Saturday, November 19, 2011

I have a confession to make

I am not one of those people who just loves the holiday season.  Between that, and the short days, I become a grumpy, unpleasant person, who has absolutely no get up and go. 

You probably have noticed my lack of posts lately.  Primarily, it's because I just can't get my rear in gear to post anything.  In fact, I can't even think of things to post.  Heck, I can't even get up the energy to visit my blogging friends. 

So, I think I'm going to take a formal break.  I'll undoubtedly be back after the New Year.  I hope that at least some of you will still want to share experiences with me, but, I wouldn't blame you if you just kicked my butt out of the door.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 11-6-11

It's a beautiful Fall day here.  The temperature started out in the 30's, but got up into the 60's.  Saturday was gorgeous, too.  Nice weather for walking campaign literature, which I have been doing both days.  I'm done for this election season, and it's a good thing because my feet fell a little like raw meat.

There is a new gentleman showing up at the feeder lately.  This guy is a very handsome six-pointer.  He's very skittish, thank goodness.
The turkey ladies were gone all week, but, today they were back in force.  They do this every once in a while, and I always worry until I see them again.  Tucker, the feral cat, does the same thing, and I worry just as much about him.
And, just to prove that I'm not the only one who likes to look out of my rear window, here's a short video of Becky doing the same.  Guess what she's looking at so intently?  I'll post the answer tomorrow morning.

Added Monday morning:  Becky is watching leaves fall.  They are coming down like rain right now and she is absolutely fascinated with them.  She spends hours on that chair, just watching.  
video
And, finally, I wanted to pay tribute to the great Jumper, Hickstead, who died today in Verona, Italy, right after completing his round.  He collapsed on the course.  Cause of death isn't known, but speculation is high that it was a heart attack.  Competition was canceled after his death.

Hickstead was one of the great names in show jumping.  His partnership with his rider, Eric Lamaze, was one of the most successful in recent history.  My heart goes out to Eric, and all of the connections of this wonderful horse.  It will be a long time before we see his like again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What's the Matter Little Squirrels?

Trick or Treating didn't go so well last night?  Sorry for the poor quality of the picture.  The sun is at a position in the sky right now where I get these miserable reflections on my rear window.

Off to spend the day delivering campaign literature.  I'll catch up on your blogs tonight.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 10-30-11

The Box Elder tree has now lost almost all of its leaves, and the other trees won't be far behind.  Next will be the Linden, and then the Maples.  Soon snow will cover the ground.  But, not yet, because we missed the great NorEaster that pounded the East Coast yesterday, thank goodness.

There's not much activity at the feeders today.  Only the squirrels are out and feeding.
But, last night, the Gentlemen's Club was present and accounted for.
Today is cold and bright.  I've a lot of inside chores to catch up on but, if the cats are any indication, it's going to end up being a lazy kind of Sunday.
That is, of course, if I can manage to get any heat in the living room.  As you can see, the fancy new cat bed works, but the wrong cat has taken it over as her own, leaving Becky the Register Hog in her usual position, smack on the register.  This, in spite of the fact that I have those nice warm heated cat pads all over the house.
Sigh.

Here's hoping that every one of you have a very happy and peaceful Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

VOTE!!!!

I put my money where my mouth was.  A while back I said that we all needed to get more involved in the politics of this country,  and try to convince the politicians of this country that we were tired of the "Political party  and me first"  attitude of most of the politicians out there.  

So, I went out and found a candidate who believed the same thing, and I have been supporting him this year in our local elections.  It's been quite an education.  And, today, I got one of the most discouraging lessons that I could have imagined.  I'm checking to make sure, but this is what happened.

We did a literature drop in my candidate's district this morning.  We had a list of all of the registered voters, Democrat, Republican, Independent and Blank, in the district and we each took a specific area, and were supposed to hit all of the homes of these voters.  What absolutely destroyed me was that, while doing this drop, I found that I was only hitting about 20% of the houses on my assigned streets.  What the heck?  I really hope that these county rolls are wrong, because I find it so very hard to believe that only 20% of the voters in my area are even bothering to register to vote.

I happen to believe that we should work for change within the system, but, how can we, when there are so few of us who even care enough to participate?  It's too late for this year, but, please, register to vote for next year's election, and work hard to convince everyone you know to register, also.  I don't care how you vote, but, we, the 99%, have to express our opinion, and voting is the very best way to do that.

Update - I emailed my candidate and asked if this was, indeed, all of the registered voters and the answer I got back was somewhat heartening.  The houses that we were dropping literature off at represented those who "sometimes" voted in off-year elections.  Those who voted every year were not included, because they vote anyways.  Still, he also told me that in off-year elections, only about 30% of the registered voters show up at the polls.  

It's at the grass roots level that we can have the most effect.  So, remember to look at your candidates and be sure to get out and vote this year for the candidate who best represents your beliefs. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Do I Really Need Words?

You have to see the incomparable beauty of the Great Smokies to really appreciate it, but I hope that my pictures give you some idea.

Lovely Trails

Almost impossibly clean mountain streams.



A lovely lake surrounded by mountains that take your breath away.




We're so lucky, here in the US, that generations before us have made the effort to preserve the natural wonders that exist in this vast and varied country of ours.  I hope that we, and the generations that follow us, remember that this pristine beauty is part of us, and who we are.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fontana Dam

The Great Smoky Mountains aren't only the site of great natural beauty, but, also, the site of the tallest dam east of the Rocky Mountains, the Fontana Dam.  The dam was built in the early 1940's, in response to the need of the United States for increased electrical power to run all of the manufacturing plants producing war material.  Today, it's run by the TVA, the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Here is a site where you can learn more about it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fontana_Dam

We visited it on a bright, sunny day.  It is magnificent, and beautiful in its grandeur.
Below the dam, the Little Tennessee River meanders.  There is a lovely trail that winds beside it.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to walk that trail, because that hike was scheduled on the one day during our stay that it poured rain.
Above the dam, the calm waters of Fontana Lake spread for miles.
I wanted to do the Fontana Dam segment first because it explains why, in so many of my pictures, you will see that there is a band of bare earth between the water and the forest.  This band is there because the water behind the dam is, at this time, being "drawn down."  This means that water is being released into the river faster than the lake is filling, generating electricity as it is released.  This is done every Fall.  It serves a dual purpose.  It serves to help insure an even flow of electricity, when the rivers further downstream are low in the late Summer and Fall.  And, it empties the lake, so that in the late Winter and early Spring, when this area gets much of what is the highest amount of rain anywhere in the United States except for the Northwest Pacific Coast, the lake has room to fill and help prevent the horrible flooding that occurred in this region before the dam was built.

When we were there, the water still had to go down at least as much as it has already been drawn down.
We stayed in the Fontana Village Resort.  Why I didn't take any pictures of the resort is beyond me.  Maybe because we were hardly ever there.  But, it was a lovely place, with wonderful cabins complete with a fully equipped kitchen, all spotlessly clean.  Here is a slide show of the cabins.  I have no idea how I got this show to happen, but these aren't my pictures, and were taken from the Fontana Village Resort web site. http://www.fontanavillage.com/
You can see, we weren't exactly roughing it.

Fontana Village Resort has an interesting history.  It was originally the site of a much more primative village, where many of the workers who built Fontana Dam lived.  If you look at this link, on the building of Fontana Dam, you'll see a couple of shots of what the original Fontana Village looked like.
http://www.currentsofchange.net/lessons/lesson_photo.php?cat_id=33&section_id=1&lesson_id=2

So, that is Fontana Dam and the place where we stayed.  I'll do another blog posting on the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 10-23-11

Happy Sunday!  I'm back, and ready to go, again.  Part of the reason that I was gone for so long was that I was on vacation.  I went to visit the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, for the very first time.  I had an absolutely wonderful time, and will share the story in at least one blog posting to come.  I just got back yesterday, and have a ton of pictures to go through.

The feeders are booming.  There are a ton of squirrels visiting, more than I have seen at one time since Spring.  This picture isn't so great.  I had to, as a matter of fact, retake the Rear Window picture at a later time because of the glare.  But, I count eight squirrels there.
The chipmunks are still around, and still actively gathering corn and sunflower seeds.  The pictures I took of them are, however, just not publishable.  And, I am suddenly inundated with Mourning Doves.  I don't know if they migrate, but, if they do, that may be the reason that I have so many around.
And, here, just as a teaser, is one of the pictures I took in the Great Smokies. 
I'm looking forward to catching up on all of your blogs.  It'll probably take me a couple of days to do so, so bear with me.  I have missed you all.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I'll be Back

In a couple of weeks.  No big traumatic thing going on, just getting piled on with "stuff."  I'll miss you, and will try to catch your blogs as I can.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Turkey Trot

I've been meaning to take my camera out when I feed in the morning, to try and catch Mr. Tom's antics.  He's getting pretty bold, even though I try to chase him every time I am out there, just so he isn't too easy a target for any poachers who happen to hunt back in the woods.  He's a very strange bird.

Monday, October 3, 2011

So, I Bought Becky This New Bed

It's called a Kuranda bed, and I bought it because it's up on legs.  You see, Becky has this bad habit of sleeping, when it's cold, directly on the register.  That's good for her, but not so good for my heating bill, because it takes the furnace much longer to keep the room heated.  I figured that I'd put the new bed directly over the register.  That way, Becky could get heat from it, and there would still be room for the heat to disperse throughout the room.

She didn't seem to understand the concept, at first.
But, Rachael said "No, you silly little thing, THIS is how you do it."
Becky is many things, but, dumb is not one of them.  "Ohhhhh," she said, "Now I get it.  Very comfortable."
Let's just hope she keeps on thinking that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 10-2-11

It's a dull and dreary day, so dark and rainy that I couldn't even get my camera to come into focus.  This is the third day like this in a row and my mood is beginning to reflect it.  It's going to be another good day for napping, I think.

No one is stirring outside, so I thought I'd post a couple of pictures I took a couple of days ago.  Here are two very handsome gentlemen, dining together.

Have a happy and peaceful Sunday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

"Small Victory" by Garnet Rogers

Today, on my facebook feed, there was a song posted by Garnet Rogers, a Canadian singer who should be better known than he is.  It was beautiful, and it made me want to hear my very favorite of his songs "Small Victory" again.  This song is a true story about how Garnet, and his wife, Gail, rescued a mare from a low end auction.  As he says in the beginning of the clip, it's about pure motivations, those things that we do for no other reason than good.  This mare lived out her life with them, and sleeps forever on their property.  She rewarded their love with her son, a Thoroughbred colt named "A Fine Romance."  This horse, nicknamed "Fred" has gone on to become one of the leading Sporthorse sires in Canada and the US.  He has been approved by a couple of Warmblood registries, and his worth is beginning to be recognized there, too.  I know that most of you don't follow the horses, like I do, but, I think you'll love the song, the story and the singer.
Here's a picture of "Fred."

Friday, September 30, 2011

This and That - Gina Update

I have had a lot of deer visiting the feeder lately.  These two young bucks are fairly regular customers.
Handsome fellows, but, this little cutie takes the eye, every time.  I'm a little worried because it still looks so young.  Fingers crossed it makes it through the Winter.
Leon and Rachael are pals.  They play together, and, sometimes, they sleep together.  Gina and Becky hang out together, play together, and, once in a while, groom each other.  But, they are solitary sleepers.  Pity, because Leon and Rachael always look so cozy together.
And, here's a picture of Gina, back from the vet.  Aside from the shaved head and leg, I think she looks pretty good.  She's being her usually sweet self, so far, about taking her meds.  Becky, on the other hand, watched the first time, and now runs and hides, as soon as she sees the stuff come out. 
Laundry day today.  How exciting.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pretty, Sweet Gina

is not at home today.  She is at the vet's getting a tumor removed, and her teeth cleaned.  She's 14, pretty old in the world of cats, and I worry myself sick any time one of my cats has to go under anesthesia, especially the older ones.  Fingers crossed that the tumor isn't cancerous.
Talk about timing -- just as I was getting ready to add this picture, I got a call from the vet.  Only one tooth pulled, she's awake and will be ready to come home in a few hours.  That's a huge stone removed from the pit of my stomach.

Becky has been very clingy today.  I think she misses Gina.  She'll be glad to see her come home.

Added at 5:15:  She's back, looks good.  I won't find out for about 10 days if the tumor was cancerous or not, but the vet says that she thinks she got it all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Almost the Last Hurrah

Fall is here, in spite of the warm temperatures of the last few days.  My little mailbox garden is still going strong, though looking a little the worse for wear these days.  I don't know how many minutes I spent pulling grass from between the plants this summer, but it seems that for every one I pulled, two more sprouted up.
But, the dahlias are still as beautiful as ever.  I've never pulled the plants in the fall and replanted the bulbs the next year, but the flowers this year are so beautiful, that I just might try it.

The two little Bidens plants I bought grew to enormous size.  It's a good, sturdy plant, with tons of bright, cheerful flowers.  A repeat purchase, for sure.
Another plant that I really like, at least for the Northern climates, where it doesn't run wild, is Lantana.  This was the first plant that flowered in my garden this year, and it is still going strong.
And, then, there is the old, standby, salvia.  It's a perennial, but, unlike many, it has a protracted blooming season.  Once the first bloom is over, you cut it back to the ground and it grows up again, producing blooms that last the rest of the summer, and into Fall.
I left a couple of hydrangea blooms on the bush, after they started to turn green.  Now, they are beautiful in an entirely different way, with their green and rose colors.
Except, that is, for this one late starter, now in full Summer glory, well into fall.

But, the stars of the garden are the Fall flowers.  My gardens are kind of sparse, when it comes to these.  I'll have to try and fix that next year.  But, the Mums are going strong, and will be in full bloom in a few days.  In an earlier post, I mentioned that I lacked the intestinal fortitude to cut mine back as much as I should, and, as a result, they are kind of scraggly.
The individual blooms are still perfection, however.

The Tatarian Asters have just started to bloom.  This is one of my favorite Fall flowers.  I cut it back in July, and, still, it gets majestically tall.  It will bloom until the first hard frost.  I'll post another picture of it, when it is in full bloom.
For such a sturdy plant, its flowers are dainty and delicate -- a glorious lavender color, with a golden center.
And, at the edges of my lawn, two wild beauties grow.  Goldenrod, beautiful and plentiful.  There are so many different varieties that I haven't even attempted to figure out which one this is.

And, last, that poisonous beauty, White Snakeroot.  This is the plant that used to cause Milk Fever.  The cows would eat it, it would poison their milk and people who drank the milk would sicken and even die.  Abraham Lincoln lost his Mother to Milk Fever.

Apparently, it doesn't bother that little bug in the first picture.

Soon, the leaves will turn, and the flowers will fade, hiding until Spring, when the whole cycle begins again.