MY BLUE HERON

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I needed an airing. My cameras needed exercise. So, finally, I got my act together and we went out to take some pictures. Where to go?

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Sometimes, the path of least resistance works out best. We went into town, parked and walked to the Mumford River and the dam. With trepidation. I didn’t know how bad it would be. As it turned out, better than I had hoped, at least for photography.

Because there, right in front of the dam where it used to be deep with a powerful current, stood a blue heron. So still he might have been a statue. Garry spotted him and we dove for our cameras.

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We had nothing to fear. He stood there, unmoving, for so long I thought maybe there was something wrong with him. Then, he started to move. Walked over to the spill way … and grabbed a fish. And swallowed it. Then, in his new position along the side by the spillway, he again went still. I guess he was waiting for another fish. He was still standing there when we packed our gear and headed home.

Mr. Heron catches a fish.

Mr. Heron catches a fish.

The Mumford is very low. It’s no more than a few inches deep, but at least it’s wet. I guess, from the heron’s viewpoint, it’s better this way. Because when the river was “normal,” a wading bird couldn’t fish there.

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NAN GOT A HAIR CUT

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Our of a mound of hair, our groomer carved a lovely Norwich Terrier. Nan, showgirl that she was, has been preening ever since we brought her home from her beauty date. Nan is the only dog I’ve ever known who seems to genuinely like being groomed. She’s been strutting around the house, posing. She’s adorable.

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THE FARM AND THE HOUSE

cows in the pasture

The cows are happy. The chickens are happy. The corn is growing, joyously absorbing sunshine and rain. Three generations live on the farm … and the land has been in the family as long as anyone can remember.

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The farm-house

The work is hard, season after season. But the people … they look happy too. Maybe it’s living with the soil and the animals. Letting the seasons dictate what there is to be done.

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Corn is ready

Autumn is coming. The corn will be gone, the cows will no longer graze and sleep in the green pasture along the river. Ice and snow will cover the ground. Even the chickens will huddle in their coops. Everyone and everything will wait for spring to come again. Fortunately, it always comes.

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LAZY DAY ON THE FARM – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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Garry doesn’t merely take pictures of animals. He chats them up. Amazingly, they chat back.

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Maybe it’s all those years as a reporter and they all want their 15 minutes — more like 30 seconds — of fame, but animals like Garry. Always have. From our afternoon on the farm, Garry’s portraits of deeply contented cows.

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For those of you wondering what those big yellow ear tags are: They are from the Department of Agriculture. They certify these cows are free of tuberculosis and other diseases so the farmer can sell unpasteurized milk. And indeed, the milk from this farm does not taste at all like grocery store milk. It tastes much better, even after most of the cream is gone.

You can see the Blackstone River in the background. The pasture lies along the banks of the river and there’s always a cooling breeze, even on the hottest afternoon.