Category Archives: Nature photos

Cooper’s Hawk thriving in Hampshire Illinois

Cooper's Hawk in Hampshire Illinois
Cooper’s Hawk in Hampshire Illinois June 2016

A Cooper’s Hawk has been nesting in Hampshire Township, just outside the town of Hampshire, Illinois. They can be seen flying swiftly between the trees. Circumnavigating farm fields, skimming over fences, twirling and disappearing only to reappear in a free fall.

They dive low to the ground like a kite on a tight string. Immediately, darting up to the treetops where they disappear in the dense foliage. Those explosions of speed are amazing. Observing their enthusiasm can take your breath away. While giving you an adrenaline rush that will have you on your toes, wishing you could follow them into that kaleidoscope of green. Calling out warnings, with a cak-cak-cak-cak-cak, in bursts of two to five seconds long, an alarm that a human is in the yard. At the same time, the air is charged with angry calls from other birds screeching that a Cooper’s Hawk is hunting.

These hawks have a kettle of nicknames: Forest hawk, Chicken hawk, Blue Darter, Quail Hawk, Hen Hawk, Mexican hawk, Striker, Swift hawk, Lynx of the bird world, and a Flying Cross. They live up to every one of those names.

Early in May, an adult hawk was dive-bombing the house making it abundantly clear that they were nesting. Once you know that a bird is nesting, stay away from them. They are secretive and protective of their nests. Cooper’s Hawk can lay between two and five eggs and will attack if you try to approach them. You can’t blame them for trying to protect their offspring. Having humans around will  cause the birds stress and they may abandon their young.

They weigh between ten to twenty-four ounces. And have a wingspan of twenty-seven to thirty-six inches; similar to the size of a crow at fifteen to twenty inches long. According to, ‘hawkwatch.org’ a Cooper’s Hawk can be easily misidentified. They do look similar to Sharp-shinned Hawks, which are smaller birds. You would need to see two birds next to each other, comparing size and color to accurately identify a Cooper’s hawk. The color of their eyes, the iris, will change from a nestling’s bluish-gray to the juvenile’s bright yellow. With the changing plumage, from juvenile to adult, eye color will transform into the red iris of an adult.

Cooper’s Hawks were on the endangered species list in 2013, they have since been taken off that list. Survival is still a fight as they contend with pesticides, foxes, accidents, and humans. It is illegal to kill them. Killing hawks is a federal violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 Hawks in flight

By Gerardine Baugh

A shrill cry echoes off the green that is summer

I see her. Then I see him, both

Wings spread like fingers, touching the clouds

Circling to a height afar of Icarus’s dream

So close to the sun

They own the air in a union of steaming blue

They are lovers, keepers of peace

Wishing I could join their power of free-flight

I cherish a desire

For it to be more, than a dream

Hawks help keep wild birds and rodents from over populating which is a good thing. Cooper’s hawk will eat wild birds, rats, mice and insects, even lizards, snakes, toads, anything small enough for them to carry. Which is why putting out poison to kill a rodent is a bad idea; it will end up killing a helpful, amazing hawk.

A juvenile, Cooper’s Hawk landed on my deck railing looking frazzled and wet. He may have just left the nest. If you look closely, at the photo, you can see some pinfeathers. That bird is not paying any attention to what or who is behind the window, that is directly in front of where he is perched. When he finally notices, he seems confused, surprised, then upset. He seems to be saying, ‘How dare you look at me!’

On the other side of that window not only was this guy being filmed, but there were cats watching as if it were a movie. They were so enthralled by the large bird; they hardly noticed the glass in-between.

Five days after that first encounter, I was on the deck checking my tomatoes and taking pictures, when I spotted that hawk balancing on an old trimmed, tree branch. It was over fifty feet from the house. Cooper’s Hawk do not like being watched. That didn’t surprise me. Hawks are predators, hunters. They aren’t at ease being noticed. This bird was understandably distressed at being looked at, so I took my camera and went inside.

I won’t try and approach raptors; their talons and sharp beaks could send me to the hospital. Or they can be injured trying to get away. I took my pictures and let him be.

Cooper's Hawk August 2016
Cooper’s Hawk August 2016 Check out those blue eyes

 

According to ‘All About Birds,’ Cooper’s Hawks (Accipiter cooperii) kill their prey by repeated squeezing. (In that case, Raquel Welch’s character, Loana, shouldn’t have survived the flight to the pterodactyl’s nest. Yes, I know, I am over-looking the fact that picking her up wouldn’t have been impossible.) Some hawks have been known to hold their prey underwater until it drowns. Males are smaller than females; the males build the nest, and will provide all the food for the female and the young fledging. Females will do all the hunting while not nesting. The females are bigger and stronger than the males so they can catch larger prey.

Cooper’s Hawks fly through trees, fast. Weaving in and out quickly, they can easily get hurt by running into hanging branches, which can cause their deaths. In a study of 300 Cooper’s Hawks skeletons, 23 percent had healed over fractures. (See link 7)

  • Accipiter: Short, round wings, and rudder-like tails, they are spectacular at maneuvering in thick woods, darting in and out of trees. Examples of accipiter’s are Cooper’s Hawks, Northern Goshawks, and Sharp-shinned Hawks.
  • Buteo: Soaring hawks, they can soar for long stretches without flapping their wings. Broad-wings, and short broad tails, Buteos include the Broad-winged Hawk, Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk and Rough-legged Hawk.
  • Falcons: Fastest birds of prey, long pointed wings, streamlined bodies. The peregrine falcon can dive at speeds over 150 miles per hour. Falcons include the American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, and Merlin.

Don’t try to touch a Hawk. Don’t try to save them. All your good intentions will do is harm them. Adopt a no-nest policy. Which means you won’t approach any bird’s nest. Never try to get a peek at a Hawk without using binoculars. Getting too close can be dangerous for you and the hawk.

Have you seen a Cooper’s hawk?

Here are some great sites if you want to read about Cooper’s Hawks.

  1. If you found an injured bird call this helpline. CBCM hotline, 773-988-1867
  1. Fox Valley Wild Life Center at (630) 365-3800

I Found an Animal

  1. Fish & Wildlife Service

 

  1. All About Birds
  1. Illinois Raptor center
  1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act Protected Species
  1. The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.  PDF In link: Incidence of naturally healed fractures in the pectoral bones of North American accipiters.
  1. Kane County Audubon: (click link for ‘sightings’)
  1. Migratory Bird Treaty Act

 

  1. Hawk Migration Association of North America

 

Bucks are dangerous when they are trolling~ Deer mating season in Hampshire

A walking path is never even. That was the thought in my head this afternoon when I headed out through the garage. The winds were coming at me from the northwest, cold and strong. First thing I wanted to do was collect one large bag of trash from the pole barn, there seems to be a never ending supply of junk in that barn.
As I opened up the barn I kept talking out loud to myself, I was hoping that the skunk who lives around the barn would scurry away when it heard me coming.

I consider it a good outing when nothing furry tries to chase me down:-)

After I had one bag stuffed and tied off I looked off towards the back path, or what use to be the back path. My tractor had stopped working this summer, as well as the gas mower. So parts of my lawn /field grass were ankle to waist high, making my walk an arduous excursion. I still had the narrow path that Uriah had carved. I decided to take a walk, before deep snow erased that path.

I stopped my non-stop, keep-away-animal chatter as I hit the lowest part of the path. I followed a line though the grass then turned to the left and walked on the incline, sidestepping a section riddle with burrows.

I made a mental note to bring with a small saw or heavy clippers next time, and cut the invading Bog Willows away from the old path.

I continued on towards the east invisible fence line. I turned towards the north and a wave of sadness hit. I kept walking.

I was in an area where, years before, I had been charged by a forty pound raccoon. At that time I had three dogs with me, they all saved my life.

I stopped and listened. Winds blasted over the oldest Bog Willows and rustled the tops of the four to five foot dried grass , then blew past me.

“ I think I need to walk a different path …” I said that out loud.

Instantaneously, a buck stood up, not more than forty feet from where I was standing.

I can’t speak for the buck,..for me, that moment moved in slow motion.

I stopped breathing and froze! I was hoping that he wouldn’t notice me standing in front of him wearing a bright orange jacket, I closed my eyes ..I really wished that would make me disappear!

A male deer’s mating, or rutting season is around November. Bucks are attitude with pointy antlers. And I found myself standing too close to one. If he charged at me he could use those antlers or stomp on me, yes they do that! Ouch!

When the buck rose up from where he had been resting, he slowly turned in my direction. I could see the wind slightly ruffling his fur as it blew towards me, lucky for me I was down wind. He snorted as he stood up and again as he faced me. He stomped the ground, and raised his head up and smelled the air.

At this point I was trying to become a turtle and shrink into my coat.

I didn’t breath! I didn’t move, that is supposed to work right? Or it that only for bears?

After a minute he turned and took a couple of steps away, snorting indignantly. Then with three effortless jumps, he disapeared in the trees. I got an impression he had springs for legs.

It took me a couple of minutes to relax and head back to the house.

Note to self… Tomorrows walk will be taken in the open, empty farm field next door.

oct pic. leaves have fallen off
Tall grass hidding deer

Male deer are called bucks, bulls, stags or harts. Female deer are called does, cows or hinds. Young deer are called fawns or calfs.~ http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Deer.htm

Poem for April 16th~ Old Saying In the Mid-West if you don’t like the weather wait a minute!

I couldn’t believe the way the snow came down today, and just last week it was hot, and I mean uncomfortably hot, somewhere near ninety..

I posted this poem for today’s prompt “write a snapshot poem” this afternoon I also took this video with the new camera, – it’s a Nikon.  

Link to poem a day challenge: http://blog.writersdigest.com/poeticasides/2011/04/16/2011AprilPADChallengeDay16.aspx

 I used up the Cannon after eight months and the Sony barely made it a month.  I had bought the extended warranty at Best Buy so I was able to try different cameras. So far the Nikon is the best.

Michael is beginning to think cameras don’t’ like me. I keep explaining that some electronics have gremlins in them

I thought I would have trouble with setting up a video, then I found using, Microsoft Live I could fix it and upload it to YouTube

Here’s April 16th, 2011’s poem..

“Freeze Frame”

by Gerardine Baugh

It is snowing

Uriah runs up to me

His thick coat is covered in water droplets

Looking up, he gives me a doggy grin

Knowing what’s coming I cringe and step back

He begins to shake

That, slow movement

Only his pudgy, furry body can accomplish. 

Where he turns his head one way, and

His body fat slips in the other direction

Water is launched from the ends of his fur

Encompassing him in a shower of reflected light 

I turned my back on him and the wind  

Time stops…

My hair covers my eyes

Snow blasts past me

An invisible serpent writhing as an updraft

Bellowing out my coat it slides up the naked trees.

Gathering up dry leaves from the ground, and

Playing with them around the tree tops

In a millisecond, sound stops

Then, the winds skate back down the trees

Letting go

Raining brown leaves within the white snow

Slipping across the grass, then

Like a playful child, pulls at my legs

Snowflakes hit my face stinging cold

Uriah doesn’t seem to notice the wind, or the cold snow

Staring expectantly

He whines and nudges at my hand for a treat

Beauty in the skies! ~NANoWriMo is everyone pounding the keys?

 Yesterday, started out as a beautiful day, blue skies, white puffy clouds, and a slightly cool breeze. Within a few hours the day changed drastically.

Winds picked up, as the clouds literally touched the ground. The view was magnificent!

 

 As I faced east, the blue sky had disappeared and the sunlight came out of that dense and dark low cloud. I could see its top. A yellowish-gray, making everything look oddly, dirty yellow, like I was wearing yellow tinted sunglasses. 

I took Uriah for a walk, in that defused yellow light

 

When I turned and faced west, the sky was filled with higher, puffy white clouds slipping underneath a beautiful deep blue sky. I turned back and forth so many times I though I would get whiplash.

 

I stood off on the very back of the path, and watched the clouds touch the ground east of me. The rain in that area must have been heavy. Streaks of blue-black clouds raced across the sky, some of them losing the battle to stay air borne, and dropped to the ground in an equally dark curtain of rain.

 

Uriah decided to take a break from sniffing and running between the trees. He stared at my pockets, where I remembered to put his biscuit.   

“Uriah! Look the rain is coming towards us!”

He gave me a goofy grin, and then stared out over the empty corn field.

I watched the dark line of rain marking its path across the plowed field, edging slowly towards us. I heard the pattering sound, before I felt the sharp pieces of ice rain.

Uriah stood up, shook the ice off his coat and started back towards the house. He looked once back at me, as if he were telling me to get moving.

I laughed, and held my hands open to catch the frozen water. “Hey, Uriah! It’s snowing!”

 

 Uriah shook his head at me and looked miffed, as he disappeared into the tree line.

Once again, I am participating in the 2010 National Novel Writing month. I have posted four articles on the Examiner, dealing with writing.  And I will add short videos that will be posted with the articles.

 

I went into this without a plan. I had a character that I created a few years ago. Every so often I try and pull her out, she refused to be involved in any story line, until this year. 

 

If anyone has an idea for a topic or if there is something you want to see. Maybe you’re busy with your own NaNoWriMo writing, that’s great!  Drop me a note, when you’re done.

If you want to, add comments you can do it here, or go at the examiner, or on Youtube. Email is even great. gerardinebaugh@gmail.com

Youtube – http://bit.ly/91BE8d

Examiner- http://exm.nr/cdqOQ3

I shortened the links at this site:  http://bit.ly/?u=&searchButton=Shorten

This was taken with a webcam, my camera is still getting fixed, at least I hope!

Woman hating Rooster free to good home!~ Or, how not to pull grass!

Careful they cut deep!

I was in the local grocery store yesterday, I was reading the bulletin board, and someone was giving away a rooster free of charge.

I pointed it out to Michael and mentioned we could get some hens and have fresh eggs. He started laughing, and told me to re-read the flyer and if I really want it, it’s fine by him. He just wants my camera to take the video of me and the new rooster..

This is what the flyer said:

Free Rooster- it hates kids and women- if you want him he’s yours..

Later that evening;

I was typing with one hand while Michael was muttering and snickering.
Earlier, at sundown, I was pulling weeds in the garden. Uriah was wandering, sniffing around trees and piles of cut grass for rabbits, ground squirrels, and moles.

I saw a large clump of grass, about a foot high, next to the strawberries. With my tunnel vision turned on, I knew that area had to be cleaned out. I had only a few more minutes and then I would be pulling weeds in the dark.

Working quickly, and using both hands, I grabbed a handful of the thick, woody, very dry grass and pulled.

The grass stayed in the ground.

I tugged harder.

I had a very tight hold on that grass, as it slipped through my hands. It gave me an Indian burn and sliced along my palm and fingers.

Uriah had wandered back, and was sitting in front of me, when I made an odd sounding squeak. He jumped up, with a look that said. “Whatever bit you isn’t going to get me!” And he ran and hid under the deck.

One of those heavy blades of grass, had sliced my little finger open wide and very deep. I saw that with the first glance. Clutching my hand, I headed into the house.

Michael was on the Xbox, playing; Red Dead Redemption, when I walked in trying to not drip blood on the carpet. He kept looking at me like I was speaking a different language.

Calmly, while holding my left hand out in front of me in a tight fist, I said for the third time. “I think I cut my finger off with a blade of grass..!”

Then he started laughing. I was not amused!

Then he began describing how he had to have stitches on his finger years before.

If you don’t know, you will now. I am very phobic of needles and sharp objects! Really! Michael is use to me not freaking, just warning doctors who take blood, then I get up and run.

So here he is telling me how they stitched his hand. Deadened the area, laid it open, scrapped it clean, and used a sharp needle to sew him up, five stitches…Wow! I’m getting very dizzy writing this.

Michael kept saying, “Time for the ER!”

I insisted that it wasn’t bleeding that bad- it finally stopped two hours later.

Michael asked, “You’re not going to bleed to death on the couch are you?”

I was sort of positive I wouldn’t. No blood squirting on the walls and I was still awake, all was good!

“No! I’m fine! I am stronger than a blade of grass! It was really sharp!” I shook my head and held my hand tight.
I washed off my hands and danced around the kitchen. I realized later the stinging was from the Indian burns and slices on the rest of my hand.

“Are you sure, you’re fine?” He asked again.

“No problem!” I smiled a goofy; I’m going to pass out look if you keep mentioning how they stitch up your fingers! “All’s good. The finger is attached!” Even if it wasn’t I would just flap over the skin, and use some old fashion duct tape to hold it in place….

So no surgery for me!

Not even my pinky finger.

Time for leather gloves!

When I took Uriah out this morning I had a hard time looking at the grass. Each blade seemed unusually sharp today.:-(

I found this site on needle phobia.
http://www.needlephobia.info

Charging elephant tractors harvesting Soybeans~ Or, How far can your hose reach?

This past week I watched as a farmer harvest his soybean crop in the neighboring field. I grabbed my camera and took a video as he roared past me, kicking up the usual intense dust storm, which always comes out of a soybean harvest.

 

The grey heavy dust had me coughing and teary eyed, I made a fruitless attempt to blink away the haze and itch behind my eyelids.

As I watched, twigs and rocks spray back onto the shaved off field.  The harvester moved slowly, roaring past me. 

Holding the camera in my right hand I waved with my left and the farmer waved back. I could barely see him between the dust and the darkness inside the cab.

 

Vibrations from the massive John Deere Harvester rippled under my feet. The tractor’s size and close proximity, passing a few feet/meters in front of me- reminded me of a charging elephant in a Tarzan movie.   

 

Add in a sunset and lengthening shadows.  Then toss in a thick, grey swirling dust cloud that quickly encompassed the world. 

 I could feel the hair rise on my neck. This scene had an eerie feel…  

I kept thinking something bad was about to happen.

 

Guess I’ve been watching too many horror movies…? Too close to Halloween..?

 

Uriah kept rolling his eyes and pacing. Finally, he gave up trying to get me to move away from the fence and walked back to the house.  Smart dog!

 

From across the field, on the end of ‘Bob’s’ property, I saw a flicker of light.

 

I headed up on the deck to get a better view.  I saw flames shooting up illuminating an old Oak tree that sat at the backend of his property. Not quite on ‘Bob’s’  land. It belongs to the farmer. 

 

 I haven’t lit a fire for a couple of months.

This summer’s air may have water soaked, but the ground and foliage has been very, very dry.  Dangerously dry!

 

I watched the flames licking at the lower tree branches and then blazed higher. Orange, red and yellow flames reached up into the branches, so bright I could make out each limb.  I was positive that tree was toast! 

 

About fifty feet, to the north, is a cornfield.  A very dry, not yet harvested- cornfield.

 

The farmer’s tractor’s lights glowed white; I noticed a second tractor in that field. I have never seen a soybean field stripped that fast. I wondered, if they were worried that fire?

 

When I couldn’t stand on the deck and breathe, I headed inside.

 

By midnight the air had cleared.

 

The fire was out, it hadn’t spread. (Add sigh of relief here)

Still today I am wondering, “What was that guy thinking- lighting a fire when a field was being harvested?”

 

Any thoughts on this?

 

Jack Frost came to visit early!~ or, Did Uriah find bigfoot

Odd, big mushroom

For the second day in a row I stepped outside to frost on the grass, and plants that looked like I stuck them in the freezer, all wilted and mushy.

I had slipped on my sandals and headed out back. 

My toes felt the cold first. With the sun shining brightly the rest of me really wasn’t cold.

Uriah ran on ahead and pointed out the raccoon scat right in the middle of the back path. I was relived when he looked back and me and walked past it, I was not in the mood to give him a bath.

I walked past the odd sounds coming out of the tall grass to my left, Uriah couldn’t help himself. He stopped cocked his head to the right and whined.

“No way! Uriah, keep walking!” I shouted out the command, then turned and continued walking.

I was hoping he would follow. I wasn’t in the mood to run into any wild animals today.

Uriah sneezed at the grass, then trotted after me. He jogged past like a middle aged over weight male, pretending to be in shape. He stopped after about twenty feet, panting and waited for me to catch up.

I tried to avoid the large stones that had been kicked out of the muskrat’s hole.

I walked around a scraggly mulberry tree.

I walked looking at the ground as I passed under the cedar’s low branches.  I could see the odd, large,- I think mushroom- I haven’t look this thing up, yet. It is the size and shape of a large watermelon with the look of an old dried out football. Brownish with a yellowish powder, when I touched it the surface broke easily, similar to a cooked meringue. I found a second one, on the other side of the cedar tree.  I never saw anything like it. Have you?

As I hit the back section of the path, I made the turn to head home. At that point, Uriah disappeared into the trees and started to bark. His bark changed to a scared howling sound. I stopped, worried.  

“Uriah, Come!” I stayed on the path and waited.

I heard him bark.

Still I stayed on the path.

This is the area where Uriah and his brothers had killed a forty pound raccoon when it tried to attack me. His brothers are no longer alive and I know Uriah isn’t strong enough to kill anything bigger than a small rat. 

So I stood my ground and yelled again. “Uriah, Come!” 

He came out of the trees doing a fast jog. I knelt to pet him and he raced right past me. I glanced at the trees. I didn’t see anything coming out, but why wait for it.:-)

By the time my dog slowed up, he had put fifty feet behind him. We both walked side by side quickly, which is unusual for Uriah.

I check him over when we walked into the yard.

Nothing bit him. He seemed fine.

Deer like to hide in those trees. Maybe that’s what he ran into, a momma deer will kick at him and Uriah doesn’t like to be kicked.

Uriah didn’t stop at the there. He took off to the house. Glancing back at me, he crawled under the deck.

I don’t know if you saw my video of the three deer that came to visit. Here it is.

Here’s a link on BigFoot

http://bigfootsightings.org/2009/08/31/bigfoot-in-illinois/

Dark and clear night, farmers out in droves!~Or, Look up what is that star constellation?

I am tired, sore and jiggle eyed. Last month I spent my spare time working on the examiner articles, then, my completive streak snuck in and I tried to write some articles for their sponsor, HomeDepot.   I wrote some really bad articles… I have to write about cats, but that will be done slowly.

 I know what I enjoy, and this Blog is what I love to write.

 I still have my change jar in the back of my closet, slowly filling with dollars, for that elusive laptop which will help me write anywhere in the house, or on a jaunt outside. I see that happening by spring.  

I plan on finishing a novel, and submitting some of my writing.-I should get competitive about this.-

I am well, happy and back.

 This evening I was sitting on the couch watching, Julia & Julia, and lost track of time. I had left Uriah outside, in his kennel, and forgot to bring him in when it got dark.  

 I had to turn on the outside lights and then the bathroom light downstairs, the one closest to the dog kennel and the office where this computer is located.  

 I turned on the driveway overhead light as I opened the garage door.  

 It was a clear dark night. The air was cold enough that I saw my breath. Lights were shining out in the cornfields behind the house, near the back path. Farmers were out harvesting crops, trying to outrun the rains.

 Uriah started whining when he heard the door open. He hasn’t been very brave the past few months. When he hears a noise in the dark he would rather stand next to me and growl, than run off barking.

 This past Friday, Michael and I made a pretty good attempt at waterproofing the deck for winter. We never got around to cleaning up, that will be done maybe tomorrow- or not.  Everything is lying around and will need to be stored away for the winter anyway, so I’m in no hurry to straighten up the outside when I can barely stand straight today.

 I stumbled over a board and the hose I had left out.  

 When I got to Uriah, his kennel was lit up due to the glow from the bathroom light. I was very glad I remembered to turn that light on.

 Uriah stuck his nose in his large empty water bowl.  I had moved it to work on the deck and now it was empty.  I pulled it back under the deck where it belonged and felt around in the dark, in the cold damp grass for the end of the hose.

 Uriah stood patiently waiting. As I finished filling up the big water bowl, I spotted in the shadows his small water bowl, still filled to the brim. While Uriah was slurping up water, I looked inside the kennel.  His water bowl in the kennel was still filled.  I laughed and shook my head. Silly dog!

 As I waited for Uriah to relax and roll in the grass; I stared up into the dark night sky, a string of clouds drifted near the eastern horizon. The rest of the sky was clear. Pinpoints of white lights glittered overhead. 

 Have you ever stared upward, with out blinking, so you could see stars beyond the ones that caught your attention? I could do that tonight.   I could see clusters of stars out of the corner of my eye, if I looked straight at them they would blend into the blackness.

 Supposedly, tonight has a waning crescent moon tonight, 29% full. I didn’t see the moon.

 Star gazing has been getting harder to do with the naked eye. With all the lights and pollution our children and grandchildren are loosing out on this simple pleasure.

 Rumbling of farm equipment and the occasional rustling in the garden were the only sounds.  Uriah nosed around in the Blue Spruce next to the garage I let him, I didn’t want to go backing into the brightly lit house, not just yet.

I didn’t get a picture tonight, but here is a video I took last week of a sunrise.

Don’t fight with a skunk for the garbage rights!~ Or, Perimenopause sounds like a new dance…

work in progess of a cartoon charcter of me.
rodents made this into a condo

The past few days have been just gorgeous. The air is cooler. The sky has been a range of clear blue, to heavy thick grey clouds and rain.  The trees haven’t changed color, even though the past couple of weeks the leaves have started to fall and dried leaves crunch beneath my shoes.

The yellow jackets are cranky with the cooler air, and the over abundance of fermented fruit.  Drunken bees are interesting indeed.

The grass and the wildflowers are now orange, red and browns mixed with dirty yellows.   Even the air smells like fall, dried grass and hay, mud, mold and Halloween.

 I feel a little sad; this summer was so hot, I couldn’t enjoy it. Each day was a steam bath of heat, making it nearly impossible to breathe, and walk at the same time. Even when I made an attempt, the mosquitoes forced me back indoors.

Now, I have to make my fall list of chores, I still haven’t finished my spring’s time list. Summer, forget it. That list was eaten by Uriah and I didn’t even care.

This past Friday the garbage was still sitting out by the curb, not having been collected on Thursday, the normal garbage pick up day; by Friday it was ripped open and spread around the mouth of the driveway by a skunk. I wanted to make sure it didn’t spread out into the road, so I rushed out and picked up the paper towels, and chicken bones scattered along the ground.

 As I shoved the very smelly garbage into a new plastic bag, I wondered, why the skunk hadn’t finished off all the bones. At that exact moment, when that question rattled around in my head, I saw a black nose, with black fur and a white stripe slip out of the drainage tile that stretched under the road  connecting the east side to the west.  

We shared a look and I stood up fast, “Oh no you don’t! I said out loud as I backed carefully away.  “You are not going to spray me!”

I thought I was safe, the skunk was in the drainage ditch and I was near the road. He would have to spray upward to get me.  I decided to ignore it.    I watched out for the cars whizzing by me, mere inches from my head.

Hurrying with the cleanup, I failed to notice one important thing.

 That little skunk had sprayed the other garbage bags.

I tossed the bag I was holding onto the pile, and then decided to straighten them all.

Right now, as I type this, I wonder why I had the compulsion to straighten the garbage bags….

The smell hit me hard, rotten chicken and the odd, burning green smell of skunk!

That skunk didn’t need to spray me, I did it myself. Then with all the brain power I had left, I covered my nose with my sleeve. The sleeve, which had skunk juice on it!

I headed back home, fast!  Uriah happily following behind, his nose pointed up as he kept sniffing the air around me. I gagged and blinked multiple times.  Having to stop when I thought my stomach would end up in the driveway if I moved to fast.

Next week, Michael is checking on the garbage!

****

Sorry, I haven’t been here a lot. I missed reading your Blogs. I will get back in the game. Sitting is a real pain.

Uriah is doing great. New dog food he lost a little weight. He needed to.

The examiner isn’t paying out like I hoped. They made some changes and the numbers aren’t posting correctly. Still I keep trying. I wrote my first article June 27th, I am on number 44 today, and I only made $17.97, that’s with 2,476 hits. Hmmm!?

I am trying my hand at cartooning myself. I jumped around on the internet checkout sites to make your self into a cartoon. Then I pieced together a character, redrew it, and colored it in paint. It is a work in progress. I posted it with this article on the examiner. ( I tried to add a link and wordpress just wouldn’t let me, here is the full link)

http://www.examiner.com/plant-life-in-chicago/searching-for-the-noxious-plant-called-marijuana-hampshire-illinois

 My camera started acting up. 90 % of the pictures came out blurred and the camera started making odd noises. Luckily I had a store warranty I took it back to Best Buy and they gave me a different camera. Maybe I should get an under water camera. It’s a thought.

 **Don’t read this part if your squeamish about women’s issues.* I’ve been doing the doctor run for Michael. Then I had my normal routine -yearly exams.  My doctor thought it would be a great idea to do a biopsy of my uterus. A fast decision he made. He said, instead of me coming back in a few months; let’s do this now…. I was in no position to argue. Michael said, I looked like I saw a ghost when I came out of the doctor’s office. perimenopause is so much fun! Results sometime next week.

Life is a cartoon rat that lives in a hollowed out zucchini ~

The sky was a bright baby blue, with dollops of white and grey whipped crème floating over head.

The humidity had abated for the past two days, slightly. The temperatures were in the eighties, with a cooling breeze that edged its ways over cow pastures and corn fields, filling the air with the pungent scent of wet hay, cows and manure.

Uriah was covered in a layer of powdery dirt. He had spent most of this hot, hot summer hiding under the deck, where he had dug himself a hole to keep cool, Uriah’s favorite place to sleep away the summer. He hated coming into the garage.  I assumed he didn’t want to miss the chance to chase a bird, or run in circles after a rabbit, rat, or skunk.

I pulled out the hose, set a bottle of watered down shampoo on the grill and picked up Uriah’s’ leash and harness.  Then, I looked around for the dusty dog.  He had slipped past me and was heading at a trot towards the apple trees.  Head down he never looked up as I tried to call him back.  Trying to drag him back would be a waste of time.  He always won.

I gave up! I turned off the hose and sat down on the steps, and decided to enjoy the day.

The warm breeze rustled the trees sending a spray of dried leaves floating to the ground.

It is still August and Mother Nature is yelling fall.

I already picked one soccer ball size pumpkin and set it inside on the kitchen table, there was another one slowly ripening, it was slightly bigger. A third had grown entangled in the tomato patch that one has been gnawed on for the past month by the rat family. I tried covering it when I first spotted the dark green fruit; I was excited it was actually growing. Then I was surprised by how much of the unripe pumpkin was eaten and it still grew. Now it is a bright orange buffet table, along with half a dozen zucchinis, whose insides were eaten first. They sat elongated and hollow. Mini rodent condos!

Mice and rats must be drawing straws to see who would be the one to forage for food. I wonder if they realize they are on a suicide mission.

The more they poke around the more they are noticed. The last rat, would yell at me when I came outside. She chattered a safe distance away, like a nagging wife/husband.. I haven’t seen her in a week or more.

With that thought, I saw a flash of dark gray fur scurry from the trees to the garden.

 I stood up to check it out, when this little creature hurried over to watch me!

 It poked its head up between the leaves and blinked. It had big cartoon eyes, a tiny body and the biggest roundest ears I ever saw on a rodent.

Uriah ambled over to find out who I was talking to, and then decided to save me and raced into the zucchini plants. The rat ran in the opposite direction and Uriah was left searching for something that was no longer there.

I stood and watched. I took notice that the grass needs to be cut. The door frames should be painted. The deck should have a coat of stain. And there is a nest of hornets or paper wasps that really shouldn’t be hanging near the door. 

All this and more should be added to my, ‘To Do’ list.

Things that I have to do before winter!  Stuff I can only do in the summertime.

Hmmm!  Like eating ice cream!  Once that thought flashed into my head, I put away the shampoo and dug in the freezer for the last ice cream bar. I un-wrapped it, then sat outside, on the steps, mentally adding to my list, ‘Get more ice cream!’

Uriah’s nose immediately zeroed in on the treat.

We shared…