Posted by: David | July 6, 2013

… auspicious beginnings


Four killdeer eggs in a nest next to my daughter & son-in-law’s driveway. Three of them hatched.

Today started out so well. Or so it seemed. We’d had to curtail the desired Saturday habit of lazing in bed until after 8 am because the hay man was bringing the 100 bales of first-cut hay. Funny thing was when he called and asked my wife what time she’d like him to bring it over, he’d said “It’s gonna hafta be a little earlier than that …” to her requested time of 8:30. 7:30 it would be. Considering that the temperature (and dew point) were right about 73°F his delivery time was the smart choice. It meant about a quart less sweat per person.

Unloading and stowing 100 bales of hay into the barn with the stupid, wanna-be hayloft (it’s too short to stand up, and bumping your head or back on a collar tie is a requirement) may not sound like the best way to start one’s Saturday, but as a friend from work used to say, it beats a sharp stick in the eye. But then, I’m an advocate of early morning exercise, preferably not on a Saturday or Sunday early morning. Those mornings are for sleeping in, not for sharp sticks in the eyes.


We had a huge puddle in our front yard and this wood turtle came to visit for a couple days.

Three serious farm-folk that we are, we completed the task in under an hour. While not exactly in the category of fun, it’s one of those tasks that must happen a couple times a year if one has a horse or horses. Or a pony, which is what we have.

After a quick hoeing of the corn, it was time to make the traditional Saturday breakfast. We’ve left off the bacon part of this tradition, since mine and my wife’s cholesterol stats were a little on the high side last year. This year it’s been just the eggs and toast, which is just fine. This morning’s selection of the largest 4 eggs for over-easy frying in butter (yes, butter) was pretty much incredible. All four eggs had double yolks! And not a single broken yolk in the flipping. The icing on this cake took the form of the first sampling, on toast, of the large batch of garlic scape pesto I’d made and frozen  a couple weeks back. Mmmm.

Nowhere to go but downhill. I decided a quick bike ride would be in order. On the road, just after 9, heading south on Route 114 to Henniker. Took the cheapo Giant, the bike I tend to neglect in favor of the big, heavy Fuji Touring bike. The blue Fuji is for when I can take a big chunk of the day, not sure at the outset where to go. The Giant is lighter and I can ride faster, but I have to cut back to the essential items that can be stuffed into the Camelbak, wallet, keys, Leatherman tool, Clif bar and 2.5x reading glasses in case I should need to focus closely on a task like, say, fixing a flat tire. Oops, did I say that out loud?


Inconspicuous advertising for … ??

Yeah, so much for beating the recent personal best (on the Giant I often try to see how many miles I can ride in one hour) of 16.8 miles. Almost in sight of the 35 MPH speed limit sign just north of Henniker, my front tire starts making squishy sounds. Dammit. OK, fair enough, it’s been a while since I’ve had a flat tire. And if you’ve seen 3 other cyclists changing tires so far this season, it’s your turn. My turn that is. So this is when I discover that the spare tube in the under-the-seat tool kit is actually an old, patched one. And the patch looks bad. More to the point, the little hand pump I’d been carrying on the bike, and used once a couple years ago, turns out to have been RUBBISH. Had my mood been less upbeat, I would have at least visualized chucking that stupid pump into the woods.

But several nice cyclists and a couple of motorists stopped to offer assistance, which I declined, pretty sure I could resolve this situation one way or another. One pair of cyclists, Henniker residents, just getting started on their way up to Lake Sunapee, offered to let me walk my bike to their garage, open and not too far, where I’d find a good quality floor pump to with with to reinflate my tube. I actually started walking that way before I called my wife for a rescue. While waiting for her, a couple more cyclists and a motorist with Vermont plates asked me if I was OK or needed help. Gotta love the cycling community, they’re some really nice folks. And what I needed to do Saturday was mow the lawn. That took most of the day.

My wife’s truck was nice and cool. Almost cold with all the sweat evaporating from me, and Oliver was in a state of agitated bewilderment. That’s his general behavior when in an automobile with my wife and I. He’s not sure of the destination, so he’s compelled to hyperventilate, whine and jump around. The Sunday morning trip to the dump is a much calmer deal. Just him and me. He knows where we’re going and that we’ll be back home in less than one dog-eternity: 30 minutes.  He may see some exciting things, like people walking other dogs, but these things he handles with a degree of control.


A luna moth visited this window at Colby-Sawyer in early June.

In conclusion, an explanation of the title of this post. Obvious on the surface with today’s events, it also alludes to a line fragment in an early (1970) Jack Nicholson film, Five Easy Pieces. Can’t remember when I’d last (first?) seen this movie, but I watched it recently on Netflix streaming and was reminded why it had resonated with me however many years ago it had been. It’s a low budget period piece with interesting characters and lots of personality, and I recommend it. As with many older films, it may require some patience. Jack’s character has a one-way conversation with his wheelchair/dementia-bound father in which he sort of apologizes for never reaching his potential and intended career as a concert pianist. ” … auspicious beginnings ...” he says, by way of explanation, to his unresponsive dad. Dad just stares the thousand yard stare.


  1. I enjoyed this peek at your summer. Sorry about your flat but how lovely to have so many people care. The weekend breakfast is special, particularly in summer with gardens. (Blueberries now at my house.) Guess I better revisit that Nicholson movie– but I’m skipping eternal, at least for now. WHAT is on that window?

    Yes, it is lovely that caring people still appear when needed. Reason to hope. We would have blueberries, but my wife removed the bird netting from the bush in order to save the life of a robin. The birds will now quickly strip the bush even though we feed them a half ton of sunflower seeds every year.

    Skipping may be a wise choice. A quick peek revealed some neo-Christian claptrap that would have made Jack Nicholson puke harder than Cool Hand Luke after eating 50 hard boiled eggs. If you know what I mean. I sure don’t. I photographed the sign because it was so out of place.

    It’s a beautiful luna moth on that window. It stayed there for the better part of the day. Love seeing them.

  2. I enjoyed seeing the pics of your turtle and killdeer nest! I love “discovering” things like that outside….everything seems so lush and green there. Yes, get outside chores done in the morning or evening when it’s cool! It’s getting too hot here in Texas.
    Glad to know there are still nice people that will give you a hand….

    Thank you for commenting Christina. It’s been hot here too lately, though nothing like Texas I’m sure. It’s also been raining for a couple of weeks. Everyone’s quite sick of it. We picked a bad year to do the super-mulching of the garden, though maybe the latter half of the summer will be drier. Who knows?

    It was very nice of those folks to offer help. I’ll be on the lookout for them next time I ride down that road.

  3. See? If you stop writing more regularly, you’ll yet turn into a great writer. What a pity these Americans never have any sense of direction!

    And I copied “Camelbak, wallet, keys, Leatherman tool, Clif bar and 2.5x reading glasses” which might come in handy for a post of “Going to Heaven”, especially the reading glasses, which many people might otherwise forget.

    Nice shock you gave me with those killerdeer eggs, since I thought these were the eggs of an animal that kills deer. As you can see, I have just come back to life, the same as last time I was here, but these things are recurrent. Now that the weather has momentarily stabilized here at 39ºC, things will be better. However, I was surprised to read that you must watch your cholesterol, or is that another Americanada? Here it says “0%cholesterol” even on bottled water bottles that people buy if they think that the authorities put too much chlorine or whatever in our tap water. I wonder where the water in those bottles comes from. The prices vary according to the design of the bottle.

    What? If I STOP writing more regularly? I’m never sure how to take your comments on “these Americans”. While distancing myself as much as possible from “typical American” mores, I still must identify as an American. As to my sense of direction, I’m aware of 7. North, south, east, west, up, down, and in.

    The killdeer is a type of plover. They’re fairly common around here, and are fascinating in their nesting habit and defense mechanisms. They nest in open fields, often where humans mow or otherwise maintain the clear space. When their nests are disturbed, the brooding hen creates a dramatic distraction of histrionic flapping and calling as though wounded. This is an attempt to draw predators away from the nest. While it appears a little silly, it must work as the species survives. I don’t know how they got their name “killdeer”.

    I was shocked by my elevated cholesterol level too. As the years pile up one must be ever more vigilant. Apparently my careless dietary practices are no longer balanced out by the exercise. All foodstuffs here are emblazoned with “GLUTEN FREE”, even though the percentage of gluten-intolerance is surely below 10. My running joke is that I’m gluten and lactose ambivalent. Ha ha.

  4. Lovely snaps, again. Art Major had a box turtle for years. Son-In-Law always has a red eared slider in a huge tank. He buys 50 goldfish for it and the fish last about a week.

    Killdeer don’t really kill deer. They just use that name to seem tough. One must appear tough to survive being so stupid as to lay one’s eggs in a driveway. Some did the same at Mum’s once so she marked out the area with wee flags to keep from running them over. Stupid birds.

    The killdeer do seem awfully stupid. How can the defense mechanism of pretending you’re wounded actually draw the predators away from such delicious looking little eggs? Don’t know. But it must work as these birds are surviving. They’re very common in these parts. My son-in-law actually ran the lawn mower over the nest before knowing they were there. No harm done. Two of the chicks survived and they’ve been seen recent evenings.

    • So, what do the young birds do most evenings? Do they have bonfires? Hang around and smoke whist annoying other young birds?

      Their eggs do resemble rocks. Who would want to eat rocks?

      I’ve sinced learned from a co-worker that her mother had been told that the the name ‘Killeer’ was derived, as some bird names do, from the sounds they make. The bird in question makes a bi-syllabic call sounding something like kill-DEE, and so they were named, as utterers of that sound kill-DEE-ers. Sounds good to me. And as you’ve added, little know fact, they are the only birds on planet earth to have harnessed the bonfire. AND smoke! Nobody knows where they get their tiny cigarettes from, but it’s only a matter of time before some clever birder figures that out and captures it on film.

  5. I just love to read what you write. It doesn’t even matter the topic. You thrill me, as always.

    Aw Melissa, what a lovely comment. Thank you. You thrill me too. 🙂

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