Thursday, March 30, 2006

Why do I try to bird with the girls? Why, I say?

Flood plains at the Oxbow
Look at the color of that sky...yummy!

The Oxbow, Inc.
American Coots
I actually thought the girls would get on board today and be good while I birded. Silly, silly girl.
We picked Mom up and headed down to the Oxbow. The fields were flooded, so there were limited areas to get into, but the day was beautiful and I was optimistic.
We saw plenty of American Coots, which were nice, but already on my list.
Then Mom pointed out a small, diving bird out on the water.
A Pied-billed Grebe! Hooray!
(Check that one off!!!)
A cute little thing, it was.
Well, I had a solid 3 minutes of birding before the girls started chanting "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!"
Then Lorelei started to cry and yell for Daddy.
Then Isabelle started yelling at Lorelei
and asking at the top of her lungs, "What are doing here, anyway?"
Double-long sigh.
Back at Mom's house, we got the pleasure of watching a male Northern Pintail fly over!
(Check that one off, too!)
All in all, I got two life birds, but along with that I also got high blood pressure and a nervous tic.

The Oxbow

I'm heading out to my Mom's house today in Indiana, and I read that the Oxbow is filling up with some nice birds, so maybe I can convince Mom to go over with me. Hopefully I can get some nice pics to share.
If you would like to learn more about the Oxbow, go to It's a cool place that is being protected, thank goodness.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm livin' on the air in Cincinnati...

Cincinnati, WKRP.

That theme song must have run through my brain 1000 times last night. I've never stayed in a hotel so close to Cincinnati before. It was like vacationing at a neighbor's house...weird.
Did anyone who lived outside of Cincy watch that show? They must was on for how many years? (Watch, Geoff will know the answer to that.)
Gordon Jump will always occupy a special place in my heart...


Thanks, Shannon! Have fun in Gatlinburg! Say Hi to Dolly for me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Forgotten Ohio

I found a fun website recently and wanted to share it with all of you.
It's and it's all about Ohio's haunted houses, abandoned buildings, ghost towns, neat old stories...even a bit about Cincinnati's "subway"'s down there, collecting dust, while traffic builds and builds up on I-75 and I-71.
Lots of fun facts and things that make you go hmmm...

Girl's night out Part Deux

I have the best friend ever. Shannon came up to our room after work and took us to dinner at the Revolving Restaurant at the top of the hotel. The restaurant actually rotates slowly so your view changes as you enjoy your meal. It takes 1 hour 15 minutes to make a complete circle, so we weren't breaking any speed records. The girls liked it, but they kept insisting on standing on the part of the floor that doesn't spin, and they would gradually rotate away from our table and I would have to go retrieve them. They thoroughly enjoyed the bread, but ignored the rest of their meal.
Isabelle news: Today was her first dentist appointment. I am so gosh darn proud of her, I could burst. She was PERFECT. She sat still, she didn't complain, she obeyed directions, she sat through a fluoride treatment and thorough cleaning and scaling. She got a "plaque grade" of 95%...she only had a little plaque on the bottom front teeth and no tooth decay or alignment problems. Boo yah!!!!!!

After dinner, we put on our suits and went swimming in the heated, indoor pool. Ahhh......
The girls have just fallen asleep. The swim really tuckered us out. Isabelle had on water wings, and she did a great job with "swimming" but Lorelei was not getting into the water and just sat on the steps and pretended to swim. I haven't SWUM? SWAM? SWIMMED? in a long time. Anyone want to help me out with the proper form of "swim" for that sentence?

Girl's night out

The girls and I are giving Geoff a break and a night of no distractions by spending the night at a local hotel. My best friend works at the Radisson Riverfront, so she found us a nice room and here we are!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm a sucker for these things

Okay...I got this from Cousin Cathy's blog, and I just couldn't resist.

First grade teacher's name: I think I killed that brain cell.

Last word you said: No!

Last song you sang: Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show

Last thing you laughed at: Isabelle being a goof

Last time you cried: Talking to Rita at the hospital

What's in your cd player? Mixed CD

What color socks are you wearing? White

What's under your bed? Some of Geoff's research papers

What time did you wake up today? I never actually fell asleep last night

Current hair: Reddish brown, long with a ponytail and bangs

Current outfit: Black sweat pants, long-sleeved T-shirt

Current annoyance: Bush Administration

Current smell: Nellie's dog smell

Current longing: To bird more

Current desktop picture: A male cardinal

Current favorite music artist: Jamiroquai

Current book: My bird field guides

Current worry: Bird flu, war

Current hate: George W. Bush

Current favorite article of clothing: jeans jacket

Line from the last thing you wrote to someone: They are the size that they are. I didn't change anything. How big of a photo spread are they doing? You're not going to be the size of a billboard, right?

I am happiest when: The girls are playing nicely

I feel lonely when: The girls would rather be with Geoff

Favorite authors: Anne Rice, Stephen King and Geoff Williams :-)

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Scotland

Famous person you have met: Rev. Jesse Jackson, Anthony Munioz, Boomer, Richard Simmons (I used to work at the airport)

Do you have any regrets? Yes

Sex or love: Love

Favorite coffee: Caramel Frappuchinos!!!

Favorite smell: Babies fresh out of the bath

What makes you mad? Racism, stupidity, BUSH

Favorite way to waste time: blogging

What is your best quality? Great in a crisis

Are in currently in love/lust? Oh yeah...Geoff's totally hot

What's the craziest thing you have ever done? Got thrown out of a Waffle House for dancing on a table....I was YOUNG AND DRUNK

Do you find it hard to trust people? Yes

Last thing you bought yourself: A salwar kameez outfit from India

Bath or shower? shower

Favorite season: Spring

Favorite color: green

Favorite flavor: chocolate

Favorite time of day: Nighttime

Any secret crushes? Yes, but if I tell you, they won't be a secret!

Do you wear a watch? No

Favorite stores: Hobby Lobby, Kohl's, Bird stores!

How big is your closet? walk in

Ever spend more then $200 in a store? Yes, at the grocery all the time

Do your friends know everything about you? Only Shannon...and SHE'S NOT TALKING!!!

What do they tend to be like? Fun, smart, tolerant, kind-hearted

Can you count on them? Absolutely!

Can they count on you? Absolutely!

Last book you read: Wicked

last movie you saw: don't remember

movie you saw on the big screen: TransAmerica

show you watched on tv: LittleBear

song you heard: The theme song to Little Bear

thing you had to drink: Coke

thing you ate: snack...Goldfish crackers shared with Lorelei

time you showered: this morning

time you smiled: a few minutes ago

time you laughed: A few minutes ago

person you hugged: Nellie...wait, do dogs count?

person you talked to online: Geoff

person you talked to on the phone: Geoff's friend Mike Johnson

Do You?
Smoke? Not anymore! Hooray!

Do drugs? No

Drink? Very rarely

Sleep with stuffed animals? Yes...Geoff

Have a dream that keeps coming back? no

Play an instrument? Yes, the alto sax

Read the newspaper? Only if Geoff makes me

Believe in miracles? No

Consider yourself tolerant? yes

Like the taste of alchohol? No

Go to church? no

Have any secrets? hell yes

Have any pets? Have you READ my blog??

Have any piercings? 6 holes in each ear

Have any tattoos? Yes, on my arm

Hate yourself? Not usually

Wish on stars? When Isabelle wants me to

Like your handwriting? No

Believe in ghosts? No, but I'm scared of them

Believe in the tooth fairy? No

Sing in the shower? No

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Before I fall asleep...

I leave you with a few thoughts boinging around in my head:

For no good reason, my favorite line from The Princess Bride came into my head:
"My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

Which somehow linked itself to this line from another favorite movie, Monty Python's The Holy Grail:
"I'm French! That's why I talk in this ridiculous accent!"

I really need some sleep.

Did you miss me?

I have been post-less for two days, if you can believe it.
And here's why:

She's fine now, but Rita, my mom-in-law, was in the hospital this weekend, because we thought she had a stroke. She got a terrible headache and suddenly couldn't remember important things, like whether her father was still alive or not. (He's not.)

After 24 hours in the hospital, it was revealed that she had a special kind of migraine that can cause short-term amnesia...not kidding!
She will be home tomorrow and all is well. Boy, that woman knows how to scare a person.

After rushing up to Middletown to see her, we went to the in-law's house to take care of their dog and cat, and we then decided to take their dog home with us so that Jim wouldn't have to leave Rita's side to worry over the dog.

This morning, before taking Roxy the wonderdog back, I had to run by my cousin's baby shower, explained all the stuff that was going on and zipped back home.

On the way back home, I saw two dogs lying in a field near the road, side by side and not moving. Oh, God. I saw collars, so I turned around and went back. They were alive, thank goodness, so I popped them in the car and took them home. They had invisible fence collars on. Lot of good that did!

I called the number on their collars, but there was no answer. So Geoff Googled the number and we got an address, and I was off in the car again with the dogs. The woman didn't even realize the dogs had been missing...nice dog owner. If I ever see the dogs out and about again, they are STAYING. The woman also lived in a million dollar house, and I think she can afford a real fence.

Then, I grabbed Isabelle, Lorelei and Roxy the wonderdog and booked it up to Middletown. Dropped off Roxy at Jim and Rita's and went to the hospital, found out that Rita is fine, and then came home.

Geoff's book is due Friday, and he is still in the middle of changing the format. It's 99% written, but we all realized that the information needed to be presented differently, or no one would be able to follow it. He really needed this weekend to finish by Friday, but it's getting tighter and tighter. I can't wait to get my husband back. He doesn't even see me half the time, even if I am standing right in front of him.
So, that was my weekend. We will return to regular blogging tomorrow.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.

Charles Lindbergh

My moment of Birding Zen for the week

Jon Stewart gives us our moment of Zen every night on the Daily Show, so...

Yesterday, as I was shooing away the blankety-blank House Sparrows, I was also staring wistfully at the bluebird pair who were staring back at me just as intently. And then a quartet of Mockingbirds careened through the yard. The Cardinals were reenacting West Side Story in the trees ..."When You're a Jet...". A mystery Woodpecker (maybe our elusive Red-Headed?) drummed merrily off in the distance. A Turkey Vulture wheeled atop the woods across Rt. 48. And then, when I didn't think that I could squeeze another avian into the scene, a Great Blue Heron passed overhead.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Don't make my bluebirds blue!

I have become a Bluebird Constable. The bluebird pair from previous posts really look interested in our bluebird house. But, to my chagrin, the GD house sparrows like it too. I have been out there shooing them off most of the morning. I'll be dipped if I let those nasty little head-peckers bump out my bluebirds. Everything I read and see about house sparrows, I hate. They will not only displace our natives, but they will peck the heads of baby birds seemingly for the Hell of it.
I did find a use for our recently departed butterflies. I took them out to the back yard and laid them out, hopefully in an obvious way, for any bug-eating birds to have. Who knows if there will be any takers.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Alas, poor Yurick, we hardly knew thee

I was thinking about all the animals living with us and started to count them. I was startled to realize that there are thirteen of them.

1. Nellie

1. Queen
2. Pandora
3. Buddha
4. Trixie

1. Cuter (Betta)]
2. little pink one
3. another little pink one
4. Plecostomus

1. Slimey

1. Penny

1. Lollipop
2. Echo

*Temporary boarders:
5 half-dead butterflies
Which brings me to the next topic...

I don't think our butterflies are going to make it. One of them is still twitching, but it's not looking good. I have had to go in and rescue them all from the sugar water-soaked tissues I was instructed to give them. They keep getting stuck in it, and just lay there and flap. That noise is driving the cats mad, especially Trixie, the only one with a real prey drive.

I wish it had been warmer, so I could have let them out to fend for themselves. (And lessen my guilt a little.)

Gold at the end of Winter

I guess no one told this little guy that it's tres gauche to be this yellow in March.
(It's like those people who wear white after Labor Day)
All the other male Goldfinches are still mottled and olive-drab and boring, but this guy is planning on getting a girlfriend alot sooner than everyone else!
They don't nest until June and July, so I guess he's counting on the "early-bird" special.
*I know...groan*
He showed up a few days ago, and I hope I can keep track of him
to see if he stays or
moves on.
Isn't he pretty?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Glittery snow~bluebirds~Lollipop and Echo~Dad memories

Lollipop and Echo are settling in well and have been enjoying some birdy snuggling over the seed cup, and grooming each other. They actually fell asleep with their foreheads pressed together, but I couldn't get a photo of it. Bummer.
The snow, while disgruntling, was very sparkly and glittering last night, so I tried to capture that while out with Nellie on her last visit outside for the night.
Our male bluebird on our far fence...and his wifey on the martin house below; Could I dare to hope that they stick around? I would almost not care about the purple martins. Note that I said almost.
The quality of my photos has been bugging me. But I remembered that my Mom still has my Dad's good, old cameras with long lenses and she said I was welcome to them. I might be able to make something happen with a telephoto lens, right?
Dad was "the" photographer at all of our events. That is, when he wasn't cooking the meal for the event! He was a wonderful photographer, and maybe if he didn't have to "work" for a living, maybe he would have been a professional photographer. There's a great photo album at the house that Dad put together with photos that he took and developed while he was in Korea. (after the Korean War and before the Vietnam War)
If Dad had gotten on the digital bandwagon, imagine what he could have done with pictures!

Now you don't have an excuse!

Found this on the National Wildlife Federation's website...Brilliant idea...
Grow Wild
American Beauties for the BackyardNational Wildlife Federation, partners set to debut line of native plants:

Spring's a season when many homeowners have planting on the brain. They trek to local garden centers in search of new flora, but are often left confused by all the choices: Is the plant I like good for wildlife? Does it grow naturally in my area? A groundbreaking program giving native plants their own brand name will help eliminate this guesswork.
NWF has partnered with North Creek Nurseries and Prides Corner Farms to create the American Beauties™ collection. Approximately 100 varieties of native plants and their cultivars, including trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses, will be included in the new line, which will be sold at garden centers from New England to the Mid-Atlantic beginning in March.
"The Federation encourages people to landscape with wildlife in mind, and incorporating natives is a big part of that," says Greg Griffith, NWF's director of cause-related marketing. "Native plants require less water, fertilizer and pest control than exotics, and they provide animals with food and shelter."
American Beauties plants will come in sage green pots bearing the brand's logo (inset) and will be divided into four garden categories: bird, butterfly, dry shade and moist sun. A portion of the proceeds from each plant sold will help fund NWF's conservation and education work. The latest information will be available January 2006!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Busy at the feeders this morning

There was a waiting list for the feeders this morning. I could only capture about 20 birds in this pic, but there were easily twice as many at any given time.
Happy Spring.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My brilliant daughter

You can tell that Isabelle is the daughter of a writer. She comes up with the best pet names. She named her fish CUTER, because he was "cuter" than other fish. And the list of names for my fish tank is impressive. Well, she's outdone herself this time. When I asked her what the boy bird's name should be, she said, "ECHO".

If there's a better name for a bird than that, I'm sure I can't think of one.


What a day we're having! First the butterflies, and now bluebirds! A male and female were hawking from our purple martin house. You'd think that it's too cold for any creepy-crawlies to be out and about, but the bluebirds were stuffing themselves with something. I hope they take up residence...there's a nice, cozy, (expensive) bluebird house to the left of the martin house.
Sorry about the quality of this photo...I wonder if I am doing something wrong with the camera.

There be butterflies here!

Thank goodness I put the cocoons in the habitat TODAY.

I had just finished the previous post about the cocoons and went up to grab some lunch, and there was a butterfly!

The red liquid under the butterfly in the far right picture is left-over fluids and pigment from the caterpillar and is completely normal.
If I hadn't read about it beforehand, it would have scared the wits out of me!
The new butterfly has been trying out it's proboscis, the straw-like thing it uses to drink.
Can you imagine what it feels like to go through such a transformation?
I guess I better make up some sugar water.
The girls are going to flip! They will be home from school in about an hour.

Happy Spring First!

Someday I will get used to having birds in the house. I'm sitting about three feet from the cage, and I have quiet Classical on, and Lollipop suddenly let out a string of TWEETS!!!! and I just about wet my pants.
Penny looked quite startled herself.

In honor of "Spring 1st" I am sharing pics of the soon-to-be butterflies. Four are hanging on the side of the habitat, one is on the floor. (He or she is fine...when I picked it up to put in the habitat, it wiggled furiously. That's a mechanism against predation)

The two in the middle are very close to opening. The darker the cocoon, the closer they are. Though it's hard to see in the photo (why doesn't my camera take good close shots?) their wings are visible through the cocoon wall. It's so fasinating to see this happening. And the girls are very interested, too, though I think they forgot about them in the past few days, while the cocoons were sitting in the cup on the mantle. This morning, before school, we put them in the habitat, and Lorelei pointed and said, "Ugs!" Translation: Bugs!

Coming soon...butterfly pics!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Since my wonderful in-laws offered to take the girls off our hands today to let Geoff work on the book and so I could accomplish something, I decided to go get a wheelbarrow.

Of course, it came disassembled, so I had to put it together and Nellie, Trixie and Buddha helped out. Queen and Pandora were interested, but they are just too old and crotchety to pitch in. Pandora is 8, and I can't believe Queen is 10. I wonder how long she would have made it if we hadn't found each other.
(For those of you who don't know my critters, Trixie is the tabby and white, and Buddha is the gray...I have stories of each pet on a post from the early days of this blog...October, maybe?)

I wanted to get outside today. I got some great advice that if you want to kill off a large patch of grass for a garden or flower bed, put down newspaper and cover it with mulch now, so when it's time to plant, the grass underneath will die and the newspaper and mulch will compost down. Sounds alot easier than removing sod.

But, alas, I found reasons to go down and sing to the parakeets. They are settling in and singing back to me. The boy will sit on my hand, but the girl's still skittish. Penny is very interested in the interlopers living in HER cage.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A nifty thing I totally stole from Laura's blog.

This little thingy ( scans your blog for "keywords" and formats them into this block. Interesting to see what words I use...that's funny, I don't
remember using the word "Bird"...

I LOVE add-ons...if anyone knows of any good sites for free blog add-ons, let me know.
And I am re-opening the Great-Name-Another-Williams-Pet Naming Contest.
Since we have a girl bird named Lollipop, we need a boy name to go with that.
Send in your answers...and no "Sucker" or "Popsicle".
The winner gets to come over and bird/cat/dog/fish/snail/rat sit while we are in Port Clinton!
Har, har.

Meet the Flockers

(I know...that's a really bad pun.)

These are our new parakeets. My mother and my in-laws are choking right now...hear them?

Why would we do this? When we have 2 kids, 1 dog, 4 cats, 1 rat, 4 fish, 1 snail and 5 caterpillars? Well, I don't have a simple answer for that.

Yes, I do. Geoff made me do it.

Friday, March 17, 2006

"The story of bird migration is the story of promise - a promise to return.”
-that French dude on Winged Migration-
Another "bird trip" is in the making. I just made reservations for a hotel in Port Clinton for International Migratory Bird Day. It's the second Saturday in May every year and I am so jazzed!
Magee Marsh is known around the birding world...I didn't quite believe what I read about the place before we went. Well, it seemed that there were 10 birds in every tree, and we must have seen 50 Great Blue Herons and Great Egrets between the hotel and the Reserve. I was intimidated by the sheer amount of avifauna around me, and it was my first "bird trip" as we call it to the girls. But I was lucky to find a few old-timers who pointed out some birds that I would have missed.
Crane Creek/Magee Marsh is a stopping-off point for the neotropical migrants and shorebirds that pass through, and we are so lucky to live in Ohio and get to see it!
The geography of that part of Ohio was shaped by the great-great-great-great- grandfather of Lake Erie, called Lake Maumee. Park Services there have restored valuable wetland, and they can control the water levels and it's just Heaven for all those tired birds.
There are old and working fields, forest, marshes, rivers, and big ol' Lake Erie all put together, and I am counting the days until we go!
54 days !

Cute little pre-leaflets

Nature knows what she's doing, but sometimes I have to wonder about her. I couldn't really capture it in this photo of buds on our red maples, but there's snow falling this morning. March is the most exciting and frustrating month for who I call "green people". The end of winter is like a long, drawn-out finale, instead of just turning the page to Spring.
It's heartening to see all the sweet little buds peeking out. I am positively itching to get to Earthscapes and "wild-scape" our yard.

My tomboys are girly-girls, too!

Lorelei wanted to try the dupatta from my new Indian outfit.
And of course, Nellie had to try it on, too.
Then it was time for my fancy scarf that Geoff brought back from his business trip to India.
So glamorous, in their head scarves and PJ's.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

An eye for an eye, an ear for an ear

Isabelle now has an ear infection, and also conjunctivitis. And strep throat.
She must have felt bad, because she asked to go to the doctor.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Easter Legend

This one's for Laura...the bunny-phile.

Here comes Peter Cottontail, hoppin' down the bunny trail...

Nellie's Bellie's well and other things

1. Nellie's better, and she's home on a special diet for a few days. The vet's not sure what the culprit was. But all I care about is having Nellie back home. She's been sleeping it off.
2. I spent most of the day at the tire place getting brake pads, rotors and front tires. I could tell the brakes were on the way out two days ago when they started to make a grinding sound. But my mind was made up this morning while taking the girls to school and the brakes *slipped*. Yeah, they slipped. From 9:30 am to 12:30pm, they worked on the car, and when I told them I needed to get the girls from school, they torqued up my tires and let me go get the girls, bring them back, and then they finished my alignment.
3. After her nap, Isabelle burst into tears and said her ear hurts. Jeez!!!! I guess the pediatrician's office will see our smiling faces in the next few days if she doesn't improve soon. Too bad ear infections are basically something that the doctor won't really treat, unless the kid has other symptoms. They get hinky about antibiotic overuse. Easy for them to say, when it's not their kid.
4. Cool bird sightings: Nothing rare or anything, but I saw my first yellow-rumped warbler. Make that two yellow-rumped warblers. I realized that I really do take birding seriously when I noticed that I was watching the warblers from the bathroom window, and I was half-dressed for people to see across the street. And I practiced good bird ID procedures by looking for field marks before running for my Birds of Ohio field guide. And I verified them by their behavior of gleaning through one of our red maples. Yea for me!
Other bird sighting: A chipping sparrow is back in the yard. They disappear in fall and usually are replaced around here with American Tree sparrows, but this year, no tree sparrows. That's what made the chipping sparrow stand out so much, among the DAMN house sparrows. I truly hate house sparrows. Starlings, too. I heard that starling populations are down in Britain. They are more than welcome to mine.
4. Isabelle just popped up and said her ear was better. I guess the ibuprofen kicked in.
5. Oh, another bird sighting I forgot about! An American Kestrel in a tree near White Pillars, the old plantation house/new subdivision down the road.
I think that's all I have time for right now. I guess I should cook some dinner for these kids and my DH.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

So far, so good...

Latest word from the vet... Nellie has kept some water down this morning, so they will be trying solid food this afternoon and see if anything "comes up". Yeah, bad pun, I know.
Thanks to everyone who cares for Nellie, literally or in Laura's case, "virtually"!
I miss Nellie alot. She's such a big part of our lives. When the cats fight, Nellie's the peace maker. Well, it looks more like cat-bowling when Nellie breaks up a fight: Nellie barrelling into the middle and cats scattering in all directions.
She is also a huge warm pillow at night, squeezed in between Geoff and me. And she walks with me out to the mailbox, and likes to hop in the car when we leave, and likes to let us know that someone is pulling into their driveway on our cul-de-sac...and so on.

Monday, March 13, 2006

I think we will be sending the vet's children through college. Nellie is now in the animal hospital. She has never been this sick. She has been vomiting for three days, and when I saw how dehydrated she was, I knew it was time to take her in. When I called for an update this afternoon, the Doc didn't have anything definitive, but the X-rays showed no foreign objects (like the chicken bones Nellie ate a few weeks ago) and she is showing no signs of infection (like from the rotten steak she found in the bushes that I had thrown out for the racoons a month ago). The vet is running blood work to rule out pancreatitis and some other things. Keep Nellie in your thoughts...those of you who have met her know that there is no sweeter dog in the world, and I frankly don't know if I can take losing another beloved pet right now.

And yes, in this photo, Lorelei's buns are bare. And yes, Isabelle is dressed as a dinosaur. It was the only pic of Nellie stored on my old computer...the laptop won't connect to the Internet. You never know what the kids will be doing when the camera comes out.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Huey 2004-2006

Oh, the price we pay when we love an animal:
Wonderful, sweet, talkative, lovable Huey went over the Rainbow Bridge yesterday.
He had had a previous run-in with a nasty respiratory infection in the past, but he had improved. Yesterday, I noticed his breathing was labored, so I grabbed him and Lorelei and sped to the vet. He arrested as I was running him into the office. The vet and staff tried to resuscitate him, but with rats, once they're gone, it's nearly impossible to get them back.
We brought him home and buried him under our flowering crabapple tree, out near the bird feeders. Isabelle and I will paint him a nice stone for his resting place.
Lorelei has been breaking my heart, calling out, "Eewwy, Eewwy" (her version of Huey)
and how can I explain to a 2 year old?
Huey was the rat who made me love rats.
He will be missed by his humans, and his cage-mate Penny.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Houston, we have cocoons

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo. I can't remove the lid so as not to disturb the caterpillars.
It seems like we have hosted these little guys for ages, but it's only been a week or so. And this morning, they did what caterpillars do...they started making their chrysalises. The five break down like this: One fell off the top of the cup and made his cocoon on the floor of the cup. Two have completed their cocoons and are hanging at the top. And two are hanging and starting their cocoons.
I think I may be more excited than Isabelle and Lorelei about this.
It really is amazing how a little hairy worm can become
something that can fly.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

This blog takes requests

A fellow birder-blogger buddy asked to see some of my scrapbook pages, and I pride myself on being accommodating.
1. Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuses.
2. Like Mother, like Daughter.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm feeling a little...wicked.

I never imagined that I would actually pull it off, but yours truly is going to see WICKED when it comes to Cincinnati next week. Hip hip hooray!
I found two tickets together for a fairly unridiculous price, and my friend Amy and I are going to go have a night of culture.
I'm having quite a week...I built something that really works, my foot feels almost normal, I saw 5 hawks in one day, and I get to go see the most talked-about musical in years!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A commercial that made me cry from laughing

I may be giving these folks a freebie, but this commercial is SO funny.

This is a real product...why didn't we have this when Nellie was getting trained? We may have been able to save some money on new carpet.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Quote of the day for March 6, 2006

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.
Margaret Atwood

Can I get an amen???

A day of raptor rapture

Today all the hawks must have called each other and got together to follow me around Cincinnati. I saw 5 hawks (one Cooper's and four red-taileds) on my trip to and back from Mom's house. (I took Bailey home today...Mom had a great time in Alabama- she somehow got on the condo's website...I will find it later and post the address)
The first sighting was while I was waiting in the drive thru line at Starbuck's. This hawk comes barrelling out of the sky to snatch up something that, unfortunately for the hawk, ended up on the other side of a chain link fence. The hawk hit the fence and needed a few minutes to repair its dignity. On one hand, thank goodness Starbuck's is so slow, but then I was swearing under my breath as the line advanced to the point where I lost sight of the hawk. A few minutes later, I caught sight of it again in my rear view mirror. It had found a gap in the fence and was walking through it. By the time I got my blankety-blank caramel Frappuchino and circled the parking lot for a good look, it was gone.
The other four hawks were all doing something interesting as I buzzed by at 65 mph: three were diving for prey along the side of the expressway and one was standing in the median looking confused about something a few feet in front of it.

I guess urban birding is better than no birding at all.


Okay, I am officially excited about spring.
I heard the wonderful call of a red-winged blackbird at the girl's school today.
***Susan does the Snoopy dance***

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Nite nite caterpillars

The girls wanted to kiss the caterpillars goodnight tonight, and who am I to say no?
These critters are huge! They came to us about 1/2 inch long, and now, about 5 days later, they are about 2 1/2 inches long and fat. They should be making those cocoons soon..can't wait to post pictures of our homemade butterflies.
Everyone sit down...I have startling news.Geoff and I actually did something right.I's unprecedented.Geoff gave me a purple martin house for Christmas and I put it together last weekend. Only took 4 hours. Why do things come in 1000 pieces? I dug the hole...slowly, since my foot is not 100% yet. And Geoff and I actually mixed cement yesterday, set the post, and today we raised the house. And it's STRAIGHT. And it's SOLID. We did it!What a great weekend...aside from the bird house, I also put new wiper blades on my car. That's something that I have been putting off.I think my Dad is doing a dance somewhere...I actually listened to his teachings. Check out my purple martin house, Dad!
This is my sweetie, Huey. He's a one-year old fancy rat and he's way too fat and he just has my heart in his precious little paws.

Here he is climbing around in his favorite spot...under my ponytail. Wow, my hair looks so shiny!

(I took this pic by just pointing the camera at the back of my head.)
Really, I didn't know my hair was so healthy-looking in the back!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

One of my favorites of Lorelei. Why? Because I don't know if she is pointing at the bald eagle 3 feet away, or the snazzily-dressed birder to the left of the eagle!
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One of my favorite photos of Isabelle. Why? Because she's being my "little junior birder" This was at Magee Marsh Bird Trail last year. I can't wait until we go again this year!
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Friday, March 03, 2006

Better late than never

New Year's resolution: (yeah, yeah, I know it's March!)
Bird at least once a week...not counting the feeder-watching.
I don't think that I can feasibly bird with the girls so the birding would have to occur on the weekends. If anyone wants to come over and join me, let me know. I WILL bring someone into birding someday! I need that bird-or-die mentality.
We in Cincinnati don't have the true birding "hot spots" but we do have some great places...the Oxbow, lots of the parks, the Cincinnati Nature Center in Milford, etc. I'm not exactly sick of my yard birds, but there are a finite amount of species I can attract in my rural/suburban yard. Give me wild turkeys like Mom gets...or an indigo bunting like my lucky-dog in-laws got. What I would give for a warbler...any warbler!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sandhill Crane Web Cam

Even at night, this is awesome. I just went to this site, and all was dark, but you can hear the cranes chatting back and forth in the gloom. I almost have Geoff convinced we can get there by the first week of April.
Hey, I didn't get to go to San Fransisco, but I'd settle for Nebraska.
Listening to those cranes affected me. I have seen sandhills in Magee Marsh, but thinking about the 500,000 cranes that show up along the Platte made my heart do a thing...can't describe it...
Geoff's the writer. Maybe if he commented on this blog occasionally...
Here's an interesting statistic: I have had more comments from strangers than from Geoff.
Anyway...go to this website!

Caterpillars and rototillers

We are hosting 5 painted lady caterpillars in our home, as part of one of Isabelle's Christmas presents...we sent away for these caterpillars and they arrived in a plastic cup with a lid and all the food they need inside. In about a week, these little guys (who have TRIPLED in size in 2 days) will climb to the top of the cup and form their cocoons. Then we will put them in the habitat provided (a big mesh tube) and they will pop out as painted ladies. Pretty cool.

I am positively ITCHING to dig in the dirt this spring. Just when I thought I might get a decent afternoon to try out my new rototiller (thanks, Mom!) the temp dropped about 12 degrees and knocked out that idea. Oh well, as Scarlett said, "Tomorrow is another day."

The National Arbor Day Foundation needs a reality check

We got our yearly appeal from the Arbor Day Foundation to join and we would get 10 trees to plant in our yard. We have done this in the past, but before this year, I hadn't really paid attention to what kind of trees they sent us. (And to tell the truth, we never got around to planting them..oops)
Well, this year, the list of flowering trees they offered were these:
Washington Hawthorn
Flowering Crabapple
White Dogwood
American Redbuds
Golden Raintree
Now, look at the title of my blog. Can you guess what I checked on when I looked up these trees?
That's right...are they native to Ohio?
All of them checked out except for one...the golden raintree. Let me say first that it's a beautiful tree. Now: It's not only NOT native, it's a very aggressive, invasive species. They have seed pods that scatter every fall and saplings will pop up everywhere around the mother tree. So the Arbor Day foundation is giving away a bad, bad tree. If you get this notice in the mail, by all means join and accept the native trees, but it wouldn't hurt to do what I am going to do: call them to the carpet on sending out trees from Asia that could shade out and overpower our native flora.

And Susan's command for today. Go outside your house today and smell the air. Can you feel spring coming? Hooray!!!!!!!

Nellie, will ya quit changin' the channel?!