with four hours free before we returned from utah yesterday, we drove out to antelope island state park, less than 1 hour from downtown salt lake city. you cross a seven-mile-long causeway over the great salt lake out onto the island, which is just hair-raisingly beautiful–windswept, scrubby, full of sky overhead, offering panoramas of the great salt lake, and encounters with bison and antelope all the way along the ring road. i loved it.
as i walked out onto the dry flats to gather some salty sand for STILL blog, i found the very sun-bleached remains of a coyote. with the theme song from the good, the bad, and the ugly playing in my head, I looked up expecting to see circling vultures, and, instead, watched a flock of american avocets flap past me to land in the shallows, where they resumed feeding.
jaw bones of a coyote skeleton
great salt lake, antelope island, utah
i don’t think i mentioned that while we were in southern france last fall, my husband wrote a series of articles called “letters from france” for the taste section of our local paper, the minneapolis star tribune. well, that series won a national food journalism award (yay stevie!), and we just got back yesterday from the awards ceremony in park city, utah.
the greens and golds in this photo mark the point when summer turned to fall here in the upper midwest. our return from the AFJ (Association of Food Journalists) awards will also mark our family’s transition from busy summer to the quieter fall season, full of late afternoon fires, red wine, homework, and something braising in the oven.
wild grass stems, possibly sedge
saint paul, minnesota
this is a close up photo of the feet of the juvenile great horned owl we came across this summer. i can’t get over how the feathers look like fur, and the feet look like kitten paws. those murderous incurved talons, on the other hand, do not remind me of kittens.
great horned owl feet and talons
near ely, minnesota
assorted wilting funeral flowers
saint paul, minnesota
i brought these feathers home from southern france. they are from a raptor they call buse variable, or common buzzard. the coloring looks a lot like the osprey that patrol the edges of our lakes all summer long, and the owls that patrol the woods at night. the buse variable has a couple of advantages over our local raptors. for one thing, it gets to circle above the endless, orderly beauty of vineyards for its whole life. for another, when it comes down out of the sky, it gets to eat French food.
feathers of the buse variable