Friday, July 30, 2010

'Nuther sewing project

Any guesses?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Patience!

Wispy has gotten very tolerant of Josie:

video

"Well, that didn't get much reaction. Let me try THIS!"

video

What an annoying little pest!! But I guess I don't have to worry about them getting along anymore, do I? ;-)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Can you see it NOW?

Here he(she?) is... a bigger view of what was in my previous post.

Had you found it? It's a toad. A baby toad. It was about the smallest one I'd ever seen... only about a half inch long. It sure blended in... if it hadn't moved, I'd have never noticed it.

Grace was right (and so was Suzi, even though she didn't say in her comment what it was that she saw while mowing) about what it was, although I'm not sure just where she was seeing those buggy eyes. ;-) But here's a better look at one of those eyes:

(Click to enlarge either photo if you still can't see it.) ;-)

Did I stump anyone? C'mon... 'fess up!! ;-)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Can you see it?

One clue... it's alive. Click to view larger.

Please ignore the dandelions. :-) (They're gone now.)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kitty love

(Click to enlarge and see the love bigger.)

Last Tuesday we gave Josie a bath. Courtney wanted to dry her.

I don't think either of them looks very happy, do you? ;-)

Before the bath, I'd gotten the bathroom sink ready and had planned to lower Josie into the water slowly and gently. I told Courtney that the water was ready, and in the blink of an eye she had scooped Josie up off the floor and plopped her into the sink! Needless to say, we had a lot of splatters in the bathroom. LOL This was Josie's second bath, and she's very good about it, really (as kittens go), but this came as rather a rude surprise. Pretty funny. Poor baby.

We used the blow dryer on her after the towel dry-off. Courtney was pretty helpful, as she held and pointed the dryer while I turned Josie. Kinda like on a spit, y'know? Anyway, we ended up with a nice, fluffy little kitten.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Don't tell Grandpa...

... or Mark... that I've posted photos of thistles! But I happen to think they made for pretty and interesting pics!

Click to enlarge, and watch out for those thorns!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Poll Results + nest update

The results of the poll 'What would you do if you found a nest in which a cowbird had laid its egg alongside the "nest owner's" eggs?' are as follows:

  • Dump that cowbird egg out! (5 votes)
  • Shake the cowbird egg hard and then return it. (1 vote)
  • Refrigerate the cowbird egg and return it after the other eggs have hatched. (3 votes)
  • Let nature take its course. (5 votes)
  • Other (0 votes)

Interesting results, especially as to how many voted to refrigerate the cowbird egg. :-)

Well, as it turns out, it's all kind of a moot point, anyway. I did let nature take its course, just to see what would happen. As I mentioned before, one of the sparrow eggs was gone after a couple of days. The day after that, I checked again and was very surprised to find that the cowbird egg was missing! Maybe a bird war going on? So, down to one egg. Unfortunately, after that the nest was abandoned. Yesterday I checked again, just to see if the egg was still there. It was, but it had a hole in it. I picked it out of the nest to look a little closer. Not a good move! The shell was very fragile and broke in my fingers. Eeuww! Well, you know what rotten eggs smell like... mix that with a bit of dead birdie... NOT pleasant, to say the least. ;-(

So much for that lesson on cowbird activity. I think we might label it "Nature's Struggles, part 5". (Yeah, yeah... I know... parts 2 & 3 are still missing. Someday... ) I also think if I ever find another cowbird egg in some other bird's nest, I might be tempted to do something illegal. Shhhhh! 'Course even if I had this time, the end result might've been the same, anyway.

Thanks to all who voted! And especially to those who may have had to be patient in waiting for the poll to work right and show their vote.

I think polls are fun. If anyone has suggestions for other polls, let me know!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Miniature hollyhocks

Just because they're pretty....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Courtney's daycare???

Since I brought Josie into the house, Courtney's daycare dollies have gotten totally neglected. I can't imagine why. Could this "new kid" be more fun or something?

video

That video and the photo below were taken on July 6th, after only having Josie in the house for 2 days. She was much more "compliant" then!

Yes, she was fast asleep in that pic! I'd sure bet Courtney wouldn't get her to sleep like that nowadays. She's way too much 'on the go'! ;-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New poll

I just added a poll (see left sidebar) so YOU could let me know how you would handle my little dilemma. I would like lots more response than there was in the comments on that post. This will give you the opportunity to tell me to mind my own business... or advise me to do the illegal thing, if you so choose... and still remain anonymous. ;-)

I want everybody to vote! Even if you've left a comment, feel free to vote anyway. :-)

Just click on your choice, then hit the 'Vote' button. Thanks!

Also, for anyone who may have missed it, see the Update on the "Dilemma" post. This just might sway your opinion!

My kind of morning!

After a miserably hot and humid day yesterday, the tides finally turned last evening about 8:30. Cooler, dryer air came in with the slow gliding off of the heavy clouds. Below is the view from my kitchen window as I was doing dishes. I kept having to go back outside and take more pics, because the sky colors kept changing and getting prettier! I did finally finish the dishes, after everything had faded back from the peach to pink to lavender and finally to gray again.

(Click to see the beauty enlarged!)

The weather change was as dramatic as the edge of those clouds against the blue sky!

This morning when I got up it was only about 60°, without the oppressive humidity... ahhhhh! 'Course the AC will come back on before the high reaches that predicted 85° for today.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Dilemma!

Yesterday morning I was pruning our miniature lilac bush next to the house (miniature, ha! it's gotten pretty huge over the years!) while Courtney was squirting water at me (a story for another time). I soon realized I was being scolded mightily by a tiny chirping bird off in a nearby tree.

I figured I must be very close to a nest of some kind, and it didn't take me long to find it in the "mini" bush. Here it is below:

Interesting, huh? Those eggs don't match! Hmmm.....

The tiny blue eggs belong to a chipping sparrow. Remember the nest from a couple years ago?

Soooo.... what about that extra egg? A little online searching last night told me that it belongs to a cowbird. They don't make nests of their own, but instead they lay their eggs in other unsuspecting birds' nests. Pretty lazy, if you ask me. So this poor other bird incubates and hatches out the baby cowbird(s). The cowbird usually chooses the nest of a smaller bird, and since the cowbird egg often hatches more quickly, that little baby cowbird is bigger and gets most if not all of the food the parents bring, and the other babies often don't make it. NOT FAIR, huh?!

I've read that it's illegal to destroy the cowbird egg! And even if I did, the cowbird might just replace it with another egg. Some people do destroy them. Some shake them hard so they won't hatch, then place them back in the nest just to prevent the cowbird from laying another in there. Some let nature take its course.

I hate what's going on! What do I do? What would YOU do?

Update: Thursday, July 15th - I checked the nest this morning, and one of the sparrow eggs was missing. I forgot to mention that another thing the cowbirds will do to ensure that their eggs get hatched is to knock the other eggs out of the nest. Does THAT change your opinion as to how this little dilemma should be handled?

Not my kind of day!

When I got up this morning shortly after 7:00 a.m., it was already 79° outside. I think the overnight low was 74°. The windows were all fogged over on the outside of the house (sorry, no pics... I didn't think of taking any until most of it was cleared off the windows, and what's left just didn't show up well in the pics I tried). I first went outside at about 8:30, it was 80° and the humidity was 83%! Aaaack!! This is Minnesota, folks... that's just not right!!

Thank goodness for air conditioning!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More hungry mouths to feed

This is a nest of nearly-gown barn swallows I happened to notice up in the rafters of our machine shed.

Yep, always hungry!

Below is Papa after making a quick food drop.

And here are Papa on the left (on an old abandoned nest, which if you click to enlarge the pic and look closely you can see has holes in it), and Mama on the right.

Barn swallows are great for eating insects out of the air. They usually follow me around when I'm mowing lawn. I guess I stir up a lot of lunch. They also sometimes have lice, so for that and other obvious reasons, you don't want to stand directly under their nests!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Can you guess?

Can you guess what we did on Friday?

Take a closer look around that mouth (and eye).

Need another clue? How 'bout my hand?

No, we weren't catching butterflies. That was just a happy surprise I found on my shirt when we got in the house.

Note the COLOR on the fingers!

Now do you know?

In case you haven't figured it out.... we were picking black raspberries! At Courtney's other grandma's place. We picked for hours, amidst the thorns, mosquitoes, and near 90° temperatures.

(Well, Courtney didn't really pick very many. ;-) But she did offer water and knee pads, which were appreciated! She also took a nap in the heat of the afternoon, too, the lucky girl. :-) )

We got lots of berries!

I froze some. I made syrup out of a bunch more in my trusty Vita-Mixer.

So we're ready for pancakes, french toast, ice cream, and whatever else we decide to top with it. Actually, the syrup is thick enough when cool that it can be used on bread, too. YUM!

I still have a few berries left in my fridge, which will probably be eaten 'as is' soon.

Thanks, Grandma H !!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My new baby

I'm sure you're all dying to know how my little Josie is doing! Yeah, right. ;-) Well, I'm gonna tell you, anyway. Heheh.

Housebreaking has gone well. Here she is during one of her potty training lessons:

Okay, so I'm NOT really training her to use the toilet. We're sticking with the old fashioned litter box method. Courtney's potty chair just seemed to Josie to be a good fit at that time. :-)

She and Wispy have had their moments. Nothing physical, just lots of growling and hissing... on Wispy's part. But it's gotten less and less, and here they are with Wispy passing her warily through the doorway... and not growling!

Josie's been pretty brave, sneaking closer and closer to Wispy. She'd even occasionally take a swat at her, or do some other kind of taunting. She REALLY wanted to be friends, and Wispy, I think, was just plain a big chicken.

I was holding my breath here:

video

Oh, well.... probably a smart decision.

This morning, however, this occurred:

Not "friends" yet, but definitely tolerating!

Of course, the problem here is that Josie isn't supposed to be eating Wispy's "diet" food. And Wispy LOVES Josie's kitten chow, sneaking into the bathroom (which is Josie's home base) whenever she can to get a taste. So feeding is complicated around here. I have to keep both food dishes up and out of reach in between meals. Not easy for cats who nibble on and off all day. I'm not sure how I'm gonna resolve this... it's definitely a pain.

Josie also does very well playing by herself:

video

And, like Courtney, she enjoys watching herself on the computer.

I'm happy to finally be getting my money's worth out of all the toys I'd bought in the past for Willow and Wispy, which they weren't too enthused over. Josie loves EVERYTHING!

All in all, we're doing very well, thanks for asking. ;-)

Miss Purrkins and Patches

They're doing great, Lori!

Mama Kitty's even been taking them out on the "hunts" with her own kittens, so I guess they're considered a part of the family now.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More oriole news

Remember the baltimore oriole baby we got a glimpse of here? Just a couple of days after that I happened to see this down below the tree!

Yep, he'd either "flown" or fallen down to the ground. I followed him (her?) around, trying to get a pic of him from the front, but he kept hop/flying just a few feet at a time, staying away from me. He finally ended up in the lilac bushes, which is probably a good thing, what with all the cats around here. I did manage to get a few pics of him up there.

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

He kept calling and calling, so I'm sure his parents had no trouble locating him. After a day or two, I no longer heard him, so I don't know what became of him. Hopefully he learned to fly out of harm's way.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another wildflower surprise

In this sea of yellow/brown plains coreopsis....

... I was surprised the other day to find these:

A rather nice little mutation, don'tcha think?

Monday, July 5, 2010

It's official!

I have a new housekitten! This is Josie:

She spent the night in the house last night and is doing well, although I'm sure she misses her mommy and siblings. But she's also been wild and crazy and has had a lot of fun. And I've had a lot of laughs at her antics.

I got her just in the nick of time. The other kittens are gone. ALL. GONE. Mama has taken the rest of the them out for their first hunting lesson, I guess... even the two that aren't hers. When I went out to get Josie yesterday afternoon, not even sure I'd be keeping her in the house, there wasn't a kitten in the machine shed. So I went out to the long grass where I'd seen them playing before, and there I found Josie and Miss Purrkins. Well, I couldn't take just Josie and leave the other by herself. But there out of the grass went Mama with a mouse in her mouth, so I followed her, and sure enough, she led me to the others. I left Miss P. there and took Josie to the house.

Last evening just before dark, I went out to see if they were still there, and all the rest of the kittens were snuggled together in a little pile. This morning, they were gone, apparently off on the hunt.

I'm so glad I got Josie when I did. I'm sure Mama will bring the others back, but whether she'll bring them all back remains to be seen. Mama cats typically take their kittens out, but often they don't all make it back. Whether the mama loses one, or something happens to it, or what, is hard to say. But I wasn't taking any chances of Josie not coming back, because she's the best of them all, in my opinion. :-)

It's going to be a challenge. Wispy hates her. There's been lots of hissing and growling. I always lock Wispy in the entry overnight, but I didn't dare leave Josie out there with her, so she (Josie) spent the night in the bathroom.

Right now Josie's warming my lap (well, a small part of it, anyway), sound asleep. One of the first things on our agenda for today is a manicure for her. Or I guess that'd be a pedicure. Anyway, I must clip those teensy-tiny razor sharp claws! I have many, many puncture marks in my skin. Later will be a bath to get rid of the dirty machine shed smell. Poor kitty... tough day ahead. ;-)

Oh... don't tell Courtney that Josie's in the house! This will be a grand surprise for her tomorrow!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Not exactly fireworks...

... but pretty enough that they could be.

This is how my million bells look now.

Quite lovely, I think... and well worth the effort to keep them from the 'coons/skunks/cats and/or whatever else. I love 'em!

Happy Independence Day to all my American readers! I hope you get to take in some REAL fireworks this weekend!

Friday, July 2, 2010

What are they?

Anybody know what these pink flowers are called? They just appeared in with my wildflowers this year. I've never seen them before, and I didn't plant any new seeds this year... or last year, either, if I remember right.

(Click to enlarge.)

Are they weeds? Maybe I need to hurry up and get 'em out of there before they go to seed?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

From the garden

It's not quite something to harvest, but very pretty! Courtney and I saw this dragonfly in the garden on Tuesday. It kept coming back over and over again to sit on the top of that onion plant. Isn't it lovely?

(Do click to enlarge!)