Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Mighty Sam

Sammy and I had a great walk yesterday. I took my camera along. Every little bit of water we went by, the dogs had to check it out. Every stump we went by, Sammy had to jump up on it. I love this time of year. Also, Reilly and Barney were constantly trying to get Sammy to throw a stick for them. Mostly Reilly carried one around, and his tongue was all covered with stick bits & bark. Didn't look appetizing to me. At one point, Reilly had a long stick, probably a little over 3' in length. Sammy threw it for him... both Reilly & Barney stand there in front of Sammy, wriggling and kind of hopping, waiting for him to throw the stick, then when Sammy raises the stick up to throw it, both dogs turn around and starting racing forward... they know the stick is going to land somewhere out in front of them, so they begin racing immediately. But that long stick didn't behave the way short sticks do, and it went up real high, turning end for end, then came back down hard without going too far out. Just as Reilly turned around to look at Sam, with an expression like, "where the hell is the stick?!"... that long stick came down right on top of his head. Oh yeah, he jumped. Didn't hurt him, thank goodness. Gave Sammy a quick fright. Cracked me up.

So, back to stumps. Here's my Mighty Sam, King of the Stumps.

And the dismount...

Out of hibernation...

When we were at the little pond out back, I managed to get some photos of the few snails that have come out of hibernation before Barney got in the pond and swirled them all around.

We saw only about 6 of them. They've been sleeping in the sand at the bottom... here's a closeup.

That old Betty

Sammy & I took a walk out back yesterday afternoon, and we took the 3 dogs with us. Betty doesn't usually keep up that well on these walks, but she did pretty good yesterday... must be the Spring in her step...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Only Tuesday

I just read my niece's blog post (the link is on the side bar, Chelle Belle), and I'm just blown away... she's beautiful and smart! (Just like her Momma!) Michelle's decided to change her course, and I'm super proud of how she's gone about it. I know her Mom & Dad have helped her, but our Michelle is quite a girl!

Kevin is just now coming up the driveway; I can see his headlights. Some guy he works with had to stay over to get something done & was able to cover for Kev, so Kev booked out early tonight. Yay! Reilly is the most thrilled of all, I think. That dog loves that man.

Joycie is up in her room playing her guitar and singing. I'm going to miss hearing that come August. *sniff*

Sammy finally went to bed after 9:30pm, but complained about how hot his bedroom is, even with 2 windows open and the ceiling fan going. This unseasonably hot weather we've been having has heated up the upstairs... I have the windows open now in the dining room, even though it has gotten considerably cooler since noon today. Outside temp is right on 50, & there's a cool breeze coming through the windows. The temperature inside our house is 73 degrees. Ugh. Joycie had the oven on all evening baking chocolate chip cookies. It feels hotter in here than 73.

The cookies Joycie baked are for selling tomorrow evening during the parent teacher conferences at the school for an NHS (National Honor Society) fund-raiser for a local charity (a children's hospital). I helped Joycie bag them up & managed to save some for Kev.

I had to take Sammy to a baseball practice this evening, a short one, only 45 minutes. First one of the season for his Little League team. This is his last year playing Little League, and I'm really happy he got on the team he's on... the coach is The Best. It's going to be a fun season.

While Sammy was at practice, I waited out in the car. I had my window down and enjoyed the cool breeze and listened to the peepers (they're everywhere!). I was going to do a few sketches for some plans for pieces to make at pottery sessions... but when I went to get the pencil box that has the colored pencils in it, I discovered we actually have 3 pencil boxes full of colored pencils. And they were a mess. So I took the 3 boxes and a battery-operated pencil sharpener, and sorted and sharpened colored pencils while I waited for Sammy. 209 colored pencils. Yes, 209. I was going to sort them "in order"... for some reason, this is the order of colors always: red, yellow, blue, green, brown, black, orange, purple. I don't remember now where I learned that, but it is completely stuck in my head & it's been there since I was a kid. (Hey, if you know where that's from, let me know.) Anyway, I decided to pitch that idea... I sorted them by reds, pinks, oranges & yellows in 1 box, then blues, greens & purples in another, and then blacks, grays, browns, whites & metallics in the last box. 209 colored pencils. My son had better not ask me to buy him more colored pencils for school ever again. Aren't they pretty though? Doesn't it make you want to start coloring something with them? Just get your hands on 'em? Me, too.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Peepers

Kevin's front field, where he plants clover & stuff for the whitetails, has become more of a lake on this very wet early Spring.

The frogs and peepers are loving it. They are so loud.
I mean they are SO LOUD!
I used my Sony camera and recorded a little bit of it as a movie file, a .mpg, which I am totally unfamiliar with, so click on this link at your own risk (it's a little over 2,400 KB in size if that means anything to you).

It took me a long time, and I was soaking wet almost up to my knees, but I finally found a peeper I could photograph. Actually, I found 2. And now I know what they're singing about.

It really is a strange thing how that field is like a lake now. It's so different than normal. And beautiful.

And the water is covering so many areas that are usually not underwater. I noticed the moss is sending up air bubbles.

Kev and I took a 4-wheeler ride out there later in the evening yesterday, and I didn't think it was possible, but the frogs & peepers were even more loud than they were in the afternoon. We saw a bluebird land in an oak tree that's in the middle of the field. First bluebird of the year.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pigs cleverly disguised as birds

I finally did take the screen off from one of the windows where the bird feeders sit. Since then, I've been taking tons of photos. Tons and tons. Some are nice and clear. The downside is that the birds now see me more clearly, and I scare them away once in a while when I get too close to the window.

Right now, it's cloudy and rainy outside. Kind of drab. But I'm looking at what is probably about 50 birds at and around the feeders. Not drab at all. Of those, at least a dozen are goldfinches, and when they are finally into their bright colors, that will be quite a sight to see. Can't wait.

And this morning, I've seen 3 robins. Just now, there were 2 males sparring in the yard. They would run at each other and then fly up off the ground just a short ways, and then back off. Then do it all over again. Of course, I took some photos... but they were moving too fast, so the pictures were blurry. I managed to get this poor shot of one of them. Spring is Hereby Official for me.

At the feeders are all the usual, the aforementioned goldfinches, chickadees, sparrows, blue jays, juncos, nuthatches & titmice, as well as mourning doves, cardinals (a beautiful pair, male & female, have been around together lately), purple finches, red-winged blackbirds, downy woodpeckers, red-bellied woodpeckers, a cowbird (thankfully only 1), hmmm... I'm not sure I've listed them all. But it seems the word is out, and every day brings more visitors. You can tell I'm really enjoying this.

I keep the feeders filled. I enjoy the routine. Kev has made it handy for me by moving a steel drum into the garage to hold the bags of bird seed. The drum keeps the critters out of it... before the drum, we had quite a mess going for a while when something, I suspect a chipmunk, ate a hole in the bottom of the black sunflower seed bag and spread the seeds all over in the garage.

And speaking of spreading seeds all over... the birds are messy! Another almost daily routine is scooping and sweeping the mess off from the sidewalk. The birds dig into the accumulated seeds and stuff on the ground at the base of the feeders, and in doing so, scatter seeds, mulch, leaves and dirt everywhere. I’ve watched the little birds, like the juncos and sparrows, really go at the ground. Their stance is like this, with legs spread apart:

Then they use their legs and feet and quickly push backwards, scattering stuff for what I think is an amazing distance, given their size. I am also amazed at how stuff much they move in a short amount of time. I have lots of scattering action photos. Because they do this all the time. Industrious little buggers.

I also have a lot of photos of the various birds with seeds in their mouths. Lots and lots and lots. I give you but a small, very small (relatively speaking), sampling here.

And I could not end this post without mentioning another often visitor at the feeders. Ah, yes, the squirrels. I’ve also noticed with the screen off the window, the squirrels are more wary. It seems they are more cognizant of me than the birds. Way more. I call this a good thing. Yesterday, one of them was trying to sneak up to the feeder. He would go a distance across the yard, then stop and check out the feeder. He couldn’t see me that well because I was sitting at the computer. But I saw him. He got about half-way across the yard and stood on his hind legs and leaned to his right... which is when he saw me. Before he took off running, though, I got this lovely photo of him. My niece, Chelle Belle, for reasons she will understand as soon as she sees this photo, will most certainly get an extra chuckle. Enjoy.