Thursday, September 30, 2010

Birds and Beautiful Fall Weather

Oh, what glorious weather we are having these days!!!   I sat in the swing on the garden house porch this morning with my coffee and actually wore a long sleeved denim shirt.   It was fabulous!!!   And looks like the next 10 days will be more of the same.     I am so happy  that it has cooled off some.  It has been a very hot summer. 

While out there this morning, I saw some neat birds in the trees.  I studied one for over a half hour and I'm still not positive what it was.  The problem is that first year juveniles have such different colorations from adults sometimes, and the guide books don't  always show the juveniles. And the adults change appearances, too.  Makes it very hard for amateurs like me to know what I'm looking at.  Bird Lady friend says from my description she thinks it was probably a Tennessee warbler, but I'm not convinced.  At any rate, he was a busy little thing, obviously eating lots of bugs from the trees. 

The brown thrashers are back, too.  I hadn't seen them in two or three months.  They are usually here most of the year.  

Bird Lady and I spent yesterday birdwatching at  Ft. Morgan, Alabama.  The fall migration is underway and Ft. Morgan is a migrant trap.  In a nutshell, it means that as the birds head south,  they will stop on the last bits of land along the coast to rest and feed before starting that long flight over the Gulf.   Sometimes they just stay overnight.  Other times they'll hang out for two or three days before leaving.   Weather plays a role, too.  There were lots of birds there.  In some places so many that you couldn't decide where to look first!! And of course, being the amateur that I am, I didn't know what most of them were without Bird Lady telling me.  Now, during this time we were wandering along paths in the woods and crawling through brambles like you wouldn't believe sometimes.    We truly thought we had lost our minds at one point, but had crawled through so much stuff  there was no way we were going to quit.  Turns out, we had only about 30 feet more to go before we got to an open path again. 

Also got a few more blocks squared up on my brother's quilt today, but the phone kept ringing and I was distracted more than I wanted.

Y'all take care. 

(Still having that problem with the font I want to use.  If anybody has any ideas on what the problem is, I'd love to hear them.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Golden Sunlight and Knarled Live Oaks

At a certain time in the afternoon, the sunlight turns golden and simply spills over the earth like molten gold.  I think that's just about my favorite time of day.  It makes colors richer, and creates deep shadows around otherwise ordinary things.  I've been seeing the wild sage (at least that's what I think it is) in my back yard for some time now and when the sunlight reaches this point, the blossoms seem to be on fire.  The butterflies loves these flowers.  You'd think the hummers would, but I don't see them out there. 

When we built this house, we left a portion of the back in its natural state for the critters.  We've never regretted it.  Not only do the critters love it, the growth also blocks the lights from the vehicles coming up the street toward our house.  That side street has gotten far busier than we ever imagined and I cannot fathom having all those lights shining into our windows every evening.  

My primary demand on selecting a lot was that it have oak trees.  I didn't mind if it had pine trees, but it absolutely had to have oak trees.    We've lost most of the pines in the hurricanes, and the oaks have taken a beating but they are still here and glorious.  The trunks are twisted and knarled but, oh, so beautiful.   These are some of the ones in the back yard.

I get to look at this one directly out my window while in my work room.    Well, I was going to put it here but somehow it keeps getting laid on its side, rather than rotated properly.  Hmmmmmm........
Well, hells bells, folks.  I can't get that picture to load correctly for love or money.  Something to do with my turning the camera to take a portrait style photo instead of landscape.  When I try to upload it, blogger turns it to landscape.  Not an attractive thing to see lovely oaks lying sideways.

There are still three or four hummers around every day.  And they still squabble over the 3 feeders that are hanging out there.  One of these days real soon, they will all be gone.  It has been such a joy to watch them zooming around and hear them chattering at each other. 

Hubby is improving steadily as the days go by.  Hopefully, he'll be able to drive again in a few days and he can go play bridge with his friends.  Of course, he also knows that his days of being waited on are coming to a screeching halt!!!!!!   He actually did dishes today for the first time.  Not many, but at least he handled it.

The air outside has a definite twinge of autumn in it, but is still very warm.  When I was out earlier, it was still about 85 degrees, even though it has been cloudy a good part of the day.  Rain is forecast over the weekend and we surely do need it. 

Y'all take care.

Thanks for Comments and Following

Thanks to all of you who left comments and/or are following along.  I look forward to the company along the way.

Y'all take care.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From Boring to Bustling

Remember the adage about being careful what you wish for because you might get it?  It sure holds true around this house.  For the longest time I was bored.  Now, I'm busy and sometimes wish for a boring day.  But all in all, it is a good thing for me to be out and about more. 

Hubby is slowly improving.  He did well on Friday but the following few days were doozies.  We go tomorrow for followup with the surgeon.   He wasn't able to take the prescribed pain medication.  Made him weird, shallow breathing, nervous and other things, so he stopped it after a couple of days.  Since then, the pain level has been up there.  I've tried several times to get him to ask for a different pain medication.  Finally, today, he made the call and I went out and got it for him.  Now, I just hope it will work so that he can be up and about more.

I've signed up for three classes.  One is a bird ID class, one is a photography class and there's one that I don't quite know how to describe.  The course name is Participate in Your Life.  I signed up for it totally on a whim at registration, not knowing exactly what I was getting into.  The first session really took its toll on me.  I had determined beforehand that I would be open and willing to participate fully, which I did.  To my utter amazement, one of the bits of info and comments made by the psychologist instructor hit me like a ton of bricks.  I sputtered my response with tears filling my eyes.  It concerned an issue I was first confronted with nearly 40 years ago and thought I had dealt with as well as I could.  I think the hidden lingering  hurt from that issue and the considerable stress I've been under with my husband's surgery really put me in a vulnerable place.  Whatever the cause, I was emotionally devastated for most of the day.   I had really wavered about even attending the classes on Friday, since the surgery had just been the day before.  But he really wanted me to go and, truthfully, I really wanted to go, since I had already missed a  first class for Thursday.   So, I left him at home with phone at hand, pain meds close by and strict instructions to call me immediately if he needed me.   

So, I admit that I'm approaching this Friday's class with some trepidation.  Undoubtedly, folks survive it just fine as there are some there who are in their tenth (yes, 10th) series of this same class with this same instructor.  

Today is the first day of fall, or so they tell us.  I'd really like to see a fall day right now.  I went birding with my Bird Lady friend yesterday and we both just wilted in the heat and humidity.  We cut the outing short and headed home to the air conditioning.  Didn't see many birds at all.  I think they had better sense than to be out and about!!   We did get to see a merlin which was a treat this early.  I also saw my first female American redstarts.  They are such pretty birds.  Not as colorful as the males, but beautiful nonetheless.  You can see pictures of them here.

We did get to see some wonderful tracks in the sand dunes, though.  In a place that seems deserted, it shows that there are numerous kinds of occupants.  

The sea oats are blooming gloriously with huge seed pods all over.  I'm so glad to see them getting re-established on the dunes.  It has been 5 years since the last hurricane came through, and it has been a long, hard struggle since then.  And, of course, there have been a few tropical storms that brought lots of surge with them as well.  

And the cleanup crews are still working on the beaches in places.  A lot of workers have been let go, but truthfully I think there's lots of work still to be done.  The tides shift sand in and out daily and it buries the oil, so just because its not on the surface doesn't mean it isn't there.   We're having some rough surf now, thanks to stiff east winds.  

The hummingbirds seem to have departed.  After having three days of total chaos, today I've seen only 3 or 4.  I took a good number of pictures while they were here, all through the window from inside the house.   Otherwise, I don't think I would ever have gotten close enough.   And I finally got some with two hummers sitting at the same feeder.  

For the most part, these were juvenile ruby throated hummingbirds, but I did have at least one adult male.  He was beautiful and he guarded his feeder diligently.  See that lovely red throat?  It was glorious.

I hope this was just the first wave of migrants and that more will be arriving daily.  

I've finished the 35 blocks for my brother's quilt and am squaring them up, a tedious but necessary task.  Its at this point you see very clearly that all quarter inch seams are not created equal, at least by me!!  I try so hard to be consistent so that when the pieces are put together the pattern will join nicely and the block will be the right size.  Most of the time it goes okay, but sometimes you have to do a lot of frog sewing.  For non-quilters, that means "rippit, rippit", as in "rip it out" and start over!!!  

And its going to be a lot larger than I thought.  I had intended for it to be something he could snuggle under to watch TV during the winter, but this one is gonna be big enough for two or three people to snuggle under.  I guess that's a good thing since he's getting married again in a few weeks.  

Y'all take care. 

(A little Post Script here.  I'm very annoyed with the font sizing for this post.  It appears during composition as Normal, but when I post it, it goes to small.   If I choose Large, it posts as huge.  Grrrrrrr...computers!!!!!)  Please be patient.   I'll try to figure it out.  Meanwhile, a change to a font that is readable but not huge.   

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Hummers and Hope

I wish there was some way for me to video tape all the activity outside my window right now. The rubythroated hummingbirds are all over the back yard, and the territory disputes abound!! I don't have a video camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it!!

Adults will consent to share feeding stations but the juveniles just about won't do it. That makes for some incredibly amusing antics. I can't say how many there are out there, but I see three of them dive bombing each other, and then others sneak in to the feeder while they are off wasting energy.

I sat outside the other day trying to get a photo of the red gorget (throat) of one of these little birds. You have to be at just the perfect angle or you lose them. Knowing how hard it is, I do admire those nature photographers who seem to produce perfect shots.

This is the first year that I've had this many hummers at one time. I know other folks along the beach can have 50 or more at the time during the peak of migration. What a glorious sight that must be.

I also get other birds that are curious. This little wren visits regularly and hops along the outside windowsill. This is the first time he clung to the screen. It really is like they are trying to see inside.

Yesterday was a very good day. Hubby had the hernia repair surgery he's been waiting to have. It went well and he's home for the recuperation. Because of the medications he has been on for heart related issues, he couldn't have the surgery until now, so he's been waiting a year for this. The hernia had gotten bigger as time went by so it could not be done laparoscopically. He had about reached the end of his rope due to the pain, discomfort and the inability to do anything but sit around. He tends to be pretty active, and just sitting with chores undone was very difficult for him. I pick up the slack where I can, but that also bothers him. But now, there is hope that when he has healed from this, he will be able to resume his normal activities, including playing golf with his buddies!! It has been over a year since he was able to play in their weekly game.

And as for me, seeing him without discomfort and pain will be a joy.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Quandary and Comments

I am so anxious for the weather to cool off some, but at the same time I am amazed at how fast the time passes by. Guess I'm a kid that way, in that I want to have it both ways, knowing full well that it isn't going to happen.

Sometimes I think my life is boring. Nothing interesting happens. And THEN ----- I'm asked if I'll ride herd on a trust administration when the time comes, I get an invitation to a baby shower for my niece, and I get word that my brother is getting remarried next month!!! Oh, and hubby's long awaited surgery is next Thursday. So, I guess the universe figured I needed to be reminded of familial ties.

Hubby and I are in the throes of a dilemma over whether to sell this place and move to one which requires less upkeep. The deal when we moved here was that we would live here so long as my mother was alive. Well, she's been gone three years now and we're still here. I really don't care for the weather here, the terrain is too flat, and in some ways my beliefs don't fit in with most of the folks who live here. But on the other hand, I'm an emminently practical person. It's the way I was raised. The cost of living is pretty low, I do have family in the extended area, there's no mortgage on the place and hubby likes it here. So, what's a girl to do when there is no compelling reason for such a big event as moving? If I said tomorrow that I really want to move away from here, the preparations would begin. But the really big question is where to move to? There is no point in just moving for the sake of moving, and there is no place that just commands my attention. We've traveled extensively throughout the US and there are lots of places that I like. And, although I hate to admit it, the need for good medical care nearby is now a necessity, thanks to hubby's heart disease. He is very comfortable with his doctors and there are good hospitals nearby. So, do I ask him to uproot his comfortable life just to help assuage my restlessness?

I hear some of my friends express regularly how glad they are to live here and how much they love it. Then I wonder what I'm missing. Why am I not content to be here?

The brother who is getting married is the one for whom the quilt is being made. I've been slacking off and really need to get busy and get it finished as soon as I can and make sure that it's totally done by his birthday in less than three months. Yikes, that puts a whole new light on it. Time is passing and before I know it, I'll be rushing around trying to finish and find a quilter who can squeeze me into a crowded schedule. (It always gets busy for long arm quilters before the holidays.)

I regularly get to see ruby throated hummingbirds as they visit the feeder just outside my workroom window. They never cease to thrill me.

And also a couple of days ago, there was some commotion in the back yard and I found two Cooper's Hawks harassing the squirrels. One lit in a tree and i grabbed my camera. Had the short lens on it, so the picture didn't turn out well. By the time I changed lenses, they had taken off. But the hawk is sitting there in the middle of the picture and he was gorgeous.

I haven't spent much time outside looking for them, but I did see a prothonotary warbler in the tree tops the other day. I'll be going on a birdwatching outing on Saturday with the Audubon chapter, and then next week there's an outing of some of the girls to the local state forest.

Y'all take care.