Monthly Archives: May 2013

A gaggle of geese

When our kids were little, we got into the practice of assigning age groups to young ducks and geese, based on their size. The tiny, fluffy ones were “newborns,” and from there graduated to grade school, junior high and adult. Somehow the distinction of high school never entered the picture.

So this morning as I ran around the west end of the Buckeye quarry, I came upon a gaggle of geese. They were happily searching for food on the ground and didn’t seem too bothered by my presence so I was able to photograph them. But then a dog barked and everyone hustled down the banks to the water.

I wanted to join them — the humidity and heat were beginning to rise and the water looked pretty inviting.

Here’s a photo and a video:

IMG_0493[1]


 

 

 

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Centerpiece for an herb garden: Clay pots paired with glossy paint and VOILA!

You know that feeling you get when you look at the perfect pictures of perfect gardens and landscaping in magazines? Kind of that “oh, I wish my yard could look like that….” But unless you’re a professional landscaper or are willing to spend oodles of money to hire someone to turn your yard into something out of Better Homes and Gardens or Martha Stewart Living, you’re left to your own devices.

And that isn’t always a bad thing. You’ll end up with something much more beautiful and satisfying — if only because you’ve done it yourself. At least, that’s what I tell myself at the beginning of every summer when we begin reworking the gardens and trying to create something different.

My herb garden hasn’t varied much since we first designed this one after moving in 22 years ago — at least in size and shape. Herbs have come and gone, new ones have replaced old ones.

Last year for my birthday, my daughter surprised me with a birdbath that she’d designed from various sized clay pots. It’s amazing what one can do with plain old pots and some bright glossy paint. The birdbath has a place of honor smack in the middle of the herb garden.

It begins with this,IMG_0489[1]

topped with this,IMG_0488[1]

and then….voila!IMG_0485[1]

Father, daughter place bets on who will see the first hummingbird

At first, it seemed like a fairly passive competition. Two of four family members declared a bet on who would see the first hummingbird of the season. Things were pretty quiet until a week later and neither one had yet had a visit from said hummingbird. The tension began to build.

While these two hummingbird-crazed competitors shared daily phone calls and e-mails to see whether the other had yet won the bet, the other two of four  watched from the sidelines, sharing eye rolls and refusing to play the game.

You have to understand these two. Both are accomplished photographers and will spend hours outside sitting completely still, eyes glued to the hummingbird feeders. Yep. You read that right. Feeders. And not just two….multiples strategically placed around the respective back yards.

Until this afternoon, not a single tiny Trochilida had bared its fluttering wing to either watcher. Sadly, the camera was not at the ready when it should have been.

Backtrack a moment…apparently, the camera had been around earlier in the week, because the Bluffton photographer captured the family pet, a tiny chipmunk who lives under the A-frame. Dubbed Mr. Monk, the little guy had ventured out to inspect one of the hummingbird feeders.

chip 1 chip 2 chip 3

Isn’t he adorable? Ah, but apparently that only fueled the fire. Until today. The e-mail from hummingbirdwatcher number 1 came as follows:

Here are my past records of first sightings:
June 7, 2003, female (I probably saw one earlier but didn’t write it down)
June 7, 2004, male (I probably saw one earlier but didn’t write it down)
May 29, 2008, female
May 13, 2009, female
May 15, 2010, female
May 17, 2013, female – at 12:30 p.m. in the backyard
*I never started watching seriously until 2008.

Response from hummingbirdwatcher number 2?

RUB IT IN. I have yet to see any, but be assured, will report when I do.
I did see baby chipmunks (many of them) running and hiding in tunnels on campus today. They were cute.

Personally, from a spectator’s perspective, it seems to be a bit of a draw. After all, chipmunks are awfully cute. Still, I told them both: Pics or it didn’t happen.

Both claimed that the bird/animals were too fast and that the other photographer was too slow.

Eye roll.

Three men and a lawnmower

Guess what happens when you pair a nurse anesthetist, a lawyer, and a journalist with a lawnmower whose adjustable wheels have a mind of their own. Surgery.

I’m serious. I know this because I witnessed this in action. One minute, there’s said journalist happily trotting around the backyard, creating neat rows of mowed grass.  The next minute? Silence. No mower engine to be heard.

At first, I ignored the silence. After all, I was busily working away in my sewing room, hoping the funny sounds from my serger didn’t mean another trip to the fix-it shop. Besides, the mower started back up pretty quickly. And stopped again just as quickly.

After about 10 minutes of these fitful stops and starts, I peeked out the window. There were the journalist and the lawyer crouched over the now-silent and upturned mower. A few minutes later, the nurse anesthetist  — black bag in hand — joined them.

Here’s the problem. My little voice told me to stay out of this. But then, I’ve never been very good at listening to my little voice. By the time I got outside, the three of them were on their way to the anesthetist’s shop where, they informed me, they would be performing some sort of surgery on the wheel lever.

At first, there were just two heads bent over the mower….IMG_0478[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and then there were three….IMG_0480[1]

 

 

 

 

 
And then somehow, as if by magic, the surgery was over and the journalist happily trotted off to level off the grass. The other two? Deliriously happy at having been able to perform a successful procedure, they retreated to their respective shops to take on the next project.

The journalist is a lucky guy to have two such good friends with mechanical expertise.