Barbara dubbed this a hen party of female purple finches at our feeder this morning. As with peacocks, the boys get the flashy color.
WE HAVE A FLASH MOB at our bird feeder on this mild and sunny New Year’s Day in the San Juan Islands. We just counted 12 birds vying for a spot at the food trough. The forecast is for rain and winds to return for the rest of this week. One of the local avian meteorologists must have tweeted a warning to stock up on winter rations.
Barbara and I are keeping a New Year’s Day list of birds we see out our window. So far we have purple finches (male and female), spotted towhees, red-breasted nuthatches and black-capped chickadees.
Yesterday, a New Year’s Eve bonus included two bald eagles circling high in the blue sky above Nuthatch Cabin, riding the air currents for a good half-hour without flapping a wing. It gave me a shiver (the good kind) every time the golden afternoon sun glinted off their white feathers.
As the rains return, there’s fun to be had inside. One of my Christmas treats was a beginner’s home-brewing kit, indulging a long-held goal of making my own beer (inspired some 30 years ago by newspaper colleague Michael Zuzel’s home brew, which he named “Cape Alava Ale” after a favorite Olympic Coast hiking destination, with the motto, “You can’t get any Wester”).
Oh, the anticipation: Your faithful correspondent can’t wait to fill his glass from the jug of brown ale brewed in The Nuthatch’s kitchen a couple days after Christmas. The gadget atop the jug allows brewing vapors to escape without allowing foreign bacteria to get in.
Two days after Christmas, daughter Lillian and I brewed up a gallon of English brown ale, which should be ready to bottle in a couple of weeks. I’ve limited myself to small batches because we live in a small cabin without a lot of extra space for beer gear. Because beer-in-the-making likes a dark, quiet spot with controlled temperatures (as many of us do) I’ve built a cozy nest for the gallon jug in a corner of our bathroom. The jug is wrapped in towels and sits next to an oil-filled radiator that keeps it around 65 degrees Fahrenheit, so the yeast can happily consume the malt syrup (creating alcohol).
In coming weeks I’m also looking forward to spending time in my writing hut working on a new mystery novel. Perhaps while sipping an English brown ale. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Happy 2019, blog-keteers.