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Friday, April 22, 2016

We are quite recovered from our busy day yesterday.  Tangeni's dad wrote a comment after reading yesterday's blog - scroll down to read it.  On the phone tonight he said he bet Tangeni's facial expression when her mom told her they were going for a walk last night was the same as his a lot of times when he gets home from work and Monika tells him they are all going for a walk.  They don't do casual jaunts for a few blocks - they clock from 2-5 miles on their walks.  

That would be severe punishment for me, even on a good day!  I used to regularly do about two miles each day, but every year I cut back a little, I'm afraid.  Now I tell myself (and anyone else who seems the least bit critical) that climbing the hill to Jamie and Marie's house every day or scrambling over logs and jumping over brooks in the woods is a pretty darned good workout, too, for someone my age.  

Today was downright balmy, and we had a nice late afternoon shower.  Tonight is cooler - about 54 degrees, but tomorrow night will be much colder, according to the forecast.  We might even have some snow showers in the higher elevations.  That's ok - it's still April.

In 1807 there was a severe snowstorm on about April 1 that dumped a huge amount of snow on West Danville and surrounding area.  Snow measured five feet deep on the level, and no travel was possible.  A few weeks later the same newspaper (the North Star) reported flooding all along the Connecticut River, with bridges washed away or severely damaged.  That is one of the earliest weather reports for this area we've found, but from then on, there were fairly regular comments about unusual weather - rain in July, hail, wind, etc., even snow in June of 1814, and an earthquake that December.  So we shouldn't be surprised to have some snowflakes in the air this late in April.

Today is "Earth Day."   I thought about that this morning as I watched a very large hawk swoop in for a landing at the edge of our back lawn.  There is a large pile of brush and debris from a ditch we had dug last year to divert water from our back lawn and buildings.  I thought the hawk was probably going to leave right away with whatever it's prey was, but that didn't happen.  I could see movement through the grass and then a crow arrived and advanced toward the hawk.  There was some flapping wings and both birds flew a couple feet in the air a few times, but each time settled back to the same spot.  Moments later a second crow arrived on the ground and a third perched nearby in a tree and I thought they were ganging up on the hawk and would drive it away, but that didn't happen.  There were a few more hops into the air and flashing wings, and although I couldn't hear them, it didn't seem to be confrontational - more like some mutual interest and mild competition. Finally the big hawk simply took off and sailed low over the treetops in the general direction of the pond.  The crows didn't reappear - I expect they went on about whatever their business was.  I intended to go up to the spot to see what caused all the action, but I was busy with other things and didn't do that.  They might have been raiding a bird's nest and sharing their quarry.  Nature is often brutal, but it's the normal way of things and absolutely necessary for the variety of species to continue to thrive.  This is a not very good shot of the hawk leaving.

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