Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I like this little chickadee peeking out of a mitten. It's really heavy though and is always threatening to fall off the tree.
I found this downy woodpecker at Target last week. She's my favorite new bird.
I bought this funny fat chickadee last year. His feet swing on fat rope legs.
This ornament has two cardinals and a birch log house. One of the cardinals bounces on a spring. Pardon the wren butt!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
No, it's not blooming now, but it does bloom last in my garden. On really chilly nights, the bees snuggle in and the flowers close up around them!
In the morning all you would see were little bee butts poking out from the petals!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
1. Eggnog or hot chocolate!
2. Does Santa wrap present or just set them under the tree?
Santa's presents are wrapped, but in paper different from the others.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
Colored on the house, white on the tree.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
5. When do you put your decorations up?
We start the first week end in December, finish by Christmas!
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding desert)?
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?
The first time I attended midnight mass. The music and candle light was so beautiful.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
One of my brothers told me when I was about 10.
9. Do you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
Christmas Eve. Always.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
The kids do all of the tree decorating, I clean up the mess afterward! It's fun to listen to them tell the stories behind the ornaments, and all of them have stories.
11. Snow- Love it or dread it?
Love it. (until the end of February)
12. Can you ice skate?
Yes, but it's not pretty!
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? (as a child)
Yes. My brother gave me a metal Slinky, wrapped in the corner of a triangular box. I had the BEST time shaking and guessing on that one!
14. What's the most exciting thing about the holidays for you?
I love watching the excitement in my kids. Personally, I especially love church this time of year. It is such a holy time.
15. What is your favorite holiday desert?
I love kringle. Oh- and spritz cookies!
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Driving with the family at night, looking at Christmas lights.
17. What tops your tree?
18. Which do you prefer- giving or receiving?
My first answer is giving, but when I think about it, happily receiving a gift makes the giver feel good too.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song?
Still, Still, Still
20. Candy canes?
Maybe just one, with hot chocolate!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
By the end of the trip we saw 80+ GGO's! All of my pictures were taken through the bus windows. The stress on the birds was kept to a minimum. When the bus stopped for a longer look, the driver stopped a distance away, hopefully to prevent interfering with the owls' hunting. These were the MOST beautiful birds I have ever seen!
I know this is not a great picture but it's the only one I got of the single Northern Hawk Owl that we saw that day.
So here you go Susan, I hope your day is better.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I'm hoping to drive up to Hasty Brook this week end. We haven't been up there since the middle of October when we brought the camper home. I saw several woodpecker species on that visit. There are many dead trees, mostly missing tops that support woodpeckers. There are pileated woodpecker cavities everywhere and I was lucky to see one this day. The birch snag on the right has a flicker cavity that was busy all summer.
Sapsuckers make this characteristic pattern around tree trunks. These trees seemed healthy, but I wonder if the drilling causes any damage. Hairy and downy woodpeckers are common in the woods at Hasty. They seem fearless and often follow me on my walks.
On an earlier post I mentioned that I thought I had found wild hops growing along the creek. Here I found them dried, twined through the branches of a little tree. I need to do some more research- I'm not sure if we have wild hops here.
There are many large tree stumps throughout the woods. I assume they are left from the last time the land was logged. I love this fuzzy one, covered with life, taking it back down into the earth. I looks like a heart to me.
I just heard a weather report. We're on the edge of a cold front and it seems the rain is turning to snow in southeastern Minnesota. I'm glad I'm home with sick kid. The tundra swans can wait.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Three years later, after many tears and prayers and many, many doctor visits came Molly. She's an amazing girl/young woman. She's smart and big-hearted and a very independent thinker. She wow'd us all with her beautiful voice in her school's musical review of the 50's.
Just 14 months after Molly was born we were blessed with John. John is quiet and thoughtful. In third grade John had to do a report about his name saint. He paged through an enormous book of saints until he found an entry about St. John the Silent. Johnny thought that was perfect. John is bright and he is one of the funniest people I know.
Time to stop before I get too choked up. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and thank you for welcoming me into this blogging community. I look foreword to reading what you have to share and I appreciate your kind comments here!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Here we have Molly daintily trying to get the syringe tip into Buddy's mouth. NOT a happy bunny. Buddy does not like to be picked up. EVER.
Where IS Buddy's mouth? Buddy has big cheeks so eventually we found success by peeling his lips up until we could see his big front teeth, then sliding the syringe tip around behind his teeth. At this point he clamps his teeth shut quite firmly. When we give pills to the dog, we shove the pill to the back of her throat, hold her mouth shut and blow in her nose. She swallows every time. We tried puffing at Buddy's nose to get him to swallow. Did you know that rabbits can slam their nostrils shut at will?
Buddy disapproves of pink medicine.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
On to the pets! Last weekend Art accidentally tripped over Gidget the dog in the middle of the night. She limped around the next day, and by the following morning she couldn't walk. AT ALL! Her back end was totally lame. She wouldn't put any weight on one leg and would not stand. I carried her around on Sunday- 45 pounds of black dog! (She's a very chubby small-size terrier mix) On Monday I couldn't stand to see her hurting and had her at the vet's door first thing in the morning. I tried to prepare the kids for difficult news. I really thought some thing was broken. Two vets and two x-rays, they couldn't find anything wrong! I settled Gidget gently on the floor so I could look at the x-rays with the vets. Nothing. John tapped me on the shoulder. "Mom, Gidget left." Huh? In the space of 30 seconds, Gidget went from lame to sneaking out into the waiting room to visit with the other dogs! We went home with a bottle of Rimidyl and $280 lighter. She limped around and whimpered all evening. I gave her one pain pill and she was out. The next morning she raced me downstairs, flew around the back yard and rolled in a nice stink. Hmm. John said it was a miraculous x-ray. I'll keep my opinion to myself.
A couple of days ago I noticed that Buddy (bunny) had a drippy eye. This morning it was goopy. Off to the vet we go! No scratched cornea (yay!), could be viral, but here are some nice pink antibiotics and a syringe to squirt them in his mouth. Bunnies like sweets so he'll probably slurp it up says vet. Yeah right! Two cc's, twice a day for 7 days. Heaven help us! I was holding Buddy, trying to calm him down while the vet prepared the antibiotic drops when I noticed two black dots MOVING in his fur. FLEAS!!! Gidget gets a once a month flea/tick/heart worm/everything else treatment but it never occured to me that Buddy might get fleas. I guess it's quite likely that he got them when he has his morning outside romp. Add on a dose of flea medication for rabbits and the bill goes up to $90. I'll go to the store for the flea-bombs for the house tomorrow.
Oh, and my 88 year old Mom is mad at me because I can't take her to the grocery store until tomorrow.
And I work nights Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
OK, I'm done now. Ranting and whining over and out.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
What state(or country) do you live in? Minnesota.
How long have you been birding? About 10 years.
Are you a lister? Yes , but not very seriously.
ABA life list: Don't keep one.
Overall life list: 41
3 Favorite birding spots: my back yard, Hasty Brook, Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
Favorite birding spot outside your home country: never birded outside the USA
Farthest you've travelled to chase a rare bird: 70 miles north to see the Great Gray Owls during the irruption year.
Nemesis bird: don't have one
"Best" bird sighting: Great Gray Owl- goose bumps cool!!
Most wanted trip: Cape May sounds cool
Most wanted bird: I would really LOVE to see a Snowy Owl
What model and brand of bins do you use? Vortex Stokes DLS 8X42 and Canon IS 10X30. I love them both.
What model and brand of scope do you use? Nikon something- can't find the model.
What was the last lifer you added to your list? Wilson's warbler
Where did you see your last lifer? Hasty Brook
What's the last bird you saw today? Dark-eyed Junco
Best bird song you've ever heard: Hermit Thrush- I can't believe that sound comes out of a bird!
Favorite birding moment: New Years day, 2006 I mentioned out loud that I wondered what my first bird of the year would be. Seconds later a Pileated woodpecker flew in to my feeder station in the back yard! I had never seen one in the Twin Cities area before or since!
Least favorite thing about birding: bugs!
Favorite thing about birding: Watching how they live. I often get so caught up in how they do their "birdy thing" that I forget about field marks. I love to watch them "be birds".
Favorite field guide for the US: Peterson, but I also love Stan Tekiela's "Birds of Minnesota"
Favorite non-field guide bird book: I have two of them.
"Life List: A Birder's Spiritual Awakening" by Chris Dunford and
"For the Birds: An Uncommon Guide" by Laura Erickson
Who is your birder icon: There are 3 Minnesota birders that come to mind.
Sharon Stiteler aka Birdchick who shares her knowledge with sass.
Laura Erickson aka Birderblog who shares her knowledge with class.
Stan Tekiela who shares his knowledge through terrific "state" field guides with amazing photography.
Do you have bird feeders? Many and all kinds.
Favorite feeder bird: Catbirds but I really love them all.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
The tamaracks were glowing along one part of the shoreline. They seem brighter on cloudy days.
I saw loon babies riding on mama's back for the first time this summer. There are only 2 house/cabins on this lake. I've nevere seen a motorized boat on it.
There is a wide spot in the road where folks fish for sunnies here. I think we'll try that next summer.
Here is another wide track. I can't believe it's a dog.
We saw this lovely group about a half mile from our place. They were grazing peacefully, but at least one of the herd always had its head up watching.
This pretty ruffed grouse was strolling up our driveway. Once it was is the brush it was nearly impossible to see unless it moved. Art and I followed it a while and eventually flushed a group of 5 grouse!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I didn't want to leave.
I wanted to stay and look and listen.
I want to be here in winter when the woods are quiet and blanketed in white.
I want to be here in the spring when the earth warms and life awakens.
I want to be here in summer when life sings and there are too many greens to count.
But I know this place is here, waiting for me.
And that makes me smile.
Monday, October 23, 2006
But I'd been to the other side and I was determined to explore more. A trip to the lumber yard and some creative balancing by Art, and we had a bridge, of sorts!
John had no fear. He scampered back and forth many times without any hesitations!
The planks gave me some confidence. If I stay on the boards, my legs won't fall through the branches. (If I tip over, I'll be impaled on pointy beaver sticks!) I was able to relax enough to snap this picture of Hasty Brook upstream from the middle of the dam. Wow.
It was really interesting to look down at the dam construction. For the most part, the branches were very tightly woven. I was surprised at how much dirt there was. There were many rocks, some of them 8-10 pounds, packed into the works. The sturdiest areas supported growing plants, including a few aspen seedlings.
Hasty Brook is a DNR designated trout stream. We've assumed that there were fish in there, and looking closely at the dam we found several scattered piles of fish scales. Some critter has been fishing! I did see 2 river otters in the creek in May, maybe they're back!