Thaw


Trumpeter Swans

Today featured a high in the upper fifties. Quite the change from even this last weekend. The warmer weather seems to have unlocked all of the moisture that has been trapped in the soil. This thaw has unleashed both fog and mud. A particularly drab combination. Anne and I got out for a walk today.

On our walk we surveyed all of the construction that is occurring in our locale. Closest to home are the dueling utility projects. We have AT&T installing fiber and the sewer district uncrossing the streams. Both of these activities seemed to had gone dormant during the cold weather, but today both are being worked in full force. The sewer district had moved a block closer to home. They’re on the next block over now and new hieroglyphs, scrawled on the asphalt, appear daily in front of the house. The drilling rig is back again. I’m not sure what they are drilling for, but I don’t think that it is oil. On our walk, we encountered a weird audio phenomenon. A strange deep basal echo that appeared to bounce from one side of the street to the other. It was caused by the phone company’s pushing of fiber cable beneath the ground. 

In addition to the ongoing utility work, which to the casual observer appears to be rather amorphous and disorganized there are also a number of construction projects in the neighborhood. The biggest one is where a new hotel, restaurant and shopping center adds to the advancing retail sprawl that has been moving ever eastward towards us for years now. At the other end of the neighborhood, a quaint old retail building that had featured a florist and an antique store, for longer than we have lived in Saint Louis, is slated for immediate demolition and replacement with a doctors building.

Dan’s old middle school was demolished in prep for an almost 200 unit, five-story apartment building, but the site has sat idle now for almost a year, while the developer tries to get funding to commence construction. Word is that the old Schnucks property that has sat idle for two-decades may soon be developed. Plans include a new smaller grocery store where the old store building still sits and a high-rise apartment building where the parking lot is now.

All of this work will be good for property values, but much of the new building will only exacerbate local traffic, which is already bad. Not as bad as when the New I-64 was under construction, but do we really want to return to those days? I certainly don’t, but I must admit that this is a desirable area to live in. 

The One That Got Away


Red-Belly Woodpecker

Red-Belly Woodpecker

The one that got away last weekend was a Pileated woodpecker. It was a male and it was posed a lot like this one. Only my photo was not in focus and try as I might, I couldn’t make it blog-worthy. The Pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in the United States, except for the possibly extinct Ivory-Billed woodpecker. It is also the role model for the cartoon character Woody the Woodpecker. We saw it on Saturday at Stump Lake and we even went back there on Sunday to look for it again, but had no luck. This is the first time that I had seen a Pileated woodpecker and would have really liked to have gotten the shot. Instead as the photo for this post, I submit to you this picture of a Red-Belly woodpecker that we saw on Sunday near Gilbert Lake.