Category: General (page 8 of 9)

We have babies!

I checked the Bluebird box today. My Mom and Els and Joel were here, so I wanted to show them the box and it’s contents. I thought I heard little squeeky sounds before I opened the door, and sure enough, there was a little fuzzy head with a wide open yellow beak!

All four eggs hatched, which is an excellent thing! Frank and the children were there too, and there may be a photo or two of the nest … Frank snapped the picture, so I can’t vouch for what to expect πŸ˜‰

Our Maple is hosting again

Our October Glory Maple tree, the one I’ve written about below, propagation, was new last Spring 2002. Installed as a large tree, it immediately was subject to hosting a Northern Mockingbird couple and their nest and youngun’s.

That nest lasted all summer and into autumn and winter, and now in mid-spring is being overhauled by a pair of American Robins just since yesterday. Frank saw them active yesterday, and I witnessed it myself this morning as I surveyed the front yard with my cup of coffee in hand.

Very fortunate tree, that is, hosting new birds two years in a row. It’s first two years in our landscape at that. It’s a beautiful full tree, and will only get bigger. It’s a nice site for a nest, and the birds obviously agree!

Mrs. Bluebird Sits

There were four eggs in the Bluebird nest the last time I was able to look at it without the Mama bird in it.

She, Mrs. Bluebird, began her sitting season a few days ago. So it’s four or five eggs in the clutch. I went that day to take a picture of the eggs, and when I opened the box, the bluebird hen was in there sitting, so I got a few photos of her, don’t know how well they’ll turn out, it was dark in there.

I saw activity this morning around the box, so I took the chance that it was she who might have left the box. But no, when I got there for a peak, she’s in there. It’ll take some major watching of the box to get a look at those eggs again anytime soon.

Well, I’ll be keeping an eye out on them in any case, as other birds fooling with them is not good, and if I can defend the nest, I sure will. I can’t always be around to help, so it is ultimately, which it is anyway, up to God to preserve the nest and bring those chicks to hatch and fledge.

More Bluebird news

Yesterday, Wednesday, I checked the Bluebird box, and in the nest were 3 beautiful blue eggs. I haven’t checked again today yet. I probably will later this evening, after watching the box for the parents a while.

Good news in the nest!

Our Eastern Bluebird pair have finally laid a beautiful blue egg! It’s gorgeous!

I just checked them, since they’ve been hanging around their box more today. They both left and went to sit on an adjacent fence. So out I trotted and found the nest NOT empty. What a joy that was. I’m pulling for them to successfully fledge the youngster that is developing, hopefully, in that egg. I also hope they’ll lay some more eggs. Last year they had three eggs at the most, but only hatched/fledged two from one clutch. The first clutch went bad due to other pesky interfering non-native birds.

Along those lines, European Starlings have been seen flying close by with nesting material. They appear to be nesting somewhere on the roof of the house next door. These birds are the most bothersome, and I’d love to be able to shoot them.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I just saw a female Rose-Breasted Grosbeak in our backyard and in the feeder.

It’s a first for me to see one of these birds, and therefore to see one at this property.

For birders, life-lists sitings are exciting. So, I’m excited, for me needless to say, but to let y’all know, it’s a very exciting thing for me!

She was beautiful, all decked out in her “breeding style”.

Here’s a link to enature’s topic about the bird It’s a photo of the male, nothing I can do about that. But here is a photo of a female. I searched Yahoo! and it’s just one link that came up, but a very beautiful photo!

Heat and Bird Feeder

I went out in High Noon mostly-sunny Northeast Georgia mid-spring timing, this day that means in the high 70’s. To do what? Move the big cedar gazebo feeder. It’s a large feeder on top of a cedar pole that is secured by a stake in the bottom of the cedar pole.

The original design has a side of the cedar pole off of it so that the metal stake can be driven into the ground, then the pole “wrapped” around the stake, then tiny brads driven through the “cover” to secure the pole and make it look “solid”. The pole is square, by the way. The middle of the pole is in two pieces, meaning the top of the pole screws down into the bottom of the pole. The top of the pole has a mounting platform for the feeder, and the feeder itself.

Well, I couldn’t undo the “wrapped” pole from the stake, so I had to figure out how to pound it all into the ground.

Why was I moving it? It was loose in the ground where it was, and I wanted to bring it closer to the house anyway.

So back to the installation story. I found the old northern white cedar mallet that came from our children’s play set installation. It worked well, but then I had to get a garden spade to cut through some of the grass/weed roots down a few inches. The metal stake is a “v-like” stake so I had to get the holes started with two lines like this: < : sort of. I put the stake back into the ground and pounded away with the northern white cedar mallet. It all seemed to be moving downward some with each !whack!, as was my tolerance for the heat. I was delighted to see that most all the stake was in the ground. The pole has a bevel cut at the bottom, and I can do more work to shore that up and keep the pole straighter, and make it less wobbly. For now it's fine. I was at my dropping point then, but I had to keep on truckin'. I screwed the top pole/feeder combo onto the bottom half of the pole then I dragged myself into the garage, which means climing onto the deck's several steps, going across it in the blazing heat (the sun beats hard on the back of the house, and on the deck, the temperature is at least 20 degrees higher than in the yard. Ick!) Into the house, through the kitchen to the garage. I had to haul out my new big bags of bird seed, and dump parts of them into a big bucket to mix it all up. I use a commercial birdseed mixture, and add straight black oil sunflower seed to that. I like heavy sunflower eating birds! So at this point I was ready to just plop onto the floor, but continued to go on, and lugged that bucket out to the deck, then grabbed a bistro chair there to take with me to the bird feeder. I was sweating and nearly shaking, and hauling a chair in one hand, and a 6 gallon bucket filled with seed in the other hand. I found a bowl in the yard and used that as my scooper. We always have bowls in the yard, for some reason! Handy this time! I scooped and scooped and filled up the feeder. I dragged the buck and tools back to the house, and myself included. I dropped it all inside the kitchen door. I couldn't do anything but go wash my hands and then get an ICY cold Coca-Cola. Ahhh! I'm cooling off now, and feeling better. Heat just kills me. So why'd I go out at High Noon to do such a task. Yup. Tsk Tsk. I'm glad to have that done though. Now the birds can come back and feed. The feeder had been empty for quite a few months. Not my choice, just what happened. In the future, when I camp out on the deck with camera in hand, I'll be able to get more close-ups into that feeder. πŸ™‚

Red-Bellied Woodpecker

I saw the Red-Bellied Woodpecker of our neighborhood the other day. He was sitting on the fence when I looked to the left while I was on the deck. I hadn’t seen him since last year sometime.

This morning Frank told me he’d seen him also, another time. Then later there he was, the Woodpecker, in the big cedar feeder in the back yard! Victoria saw him too. “He has a red head” she told me.

He turned around at one point, and I could actually see the red on his belly, a first for me.

Anyhow, that’s a rare treat, seeing a woodpecker in our yard.

Bluebird fights

The Bluebirds are still working on their nest a bit. They are defending it also. Today the European Starlings were bothering them some.

There has been a Northern Mockingbird hanging around close to the house of late. It lands on the railing of the deck and walks back and forth sometimes. Today it did that, then flew to the Jungle, the children’s play structure, and sat looking out the top deck of that structure, in the direction of the Bluebird Box. A few minutes later, it flew to the box, and tried to land on top. Mr. and Mrs. Bluebird were there at the time, and immediately Mr. Bluebird attacked and down he went with the Mockingbird, to the ground.

Our grass hasn’t been cut yet this season, so it’s long, and I couldn’t see the two birds for over a minute. Mrs. Bluebird stayed on the roof of the box, then suddenly up from the grass the two differing birds arose. And they then all flew off into the yard, and the Mockingbird left them alone, flying to a neighboring yard.

It was a very interesting sequence to watch!

Nest in the Bluebird Box

I checked the Bluebird box today. There is a nest inside! I checked a few days ago, nothing but a few pieces of dried grass. The other day I did see Mrs. Bluebird come out of the box, in particular. I’ve seen them sitting near the box often enough, but not alot of actual “in the box” activity. So somewhere, out of my sight, they did their business. Yay!

I hear Eastern Bluebirds all around whenever I’m outside. It’s a lovely sound, a year round sound, but ever the more beautiful in Spring time, with the twitterpatedness of everything. I do believe the Bluebird population is growing here too. There have always been some around, but more and more and more each year. I’m glad to have helped get two new birds out there last year. The first nesting attempt was sabitoshed by some bird, probably European Starlings [dratted things!]. The second nesting attempt alotted three eggs, but only two hatched. I held one of the babies in my hand just a few days before they apparently fledged. I didn’t see them go, but they did seem to go safely. I hope they survived.

Well, I’m rooting for the Bluebirds this year in my backyard, to have two or three successful nesting and fledling launches.

I’m pleased to announce …

I am now hosting Howard King’s “A Christian Agrarian Critique of Technological Society”. It’s a fantastic look at modern society through the Christian Agrarian lense, which is a Biblical look at the whole enchilada.

Click here for “A Christian Agrarian Critique of Technological Society”.

It’s worth reading. If you are interested in agrarian things or not. I challenge you to read it with an open heart. It’s not meant to turn everyone into farmers, but to see the world around you in a different light. What’s good right now, may not seem as good at another point in your life. Why? We change inside. We should be transforming inside, to what God wants us to be. This series of articles is one that can shed much light on something that was dull and hard to see. It may transform something into a totally different thing. It may be validation for what you were thinking already. It may be so new and horrible that you can’t stand it. Read it anyway, and let me know what you are thinking.

Here’s a nice picture with added graphics

This was taken, as stated on the picture, somewhere around April 2002. Strider and Dixie are brother and sister, adopted in December 2001 when they were about 7 months old. Strider is the only male cat in the house, and definitely the King. He’s my big old lover too. A big ol’ hunk o’ cat.

Dixie is actually “Dixie Blossom” and she’s nice, but rarely purrs. She’s happy, just purrs rarely. That’s weird to me. I’m used to cats purring whenever I touch them. She loves to chase the broom when I’m sweeping, so she’s my kitchen mate. She hangs around waiting for me to sweep oft times.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I created a desktop for Frank, and have it on my computer for the “holiday” too. I decided to share it with whomever else would like it as well.

Here it is:

Pick the one right for your monitor resolution:

800 x 600 56kb

1024 x 768 82kb

1280 x 1024 101kb

1600 x 1200 184kb

Right-click and “save target as …”

or if you plain old click, you can right-click on the image that loads and “save picture as …”

In any case, save the .gif file on your computer, where you can find it when browsing. Right click your desktop and choose “Properties”. On the Display Properties box find the “desktop” tab and click “browse” to find the picture you just downloaded, choose it. You can then choose APPLY or OK. Apply will save the changes and leave the screen open so that you can make other changes. OK will save the changes and close that screen.

You can change the desktop color to match the picture, if your settings have a color under the icon labels. When you have the above screen open, go to the “Appearance” tab and find the place to change colors and fonts for different window settings. Input these color values, if you know how to do it:
[WIN XP choose the “advanced” button, I seem to recall older Win systems have the info on the “appearance” tab, or on another named tab, something findable for sure]
247 88 88

If you have THEMES on your computer, you can save these settings, the desktop color and the desktop picture, as a THEME, go to the THEMES area for your system and save the current settings with a name. For instance I call this one on my computers: Valentinesday

So in the future, I can use this theme again easily, just going to THEMES and choosing it. I can make other color choices as well, to correspond with my THEME, if I want. It’s all there in the Display Properties box.

One fun thing to change to go with themes is the screen saver. It doesn’t change with a theme, you must manually change it. Go to the Screen Saver tab on Display Properties and utilize something called 3-D Text if your system has it. Choose “settings” and then enter a short phrase or name, something with meaning, and then choose the properties to display it, the font, the size, then how it moves, and then how it looks via colors or choosing a bitmap picture to base what the graphical words will look like.

I like “reflections”. Here’s a small [59kb]bitmap version of the Valentines Day desktop, that you can use as either a “texture” or “reflection” with 3-D Text screen saver. Save it the same way as above.

I like to save my special pictures such as these in MY Pictures in a folder I create called “Desktops”. It’s easy to find the files then, and keep them organized.

Let me know your comments about this! If the 1600 x 1200 resolution .gif isn’t clear, let me know and I’ll do a new one for you. I didn’t test that one. I use 1280 x 1024 personally. I can make a better one for the largest version if it’s requested! πŸ™‚

A big boy

News I forgot to put down is: Asa is potty-learned! He’s been there for over a week now, and is just now a month shy of being 2 1/2 years old. Way to go Asa! Now there are no more diapers to be changed. I’ll put them away until they are needed, hopefully, again.

December 2002

It’s December! It came really fast this year. Yes, the years go faster once you are an adult, but I must say this year sped past really fast, for that other years for sure. Wasn’t it just a few months ago that it snowed here at our house? Oh, that was December 2001.

Today it’s cold, as it is in much of the Eastern US. It’s nearly to freezing and there is water up in the sky that is supposed to want to come down sometime today in the form of freezing rain or mix. It’s been drizzly on and off, but mostly light as a feather kind of drizzly. It’s windy too, and there’s a chill factor in the 20’s. It’s 33.4 degrees F. right now, at 2:30pm. The temperature is going down. It was 45 degrees F. this morning, around 7:00am.

It’s been colder the last few weeks, but this is the coldest DAY we have had so far this season. We can expect up and down temperatures for the next few months, then it’ll be the real Spring for us. Our winter is like winter/fall/early-spring — Up, down, down, up, up, down, up etc. Snow, rain, ice, freezing rain, slush, any of those kind of days, and very cold days with blue, blue skies, as well as overcast days in the 40’s that feel kinda spring-like. And more. Winter is the worst in Dec and Jan always. But even with that, we have spring flowers beginning to push up their green tops in January or February usually.

We do have Winter, but it’s mild. We do have Autumn, but it’s late. We do have Spring, it’s early and glorious in the South. We do have Summer, it’s long. I grew up in PA and Frank in MI. We both had long Winters and short Springs and short Summers and short Autumns. Here things are quite different. We both lived in Florida for awhile, and so appreciate the South for it’s “real” seasons πŸ˜‰ We do get all four seasons, and they are just different than the North’s. Even the North can not claim a same season as all of the North. In MI they get more snow than in PA in most places, so my Winter of childhood is different in the realm of the Wintery weather, than Frank’s. Across different regions of a State this holds true too. In the South too. But the generalities of it all is mild winter, and good long growing season in the South. In the north there’s plenty of time to think about gardening … all the long winter long. Then get out there quick and grow some stuff before harvest time sets in. All the while Southern cousins are growing, growing, growing, sowing second or third crops of whatever … πŸ™‚

And can settle in for a few months of crisp, cold weather, with some snow and/or ice here and there. It’s nice.

The Leonids a bust for us …

I saw one meteor. Faint and barely noticeable around 2am, with the moon brightly shining high in the sky but moving towards the Western sky. Things were clear.

At 3:15am I check things out, and there were a few wispy clouds, the moon was further away from the “viewing area” so that was an improvement on conditions actually. I was getting excited about the approaching “Big Show” time: 4-6:30am with 5:30am being the peak. I hadn’t been sleeping all night, save for a very short nap a some point after midnight. That all wasn’t planned. I do have a history of not being able to really sleep when something is going to happen, like the event of that night, or a trip the next day. Frank was up working on something with me on the computer, so it was nice to have company! A very odd evening, night, early morning for us both.

I was watching TV Food Network after checking conditions outside at 3:15am. I gave the skies some time to get closer to the event before venturing out into that cold air (high 30’s F.) So at 4am on the nose, I went to check. I looked through the window on the deck French doors, and couldn’t see a thing outside. That was weird, the moon should still have been shining, though more to the West, instilling some light on things out there. I opened the door and was so disappointed! The sky was totally overcast. Where did that come from? Forecasts had been for, at most, partly cloudy skies around that time. This was not that. Thickly overcast. So disappointed I went to tell Frank. The children would be so disappointed too. This was the BIG event for both of our lifetimes. Oh well. Maybe something else will happen in the ensuing years to outdo it.

So, I watched Ming Tsai make a Thanksgiving Meal on “East Meets West”. That’s the end of my Leonid early morning experience. Soothe disappointment like that by watching succulent food being made on TV.

Leonid and weather

We are looking forward to the “shooting star” event that should be fantastic on Tuesday morning, 5:30am here on the US East Coast.

Go to the above link to read about it. is forecasting a low of 38 Monday night-Tuesday morning. Better than the previous night/morning of 27, which is tonight! Brrr! This’ll be our first freeze. Fairly normal as our first freeze is Nov. 15 on the Average calendar for such. We nearly froze the other day, but just got some very cold weather in the low 30’s but above freezing and frosty tips of grass. The grass is still very green. We’ve had lots of rain lately. Thank you God! We appreciate it, so do the grass and trees and birds and flowers and weeds! Also the lakes and streams and rivers and wells and wild animals. Can’t forget them.

If you get out to see the show on Tuesday morning, check back here for my report, and leave your comments under that post! I’d love to hear your reports! We plan on having chairs and blankets and hot drinks out there, and all the children — if they wake up for us!

New computer!

I built our newest computer last night. It’s so nice to have a fast machine again. I still don’t have my laptop back. I’ll sure be glad when I do, but in the mean time now, I’ve got a decent machine to use!

Perhaps I’ll get some kind of posting of pictures done.

As for what I built, it was a starter kit which consisted of a case, fan, motherboard [for an AMD Athlon], floppy drive, and ethernet, usb, serial, power,etc. those little things. It came with built in sound and a small video card. And a keyboard and mouse.

I had to put in the rest of it, purchased separately. So we got a CDRW a few months back, for the old computer since the CD ROM died suddenly. The CDRW was slated to go into the new machine when we got it built. So then we had to get Memory, a Processor, a hard drive, modem, and whatever else we wanted.

I ended up having to use my old video card, from the old machine. We’ll get a better one some time. But the thing was –the video card wouldn’t work. No matter what I did. The old one I tried it, and it worked instantly.

But then I had trouble installing the OS. Ended up the mouse connection was the problem. I took that off the computer, and plugged in a USB mouse I have for the laptop. Everything installed smoothly after that. But that wasn’t until the third attempt to get it going, with something differnet flagging as the problem each time. Ugh.

So today was the day for the SP1 download and all those updates. Fun, fun, fun. Actually, it’s not so bad. The machine is fast and happy. So am I therefore, happy, that is.

The processor is an Athlon XP 2100+, and we have 512 of DDR 2100 Memory, a tiny 40 Gig hard drive (our old one was a 6 gig) oh, and no sound. The thing just won’t make any sounds. I’ll have to snag my sound card from the old machine now too. Well, we had planned on rebuilding that computer, but now it’s not so much worth it. Figures. The video card and sound card were good for the late 90’s. They’d work fine in a lesser computer, though good, as we intended to make that one. So we’ll have to shell out some money for this new computer, to replace these non-intended items.

Ah, the beauty of a starter kit. It gets you started, sure, that’s it. Next time we are doing this whole thing ourselves. Well, I put it together, Frank buys the stuff.

But hey, I like it. It’s not the fanciest case on earth, but it’s big enough, mid-size tower can hold quite a bit more, and it’s pretty in it’s own way. Just can’t compare it to any other case.

So I need to round up somemore software and get it loaded. Bye!

Silly old bear

Deep in the hundred acre wood
where Christopher Robin plays
You’ll find the enchanted neighborhood
of Christopher’s childhood days

A donkey named Eeyore is his friend
and Kanga and little Roo
There’s Rabbit and Piglet and there’s Owl,
but most of all Winnie the Pooh

Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff
He’s Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Willy nilly silly old bear

Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff
He’s Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Willy nilly silly old bear

I love “Classic Pooh” πŸ™‚

Paper Dolls – I

Paper Dolls online — download and print! There are some lovely ones you can easily find, and I’ll start posting my favorites here.

These first ones are from Gayle Broadbent-Ferris. She has others too, these are my favorite, more old-fashioned kinds.

[My recommendation is to right-click each link below, and choose “Save Target As …” then download them to your hard drive as jpg. images. Keep them if you like them, delete them if you don’t. If you load the links below, you might only have the option to “Save Picture As …” a bmp. To load the page you are downloading the image anyway, so download it as a Save Target As …!]


Christmas Bear – 2001

Christmas Doll 1975 (2000)

Bunny – Happy Easter 2001

Annie 1999

Valentine 2001

More links to my favorite Paper Dolls online … later!

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