangea I heard the familiar buzz closebye my head as the hummingbird (rufus) flew by. It lets me know things are in place, that sound.

The sun just now has fallen behind the Willapa Hills and the golden light of it's last rays have left and it feels as though a door has been slammed and whoever went through it let the cold in. After living in the Pacific Northwest for going on thirty-five years now I'm finally getting to were I can say it's okay if it rains, if it snows (like it did yesterday) when its' 'not supposed to'. I give the weather a larger berth, that way it doesn't hit the sides of things and make a lot of noise; it's just the weather now doing weather.

You'd think this would be obvious but I'm telling you the most obvious things are those things that can elude us the most. This has been my life experience. About hydrangeas there are some that grow new growth from the bottom and some that grow it from the top. So, you don't want to be pruning yours down to the ground if it grows from the top.

If you have a hydrangea find out which you've got. I love them. Their blossoms can be dried so beautifully. Today while I was cutting last years dead blossoms away, (the ones I didn't take in and dry) a thought came to me...that life is a little like taking off the dead blossoms, I mean we can't hold onto last years blooms; those things we hold precious but have passed their season have to be let go of.
I know, I know, another obvious thing, but remember what I told you about me and the obvious. New leaf buds are opening on the hydrangea. I trimmed the stems just above these new buds. I'll have to pay attention and see when the flower comes out in relation to the leaves.

The black elm is covered with blossoms but you have to know what you're looking for to see them because this is a wind pollinated tree and doesn't need colorful blossoms to attract insects or what ever visitors would buzz by to pick and pick up pollen and spread it about. In the case of this tree, it's the wind's job, this passing about of pollen. I read somewhere that a tree is exactly like a flower but bigger.
Voltaire loved trees and planted hundred of them and with everything else he accomplished in life he said he wanted to be remembered for planting trees. I've always liked that.

The Willapa Hills and the cedars and firs that grow along their ridges are silhouetted now against the evening pale and darkening blue sky. And the wind that was blowing from the east a few moments ago is barely blowing now so that the windsock mostly slack just lifting in efforts of a little wave.
After breakfast Brenda and I took a little walk along the road beside the river and it was then when we were walking back to the house that I saw the dead goat. It was just as the note in my mailbox last week had said; it was laying just west of the barns. It was on the outside of the pasture fence laying in the slight ditch that's created by the dike road.

We'd thought the note writer might have had mistaken a young deer for a goat, but no, they were right. It had longish fawn colored hair, the goat and was laying on it's left side with it's feet facing the road. Where did you come from? What happened to you? I thought when looking at it's face not wanting to peer into the two perfectly round holes in the hair where it's eyes once were.

I think someone dumpted it off. Already dead. A terrible thought but when I see dead animals by the side of the road my thoughts tend to lean to the terrible. We have never seen a goat all the eighteen years we've lived here in Willow Grove. Could it have accidently fallen out of the back of a truck while it was alive?

Could it have swum over from Fisher Island, I asked my husband. Fisher Island is about two hundred yards from our dock. He said, he supposed a goat could swim over but with all the coyotes living on the Island, he didn't see how a goat could stay alive. I agreed. The question rises in my mind like a cork that won't stay down in water; where did it come from?

It's not as though if knew it would change the situation for the goat. It's not a small goat. It's close to the size of our lab/mix dog. So, it's like maybe nearly seventy pounds. Something that big arriving, even if it's down the road a hundred or so feet or more, well, it seems like we ought to have known when it arrived, something that big. It's not like a feather dropped, or even a small bird.

I'm wondering now what to do about it. Just leave it? We live in the country (the fringe) and I suppose it would just sink into the ground eventually. Leaving a coat and loose bones as evidence. And hooves perhaps. Perhaps the county picks things up like this if they are notified. Maybe I'll give them a call. But what will they do with it? The landfill? Do they have regulations about animals in landfills? I'm sure they do. Oh, all these questions. If not for the note we might never have known. I'm glad to know though. I am.

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