Tag Archives: birds

Coolest research for a story-anything to do with the great outdoors

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more” 
~George Gordon Byron, 1788 – 1824~Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage

May 3 Question: What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group

Hmmmm! Coolest… thing I researched are the birds, animals, and insects that live around me.  What interests me is the most fun to research.

You looking at me!
This guy is sitting on my rain gutter downspout.

Interested in Praying Mantis…check out this site from National Geographic Kids. 

 

Once I start searching out information, I found how nature is overlooked when it comes to the bottom dollar.  Those that have made a comeback; those still on the endangered species list; and those just living day to day, need our help.

Bee on Chicory in my yard 2016

I have met people who will give incorrect information to get their priorities pushed through.   And I have heard ‘fear talk’ of big businesses; how no one has the money to fight them. For the average person that is true. But once they connect with the correct people the chain strengthens.

Sorry, I am rambling and grumbling.

Once the weather starts to warm up, and the snows are scattered piles along windbreaks and at the base of evergreens, where the sun doesn’t reach. It is then that migratory birds  head back home, getting connected, searching out safe or so-so safe nesting areas.

That is when they start their mating dance. Songbirds dance on the ground weaving and bobbing, puffing out chest feathers and singing a song that echoes from the past.   Hawks; whose dance swims high above us, diving and circling repeating their secrets, screeched out longer family litanies; impressing each other with their pedigree.

Turkey Vulture in my yard spring 2017

Then, there are the bees… I saw an article where the ‘rusty-patched bumblebee, a species on the brink of extinction’ stopped construction of a four-lane, 5-mile toll road and a four-lane Fox River bridge crossing.’ As I read about those bees, a Bumble was busy knocking against my kitchen window; letting me know I have been seen.

Morning cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) Hanging out by the garden 2016

Spring’s warm sun brings out insects and new plant growth…I can go on and on. Nature is so cool. Researching Mother Nature is so much fun.

Oh, before I forget, let me add the weirdest- animal scat. Come on, I know you want to click that link for animal scat. 

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir

Illinois endangered lists:

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/lists/illinois-cty.html

http://rainforests.mongabay.com/endangered/charts/birds-falcons.html

https://www.fws.gov/MIDWEST/Endangered/insects/index.html

 

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…

Mirror, mirror on the wall!~

Kaoru cleaning PJ

Last night I was woken up by an odd sound,  ‘Pud-pud-pud-pud’!  Sanosuke was standing on his hind legs and digging at the door mirror. I watched him sit back on his haunches and stare into the mirror, past his own refection.

He wanted into the mirrored image. A part of the bedroom he thought he needed to explore. ‘Sanosuke in wonderland’…

I rolled over and fell back to sleep, but within the hour the same noise woke me!  Pud-Pud-Pud-Pud!  He looked like he was practicing on a boxing speed bag. That was how fast his little paws were moving.

 I sat up and got his attention away from the mirror.  “Sano! That’s a mirror! You can’t get inside a mirror!” he reverted back to the mirror with a shake of his ears and a downward turn to his whiskers, frowning, first at me, then at the mirror.  

This went on two more times during the night.

I even got up and stared into the mirror to see if, maybe, a bug was crawling just out of Sano’s reach. It wasn’t.

Sanosuke wanted to find a way into that other room.

He does the same fast run on the sliding glass doors in the kitchen. Now, that, I understand! He wants to either catch a bug, or have me open the doors; allowing him to sit by the screen and stare outside at the birds…

PJ-Sanosuke center-Kaoru

But what did he want in my bedroom mirror?

Sanosuke checking out the freshly harvested potatoes

Doctor, Doctor, give me the news!~ Or, Mmm Cucumbers, wear ’em or eat ’em!~

Uriah hates the humidity! 

Most summers he seemed to enjoy the heat.

Well, he is getting older, twelve now. 

This summer he will only head out for a walk if he really has to, or when the sun is going down. Then, the puppy in him will come out. His head will go down and his nose will nearly rub along the ground. He will catch a scent and be off- in a slow flash. But once his face is buried in a hole, I have to literally drag him away. I learned never to do that, some of those little burrows are occupied, and getting sprayed takes away my taste buds. 

This past week, Michael had an appointment for his asthma, back, and head, lots of running around.

 I ended the week  with vision problems. On Thursday morning. I crawled out of bed and my vision was blurred, my eyes swollen and my face hurt, time to take me to the doctor. 

The verdict: allergies…

I loved when the doctor said, “Well, as you get older” (notice she didn’t involve herself in this aging process) “you will develop allergies you never had when you were younger.” (She really was beating those words up!)

I was so upset about getting old…  I forgot to mention, the eyeliner pencil I tried out earlier in the week.

Michael gave me the told you so… and a “Ha! He’s not old!” speech, as we drove home.

I needed eye drops, which my insurance wouldn’t cover. I could buy them outright for, $179.00 or wait another day until the doctor was contacted and changed the prescription. 

Thinking about it for a minute, and realizing my pocket change was in a jar in the back of my closet. I decided to wait.

While I waited for my eye drops, I relaxed in front of the television. I sliced up a cucumber and propped my feet up. Did I ever mention that the newest kitty, Kaoru, loves cucumbers? Well, she does, she jumped up next to me and we shared. She can really chow! 

 At one point I fell asleep with a cucumber on each eye, and she tried to steal them.

I would highly recommend putting cucumbers on your eyes; they helped cool the allergies and brought down the swelling. 

 I finally got the eye drops, and I may not have to use them at all,  because of those cucumbers.

What you lookin' at!

 I love this picture. I kept referring to them as ‘cows’ Michael set me straight, bulls, not cows. I wonder what they were thinking?

I have been writing for the Examiner.~ Or, Half a penny a day brings me closer to a laptop…!~

I have a streak of competitiveness that runs through me.  So when I signed up for the Examiner and found out that they won’t pay me until I hit twenty-five dollars and only then on the twentieth of each month through PayPal.  Well…

I had to get money in that first full month!

They have rules.

  1. You have to write about your subject. Mine is plants in Hampshire.
  2. You have to have a picture- sizes are different in article than in slide show
  3. You have to connect your articles to each other
  4. You have to mention local businesses
  5. You have to write between 200  to 500 words
  6. You should use quotes

 

I growled at my monitor, “Alright examiner I am up to the challenge!”   I have to fix some of the earlier articles to follow the rules, while I am writing new ones.

What I found is that writing about a specific ‘subject’ is a lot harder than it sounds.

Sometimes my odd sense of humor comes out.

Like this one:

“Why go to Spain on vacation when you could visit Hampshire instead”

My number are slow, or at least the money amount. Here is today’s tally.

Today I made $0.49 and I had 51 hits…

The average for the, Home and Living section was 16..

Hmmm!

Is my math right on this, I would need over 2,500 hits a month to get that twenty-five dollars…

Anticipating all that cash from the examiner…  I started a laptop jar in the back of my closet.   As of today I have a whole dollar-eighty!  And a fake mouse…added by the cats.  Woohoo!

Ahh! I love a challenge! 

Here is a poem I posted in my last article.

microsoft clip art

party in the mushroom rings

by Gerardine Baugh

the garden faeries laughed
and planted seeds of fun
they whispered, it was they, who
mixed up the garden, and
planted the green beans far from their trellis
eggplant was placed next to the pumpkins
tomatoes rolled into the neighbor’s yard
they sang and danced inside the ring of mushrooms
table set,
feasting on strawberries and corn
potatoes and cucumbers
glasses rose
a toast to the gardener
drink of dandelion wine
the fey cheered and sang songs
of times past, and those to come
some sat under mushroom umbrellas
wide and white, others
sat atop, and
scrutinized with words of nettles
peals of laughter danced across the lawn
this, the dark end of the new moon

Walking in a field of lace~poetry

I took a walk intent on what I was to see

Tall grass and wildflowers

Mud and toads, grasshoppers and birds

But my intent was not to be

 

Even though each flower had grown spirited and tall

The winds interfered with my view

Grasshoppers hopped under my clothing,

And the mud enticed me to fall

 

I sat in the middle of a pattern of lace

My intent shifted over wind swept fields

I connected within that moment, and

I watched the bees and butterflies race

Any idea what this is?~ Zucchini eating cat..or is it the other way around

 

I have a few plants growing that I never planted. One looks like a Gourd. Or, maybe it’s yellow squash??

Sanosuke and Kaoru love Zucchini. It can be raw, or cooked they will gobble it up.

Here’s another what is this..Eggplant? Watermelon? Audrey II?

This one is growing on the west end of the garden, next to a pumpkin

Here’s the pumpkin..

Sanosuke and Kaoru love to watch the Purple Martins, doing what Martins do best, catching mosquitoes

Purple Martins are very brave or very stupid, I haven’t figured out which, yet.

Martins will dive bomb anyone that comes out the door.  They have a fit when I’m standing on the back deck. They will swoop and whistle. Nearly hitting me and Uriah! The cats watch from the inside windows and love the attention they’re getting from those beautiful little birds.

I have never seen feathers that matte black, it reminds me of charcoal. I have to admit my camera isn’t able to capture their beauty.

I love having them around. I will overlook their mud nests because they eat their weight in mosquitoes daily.

Purple Martins have nested around my house for years, sometimes with dire consequences. They can build a nest fast; within two hours they can set up home. My first summer in this house, I made a mistake of leaving the garage doors open while I cleaned out the garage. I had no idea they had made a nest on the electric overhead garage door opener. So when I was finished I closed the birds in the garage, accidentally. The only reason I knew they were trapped, was when one of my cats brought a bird into the house and let it go…

Dragonflies, butterflies and bees, Oh my!~

 

Last night I took Uriah for his walk a little later than usual. I was trying to avoid the mosquitoes by heading outside when it was nearly dark. That didn’t work. They were busy buzzing, and bugging me just as they did and hour earlier. 

Wednesday is garbage day. I have notes posted to remind me of the fact. I only had a couple of bags I debated dragging them down the driveway, but last week when I attempted that, Uriah though we were playing and grabbed one of the bags, breaking it, and spreading the trash all over the driveway…

This week, I tossed the two bags on the hood of the car and slowly pulled out of the garage.

 I rolled down the car widow as slowly passed that large Blue Spruce when I felt a pinch on the side of my face. My immediate thought was, “Mosquitoes!” I tried to brush it off out the window, except it wouldn’t move. The small inset struck itself to my skin. Without even thinking, I peeled it off with my nails. I was still slowly moving towards the road. (I have a four hundred foot driveway.)

I glanced at what I pulled off the side of my face and stared at it. It was upside down and wiggling its little legs furiously. It was cute in a way. Sort of! The shiny back body sparkled in the sunlight. I was not amused, when my eyes adjusted and I recognized it as a tick. Still irritated when I pulled back into the garage, I told my husband all about being ticked when I rolled down the car window. He couldn’t stop laughing,..at me!  He said, between laughter, that he never met anyone who attracted so many ticks the way I do. 

He called me a tick magnet! 

I would rather be a money magnet!  

*I have been out of it for the past couple of weeks. I realized I had written the above post on Thursday, July 1st and never posted it to my Blog.  Way too many things have been creeping up around here and I’m not including the mosquitoes, or the odd looking flying bugs. I even made a video that I never posted…  Ooops! Had to find it! Here it is! It is a little long- four minutes.  You are walking with me among the milkweeds near the front pond, and you won’t be bothered by the bugs.

The weather has been interesting. High heat and humidity and storms that attempt to blow the house down.

Today, July 10 is our eighth wedding anniversary.  I know I’m on the internet updating. Michael is still sleeping so it’s okay:-)

My husband’s health took a turn for the worse. I dragged him kicking and screaming to a new neurologist. He now has tests all this month. He can’t drive until we know what’s up. He is not happy about that..

I have had thyroid problems my entire life, I no longer have a thyroid and it still causes issues. Heavy Sigh! 

Just before my husband’s doctor’s appointment, I decided to try for examiner.com and they accepted me.  I will write articles on, Hampshire’s plant life.  If you stop over there I would appreciate any comments.  Or, just send me an email and tell me what I am missing.  Or, just read.  I need to work on the set up of the articles.

If anyone wants to try to write for the examiner and needs some advice on how to get noticed- ask me. I will be very happy to help.  

 If you give them my examiner ID number  56021  I get a referral fee.

I will keep posting here, this Blog is for me and all of you who like to take a walk without the bug bites:-)

I hope everyone is doing well.   Be happy and safe!