Yesterday, I turned the spaghetti sauce down to simmer and glanced out the window just in time to see the hummer zoom into the combo coral honeysuckle/grape vine in the back yard. The two vines compete for space on a bit of relic fence from when the kids were wee things.
The sauce (Italian sausage, bell pepper strips, usual host of seasonings) needed to cook down for a while so I grabbed the camera and went out back.
I fed the dogs on the way out so they would stay on the porch and not interfere with what I had in mind. I only had an hour or so of good late day light before the sun sank behind my westernmost trees.
I was hummer hunting.
At the vine covered fence, I stretched out, still in my nerdy work clothes, and waited for the hummer to come back. I've noticed that when they are active, there's about a 15 minute gap between vine visits.
The afternoon was exquisite. Sunny, low humidity, a cool breeze, and no mosquitoes. None! Two weeks ago, we were running from the car to the house just to survive their onslaught.
There wasn't even a foraging fire ant to aggravate me.
As I lay there waiting for the buzz of the bird's arrival. I started noticing little ground level things around me ... a wasp working the spiderwort, the fleabanes from last week looking kind of haggard now, the yard birds moving and scratching in the oak duff behind me.
It was about at that moment of bliss that Flounder noticed the chickens so close to the house and decided to give chase to Hoot the rooster. You may remember a previous post about this dog/rooster attraction.
Apparently if you are prone, old dogs and roosters don't really register you as YOU and Hoot came dashing right over my feet, followed closely by Flounder. They disappeared around the corner of the house, leaving me in peace again.
That was when Feather appeared at the porch steps. I lay still watching her gingerly work her 12 year old puppy body down the steps. When she made it down to ground level, she sniffed the air and then put her nose down retracing my steps from the porch to where I now lay.
Her eyes and ears don't work so well anymore, but her nose is a thing of wonder and in a few minutes she was laying beside me, demanding belly rubs.
I figured if she'd lie still, I could rub her with one hand and keep the camera ready with the other.
This could work ...
Just as Feather settled down with me, Flounder reappeared Hootless, but focused intently on the crawlspace beneath PFHQ.
Wonderful. Once again he'd managed to chase Hoot into a tiny gap in the lattice and the rooster was under the house. The gap was too small for Flounder to follow, but it also works like the funnel in a crab trap, completely befuddling Hoots smooth little brain so that he can not find his way out after these episodes.
He spent 4 days under there the first time this happened. I thought he'd got eaten by some predator until I heard him crowing one morning ... from beneath the porch.
A few feet away from me, Flounder began immediate Hoot Extraction procedures, flinging sand over my feet and into Feather's face.
I yelled at him to stop ... kind of a whispered yell at first as ... if you still remember ... I was trying to photograph hummingbirds.
That did no good as he hears about as well as Feather does ... plus he was pretty intent on his mission.
It was about then, in the midst of yelling at Flounder and ducking sprays of sand that I heard it ......BUZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
I only got this one shot before the Hummer fled for his life from the commotion below.
I just love it when a plan comes together.