Thursday, May 29, 2008

Planting Posts

I joined a Yahoo group for plants/seed exchange and gardening advice even though I am a tad out of the area of the group (but willing to travel for new plants).

I have belonged to the group for about 24 hours. Every new posting arrives in my Yahoo in box. I've gotten about 20. I read them and thought (after all but the apparently literate moderator's posts), "OMG!!! Just because you dig in the dirt doesn't mean you can't write a decent sentence!"

Or does it? Maybe I should belong to the "Plant Exchange for People Who Can Be Understood When They Post" group.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Going For The Gold

I went to Ames Friday to watch my sister in law compete in the Special Olympics. I grumbled a lot about "having" to go, but once there had a grand time. It helped that I did not have to cling to the vertical cliff (bleachers) all day, but only for a few hours. Seriously, it was all I could do to keep from puking while looking straight down at the pool below.

My sister in law won handily and brought home the gold. You cannot imagine how excited she was.

I took the back roads on my big trip, driving on one of my favorite roads, E18. I encountered very little traffic and some great scenery. I got to pick my own pace and not get pushed and pulled along by the crazy people on the interstate. This is one of the things H hates about riding with me. I like to enjoy the scenery and she likes to get places fast.

Here are some things you can't enjoy while barreling down I35.

E 18
My Favorite Road

Church On My Favorite Road

Monday, May 19, 2008


My little brother (a loosely used term since he is only a year and a half younger than I am and we are both old) called me tonight. We rarely talk on the phone. We are not a chatty family. If we know the others are fine, we're fine. When one calls, worry ensues immediately because why else would they call?

It turned out that he called because he was watching the weather on t.v. and was worried that I did not know about the looming thunderstorm. Ha. I should be so nonchalant about the weather. I am not. I am paranoid and I live in tornado country.

Years ago I procured a weather radio which informs me of impending doom or possibly-sort-of-maybe impending doom. Sometimes the radio is just annoying as hell. It had already told me that the storm would hit me at 6:15 p.m and I had a couple of different radar screens in different tabs up on my computer (how can radar differ so much?). I knew I was in for it.

It was sweet of him to worry. I asked if he wanted me to call him back after I survived the 60 mph winds that were sure to hit. He told me it wasn't necessary, he would see it on the news. Sweet.

The red eye of the storm was aimed right at me and then.... it went somewhere else. There was a short burst of not 60 mph wind and a little rain and then it was quiet again. It is always a little disappointing when the radio and radar get you all stirred up for a big disaster and all you get is a little fart.

Here is the radar after the fart:

Weather map, I am at the X

I went outside and here was the view to the terrible northeast:

Looking north
Deep blue sky to the north and east.

And here is the inevitable rainbow:

Rainbow to the south and east


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Most Exciting Day Ever

Last Friday was my most exciting bird day ever. I thought the orioles had forsaken me, but they returned after a couple of days of shyness. While admiring them I noticed a Rose Breasted Grosbeak, a bird I'd only seen once before.

Rose Breasted Grosbeak

Then I noticed a Rufous Sided Towhee on the ground. Later I saw Mrs. Towhee.

Rufous Sided Towhee

The usual suspects were flitting around. Harris and white throated sparrows, the goldfinches, one lonely blue jay, the robins, mourning doves, grackles, brown headed cowbirds and red winged black birds.

And then I saw a cat bird. I haven't seen one of those in a long, long time.


Just when I thought I'd reached the pinnacle of bird watching for my little patch of countryside, I noticed a hummingbird.


The Grosbeak has not reappeared but the goldfinches are here with a vengeance. And this morning the indigo buntings arrived. I hope they stick around even though they haven't in the past.

Indigo Bunting

And the hummingbird is still here so there's hope for a colorful display out my kitchen window all summer long.

Better Hummingbird

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


The feather I found was this big:


Sorry for the confusion. But when you have been on the campaign trail as long as I have been, suffering from lack of sleep and motor mouth, you are bound, at times, to mis-remember things.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

For Hannita

My grandmother always had the most beautiful iris in a dazzling array of colors. I grew up loving iris (and day lilies, which she also had). Grandma also had these little iris that bloomed early in the spring. I had some of my grandma's baby iris long ago but none managed to make the trip to the place where I live now.

A couple of years ago my friend Kate gave me some of her baby iris. They aren't Grandma's, but they look like hers and I think of my grandma whenever I look at the precious little blooms.

And I think of Hannita, too, who makes her own iris.

Baby Iris
Sweet baby iris.

Lost and Found


Monday, May 05, 2008

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

Sort of like "if you build it" in "Field of Dreams". Only this is food. Food orioles prefer, to be more specific. My mother always told me that if I fed them, they would come. My half-assed attempts in the past yielded no results. It wasn't until I strung orange halves on wire and hung them from the tree that I saw an oriole.

And he told his friends. Today I saw three. At the same time!

Three of them! (this photo gets bigger)

No, I am not feeding them Star Kist Chicken of the Sea Tuna. I made a feeder out of a board (for them to stand on) and tuna cans (to hold the oranges). I was too lazy to paint the cans a color that is attractive to orioles.

Here is another, non-enlarging photo:


So the lesson for the day is this: Always Listen To Your Mother! And you don't need to spend lots of $$ to make orioles happy.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bird Party

While I was about to post crappy pictures that were badly Photoshopped, I saw a blog recommendation -- Photoshop Disasters. Hmm. In some of them I couldn't see the problems even when they pointed them out. Some were obvious. My work will probably end up there as a glaring example of total ineptitude.

I'm doing the best I can with what I have to work with. That goes for digital photography, marriage, motherhood and life. So there.

Back to the birds, as this blog has turned from me constantly complaining about the weather (it is friggin cold and windy -- a high of 54 is NOT May weather) to a blog in which I either brag or whine about birds.

The blue jays were kind of scarce for a while but the other day decided to come to pj's and have a party.

Blue Jay Party
Psst --- we're having a blue jay party at pj's.

Here's the best part (and the worst Photoshopping) -- the hanging oranges have paid off. An oriole was eating them today.

Oriole. Really. Please take my word for it.

I hope he tells his friends.