Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Bluebird of Spring

The Bluebird of Spring is out there. 
He's coming by Calamity Acres for a drink. 

Please hold on, friends on the east coast, and friends in 
the north, and in Iowa, it's own little winter country. 

The Starling of Spring is right behind him. 

This is why there is a mess on the porch, they are MeSSY. 

Uh huh. 

Not messy. 

Also not messy. 

Not messy. 

King of the Messy!!!!

They are all so grateful for fresh water in the bitter cold! 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

55 at Noon!

I am feeling MUCH better today!  Thanks for all the well wishes! 

It was 55 degrees at noon today, can you believe it? 
If we aren't having the craziest winter. 

The break in the line causing the problem was found in the ground, near the old henhouse. 
I thought to tell my nephew and his boss that we had had to have someone do a repair on an electric line 2 years ago when we put the water pump in. 

The repair was done badly, and deteriorated.  The power for the barn (our shop) and the henspa comes from this old building. 

Brandon had it dug out in no time. 

So... a few hours work, and I was able to connect the base heater and the dog bowl heater 
in the henspa tonight.  I spread extra feed... just in case we really get hit during the night. 

This beautiful juvenile red tailed hawk was on a fence post as the dogs and I went home. 

As you can see, he is hurt, and has a wing problem. 
I pulled clear up even with him, and he could not fly away. 

I went home, and called Operation Wildlife.  
Pretty soon, their intake person called me back and told me that 
a volunteer would come from Olathe. 

In the meantime, Friend Jill offered to leave her office and come and help catch him.

By the time we got back out there, we could not find him, which was encouraging, because we thought he was able to fly a little. 

This is nesting season, and the juveniles are being run off by their own 
parents, and there are three big birds on this same road. 

So... we drove up and down the road, looking in the ditches.  We were prepared with blankets and a dog crate. 

Finally, we saw him... 

way in the middle of a big field, on a fencepost.  The field was driveable... 
but we realized if he had flown or managed to get clear over there, that he would get away from us if we approached him.  So... we left him, crossing our fingers that he would make it, and especially tonight in the bitter cold. 

Here's our little goat friend in his bale on the way home! 

We are all hunkered down tonight for the cold... I am so grateful to Brandon 
for restoring the electricity to the henspa.  Knowing that the birds have open water is reassuring to me. 

I just realized I hardly took any pictures today!  The dogs had a great run this 
morning in the good weather... sun... and by tonight, when we went back out to close the birds up... it was gray, suddenly began to blow, and the temps began to drop quickly. The dogs were glad to get in the car and come home. 

Prayers asked tonight for a good friend who will be undergoing a cat scan about which she is very worried... I know the prayer would help her! 

Stay warm, everyone! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Yesterday and Today

First off, I have the crud.  I don't want to say it's flu, but 
it FEELS like flu.  Headache, stomach upset, aching all over and little chills. 
No fever...yet. 

Crossing my fingers. 

This... is NOT A NORTHERN FLICKER as I said yesterday on Facebook. 

It's a red-bellied woodpecker, and yes, I know he has a red head. 
He is not a red-headed woodpecker. 

Here is a Northern Flicker, in our yard today...

Not even close, Mary Ann. 

Thanks to Teresa Perrin at Eden Hills... if you have never read her blog, you are missing a treat.  I'll tell you more about Teresa sometime this week. 

I also have GREAT bird support from my friend Jill, whom I can't thank enough. 

These beautiful peacocks are at my friend Roxane's... she has milked goats for 
years, and they are on the roof of her milk storage house.  See the little goat peeking out? 

Roxane is on a list to get bread from a bread store here.  She has been called 
3 times in the last few weeks... she gets a huge load for 24.00.  She does not have many birds right now, and she let me know to come and get some.  She sells 30 loaves for 5.00. 

So.... I have gone over there several times to get bread and take it...

To my friend whose chickens I am caring for.  She feeds bread at night to her poultry. 

It was in the high thirties - low forties today, but is PLUNGING as of tonight. 
The dogs had a great time running around in the good weather. 

I found a door hanger from the tree-eaters last Friday at the 
old place.  Yesterday when I came to do evening chores, I found this. 
Actually, the cedars were still standing, and the two workers asked me if I wanted them down.  I said "YES"... they overgrow fencelines so. 

Here is the view today:

They had the debris picked up by 9 AM. 

Keith will cut these stumps down to the ground, along with the only other one left to the left of these. 

This beautiful red tail was on the levee at County Road Five this afternoon. 

Notice the color of this hawk's head. 

He flew across the road in front of the car near my friend's this morning. 

Now look at the red tail above it. 

Here's a closeup: 

See the bands on wings and tail, and the lighter head? 

This is a juvenile red tail, the only one I have seen hunting around here, though there 
must be many more, since it is the most prolific hawk in this area.  

I have been seeing many, many bluebirds drinking on the porch.  I'm going to take care to keep that heated water bowl full for the next few days, as we dive down into single digits again. 

I have to admit that this is the FIRST bunny I have seen on the porch camera! 

Plenty of kitties, though... look at the eyes BEHIND this one!  

I've switched the camera view around so you don't have to see all the junk still on the porch. 
The wheels of remodeling move slowly. 

Keith has been kind enough to run out and check on the birds tonight and fill the water bowl on the porch for the wildings as I am so under the weather. 

Thanks, honey! 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Lots 'O Pictures Post

Yes, friends, this is the One That Started It All. 

And it still goes on. 

You of a certain age will remember the men who led 
ponies up and down city streets in the fifties, and for 2 or 3 dollars (maybe five) your 
parents could get a picture of you dressed like a cowgirl or cowboy.  This pony 
came by our home several times a year... and I begged and begged each time. 

I treasure this picture because I have so few of 
Kathleen and me when we were little. 

And no, Kathleen would not get on the pony... too scary! 

This was the start of my life-long love of horses. 

That was a well-turned out pony, with great hooves... and obviously well-cared-for and loved. 

The last two days featured temps in the 30's and 40's, Friday and Saturday, respectively, and 
none of the freezing drizzle we were predicted.  The dogs had a great run yesterday. 

I think Lilly covered every square inch of the pasture. 

I opened the side door of the henhouse in the good weather, and 
everyone immediately began to dust bathe. 

Uh huh.  Don't let this look fool you. 

This hen went out, and actually descended to the ground. 

She was out ALL NIGHT.  It dropped from 49 to 18! 

I went by after church, around 5:10.  I stayed until 6:30... she WOULD NOT COME IN, and 
frankly, after it got dark, I couldn't even see her, since she was one of the black girls. 

I finally gave up, shut the pophole, and came home. 
I did put straw in the doghouse that used to shelter the ducks in that yard. 

She was fine this morning... and I caught her with a new 
fishing net (the pole type) in two minutes. 

They are not going out today, it's too cold, and going to be bitter tonight. 

Silver did go out for a little bit. 

In this henhouse, the hens must descend either the steps or a ramp on the left to get to the ground. 

Rooster Cogburn's heated dog bowl is working great, and 
I am so using it here next winter, on our patio. 

Note double-yolker on the left.  In 20 years of chicken-keeping, 
I have had less than ten double yoked eggs. 

It was the big egg I collected Friday. 

And now... the hawk pictures.  I did not see many hawks this week, with the 
weather so overcast and cold.  They made up for it yesterday. 

And over our own pasture, a double delight! 

Today's last picture... a Northern Flicker at 
the flat feeder this morning. 

Though it was cloudy at 9 AM... the sun is trying to come 
out right now.  It looks like we have another week of bitter cold at night, and 
medium temps in the 20's and 30's during the day. 

Today marks the end of the Sunday Kansas City Star magazine.  

It began publication in 1970 (I was 20).  
I can't believe they are stopping it, but frankly, 
I'm surprised they are still printing the paper. 
Yes, we still subscribe, though the cost is going up. 
Things change, don't they? 

Last "Grantchester" tonight, and my, how I enjoyed it...
and second-to-last Downton, which is losing me this year. 

Academy Awards?  I'll watch a little before PBS.  

Have a great Sunday evening! 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Respite

For some reason, this is a respite day, in between the storm action! 

Even though our local weathercaster told us early this morning that the 
predicted drizzle would come early... we have still not seen it here. 
We are, however, under another Winter Storm Advisory, and the drizzle should 
be coming tonight, freezing overnight. 

Update at 5:00 PM... it has started raining here. 

I am not complaining... we don't live in Boston! 

Today is Love Your Pets Day... and oh, how we do: 

Our wonderful Jester who loves to snuggle in blankets. 

Our beautiful Lilly Ann, laying at my side as I type this. 

Two eggs from yesterday. Look at the difference in the size! 

We have been using them daily for Keith's breakfasts, as he 
must eat lots of protein.  Look at that big egg!  It was laid by 
Silver, the dark Brahma. 

Silver and one of the black hens have finally started using the nestbox, and I got a 
lovely egg from each nest hole today. 

This black hen still prefers to make a nest on the floor, and she also gave us a beautiful brown egg. 

As we left today, another black hen had gone to this nest and settled herself down. 

We stayed out at the old house about an hour and a half, since it was in the mid-thirties... and the dogs had a great run, and I got a lot done, refreshing all the water, spreading feed, putting some new straw and hay down for the chickens, and then lugging some feed over for the wild birds. 
They are getting a cheaper mixture until next week. 

I did take some pictures. 

House finches, juncoes, chickadees, and a lady cardinal coming to eat. 

She has the cutest topknot! 

The reason they are REDTAILS. 

This is our bird at the old house. 

This one was on 174th street. (a dirt road) 

Hard to get good pictures in the dim light. 

This one was 200 feet further down the road. 

Yet another 200 feet further. 

This guy was at 163rd and Donohoo, and we saw our big 
hawk on our own corner, but in a place where I could not get a look at him. 

After being unable to hunt regularly in the nasty cold for the last few days, they 
were all out today taking advantage of the warmer temps. 

Yesterday's beautiful sunrise: 

God is good.