Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Man-Made Good Thing!

  Well sometimes with all the bad things the hand of man does every now and then something good comes along....of course its usually totally by accident!-LoL but here it is! 

This is a nest during breeding season complete with bird. 

  YES these are Cliff Swallow!  They have successfully pushed their range Eastward using the thousands of concrete overpasses as colony nest sights and that's good news for us as they keep the mosquito populations down!..SO come late March I want to visit this bridge over the Wateree River again!  The Swallows return to Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano, California) March 19th and leave in Oct...but some literature says they begin to leave in late August...You can see some of the nests have fallen, probably due to vibration of the heavy traffic over this bridge--I'M so psyched about this!!  There is a boat launch ramp right beside this bridge and parking is under the bridge... I hope none of the fishermen will even notice the swallows. The birds and their nests (while in use) are protected by law--!

the gourd shaped mud nest of the cliff swallow is made up of about 1,000 dabs of mud, then lined with soft down and grasses.

The next photo was taken on Old Route 66 as it runs through the state of Oklahoma this past spring when I was traveling--I love to pull under overpasses to look for swallows and sometimes bats! This time I was rewarded to find this colony of cliff swallows doing very well!
Here you can see the mud nests and an adult at the entrance they were feeding young, but the young are so smart and with all the warnings of the parents that Danger was about (that danger being me and my camera) they kept way to the back of the entrance--I did see a few heads pop out but not when I had the camera up and ready!

adult Cliff Swallow- it takes 44-50 days from nest building to fledging the young-

barn swallow nest
It's easy to tell a cliff swallow nest fro a barn s--the barn swallow (left) will also attach a nest to the underside of eaves, bridges etc, but the top is Open--not enclosed like the cliff swallow. Also the barn swallow nest will have bits of vegetation mixed in with the mud--Swallows winter in South America -and now it appears to me their breeding range is all the way East!! 

So now we have all these man-made "cliffs" and the swallows are following them eastward! I think that's pretty cool! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

The fish that spoke to me...

I have to digress away from my normal blog style to share this story -- this is my opinion and not trying to force my ideas on anyone--
Recently I read a blog and in it was this statement that animals don't have souls--I say Says WHO???  Just using the word soul brings up religious belief and why should it?  Personally to me whatever one believes is their religion--it doesn't have to be indoctrinated--I have a belief system made up of bits of knowledge drawn from various sources--some of it are conclusions drawn completely of my own accord.
In order to find the answer of is there a soul you have to first of all figure out what a soul is, then separate indoctrinated religious belief from science and etc...It cant be done--you cant dissect and find a soul--unfortunately!  IF you could dissect to find the souls of some I think it would be a black slimy murk-BUT

I did some research and found out the reason this belief of animals not having a sould exists due to certain religious doctrine-and religious teachings and is believed by some religious fanatics-surely there is no scientific evidence to the fact that animals Do or Don't have souls.  There is no evidence that Humans Do or Don't have souls..if there is show me the proof, and dont show it to me in the Bible, the Quran, the Torah-- regardless of whether there is a soul or not animals have feelings, emotions, they are living beings, and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect.

I don't eat animals or use products that come from animals or that test on animals because to me its hypocrisy!  My love of all the creatures of the earth means I am with them, equal to them, in support of their existing along with me.  I guess that's kinda what Buddha was saying, but I am not a religious person-- Yes we are all of varying levels of awareness in order to live out the lifespan of the body we are in! Humans 80-90 years mice 3-4 yrs!  So that's my belief system and I and show my support of that by not harming or eating animals or FISH!.... MY burning question is do trees have a spirit?  I have a long way to go to become the person I wish to be!  In an online  personality test I was most like Ghandi and Karl go figure-LOL

Having said all that I have a story to share, this is an absolute true story  from a personal experience and if it doesn't at the very least make one question their belief of the life force of animals then--well-- there may be no hope left.

We are all familiar with dogs n cats and some of us have interacted with other animals of the world.  When I was growing up it was dogs, cats, and HORSES!  I spent my childhood having adventures astride the backs of these great animals and while gazing into those huge brown eyes I saw a spirit/soul and my own was reflected back to me-

So as I moved through life I became more aware of how animals are exploited I worked in an industry that did that and when the realization hit me I got out of it asap. ( I worked with racehorses for about 5 years)
Animals are not meant to be bought and sold, raced, showed off, and forced into labor for profit...that's why at this point of my realization of the rights of animals, all I have are 2 rescued dogs!  The only reason I would pay money for an animal is-- to save its life-

So on with my story...before I reached this point in my life and while I was raising my son he also had this love of animals.  He loved horses but didn't ride them he preferred small animals. hamsters, rabbits, lizards, snakes, fish, birds etc. and you get the picture. So we had one of everything--and as is with most children he did some of the taking care but as often happens most of the work fell to Moi-We had a small 10 gallon fish tank and he stocked it with fish and due to our limited skills on keeping fish we were not always successful at recreating the right habitat and they would die off.  Finally when he decided to buy only goldfish it was easier (and cheaper).

The fish were all different colors and sizes.  Over the period of about 3 years the gold fish died off  except for one large calico one.  The tank had been moved into my bedroom and I got into the habit of feeding "Goldie" the minute I got out of bed in the morning.  (yeah I know not very original, and we had a young stallion named  If I was laying on my side when my eyes opened I could see Goldie treading water in the side of the tank that faced my bed watching me...and waiting for me.  So I would sit on the side of the bed, yawn and stretch get up and walk straight to Goldie's tank and sprinkle his little "fish flakes" while he swam in happy circles then ate with vigor.  I went about my day and completely ignored him the rest of the day till he was fed again before the sun went down.  Such was the life of Goldie-

I had already told my son NO MORE purchasing of ANIMALs by this time I had began to develop the opinion that buying animals was not right and I didn't want to support the industries any longer and my son agreed...his rabbit "snowy" had passed away and along with the hamsters Louy and Duey was buried in the back yard.  Ever so often I had to clean the tank and Goldie waited in a glass mixing  bowl while I cleaned his tank, but other than that feeding him was his only interaction with humans since my son had long ago lost interest in Goldie-and Goldie lived alone in the tank.--I should have given him to someone else who had a tank full of fish... thinking back on it now.

So while I slept Goldie watched me...I had no idea how to communicate with a fish--but I did speak to him when I entered the room and said good morning and goodnight and that was it.  So one Saturday morning when there was no work or school I slept in a bit and I was awakened by this little sound...."tink" I looked around to see what it was and saw nothing!  I got up fed Goldie and went about my day.  Next weekend the same thing "tink, tink, tink", looked around nothing!

Then one Sunday morning I opened my eyes head still on my pillow not stirring yet, and I saw Goldie in the tank looking right at me, then he reached down to the bottom of the tank sucked up one of those small blue pebbles that lined the bottom  and then he spit it against the glass of the tank- "tink" and then he did it again..."tink". 

Realization came over me with a flush...GOLDIE had not only, all on his own, figured out a way to wake me but to communicate with me! There he was in his tank watching me and he was thinking and planning, and he was successful at getting my attention!  He came to these conclusions of his own accord problem solving, and he had put a lot of thought into it---
  1. I was a living creature who nourished him & would not harm him- he trusted me
  2. That when I was laying in my bed I was sleeping and could be awakened
  3. That I was a creature of routine
  4. He knew it was past his normal feeding time
  5. That if he could figure out a way to wake me up he would get his breakfast
  6. I responded to sound
  7. He wanted to communicate with me
  8. Tossing a pebble onto the glass made a sound
  9. He could use that as a way to communicate with me NOW I don't know about you, but that went way beyond what I had been able to do in the reverse...I was not able to tell him anything!  I never figured out a way to talk to him other than to feed him.  He figured out how to communicate with me!! Dont try tell me that creature was not a sentient being!!!  When Goldie passed away he had a proper burial in the back yard that any creature of this Earth should get, I said a few words to show his passing meant something to ME he gave his entire life-his spirit-his soul- to me there in my bedroom in the small tank and he had an impact on my life--I will never forget him!
  10. I believe animals have souls and they can speak, how do you know they dont, just because they've never spoken to you? I hope you enjoy this wonderful song-


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

WBW-10 Waxwings

It was a pretty big flock of The Cedar Waxwing.  I've seen some really great posts n photos of these birds on the World Bird Wednesday, but I still wanted to share the shots I got of  the flock, swooped in very nosily-----So here are my Cedar Waxwing Shots

Bombycilla cedrorum

The markings on this bird is exquisite, his black mask, soft  buttery yellow chest and tan breast....

-the shot shows the white streaks around the beak...

that cute little red dot on the wing!

The tip of the tail has a bright pumpkin orange stripe...with some yellow

They are generally found in flocks foraging together..

IT was so much fun trying to photograph these birds, I spent an hour under this tree while they stripped the berries and then Swoosh--they were gone!

Clicking this icon will take you to the Pine River Review link & all the participants of World Bird Wednesday-

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Thrusday Outing--

Since returning from my sister's & the dog sitting Ive been getting itchy to travel! I GOTTA Go somewhere soon or I'll break out in hives or something--once you get that itch you have to scratch it, or I sure do- otherwise I make me and everyone around me crazy..BUT right now ITS COLD everywhere! I'd have to drive hours to find warmth...If I go hiking Ill freeze and Ill have to wear bulky layers and keep putting them on and taking them off and its muddy from the melted snow--so I gotta cool my wheels around here for now-
So I drove up to Wateree Lake its a fairly local lake, it was COLD tho in the upper 30's with some wind chill...brrrrr--and there was not much going on-- these ringbilled gulls were trying to get a lake cruise together but couldnt find a willing captian so they waited at the dock..

Somebody is gonna have a surprise waiting for them when they come by to check on their boat at the marina--yuk! Lesson Learned--take the TOP OFF when not using the boat...
Then I checked out this house that's for sale-- sits right on the water its a idea how much$$ it's going for--this is the front of the house, this facade faces the water...I peeked in the windows the main room has great looking hardwood floors!

and this is the private fishing pier and the view of the lake, only thing is-- this house is right next to the marina--so in summer that would mean lots of boating noise--

It was quite tranquil when I was there but its the dead of winter...not one boat came by--Saw plenty of these guys they wanted a handout; I had nothing with me "note to self" throw some bread in the car next time OR Popcorn,. these gulls will catch it in the air if you toss it to them...this is a ring billed gull giving me the evil eye-and flying right at me--

Some other freeloaders came by looking for a handout

Then this old fellow came bouncing from the neighbors yard, he was friendly but I used the "Ssssttt" sound that I learned from watching the dog whisperer, to stop him dead in his tracks a few feet away from me-- JIC he had "taking a chunk outta me" in mind...all I could see at first were those huge chompers----but he was quite sweet and he has an old injury to his hip..He didnt give me time to get a better shot of those beautiful pale blue eyes...cause even tho his master next door, allowed him to run over to surprise me...she called him back after she saw I had taken control of the situation...geeze some people! (thank you Cesar Milan)

I also saw a bald eagle up SO High that I nearly passed out from holding my head at a 90 degree angle and this horrid photo..but when you go for it sometimes you come up with fuzz..oh well back to the drawing board!! Ill post it small so its not quite so fuzzy--at least I can tell it was def. an Eagle!

over by the marina I saw this cute little shell, what a view this shell was enjoying too!  I call this photo--
- Small Shell Big World-

One last look at the lake before I head back to home...I hear the Eagles do nest on some of these small islands...wish I had a boat--

On the way back I saw a couple of deer milling around by the road ....then Zip they made a run for it-


that was how I spent my Thrusday, and Friday I went in the Other Direction so ill save that one for another time!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Snow Day!

WE made it up to my sisters house they got off just in the nick of time, the airport closed last night after the snow started...I like snow if I have 2 skies strapped on my feet otherwise its not what I had in mind..I hated those winters shoveling snow in NY to get my car out only to have the plow come around and rebury it while I went it to change my clothes!

And poor Indy she had surgery on her hip before Christmas and WOW what a long recovery she is enduring she has to be kept confined, and when she walks which is only 3 very short outings a day for bizzness and not really for exercise she has to have the sling thingy placed under her belly to help take some of the weight off that leg and having to do all this while muffed to the brim with winter clothing and 8 inches of fresh powder does not make for a happy camper!..My dogs had a blast running around in the snow then they resembled frozen dog cycles with a snow coating--

Even the squirrels didnt come out of the nest today--they got the memo--Take a snow day---but the birds  all decided to come here for Lunch! So I tried to get a few photos of them---which was not so hot considering the windows are not exactly Windex worthy...I went out with my camera and the birds-- flew away so back inside I got a few hand held shots of backyard birds. 

The jays loaded up on nuts

The red bellied woodpecker and the cardinal put a nice splash of red against the white snow...

excuse me, look this way plz

This Brown Thrasher is not deterred by the cold, 

..we usually see some chipmunks here but Im thinking they are cozied up in their dens waiting on a thaw...

this is the gazebo at the neighbors house (this is where little Poco now lives), and she is quite the squirrel chaser, I went to speak to her at the fence and she didnt remember me, oh well no matter she looks great when the snow melts I hope to get a shot photo of her

I took my dogs out back they had a run thru the powder
then it was a walk out front and a chat with the neighbors who always think Im my sister...I could pretend to be her I the family resemblance is very strong! I would do that but heck that girl is a workaholic so I dont think I want to trade with her....So then back inside to wait out his cold gloomy day...reading blogs and watching the birds at the feeders...if the electricity stays on all will be good....

I never realized their house was yellow till now!

Saturday, January 8, 2011 more ways than one-

Saturday night here is a fun time we always tune in PBS and the Songs of the Mountain followed by Woodsong Old Time Radio Hour, then Lyrics n Legends...since our roots are from East Tennessee and the Appalachia region we love the blue grass and the great talent of the people of the region.  (although modern country music is not my cup of tea I love the OLD STUFF) Each Saturday night we settle down to be entertained by the great harmonies and the sounds of mountains...

  If you're not into old style ballads, folk, and unplugged music you may not enjoy it..But the simplicity of it is what really draws my interest. No fancy tricks-just play by ear muscians.

Did you ever watch a banjo player?  They can be so stoic and it seems they move only their fingers holding it out in almost "claw" fashion and fingers pickin' a mile a minute--I like that.  The fiddle is not one of my favorite instruments, but some of the fiddlers are awesome.  Diana had an awesome fiddler in her blog playing the Orange Blossom Special, he was really good at it too!  I play the guitar, but for the past 5 yrs its been very sporadic--I would love to get a brand new cut away slim sided Martin- this (photo) is my old guitar Ive had it since--*yikes* 1979? (wow) Its still a good guitar, its a Goya apart of C F Martin is what is says on the label but I researched it and the Goya originated in Sweden in the 1950's then made its way to NY.  The company was called Levin at that time, but after an American market was found the name was changed to Goya...Then I also found out Goya was outsourced by Martin and was part of their line up in the 60/70's & 80's so I assume they bought out the Levins.

  I did not pay a lot for this old guitar..But it sure brought me many hours of enjoyment as I struggled to learn how to pick the Wildwood Flower and other favorites of mine.  I wrote a few songs of my own and enjoyed singing to myself when I felt I needed to be alone...I just pulled out the old guitar and soon everyone would leave the room...HA-Ha

One of my very favorite tunes to play at holiday time was Christmas For Cowboys which I heard performed by my very old favorite John Denver. (gone but not forgotten) My sister wanted to learn to play and she got a guitar and we played this one together she played the rhythm and I played the lead, and we harmonized quite well That was one of my fondest holiday memories...

Another favorite of mine from JD is Darcy Farrow which is a very old ballad--John recorded it and I enjoyed that so much.  I even learned how to play Rocky Mt High...which was not an easy one to learn..Somewhere along moving Ive misplaced my John Denver Songbook...grrrr I guess I should check out Amazon..
So I brought this up today cause I pulled the old guitar out of the closet and hope to brush up on my "riffs" and harden up those callouses again.  At one time I could play the guitar part of Dueling Banjos...that was hard to do..but a wonderful challenge.
Tomorrow we head upstate to the foothills of SC to dog sit for my sister and her husband.  Old time songs have origins in small mountain towns such as some of the ones in the wild n wholly parts of northern SC.  So the fam is going out of town for business for 9 days and we are headed up a day early to beat the SNOW they say is coming this way--Should be an interesting week!