Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
For all is hushed,
The world is sleeping,
Holy Star its vigil keeping.
Still, still, still,
One can hear the falling snow.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
The night is peaceful all around you,
close your eyes,
Let sleep surround you.
Sleep, sleep, sleep,
'Tis the eve of our Saviour's birth.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
While guardian angels without number,
Watch you as you sweetly slumber.
Dream, dream, dream,
Of the joyous day to come.
I am wishing you all the peace and joy of Christmas
and a shower of blessings throughout the New Year.
love, Lynne

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Little Bird Tree

Birdchick asked if any one had any fun bird ornaments so I thought I'd share a few of mine. We have two Christmas trees, and this little one in our family room holds most of my bird ornaments.
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!
My honey Art took Monday and Tuesday off work this week. We shopped Monday and wrapped yesterday and we are DONE!!! The house is clean (pretty much...) and the decorating is done. We seem to decorated less and less every year and that's just fine with me. We seem to clutter up pretty quickly at our house and I'm making an effort to change that. We haven't sent cards in a few years either and so far no one has disowned us. As far as baking goes, there are some pretty good bakery cookies at Costco! I do plan to do some baking with the kids during vacation after Christmas. I work nights Thursday through Saturday but I'll get home Sunday morning Christmas eve day and then I'm off! I haven't been off work on Christmas in 4 years. (Why do I work in health care again?) The weather forecast shows freezing rain this afternoon changing to light snow this evening. We really need some snow here. Clean, white snow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Maybe Color Will Help

I've been in a bit of a funk for the last few days. I worked my stretch of nights last week end, felt kind of puny, too tired, busy with kid stuff, and welcome to the Northland, it gets dark at 4:30PM! How about some hot-pink asters? And fuzzy bees?
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!
I'm envisioning myself tucked in an aster...
nothing showing but...
STOP!!! (shudder!)
next blog entry- "Maybe Medication Will Help"

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Christmas Meme

There is a Christmas meme going around!

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?
An angel.
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

Bad, Bad Blogger

Blogger is being very, very stupid.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great Gray Owls for Susan

Here's a post for Susan Gets Native. Hope it brightens you day Susan!
The winter of 2004/2005 was an irruption year for Great Gray Owls and Northern Hawk Owls in Minnesota. In January 2005 I boarded a motor coach for my first ever guided bird trip. The trip was originally scheduled to head up to the Sax Zim Bog area in northern Minnesota. But by that time, there had been sightings of these owls from the boreal forests much closer to the Twin Cities. The tour leaders were great. I was a little anxious, never having gone on a bird trip before. They were generous with their knowledge and their bird id guides. Did we see owls?
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.
Grab LauraH and anyone else that wants to and come on up to Minnesota this winter. We'll go hunting for OWLS!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I had plans to make a day trip today to see the tundra swans in southern Minnesota. Sick kid = equals cancelled plans. Oh well, we're having some pretty heavy thunderstorms right now which makes for a nice day to snuggle up with coffee and a book (and a laptop!). It also gives me a chance to fuss over sick kid a little bit. We all need to be fussed over from time to time. I'm really surprised that I'm not more disappointed about cancelling my plans. It seems the older I get, the more I'm able to take things in stride. Or maybe I'm just too tired to give a rip...

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. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm Thankful

We've been cleaning like nuts over the weekend, getting ready for Thanksgiving. We're having Art's family plus my Mom and sister here for dinner. This is my first Thanksgiving off work since I started back 4 years ago so I'm especially happy. I really love having company. I love the feeling of a super clean house, I just wish we could keep it that way! My cleaning is done, groceries bought, and the favorite recipes are on the counter waiting. I have so much to be thankful for, if I let myself, I could be overwhelmed. When Art and I met 16 years ago, I had my own house, a good job, and everything I thought I needed. My brother called and said he knew a guy he thought I'd like- the brother of a coworker. Oh great- a blind date! We were married in under a year! Art has been the greatest blessing in my life.

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

Medicating a Rabbit

As I mentioned before, our mini-lop rabbit Buddy has an eye infection. We've learned that rabbits are prone to upper respiratory infections and eye problems need to be treated. The vet sent us home with pink antibiotics and a syringe to squirt them into his mouth. In the picture above you can see how yucky his right eye got.
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

Sick Kids, Sick Pets

We've had a crazy week around our house. Last week was quarter end for my kids' school. There were lots of projects and missing assignments due. The weekend was action packed with a volleyball tournament and school play. Molly was wiped out and John came down with a croupy cold yesterday. I'm really hoping his cold doesn't make its way through the rest of us. My chest aches for him- if you've ever heard a croupy cough you'll know what I mean. Molly is in eighth grade at a K-8 parochial school so we're busy trying to decide on a high school for her. There are two Catholic high schools that she's interested in. They both require entrance exams and references from teachers. ACK!! The public high school that we're zoned for has had some major violence and academic issues in the last few years that eliminate it from the decision process. We do have the option of applying to a high school out of district, but there waiting lists and no guarantees.

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

My Turn!

I think I'll jump on the meme bandwagon! My lack of entheusiasm about listing makes me feel like I don't really qualify being called a birder. I've always called myself a birdwatcher. You be the judge.

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

Back to the Earth

Pam at Nature Woman has published a few interesting posts about mushrooms and they got me thinking about decay and life returning the the earth. I found this old tree stump, barely recognizable as such. If you look closely you can see the teeth marks of a beaver. This one stump supports the growth of many, many bits of life. Moss, lichens, grasses, fungi and even a tiny balsam seedling. All of that life, feeding off of, and accelerating the decay of what was once a good sized tree. I wonder how long ago this tree was felled, and how long it will be until it is unrecognizable. Fallen leaves on the moist ground become humus in a single season.

Posted by Picasa
This birch seems to be decaying from the inside out. The waxy bark is still quite intact while the wood is soft and crumbly.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Hanging On!

I saw this pretty little moth outside in 29 degree weather with snow falling.
Posted by Picasa She was a beautiful surprise.

Little Lake

There is a pretty little lake about a mile from our place at Hasty Brook. I'm sure it has a real name but I've always thought of it as Little Lake.
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. Posted by Picasa

Animal Tracks and Wildlife

Anyone out there know animal tracks? We found some big ones around our campsite. Look at the size of this one! That is an adult sized hand for comparison. This track looks like two overlapped tracks to me, but the top half is so wide.
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.
Posted by Picasa 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

Break on Through to the Other Side

We found what we think is an old logging road on the east side of Hasty Brook. You can't really see the wheel ruts but we could feel them walking. The young aspen growth is thick on both sides of the road. I did find a stand of 4-5 huge, old aspen that the loggers left behind. We can see the tops of these tall trees from our campsite. In the top of one is a red-tailed hawk nest. John couldn't reach his arms around this tree. We walked quite a while along this road as the snow fell.
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

Bridging the Gap

I crossed the beaver dam over and back once. Coming back over I knew where all of the really bouncy parts were and my legs started shaking before I got to them. Art coached me to keep moving, don't stop, and to keep my feet apart to spread out my weight. Huh. I crept across to a sinky spot, stopped, clamped my feet together and shook. And shook. And started to sink. I stood there long enough to fully realize that there was no way to get a cherry picker down there to haul me out. I don't remember the rest.

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! Posted by Picasa