Birds Archive

Life in general

Posted September 29, 2019 By Ruth

Garden is mostly done, with a few exceptions.  I’ve got two baby watermelons still holding on and getting bigger, and the new pepper varieties have finally put out baby peppers, since they’re a colder hardy variety I might see if I can get away with tenting them and see if they’ll produce.

The pool walls are completely down.  Now if it would stop raining long enough for everything to dry out so we can  have a big ass gravel truck drive across the yard to delivery the gravel.

Work is still a bit crazy, I’m still covering for a co-worker with health problems, and now my “home” department is short a full time associate too.  Again.  *sigh*

I’ve been having a great deal of fun playing with my new spinning wheel.  And having to resist buying ALL THE FIBERS!!! to play with.

We found a baby Cedar Waxwing under one of our maple trees.

I couldn’t find the nest to put him back up unfortunately, and it was gone the next day.

Our fridge died, and we had to buy a new one in a hurry.

Note to self, cleaning the dog fur out the compressor intakes on a regular basis is probably a good idea.

For the first year, since we bought this house, I successfully grew Snapdragon flowers.

Aren’t they pretty?  Now to hope they’ll come back again next year…..

 

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House Wren

Posted May 23, 2019 By Ruth

We have a fairly large population of House Wrens here.  They can be a bit of a nuisance, taking over BlueBird boxes (and even occasionally damaging eggs), but they’re feisty little things who’re totally not afraid of the House Sparrows.  They tend to stuff the boxes (and occasionally my manual well pump head) full of sticks to make their nests in.

This year we have a new twist.  We have a half dead tree in our yard.  The Pileated Woodpeckers love it.  Last fall a Downy appeared to make a nesting hole in it, and at one point we even saw a layer of feathers in the hole, but nothing came of it.  Then, last week, I noticed the House Wren dragging sticks to that tree, but NOT going into the Bluebird box!  A change of viewing angle and I realized he was stuffing them into the woodpecker hole!  Today I got a picture of it.  That little Wren has been singing his heart out in that tree, here’s hoping he decides he likes that spot better than the well pump this year!

Life

Posted May 21, 2019 By Ruth

Turned out that a fair bit of my lingering symptoms were dehydration.  I do not understand why I’m suddenly having such big issues with dehydration.  I swear I’m drinking alot of water!  So, I bought a bunch of Snapple and Arizona Iced Teas (all non-caffeinated stuff), all of which I normally avoid, because sugary drinks, and keep forcing myself to drink and drink and drink.  And presto, I feel better!  Ugh.  Appointment with the gastro specialist is Thursday and I intend to ask if dehydration is a normal symptom or if there’s something else going on here.  Seriously, I never stopped peeing at a normal rate, and it was normal colored too.  So why was I dehydrated?!

Garden is about half planted, now if Mother Nature would stop trying to drown us…..

As of last Friday there were 4 Bluebird eggs in the nesting box, cross your fingers!

We’ve had a bunch of Baltimore Orioles this year, they’re going through orange halves at an insane rate.  I need to remember to take more pictures, I keep forgetting, on the other hand I’m enjoying watching them.  The hummingbirds are out in force again this year too, such little birds, so big egos!

Bleh

Posted May 6, 2019 By Ruth

I already had my spring sinus crud, so I figured I was good till fall.

Except then Husband brought home his version from his work.  And spent a week miserable on the couch.  And of COURSE I caught it just as he was getting better.  Went in to see the doctor on Thursday with an elevated temp, mild cough, sinus pain/pressure, drippy nose, all the usual sinus crud stuff.  She wasn’t happy with me getting sick again in barely a month (but hey, I wasn’t happy about that either you know), prescribed me an antibiotic and a new allergy med.  Except when I got home and actually read the label I realized I’d tried that allergy med before, and it knocks me on my ass for two weeks while my body adapts to it, and then god forbid I miss even one pill because I have to repeat the adaption to it, so yah, not taking it.

Friday woke up, pulled off my cpap mask, and instantly felt short of breath.  Tried my asthma inhaler, and it made no difference.  Then the cough got worse, and my temperature climbed, topping at 101.7.  I spent the day on the couch with my cpap machine running.  By the time I realized how bad off I was my doctors office wasn’t answering their phones (to be fair, Spectrum had had a weird phone outage the day before, so it might not have been the fault of the doctors office).

Saturday I got ahold of the doctors office, and was informed that I needed to go to the ER.  Do not pass go, don’t try Urgent Care.  Ugh.  Spent 7 hours there.  Turns out that I’d somehow managed to let myself get way dehydrated, and it took two liters of IV fluids to get things back to some semblance of normal.

Except that when you walk into the ER, and you’re 40, overweight, tell them you feel short of breath, and your heart rate reads 137bpm they tend to panic and run ALL THE TESTS.  The attending doctor got me to admit to having “gas pain” for the last couple days.  So on top of the list of bloodwork, EKG, and chest CT with contrast, she added to the list a pelvic CT.

So, the heart rate and shortness of breath were caused by the dehydration, the IV fluids fixed that (and got me a stern talking to about the need to stay hydrated, I don’t normally have a problem with that, I really don’t!).  The EKG read normal.  The chest CT read everything normal.  The bloodwork read mostly normal, except for being dehydrated and an elevated white blood cell count.

The pelvic CT?  Well, “acute diverticulitis”, “gall stones”, and a “mild hiatal hernia”.  The hernia’s not a huge surprise, I’ve had acid reflux symptoms for years, though the way the attending doctor put it on my paperwork initially confused the hell out of me.  The rest of it though…..yay?

Today (Monday) I might actually be starting to feel better, though I have absolutely zero energy for ANYTHING.  I got halfway through watering the greenhouse this morning and had to take a nap.  God only knows how I’m going to get the garden planted as I’ve not managed to prep ANY of the beds yet.

I did manage to get the hummingbird feeders out.  And on the way home from the ER, I MIGHT have seen a Black Throated Blue Warbler in the brush next to the road.  I can’t find anything else that would match what I saw anyway, very much like this bird.  Chickadee-ish, but not chickadee-ish.  All black (though it was in the shade, so it could have been dark blue), with a white belly and white splotches on the wings.

And now that I’ve typed all that I need another nap……

I’m alive!

Posted April 20, 2019 By Ruth

Really!  Just very brain dead.

The co-worker who had medical issues is back to work, however he shouldn’t be.  I’m not entirely sure if he didn’t explain his job very well to the doctor, if the doctor didn’t believe him, or if the doctor is an idiot.  To be fair, I’ve found that when you tell your doctor that you work at “big box store with orange aprons” they hear “I’m a cashier” no matter what you say afterwards.  I now tell my doctors that I work in a warehouse.  It’s a much more accurate description of what my job entails when it comes to physical demands.  So yah.  At any rate, I’m still working his job, hopefully only for another week, but I’m not holding my breath.  I’ve now found that the management’s apathy in regards to the folks on the sales floor is totally beaten out by their apathy towards the folks working in the receiving department.

At home I’ve been experimenting with sourdough bread again.

As much as I like a good homemade sourdough I’ve struggled with it in the past.  Struggled to keep it alive, struggled to use it, gotten frustrated by the discard-feed cycle.

This time around I armed myself with King Arthur Flour’s list of recipes for discarded sourdough.  Reminded myself that even if I didn’t want to do a true sourdough bread I could always add a scoop or so to my regular bread recipe.  And made a very interesting discovery about keeping it alive.  Every sourdough recipe out there says that once you get past the initial buildup you can use white flour to feed your sourdough.  And this is technically correct, you can.  However, feeding your sourdough starter with whole wheat results in the happiest sourdough starter EVER.  Wow.  So my sourdough starter is whole wheat.  It was an accident, I ran out of white flour and somehow forgot to buy more at the store, so shrugged and fed it with whole wheat, and wow!

isn’t that pretty?  That is a true sourdough bread, no added commercial yeast.  Specifically its KA’s No Knead Sourdough.  This particular loaf will be going with me to the family Easter party tomorrow.  Yum.

On the subject of spring: FB reminded me that on this date last year I got snow, so I’m delighted by the green grass I’ve got today.  In addition the Bluebirds are definitely nesting, though as of yesterday afternoon there were no eggs yet.  And I’m back to trapping House Sparrows.

I have good news, and bad news

Posted April 5, 2019 By Ruth

Good news: Yesterday I spotted several Osprey and a huge flock of Tree Swallows, which means that the birds, at least, think spring is here, regardless of what Mother Nature might say

Bad news:  Mother Nature is still confused.  This is my front yard right now:

 

Good news: the coworker who was out for emergency medical is planning on returning to work next week!

Bad news: with my usual impeccable timing I have managed to come down with my spring sinus crud just exactly at the same time as when there’s zero extra coverage to cover my absence.  I spent several hours yesterday bundled up in ALL THE LAYERS shivering with a fever before the meds kicked in enough that I could cut back.  The only good part of this is that I found another doctor at my regular doctors office who believes in KILL IT WITH FIRE, and I feel noticeably better today.  Hopefully I’ll be able to go back to work tomorrow.

Odds and ends

Posted March 27, 2019 By Ruth

My work has gotten a bit complicated.  A full time coworker had to go out for a medical emergency and will be out for a span of months, how long exactly to be determined.  He has, so far, avoided major abdominal surgery, but only barely, and apparently the doctors haven’t ruled it out completely.  In the mean time he’s in the hospital on massive doses of antibiotics and IV nutrients and not allowed to take much of anything by mouth.  Why does this affect me?  Well, it turns out that I’m one of 3 people in the store (who’re not already working in that department) who have a clue as to how to do his job.  The other two people are department heads in other departments, which means that there’s limits to how much they can be pulled out of their departments long term.  Not that I can be yanked out of my department with no warning either, next week is Spring Black Friday (yay) which is the “traditional” start of our crazy season, so I still have to cover most of the hours I was originally scheduled for.  But every hour they can sneak me out of the Garden Dept, and every hour they can add onto the schedule, I’m now working in Receiving too.  In about two weeks the schedule should catch up with the new employee status and I’ll be in Receiving full time through the end of April at least, and likely for the summer.  And while I normally consider myself to be pretty flexible about switching tasks on no notice, for some reason my brain is not handling the switching back and forth this time, and I’m coming home at the end of each day very mentally fried.  Posting may be extra light for a while.

I got most of the seedlings out to the greenhouse on Sunday, now to I have to find energy to start the tomatoes.  I splurged on a temperature controller for the greenhouse this year.  $50, you set the “ideal” temp, and then you set how low it should allow the area to get before turning on the heater (Christmas lights in my case), and how high it should let it get before turning on the cooler (which will be computer case fans wired to blow out the vents as soon as I can get them ordered).  I’m very glad now that I did this, as my new hours make it harder to monitor the greenhouse temp properly.

I’m in the process of switching CPAP suppliers (from here on out referred to as DME), as the one I was originally assigned is struggling with the concept of sending out replacement parts and filters on schedule.  The pulmonary doc was NOT amused.  On my model of machine I’m supposed to change a filter every 30 days, and we’re now over 2 weeks past that and they’re still giving me a run around about getting me the filter in question.  Which is dumb as hell because I can go buy a 6 pack on Amazon for $10.  They’re trying to blame it on my insurance not getting back to them, but when I called my insurance (to see if I could speed things up), my insurance said that they don’t require or expect DMEs to request clearance to issue said parts, and the pulmonary doc agreed that the insurance shouldn’t be involved at this point, clearance was given when the cpap machine was issued, they should just be sending me a filter.  I may be buying a pack from Amazon anyway, just to have the spares, but really, the whole point of this process was so that I shouldn’t have to.  Plus replacement mask parts are more expensive.

I ran out to run a quick errand last night, just after sunset, and of course didn’t bring my camera with me.  I mean, it was way to late for hawks or really any of the birds I’m likely to want to photograph, even if there was enough light to do so.  So what do I see?  A big white owl perched on a telephone pole, lit up and glowing in the last trailing rays of sunlight.  There had been reports of a Snowy Owl in the immediate area earlier in the month, but its been at least two weeks since the last sighting.  *sigh*

Bluebirds! And snow, of course

Posted March 18, 2019 By Ruth

I don’t really consider seeing Bluebirds to be a sign of spring, they frequently hang out here all winter (as do Robins), but it still gives me a bit of a thrill to see them start investigating the nesting boxes.

As you can see, we got more snow.  If weather predictions hold it won’t stick around long, but still, everything is white again *sigh*

I’m hoping to get my little plastic greenhouse set up today, with an eye towards getting the pepper seedlings out into it this week.  I need to get the tomatoes started, and I can’t do that till the peppers are out of the way.

Birds update

Posted June 17, 2018 By Ruth

The last picture I took of the Song Sparrow baby:

 

Two days later it was gone.  I didn’t think it was far enough along to fledge, but maybe it did.  Or maybe whatever predator that feasted on its siblings finally got it too.

The last picture I took of the BlueBird babies:

They fledged early by my count.  Either I was off on exactly when they hatched, or only having to feed three babies meant they were able to grow faster.  The parents don’t appear to be setting up for a 2nd clutch, so I’ll probably pull down the Sparrow Spooker this week.

While I was getting annoyed at the House Sparrows for killing the Bluebird babies I missed them attacking a Tree Swallow nest.  That box is in a harder to see location, and I didn’t realize what had happened till I caught a House Sparrow going into the box with nesting materials.  The good news: no dead bodies.  The bad news: several destroyed eggs below the box.  *sigh* I’ll have to decide where I want to setup the trap this time around…..

 

F*@#ing House Sparrows!

Posted June 4, 2018 By Ruth

Not an hour after I finished typing the last post.

Stopped to look out my back window, which faces the Bluebird house.

See the male Bluebird fly out carrying a fecal sac.

See a little brown bird fly into the house.

FUCK

Storm out and head for the Bluebird house and sure enough a female House Sparrow bursts out and away.

Opened the box and took this picture:

 

Storm back to the house, dig out the Sparrow Spooker and my drill and head back out to put it on the box.

The female House Sparrow was in the box again!!

Put up the Spooker, check the babies.  As far as I can tell they’re all breathing, but whether they’ll stay that way…..at least the one is definitely injured.

The Bluebird parents aren’t enthused by the Spooker, but after a few minutes of swooping back and forth they figured out they could still access the opening.

Cross your fingers…..