Friday, June 01, 2007

Friday's Feast for June 1

It's Friday, so let's have a Feast.

Click on pictures for more detail.

Appetizer - Name something you think is “the best.”

My Canon S3 IS camera.

Check out the birds at the feeder pictures below. They were taken on "auto", point and click, through a window spotted with suet flecks and other smudges.

The camera ignores the dirty window, ignores the background, and focuses in perfectly on the bird. Total magic. It's the best.

Soup - On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 highest), how stressed are you today?


Salad - What kind of cleanser do you use to wash your face?

Kirk's Castile soap. For decades I've used it for everything except my hair.

It's inexpensive, lathers up great in our hardwater, leaves me feeling very clean, and doesn't smell.

It used to be called Kirk's Hardwater Castile, until the marketing department took a turn at the label.

From the label:

All natural, hypoallergenic skin care with no animal by-products or synthetic detergents. Pure botanical coconut oil soap. Ultra gentle with no drying residue.

Main Course - Tonight is a blue moon! What is something that you believe only happens “once in a blue moon.”

Once in a blue moon I spot a bird at the feeder I can't identify. It happened yesterday with this one.

Looks like a Grosbeak but the only Grosbeaks I've ever seen here are the Rose-breasted. This bird has a yellow breast. After thanking Bob again for the camera, I headed for the birdbook.

Conclusion: This is an immature female Rose-breasted Grosbeak. The yellow on the breast fades as the bird matures.

This is a mature female Rose-breasted Grosbeak taken several weeks ago. She looks like a large sparrow (about 9 inches) with an obvious white line over her eye and an awesome, cream colored, seed cracking beak.

This might even be the mother of the yellow breasted young in the top picture.

Dessert - When was the last time it rained where you live?

One day this week we had a few sprinkles, too few to get the ground wet. Since I can't remember which day it was, we're not going to count that as rain.

The last good soaking rain we had was last Sunday morning. We do need more.

There's a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, which is why I'm posting this early in the day. When it thunders, I unplug my laptop and dial up connection.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Heron in a Pine Tree

This heron is sitting in a pine tree about twenty-five feet up from the ground overlooking the pond.

This post is an experiment in storing my pictures in Blogger instead of Picturetrail so I can provide better definition for less money.

Double click on the picture if you want to see it bigger and better.

If this doen't work for you or weird things happen, please leave a comment. Be sure and mention what operating system you're using.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday's Feast for May 25

It's Friday, so let's have a Feast.

Appetizer - Name a sound you like to hear.

This time of year the loudest, longest sound I like to hear is the frog croaking in the pond. It goes on all night. I tried to get a frog picture, but evidently they're sleeping the day away after a night of partying.

Male Eastern Phoebe on old fence postAnother seasonal sound I like to hear is the call of the Eastern Phoebes (Sayornis phoebe) that nest on the underside of the back balcony.

This is the male.

The Phoebe is a small (about 7 inches) member of the Flycatcher family. They sit on a perch, wag their tails up and down, and then fly out to catch an insect in the air to feed themselves or their young.

Female Eastern Phoebe in bushMom Phoebe is doing her share of bringing home the bugs.

Soup - What is your favorite kind of cheese?

Swiss cheese is my favorite kind of cheese for cooking. I love the way it strings and tastes with eggs.

Sharp cheddar cheese is my favorite kind of cheese for macaroni and cheese.

Parmesan is another favorite. It's impossible to have too much of it on a plate of spaghetti.

Salad - Do you sleep late on Saturday mornings? Why or why not?


Now that I'm retired, I don't need to catch up on my sleep over the weekend.

Also, I get up for early church on Sunday morning, which is difficult to do if I sleep in on Saturday and go to bed late on Saturday night.

Main Course - When was the last time you forgot something? What was it, and how long did it take to remember it?

Just last night I went to doggy school and left my cell phone home on the charger. About three miles into the eight mile drive, I remembered and had to remind myself that I drove for decades without a cell phone and managed to live through it just fine.

Still, I like to have my cell phone with me. It's comforting to know that if I have a problem, Bob is just a call away. Especially when I have two little dogs in the car.

Dessert - Fill in the blank: I notice ____________ when _____________.

Azalea flowersI notice the beauty of where I live when out with my camera. Much of it is natural, but some of it was intentionally planted, like this azalea.

I don't remember its name. Its a human created hybrid. As beautiful as it is, the hummingbirds, hummingbird moths, and butterflies don't go to it like they do to the native azalea planted a short distance away.

That makes it less beautiful in my eyes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mourning Dove Nest

Mourning Dove on wireMourning Doves, (Zenaida macroura) are plentiful in all the continental 48 states.

They're named for their sad call, coah, coooo, coooo, coooo.

We have a small population on our property. They're pretty in their own unflashy way and I enjoy their singing.

Pine tree containing dove nestThis tree is toward the rear of our property. The dog walking path goes around the back of it.

Yesterday while walking the dogs with my camera, I looked into the branches just above eye level and spotted this . . .

Dove sitting on nestThe mourning dove nest is a small platform of twigs. How they ever keep the eggs in it, is beyond me.

How can they possibly keep wiggly hatchlings from falling out or through?

They must be able to do it. There are so many Mourning Doves around that last fall hunters tried to make them legal game birds. Fortunately they failed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

8 Things Meme

I've been tagged by Kathy and Shirley for this meme.

I'm even going to try and think of eight things to say that I haven't blogged about before.

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their own 8 random things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog you need to tag 8 people and post their names.

  1. I drink a cup of coffee when I first wake up in the morning and a second cup at lunch. Any coffee later than lunch and I can't get to sleep at night.

  2. I've booked a flight to Idaho on June 26 to visit my two year old granddaughter Sydney Anne.

    Sydney sitting in her booster chair
    I miss her so much it hurts to think about it.

  3. I fondly remember my days as a computer analyst in corporate America, but wouldn't want to repeat them. Retirement is wonderful.

  4. I take Boniva for osteoporosis and it's working to increase my bone density. I consider that a miracle.

  5. Just this week I was tempted to drive to Nashville and get another rescue Papillon. Fortunately, DH an I have an agreement that three dogs is all we can handle. As long as one of us stays sane when the other is tempted, we'll be OK.

    Ace the PapillonIf you're interested in a one year old Papillon rescue, check out Ace.

  6. One of my patterns, Shetland Lace Rib Socks, is featured on a Japanese web site here. Since the website is mostly in Japanese I can't figure out why or what kind of website it is.

  7. I like an occasional peanut butter and bacon sandwich.

  8. I am predominately left brain, sometimes too much so.

    Brain Lateralization Test Results
    Right Brain (12%) The right hemisphere is the visual, figurative, artistic, and intuitive side of the brain.
    Left Brain (76%) The left hemisphere is the logical, articulate, assertive, and practical side of the brain
    Are You Right or Left Brained?
    personality tests by

I tag anyone who wants to do it who hasn't done it yet - or wants to do it a second time if they have done it.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Saturday Sky and Tiger Swallowtail

Cloudy sky on May 19The day started out like this, cloudy and chilly.

See that little spot of blue sky in the middle of the picture? Before the day way over, the entire sky was blue. I was able to work outside long enough to get good and tired.

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly on Azalea
This beautiful Tiger Swallowtail is enjoying the Azalea bush.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Real Hummers and Faux Hummer

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds at feederThe Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris) is the only hummingbird species in SW Michigan. Here at Violet Acres, we have many nesting pairs each summer.

The females just arrived this past week, the males the week before. The males have red throats, the females white throats.

If you think this little three inch bird is timid, you're wrong. They entertain us with their aerial acrobatics while conducting hummingbird wars around the feeder.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbird on wireBefore moving to this house, I never saw a hummingbird sitting still. They sit on the wires just like a big bird.

This female is guarding the feeder from her perch on the wire. When another hummingbird comes to drink, she will swoop down and the chase is on.

Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth showing proboscisRemember the picture of the Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis) I published here? It was a good picture but it didn't show the wings. I've managed to do better this time.

In this picture you can see it holding the blossom open with its front feet and the proboscis drinking the nectar. A proboscis is a siphoning mouthpart similar to a straw.