Friday, September 30, 2016

A Rare Bird

I saw this bird the other day...some species of mocker, as it was making fun, flapping its arms  er...wings....and laughing out the window at the lady in the driveway with binoculars and camera.

I so wanted to include it on my daily eBird list, but alas I don't think the ABA would recognize it even if it showed up on their doorstep.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


Evidently an hour's bird counting every morning and a lot of dog walking has a price. For the first time in all my years I was bitten by a tick yesterday. A trip to urgent care today and I now have drugs with so many side effects just reading the literature is like a Stephen King novel.

Plus I have to protect myself from the sun. Dagnabbit. This is me who wears shorts and crocs until November and hates hats. Now I must wear sunscreen and sunglasses and all that nonsense.....

I would revolt, but it's already revolting.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This Guy

Afforded Becky and me a few minutes of nearly dangerous laughter yesterday. I normally pretty much wage war on chipmunks. They get in the house and do bad stuff and carry disease and all.

However, I may give this guy a pass.

I was on my way to the sink to attend to a big mess of dishes when something flashed past the window, caroming off the blue bird feeder and falling through the air, flip, flip, flip.

I could see it was a rodent of some kind, but the flipping was pretty fast for clear discernment.

Thus I lingered by the window to see what was up.

Dippy Chippy swarmed up out of the grass and quickly got up on the garden pond pump, which is lying on a tree stump drying out to be stored for winter. It consists of two long arms, one to shoot water into the air and one to suck water into the pump. It was balanced not  so securely on the center part...the pump.

Dippy ran out onto the filter. It tipped dangerously and he levitated into the air and ran back to the center...then down the air spout, which once again acted as a chippy teeter totter. Airborne once again.

He was incensed and ran over to the old bird feeder pole, which is about three feet from the tray feeder that was his goal. Next he shuddered his way through the cinnamon vine that grows on it, nothing showing but his bottle brush tail.

See, I had found some old almonds in the cupboard and put them out there to see if the jays wanted them (nope). The chipmunk wanted them though. He sat in the catbird feeder on top of the pole and wiggled his fanny like a cat about to pounce on one of his brethren.

Nope, too far.

He vibrated his tail like pom pom at a football game, bouncing up and down to ready himself for the jump.

Nope, too far. 

Back down through the vine, tail a-quiver, to the oak stump again.

There he sat, eyeing the feeder and swaying back and forth as he contemplated the jump.

Nope, too far. You could all but see him deflate in disappointment. close and yet so far.....

Then he did what any normal chipper would have done in the first place. He ran up the honey locust tree and onto the clothesline and out to the feeder. Of course there was a certain "first day on the new feet" air about his line running skills.....A Flying Wallenda he ain't.

Once in the feeder he was rewarded with a lovely, if a couple of year's worth of stale, almond. 

It was too big for his mouth

He turned it over and over until he figured out a way around it.

He sat there for a while nibbling the shell until he had a hold...and then contemplated egress from the feeder.

Looked at the old pole with the cinnamon vine.

Nope, too far.

Looked at the tree.

Nope too far, with only that scary old clothes rope to run on. 

Looked at the blue bird feeder hanging over the oak stump.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.


He caromed off the blue feeder again and down he went to the stump...




If there is a Darwin Award for chipmunks I have an inside tip on this year's winner

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Wrenching it

When we traded for this old John Deere we still had the cows. I have sat upon it many times running the PTO to dispense feed for whomever was feeding them that day. I liked that job if I wasn't setting up and washing stuff in the milk house. There is a lot of time to ponder life and watch the sky while waiting to shove that lever.....

The tractor has always knocked. Always.


Anyhow the knock got serious recently so Alan had the boss park it while he looked it over to see what was going on and ordered some parts.

Borked vs unborked

Yesterday he and Jade tore it down and applied a fix that should get it through whatever hay weather we get the rest of the season. At one point it was barely recognizable as a tractor at all.

At least some of the tools were supplied by the farm girl

Then they need to replace a shaft in it, which clearly was defective right from the factory. They figure that some of the parts were designed to let it wobble!

Peggy and Uncle Alan wrenching on the tractors (Photo stolen from Liz who took it)

Anyhow there was a lot of grease and southern clay (still caked here and there from its original home) involved. Even though Peggy wasn't feeling the best, she got her own green tractor out and wrenched on it too. It was fixed quite quickly, as she was tired and wanted to rest. The big one will do for now as long as the boss babies it. No asking it to toss bales all the way to the back of the wagon until they have time to replace that shaft.

Rushing it

The coming season that is. Although autumn has just arrived and robins are still trekking through on the way to warmer places, some people can't wait for the point of getting all their toys, new and old, out on the lawn for some photos. 

No way I am going to ride one of these things. If nothing else you ride them in the WINTER!!!!.....I do want to find some bravery somewhere in my timid makeup and learn to ride the quad though. You do that in SUMMER, the appropriate season for outdoor activity....and it would take me to the back of the place for birding without a two-hour hike.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Forcing It

There are days when, from the moment you wake up in the morning, you know you are not going to get anything done. Oh, you'll be busy all day, but at the end there will be nothing to show for it.

I am sure you have had days like that...we all do.

There's cows in them there hills

This is going to be one of them I think. Everyone else is up to something is like a bee hive around here, the young men working on the John Deere tractor, the boss off to the doggy-wog amusement park dump with the trash, Liz toting stuff to the men with Peggy's help, and Becky at work down in town.

I started out to write a Farm Side about the new methane emissions regulations for dairy cows in California, but I tabled that about 200 words in. A job for a quieter day.....

 I am grateful to have men who can fix major problems with important tractors, a guy who will get the cleanup done, a cute, if slightly under the weather baby to keep things interesting, and her mom to do the goferring....but is a madhouse around here.

I am not going to even try to force myself to concentrate on writing something complicated today or tackle any big jobs. Just go with the flow, enjoy the excitement, and walk the doggies every now and then.