Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hawk & Spider Doings

Every living thing has to eat.

I was reminded of that today when I came upon the evidence left behind.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

My Encounter With a Hawk

This hawk scared the dickens out of the birds that were feasting at our collection of feeders on Sunday.  I was sitting on the screen porch watching the Packers/Bengals game and I was startled out of my chair by all of the commotion.

I searched the backyard in hopes of seeing the hawk and found him perched atop a high post, empty-handed.

How all the birds that were feeding escaped this predator is beyond me.  Gold finches, sparrows, chickadees, nut hatches, woodpeckers and hummingbirds had been coming and going all day.

The hawk remained atop the post for at least five minutes.  I started taking pictures inside the screen porch but eventually risked going outside and I was able to take several more.  The clear photos were those taken outside, with no screen between my camera and the hawk.  

I think he sees me.  Hello!!

Oh my, he's turning his back to me!  Well, I never!  

Oh, so you think you're too majestic for the likes of me?

I agree, you're pretty magnificent.  

I ignore his attitude and keep my camera on him.  I absolutely love my digital camera.  I can keep shooting forever or until he decides to depart.

At this point, he became quite exasperated with me.  I could imagine him saying, "Get a life, woman!"

As quickly as he swooped into my afternoon, he flew off.

I looked in my Birds of Wisconsin field guide and I've decided this is a Cooper's Hawk.  I could be wrong but that's my final answer.  Other hawks found in Wisconsin include the Broad-winged, Red-tailed and Sharp-shinned.

Compared to the Packer's performance, I feel I had a better afternoon.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Hummingbirds Sitting Still

I've seen hummingbirds in our yard in great numbers recently.  They've been busy drinking from our sugar water feeders and fighting with each other over who gets to drink first.

Hummingbirds normally don't stay still for long.  I'm often too slow to get my camera and get it focused in for a decent photo.  Lately, I've noticed many are taking time to relax on our power and cable wires and in our bush beside our deck.  That's allowed me to take some good closeups.

This is my recent favorite.   

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday Evening's Harvest Moon

My neighbor, Bill, knows things.  He called Wednesday evening to tell me there was a Harvest Moon in the sky.  While talking with him, I peeked out the front window and there it was.

The Harvest Moon is the full moon that falls closest to the autumnal equinox which is this coming Sunday and marks the beginning of the fall season in the Northern Hemisphere.     

I thanked Bill for the heads-up and grabbed my camera.

Of course, I grabbed my camera.  Anything worth looking at is worth a photo.

And, of course, if one photo is good, a slew is better.

From a grand total of twenty-six photos, I have picked my favorites to show you. 

The picture below is of the moon on an evening earlier this year.

Let's back up in time a bit.  Don't be scared; only a slight journey of one month is required.  On August 20th of this year, Bill (the guy who knows things, remember?) called to tell me a Blue Moon was in the sky.  By now you know my knee-jerk reaction was to take pictures and so I did.  Today, for comparison purposes, I searched through my picture files and pulled out this photo of the Blue Moon.

             So there you have it, a Harvest Moon and a Blue Moon.

                             Thanks, Bill, for knowing things.                           


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Apple Pie & More at Edward's Orchard

After arriving at Edwards Orchard in Poplar Grove, IL (7061 Centerville Rd. for your GPS) yesterday, we made a beeline through these doors on the lower level.  We had several options to choose from at Edwards including gift shopping, wagon rides and apple picking but our appetites made the decision easy.

Once through those doors, Lon and I sat on metal milk cans at a table and each devoured a piece of apple pie for breakfast.  This was our second trip to Edwards and our second piece of pie there this fall. 

Edwards Orchard is amazing.  They grow these beautiful mums in their fields.

Inside the main barn is a wonderland of food and gift items of all kinds.  The d├ęcor lends a nostalgic, warm and comforting atmosphere to all who enter.

See that Hawthorn-Mellody sign at the top of this photo?  It was an instant reminder of the Hawthorn-Mellody milk truck that pulled in our driveway regularly when my brothers and I were growing up.  I can still see the big blocks of ice inside the truck. 

I would have had to take a hundred pictures in order to show you everything at Edwards Orchard, inside and outside.

Pretty sweet, huh?

Everything is presented professionally.

Beautiful, aren't they?

Two weeks ago, only Ginger Gold apples were available.

We left with our stomachs full of ice cream, apple pie, cider and donuts.  (While I was getting us a table, Lon ordered our "breakfast."  Yikes...cider and donuts besides the pie and ice cream?!)

After browsing, I bought a three-pack of popcorn balls to take home, another must-have whenever I'm at Edwards.

I can't imagine all the people, young and old, who visit Edwards Orchard every year.  All I know for sure is that we always do. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Calming Effect of Birdsong

"Bird Brain

The calming effect of birdsong may be the reason that the crime rate dipped in Lancaster, a high desert city near Los Angeles.  In 2011, the town installed 70 speakers along half a mile of its main thoroughfare and piped in a dulcet chorus of songs, chirps, and tweets--minor crime fell 15 percent and major crimes were down 6 percent."

I found this in the National Geographic Bird Watcher's Bible. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

It's Not All About Catching Fish, It's About...'s about looking out, seeing the lake and wanting to be out on it...

...and working hard so you can have a boat to take you there...

...and feeling joy in the sights along the way...

...and sensing the enormity of the sky and the water...

...choosing just the right lure that you just know will help you catch the fish swimming by...

...choosing one that makes lots of noise seemed like a good idea to me today...

...wondering if anyone has ever counted all the islands...

...dreaming you'll catch a fish that's as big as you are...

...and being ready in case you do...

...remembering places you picnicked and swam years ago...

...sharing the area with those who live here...

...using all the fishing techniques you know...

...watching the shoreline for all that it offers...

...and always, always loving the loons...

...imagining how they feel about it all...

...looking up at the sky...

...and seeing it repeated in the surface of the water below...

...returning to the bay where you started the day...

...feeling the pull to turn around and go back out again, right now...

...but knowing tomorrow's another day...

...and the opportunities are always there, just waiting for you. 

Since I posted this, I discovered that someone has counted the islands.  There are 365.

Other interesting facts include:  The lake is 40 miles from end to end; there are 1200 miles of shoreline and 40,000 acres of water.