Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This is Jim Bumgarner Sr with his loyal friend "Bugsy" the wild (watch) turkey.  Jim wrote a short piece about discovering Bugsy that I include below.  This picture comes from the gallery "Humanimals: family" and you can jump there to see what it is like to grow up in a wildlife conservation rescue area.  Click here for:  Gallery of family and fauna in the valley

 For several years my wife and I raised wild orphan animals.  We raised several squirrels, several raccoons, four foxes, four fawns, one coyote and one wild turkey.  We enjoyed them all but if I had to pick a favorite it would have to be Bugsy, our wild turkey.

I was mowing at my farm one spring day and I scared up a wild turkey.  I found her nest.  It had eight eggs in it. I had been told that if a nesting turkey was disturbed like this, they would never return to the nest. I left this area for several hours and then walked back to check the nest.  There was no mother and the eggs were getting cold.  I took four of the eggs home and put them in a small-borrowed incubator.  My conscience was clear when I returned to the nest the next day and found it destroyed.

I was really quite surprised when two weeks later two of the eggs hatched.  One baby died in a few hours.  The second one was quite healthy and was drinking water and eating poultry food quite quickly.  For the first few days we kept her in a cardboard box in the garage but she took to the outdoors quite quickly and was soon finding bugs and half jumping and half flying up to the lower tree branches.  I was afraid of predators at night so every evening I would walk her to the shed.  She would jump and fly to the rafters and stay there until I opened the door the next morning and when I return she would immediately fly down and spend the day in the yard and garden.  If I would go out on the deck and sit on a bench   she would come up and sit beside me always on my left side and stay there as long as I remained.  Bugsy liked to follow us on our walks along the paths through the woods-- always looking for bugs.  She would fly off from us but return in a few minutes. We’d see her fifty yards away or so from the house with other turkeys but she never went with them.

When she was hungry she would peck on the picture window until someone fed her.  In the spring she would still come sit by me on the deck. She would accompany my wife to the garden.  One day I heard a yelp from the garden and my wife said Bugsy pecked her on the rump when she was leaning over.

I guess Bugsy liked the response she got because this act was repeated many times.  If I heard a yelp from the garden, I knew that Bugsy had gotten her again.  Bugsy also started the habit of pecking on my pant leg and shoes.  I assume this was her attempt to play. [Editors note: This was his generous interpretation—the rest of us felt were far less charmed and believed we were being warned and thus, tried to steer clear of Jim’s “watch turkey”].  

That summer, Bugsy ate all the bugs around the house so I had to start bringing her grasshoppers from the farm.  I would catch hundreds of them with a butterfly net while driving my ATV. I would put about dozen in plastic bags and keep them in the refrigerator. She soon knew the meaning of the plastic bags and when I’d come out with one she would come running.

We were surprised when Bugsy stayed with us through the winter.  By now she was putting herself to bed in the shed and eventually she started sleeping high in the trees.  We would feed her and give her a bit of grain every day.  After sixteen months with us, Bugsy left for good.  We never saw her again but later we learned a bit more.

In an area that lies to the northwest of us there is a neighborhood called Timberhill.  One day a woman living there heard a tapping sound on her picture window.  She looked up and was amazed to see a turkey on her deck pecking on her window.  She opened the door and the turkey ran toward her.  She evidently was frightened by this behavior and ran to the phone and dialed 911.  When she calmed down, she reasoned that this was someone’s tame turkey so she threw some birdseed out.  She and her next-door neighbor fed Bugsy for several weeks   - James E. Bumgarner 

Check out other wacky photos of otherwise respectable people living with animals and for my family-- I just had to share. No one will recognize you guys, really.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Picturing Peace

Often I find that art comes to me as I pass it, or seek it out in various collections and shows. The emotional response is one then that I have not sought out, but rather one that is impressed upon me. Not that this is a negative way to experience art, but it is a usual one. Recently I found myself looking for an emotional response, a state of being; I was looking for peace. Not peace in the world peace sense, but images that evoked a sense of peacefulness. Searching through Gay's images I chose several that evoked that response, and over the next several weeks I sat with them, returned to them, and found they continually brought on a sigh, relief and release. Peace.
I then thought about what it was that evoked that response and that, along with some of those images, is what I share here.

In the image above--taken on the Olympic Peninsula--I like the sense of the near, far and middle distance. It speaks of potential and possibility as much as it speaks of a contentment with what lies behind, and of the present. The interplay of purples and greens, the snow on the far mountains, these speak of change, promise and contentment.

Three birds sitting on the barbed wire in the last not-quite-warm sun of a late summer afternoon, two looking forward, one looking back. They appear so content; accepting of  the imminent change of seasons, the combination of warm sun and slight chill on the breeze, being where they are, looking both forward and back without judgment. Just being.

And finally, here is this little fellow, coming out of the grass, stopping to look into his future, enjoying the warm sun on his back, warm mud and gentle eddies of the water around his legs and feet. Like the birds he is so present, going from one place to another, yet so content with what is and what was.

So, I realized that when I picture peace I look for a sense of possibility without the anxiety of contemplating change that we so often instill in our path through life. So often we mull over our options, try to figure out what will be, try to look behind and change what we can't. That is a state I find anxiety producing and not particularly constructive. It was interesting to me to look for peace in images, find it, and consider what evoked that feeling: possibility, change and contentment with what is and was. These images (and others I chose) serve as reminders of, and vehicles to that place, that state of being.

I am going to try this with other states of being in future posts, but perhaps you would like to see what says peace to you, or what says... something else you seek.

Look through Gay's images and see what speaks to you. Make a lightbox so you can return to those images (if you need to know how to do this please e-mail), and consider...what says "peace" to you? What says.....?

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Please comment below or e-mail to respond to this post, share and let us know what you find.

Gay's Gallery previews, look at images:

My peace lightbox, with additional peace images:

Thursday, April 8, 2010


This is a favorite image of Gay's and a favorite place for her. Here is how she described it in writing for people that liked the picture.

"This picture was taken with late sun shining in autumn on the north fork of Grindstone creek and limestone cliffs. This creek is the type known as a “loosing creek” because when it rains it rises rapidly, sometimes as much as 12 ft, but within a few days loses is extra water into the many tributaries which have also emptied into it. The creek then moves on and joins the south fork of the grindstone, then to the Hinkson and then to parts beyond.

The forest here is native oak, hickory, maple, serviceberry and sycamore plus many others. This section of creek usually has water in it except for a few weeks if no rain falls for many weeks. There are deep holes, such as exists at the base of the cliff you see. During one very dry summer, the hole had water holding fish and frogs and a Green Heron and northern water snake (harmless) tried to share the hole but finally disputed the territory.

Gay Bumgarner, photographer"

Notes from Sharon-- a little back story for the picture and the place.

There are many photos of this spot. It was essentially her back yard and on special nights she would turn on the lamps hidden in the bluffs and the dramatic rock faces would shine and skitter with shadows.

Gay and Jim placed a bench there to watch things happen. There is a picture of Jim on the bench with Bugsy his companion turkey (or guard turkey). He could hide there with bugsy, have a secret smoke sometimes, rest from the weed eating, supervise my brother rappelling while trimming the trees. There is also a wonderful, romantic photo of Gay and Jim siting on that bench together in the fall (K1300a_Older couple shares a bench.tif) --

The area was changed greatly by the city trying to improve the flow of sewerage in pipes placed under the creek. Gay hounded them for 2 years across her property and made sure they did a good job. She marked every tree, and kept them to their word. The new job they made can be seen in [E0512_Grindstone creek after major city public works.tif] and the bench where they sat returned to its place.

In 2008, during her final summer we spent a lot of time on the deck looking over the lake and beyond to the bluffs. The efforts of maintenance had scaled down with age and Jim's absence-- unnoticeable to any normal human gardener but a source of wry interest to her.

The Canada geese were nesting and presented an excellent low-key distraction and mini-drama. After years of building among the reeds and grasses on the lake shore the geese finally abandoned the strategy. Too many eggs and goslings were lost to Raccoons, turtles, and other predators. Thus, almost 15 after the lake was adopted by Canada geese they began to build their nests on the bluffs- on a flat spot part way up. The view of the nest was perfect from the house but there were tradeoffs and new hazards. Now instead of easing into the water for a first swim the gosling had to “jump” or “fly-fall” down to the creek 15 feet below then a hike up the creek edge over the dam and into the lake. Not a clear improvement overall.

In the summer of 2008 on a perfect day Gay and I were on the deck watching the lake. The male goose came and offered the female her short respite from the nest. The two of them swam together for a brief time every afternoon. They muttered and honked and sounded as if they were catching up on all the events of the world. This quiet pair swimming together -- such a romantic sight and a deserved break.

But, then, they were out of the water up on the dam, upset, honking, running back and forth across the dam. They were yelling and flapping at something happening in the nest. We were puzzled and mesmerized. But, suddenly on the ledge where the eggs sat something pushed one of the eggs off into the creek onto the rocks below. Then we were up, standing, binoculars fixed to the spot, shouting at this unknown malevolent force, no superpowers to help. We watched disbelieving as one after another the remaining 3 eggs were pushed out of the nest, first to the edge where it would teeter and almost rest then it was pushed again. They fell one at a time, lit by the sun, in breathtaking slow motion, orbs alight falling in a perfect arc; disappearing below our view.

My mother gripped her IV pole and the two of us stood on the edge of the deck, holding hands and me offering her a place to lean. We were weeping, outraged and shouting along with the parents whose noise was deafening... all to no effect. Finally, I had to know what it was that would do this, to know if something could survive. It was just days before they would hatch. I took off running across the garden, across the dam, and down the embankment to the base of the bluffs and the creek, to do what?

It was quiet. Whatever did this damage was apparently not interested in the product. I could find nothing. Then down a bit I saw it.... One egg floated in the water midstream, was it intact, was it too cold?

It was cracked but not through and through and it seemed there was some little movement perhaps inside. I carried it to the dam where mother and father were pacing, honking, flapping...beside themselves. Why had they not flown to threaten whatever it was? Were they so certain of the loss or the chance of something worse?

I brought the egg to a soft sunny place in the long grass near them, they were unhappy to see me but overwrought. I backed away. They approached cautiously, sniffed and poked with their beaks, but quickly dismissed it-- dead, too damaged, not theirs, wrong, they wouldn’t own or tend it.

My mother said, leave it, they wont claim it, there is something they know perhaps about the odds and the effort, and there are plenty of others that will want it come dark.

I hated it, that unknown snake or rat that decimated the nest. I wanted signs of the good universe, of the arc of justice and not of waste. If I was facing my mothers death it seemed doubly awful to have the fierceness of the pruning forces be the sign I was to somehow use to help me.