Thursday, June 28, 2012

Female Cardinal on Her Nest

I came home at noon today and spotted this female cardinal sitting on her nest in a bush right beside our kitchen window.  I feel blessed to have such a wonderful view from inside my home.   

Until now, I had no idea that she was even building a nest there.  I love using the zoom on my camera to get in REALLY close. 

It's 102 degrees.  I give Mother Cardinal a lot of credit for sticking with her maternal responsibilities.  She's obviously trying to cool herself by holding her beak open.

Observing her through the window, I can see that she's panting.  Her entire body is pulsating.  I'm worried about her but am loving this new experience.  I've watched robins have their young but never cardinals.

(I took these photos through the window so there are some areas of glass reflection.  I went outside to see if I could get a photo from another angle but I couldn't even see the nest from any position around the bush).

Mother Cardinal left her nest for a short time during the past two hours, but unfortunately I wasn't able to see from the window far enough down into the nest to see if there are eggs or hatched fledglings in it.

I'll be back with further developments regarding this important event.

It's 7:00 in the evening and I'm back already with more exciting news.  While mama was away, I got a ladder and looked down into the nest and saw three speckled eggs.  How cool is that? 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My Birch Trees Are Dropping Leaves

I have two birch trees in my yard that are dropping leaves.  I raked up enough to fill a large trash can early this afternoon.  A good share of the leaves still on the tree are yellow; I imagine they'll drop soon. 

I'm really upset.  I'm trying to keep my yard beautiful and the lack of rain is making that very difficult.  Keeping the lawn watered is a daunting task and now with the yellow leaves scattered everywhere, I'm fighting a battle that's bigger than I am.

I've watered the birch trees a few times this season because I know they suffer when it's dry.  They've lost leaves previous years but nothing like now.  I let hoses dribble on both trees this morning while I was at work, about 4 hours.  I may not save the leaves but hopefully the trees won't die. 

Thanks for reading; I really needed to vent.  I will be more upbeat next time I post here!!!!!  Let's hope, anyway.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Downy Woodpeckers Get a Thumbs-Up

We had two Downy Woodpeckers on our backyard feeders.  One of them is harder to see.  Its all-white belly shows from behind the post. 

This feeder hangs three feet from the one on the post.  The Downys hopped between both feeders.

Since I don't see them as often as our regular visiters, I always pause to watch them when they stop in. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Can't Get Enough of Day Lilies

I picked these bright yellow flowers from the back of our lot.  I just happened to have this ribboned vase in the cupboard; they were meant for each other, don't you think?

I can never take just one picture of something that I like.  How do you like this angle?

I could have vases of these cheery flowers in every room, everyday of the year and I'd never tire of them.

Do you have a favorite flower? 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baby Robins Grow Up Fast

Lon spotted this robin's nest along the south side of our property.  He wouldn't have noticed it if he hadn't been trimming the hedge where it was hidden.

I grabbed my camera and went to see for myself.  I don't know how many babies were in the nest but they were good-sized already.

I zoomed in real close to get this shot of mother robin.  She was definitely keeping an eye on me!

She stayed perfectly still as I kept taking pictures.

When the babies were alone again, I captured more pictures of them.  I love the expression on this one's face as he peered out at me. 

Poor little guy.  Looks like he's having a bad feather day.

He read my mind and now he's giving me the evil eye! 

Is that a small bald spot on the back of his head?  I'm just asking.

Uh oh!  He finally became so offended at me that he stuck his nose (beak) in the air and refused to look at me.

And then one day, when I wasn't looking, he and his siblings slipped away.  I stared at the empty nest and hoped they were all doing fine.

While I type this, I see several robins hopping around in the back yard.  None have matted feathers or bald spots on their heads.  One is particularly regal looking and he's staring right at me.  He wants me to say something nice after my not-so-flattering comments earlier.

And so, without further ado:

  I'm thrilled to report that the youngster we saw in the nest has grown into an especially fine-looking specimen of a robin and that I'm delighted to remind you that he has the honor of being Wisconsin's state bird. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baby Bunnies In My Backyard

Could there be anything cuter than this baby bunny?

I captured the above photo shortly after he left the nest.  I just HAD to capture your attention with this shot; now I'll back up and show you previous pictures.
I first noticed the nest when I was weeding this flower bed. 

Under a layer of mother bunny fur and grass, I found these little critters.  (I read on the internet that the human scent won't cause mother rabbits to abandon their young). 

I checked the nest several times over a period of about two weeks.  I don't know how many babies there were but I'd guess at least six.  I was tempted to take them out and count them but didn't want to frighten them any more than I already had.
I tried to restrain myself, but I couldn't resist peeking at least once a day to see how they were progressing.  Could you stay away?

After each visit, I covered them back up with the fur and grass their mother has assembled.  I added the leaves on an especially hot day, hoping it would block the sun's rays.

I knew it would happen eventually, but I was kind of sad on the day I found the empty nest.  I searched the area but didn't see a single baby bunny.

Later that same day, as I was working in the area of the nest, I saw this single bunny.  I didn't see any of the others so I was worried about him.  I put him back in the nest, thinking perhaps his mother would come back for him.  He wanted no part of the nest anymore and quickly exited it. He sat quietly so I took a deep breath and reluctantly left him to his own devices. 

A few hours later, I almost stepped on him.  Of course, I don't know if this was the same bunny I'd seen earlier. He was across the backyard, near our cone flower bed.  At first I didn't know if he was alright; he was so quiet.  I poked him gently and he scooted under the cone flowers.  That's the last I've seen of him.

Rabbits can be pests, especially around flowers.  I've often been angry with them over the years after finding my flowers in shambles.  After chancing upon and observing this litter in my own backyard, I'll look at things a bit differently.

What's going on in your yard?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cone Flowers

Our first cone flower blossoms have made their appearances.  They look a bit ratty which I blame on insects.  I sprayed the plants last weekend and hope that prevents future blossoms from being nibbled. 

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Aunt Marcie's 95th Birthday

My Aunt Marcie and her friends and family celebrated her 95th birthday at her house last Sunday.  Her birthday was officially Tuesday.  She looks fabulous, doesn't she?  (It was sweet of the girls to lean away so I could get a photo of just Marcie and her cake but silly me, I included them anyway.  Sorry!) 

Aunt Dorothy, Marcie's sister and relatives of Uncle Norm (deceased) were there.  (Dorothy is one of my most loyal supporters when it comes to my writing and in many other areas of my life as well.  We celebrated her 90th birthday earlier this year). 

My sister-in-law, Phyllis, my brother, John and Uncle Allen, Dorothy's husband engage in fun conversation.

Marcie's granddaughter, Kari and her boys, Evan and Elliott posed for me.  Kari's husband, Tony, was also present but I didn't get his picture.  Darn.  He's cute too!   

Marcie's son, Ron, and his wife, Dee cut and distribute pieces of the cake which is adorned with family photos.  Ron and Dee organized the lovely party. 
I caught you with frosting on your finger, Ron.  Looks like you didn't waste it!  Uncle Norm's brother observes.  Notice the gorgeous flower bouquet from Dee's garden.

I apologize for not taking pictures of Lon, my husband, and Kathy, my cousin, and her husband, Greg.  (If I had a brain, I'd be dangerous).  Also, please forgive me for failing to remember the names of Norm's family. 

Aunt Marcie and me.

Aunt Marcie, Aunt Dorothy and my mother, Katherine (deceased) were always very close.  Our families got together many times a year to celebrate holidays, birthdays and life in general. 

Aunt Marcie was and is an important person in my life.  She hosted very special wedding and baby showers for me that I'll never forget.  It would take too long to list all of my memories of Marcie but I carry them with me.

Thanks for all that you are and Happy Birthday, Aunt Marcie!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Roll Out the Barrel

Instead of planting flowers in this small barrel this year, we bought a stepping stone at a local garden center and made an end table for the patio.  It works well and since I don't have to water it, I have more chances to sit!