Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lifers in the Big Valley

I'm happy to say that the weather cooperated for my big trip to Big Valley, though the birds were a little sparse and shy. We had temps in the upper 30s/lower 40s, but the wind was biting. At least it was sunny. I did see two lifers--a pine siskin (in the backyard at the trip leader's house, not really in Big Valley):

and a horned lark, one of my goal-birds for the trip:

This was the best picture I got of a horned lark, but we saw a lot of them and I got to study them a bit and see their little horny eyelashes--cool. I just wish the birds out there had been a little more cooperative, like they are for Mary at Mary's View--they pose out in her yard, and they even come into her house sometimes! Oh well, I guess we can't all be bird-charmers, right, Mary?

We drove all over Big Valley, which is about thirty miles from my little village. I winced at the thought of my commitment to BIGBY, but I'm hoping to take a birding walk tomorrow to cover that. Anyway, we didn't see too many birds, though--only 30 species, and nothing to write home about other than the horned larks. We saw small flocks of them, and sometimes even just a couple of individuals; I'm told they're usually found in big flocks of a hundred or more. We didn't get that lucky, nor were these larks hanging around with any snow buntings (we checked every flock we saw).

To give you a little more local flavor, here's a little photo essay I put together to give you an idea of what I saw pretty much all morning:



We also drove by a property that our trip leader said was popular with woodpeckers, but what caught my eye was this sign on the property:

Wow.

The other highlight of the trip was a stop at the famous Peachey's Market:

Note the pig on the sign; does he look a little funny to you? Let's take a closer look:

Look at that happy little guy and his...furry body? I didn't know pigs had coats, like a dog. Must be some weird Amish pig, or a very confused artist. I kept thinking about that line in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, where Ron tells Hermione that her cat Crookshanks "looks like a pig with hair!" when he thinks that Crookshanks has eaten his rat, Scabbers.

Turns out that Peachey's is a lot like my Mennonite store down the road; the store itself is much smaller, but they do have a larger selection of candy and some really. rotten. coffee. (Imagine you re-used your coffee grounds a couple of times, then burned the whole pot for a few hours. Yeah. Mmmmm, right?)

They also had nyjer seed in bulk for only $1.59/lb (Burkholder's doesn't have that!), which is about fifty cents cheaper than it is at Wiscoy, my usual bird and bunny feed store. I got about four pounds, plus a sock feeder. The pine siskin I'd seen earlier was on a nyjer sock, so I'm hoping to attract some out here, though the trip leader's house in nearer to wooded areas than mine. Still--the goldfinches and house finches ought to go insane for it. Who knows? Maybe I'll even get a purple finch; they're still around this area, according to our local birding listserv.

Back to Peachey's. First, I got to see "scrapple" for the first time in my life:

Be glad the ingredients list is blurry, folks. I read it, and believe me: you don't want to know. Let's just say that if that furry pig knew, he wouldn't be smiling. They also had a (ahem) "vegetarian" version called "mush," which was cornmeal and some other scary ingredients. I didn't think Kat would forgive me if I bought any home, so I passed on that.

Here's some Amish-abilia:

Kinda creepy, no?

The money machine at Peachey's:

Who knew Mennonites had their own bank?

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the answer is yes:

They are buying deer hides now.

22 comments:

KGMom said...

Well, pigs do have hair (or bristles). Maybe that's what the artist was seeing. They are not hairless.

FranIAm said...

Oh. My. God.

Scrapple. I won't discuss it with you, it could ruin our friendship. (all I am saying is that I am aware of some mighty fine scrapple that one can procure at the Redding Terminal Market in Philly!)

Scrapple. The food love that dare not speak its name.

Susan Gets Native said...

D, you cracked me all up and down with this one.
Thank goodness, they are buying deer hides!
What would we do if they weren't?????

Two lifers is better than none, though, right?

Franiam slays me....that could be scrapple's national ad slogan.
Maybe I shouldn't mention anything about my Grandma making scrapple back in the day? Well, they were poor farmers who had to use the whole pig...from the rooter to the tooter.

dguzman said...

KGMom--I knew they were bristly, but that pig's got a lush coat of fur! I did think he was cute, though--but I'm sure he had no idea what they were selling inside.

Fran--oh dear. Well--let's never speak of it again, shall we?

Susan--I'm glad you enjoyed riding along. It was like a trip back in time, into some sort of backcountry freak show.

Mary said...

Cool trip! Hey, we ate Scrapple in Maryland - Rapa brand. Down here they call it "liver mush" in restaurants but sell other brands of Scrapple in the grocery stores but none compare to Rapa! Gotta love liver :o)

Delia, even if the birds come into my house, I don't see as many as you see in a week. Lately, my backyard birds are not cooperative at all! I'm disgusted! Subject of a post later this week. Damned birds. Word verif: oofug

Splotchy said...

I had scrapple as a breakfast side on a trip to Philly. I was amazed at its ability to retain heat. It was like a spaceage polymer or something.

I'd had mush before -- my dad has it for breakfast sometimes. He eats it with pancake syrup. I wasn't a big fan of it, though I appreciated its ability to retain a rectangular shape.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

At last! Now I know where to get rid of my deer hides! Thank you Delia!

Larry said...

Trying to take good photos out in the field is definitely tougher than getting backyard shots so don't feel bad.-Congratulations on the two lifers-especially on the Horned Lark!

Earl Cootie said...

Congratulations! You did much better than we did this weekend. Sigh. Is it spring yet?

dguzman said...

Mary: "liver mush"--blech!!! That's even worse than "scrapple!"

Splotch: impressive!

Dr M: Glad to be of service, sir!

Larry: Don't I know it--the sun was just too bright or something, and forget trying to get a good background on a shot. You get what you get. *sigh*

Earl: Not yet, but I'm about to start counting the minutes....

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