It doesn't seem that long ago that my grandparents lived in a beautiful log house with cathedral ceilings. Their master bedroom was a huge loft that overlooked the living space below and their bedroom window faced the hilly mountain side that was their backyard
heavily treed with huge evergreens, the ground thick with fallen needles and tall grasses.
It was the perfect place for quail..enough ground cover to hide and nest in and
sheltered up above by the majestic branches of the ponderosa pines.
During my grandparents time there, it had become a sort of breeding ground and sanctuary for these adorable birds - every morning my grandma would open the sliding door from the family room and scatter a handful of seeds out on to the grass
within seconds, the tall grass would rustle and sway.
The adults always came impeccably dressed for breakfast
wearing their jackets of black, fawn and light grey,
their plume like tiny facinators on their perfect little heads.
My grandma would always count the number of young and report to my little brother, who for a time when he was little, would be at my grandma's side during her many bird watching walks.
It was during my time living in the Okanagan that I first became aware of these wee birds.
In the spring time the mountains are teeming with them, always in a big hurry, the females bustling about up ahead while the males follow behind, herding what seems like a bazillion itty bitty chicks from straying from the group.
Driving up the mountainous road to my parents house could sometimes be a treacherous affair - quail crossings are not uncommon and they dart out of nowhere, zigzagging hurriedly across the pavement while the unfortunate male would frantically being up the rear,
their young like a bagful of marbles,
spilling out onto the hilly roads
where cars were whizzing by.
Driving white knuckled, eyes darting back and forth watching carefully for tattletale signs of movement in the tall grass roadside, I'd been told numerous times that swerving for an animal crossing was one of the most common causes of vehicle accidents. Personally however, I'd rather land in a ditch any day over running over a family of quail...
being singlehandedly responsible for the massacre of an entire family would be something I would never get over.
My father I'm sure would disagree - especially since I'm usually driving his vehicle.
It's been years since my grandparents lived there..
my brother no longer seems interested in pursuing a life of bird watching
and my grandma passed away a few short years ago.
But in the springtime the hillsides are still abundant with quail and you still have to watch the roads for family crossings.
A whimsical little necklace inspired by the beautiful Okanagan and my grandma's love of all things furred and feathered.
Available in the New Year.
xo Blue Gnome