Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Easier to Read

You know, if I could figure out how to change the default font size for the posts, I'd do it. Meanwhile, maybe I can remember to change it as I post!! And I also wish I knew how to make those pictures larger!!!

Mama, Come Feed Me!!

Late yesterday afternoon while grilling our chicken for dinner, I kept hearing these shrill cries. Finally went to see what it was. There were two juvenile red-tailed hawks sitting on the cross arms of the power pole!!

I was wondering why all the birds in the yard didn't seem to pay them much attention. I called my birdlady friend and she told me that the other birds had figured out real quick that they were juveniles and weren't adept at hunting yet, so they weren't too afraid of them. In fact, after a while a bluejay started harassing them and finally both flew away, still calling loudly for mom to come feed them. Birdlady says at this time of year, they've fledged from the nest but mom still feeds them some, but that will wind up by the end of July. Then, this morning, heard one again and it was sitting upon the pole!!

There are tons of birds in my yard these days. Bluejays, cardinals, doves, red-bellied woodpeckers, chickadees, sparrows, brown thrashers, finches (house or purple - I'm always getting those mixed up), bluebirds, and mockingbirds. I've probably forgotten some of the regulars, too. Oh, I forgot the titmice!!! Occasionally there's downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers, too. Sometimes at night we can hear the barred owls calling. And let's not forget those little gray squirrels!!! They sure don't forget us or the tasty "bird feed" we put out there. They eat far more of than the birds ever think about eating!!! And the finches are the only ones enjoying the hummingbird feeder right now!

Well, that picture didn't work well. It's too small to see the labels on the kinds of birds there. But there are 2 doves, a bluejay, male and female cardinal, and a brown thrasher all in that picture.

I love to watch all the activity. I grab my binoculars regularly to get a closer look at whatever is moving around out there. It is not uncommon to see 5 to 8 birds at one time around and under the feeder. I've just been watching juvenile cardinals begging for food from the male and female cardinals. Missed the begging by a millisecond!!! Darn -- but you can see the male flying away immediately after the little one was begging.

Right now, there are three juveniles tagging along with mom on the ground. Looks strange because they are nearly as big as she. The juvenile males are a mottled mess of brown and red right now -- funny looking. It's times like this that I wish I had a bird cam. It is unbelievable how much activity is taking place!!!

Did you figure out that I love birds????

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Strength in Numbers - A Line in the Sand

Yesterday was the Hands Across the Sands gatherings worldwide. I'm so happy that lots of folks came out to participate. It was a quiet and meaningful show of community unity. Our beaches have had some tar balls but none were evident yesterday and there were many, many folks out enjoying the day. I don't know how they stand to be out there in that heat for hours, though. On the way over, it was 91 degrees, and by the time I got home it was 97 degrees. I was really heated up even in just the 20 minutes or so that were were in the line.

I am all for solar and wind power in the right locations, but the easiest way to reduce oil consumption is simply through conservation!! Turn off unused lights; bump up the thermostat a couple of degrees; use cold water for laundry -- after all, how many of us get so dirty and germy that we really need hot water to get our clothes clean; take shorter showers. Drive a fuel efficient vehicle; consolidate trips; stop using plastic shopping bags. Just make a conscious decision to not be wasteful with anything related to oil. I'd really bet that if the entire population made a concerted effort to do that, our oil consumption would drop very significantly.

Natural resources have been abundant in this country and it has shaped our growth. It's always been quick, easy and cheap to get the things needed for daily life. As our population continues to grow, though, that is going to not be the case unless we all consciously decide to consume less.

My perspective lets me know that this nasty mess in the Gulf doesn't just afflict those who live on the coast. There is so very much more at stake. The marshlands that provide nurseries for all the fisheries, and all the seafood that moves into the food chain, and all the livelihoods that are connected to them affect us, our neighbors and our friends. I'd like for my grandchildren's children to be able to know what I've known of our country and our waters. This mess has already been happening for 69 days and there is no end in sight. Never before in history has this much oil been dumped into the ocean, so we have no idea what the total consequences of it are going to be. I'm afraid they are going to be far more drastic and widespread than is imagined by most.

So, let me ask you to please do your best to REDUCE, REUSE AND RECYCLE in every way possible. And do your little part to conserve the resources we have been so blessed to have.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bugs and Beauties

Was sorting through my books this morning and happened to look out the window. The blooms were gorgeous and, while spiders are not my fabvorite creatures, this one was beautiful.

I guess I had forgotten that some of the daylilies here were doubles. Again, gorgeous blooms.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yum, Yum and more Yum!!!

Must be a phase I'm in right now, because I've been more inclined to do domestic things and be happy about it.

Last night I made a peach pie using Sherry's crust recipe and, oh my, how delicious it was still warm from the oven and with a dollop of whipped cream!. In fact, it's delicious today with a quick warm up in the microwave. Thank you Sherry for that wonderful recipe. I'm more a cake baker, so a quick and easy way to make pies is appreciated. Do you think we liked it? I love the rustic look of the crust just pulled over the top. Now, if she'd just figure out a way to take the calories out of it, it'd be just about perfect.

Today I was up and out very early (at least for me) to go blueberry picking. Hubby was still in sleeping at 6:20 a.m. this morning when I left. Was expecting nasty hot weather but lucked up on cooler, albeit very wet, weather. Was a bit of a drive to get there (about 40 miles), but the company was pleasant and the time passed fast enough. When we arrived, we got our fancy berry picking waist thingies so that both hands would be free. What a wonderful invention!! Dr. L, the orchard owner, told us he had 7 1/2 acres of blueberries. And, unfortunately, he also told us that he was hoping to sell the orchard because he has developed some health issues that are making his work in it very difficult. He loves that place, but it's time to pass it on to someone else who will cherish it and tend it as lovingly as he.

The bushes were just loaded with luscious pink and blue berries and also dripping from the recently ended rain. Since Dr. L had invited us to eat as many as we wanted while picking, we just had to take him up on it!! Oh, they were so good.

She'd have a fit if she knew I took her picture!!

All those pink berries mean the goodness will continue for a while.

About midway in our picking, the lovely little drizzle turned into a downpour so we had to abandon our rows and pile into the car. After a few minutes of torrential rain, I figured I'd better get the Little Red Car out of the field and onto more stable terrain just in case, so we drove back to the roadside stand where Dr. L. invited us in out of the rain. After a good long while, the rain stopped and we were able to head back out to the field to finish our task. I picked about 13 pounds of the most glorious blueberries I've ever seen and they've all been washed and dried and are in the process of being batch frozen so they can be put in bags for easy access to a handful all year long. I fully intend to go back up within the next week or so to get more so I can share with the kids. I was thinking of homemade blueberry ice cream. Think it would be worth the effort?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birds of Summer

Been spending way too much time inside my workroom lately and either sewing or on computer. But one of the real treats of that has been a daily show by the bluebirds as they feed on the insects in the lawn. Every afternoon when the sun seems to be brightest just outside this window, the bluebirds are swooping and turning to catch bugs. Sometimes they'll land and pick intently, and other times they snatch the insect and head off to a nearby limb or the fence. It seems they have their back to the window more than not and that makes their beautiful colors just shine!! Of course, the little females aren't as flashy but they work just as diligently. Sure wish there was some way I could show you what I'm talking about but it is pure serendipity to see them, never mind have time to get a camera!!

Today I filled the bird feeders with a luscious mix! It looked good enough that I wanted to eat it!! There were enough shelled sunflower seeds, peanuts and dried fruits in it that it was tempting! We really do have some of the best fed birds and squirrels in the county.

Earlier this spring I went on my first "big" birding trip to Louisiana and Texas. It was mind-blowing. I haven't counted up the number of species seen and it's not important in itself. The important part is that by paying attention to what is around you, you can see literally dozens or perhaps more than a hundred different kinds of birds in one single day!!! That is amazing.

Many of these were first birds for me and I couldn't be more proud. I'm trying to learn how to use a photo manipulation program so that I can label photos, etc. but thus far it has stymied me. Guess a lesson would be in order. This whole post may have to be redone. Who knows.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Talking Trash

I went over to the beach early this morning for a walk. It was peaceful and the water was very calm. As of then, there was no oil on the beach where I was, but helicopters and planes were flying overhead. I’m sure they were tracking it. Was another scorcher of a day. Was up to 98 this afternoon in my back yard – and that wasn’t even in the sun!

Anyway, I was wandering around this morning taking pictures and just trying to take in the scenery. Been cooped up in the house too long. I left the gulf side and crossed over to the sound side. Was tootling along happily when I come upon this little vignette!

And can you believe some moron would leave TWO plastic 8-pack ring holders just lying on the sand for some unsuspecting bird or turtle to nab onto thinking they’ve found a nice jellyfish??

Everyone is screaming about how the oil is ruining our beaches and then we (collectively) turn around and do this to those very same beaches!!! If you can pack it up and bring it in with you, you can danged well pack it out with you, too!!!!! I’d call ‘em pigs, but that would give pigs an undeserved bad rap. So I corralled all their crap onto the t-shirt (an adult’s t-shirt, mind you) and hauled it up to the garbage can, muttering all the way. I was still fuming when I got home.

All was not dreadful, however. I found the most beautiful , perfectly formed shell well above the waterline. I checked it out and it looked like a creature might still be in it. I certainly couldn’t remove it. Since it appears to have been out of the water for a while, I dunked it in the sound to see if there would be any reaction. I think I saw one little bit of movement but that could also have been just the water seeping into the crevices. Anyway, I couldn’t bring myself to haul it home with me knowing there was a chance that the creature was still alive, so I flung him back into the briny deep – or in this case, the not so deep, but definitely wet, where he’d have a chance if he was still alive.

I’m not really a beach person, although I used to love to go to the beach to watch the sunsets, and I do admit that I love a beach picnic when there’s a full moon. Particularly in the fall when its just crisp enough that a sweatshirt is needed. I’m fair skinned, blue-eyed and burn to a crisp very easily. Growing up in this area, my nose and forehead stayed sunburned during the summer as a child. Mama would send me out the door with a straw hat on, but it would be off and discarded as soon as I was out of her sight. And sunscreens were only thought of on the rare occasions when we went someplace “swimming”. Course, I never learned to actually swim until about 6 or 7 years ago and I’m still not exactly like a fish. Funny, you’re supposed to be able to swim and breathe at intervals, and somehow I’ve just not got that timing down yet!!!! Seems like a detail that could be important.

Y’all take care.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Weekend Steam Bath for Free!

Went over to the beach early yesterday morning to see if any tar balls or oil had washed up. None were visible at that point. News tonight says an oil sheen is very close to shore so it probably won't be long before we get some. Also wanted to check out the new pier which opened this weekend to replace the one destroyed by Hurricane Ivan. I was shocked to find there were hundreds of folks out there, most of them fishermen!! There will be a fee to fish from the pier but was free for the opening weekend. It's a beautiful piece of work.

It was so hot and humid that my camera lens kept fogging up and it looked like it was going to pour rain just any second. This wimp didn't hang out very long, just made a tour of the 1500 foot long pier and then back to the car and more errands.

I'm doing my darnedest to adjust to being home during part of the summer. Normally we bug out of here but due to hubby's situation, can't do so for a month or so. You'd never know I grew up in this mess in an old house out in the country with no AC, no less!! There are folks around who love it, so they can have it. I wind up at the beach maybe 2 or 3 times a year when I have a specific reason to go over there. But this is a great place to be in the winter time!!!!

Y'all take care!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Anybody need some rain????

I'll be happy to share some with you!! It's been pouring off and on here all day. My yard is pathetic already, thanks to all the rain from last year and standing water. I was gone when it happened but now I understand how it occurred! You have to understand that we live on a peninsula where all you have is SAND. Right now there are puddles all over but when it stops, they'll all be gone within a half hour. Still enough excess wetness to help kill the grass in those places.

Update on hubby. Saw cardiologist on Wednesday morning and then on Thursday morning had two MORE stents put in. That makes eight now. Home late yesterday and recuperating. It'll take a while, I'm sure. Only been eight months since the last round. Every time this happens, we keep hoping that this will be it for a longggggg while, but so far, that hasn't been the case. The boy is skinny, has never smoked, has his total cholesterol down to 124 (yep) through meds and watching his cholesterol and fat intake like a hawk, so what else can he do???

Read Penny Quilts' most recent post and it set me to thinking, too. I'm pretty certain we all have those times when we actually do have thoughts worth recording, but getting them down on paper in a coherent fashion isn't always the easiest thing to do. She's got the gift, I think.

I got lazy this morning and didn't go over to the beach to take any pictures. But on the local news, they are showing tar balls and oil blobs washing up onto our beaches. The same weather system that is bringing all this rain is to thank for pushing the oil over to us. We all knew it was coming, but we kept hoping against all odds that it never would get here.

I haven't sewn a stitch in weeks. Even though my computer is in here across the table from the sewing machine, I can't seem to get the chair over on that side to do anything. Guess it's just one of those times.

Y'all take care.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My World Has Been Nuts

The past week has been nuts!!! We went through the routine of getting the house ready, packing up the RV and heading out of town for what WAS to have been a several weeks long trip. Really looking forward to it because we were going to get to see the kids and granddaughters, including a new granddaughter born on May 3. Gonna visit friends in Nebraska and then maybe trek to upper Minnesota for a while. We got so far as Branson, Missouri (a two day drive with the RV) where I was able to meet up with a quilting buddy from the HGTV quilting forum. We had a great day checking out quilt shops, visiting and getting to know each other.

Then on Saturday, things got really interesting. While at an afternoon show, in a darkened theater and me looking forward (not sideways at my him), my husband is having a major episode of cardiac problems. Tells me nada - zilch- squat. Then an hour later at intermission he wants to go for a walk -- as though he has ever done that before. So, I finally asked folks to let us out and we go for our walk -- all the way up to the back of the theater where he finally tells me what had been going on, but that the pain and pressure had pretty much gone away by then!!! I'm ready to cart him off to the ER but he wouldn't hear of it. And you want to know what, the same danged thing happened again Saturday night, including not telling me about it until it was long over.

Now, do you have any idea how many times he's done this to me since his cardiac problems were diagnosed a couple of years ago? Oh, his excuses are that he doesn't want to upset me, that it's not that bad, or if it comes back we'll go the ER or call 911, yadda, yadda, yadda. Does he think it'll upset me less if he drops like a rock in front of me? Possibly to not get up again??? Anyway, we aborted our trip to see the kids which broke both our hearts. But, we both also wanted to be home to deal with this. We then spent two stress filled days driving back home. Since we got here, I've done everything and won't let him so much as spit without permission!! I suspect the cardiologist is gonna plop him into the hospital when we see him tomorrow morning and that's right where I'd like him to be until this is figured out!!! Does that sound selfish of me? I truly never know what the next minute is going to bring and it's taking its toll.

This unexpected return to sunny Florida reminded me of why we like to leave in the summer anyway. It was 88 degrees and 79% humidity yesterday afternoon when I was trying to unload the RV. Oh, and it had rained here earlier in the day so the ground was wet. Now, that was truly fun! NOT!!! So, I guess I'll spend lots of time sewing and doing other crafty stuff inside for a while. Or maybe I can haul my butt down to the pool at the rec center. At least that will be constructive.

There was a story in both national and local news tonight about the Gulf oil spill nearing the coast here in Florida. That just breaks my heart and I am so angry at not only BP, but all the other oil companies who put profit and expediency ahead of safety and good sense!! Now, there's this royal mess destroying a beautiful body of water and who knows if it can ever be fixed or cleaned up.

I was going to attach a picture of our beaches, but it is hiding from me somewhere. My computer crashed last fall and although I didn't lose anything, some things are stacked back in folders and I just don't remember where those photos are right now. Guess that's another bit of evidence that I'm often afflicted with the CRS (can't remember crap) syndrome!