Monday, July 28, 2008

What Next??

As if fighting the squirrels and raccoons isn't enough, now I have a new visitor at my bird feeders. Mr. Groundhog has been visiting for the last few weeks. He's a big one but very skittish. The pictures are cloudy because I had to take the pictures through the back door screen. If he detects the slightest sound or movement he's gone. The squirrels are the opposite. They just taunt me and laugh at me. I can get within a foot of them and then they just slowly meander a few feet away.
He's pretty harmless. I guess I don't mind sharing the peanuts with him. He can't get up onto the hanging feeders like the other nuisance animals so I'll tolerate him.... what choice do I have?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hosta Challenge

Good Morning!! I was greeted by these beautiful Morning Glory's this morning. I love the way the middle of the flower looks like rays of sunshine.
My online friend Margaret has initiated a "Hosta Challenge" to see who has the biggest Hosta. Here is my offering. These "Sum and Substance" Hostas are by my back porch. When I planted them a few years ago they barely had 3 or 4 leaves. For the first time this year I had to trim a few of the leaves off the edges because they were hanging over into the lawn. I think I need to divide them next year.
Like Margaret, I placed a "pop" can as we call it here in Michigan as opposed to a "soda" can, so you can tell the size of it.
I don't really think my Hosta is bigger than yours Margaret but the size of the leaves are enormous on this plant. They are like the size of 2 dinner plates. Who else would like to share some of their Hostas?
Update on my Wren friend from yesterday.... While I was still in bed this morning I heard the Wren's singing. I'm hoping that is a good sign and that it is my little Wren friend from yesterday that was stuck in the jelly. There were two of them in the yard this morning and they were busy bringing sticks into the nesting box. I thought it was late in the year to be building a nest but maybe not. Anyway... I hope it's him and that he OK from the trauma.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I feel awful

I was gone for a few hours this morning grocery shopping. The first thing I usually do when I get home is go check on my birds and feeders. I almost had a heart attack when I saw this poor wren. He was stuck in the grape jelly that I put out for the orioles. As stated in my previous post the orioles have been gone for several weeks but I am still putting out the jelly for them in hopes that they will return.
I asked Craig to come help me get him off the jelly and told him that we had to rinse his wing off. I didn't figure he could fly with that jelly stuck on his feathers. Our plan was to take him over to the bird bath and rinse him off best we could. Just when Craig was about to grab him he got himself loose from the jelly and flopped to the ground. As suspected, he couldn't fly. He just hopped and flopped around.
We tried to catch him for about 5 minutes or so and one time I actually had a towel over him but he got away from that too. Finally he made his way around the side of the garage and we lost him. Poor little fella!! I feel terrible!! I don't know what's going to become of him if he can't fly with that goo all over his wing. I just went out and brought the jelly back into the house. I don't want any other birds to get stuck. Craig thinks the jelly will dry up in his wing and he will be OK. I'm not so sure. I think Craig was just trying to make me feel better.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Oh Where, Oh Where.....

..... have my Orioles gone, oh where, oh where can they be???
I haven't seen my Orioles for 2 weeks now. What could have happened to them? Where did they go? They were here everyday for 2 months eating me out of home and jelly. They raised their families here, brought their babies to meet me. They have completely disappeared and I miss them!! If I don't see them anymore this year I hope they come back next year.


Caleb was a dinosaur fanatic when he was little. We went to all the dinosaur exhibits, museums, movies,... you name it. If it had to do with dinosaurs we went to it. Not to mention all the dinosaur books, CD's and toys that he had. At the youngest age he could tell you the name of every dinosaur, what they did and what they ate. I once took him to our local children's museum for a play/learning session on dinosaurs. When I went to pick him up the teacher told me that Caleb should have been the one teaching the class.
So this leads me to my W.O.F. item this week. Have you ever seen those artists that paint rocks to look like animal or other objects? I've seen some talented artists at art shows before that do this. We once saw someone who did dinosaurs. Anyway, my Mom tried to copy the idea and made Caleb a dinosaur one. She painted this triceratops for Caleb in 1997. Not bad for an amateur.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Thanks Dad... You're the greatest

I've been admiring a bird feeder at the "Wild Birds Unlimited" store but the $75 price tag kept me only admiring. I showed my Dad a picture of it and before I knew it he threw this together for me. I love it!! Thanks Dad!!
It's a fly thru feeder that I've been wanting for some time. You can't really tell but it's a good 2 feet wide. Craig helped me put it up in service last night. I bought the "mega" squirrel baffle that is suppose to be big enough to keep even raccoons off of it. I saw muddy paw prints in the pole and the bottom of the baffle this morning so I think it worked. Time will tell.
I attached a few little side feeders to it as well. This is an old fashioned ladle that I picked up at an antique store and painted it black. I put whole peanuts in it. The peanuts were gone when I got home from work so something has been eating them. I could hardly go to work today because I wanted to stay home and watch the birds find it. I have yet to see a bird on it. I'm sure I will soon....

The best part is that we put it right outside the kitchen bay window. As crazy as I am about my birds, I didn't have one feeder that I could see from inside the house. Now I can admire the birds from inside.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Silver Lake

We made it home last night... had a great time and came home totally exhausted. Craig and the kids were at the dunes everyday having a blast. I went to the dunes twice and then did other things as well. I found some really old historical barns that were filled with antiques. Both were over a hundred years old. One was a huge dairy barn and the other was small but adorable. It was so fun rummaging around them. I might do a posting of a few small things that I picked up.
I wanted to do some birding at the campground but that ended up being a joke. There is a really nice walking nature trail through the woods at the campground and I had visions of all kinds of wonderful birds that I hoped to see. One day while I was alone at the campground I set myself all up to go "birding". I put on camouflage clothes, sprayed myself with bug spray, grabbed my camera and binoculars and off I went. I found a stump to sit on and sat and waited..... nothing. I walked deeper until I came to a swampy area. The bugs paid no attention to the bug repellent that I had to put on and I think I must have donated 2 pints of blood to the occasion. Soon I found myself frantically trying to head back to the campsite. By the time I made it back I was sweating profusely and beet red in the face and frustrated. I collapsed onto the cot in the tent and aimed the fan right on me. That was the end of my birding. I think I'll just keep enjoying the birds in my back yard. I didn't come home totally birdless.... the sea gulls were very abundant at the dunes.
Caleb was very happy with the performance of his dune buggy. It never had one mechanical issue the whole 5 days in the dunes. That was a miracle.
Another fun trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes! The name is confusing because it is actually on Lake Michigan.
I didn't do a very good job of taking photos. I am always nervous to have my camera out too much at the dunes or the campground because of all the sand. Josh and Allen (Caleb's friends) and Shane (Jordan's boyfriend) joined us for the week. A good time was had by all. I'm sure they are already planning another trip up before the summer is over.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We're off to see The Wizard

Last summer Silver Lake photos
OK, we're not really going to see The Wizard but we are leaving tomorrow morning and will be returning Sunday evening. We're headed to Silver Lake Sand Dunes for a week of camping and 4-wheelin. The kids have invited friends to join us and there will be about 12 of us!!
I'll be out in the dunes a lot too but I have other plans as well. Hiking, birding, photography, antiquing, reading and relaxing.

The have wireless internet at the campground that we are staying at but I'm not sure if I'll take the laptop or not. I just don't think camping and computers go together. But I'll be sure and think of you all when I'm sitting around the campfire eating a marshmallow. See you Sunday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Yippee it's Saturday!!

Here I am apologizing again for missing W.O.F. It's been a crazy week. Thursday I worked a double; left for work at 7:00AM and got home after 11:00PM. Then I went back to work Friday morning and worked a 10 hour shift. I was beat and stressed. Today has been spent relaxing and doing my favorite things.
Jordan and Lu-Lu (my parents dog)
My first favorite thing was early this morning. I woke up about 4:00AM to the most wonderful thunderstorm. I LOVE thunderstorms. I laid in bed for the next few hours drifting in and out of the most peaceful sleep listening to the rain. I then got up and went out on the front porch to enjoy the rain even more. I took my i-Pod with me and listened to my new bird podcasts while it continued to pour. It steadily rained until close to noon but it was much welcomed. Jordan and the gang
Early afternoon Jordan and I went grocery shopping for our camping trip this week. While I was in town my Dad called my cell phone to tell me that he had made me a bird feeder. A week ago or so I showed my Dad of a picture of a bird feeder that I wanted and he didn't waste any time making it for me. I'm so excited about my new feeder. It deserves it's own post after I get it put up and in service.
All the photos on my post today are from this afternoon at my parents. Jordan and I took Seadra and Zoe with us. It's so peaceful and relaxing over there. A walk around the gardens is all it takes to make the stresses of the week disappear.
Things are just beginning to ripen in the garden. We came home with summer squash and cukes. Jordan cooked the squash already... it was yummy.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Visit Whattville

My friend Cliff of "WIXY's Gone Bananas" has a new poetry blog called "Whattville is on the Other Side of the Tracks". I don't know how he puts these words together. Pay him a visit. Here's what he wrote about me in a poem recently....

Jessica is a very busy one
But she seems to have a lot of fun
She has her family, her dogs, her birds
She takes her pictures, and uses words

Thanks Cliff for keeping us entertained and putting a smile on our faces.

Who loves their I-Pod?

We live in an i-Pod generation. I decided to join the revolution about a year ago. I watched the kids fall in love with theirs and I was feeling left out so out I went to get myself one. For Craig and the kids their i-Pods are never out of their sight. They use them on their car stereos, in the house, outside... you name it. When I first got mine I was thrilled with it. However, I used mine differently. I downloaded podcasts more than music and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the stories and news that I found. But the newness soon wore off and my i-Pod sits more than it is used.

Today I decided to give it new life again. Maybe I could find some new podcasts that would ignite a spark in me again. Bingo!! I found some birding podcasts!!.... Laura Ericson's "For the Birds", Ray Brown's "Talkin Birds", and "This Birding Life". There are podcasts for whatever your passion is. But you probably already knew that. I'm slow when it comes to this i-Pod stuff.


A few months ago my favorites list got all messed up. They were rearranged for some reason. Probably some button I clicked without knowing it. Anyway, I felt lost. I was ambitious this morning and decided to fix that frustration. I must have deleted 3/4 of my favorites that needed to be weeded out. Then I updated my blog links in the sidebar of my blog. Yea... You'll be happy to know that you are all nicely organized and easy to find now.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

This is how we spent our 4th. Having food and fun with friends out at the cottage.
Happy 4th to all our friends and family.

Weird Object (Chicken) Friday

When we moved into our house I decided that I wanted to do my kitchen in chickens and roosters.... much to Craig's disapproval, but he has learned to live with them. He does occasionally threaten to start butchering some chickens when I get carried away.
A few years ago my Aunt Bell called me up and told me that she was bringing over a gift for me. This chicken cookie jar.
What's so weird about that? Apparently some 37 years ago my Mother made this for her. I'm not sure if you can see the inscription on the bottom but it has my Mothers initials and the date 1971 on the bottom. Aunt Bell thought that I should have it. Who would have thought that all these years later I would be decorating my kitchen in chickens and that I would be the owner of the chicken from so long ago?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time to hit the books

A few weeks ago Craig and I walked around one of my favorite antique malls. I spotted a large platform bird feeder for $28 that I wanted but at the time I choose to pass it up. I kept thinking about that bird feeder... you know, you've been there too. I figured that since I couldn't stop thinking about that bird feeder that there must be a reason why.... and so I justified in my mind that the bird feeder just had to be mine. I went there today to pick up MY bird feeder. It was gone. I guess it wasn't meant to be mine after all.....

But it was not a lost cause. In this mall is a booth that sells books. It's one of my favorite booths. They don't really sell antique books, most are old out of print and some are newer hardly used books. But they are all reasonably priced and all are in great shape. I can always find a book or two that I just have to have. But today was especially fun!! Once a year for the month of July they have 50% off all their books. I was in heaven. I sat right down on the floor and made myself comfortable flipping through those books!! "Wow, this book is only $1.50, Wow, this book is only $3.00, Wow, this book is only $2.00." My pile quickly grew pretty tall. I came home with 9 books all for less than $20.00. Several of the books I got were on my wish list. It was my lucky day. Maybe I'll stop by there again tomorrow (you're not reading this, are you Craig?).

All of my books are about (you guessed it) birds, nature, hiking, photography, religion. I'm going to have some great reading when we are on our camping trip in a few weeks. Time to hit the books......