Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Horseback Rider Delivers Medicine

I was going to post about the Turkey Ladies, but, blogger is being a pain and not letting me post pictures, for some reason.  Anyone else having the same problem?  I can download, but it won't transfer the pictures to the post I'm trying to finish.

So, instead, I'll just post this amazing video on YouTube.  This is a flooded Route 103 in Rockingham, Vermont.  Sometimes, one horsepower is better than many, many more.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Irene and Lake Ontario

I knew that the brisk winds blowing directly across Lake Ontario, from North to South would result in some heavy wave action, so I went down to see.  I wasn't the only one, the beach was the most crowded I had ever seen it.  I wasn't disappointed.  There were huge whitecaps, as far as the eye could see.

No one, wisely, was venturing out on the pier.

The waves crashed against the shore.

Sometimes, a wave would hit the shore with such power that it would roll back out towards the water, only to crash against an incoming wave.  My camera was too slow to catch the full glory of the sight.  This is the closest that I got.  That upward spray of water, away from the shore, is the crash of the two waves.
But, still pictures can only capture the sight of these waves.  This short video will give you a better idea of the sound and the fury.  I love the way the wave rolls along the concrete abutment.
Today, it's sunny and calm.  You would, almost, never know that a major storm had just brushed by us.  The only sign of anything out of the ordinary is that there have been several of those huge military helicopters going by overhead, from West to East.  I wonder if they're going to help out in the parts of the Northeast that are experiencing heavy flooding? 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 8-28-11

We're on the very Western edge of Irene, right now.  We're getting wind, with some high gusts, but, no rain.  They critters are, in general, hold up, safe and sound.  I lost electricity for about five minutes, but, other than that they only storm related "damage" was that I had to go out and refill the bird bath because the wind blew all of the water out of it.

I hope that everyone South of the storm came through all right, and that those that are still experiencing it are staying safe and cozy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What a Wierd Day!

That little chipmunk is the only creature, feathered or furred, that I have seen at the feeders all morning.  I wonder what is going on?  I looked at the trees, don't see any hawk.  Maybe something is lurking, just beyond my sight?  Ohhhhhh, I've scared myself.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

English Sparrows

There are a lot of English Sparrows at my feeder.  You don't see many pictures of them, because they tend to stay on the ground, and blend in with the colors of the dirt and discarded seeds.  These guys show up a little better because I had just put down fresh cracked corn.  I get a big kick out of the cheeky little things.  They come and go in groups, in a swirl of feathers and excitement.  Never still long, they form a background for the bigger, more colorful birds that get most of the attention.
This Blue Jay found it necessary to supervise their activities, all the time keeping an eye on that squirrel.  After all, squirrels might suddenly turn into carnivores and eat unsuspecting Blue Jays, you know.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Young Buck

The two bucks that have hung around together all Summer have, apparently, split up.  I call this guy "The Dark One" because his nose, and the outline of his tail has dark hair.  The other buck doesn't have this.  The antlers look grown in, but they are still covered with peach fuzz.  It looks like these two are not the same ones as the fawns I saw a couple of years ago, because this guy has spike antlers.  Only one of the two antlers has a branch, so he is probably a young guy.  He's also thin, which especially worries me this time of the year.  Probably a result of the moderate drought we suffered through all Summer.  Now that the rains have come, and things are growing again, I hope he puts on a little weight before Winter.
Ahhhhh, food!

What's that!?
You won't eat me, will you Mr. Squirrel?
Hmmm, the birds eat this, maybe I could eat it too.
Eat up, young fellow.  Get fat and healthy and learn to run and hide from us humans.  I want to see you back here, after hunting season is over. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Meet the Chipmunks

My quest to get to know the chipmunks that frequent my back yard is going well.  I'm finding out that I can tell some of them apart, so I thought I'd give you an introduction.

This is "Little 'Un."  She will come close, but only after she has seen some of the others eating on the patio.  I don't have any close pictures of her, because the minute I lift my camera, she runs.  She's smaller than the others, quite the dainty little thing, and her coat is paler.  Here she's going after some sunflower seeds that I threw into the grass, a little closer to me, but still in her safety zone.

This is "The Big Guy."  He's head honcho, boss man, king of the hill.  When he wants his sunnies, he chases everyone else away.  He is bigger than the other chipmunks, his color is rich and dark, and he just exudes attitude.  He was the first chipmunk to figure out that the dish held sunflower seeds.  He came, this time, complete with faithful fly sidekick.

And, the is my favorite, "Shorty."  I call him that because the very tip of his tail is missing.  He's not worried at all about me, and scurries around under my chair and between my feet.  But, "The Big Guy" has him cowed.  He won't go anywhere near the sunnies, while that one is around.  But, as soon as TBG has his pouches full and scurries away to his nest to stockpile his prizes, "Shorty" is there, getting his share.  Sometimes, he doesn't get a full load before TBG comes back, but he manages to get quite a few.

There are more chipmunks around, but, these three are the only ones who, so far, have been brave enough to gather food on the patio while I'm out there.  Maybe, as time goes by, I'll be able to introduce you to more new friends.

Monday, August 22, 2011

No blog today, sort of.

I, um, er, got carried away arguing discussing politics.  Gets me in some of the same positions as this squirrel.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Out of My Rear Window 8-21-11

A dark and dreary day.  It was supposed to be raining, and it did spit a little earlier, but, not enough to do anything but dampen the grass.  The usual denizens of the feeder are around.  These two mourning doves made their appearance very early this morning.  I wonder if the kids have grown up and flown away?  Hope that they all didn't become hawk or fox breakfast.
My begonia basket is shot.  I'll have to find something else to hang there.  Maybe another bird feeder?  Trouble is, I don't really want to kill off another part of my lawn.
I'll leave you with a shot from yesterday.  I'm trying, for reasons only those animal crazies among us will understand, to tame the chipmunks.  So, almost every day, I try and go out and sit on the patio with a bowl of sunflower seeds.  I scatter some around me, and put the bowl down, right in front of me.  Judging by this shot, I would say that I'm having some success.
I've discovered that you can actually tell the difference between some of the chipmunks.  Some time this week, I'll introduce you to a few.

Have a happy Sunday.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

He Missed!

I was walking past my kitchen door yesterday and glanced out of the window, as I always do.  At first, I thought that my memory of the big rock in my side yard was playing tricks with me, but, then, I looked again and saw a very large Red-tailed hawk resting on it.  I rushed for my camera and managed to get off one shot before he flew away.  Unfortunately, it's not the clearest, since it was shot through two doors, one of which was a screen door.
Just a second after I took this shot, he spread his wings and flew away.  What a majestic sight he was, gliding silently along, close to the ground, then rising into the air.  Unfortunately, my camera was still in freeze mode, after my first shot, and I couldn't catch it.

I figure he had attempted an attack on some hapless critter at my feeder.  But, when I hurried out to check, I saw nothing, and I know that there was nothing in his claws as he flew away, so, this time, he missed.  I know he has to eat, but I'm fond of my critters, so I'm glad he missed, this time.  Just last week, I found a pile of Mourning Dove feathers near that spot, so he, or one of his raptor cousins, doesn't always miss.  It seems to always be the Mourning Doves that get taken.  No wonder they have such a high birth rate.  They have to, to make up for the predation.

Here's a picture I took, just to show how close this rock is to the feeder area.
Better luck next time, big fella.  And, have that better luck someplace else, please?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Aunt Sarah

Well, really, my Great-Aunt Sarah.  Just saying her name makes me smile.  She was a frequent summer visitor to our house, when I was very, very young.  I remember her as always smiling, always happy.  Here she is holding me on her lap, long, long ago.  That is the smile that I remember.  I just realized that I still have that lawn chair.
Born in Ireland, Aunt Sarah never married.  She lived in New York City, in the Bronx, in a wonderful apartment that I saw only once.  It seemed so big to me.  I wonder if it would still look as big if I saw it today?

She was a successful businesswoman, running a hair salon that featured the "Harper Method."  If you have never heard of this method, or Martha Matilda Harper, the woman who invented and franchised it, here is an article that explains who she was, and what she accomplished.  Martha Matilda Harper and the Harper Method. She was quite a pioneer, in her time.  One of the women who visited Aunt Sarah's salon was Mary Pickford.

But that is not the Aunt Sarah that I remember.  I remember the jolly lady who would sit out on the lawn with my Grandmother and spend the entire afternoon doing handcrafts, and chatting.  I remember the woman who always had time to sit down and have a tea party with me.  And, I remember that she told wonderful stories, though most of them have faded from my mind now.  Only the Country Mouse who went to live in the big city remains.  I wonder if that was Aunt Sarah, telling stories about herself?

Here are my Grandmother, and Aunt Sarah.  Yes, Aunt Sarah could often be that sweet and silly.
That's the house I still live in, in the background.  You know, it's funny but when you live in a place for so long, you think it has never changed.  But, looking at that picture I see many changes.  The garden and the trees are gone.  Even the foundation, made of field stone, has changed.  It's now concrete block, put in when my Mom and Dad had a cellar dug under that part of the house after WWII, for the princely sum of $300.  Only the house remains.

I have a cousin named Sarah, named, of course, after our sweet Aunt.  I haven't known her very well for most of our lives, because we have lived so far apart.  But, through the wonders of the internet, we are now getting to know each other.  We're discovering that, though our lives have taken very different paths, we have a lot in common.  And, I'm discovering that there is a lot more of Aunt Sarah than just her name, in my Cousin Sarah.  Here's an old picture of us, when we were young.  I'm the baby, Sarah is the one in the middle (who does that smile remind you of?), and the beautiful girl on the left is my other cousin, Mary Lou, who also has a very sweet smile.
Now, both of those girls have large families of their own, and are Grandmothers and Great-Aunts.  I bet that their Great-nieces and Grand-nephews have just as wonderful memories of them as I do of Aunt Sarah.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Just an Ordinary Day

The last of my daylilies has started to bloom.  I have it recorded as "Betsy" but I can't find any daylily with that name.  This is the first time it has bloomed for me, so I think I'll go on a search and see if I can find out if it is "Betsy Something" or "Something Betsy."
The chipmunks are busy, gathering food for the coming winter.  I count seven.  No wonder the sunflower seeds disappear so quickly.
One little chipmunk, who has his home by my back steps, apparently decided, however, that he needed a snack.  He left this little pile of husks behind.
I didn't notice until I downloaded this picture that there were little ants crawling among the husks, looking for scraps.  You may have to click on this picture to be able to see them.
And, wonder of wonders, Leon is awake.  Though, I think he only woke up when I went out on the porch to take his picture.

I hope that, even if you are having an ordinary day, it is a lovely one.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wesley Hill Reserve

After we left the Cummings Nature Center, we decided that we were ready for a little more hiking.  I was still smarting a little over a remark that the receptionist at Cummings had made about me not being able to handle difficult trails.  I'm fat.  But, I do exercise, and I walk or garden most days of the week.  I may not be the fastest walker, but, as long as I have my trusty trekking poles and stop and really look at what I'm walking past once in a while, I can usually get along quite well.  She may have been right, I just didn't like the way she put it.

Anyway, we went right up the road to the Wesley Hill Reserve, and headed down the trail.  What a beautiful woods this is.  I have never seen a place where the woods are so thick, yet enough sun gets through that the ground is covered with grass.
The trail lead down to a small pond.  This was a totally different kind of pond than the Beaver Pond at Cummings.  It was very shallow, and didn't have any of the lily pads that were so prevalent there.  You could see fish swimming in the shallows, and, though we didn't do it, I wondered how many people had dabbled their toes in the clear water.
It's surrounded by an open meadow.  I could just imagine a pioneer building a cabin in that meadow, near to water and open, level land to grow his crops.
There were different flowers here.
Flat-topped Aster
Common burdock blooms in a very lovely shade of pinkish-purple.
Some with bees.
And, this flower, that I'm hoping for help in identifying.  It looks like it's past its blooming prime, but the perfectly round shape of the head that holds lots of individual flowers is quite fascinating.

It was while we were at the pond, however, that I began to notice a very ominous buzzing around me.  Soon, I felt a sharp pain between my shoulder blades.  I turned around and asked my companion what was there.  She quickly brushed off one of those enormous horse flies.  Not the greenies, the ones that look like B-52 bombers.  Man, their bites hurt!  They focused on me, probably because the backpack that I had carried at Cummings, but left behind in the car at Wesley, had left my back wet with sweat.  Before we got out of there, I got bit two more times.  When I got home, I saw that I had three large welts on my back.  But, thankfully, by the next morning, they were gone, with none of the itching involved with the bites of some of the smaller bugs.  Still, their bite is not something that I want to experience again.

Still, it was a lovely walk.  I'm glad I went, and we plan to go back again, in the Fall, when the migrating birds fill the woods.