Friday, June 30, 2006
If not for Phoebe, Julie Zickefoose's daughter, I would not have looked at this Cheeto twice. But when I pulled it out of the bag, it reminded me of a Y chromosome.
See? You never know what level of entertainment you will get here on
Susan Gets Native!
We have been hiding a dirty secret here at the Williams' manor. We have mice in the basement. As in where I sit every night to write this blog. That's why I have been absent for the past few days. We have live-caught two so far. The first one we released in the yard. But it may have returned. I read a study where scientists tagged mice, released them 3 miles away from where they were caught, and they returned within a week. So today, after catching the second, I decided that 3 miles wouldn't do it. I took them to my Mom's house...47.3 miles away (give or take a few miles for a side trip to Starbucks) I couldn't get a photo of the little guy, because he was VERY ready to go when I opened the trap in her garden. Enjoy country life, little vermin.
This is Dave Tennant, educator at RAPTOR. I will be observing/helping him with programs for the next few months to get my feet wet, and hopefully soon will be doing my own programs. He has been doing this for years, and it's a real treat to hear him talk about the birds. What a nice guy...It will be fun to shadow him.
(And I'm sure you recognize Lucy, the Peregrine Falcon, by now!)***A photo to mess with Rita's mind***
Isabelle has a thing for pet carriers. She used to crawl into Roxy's carrier (that's my in-laws' dog) and today she realized that she fit into Bailey's carrier (that's my Mom's dog). It freaks Rita out to see one of her precious granddaughters in a cage. Please don't call Children's Services. We let her out. Eventually.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
While Isabelle and I were checking nests and the corn and pumpkin plants, I happened to peek into the well for the basement window, and there was a nice little Eastern Brown snake. As I sit here and type this, the window that he is pressed against in right above my head. Ever get the feeling that you're being watched???
Meet the newest card-carrying member of the library set. Since Isabelle can write her name now (that's the only requirement), I thought it was time for her to have her own library card.
She is so proud of herself.
*I guess she needs a purse and wallet to carry her new card around.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Note: These plants took a ride in my trunk, so they look a little lopsided)
Little Bluestem. A sweet little guy who will hopefully take over a problem corner.
Swamp Milkweed. Thanks, Laura, for the seed offer! But I like instant gratification if I can get it. It's going in the marsh/pond thingy I have going, but not until I am happy with the shape and depth of the marsh.
Monday, June 26, 2006
The baby rats have started coming out of the nest box by themselves and playing.
"My" tree swallow chicks fledged today. It's awesome...instead of two swallows swooping around above the yard, we have seven.
I couldn't capture all of them on my camera, but there are three above, on the house, and one peeking out of the gourd. Happy life and blue skies, little ones!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
The lead is fed through the movable end of the swivel and
Then it was time for water balloons. Tip on filling up water balloons: Fill them up all the way, or they will just bounce off and not break. Geoff and I both filled up half of the balloons each, and I am proud to say that MINE burst just fine. (Geoff's just hurt the kids.)
This is the ugliest Jesus (or other) statue I have ever seen. (and the general consensus is the same as mine...not too many people like it.)
It's at a church on I-75 near Middletown, and it just reeks. All of you who know me personally are aware that I don't subscribe to any religion, so I have no qualms in saying that this Jesus is awful. The story is that it started out much smaller, but this church doesn't do anything small. So it grew and grew. And now it's just obscene. It's not even artistically pleasing...the dimensions are unbalanced, like his hands are way too big, and his arms are grossly malformed. The cross in front of him is pitifully small compared to the rest of him. And to top it off, at night two yellow lights come on under the fountains and it looks for all the world like he is urinating.
(I can sense some of you pulling away...come on back.)
I appreciate a good Jesus statue as much as the next person. But this is not one of them.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
My favorite so far: Lucy, a Peregrine Falcon. You may recognize her from a previous post.
Now, the smaller birds are light and don't grip very tightly. This is how tightly Lucy grips: With one of your hands, grab your other arm and squeeze hard. That's a Lucy grip. And boy, was she heavy. A screech owl weighs about as much as a TV remote. Lucy feels like a big cat hanging on your arm. She is one of the easier birds to handle (so far) because I didn't have to chase her around the mew to get her on my glove. If you calmly approach her, she will step up onto your gloved hand. Looking at the above picture, you can see that my arm has dropped from the correct 45 degree angle to one that would encourage her to climb higher, as in up my arm, which is not protected. Guess I better hit the gym and do some weights.
This has been such a blast so far. I heart RAPTOR!
Friday, June 23, 2006
And here they are giving each other a little rattie hug. Awwwww.
It's nearly impossible to tell these two apart, except that one is slightly darker than the other. Other than that, they are identical. They are also both girls.
They are so cute, I don't know if I will be able to come up with names to do them justice.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
I didn't realize I would get such a neat shot here. Far left, the mama TRES is removing a fecal sac from the nest. (A fecal sac is a tough membrane containing the waste material of the chicks. The parents remove them from the nest and carry them far away from the nesting site so as not to alert predators.) Directly to the left of the gourd is another tree swallow...but not the papa tree swallow. There was another pair checking out the gourd today. I can't believe that I got both of them on film.
When the sky looks like this, I look for tornadoes. Then I come to my senses and realize that I am standing in the middle of the yard near a very tall metal pole and go back inside.
I hate it when Blogger puts photos out of the order I choose. Here's Isabelle getting her hair cut. I had to hold Lorelei for her cut, but Isabelle made me so proud by getting into the chair by herself.
Mommy decided to get a trim, too. (Photo by Isabelle Williams.)
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Five tree swallow chicks. I kept counting them...were there 6 before? I couldn't remember how many eggs there had been. As I was emptying the old nest far away from the pole, I found number 6... it had been dead maybe a day or so. It was at the same level of development as the others, but smaller. No picture...it was too sad.
I put the new nesting material in the gourd as the girls kept watch over the bucket. Here you can see the little black mites on the outside of the gourd.
The girls and I take one last look at our babies before placing them back in the nest.
In a wilder setting, maybe these chicks would have made it without intervention. And maybe not. As long as we put up nest boxes, we also are putting ourselves to the responsibility of intervening when needed. Obviously the smallest chick would succumb to mites first, but I'm not willing (or able) to sit back and see if the rest could survive.
After getting the nest raised, I hustled to the house, threw my clothes into the washer and took the hottest shower I could stand.
It's been about 2 hours and I'm still itchy.
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
This is a non-sequitur...While driving through Old Montgomery today, I saw this moron in a Hummer. Every time I see a Hummer, I want to slap the person driving it. What are they thinking? As I passed it, I looked to see what kind of person drives a Hummer and it was a little woman who could hardly see over the steering wheel. What in the Hell does ANYONE outside the Army need with a %&*ing HUMMER???
Day Five of Project Bluebird Part Deux. 4 eggs. Maybe she's done...now we wait for 12-14 days for them to hatch, and then another 2-3 weeks until they fledge. Anyone have any spare tranquilizers for me?