Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red-Breasted Nuthatch

This tiny but bold species is a regular visitor to my feeders. I almost got one to land on my hand to take a sunflower seed but it changed its mind at the last second. They allow us to get very close to them.

They are so comical the way they hang upside down and sideways as they sort through the sunflower seeds. If a seed is not to their liking they promptly throw it out and choose another. I have to chuckle at their persnickety nature.

Nuthatches are able to cling to almost every surface at every angle. They circle around tree trunks and underneath branches in search of food. They also jam sunflower seeds into bark crevices then hammer them open with their bills to get to the heart. I often find sunflower hulls in the bark of the Norway Maple that holds my main feeder.

We also see the White-Breasted Nuthatch but I have yet to successfully capture one with my camera. They aren't very tolerant of me being close to them.

White-Throated Sparrow

This little fellow flew into the living room window this afternoon and nearly killed himself. I found him in the mulch, dazed and very disoriented. I brought him inside and had Derek hold him while I looked him up in my bird book. He/she is a White-Throated Sparrow. I've never seen one before so it was a real treat to be able to get a good look at one close up. I think the golden lores are charming. Derek was thrilled to be holding a live bird in his hand.

We gave the sparrow a few minutes to become oriented again then took him outside to release him. We walked over to the Arborvitaes on the north edge of the property and Derek opened his hand to let the bird go. The sparrow just sat there on his hand like he wasn't sure what to do next. My bird book said that this species will not fly from a threat but will run off instead. I picked him up from Derek's hand then let him go in the air and he flew to the top of an Arbor vitae and chirped at us a few times. It was hard to tell if he was cussing at us or thanking us. We wished him well then went back inside. It was a very interesting few minutes we got to spend with this cute little bird. I hope he survives his head injury without complications.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Heaven On Earth

Keep Manhattan, just gimme that countryside.
The trio of Colorado Blue Spruces are only a few years older than me, probably around 40 years old if I had to guess. They are half their potential size.
I love trees. I love almost all plant life though. If I were going on a long journey into space and could take only one thing with me, it would be a plant. I'd leave people behind. Who needs 'em?
Derek was paddling the canoe around in the pond when I took this picture. He will be 13 on November 10 this year. Where did my baby go? I now look him in the eye and we wear the same size shoe. Soon I will be looking up at him.
In the meantime I'm quite pleased to watch him enjoy these 12 acres of heaven on earth just as I did when I was growing up. There's no better place to raise a child. No crime, no drugs, no violence, pollution or screaming neighbors. Just the peaceful sounds of nature uninterrupted.
Heaven on Earth.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


It's my favorite time of year. The smell of the woods, the crunch of leaves underfoot and the endless pallette of colors satisfy my senses. I love to walk late at night when everyone is asleep and let the moon light my way. I can hear the screech owls and great horned owls calling to their mates as they hunt at night. They always make me smile.

The tractors are out late at night harvesting the corn and soybean fields. I love to watch them as they lumber over the fields like giant locusts eating their fill of grain. The harvest dislodges the rodents that have been living in the fields, sending them out into the open to fatten the raptors for a long, cold winter.

One of my favorite trees near the house is this Eastern Redbud. Its heart-shaped leaves turn a bright yellow in autumn before they fall. It's a small, shapely tree with an oriental flair to it--a real standout in the twelve acres of land it shares with a large variety of hardwoods and evergreens. Its nearly black bark contrasts beautifully with its autumn hue and the bright purple/pink flowers it puts on in spring.

Let Snags Stand

Screech owls use the abandoned nests of other cavity nesters (woodpeckers, flickers, etc) to raise their young. Owls, and many other raptors (birds of prey) will perch at the top of trees to scan the area for prey.

If you have dead trees on your property, please consider allowing them to remain so that owls, hawks and falcons can benefit from them.

There's so much reward in hearing a pair of great horned owls calling to each other or a family of screech owls whinnying at night. It's very satisfying to know that the dead trees we've left on our property may be providing a nest site for babies or a hunting platform for the adults.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


When I dropped Yahoo as my ISP they saw fit to delete my Yahoo! 360 blog. That's fine. I intended to delete it anyway. It had become something I didn't want and I felt obligated to write in order to keep my friends up to date. This blog will be a clean slate for me and not even my family will know about it--a relief really.

I bought the house I grew up in this August at the age of 38. Now I am not only a home owner but the owner of my childhood home. A strange position to be in, certainly one that most people don't get to experience. It's wonderful to be home again I must say. I never thought that working on my home could be so back-breaking yet so fulfilling.

I live in a ranch home that sits on 12 acres surrounded by trees and a kidney-shaped 1/4 acre pond stocked with game fish. My only neighbor is my cousin, Sandy. This is a wonderful place for my son, Derek, to grow up just as it was a wonderful place for me to grow up. This blog will chronicle my activities and experiences as time goes by here at my "new old" home that I share with my husband, Jim, and my stepson, Ian.

I love living in the country and living a simple life. The peace and quiet out here is priceless. I love being about to have complete privacy here on my property. City life just isn't for me, a country bumpkin.