Tag Archives: Chicago

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

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

Uriah killed That Rat!~ One down…

Hello, everyone!  This has been a very long, tiring month. With Michael unable to drive, I have been doing all the driving. Normally that wouldn’t be an issue, but I have a back injury that makes it hard for me to sit, stand, and walk for even short periods of time.  Before, we were taking turns driving, now it’s all me. With multiple doctor appointments for all of us, including our teenager who will start ninth grade August 16th, I am having trouble even checking my emails. 

Now on to other happenings..

Yesterday Uriah killed, ‘That Rat’!

Where’d he go!

We were standing next to the garden. I was complaining about all the tomatoes that have been eaten in the past week. Thirteen! Thirteen big beautiful tomatoes!

I can’t say for sure it was a rat that ate the tomatoes, it could have been the skunk, a family lives near the barn. Or the opossum, one tried to take up residence in the dog house. Maybe raccoons!  There are plenty of those around. Even coyotes love tomatoes. Do foxes eat tomatoes?

What they looked like, then they were gone!

Anyway, Uriah turned away from me and started nosing around a square drainage tube that was lying at the top end of the garden. Ground squirrels like to hide there. I raised the tube to slide out the animal, and it held on inside tight. I rolled it over, and over until it was pointed at the Bog Willows and the rodent slid out.  A very fat, cute reddish rat ran a zigzagged pattern towards the trees.

Uriah looked up at me, surprised.

“Hey, you go catch that rat!” Ooops! I used the wrong word. Rat sounds like cat, Uriah isn’t supposed to chase a cat, and so he sat and watched it run. I pointed at the rat and yelled.  “Mouse! Get that mouse!”

 Uriah hesitated, then started chasing it through the grass. 

Yes, it squeaked, so do Ground Squirrels and Chipmunks. I almost called Uriah off. Almost..

The chase lasted only a minute or two, with Uriah tossing it into the air, then turning in circles and a giant leap, then silence.  Uriah waited. I praised him and gave him a pork rawhide bone. He happily trotted off, while I moved the body to the burn pile, fully intending to burn the tree branches and that rat, tomorrow. 

We were due at the doctors in an hour and I won’t light a fire if I’m not around. So that was the plan, tomorrow light the fire…

It rained all night. The trees are flooded.  The water line is inching towards the house and overflowing the burn pile. I need another plan…

 Link on Chipmunks and Ground Squirrels:

http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/directory_show.cfm?species=groundsquirrel

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!

I Think I Saw A Weather Balloon!~ Or, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”~ The Wizard of Oz

Captain Jack Harkness ~ “Wanna know a secret? So did I. And just for a second there I felt so alive.”

Yesterday, in the middle of a thunderstorm, with multiple warnings flashing across the television and of course being me, I stood outside on the deck watching the clouds.

Dolphin?

Stupid? Yes!

It was amazing! At one point lightning streaked across the sky in a vein of pink and white.   Then in the same spot, the lightning flashed again, this time with multiple tentacles stretching outward, looking like a fireworks display.

Silver white and pink!

 Followed a few seconds later by a cracking roll that shook the ground!

 That flash had sent me in for my camera.  I wanted to capture a picture of that lightning!

Ready! Set! Okay sky smile!

Each time I pointed the camera upward, the lightning would flash in a different spot, above, or behind me.

I noticed a low hanging cloud that seemed to swirl all on its own. I thought, just maybe this was makings of a tornado and I should be inside. I turned off my camera and glanced up before I pulled open the door.  A solid object half appeared for a second, as the clouds drifted slightly.   Before I had a chance take a picture, the cloud moved back around the object, covering it and as it moved upward.

Can you see it? Shaped like an upside down triangle with rounded edges. It is nearly invisible behind the cloud cover.

It was solid, not part of the clouds. Any ideas? Guesses? Funny captions?

Weather balloon?

No lights! And it didn’t move fast, it just hovered.

Maybe I witnessed one too many lightning hits!

My eyes were playing tricks on me.

The Jupiter II slipped out of storage!

With all the odd weather we have been having I would guess at a weather balloon. If I were a meteorologist I would be recording these weather patterns.

Ever see anything odd in the clouds and wonder; Huh! ?

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”~ The Wizard of Oz
*
Michael took this picture after the storm. 

Reflection At Dawn!~Or, I’ll Have A Coffee Minus The Bugs!~

I was up at four thirty this morning. I wandered around the quiet house, then I opened the blinds and kitchen door and stepped outside onto the deck to watch and listen to the sunrise. Birds raised their voices in the cool morning air and sang.

When I make a video I try and choose the best audio I believe fits with the visual aspects. Doesn’t always work…

But, standing out in the early morning sunrise I don’t think anyone could have chosen any sounds better for this moment.

Yellow pink clouds in a clear baby blue sky, mists rising off the fields and the sun slowly rising in the east. I watched as the colors deepened to reds and yellows.

“Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning” I whispered to the Robin sitting on the roof.

The odd weather we have been having lately, baking in the humid heat, to storms with seventy five mile and hour winds, I wonder what today will bring. Behind me to the west the sky was a deep misty grey. I guessed maybe around noon I should see what Mother Nature has in store for us.

Uriah complained. He wanted to go outside. I pushed past the cats huddled near the screen. All were hopefully waiting for a bird or a horsefly to come their way. Kaoru talks to flies and Sanosuke eats them.

“Eat too many and you’re going to throw up!” I warn him over and over.

Kenshin stands close by and in total agreement about the flies.  He had to be given antibiotics because of his infatuation with flies. Now he ignores them. 

Uriah whined again. I let him out through the garage doors, then came back inside and collected his breakfast. Some Iams dry food, two liver snaps and a beef basted dog bone.

By the time I stepped outside he was already hunting out his ‘mouse’ formally known as, That Rat.

If, I call it a mouse he chases it. If, I call it a rat, well, I think he hears cat and we don’t chase cats.

I took a few moments to notice the wet grass and the chilly air was a bit more uncomfortable, while standing in the grass, than on the deck.

Still, early mornings, in the summertime, remind me of camping.

I would wake up starving and make an attempt to light a fire. Some worked most didn’t. When the fire started I would fry some bacon in a pan, add an egg or two and pull out some stale bread, which I would toast by setting on the edge of the pan. 

When the wet wood refused to burn; I would let my nose find breakfast. In state parks they have a small store, with a little area where they cooked up and sold a breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee, milk or juice. Sitting around on a damp picnic table wrapped in a sweat shirt, half asleep, eating like I was starving  in that cool damp morning air, and usually the only meal without the added protein of bugs. Was a wonderful adventure! And that food was amazing!

The sun lifted up over the trees. Bright white yellow and reflecting off the mist and dew everything sparkled.

Uriah munched on his breakfast and I headed into the house for some pancakes and coffee, minus the bugs…

Happy Father’s Day!

Youtube Video of Sanosuke And Kaoru, “This Is Love!”!~ Or, Computer Dating Is For The Birds!~

 

I was shifting through bird names and I pulled up, Dickcissel.  Then I Googled the Dickcissel’s picture; he looks similar to some of the smaller song birds I saw in the Blue Spruce just outside the window next to the computer.

Then I played the  Dickcisselcall/song, both Sanosuke and Kaoru sat up and listened.  As the young cats ran out of the room my attention turned back to checking my email. I had closed the site with the bird’s song, so when I heard a bird singing again I automatically rechecked my task bar.

 It’s like checking if I left the iron on…not that I use the iron anymore.

 It took me a minute to realize, that singing bird was coming from outside the window, in the Blue Spruce. And that bird was talking to my computer. Hmmm!

What all this rambling means is I added a Dickcissel to my list of birds I have seen and heard.

http://www.sdakotabirds.com/species/dickcissel_info.htm

I took this picture while standing in the kitchen, hiding behind the counter and zooming in through the window. The bird, I believe, is a Brown Thrasher.

What do you think?

I played the Brown Thrasher’s song and Sanosuke and Kaoru went crazy, again.  I really shouldn’t laugh when they start jumping from window ledge, to window ledge all excited, but I couldn’t help myself.

http://identify.whatbird.com/obj/679/overview/Brown_Thrasher.aspx

For fun, I put together this video. Enjoy!

This Is What Happens When Protecting Nature Isn’t A Priority. ~Or, You Can Step On All Of Creation If You Pass Out The Green Bucks!

I wrote and rewrote this Blog. I had a hard time writing this.

On June 3rd in the middle of the afternoon, just when I decided to slather my face with a face mask someone knocked on the front door. I splashed water on my face and hurried to the door. I was worried about Uriah, he was wandering around the back and he could get hurt when a car comes down the driveway.

I was surprised by a state police officer informing me that a neighbor was going to be working on the drainage tiles…Long story, very stressful.

  • In 2008 this neighbor, the one who told me to get a gun because of the Cougars and Wolves wandering around- We don’t have Cougars or Wolves!- He filed against me and another neighbor to tear up the drainage tiles. This man had bought the lowest area of land in 2004, and it flooded regularly. He wanted to replace ancient drainage tiles, without putting a retention pond on his property. He also broke through the Aquifer so he could have a swimming pond on his property and he wanted to attach the pond to the tiles that would add to the water problem and tap into the fresh water. Bad idea to go into court thinking this is crazy and someone will listen-when you don’t have a lawyer.. *

 

I asked the policeman, why now? He had told me two years ago, that he was working on the tiles, and it would only take two weeks. But he never touched anything. The police officer said, that neighbor had been waiting for approval from the, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, concerning the wet lands.  And he, the policeman, was sent to tell me what my neighbor was up to…

I will call this neighbor, Bob, not his real name.

I asked when Bob, would be digging. He didn’t know.

How long would it take? He didn’t know.

I didn’t trust Bob; I asked how much digging would he be doing? I was told he would only take out a fifteen foot wide section of trees, running along the tiles.

I told him Bob couldn’t bring his young kids on my land. If they got hurt I could be sued. He agreed that could happen.  He said, he would inform Bob, not to bring his children on my land.

The police officer told me Bob would replace my fence and toss around grass seed.

Grass seed?  He needs to replace the wetlands vegetation!  

The policeman shrugged and said nothing.

My thirteen year old was graduating from eight grade that evening, so I went back inside and made a note to send out and email to the county and find out what was going on.

I didn’t have a chance to send the email that night. The next morning before I got up, Bob had torn out the trees. He ripped through the wetlands destroying nesting areas of countless birds and animals. From the deck I watched the birds circling and screaming.

He pulled out more than fifteen feet; the least was twenty feet wide. I need to measure to be exact, but it looks like he tore a crooked line of up to thirty feet wide.  The length from north to south is around five hundred feet.

I was under the impression it was illegal to tear out vegetation during nesting season. Or am I wrong…?

This may be small compared to the oil spill in the Gulf. But each time a tree is ripped out a nest destroyed, a plant or fish is killed. We are losing a little bit more of nature. A little more fresh air, a little more life is gone.  It makes me ill to think of all those baby birds that died.  I have a hard time wondering what else died under his wheels.

I was shocked at how someone could come onto my land and do so much damage. Later that evening I took Uriah out for a walk.  I watched Bob driving along the road in a four wheel, off road vehicle; he turned into the farm field, next to me.   He wasn’t on his land. He saw me with Uriah and turned away.  His two boys were with him. He was taking his kids to check out the area he tore up..

 Here is a very small list of the birds that live around me. There are some odd birds and songs like the bird that looks like a Miniature Blue Heron; it has a loud screaming call.  Or the one I can’t seem to see very well through the trees, it has a throaty growl. There’s a beautiful bird with reddish-brown back and head, with a beige underbelly that holds itself like a Jay. It might be a Cuckoo or maybe a Brown Thrasher.  I didn’t add the foxes, skunks, muskrats, or coyotes. 

This is not a complete list at all.

Great Blue Heron
Blue Jays
Crows
Horned Owl
Cardinals
Red-Tailed Hawks
Turkey Vultures
Screech Owl
Pheasant
 Peregrine Falcon
Sedge Wren
Ducks
Geese
Woodpeckers
Robin
Toads
In the video I turned and faced the neighbor’s house, you can see where he dragged the downed trees. This pile, earlier, was circled by birds franticly searching until they finally gave up.

Magic beans And Happy Fairies Planted A Garden!~Or, What’s The Name Of That Herb?~

With one of my cats, PJ sitting to my right I finally began typing out this Blog. The past week has been full of gardening fun, rain, high humidity, cold weather and todays temperatures pushed me into air-conditioning.  The range has been maddeningly painful.

Last Saturday a family of magical beings came by and helped turn over the garden and plant some vegetables. They stayed only about three hours, but during that time I was able to talk to, and walk around with three little boys, while their parents grunted and groaned, as they dug, straightened and chopped up large chunks of dirt and moved around rocks.

When the boys spotted the rocks, the middle one was enthralled by the odd shapes and sizes. He wanted to take some home so they could make their own, Stonehenge under a tree in their back yard.  I was in agreement, so a pile was formed and a box appeared from the barn, a sturdy box that would hold all the rocks. Their father didn’t’ realize those rocks, when placed in a box, would weigh a ton and a hernia, until he tried to pick them up.

 Being a magical family, the boys had hoped to float the box of rocks above the ground. But alas, they forgot their fairy dust and had to settle on using a simple dolly.

 In the meantime, Uriah was being ridden like a horse.  A horse that was too tired to stand. He laid on the ground while the youngest boy sat upon his back and held tight to his ears.  I was worried Uriah wouldn’t like this, but when I saw his furry face he had a happy doggy grin. Finally, Uriah got tired of the game and stood up. Luckily the littlest guy was expecting this to happen, so he jumped off Uriah and gave him a big hug.

Uriah heard something in the trees and did his slow walk towards them. He kept looking back at me. When I finally turned my back, he slipped in-between the trees. Totally vanishing between the green leaves and heavy branches

Uriah’s normal disappearing act caused great distress to the youngest boy. He called Uriah’s name over and over, it must have seemed like hours to him instead of minutes, until Uriah reappeared to hugs and kisses. Uriah looked up at me, I shrugged and he happily trotted off with the little guy running along behind him.

Because of that extra help, I was able to plant a large amount in a short time.

This morning the rain was still pouring down, watering the seeds and plants, allowing the garden to take root, now, that also means the weeds will have a fighting chance too. I haven’t used weed killers or inhibitors in many a year. I prefer the old fashion wrestling techniques… I pull and the weeds pull back:-)

Cedar-Apple Rust And Other Shades of Fungi!~ Or,Will Tinactin Work On Trees?~

What am I?

This tree is growing in my neighbor’s yard and a couple further out back on my property. They are in bloom. Multiple bright orange flowers, with a center that is an odd misshapen ball.   Flower pedals that are tube shaped, bright orange and soft sticking  out all over it.   The pedals are closing and melting in on itself. Odd..

We have had a large amount of water and the North side of the property is under water and the front pond is over flowing.  We aren’t in the tropics and this to me, looks similar to a less spiky, Sea Urchin. I wouldn’t mind living in Hawaii, but even there I don’t believe Sea Urchins live in trees. I could be wrong..

Sorry, can't find the link to this picture. I thought it was from Wikipedia. It is a Sea Urchin.

I did a Google search and couldn’t find a flowering evergreen  that even came close to this description.

Years ago my neighbor may have told me those were Cedar trees. Hoping I remembered that correctly,  I Google ‘orange flowers on cedar trees.’  What came up was, that this tree maybe infected with Cedar-apple rust gall, which is described as an orange gelatinous with telial horns protruding.

Strange days indeed…

This is rather odd, but a pretty fungus, at least from my prospective, as I snapped these pictures.

 I did see some galls (abnormal outgrowths) from the previous year connected to some of the branches.  In this picture you can see one directly under the orange flower.

Even after finding the information on, Cedar-apple rust gall, I am still wondering “is this real?”

 Over the years, I have seen those odd galls growing on the branches and never saw any damage to the Cedars themselves. On the other hand, I have had some fungus issues with my apple trees. I just thought it was old age, too much water, Uriah and the deer nibbling on the branches…

Strange..

*

http://urbanext.illinois.edu/focus/cedarapplerust.cfm

http://plantclinic.cornell.edu/FactSheets/cedar-applerust/cedar-applerust.htm