Just for Ian

Since Ian in Oz was so sweet as to leave a very kind comment in my last post, I decided to do this entry even though it might risk taking wings and disappearing into Cyberspace! So, with very few words, here are some photos from yesterday.

These were taken at my mother-in-law’s neighbors’ home. They have assorted birdfeeders, attracting quite an assortment of feathered friends. This big fellow is a Pileated Woodpecker, which stands about seventeen inches tall!

I have so much more to say (sniff, sniff) but until everything is restored to normal here, I am leary to post too much!

Techno Woes

To all my faithful readers….I am sorry I’ve not posted today. Something is amiss in CyberLand. Two of my entries here have “evaporated” and Mark spent quite a chunk of time trying to resolve “stuff” with our provider. Hopefully, things will be soon resolved and….
“I shall return!”

Cannot Compete With Yesterday’s Photos

Yeah….there is no way I can even come close to competing with that photo of the tiny fawn bedded down on the leaves from yesterday!  I have looked in the woods for the past two or three years for a little fawn with no luck at all.  One year, I came across tiny fawns two or three times!  So…yesterday’s discovery was so exciting!

But not all days are full of sunshine and butterflies!  Today started out looking like quite the fine day. The sun was shining and it was nice and warm.  As the day progressed, the skies darkened and we had thunderstorms!  We rarely get thunderstorms here.  I’m not sure why, but they generally pass us by. 

After the rains came pouring down,  I decided to hop on out and take a few photos.  I had noticed that one of my favorite Columbine plants had some flowers getting ready to bloom.  These photos really don’t look like much unless you click to expand them.  (2 clicks makes them *really* big!)

After showing my mother-in-law’s elegant Azalea the other day, my little Azalea looks beyond pathetic!  You can’t see the whole plant…that would be shameful!  I bought this Azalea at WalMart several years ago for about seventy-five cents.  It was in clearance and I thought perhaps I could make it grow. Wrong!  After I had gotten it home,  I read the tag on it, stating that it is compatible with a planting zone like Missouri or Oklahoma.  I’m not sure how it has survived (if the tag was even right),  but I do feed it and prune it to encourage some better growth. 

I came into the house to upload photos and there *he* was……

Did you see that (naughty) bright red Cardinal sitting in the tree outside the window?  That bird has become a frequent feeder here but I am convinced he uses sonar!  I have seen him numerous times sitting outside the window.  Every single time, without failure,  that bird sees me with my camera and flitters out of my range!  I have even tried covert techniques to capture that bird in just ONE lousy photo!  Have you ***ever*** tried taking a photograph while lying on your BACK so as not to “disturb” your subject?  Enough said!

Amazing Technology!

Mark was able to recover my lost photos on the SD card! Am I happy? You bet!

Let me tell you….it is possible to retrieve photos you have deleted from your card or, as in my case, the disappearing photos!  I knew my camera had written the images to the card, but when they weren’t there, I nearly went into a tailspin!

The first photo isn’t great.  Consider this….here I am walking in the woods this morning in my nightgown.  As I am approaching this pair, it is obvious the doe is beginning to get rather antsy.  She is anxious and in all honesty, I never saw a youngster this small with its mother before!  I had no idea what the mother might do although I figured she would try to distract me by running off….trying to get me to follow her instead of her baby. That is precisely what she did.

Thankfully,  I had placed the telephoto lens on my camera before this morning! I leave that lens on a good deal of the time as it can be used in a macro capacity as well.  I stood about ten feet away from the baby….

The photos I took of the baby are all just like this one. They all turned out perfectly.

I really love photography (especially digital!) and I love living in the woods……

Back….Kinda

If Mondays have earned a bad name for being the beginning of the week, along with its multitude of problems,  then today *should have been* a Monday!

As I was standing at the sink this morning,  I noticed a doe up in the woods.  I watched her for a second, curious as to why she seemed to be staring down towards our house.  Her eye was intent and as my own eyes searched the woods,  I focussed on a tiny little “blur” walking up the hill.

Immediately,  I called to Michelle upstairs…”bring down the Nikon….QUICKLY!”.  Michelle bounded down the stairs and I was off into the woods, my eyes glued to the doe.  As I approached, she began to get nervous.  I called out to her in a calm voice and she eventually went off deeper into the woods. Before she left,  I was able to shoot a fairly good photo of her with the tiny, tiny fawn.

I was about ten feet from the two deer and I quickly shot off several photos of the now abandoned little fawn nestled in the leaves on the earthen floor.  As quickly as I went up, I came back down to the house.  I had turned the camera off before coming back to the house.

When I came back, I turned on the camera and showed Mark the photos in the (somewhat) little LCD screen. I turned the camera off again,  and took it upstairs where I turned it on to show Michelle the photos.  She oohed and awwed.  I was all set to upload the photos to my blog, feeling so amazed I was able to photograph this beautiful little fawn.  When I placed the SD card into the card reader,  the photos I took today had all vanished.  They had totally disappeared!

Thinking I had lost my marbles, I explained it to Mark.  He called Nikon who said it sounded like a faulty SD card, so we called San Disk to see if they could help.  They were helpful, all right! They gave us the name of some software that was developed for them by another company.  As we looked at the images on the card, the photos of the deer reappeared.  I was thrilled beyond measure!  But then when we saw that it would cost sixty dollars for the software,  Mark and I both felt deceived.

Mark called San Disk again, getting another representative.  He talked to her for quite some time and she gave him the name of a disk recovery program she personally had used, but it was of no value in recovering photos.

At this point, Mark told me he would somehow….by hook or by crook….have my photos restored tonight!

I had been doing an enormous amount of laundry, and when I went down to the basement to put the load from the washer to the dryer,  there was water all over the floor. Apparently, the gasket on the door of the front loading washer needs to be replaced.  Thankfully, I mopped up most of the water and the dehumidifier down there has done a tremendous job of wicking up the moisture left behind.

I had to run to Naples this afternoon for some produce.  Of course I stopped in Woodville.  This time, I found a goose family of six!

I love the second photo, although it would be better if they weren’t swimming about in what looks like pea soup! The way the parents have there bodies placed, it looks like a heart with the goslings in the center.

The carp were also going crazy!  It looked like a big pot of boiling water as the fish bounded about, splashing all over!

I made my version of Chicken Spinoccoli tonight as I had some cheese and spinach that needed to be used up. That dish is one that takes a great deal of time and effort, although everyone really likes it,  As I was doing (the ENDLESS!!!) dishes,  the hummungbirds kept coming by for a sip!

By the time dinner was done, I felt like someone had placed Vise Grips on my shoulders.  I had such a tension headache,  I could have SCREAMED! (that wouldn’t have helped much!)

I am feeling better now and Mark is currently used a freeware program I found online to retrieve those deer photos for me.  Shhhh….don’t tell anyone….Mark isn’t as nuts about wildlife as I am and when he first found out I had lost some photos, he thought, “big deal!”.  Michelle just whispered that Mark told her he thought I was nuts at first, making such a big fuss about losing my photos. She said as he looked at them,  he kept telling her they were so beautiful and now he understansds why I was distraught.

Wonders never cease……

Finding “Extra” in the Ordinary

After reading about everyone procrastinating or putting off things they would like to see or do,  I am here to tell you that it really is easy to find “extra” in the ordinary! Really!

Michelle and Ben went for a walk in the woods on Monday when we dropped them off early for their youth group.  Long story short, Michelle got into “something” that has resulted in her getting a rash here and there on her neck, hands, and face.  This morning when she came downstairs, she was wearing a pair of lightweight gloves on her hands.  I knew right away that the rash was driving her crazy and offered to run to the store to get her some Benedryl.  As much as the stuff causes me to break out in a rash,  it is designed to alleviate all the itching and misery!

I hopped into the Explorer and made my way down the road.  I had to stop in Woodville, as I had previously spotted the Eagle perched in a tree there one evening.  No eagle…..

I drove down a little further south,  stopping at the place where the Canada Geese hang out.  I was curious to see the geese and to observe the ever-growing young gosling.

I was enjoying watching the geese….I stay inside the Explorer so as not to disturb them, although I know many fishermen (and women) stop there to frequently “drop a line”.   As I was taking photos, I quite suddenly noticed something else…..(you might want to double click these photos to see them in a larger size)

Something was moving about in the water behind them! And it looked fairly large!

I kind of thought perhaps a fish might hop up out of the water and grab a bug, but it just never happened. Instead, there was just a lot of movement and “nearly” coming to the surface.  What on earth was it?

Being dedicated to TRYING to get a good photo,  I held the camera steady to my face.  I shot many, many photos.  (most were deleted)

I snapped to the reality that I was on my way to the drugstore, and  decided I needed to leave the area to get Michelle some medication!  Off I went to the store. I picked up the medicine, then made my way back towards home.

As I drove past the place where the geese were, I stopped momentarily, but there was no sign of either the geese or the mysterious “thing” that had been moving about in the water.  Hmmm….

As I drove towards the boat launch, I pulled in, discovering the only others there were a man and his very large black lab dog.  I hopped out of my vehicle and called over to the man, “Are you a fisherman?”  He couldn’t hear me as the wind was blowing quite briskly.

I walked toward him with my camera and upon questioning him again, I showed him the photo of the “what’sit?”  and he scratched his head a moment.  He thought, then told me that if the water was deep enough, it was probably carp breeding.  Aha!

I looked over to the man’s dog….he was the largest Black Lab I have ever seen, hands down!  The man explained that the vet told him this dog looks to be an English Black Lab, which are larger than the typical labs we see here.  So, meet Brutus!

He was such a friendly big fellow and the man told me he is spoiled rotten!

Brutus  went out into the water to fetch a stick….what a good fellow he was!  He came right over to me and his master must have been nervous he might jump up on me. He didn’t  though, and I rather admired his gentle nature!

Brutus’s one large fault, I was told, was his insatiable appetite! Even as his master was telling me, Brutus went over to nibble on some broad grass growing right next to the water!

So, another ordinary day turned “extra”.  Not “extraordinary”, really, but something more than expected!

A Day at Grandma’s

This afternoon, my mother-in-law had a doctor’s appointment and she asked us to take her to the office.  She didn’t need anyone to go into the office with her, but just felt too nervous to drive to the appointment. After the appointment,  we needed to pick up some bags of topsoil, pine bark chips, and mulch for my mother-in-law.

I was feeling in a “funk” today….not *really* sick, but just feeling kind of stiff, tired, and lacking motivation. Moving at all just felt like it took far too much effort!

After arriving at my mother-in-law’s house,  she put the kids to work.  Ben went to work cleaning (and even taking apart) some downspouts. It seems the landscaper blew a lot of leaf litter into the gutters and they were clogged quite shut.  Ben was incredible,  popping the rivets from the joints and replacing them with tiny screws. (so taking them apart next time will be easier!)

Michelle opened the bags of pine bark chips and began placing them around a planting of azaleas, rhododendron, and a beautiful Japanese Maple.  The azalea is still in bloom and I couldn’t resist a photo of the flowers….

My mother-in-law lives in the suburbs and she has such a beautiful piece of property.  My father-in-law used to spend so much time planting things all over the yard and he really took pride in their home.

It is funny…I was talking here on my blog about the Mennonite-built Wood Tex sheds and completely forgot my in-laws had bought one probably eight or ten years ago.  And, it still looks in great condition.

The sun was shining and it was a very warm day.  Mark wondered if that might have been what caused me to feel so out of sorts.  I’m really not at all sure, but even walking around with the camera seemed a challenge. But I really liked this shot of the sun illuminating the shockingly green new maple leaves on a tree above me!

As Ben was finishing up working on the downspouts,  I noticed that a bird was making an awful chatter.  I had an inkling there *might* be a nest somewhere nearby and we were disturbing the bird!  I peeked inside the shrubs and bushes and found a nest deep inside a bush….

Not sure what type of nest that is. 

I helped my mother-in-law feed some plants.  She said she would have a hard time bending down to place the fertilizer, as her knee has had some pain lately.  I crawled around, placing the fertilizer around the bases of several bushes, then watering them.  When I finished,  I commented I was so tired….Mark suggested I crawl in the back seat of the truck, which I immedately did.

It was awesome lying across the seat of the truck.  It is just the right size for (short) me to stretch out. I had the windows rolled partway down and the cool breeze coming in was fantastic.  A cardinal whistled in the trees and several other birds sang along. It was so peaceful and comforting.

I had fallen asleep (only a short time) when Michelle came to awaken me to tell me the pizza guy had just delivered a pizza.   I climbed out of my comfortable perch and sat in the back of the pickup. We have a nice “Bedrug” in our truck bed….it is marine grade carpeting that makes sitting in the back a real joy.  We left the tailgate down and we all sat outside just enjoying the warm air and sunshine.

As we were finishing up, Michelle called out, “Grandma, there is a dog in your backyard”! Then,  she corrected herself, telling us there was a turkey in her yard!

This tom was fairly friendly compared to the turkeys we see here.  It wasn’t overly hurried to make a getaway. 

We left and made our way back home, arriving just after seven.  After walking onto our front porch, I leaned over the railing to look down at the little garden in front of the house.  Everything has grown so rapidly this year!

As I was leaning over, I heard a buzzing noise that sounded so close to my ear….

I’m not sure what kind of bee that is, but my head was awfully close to it! Yuck!

I felt better after eating a little, but that was also when it cooled off, so I’m not sure what my problem was today.  I just know that tomorrow, I am going to feel much better!

So, What Does a Rolling Stone Do….

when grounded to home?

Sorry, couldn’t help but continue with the rolling stone theme!  Actually, I feel more like a “stick in the mud” today.  I don’t know why I love being outside and just traveling around so much, but I really do.

There is only one thing to do when stuck at home.  Take pictures. Right?

So, I went up and saw a bumblebee working its way around a patch of dandelions.  I came up with a brilliant idea….lie down in a prone position and see what the bee’s world is like.  So I did.  Hey, my neighbors probably think I am a little “over the top”, so who cares?  Besides, they probably would have wound up driving into the ditch on the side of the road cause they would have to look pretty hard to see me!

Now, if I didn’t get down on the ground, I never would have seen what a mess this little bumble’s face was!

And I had a pretty cool vantage for “lift-off” too!

Here is a picture of the beautiful Tuberose Begonia I bought at the Mennonite store yesterday.  As I read about these begonias on the internet,  one place said they are so lush and beautiful, they almost appear to be fake!

And here is the Martha Washington Geranium I bought.  Since I had success keeping a reguar geranium over the winter,  I figured I would try this one.

It’s a little bit chilly today, but the sun has been out a great deal and the outdoors is just calling out! As I sat on the porch looking at all the awesome foliage,  Icouldn’t help but notice something kind of funny.  Shagbark Hickory tree on the west side of our driveway has leaves coming out nicely…..

while the tree to the east….located about maybe 30′ away,  is still not quite sure it wants to leaf-out!

Yes, as you can see,  I am full of very profound thoughts! hahaha!

And lastly, my little Lillies of the Valley are now all abloom!

I cut several bracts of French White Lilacs this morning and brought them into the house.  Oh my! What a delightful scent they lend to the air!  Okay, so those who really love Spring….I will admit….it is a lovely time of the year!

Oh, and just for the record, I did do some outside work today, mowing the lawn and fertilizing my acid-loving plants.  Just so no one thinks I am lazy…..