Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lovely

What a beautiful, peaceful sky we had Sunday evening.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Artist at work

Here she is, busily painting:

(Love that shiny hair and those curls!)

Whoever invented the special paper that turns color when painted with plain water was a genius! None of the mess of using real paint. Nothing but a little wetness to clean up. But you still end up with a pretty picture!

Of course, once it dries, the color is gone. But then you get the fun of doing it all over again... time after time after time! WOOHOO!

Okay, maybe it's not the most 'creative' thing for a child to do. But Grandma has plans to dig out the real paints and give her a go at those someday, too... like some rainy day or this winter when we're confined to the house... and Grandma feels like supervising a little closer. ;-)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tough flying today

It's very windy today. I happened to see this hawk trying to do a little hunting. It seemed pretty hard trying to soar "with wings as eagles" against that wind!

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For a while there were two of them, but it was nearly impossible to get both of them in the camera viewer at the same time. Here's a very brief shot.

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Almost a mid-air collision there! :)

(At least they're not leaving me any "treats", Becky! ;) )

Thursday, August 26, 2010

When kitties don't cooperate

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What's the difference?

Muskmelons or cantaloupe?

Anyway, they will very soon be ripe, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A new toy

Well, actually it's not so new. I'd bought it a long time ago for Willow 'n Wispy, but they weren't all that interested in it. Courtney REALLY liked it, though!

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Josie seemed a bit unenthusiastic, didn't she? Or tired? Or perhaps she was just a bit wary of Courtney's enthusiasm!

But left alone to play, she definitely livened up!

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Which of course Courtney loved. Success all around!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A kitten or .....

Grandpa thinks Josie looks like a border collie.

What do you think?

(I don't know where I got this photo from. My apologies to its owner. If it's yours, let me know and I'll gladly give you credit!)

Hmmm... they each have a mustache!

At least Josie doesn't run around with her mouth open and her tongue hanging out. Well, most of the time.

Heheh.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Ack... it's back... but good news

We're back in the "sauna". The last few days have been very hot and humid again, after a brief respite last week. This is what the outsides of our windows have looked like in the mornings.

The early fog was burning off below, but you can still see the humidity in the air.

Hopefully by Tuesday we'll be back to a little more normal Minnesota weather!

The good news is that the hummingbirds are beginning to make their way through again as they head south. Below is one of the first that I've seen this month. It seemed to think that my hibiscus was more appealing than the feeder.

I'm hoping to see many more of these fascinating little birds in the next month or so!

Friday, August 20, 2010

"I'm stuck!"

Courtney rode her bike alongside as I walked down the driveway to get the mail. For the most part, it went really well, but she did have some tough moments. (Turn up your volume.)

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At least she watches where she's going. :-)

Then there was the hill toward the end of the driveway. It was a real drag. Literally. I had to be her drag on the way down so the bike didn't get away with her, and then I had to drag her back up the hill after we got the mail. But we both had fun, and she was very proud to have made it all the way.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A day at the pool

Grandma's little pool, that is. What fun, especially when you have a couple of kittens to keep you company... or do a little weight lifting with.

Click on the photo collage to see it much larger.

I bet I know of at least a couple of people who like the 'every color in one' swimsuit!

And did you notice the little red thing she has in her hand in nearly every picture? It's actually a tiny fire extinguisher. It was meant as a gag gift for someone turning 50... to put out all the candles on their cake. It came in a grab bag I was gifted with this summer. Thanks, Kristin... it's been one of the greatest toys ever! It puts out such a little stream of water that even the cats (and Grandma) don't mind getting squirted. But it sure is FUN!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Checking the crops

Goodness, it seems like Miss Courtney's been AWOL from the blog for a while! Too many bugs, huh? I'll bet some of you have been having withdrawals! I did get the camera busy with her yesterday, though, so you'll be seeing more of her soon!

Here she is checking the soybeans. Look how tall they are, Mark!

Monday, August 16, 2010

BFF

Yep, best friends forever.

Or something....

They're doing very well together. Josie "torments" Wispy a lot, but Wispy lets her get by with it. She also lets her know when she's had enough, though. The other day I watched Wispy bathe Josie just like a mother cat would. Very nice, and Josie enjoyed it. So the transition has turned out better than I expected. Yay!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

?

Another bug. Must be that time of year. At least it's a pretty one, JHRME!

I noticed this one while I was hanging clothes on the line yesterday, so I had to run back into the house for the camera. I don't recall ever seeing one like it before. Or at least if I did, I didn't pay any attention to it. But I seem to be a little more observant these days. Must be the camera. And Mark's moth got me to pay more attention to details, because I found that there can be many very similar-looking butterflies or moths.

Have a closer look:

I had to do some researching again to figure out what it was. Believe it or not, it's called a Question Mark. I guess I should've gotten a pic of the other side of its wings, because that's where the question mark appears.

I also discovered that there are butterflies called Commas! Guess why? Yep, they have commas on the underside of their wings. Their top sides look almost identical to the question mark, except that where the question mark has that sort of horizontal line of 4 dots, the comma has only 3 dots. Then again, there are gray commas and green commas besides just the commas. And on we go.....

By the way, this one was very much alive. It generously let me take my pics, then it flew off. I also saw a dark swallowtail sunning itself in the grass, but it wouldn't let me get anywhere near it for photos. Bummer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

PRETTY pics (NOT bugs!)

A few weeks ago in the grocery store I couldn't pass up this mini rose plant that had coral colored (though they look more pink in the photo) buds.

I put it into a bigger pot and have been setting it outside every day. It really took off and now has a whole new set of blooms. So I thought you'd enjoy seeing it instead of bugs for a change. ENJOY, and as always, click the pics to enlarge if you want.

I hope it will do as well in the house over the winter. It'll get plenty of south sun, so it should. Well, once Josie figures out it has thorns, anyway.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

JHRME, just don't look!

I accidentally found myself waaaay too close to this wasp nest just a little while ago. Looks like they're on guard and ready to attack, doesn't it? (Look at their shadows behind them, too.) But they didn't come after me... maybe because they were in bed for the night. But I went after them, even if it was bedtime! Got 'em all, too.

After I sprayed them, I knocked the nest onto the ground. Just look at all the live larvae peeking out of the holes, not to mention the remaining eggs just waiting to hatch!

(Click either pic to enlarge if you dare!)

Yeah.... EEEUUUWWW!!!!!

(I wonder if I'm done with bugs yet. I hadn't intended this many buggy posts!)

(I bet you looked, didn't you JHRME? ;-) )

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Guest post!

(Sorry if you're getting bugged by all these, JHRME, but this one you have to blame on Mark!)

I received this photo today from my California friend, Mark. You all remember him, right... the displaced Minnesota farmer? Yep, him. He and his wife, Cindy, are part owners of Lakeview Cottages, which is where Mark took the photo.

(Click to enlarge.)

Mark said: "I found this Butterfly on the side of a cabin and was totally fascinated with its color. In person its wings look like silk and the body it of was very furry almost like a cat. It was amazing." He also told me that those little white things are eggs it was laying.

I thought it was gorgeous, and Mark got my curiosity up, so I had to do some research to find out what it was. It is a Ceanothus Silk Moth (Hyalophora Euryalus). They are found in far western North America. Their wing span can be 3.5-5 inches (Mark didn't say how big this one was. I think he had to get back to work instead of emailing me. ;-) )

For more information on these cool moths, look here, and for some awesome photos that really show the "furriness" that Mark mentioned, look here.

Thanks, Mark, for the photo and for piquing my curiosity! Now go apologize to JHRME for me for yet another buggy post! ;-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Another buggy post

Sorry, JHRME.... but these were bugging me tonight, so I just HAD to. At least they're pretty!

Here's a closeup view of one of those butterflies. It wasn't quite dead, but it couldn't fly. Either it was near the end of its life cycle, or it came off the front of Courtney's mommy's van.

I also found this dragonfly, dead, out in the grass.

I love the blue on it. Quite different from this one, huh?

Just a few minutes ago, I happened to look out the window and saw bzillions of dragonflies in the air! Wow!

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I think that 'thunk' sound was one of them hitting the side of the garage!

It's soooo humid out that my camera lens kept fogging up, as you can see. Aargh. I hate this weather!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I found one

A cicada:

Albeit quite a dead one.

Here's a little size comparison:

I wonder if I can get Courtney to hold it tomorrow. ;-)

So now any of you who didn't know before what cicadas look like, now you know. And now I know. In person. This was my first, that I can remember, anyway. And I won't mind if it's my last.

(Just what you wanted to see, right Becky?)

Update note to Dale: Tonight there were more of them singing. It was like there were several choirs of them scattered around, and each choir was singing differently. There were different rhythms, and one group had no rhythm at all. Interesting!

Ominous clouds

I took these pics about 3 weeks ago, but forgot to show them to you. I thought the clouds were pretty cool. Well, if you like to look at potential storms, that is. Actually, we didn't get much out of them but a little light rain. I think they passed over us and dumped on somebody further to the east.

Maybe 'dramatic' is a better word than "cool"?

Did you notice the cat sitting on top of the well cover? (Click to enlarge and see her better.) She didn't seem worried about any storms.

That white dot to the left of the silo (above) is a bird, I discovered after greatly enlarging the photo. I couldn't tell what kind, but it was probably a pigeon. There are three more on or near the peak of the hayshed.

We've had a lot of potential for storms this summer with all this heat and humidity, but thankfully we haven't had ANY storms at all, and though we've had plenty of rain, at least it's been in reasonable amounts. Places in Iowa have gotten like 7 to 11 inches... at a time!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Evening sounds

As requested by Mark, here are our cicadas as they sounded last night... with a few crickets chirping in between the cicada rounds.

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And on and on they "sang"......

The 'thump' in the middle was the cat jumping off the deck railing. You should've seen the video I tried taking before this one. I was steadying the camera on the railing, and she came over and was licking my hands and purring loudly into the microphone. Then you could see the bottoms of her feet as she jumped over the camera. As a grand finale, she dangled her tail in front of the lens. Great help, she was! :-)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Josie

Bet you can't even see her on that mat, can you?!

I love her! She's sweet, affectionate, and crazy! :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cicadas

As I was mowing the other day, I happened to notice these "lovelies" on a tree trunk, and I had to stop mowing and go for the camera.

They are, of course, just the empty "shells" that the flying cicadas hatched out of.

I noticed that each one has this little white string-like thing in it. I wonder what that was for.

Below is one near a daddy-long-legs spider, for size comparison.

UGLY, aren't they? Courtney was brave the next day, though, and examined them with me. She even dared to touch them (once I assured her they were dead and couldn't move).

I wish I could've gotten pics of the hatch. I've never seen a flying cicada, but an online search showed me that they are quite ugly, too. They're also very noisy when there are a lot of them!