Friday, November 11, 2011

November 10 - Bird Day

I head straight out to continue work on the squatter's cabin.  The valley is windy with an overcast sky that won't last long.  There are fresh mule deer tracks and the creek is now knee deep and flowing.  At the point where I can see the river, a mature bald eagle passes on its way upstream.  It perches not far off, just long enough for me to get my camera out and not long enough for me to get a photo.  When I get up to the perch point, I find a huge pile of bear scat, which I flag for later collection.

I carefully measure and draw the exterior details of the cabin with hopes of someday connecting the construction to someone.  It is not a prospectors cabin and it is too nice for a hunter's shack or a teenagers party fort.  Note the green stripe that has been applied using asphalt roof shingles.  It does not make up for a shortage of cedar shingles, but instead covers a row of cedar shingles (imbrication is the basketry term) is a decorative feature (there is another green stripe at the bottom).  Also, the roof shingles are brown, not green.

The building is 12 x 14 feet, the construction is 2x4, 24 inches on center - everything (walls, floor and rafters) with 1x10 shiplap sheathing, tar paper and then sawn cedar shingles for the siding and asphalt shingles for roofing.  The windows are salvage (they are mounted sideways).  There was a stove at one time.  The cabin rests on 3 split cedar beams that are roughly 6x6 inches.  The beams sit on rocks.  Although not perfect, it was a visually pleasing cabin and built with that intention.  Whoever built it, had a fairly decent knowledge of carpentry...this wasn't their first project.

Right now, my theory is that this was built by a writer/artist in the circa 1970 and possibly by someone connected with the Fishtown artist community (mouth of the Skagit River) that existed then.  There were more than a few artists doing such things then.

Anyway...bird day.  When I get my head out of the bush and out of my notebook and tape measure, I find that it has become an amazing fall day.  As I return to the shop with gear, I flush a snipe from the road.  It is a beautiful bird, but one rarely sees it on the ground and once flying, they don't stay in sight for long.  I turn and watch it land 30 yards behind me.  I head back out to pick up the bear scat and half expect to find the snipe again.  It flushes when I am just 4 feet away and speeds around the corner.  As I get to the river, I here a dunk....dunk, and I turn to see the silhouette of a pileated woodpecker just 10 yards away.  It flies to the far side of the river as I reach for my camera. Returning with my bear scat, I flush the snipe again.  This time I watch as it flies a circle through the golden cottonwoods.  It is reluctant to leave this spot.
where the woodpecker went

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