Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

I guess its the thing to do at the end of one year to recap and then to think of what is to come! We can think of it and we can plan...but the outcome is anybody's guess!


As far as years go 2010 was pretty tame--I was happy that I found a window of opportunity to take a road trip the end of May...that was the highlight of the past year for me--I made a solo trip from SC to Arizona then up to Utah and Colorado, and then back to SC again a little over 5,000 miles! 

Of course nothing stays the same...We lost 2 family pets in 2010 Spanky in March and DixieDog in Dec, a somber thought that reminds me that we are all sailing our ship to an eventual last sunset--the end of our time on the Planet over the ~rainbow bridge~.  I would say the year started on a better note than it ended...But with each challenge comes a solution to a problem..and that is where my expectations are headed now to solutions, endings, and new beginnings.


I hope all of you have had a good year and when you think back there are many reasons to smile--and many reasons to carry on with the unfinished business of life at hand and stretched out in front of us like a highway, filled with wonderful adventures just waiting for us to enjoy!

Here we will be cooking the traditional southern New Yrs meal of Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas, & Cornbread but without the pork--hopefully it will still bring us good fortune in the coming year!
2011 the year of the Rabbit--
Happy New Year!!!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

- Snow Birds-WBW-6

During the recent snow I was went out to photograph the birds that came to visit..and here are a few of them.. Our SC state bird the Carolina Wren...sat on the tree and sang his little heart out..So pretty was the song--loud and clear no mistaking he was excited to be alive on that snowy day! The males and females look the same so...this could be a she singing--


Thryothorus ludovicianus
Another visitor  was the Dark Eyed Junco they migrate here every winter, and I love the little sounds they make while they poke around on the ground looking for fallen seed.  Its almost as if I expect to see them begin to float...they sound so bubbly....Check out  the pink beak!  This is the female, the males got camera shy on me.


Junco hyemalis


One of my very favorite winter visitors is the White Throated Sparrow...his peabody, peabody, peabody song is so sweet I stand by window just to hear him sing!  These stunning sparrows are ground feeders but they will jump onto a feeder every now and then.  This is the male...The bright yellow lores is fantastic on this guy.


Zonotrichia albicollis
We always get a raucous group of pine siskins come in when the weather is bad...I think they come from North Carolina--hooligans they are!  They come in swarms and try to take over the feeders and they usually come along with flocks of Goldfinch.  This time was no different--they came and put on a great show for us in the yard--


Carduelis pinus
Here is the American Goldfinch sharing the feeder with a Carolina Chickadee--these Chickadees swoop in get a seed and take off to break it up in the tree canopy-Love the cute little mask they have-


DEC 476
Carduelis tristis and Parus carolinensis
The snow is almost melted today that's what I love about southern winters its here today gone tomorrow .....did you see what NYC has going on now?  My poor little car would have been completely buried by the snowplows I always dreaded winter when I lived there---

This post is included in World Bird Wednesday, so add your own bird sightings or come by and see what others have to share, and thanks for visiting!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

...on to the future

It started out softly..

Fluffy White
the field
...and then it came down harder!! LOL I love this stuff when..
  1. I am not going to work.
  2. I dont have to clear off or warm up my car.
  3. I can go out and enjoy it.
  4. I dont have to mop up any one's drip spot but my own!
Does that sound selfish? Sorry bout that.  Well it doesnt snow that often here in SC normally its warm this time of year but this is the 2nd nice snow we've had this yr. IF you recall we had a 6-8 inch snow in February of this yr.  I went out with the camera but didnt take the girls this time.  Flossie's feet get impacted with snow so didnt want to deal with that this time but they did go out for a short run in the field by themselves early this morning.

Our trip upstate to my sister's was pleasant and I always love that drive from here to the foothills of the Blue Ridge...I was driving so no photos of the drive but here's another of our field..from a different vantage point the pines are always green---I like the way the trunks of the oaks look black with the snow painting the limbs white!



The clouds broke up a bit this afternoon then back to solid grey...that was pretty while it lasted.



The snow didnt stick to the sandy dirt roads that surround us...since this snow began as rain the road was too wet for it to stick.. it will dry out quickly once the sun returns.

you can see the way I trimmed up the bottoms of the cedars - gives more sun to the grass


The birds were really around
in numbers getting at the seed feeders!  We had lots of pine siskins,
 gold finches, & dark eyed junco around today as well as some others. I will save those for World Bird Wednesday! ...the air turned cold, the sun tipped westward, the birds went to roost, the squirrels curled up in their winter nests, and I went in for a nice hot cocoa-and to upload my photos on my new 3G Verizon Hotspot! Am I a lucky girl or what? 
Enjoy this last week of 2010! Wow that sounds so weird--I'm still stuck in the 70's!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Drummer Boys-WBW

Although Ive noticed a slight downturn in the numbers, woodpeckers seem to be doing well..near my home is an area I nic-named the 40 Acre Woods-its a large 103 acre tract with a vacant land owner--its used for timber cutting and leased to hunters in season--it is great Red Headed Woodpecker habitat!  With plentiful snags and a low laying area that supports a large insect
population, its the perfect habitat for these beautiful birds! 

Melanerpes Erythrocephalus

They drum quite loudly when they are digging a bug out of the dead wood--but Nothing like the Pileated Woodpecker the cousin to the possibly back from extinction Ivory Billed Woodpecker.  In the field it would be easy to distinguish between the Ivory Billed that has a very large white wing patch....These guys make a very loud jungle type call and the drumming sound can travel for some distance- This one I found at Goodale State Park, about 6 miles from my home.  They nest in the dead Cypress trees standing in water there--so that keeps predation down! This photo was taken at quite a distance away...so a bit fuzzy but the best Ive gotten of this bird...

Dryocopus Pileatus

The Downy Woodpecker is a visitor to the suet in the yard on occasion...not as frequently as in the past--these small woodpeckers are quite common though in my area.  They drum really fast and not so loud but you can certainly hear it.  They will drum on the wood of your house!  They have a high pitched little pik call and the faint whinny sound too. The Hairy Woodpecker is sometimes confused with the Downy but I usually check the beak length..the hairy has a longer beak.  (sorry no Hairy Photo) I think its fascinating how the length of the beak means woodpeckers don't compete for the same grubs!  The grubs that live deeper in the wood are eaten by the longer beaked birds!


Picoides Pubescens

Another familiar woodpecker in my area is the Red Bellied Woodpecker.  I wish I had a better photo to represent this fellow--I love the dotted white on black of this birds back.  They also drum loudly and have a call that sort of rolllssss out...like a chatter.

red bellied 003
Melanerpes Carolinus

Other woodpeckers in my area that I dont have shots of YET are the Yellow Bellied Sapsucker and the Northern Flicker (yellow shafted) Still have high hopes of getting photos of those fellows...While traveling this spring in the desert state of Arizona, I did see and snapped a very quick and not so good shot of the Gila Woodpecker.  These woodpeckers bore nest holes in saguaro cactus here this female is feeding young in this nest hole..


Melanerpes Uropygialis

This post is a contribution to World Bird Wednesday meme -click the icon to read about birds of the world and see some wonderful photos and meet some interesting bloggers!--




Monday, December 20, 2010

Passport to Adventure!


Scenic BywayThe best thing to do in Winter when its too cold to get out and have an adventure is plan for an adventure!  I keep a journal entitled the Road Less Traveled and its my planning journal...each time I hear of a spot I would love to visit I jot it down in my book..in the left margin I put the state name, and
under that the town or local and then I write in a description of and directions of how to get there!  One state that keeps
popping up in my Journal is Utah.  Ive been traveling to Utah the past 3 years and Ive only just scratched the surface!  I love UTAH...there is so much to see and it's rich in everything from scenic canyons, lakes, and forests to cultural history and prehistoric remains--from Dinosaur relics to freemont art panels, and ancient dwelling ruins!  So in doing some reasearch for "places to explore" I wanted to share a wonderful resource I found.  The Icon up there will take you to the UTAH home page, hover you mouse over Places to See then click on Scenic ByWays and you will find a list of 29 Scenic BYWAYS--those words are like music to my soul ~Scenic Byways~...I just keep repeating that while clicking my ruby red shoes and hope for the best. My BFF had so many problems with family that she says she clicks her ruby reds while repeating "any place but home" I guess thats drastic but I can certainly relate sometimes.

ALL the listed byways are fully linked so you can glean all sorts of INFO from this page for touring Utah and this just hit my top 10 of what to DO-
If you look down to the very last link the 27 Fall Color Scenic Drives--they all look amazing---meanwhile back to reality--


I also just found this Im sure most of you already know about it--I am always the LAST to know everything--- its the Passport to Your National Parks.  Its a fun book that I purchased yesterday when I visited Congaree National Swamp.  (it warmed up to 50 F so off we went) The book is laid out in Regions and contains a spot to have your Passport cancelled with a date stamp and a spot to place a sticker/stamp-of your visit to parks in the region...ex; Southwest region Grand Canyon, or Organ Pipe etc...of course its a money making project the stamp sheets are $4 each and each sheet contains about 8 or 10 stamps and a new page comes out each year around February.  ITS like a real life scavenger

hunt...I did get one and now Im wondering how to get it stamped for the spots I've already visited?  I was able to download a list of addresses for the parks...so a possible mailing to ask for a stamp with the date I was there---OR Make my own on my computer, print it out and affix it to my passport? WWYD?  I mean I can't go back and relive the past 40 yrs and with so many places I have yet to set my foot each awaiting my attention I dont think I'll have the time to backtrack--WISH I could start over, like Sinfeld says "have a do over"...

Meanwhile I found the website where I can aquire all the stamps issued since 1986-at www.eparks.com Im hoping to get a discount code and Ive written them BEGGING for that code--wonder if I'll get it? I guess you could say this is a Christmas present to moi!

In the past I collected patches then realized my vest was getting so HEAVY with all that extra patchwork it became uncomfortable--lol..
So I kinda stopped with the patches--so this passport booklet seems like the perfect solution to that!
I read it will take more than One booklet to get a stamp from every Park. SO best buy a second book now while they are under $10, and tuck it away for the future!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fields Afar--WBW

I guess I should make a post to sort of push that sad news post on down the line, still not feeling too chiper--but before our Wonder Dog passed away we took an outing to Sandhills Wildlife Refuge--we had one nice warm day....before the cold air blasted down from the north...

The refuge is faily local so we have been visiting this place for many years.  I think there is such a thing as over management- they do a zealous amount of burning in the refuge every year--Ive seen such a decline in the wildlife and this year I dont even see Canada Geese on the ponds!  The water is too deep for waders in most of the ponds although we did flush one GB Heron that had been standing on the edge of one pond...I totally understand the idea behind fire being a good thing in nature...but lightening doesnt usually strike the same place year after year so the man made burns are too much..(JMHO)

This refuge has several ponds and lakes-fishing is allowed on the lakes not the ponds--hunting is allowed in season but I dont even see deer, turkey, dove, or quail around there anymore so no idea what they could hunt...maybe back off the roads, this refuge is over 45,000 acres so needless to say we didnt cover the entire refuge. 

some of the ponds had a skim of ice

this nice boardwalk was added a couple yrs ago

from the tulip popular









We visited our favorite open areas looked nice with all the gold hues of the dormant field grasses, and the reeds had nice big plumes to show off.


 The main critters we saw were sparrows! Lots of Sparrows...and a couple that I need help with the ID's...none of the bird shots are great--they were curious but cautious--so they stayed far enough away that I was not a threat to them, which means fuzzy photos--I checked my NatGeo Birds of North America, and Petersons Eastern Birds and came up with possibles-- We had a good day it was fun to be out enjoying the sunshine and fresh air and great fun to see the birds good photos or not!! We saw lots of song sparrows but I never got a clear shot at them.
Field Sparrow

Savannah sparrow?

tree sparrow

red wing black bird female?


maybe the savannah again?
The streaking is heavier maybe fox but looks smaller than I normally see for a fox-what do you think?-

This blog post is included in the World Bird Wednesday if you would like to contribute or check out the Birds of the World please click the thumbnail below--and ENJOY

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dixie Dog Has Gone Over the Rainbow Bridge~


She endured diabetes for the past 7 yrs. She got insulin shots twice a day - she lost her sight had surgery to restore it 5 yrs ago..after being blind for 6 months, and she always fought the good fight.

She was a member of our family for almost 15 yrs and we will miss her forever.
~Peace my Love I will see you again when it's my turn to cross over the Rainbow Bridge~

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Battle for Dixxeland

This is a repost from my old Yahoo Blog from May of 2007 I enjoyed rereading this and thought it would be fun to repost--

The Battle for DixxeLand...May 15, 2007

 Ive been so busy with helping Mom around the yard, working at W-M, and being the General of a War. All that added up makes for a time consuming day! Ok, I know you are asking...now what the heck is she talking about...Dixxe is just a wee bit short of a full deck...LoL.


IM talking about THIS ...

squirrel proof feeder?

And This:

 


 


Well so far we have taken 6 POW's and they have been released harmlessly to a place far away in another corner of the Big Woods. Recall the cage I had? Well I took that one back and got a larger one.... we set it, baited it with their favorite Black Sunflower Seed and we waited...

 
the bait                                        GOT ONE


The first battle we caught one of the enemy off guard in the middle of a downpour so he got to spend the night on our porch while he waited for the Re-location Team to do their job!


 
      the little merc doing a great job           mom showing her release skills

They came out very early even on MOTHERS day and did the deed of driving said varmit to places far far away. He was a happy camper!
Then came number 2 then 3, 4, 5, and this morning #6! The trap is ready to catch #7 as I type. General FurrBall is busy trying to fight back but so far its
Dixxeland-6 General Furr Ball- O
We are showing these guys who the boss is~ for a change- maybe? We may win the battle but we are definately losing the war!!




We have taken it long enough...OH I just heard the Slamming trap door on #7 , and I think I hear Mom laughing....gotta run!

(that summer we relocated 27 fuzz balls before they started the "nest building season", we never relocate a nursing female....each year we move at least 10 of them to an area near water-we make sure they are going to a better place with lots of trees, and untouched land.... and we get some relief and our birds get to eat the seed for a change)

Monday, December 6, 2010

This, That, and the Other-

Its been COLD and windy so a quick walk around the neighborhood with the dogs is as far as I've gotten  the last couple of days.  One thing I love about this time of year is all the dried brush and seed heads,  Im lucky to have a one mile loop to walk its a dirt road and I can take my time. The only thing you have to watch out for is the passing clouds..


                


When I get to the corner I usually go see my favorite neighbors...I call him the Grey One...



And his buddy the Brown one!  They can really make a ruckous when they have a mind too... HEE HAW-ing


Ive been looking over all my old blogs from way back to 2003 when I kept a Diaryland journal! Then I went to My Space, and from there to Yahoo 360, from there to Mutlitply and then to Blogger--whew thats a lot of blogging--


 I know it will be a huge project but I'm going to copy/paste and save all the entries and eventually PRINT it all out like a daily Journal...I used to blog daily
-realized that up until this blog my  blogging was  about whatever was cooking in what I called my pea sized brain and I had a dual persona named Splinter and ;'ooooh that gal had a temper, she wrote all the rants!! She was just a wee splinter off the old block...


I enjoyed reconnecting with some parts of my life...Some of it was NOT so fun to read and some was SO FUNNY--I was always remarking on HOW cold and windy it was in Brooklyn, (I hated the cold wind, still do) and I was fighting this daily battle of the parking regulations in NY its a living nightmare...and I screwed up on a few occassions...it was hell to pay or should I say MONEY to pay--I received parking tickets in the amounts of $35 (this is for not putting enough quarters in the meter when I ran in the post office, trust me you dont run in anywhere in NYC and get in and out most especially the post office...omg) $60, (thats for not moving the car on Opposite Sides Day)  $113, (that was for parking within 10 feet of a fire hydrant)  $110 (for blocking a pedestrain cross walk...that was buried under 3 feet of blowing snow when I parked) $106 (for being 10 inches over the yellow line -----that means a yellow line marks no parking, the front of my car extended 10 inches over the yellow line-------)


That $106 one was SO funny beCause the little car I drove was registered in my Son's name & address.  Now my son hardly called  then (calls less now)...he was a junior in college at that time....ONE day he called me in the middle of the day and he says "MOM.... I got a letter from the Department of Finance in New York City they say I owe them $106 in unpaid parking tickets!!"  BOY I got a good laugh outta that one...I told him not to worry I was fighting that one, and eventually I got it reduced to $45...when I proved by photographs that the yellow paint was barely visible on that curb---lol (if you can prove its not CLEARLY marked they will give you a break)


NOW you tell me where is that pedestraian crosswalk?  Ummm oh and I got stopped for having NO HEADLIGHT--that was the result of a fender bender so I got the new headlight from a Junk yard, and drove around with it on the seat beside me to show all the cops that pulled me over--[YES I have it but]--if I was in my uniform they usually told me to get it installed asap! 
Every now and then I run across a notation in my old notepad from long ago that reads "MOVE THE CAR TODAY" One day soon Im going to devote an entire blog to my little Hooptie~