ar_wahan: (Default)
Just posted on a community listserv:

"We've got a black bear hanging around in our back yard and it won't leave. Any suggestions--so I can get out to my car?"


Jun. 13th, 2012 08:46 pm
ar_wahan: (squeee)
When I went out to the barn just now, I heard the peep of baby barn swallows! The parents showed up a couple of weeks ago to refurbish a nest either they or their own parents built. Always glad to see our swallows come home, even though I'm not sure which generation I am welcoming.
ar_wahan: (Default)
A few days ago she posted a photo of a goldfinch sitting on a hummingbird nectar feeder. Well, in a mirror image . . .

I have had a thistle seed tube for goldfinches on my deck, and have only seen one or two the whole time. BUT . . . a moment ago, I saw a flash of iridescent green out of the corner of my eye as I was standing in the kitchen near the deck door. A hummer! Indignant to find a thistle seed feeder hanging where the nectar feeder hung last year!

Shows they have good memories, and this must be a returnee (the thistle feeder did not have any red on it at all, so a newcomer would not have mistaken it for a nectar feeder).

I just took the thistle feeder inside and put the nectar feeder in its place. Glad I had the nectar on hand!
ar_wahan: (tongue out)
We have been having VERY heavy rains and high winds the last two days, the result of Tropical Storm Nicole.

I just received the following (global) email from our UU office administrator:

The Connecticut River Source-to-Sea Clean-Up scheduled for Saturday, October 2nd has been postponed due to the high levels and potential flooding of the river.

(This is an annual event that many organizations, including my UU Society, turn out for.)
ar_wahan: (besieged)
That was from me. I came out onto the deck with my laptop and lunch, sat down and realized a decapitated red squirrel was lying at my feet.

Thanks, Jesse, but no thanks*.

At least it wasn't the decapitated head of a horse . . .

*lunch was delayed on account of carnage.
ar_wahan: (Default)
As I was driving along our road to my Pilates class this afternoon, a huge bird took wing from the side of the road om my driver's side and flew parallel to my car for a dozen yards or before shooting upwards.

I am pretty sure it was an immature bald eagle.
ar_wahan: (Default)
"Nature by numbers" (Verucas, aren't you the one who likes the chambered nautilus?)


Dec. 6th, 2009 04:57 pm
ar_wahan: (Default)
The Universe satisfied an ambition of mine this afternoon: I SAW A MOOSE!

We know they are around, and I've heard one, but never seen one in the 24 years I've lived here. (They were not that common when we first arrived, but their numbers have been increasing.) I was driving up Buffam Road in Pelham and saw something very large and dark in my peripheral vision -- it was about to emerge from the snow-covered woods. At first I thought I was seeing a loose horse, but then it stepped into the road about 20 feet from my car. It was a female, seemingly unaware of me. (Maybe because the Prius is so quiet?) I hit the brakes and looked behind her in case there was a calf or another adult moose accompanying her, but didn't see anything.

She crossed the road at a leisurely trot and traveled on in a straight line through a meadow.

Like a doofus, I forgot that I had a camera in my purse. I could have pulled over and caught her departing backside with the zoom lens! Ah well.
ar_wahan: (Default)
The turkey family surprised me this morning as I sat on the deck. They once again headed for the blueberry bushes near our woodpiles. The babies (who are growing rapidly!) kept hopping under the branches, trying to reach them, with limited success.

I anticipated that they'd once again head for the road and the big field beyond it (which has low-bush blueberries, as I recall, so they'd be within the babies' reach). So I ran out to the road and lay in wait for them. I was wearing only my bathrobe as I crouched down to get a shot .... yes, I have no shame!

Much clearer photos than last time )


Jul. 23rd, 2009 06:40 pm
ar_wahan: (Default)
The turkey family stopped by again a little while ago. They were in our backyard. Spouse (who came back inside from mowing the lawn yesterday with a turkey feather stuck into his baseball cap -- he'd found it while mowing!) told me the birds were eating blueberries this evening.

"But the babies can't be tall enough to reach the berries," I protested (we have some wild highbush blueberries on the edge of the yard.

"The mother can reach them, and she's feeding them," he said.

Fortunately, she's only tall enough to reach the lower branches, so we'll still have some for ourselves (and the rest of the birds around here!).

I predicted they'd head up from the bushes to the road again (this time through the woods, not on our driveway), and they did. I was ready with a camera, but the light was too dim for the shot to be posted.

Still, as I said yesterday, there will be another time. At this rate, lots of 'em.
ar_wahan: (Default)
We have baby barn swallows in a nest in our barn. We don't know how many (can't see into the nest from below), but parents are feeding noisy babies.


We had no barn swallows last year. Not sure why, since we've had 'em every year for ages. These parents were very wary of humans, would leave as soon as we entered the barn. Maybe they had a bad experience with humans in the past.

They are less wary of us now, alhtough Samurai just reported they left as soon as she entered the barn to feed the horses.

I didn't have that trouble today, but they also see me more often than they see her.

I am so glad they are back! I missed them last year.

The view

Jun. 25th, 2009 07:27 pm
ar_wahan: (wedge tomb)
All the years I've lived here (since 1985), looking east beyond the back yard, all I've seen is a wall of green. The forest was that thick. The only way to see sky was to look up, over the trees.

It has been strange this spring and summer. Now I look east and see blue sky all around, in holes punched through the forest by the crashing of giants in the December ice storm.

Strange, and beautiful, and also sad.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Spouse and I were wondering what gender our (possibly returning?) barred owl was. My bird book didn't show male/female images, just one. Well, a little digging around on the Internet showed that the males and females look the same!

In the process, I found this link to barred owls in Massachusetts, where we are. I am putting it here not only so you can see a better image than ours, but read a rather humorous writeup (Spart, I'm thinking of you) that you may enjoy. It's ... a hoot! *ducks*

We actually live in a moist wooded area, with wetlands, and it is March, so all of this makes sense. It's also kind of cool that I have heard of the Bird Watchers General Store on Cape Cod, not far from where we stay every year for a week in summer, so maybe I will drop in!

I'm also glad to read that these owls are not likely to try to feast on our cats.
ar_wahan: (Default)
A barred owl made an appearance in our back yard this evening. I was in the kitchen and glanced out the window, and suddenly saw a huge shape in a tree on the other side of so-called lawn.

He/she was too far away to get a photo this time, although the super-power binoculars I bought my spouse for his birthday last year let us all get really good views.

Interestingly, a barred owl made an appearance here almost exactly a year ago -- when we did get a photo. I wonder if it is the same one. Link to its photo and my post of March 12, 2008:
ar_wahan: (snow)
I love these birds! This is the first time they've ever visited this feeder, at least to my knowledge. Maybe it's because of the sunflower seeds. (I usually see them at the thistle seed feeder.)

ar_wahan: (snow)
OK, granted, that's a contrived way to introduce this photo. I wish my (relatively) cheap camera, a 2005 Kodak Easyshare, had done a better job on the colors. They were spectacular! Much deeper than shown here.

Anyhoo, I went out to refill the bird feeders in the front yard (and yes, [ profile] kayre , they finally have customers! Whee!) and was struck by the colors in the sky behind the old barn across the road.


The weather warmed up considerably the other day, and as you can see, the deep snow is almost gone. It was 55 today! Sheesh. I have work to do tomorrow, and the piano tuner (rescheduled from the time of the ice storm and five-day power outage -- she was out of power, too! And no phone at all!) is coming in the morning. But if I have time, I'll try to power-wash the front of the house... parts of the white aluminum siding are green! Ugh.

I'll do a post about Christmas eventually. ;-P As I mentioned in an earlier post, it was quite nice.
ar_wahan: (Default)
I meant to get all the bird feeders cleaned and filled today, BUT ...

1) The phillips-head top of one screw holding on the bottom of the thistle seed feeder has worn down so I can't unscrew it, and without the bottom off, I can't clean the feeder or empty out the old and probably moldy seed inside it. So I've put in in the trash. I have had the feeder for at least six years, so I got some use out of it.

2) The regular seed mix that I've been storing INSIDE in a plastic, covered pitcher-like container designed for seed storage was all gross and moldy! Don't know how that happened. So I threw it in the trash (not the compost, because I don't want any birds or other critters eating it).

And ironically, the seed that IS still good is the thistle seed -- but I don't have a feeder I can use it with!


Must get a cheap thistle feeder and some new regular feed tomorrow.

I *did* manage to get the bird bath heater hooked up, though.
ar_wahan: (Default)
I didn't get everything on my to-do list done today, but I made progress. (And yes, the insulin pump is STILL in its box. Which reminds me, I need to phone CVS and refill my insulin prescription.) *leaves to do that*

I got a lot of indoor stuff done upstairs, and then cleared the planters off of the deck and cut back all the tall, dead flower stalks in the front yard. I also realized, while putting the planters in the garage, that the backyard faucet needed to be shut off inside the basement so it wouldn't freeze. I went into the basement and climbed up into a very cobwebby, and possibly spider-webby, place high up near the ceiling and shut off the faucet.

After that, I brought in the empty birdfeeders to clean them for filling, wondering all the while whether it was safe to put seed out. Supposedly the bears start hibernating and you can safely put out seed after Nov. 1 (I think), but Alison had a bear take down a feeder just a week or so ago. Anyway, I will get them cleaned up.

After running off to buy some groceries, I came home this evening to startle two deer (at least two -- I think there may have been a third) with my headlights as I pulled in. I saw them leaping away in the back yard. Spouse saw a buck a few weeks ago in the back yard (I wonder if it was my adolescent male who used to visit regularly, now grown up), but I myself have not seen any deer here in some time. I was glad to see them, but sorry to scare them.

And then, once inside, I started getting this itch just above one ankle. A BIG INSECT BITE!!! With the very cold temps (down to 15 F) we had a week ago, I can't believe anything was around to bite me while I was gardening. I wonder if a spider got me in the basement? Even though the webs were up near the ceiling, far from my ankles? Whatever it was would have had to bite through a knee-high stocking, too.

We have no anti-itch spray or calamine lotion here. But I remembered we have an aloe plant. Thank you, aloe, for the balm of one of your succulent leaves! The itch is still there, but not quite as maddening.
ar_wahan: (jesse and fire)
When I came into the kitchen this morning, Jesse (see icon) was on the deck toying with a small critter lying on the decking. For a moment, I thought it was a chipmunk, then realized it was the wrong color -- gray. He looked up when he saw me at the door, and the critter stirred and scrambled up one wall of the screenroom, apparently unharmed.

It was a Northern Flying Squirrel! I've never seen one -- had to look it up in my field guide.

It kept going to the top of the screen room (the ceiling -- kind of hard to explain unless you've seen it. The screen room is like a screen tent suspended below the deck's awning.).

Jesse went INSIDE the screen room, thinking (I guess) that he could catch it from there, but it was on the top of the ceiling, and he was on the other side.

I hope the little critter wasn't hurt.
ar_wahan: (Default)
Slideshow of photos taken by spouse around noon today (except for final photo, taken by me around 5 p.m.) When I asked him why the sudden interest in flower photos, he explained that he wanted to capture them because once he mows the lawn for the first time this season, they'll be mowed down! (Many shown have self-seeded into our so-called lawn.)

Under here ) 


ar_wahan: (Default)

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