Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why is it?

That little Miss Becky has to have "just one bite more?

Of my four cats, two are grazers.  They'll eat a little, then wander away, come back, eat a little more, then wander away again.  The other two are vacuum cats.  Put them in front of a food dish and they won't leave until they have licked the bowl clean.

This causes a problem when I feed them all together, because the vacuum cats (Leon and Rachael) will finish their own food, then go over and finish the grazer's (Becky and Gina) food.  So, I separate them when they eat.  Leon and Rachael go into the little bedroom to eat.  There is water, a litter box, and a nice soft bed by the window for them, after they are done eating.  I leave them in there for an hour, maybe an hour and 1/2 if I let time slip away from me.

After a while, my grazers will apparently decide that they have had enough.  They'll settle down in their favorite napping spots and the food will sit, uneaten.  Until, that is, I decide that it's time to let Leon and Rachael out.  Every day, twice a day, as soon as I head for the kitchen to pick up the uneaten food, Becky stampedes out there with me.  You'd think she hadn't eaten anything.  She just has to get to that dish before I do, so she can have that last little bit of food.  You'd think that she thought that she was going to starve, before her next meal, if she didn't have one last chance.

So, I stand there, look out the window at the bird feeders to see of the turkey ladies or anyone else is out there (last evening there were three skunks feasting out there so that was fun), and wait until Becky decides that she is done, and I can pick up the dishes.

Sigh, oh yes, I am, indeed, the servant of these cats.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Break From Traveling

Mainly because the Turkey Ladies were back.  This time, I was better at sneaking up to the window, and managed to get a good picture of them.  They look like they're in pretty good shape to me.

They weren't the only birds at the feeder this morning.  The Goldfinch are around, in abundance.  After largely ignoring the niger seed feeders all summer, they have now decided that they are a lot more attractive.  I see another sign of Fall, here.  The boys are still wearing their golden summer finery, but it is getting tattered and shabby looking now.  Some of them are well on the way to sporting their Winter drab.

Yesh!  Looks like I need to clean those feeders off.  Is that something growing in the bottom of that niger seed feeder?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lake Champlain

After we toured Ausable Chasm, and had lunch, we headed up Route 9, which runs right beside Lake Champlain.  This lake is the largest mountain lake in the United States, and the sixth largest freshwater lake, right after the five Great Lakes.  I had never seen it.

We drove for a while and got very frustrated.  The road may run very close to the lake, but it is so built up that you can't see the lake from there.  Suddenly, I saw a sign pointing to Clinton Community College.  It looked like the college might be a vantage point from which we could actually see something.  I think I kind of scared my friend as I did a quick, no signal, right-hand turn into the driveway.  But, I was right.  When we walked up onto the campus, and behind the main building, there was Lake Champlain, in all of its glory.

 The mountains you see far off into the distance are the Green Mountains of Vermont.
 This is the monument on Crab Island.  It memorializes the dead buried there, in the aftermath of the Battle of Plattsburg, in the War of 1812.  It's one of the few places where American and British dead are buried together.
The college, itself, is an old luxury hotel, which was abandoned, then restored to serve the surrounding community.  It was a lovely little place.  The slopes that lead down to the lake were covered with bushes that bore lovely blue berries.  I think that they are probably Silky Dogwood.

From there, we drove on.  It was a wonder that my friend let me behind the wheel again (we had taken her car on the trip.)  But she did, so she shouldn't have been surprised when I pulled another hard right at a sign that said Point Au Roche State Park.  Do you think that may have been one of the last times she did let me behind the wheel?

We drove down a long wooded driveway, past an entrance booth that was closed for the season.  We passed some athletic fields and, finally, ended up at a beautiful sandy beach.  We were the only car in the lot, and the only living creatures on the beach, with the exception of the seagulls.  It's a truly beautiful little beach, and I would love to see it in the Summer.

We stayed there for a very long time, walking the beach and just enjoying the peace and solitude.  But, were quite a ways from home base, and it was getting late.  So, reluctantly, we got back in the car and drove away.  This time, my friend was driving.  It took us two hours of steady driving to get back to home base.  We were very tired, but very pleased with our first day in the Adirondacks.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ausable Chasm

We left for the North Country last Wednesday.  That day was devoted to driving, and to a very special stop for me.  I graduated, 40 years ago from the State University at Potsdam.  I'm not a great one for reunions, so I had not been back in all that time.  On our way to where we would be based,  we went right through the village of Potsdam, and my traveling companion was more than willing to stop and take a look at the college. 

I didn't take any pictures, didn't really want to, if you can understand that.  The Potsdam I remember is very different from the way it is today, and I want my memories to be of that place, not the different, and very beautiful, campus it is today.  But, I was glad I stopped.  Most of the building that I remember are still there.  They may serve different purposes, but they still remain.  Interspersed among them, and built on a much expanded campus, are many new buildings.  It was good to see the place again, and to see the college students of today going about their business, much the same way that I did.  Though, when we were there, in the late '60's, I think we were much more rowdy and politically oriented.  We were both impressed, indeed, with those students, with their manners and their general attitude.

We got to our home base around 5 PM.  It was a little bit of a college memories trip, because we stayed at a bed and breakfast run by a one of my friend's college classmates.  What a beautiful place it was!
We were invited to dinner that night, and had a very enjoyable meal -- Irish stew and lemon meringue pie.  After dinner, and some chatting, I went upstairs to the combined sitting room and bedroom that we were staying in, and let the two classmates reminisce.

The next morning, we were up bright and early.  Our first stop of the day was Ausable Chasm.  This beautiful natural wonder is located very close to Lake Champlain.  We reached there after about an hour's drive, through some lovely country.  And, we only got a little lost, once.

The weather was perfect for a walk beside the chasm.  It was bright, but cool.  You can choose two routes, one on the rim, and one that goes along the side of the chasm, on natural and constructed walkways and steps.  We chose the later.  Here, you can see some of the walkways.

The chasm was awe inspiring.  It was very narrow, and quite deep.  Though, I did get a bit of a chuckle in them calling it the "Grand Canyon of the East."  Sorry, that belongs to the gorge through Letchworth State Park, in Western New York.

I had a small video to put in at this point, but, for the second time in a row, Blogger has said that it had a problem with the video that I was trying to download.  So, Sophie didn't get to see her swans, and you don't get to see and hear how powerful this stream sounded.

There were abundant signs of life along the way.  You don't think pigeons are everywhere.  Well, they have, at least, found the chasm.

And, there was plant life clinging to every crack and crevice.

We very much enjoyed our visit to Ausable Chasm.  From there, we took Route 9, along Lake Champlain.  I'll post about that another time.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Out of My Rear Window 9/26/10

Can you see the yellow mums just behind the red geraniums in the bottom right of the picture?  They are just beginning to open.  Other than the fact that my niger seed feeder has been mobbed lately, after not being used much all summer, nothing much has changed. 

My little vacation was lovely, and I got home yesterday afternoon.  I went to the North Country of New York State, and, from there, we explored some of the Adirondacks.  I suspect that a number of my blogs this coming week will be about that. 

I have a lot of catching up to do, and will get at it after I get the house back in order.  That was my one big disappointment.  The young man from next door was supposed to be taking care of the cats, and he did a lousy job.  The most annoying thing he did was that, instead of taking the dirty litter outside and putting it in the garbage can, he put it in my closed waste basket in the pantry.  Any of you who have cats know that isn't going to work.  When I got home, the whole house reeked.  I'm still trying to get the smell out of here.  That young man will not be given the opportunity to care for my cats again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bye for a Bit

I'm off on a very short vacation.  Be back in a couple of days.  As you can see, the cats are very upset that I'm leaving.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What Scat is That?

Warning!!  Pictures of critter poop to follow!

I love having the critters in my yard.  Each time I look out of my windows, I don't know what to expect.  There is a slight down side to all these critters, however.  They tend to leave their calling cards.  Yesterday, when I went outside, I was greeted with three glistening piles of those cards.  I'm just not quite sure who left them, or if they were, in the end, all left by the same critter. So I thought I'd ask, hoping that you all might know.

This lovely pile was right on my sidewalk, near my back steps.  Cheeky little creature, whatever it was.

And, this was near my back flower garden.  Someone looking for some tasties, maybe?  It's very different from the first.

This pile was left near my driveway.  And, the ground near where it was is all dug up.  Looks like somebody found some tasties there.

This is one reason that I keep my snow shovel out all year long.  You just never know what you might be required to scoop up.  I'll be interested in seeing what you guys think, and I do hope that I haven't grossed anyone out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

For Sophie

Because she wanted to see more swans.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Out of My Rear Window 9/19/10

It's going to be a lazy day, and the weather is cooperating.  It's very dark, and conducive to a nap.

The Turkey Ladies came to the feeder, but I scared them when I went to the window to take their picture.  They are the funniest things when they run.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Bay

I'm a little late with this, but, better late than never, I guess.  The same day I went to Lake Ontario and saw the Sailboarding, I decided to drive to the Bay and see how the weather was affecting it.  I found a spot that I had not been to before, but that I will go to again.  Not surprisingly the water was a lot calmer, because the Bay where I was is sheltered from the wind by a large and permanent sandbar.

The first thing I saw as I walked up to the water was this Great Blue Heron.  He stayed until I was pretty close to him, then flew slowly off.

When I looked out into the Bay, I saw that there was a great flotilla of Mute Swans feeding a distance from shore.  This is just some of them.

They are so graceful and serene.  It's hard to think of them as invasive and potentially dangerous to the native populations of water birds.

Even this still picture captures they magnificent power.

There were lily pads floating close to the shore.

And, floating among those lily pads, more Mallards.  Interestingly, these guys weren't as nonchalant around humans as the ones on the Lake were.  They are probably not as used to being watched and photographed, as this sandbar is not heavily travelled.

As beautiful as the birds were, I was just as interested in the plants growing along the water's edge.  I wish I had thought to come here earlier in the year, as it would have been fascinating to watch the way the plants progress through the seasons.

This is, I am pretty sure, a sedge grass of some kind.  It has three sides, anyways.  The seed pods located on the stem, but not at the end were fascinating.  I wonder what the flower looked like?

And, I wonder what the flowers looked like on this plant?  Maybe someone can tell just from the seed pods?

I'm very excited to have found this spot, and can't wait to start going there in the early Spring, to see what shows its face.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Official

Fall is here.  Yesterday I raked up four wheelbarrow loads of leaves from under the linden tree.  And, this morning, I turned the furnace on.

The leaves are just beginning to turn.  The lilacs are fading.  They will hang on, however, and be one of the last to go.

The Forsythia are showing signs of turning.

The Sundrops are finished, and just waiting for me to go out and cut them down.

They have left behind, however, the rosettes that will be next year's plants.

The Pokeberry that I left to grow by the side of the barn is huge, and beginning to fall over now.  I really like this plant, that provides nourishment for so many of the wild critters.  Next year, I'll let more of them grow.

This little nest has raised its young and done its job.  I'm not quite sure what kind of bird made it.  Its not quite big enough for a Robin's nest, though it is put together like one.  It fell out of my old Pine tree.  That tree always serves as home for any number of birds.

I just noticed that another kind creature that the Pine tree homed this year were the Paper Wasps in this huge nest.  It is hanging right over the birdbath that I filled every day, and I never noticed it.  I guess if they haven't caused any trouble for the entire summer, I'll just let them be.

Now, the Fall flowers start.  My Asters and Mums aren't blooming yet, though they are getting close.  But this Devilweed (not the correct name, just what my Dad called it because the darn stuff is so hard to eradicate) is in full bloom.  Pity it's such a pernicious plant, because it really is quite beautiful in bloom.

Fall is such a marvelous season, with its beauty and its changeability.  I'm glad it's here, and that I'll have the time to really enjoy it this year.