Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Eventful Morning In the Backyard ~ Thursday 3/30/17

I begin my day feeling very frustrated: with stupid and entitled parent drivers, with Trump's continuing hypocrisy, and with Swagbucks' click and bait techniques.

I know from experience that I tend to dwell on the negative and then let this influence my day so I'm going to do my best to put this aside and concentrate on making this a good day.

I don't know why I still keep a long To Do List. I should have one big item on it: do the freaking dishes already. No, I didn't do them last night either. So this morning I have 2 days' worth to do.  Well, I guess I'd rather do them every 2 days although it really irks me to have dirty dishes at all times.

When I came home from dropping off my son at school, Greg was still in bed so I went to wake him up. He slept through his alarm, but then decided to sleep in another 20 minutes because he said he was up for 2 hours last night. I'm not sure what the problem was. I know the kittens bugged me again so I had to kick them out and close the door last night and then Explorer came crying again in the middle of the night but this time it was at about 4:50 a.m.  Then Princess came too and the two of them settled down next to me and went back to sleep, after giving me kisses and biting my fingertips too.  It's sweet but it's not helping my quality of sleep!

I've decided not to go to Aldi to finish my grocery shopping until tomorrow. I'm planning on going to observe nature tomorrow anyway so I'll stop on my way home and it saves me a trip and time today.  This morning, I want to sit in my backyard for a bit and then do chores afterwards.

The kittens are full of energy this morning, chasing their own tails, each other, play-fighting.  They're putting me to shame!

  • Start dinner in crockpot DONE
  • Do the freaking dishes! DONE
  • Put the laundry away DONE
  • Declutter the printer stand
  • Do the shredding DONE
  • Refill the self watering bins
  • Give a driving lesson to my son with the stick shift 
  • Take Youngest Son to get a haircut
  • Clean bathroom ceiling 
  • Clean hallway ceiling right outside the bathroom
  • Make my bed 
  • Earn Microsoft Rewards credits  DONE
  • Input weight into WHBRHC  DONE
  • Set 15 minute timer and try to accomplish as many chores as possible in that time
  • Do the dishes by hand, drain/dry in the dishwasher (AFTER DINNER) 
  • Take one mattress and the bed to the thrift store?
  • Make a dermatologist appointment for Youngest Son
  • Back up external drive to its own external drive!
  • Start a list of the electric outlets that I want to get replaced
  • Do my foot exercises 
  • Exercise at least 35 minutes on my bike  (weekdays only) 
  • Wash upstairs litter box  DONE
  • Put away the clipped articles from Kiplinger's magazine 
  • Inventory the pantry
  • Inventory the freezers
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • Take RaceTrac surveys 
  • Scrub patio pavers with bleach (wear old clothes and shoes, gloves and goggles)
  • Finish decluttering exercise room shelves
  • Call my bank to consolidate my IRA accounts
  • Schedule an outing to P.E.A.R. Park and ask them about the trees from my backyard or look at the Audubon site that Pixel shared.
  • Go to airport to cash in my euros?!
  • Mend sliding door window screen - get cat resistant screening material?
  • Plant and water the tree
  • Water the pineapples
  • Add water to indoor pineapples - I think I might compost them.  I really don't want to plant them, after all, and I don't have anyone to give them to.
  • Track my and Greg's IRAs for the IRS
  • Download all February pictures from phone, Canon camera, and Panasonic camera to external drive
  • Reply to blog comments   DONE
  • Purge the dresser in the upstairs hallway
  • Purge the top drawer of the file cabinet
  • File all the pending documents
  • Use brush on fridge coils
  • Schedule maintenance appointment for my SUV
  • Prep March Food Expenses post in progress
  • Mop kitchen 
  • Vacuum living room
  • Get Youngest Son to sign up for French I on FLVS ask for start date after AP exam (May 11)  - we decided he would do this over the weekend
  • Check if Youngest Son made Guidance apt to discuss 10th grade scheduleDONE
  • Get change so I can give Youngest Son $5 for the McDonald's gift card
  • Pick up DVD from library DONE
  • Try making yogurt in yogurt maker
  • See if can mend Youngest Son former backpack straps
  • Enter receipts into my spreadsheets
  • Make more hummingbird nectar DONE
  • Shorten the strap on my camera DONE
  • Put my Point & Shoot camera and batteries in my car's console DONE

  • Youngest Son packed a lunch to take to school and I packed leftovers for Greg to take to work.

  • I aired out the house after dropping off my son at school.

  • No automatic videos available on Swagbucks today and those videos that aren't automatic are really slowing down my laptop. I don't think I'll reach my 1st daily goal of 40 SB because I don't feel like babysitting the laptop all day. I still haven't started my latest library books!

  • Greg said his stomach hurt last night and that's why he was up for a couple of hours. I hope he sleeps better tonight as he plans on driving to NC tomorrow and I don't like when he drives after a bad night.

  • I might need to pick up Youngest Son from school today as he is planning on going to Guidance after school to make an appointment to discuss which AP classes he could take next year. Apparently a bunch of students already got the sign-up sheet for their classes next year but he didn't. So I suggested he asks Guidance about it.  I'm thinking about bringing his wallet with me so he has his driver's license and I can have him practice driving home from school, something we've never done...

  • Yesterday, after doing his homework, he disappeared in his room for a long time. It's kind of unusual as he tends to be on the computer an awful lot and the computer is in a common area (the Cat Room).  Come to find out, he was painting some of his D&D figurines.   He actually did a very good job, I was impressed, especially since the figurines are pretty small so any mistake is going to look like a huge "spotch".

  • I entered my weight and yesterday's bike ride into Walgreens' BRHC and earned 200 BR points. Yay!

  • 8:15 a.m. and I'm outside on my back patio with my laptop, coffee, bowl of Rice Krispies and my camera.  There are a couple of bullfrogs in the pool of the house located behind ours and they are bellowing very loudly. I'm hearing a few birds but not seeing them.  

  • I earned the daily Microsoft Rewards credits.

  • I decided not to stress over my March goals. Whatever doesn't get done between today and tomorrow, will get reported to April. Voilà!

  • I was surprised to find 4 large serrano peppers on my pepper plant that hasn't been watered in ages!  I harvested them, of course, I might make Greg's favorite soup, which is "Jalapeño Soup", but with the serrano peppers instead, one of these days.

  • I emailed my Senator and two Congressmen to urge them to support Public Media Funding.  You can do the same with minimal effort here.  You might need to know your full zipcode in order for the system to determine who your lawmakers are based on your residential address. If you don't, you can look it up here.

  • Different people have different abilities. There are some things, like shortening my camera strap, that take me way too long because I don't have the kind of mind that understands right away the mechanics of it. But I kept plugging at it and finally was able to do it. It should be much more comfortable to walk around with the camera around my neck now (well, I hope!). I'm sure one of my kids could have probably done that for me in just 30 seconds instead of the 10 minutes it took me to figure it out, but there's great satisfaction in being able to say "I did it myself!" (I totally feel like a 3 year old right now!)

  • I earned 25 KFR points by entering bonus code 25PTSTOSAYTHANKS into My Kellogg's Family Rewards account.

  • For lunch, I heated up last night's leftovers of homemade mashed potatoes, turkey gravy and a roasted chicken breast.  I also grabbed 2 clementines and a glass of water.

  • TooJay's emailed me a coupon for free blintzes with a $10+ purchase that's only good on 4/3. I still haven't gone back there!  I doubt that I'd go to one on Monday but I printed the coupon just in case.

  • I also printed a couple of coupons from Betty Crocker via their e-newsletter.

  • I spent the morning outside but it's 85F/29.4C at 1 p.m. and I still haven't done any chores so I'm heading back indoors...

  • But first I decided to cool off for a bit. Princess came to cuddle with me and ended up falling asleep on me!  She's such a cutie.
LOL, look at her position!  

Eventually, she moved to the pillows on my my left but she made sure her little butt was nestled against my hip.
  • I was sleepy from all the sun so I went to brew a new pot of coffee.  When I got to the kitchen, I realized that I had completely forgotten to start dinner in the crockpot in the morning.  Doh!  I checked the recipe and it actually only needed to cook for 4 hours on HIGH. It was close to 2 p.m. so I realized I still had time so I went ahead and got it ready and cooking. Phew!
  • While the coffee was brewing, I decided to unload the dishwasher. I also arrange the dirty dishes in piles that made sense to me.  I didn't want to start doing them yet because it was 2:15 by then and I expected a call from Youngest Son anytime if he was going to need a ride home. And also, I hadn't drank my coffee yet!

  • So I went back to sit in the living room with my mug of coffee.  Princess was still asleep.  Within 30 seconds, Explorer joined her on the cushion, cuddled against my thigh :)

My babies!
  • Youngest Son was able to talk to the Guidance counselor and catch the bus home. Woohoo! He and I discussed what classes he will be taking next year. He has to make elections tomorrow. I made a copy of the paperwork and will review what he signed up for tomorrow.

  • While the copies were being made, I did the shredding that needed to be done. I set aside a junk mail envelope to reuse for coupons that I donate to the thrift store.

  • I confirmed that he is conducting his weekly D&D game at the library tonight so I told him he would be driving us to the library. He's been trying to avoid driving!  I texted Greg to ask him to pick up our son on his way home.

  • My daughter has to attend a star-gazing activity at the State College tonight for her astronomy class so she won't be home for dinner, it sounds like.  I'm not sure if she'll have dinner out or eat when she gets home.

  • I think I have "bitchy resting face". I've been taking selfies with the kittens and in my mind I'm smiling at the camera and every picture turns out with me and my mouth turned down. I look like my Polish grandmother, darn it!  There's nothing like realizing you now look like your grandmother the way you remembered her looking when you were little for your self-esteem!
Only not that good looking, young, or thin!
  • I had Youngest Son drive us to the library. He did very well! I told him I was thinking about having him not ride the bus home anymore on some days so I'd go get him and he could practice driving home. He didn't look too horrified. He did realize that he had left his phone at home. Grrr, I had asked him to make sure he had everything with him and he said he had!  This is a pattern with the men in my life!  I texted Greg to let him know that our son wouldn't be reachable via text tonight so Greg said he'd go inside the library and probably embarrass him.  The thing is, I don't think our son is the kind to be embarrassed by his parents, lol.

  • I had been meaning to leave my Canon Point and Shoot camera and extra batteries in my car because many times I'll be driving somewhere and think "Oh, I could have stopped there and taken a picture of this bird or flower!" but all I have on me is my phone and I can't zoom far with it.  So I finally remembered to do that today!  I'll need to remember that I do have it, now!

  • I picked up the documentary DVD that was waiting for me. We'll watch it tonight since Greg is leaving in the morning.

  • Back home, I checked the mail and found the latest issue of Kiplinger's Magazine in my mailbox. I have a free subscription to it.  I'll read it next time I'm riding my recumbent bike, probably.

  • The kittens had made themselves comfortable on the futons while I was away, lol.  

  • Since I couldn't sit down without making them move and I spoil them, I finally did some chores, you guys!  I put the laundry away, washed the upstairs litter box and refilled it, did the dishes (while watching "Forensic Files" on my Kindle Fire) and made a new batch of hummingbird nectar.

  • There was some water left in a couple of cups from last night's dinner so I used it on my Christmas cactus.

  • Nobody showed up for D&D at the library so our son walked home :(  I feel bad for him because he puts a lot of work into trying to make this club happen. I called Greg to tell him not to stop by the library after all.  Cell phones are really useful sometimes!

  • Dinner was delicious. I served the Scalloped Potatoes and Ham that I had cooked in the crockpot with wedges of whole wheat flatbread from Publix.  Our son had homework so he declined to watch the documentary with us, so Greg and I ate our dinner while watching "The Conscientious Objector".  We weren't sure what to expect.  We saw "Hacksaw Ridge", the movie directed by Mel Gibson based on the true story of Desmond T. Doss, last Saturday, and we figured it had been "hollywoodized" and the Medal of Honor notwithstanding, that maybe the movie hadn't been too close to reality.  But actually, we were surprised to find that much of the movie was pretty accurate, according to the testimonies in the documentary.  The documentary was a great companion to the movie, even though it was filmed a whole 10 years before the movie ever was.  Greg liked it better than the movie. I thought that I was glad to have seen the movie first instead of the reverse. Andrew Garfield, who played Desmond T. Doss in the movie, by the way, was excellent.  The documentary we saw tonight was made of interviews with not only the real Desmond T. Doss (then in his 80s) but also with other men who served with him at training and in Okinawa, including the lieutenant who told him that he wouldn't want him by "his damn side" if Desmond refused to carry a weapon, and whom Desmond later on rescued when he was hit on the ridge.  What those men (and others who served in WWII) went through... ha, it always shocks me.  You tend to forget what war really means. It's not the very often asepticized version that Hollywood presents us.  "Hacksaw Ridge" was a bit melodramatic in the scenes before combat, as is to be expected, but it was very very violent too.  I don't think I had ever seen such violent combat scenes before (no, I never saw "Saving Private Ryan").  But it was a movie. To think that those old guys talking in the documentary actually went through all that and worse, and that Desmond T. Doss went into that hell, refusing to touch of weapon because of his religious convictions because he wanted to save lives, not take them, and saved, by all accounts, between 75 and 100 people single handedly, on that ridge, is incredible.  It indeed was, The Greatest Generation, you know.  And it makes that WWII "battle" reenactment that we attended seem very trite indeed. Anyhoo, if you're seen "Hacksaw Ridge" or are thinking about watching it, do yourself a favor and check to see if your library system has "The Conscientious Objector" and watch that too.
  • No Spend Day?!  Yay!
  • Latest issue of Kiplinger's Magazine (free subscription via ValueMags, I think)
  • Documentary DVD borrowed from the library

  • Fed the kittens
  • Packed Greg's lunch and prepped his breakfast
  • Dropped off Youngest Son at school
  • Aired out the house
  • Woke Greg up
  • Commented on a blog
  • Checked Middle Son's website and emailed him a suggestion
  • Inspected my garden
  • Refilled the hummingbird feeders
  • Refilled the cardinal feeder
  • Sent an email to lawmakers
  • Adjusted the strap on my camera
  • Took lots of pictures of birds and other creatures and plants in my backyard!
  • Cooked dinner in crockpot
  • Organized dirty dishes
  • Reviewed course election possibilities with Youngest Son
  • Make copy of his paperwork
  • Texted Greg re: picking up our son
  • Texted my daughter about her plans for tonight's class
  • Had Youngest Son drive us to the library
  • Picked up the DVD waiting for me
  • Put the laundry away
  • Washed the upstairs litter box
  • Put patio furniture cushions away
  • Refilled upstairs litter box
  • Did the dishes
  • Made hummingbird nectar
  • Watched a documentary with Greg
  • Scanned a document for my daughter

  • For Nature's resiliency
  • And for the show that it put on in my backyard this morning!  So entertaining.
  • For kitten kisses and cuddles


  • Nature amazes me constantly with its variety, adaptations, and resiliency.  This morning I toured my poor, neglected garden and despite my complete lack of watering or even refilling the self-watering bins, the drought, the increasing heat, squirrels and other pests, I still had surprises.
Veggies are still growing despite the lack of water and care.

And the pineapples are actually getting plump!
  • Oh my, right as I was typing this, the first hummingbird of the year came and hovered over my patio, just a few feet away! I am SO excited!  I had just checked the hummingbird feeder and had found it empty so I was hopeful, until I realized that there were a bunch of large ants on it (gotta add more Vaseline to that pole!).  So now I'm going to get another feeder out.  Yay!  Actually, I had enough nectar to refill my two spare feeders and I also shook the ants out of the 3rd one and was able to put some nectar in there too. I re-coated the hanging "hooks" with Vaseline to deter the ants.
Those darn ants!

3 hummingbird feeders, ah ah ah (my Count impression from Sesame Street)
  • Meanwhile, a pair of Northern Cardinals wanted to come eat at the green feeder (the red one is mostly empty because of the squirrels, I need to refill it again!).  The female was able to perch herself on the feeder, but the male hesitated, pecked at a few basil seeds, and then tried to land on the feeder's perch too but was unable. He got all huffed up and flew away to one of my self-watering bins and waited for the female to be done. She must have seen him tapping his little foot impatiently and looking at his watch because she finished up quickly and they both flew off.  I'm going to refill the red feeder, although I just spotted a squirrel sauntering nearby so I might also hold off... Oh, screw the squirrels, I'm refilling the feeder!

  • Well, shoot, the backyard is full of drama this morning!  I just heard a hawk very close so I grabbed my camera and spotted this hawk chasing a crow over my backyard and into the top of the tree facing me!  There was another crow right there and the hawk started fighting with both!  By the time I could focus the camera, one of the crows had taken off again with the hawk in pursuit. I wonder what happened... the crow must have stolen something from the hawk...  My camera captured part of the drama as I desperately aimed my lens at the general area and clicked on the shutter button, but it the picture isn't great.  I just don't have fast reflexes, I guess.  Ugh.
Blackbird/crow on the left, diving after the hawk (seen diving down behind the center branches). Up until this picture, the hawk had been chasing after the crow but when they approached the tree, another crow that had been waiting there started chasing the hawk and the first crow stayed behind.

I guess he was catching his breath!

Then he moved back to the tree where the 2nd crow had been and waited for it to come back. It did, without the hawk, though. I wonder what happened to the hawk!
  • As I was typing this last paragraph, the male cardinal returned and perched itself on the electric cable crisscrossing the backyard. Then it got a little closer... then tried the green feeder again a couple of times and missed!  

Trying to gather his courage... (bird on the bottom right, feeder on the top left). But he missed again.

  •  Meanwhile I heard Male Cat throwing up back inside the house so I went to check on him and when I came back out, I saw that my Cardinal pair had figured out that I had just refilled the red Cardinal feeder and the fat little male was happily chumping on seeds while the female waited for him.  I must have spooked them when I sat down again because they flew off pretty fast after that.  Meanwhile, the bullfrogs are still singing their loud (and amplified because of the empty pool in which they sit) song. It's not very attractive to tell you the truth, it reminds me a very loud goose honking.

  • The lizards are coming out too now that part of the yard is in the sun.  We have tons of lizards, everywhere. It drives the cats wild because they can't get at them!

This one is missing its tail... later on, I saw a squirrel that was missing its tail too but I was unable to take its picture.

This lizard looks like he might have lost part of its tail at some point, but it regrew.
  • I'm very pleased with my rose bushes. I had been afraid that I had cut them way too short but all three are flowering right now so obviously I hadn't. Yay!  I keep telling myself that I'm going to buy more rose bushes but I wouldn't really know where to put them. I tend to just stay on the patio so if I can't see the flowers from the patio, I'm just going to neglect them.  I've been wanting to plant something alongside the fence that runs along the back of our backyard, but it's not our fence and really the 10 feet in front of the fence are a (neglected save for Greg mowing it) public easement.

I remembered how frustrated I was when I started my day and my resolution to make today a better day so I really did stop
and smelled the roses. Every single one of them. They smelled delicious!

And my hibiscus is flowering too.
  • You know, I think I have two pairs of Cardinals visiting me.  A pair just came back to the green feeder and the female look younger and the male isn't quite as fat.  This time, the male made it to the green feeder!  He hasn't figured out that the red one has been refilled.

  • A small group of egrets flying overhead!  I'm loving being in the backyard this morning. It's not Cat and Turtle's backyard, but it's lovely out here nonetheless :)  I love, love, love spotting any kind of bird, even if it's as "common" (that word again!) as a Northern Cardinal.  I should say that I love spotting any animal.  Even the lizards.  And I love looking at the plants too.  It's just so peaceful out here (well tell that to the crows, right?!), I can forget about the ugliness happening everywhere else.
I didn't aim the camera lens very well!
So I enlarged and cropped part of the picture on my computer. It's fuzzy but they were pretty high up in the air. The
original picture was taken with the zoom.
  • I'm hearing an angry squirrel somewhere... I wish I could see it so I could take a picture for it for Bless :)  I'm sure the squirrels will be out in force as soon as I leave the patio!  Ha!  I just spotted one on a nearby tree but he's not the one that's screaming its head off right now...

And here is one on the fence.
  •'s email from this morning alerted me to the pollen count being high and man, they're right... my eyes are starting to bother me and I've only been out for an hour or so.  I've been meaning to buy more allergy pills but I keep on forgetting to add it to my shopping list...going to do that now!  I went back inside the house and got my laptop charger and a antihistamine pill... I was very surprised to see an expiration date of 2013 on the wrapper!  I must have really stocked up back then. So I don't know if it'll do any good.

  • As I was going back inside, I heard the call of Mourning Doves nearby.  I wish they would come visit my backyard again!  Last year, they were usually my first visitors of the morning and then later in the day they would gorge themselves at the cardinal feeder. This year, they seem to mostly stay away and I'm not sure why. I miss them!

  • The Cardinals can't seem to stay away today!  A male showed up again on the electric cable and this time it flew straight to the cardinal feeder.  I wish the hummingbird would come back too!  Right now the neighborhood is echoing with Cardinal calls!  They seem to be everywhere!

A bird... on a bird!

  • At about 10:35 a.m. I heard the familiar knock-knock-knock of the woodpecker and spotted a little red-bellied woodpecker on the oak tree over Greg's shed. He was hiding in the foliage so I don't think my shots will turn out very well.  Update: no they didn't at all.

  • And right after that, my little hummingbird buddy came back!  Actually thetre were two of them and with the naked eye, I could see one hovering in the small tree's foliage just beyond the furthest hummingbird feeder while the one hummingbird was zooming straight up and down about 10 feet above the feeder! What a strange behavior!  But of course it was wayyyyyy too fast for me to take a picture of even a video of it and they must have both flown away right away because as quick as they appeared, they were gone... without feeding. It must have been a reconnaissance flight.  So I went to use the bathroom and warm up my lunch because, my friends, I think I'm just gonna spend the day outside!  There's just too much to see!  I opened up the patio umbrella. Since it's bright orange, I'm hoping it'll help attract the hummers (yes, Jess, I hear you giggle!) to my backyard. I'm glad I grabbed an extra battery for my camera too because my first one just died!

  • The bugs are interesting too... the kittens seem to think so, at least!  I had to close the sliding door because Explorer kept on climbing the screen door to go explore a little bug that was hovering at mid length.  They're really destroying my screen door!  I need to research cat-resistant screen material and see about recovering ours.  It might be easier than trying to fix the holes they're creating because the repairs are probably going to get their attention and cause them to climb the door even more.

  • Speaking of bugs, I saw this little green one on one of the mystery shrubs growing under the cardinal feeder this morning.  
Can you spot the green bug in this picture? I need to research what kind it is...
  •  The bees and butterflies are going to be super disappointed...most of my basil has gone to seed and my verbena flowers have been cremated by the sun.  Good thing the roses and even the hibiscus are doing OK.  My neighbor's hibiscus bush is really flowering right now, the hummingbirds are probably all hanging out over there. Jealous!
The neighbor's hibiscus bushes.

  • I stand corrected: this smart Sulfur butterfly realized that the hummingbird feeders had been filled!

  • This lizard is molting.  In some of my shots, through my viewfinder at least, he looks like he's wearing a bonnet.  I guess "he" could be a girl...

  • I need to remember that not all birds use a birdfeeder for sustenance, as I just spotted a small pair of brown and yellow birds (finches?) looking for bugs in the grass.

Cute little yellow butt!
  • Just as I started typing the sentence above, I heard the distinct knock-knock-knock again so, since I had just moved my chair to be able to get a better view of the feeders, I looked for the red-bellied woodpecker once more to see if I could get a better shot this time. Only... it wasn't a red-bellied woodpecker!  Woohoo! I love the diversity I'm seeing this morning, and I'm so happy that I'm being lazy and not indoors doing chores or other inane task :)
At times he was pecking and at other times he was just reaching in crevasses.
  • At 11:25 a.m. I went back inside for a minute to close the windows and turn the AC on. I hated doing this as it was only 75F downstairs, but it means that it's way hotter upstairs, where most of the bedrooms are.  I feel so bad for my daughter, her room gets like an oven (no insulation and no way to add any without a major remodeling job).  So now I get to listen to the lovely (not!) sound of the AC unit running right behind me and it's covering the calls of all the lovely birds and the screams of the squirrels.  Comfort has its price, for sure.

  • Speaking of squirrels, I was wondering why I wasn't seeing more of them today. Well, while I was indoors, I realized that they were all digging through the front yard... and then when I got back to the backyard, I saw one of the stray cat regulars lying down in the shade in front of Greg's shed. So I guess no squirrel or bird visits until he decides to move on. Should I help him moving on?  Maybe I'll just eat my lunch in the lull...  then chase him away if he's still there!

  • 10 minutes later... well the stray cat is still here but he's been stalking something (a squirrel?!) and doing the "turbo butt" thing. You know, when they crouch really low and the tell-tale sign that they're about to pounce is that they're wiggling their butt!  Well, that poor cat, its owners (or past owners? he has a collar but no tags so we're not sure if he's a stray or one of those cats that irresponsible pet owners let go outside) put a small bell on its collar. So, as he's trying to be stealthy, he's totally giving himself away by wiggling its butt, which makes the bell ring!  LOL. Now he's taken refuge under the kayak stand. I could get up to take another picture but... that would require me getting up. 

  • The red-bellied woodpecker has returned to the oak tree, I can hear its call, and it sounds pissed. I wonder if he realized the pileated woodpecker was on the same tree and if it messed up its holes or something... he's inspecting the whole tree and cackling pretty loudly so I know he's seriously pissed off.  

  • Ah, now my neighbor Jeff is letting his dogs out for a wee break. Time for me to put down the camera and the laptop and finish my lunch!  Nothing interesting will happen while the dogs are out. I just hope he doesn't find any more kittens :)

  • Mourning Dove spotted!  It didn't come to the feeder but it's probably just a matter of time.  Come on now, hummingbirds!  Come to me, my minions...
Not the most picturesque photo, but that's where the dove was until it decided to fly away.
  • I was looking at my "Every Birdie Welcome" sign (and remembering that I never finished my squirrel sign!) and thinking about the Winter Garden gardening festival where I bought it when it occurred to me that it was about this time of year last year that Greg and I visited it... so I looked it up.  Spring Fever in the Garden will be next weekend, downtown Winter Garden.  Woohoo!  I texted Greg to ask if we could park in Oakland and walk down the trail to the festival again, like we did last year, and then have lunch somewhere cool. He hasn't responded yet.  Last year we drove to 5 Rivers (is that what it's called?) to have barbecue. Greg loves that place. I think it's OK.  I'm hoping we can go somewhere else although I'm not sure where.  Also last year I regretted not bringing a wagon along because they were selling cool plants too (and expensive self-watering bins that are supposedly guaranteed to last 5 years outside in Florida).  Well guess what Aldi will be selling starting on Wednesday next week?  A gardening utility cart.  I've been wanting one to replace our old Step 2 kiddie wagon that we've used for everything and that is falling apart after something like 19 years of use, so I added that to my shopping list for next week.

  • The hummingbird hasn't been back and it's getting hot out here... plus I do have chores to do.  It's 12:17.  I think I might stay outside until 1 p.m. and then head back inside.  Everything is quiet right now, except for the lizards chasing some preys and the bullfrogs still bellowing and egging each other on!  Well, it's 85F at 1 p.m. and the hummingbird never came back. It's been fun but it's time to go do some work, blerk.  I sure wish I get to photograph a hummingbird soon again!
How was your Thursday?  Did you see anything interesting around your house or neighborhood today? Did you smell a flower?


  1. TGIF YES! Well, I broke down and have been running the air conditioning. It seems to be functioning OK but as you know, things break down and need repair and i hate that- especially car trouble! I have been procrastinating about home repairs and I really should get some things done. I need new bedroom flooring- my last dog ripped a piece while trapped in my room- yeah, I know- and I need to get it replaced. Just too lazy because it will inconvenience me. Also I had a leak in my roof before I replaced it and it did a little damage to the kitchen ceiling, and yes, never had that fixed either...shame...maybe in the fall??? I love your animal and nature photos. I'm a terrible photographer so rarely take pictures. I think I took one of the Grand Floridian lobby when we were at Disney. I've been saying for over a year I'll replace my cell phone but nope, never have. It's an Iphone 4- and 4 years old but it still holds a charge and works. I might bite the bullet and get a newer one next week- I have a fear someday it just won't work. I do text some and a larger screen would be nice. PS just found out youngest GS (he's 12 1/2- 7th grader) is playing D&D with some of his friends at different houses. I guess they recently started a club! PSS I started reading some of your old blog posts do you ever go back and re-read?

    1. I (well, WE) procrastinate with house repairs as well. I hate calling people and having people around the house that I don't know, I'm always in denial about the cost of it all (or fear the worst), etc. Greg replaced our crappy acoustic tile ceiling in the entry room in the summer of 2015. The tiles had been damaged by roof leaks before we even bought the house back in 2002! However, I'm glad we waited that long because the whole time we thought the roof was leaking (well, it was, it's a flat roof over that room and those always end up leaking!) but the ceiling damaged mostly was due to rain going into the walls because our 2nd floor window frames were rotten and we didn't know that. So we had the roof repaired several times but each time we got a huge storm, we would get a new leak on the ceiling. Once Greg identified the real problem and fixed it, we stopped having leaks. Sometimes procrastinating isn't such a bad thing!

      I kept my iPhone 4 for a long time but I finally gave it up for a 5S a couple of years ago because a lot of the apps couldn't be updated and also the 5S has a much better camera, etc. I gave my iPhone 4 to our son who used it until this past January when his dad passed on his 5S to him. The iPhone 4 still works. I had gotten it back in 2011. I like the larger screens too and I would like to have something like the Galaxy 7 but since we're all on iPhones, I don't really want to be the only one on Android (I like being able to see when Greg is actually typing a reply to an iMessage. It's the little things...)

      I hope your grandson and his friends have fun playing D&D! Maybe he can rope you into it too!

      Yes, I re-read my old blog posts all the time. It's fun and the reason why I'm blogging. I have a terrible memory so this is really helpful. I hope I don't put you to sleep!

      Have a great weekend, Nan!

  2. Nathalie, your garden was definitely the place to be, yesterday! It is where the action was! Thanks for the squirrel pictures! Glad to see that they had their tails, intact! Aw, that black and white stray cat looks so pretty, though! I've had two black and white cats like that, in the past. They were both the sweetest kitties, ever. I am so glad you got to enjoy the nature show in your own backyard! "Lunch Time" Bless, again!

    1. It's feast or famine with my backyard and I'm so happy yesterday was a "feast" day!

  3. LOL at turbo butt - I've never hear it called that, but that's exactly what it is!

    I'm so enjoying all your bird photos, especially the cardinals! I finally, finally got a picture of a cardinal last week, but it was with my cell phone, through my car window, so it's not very good. Weird how birds are not bothered by you behind a window, but if you roll down the window they take off with lightning speed.

    1. Did you see the cardinal from your driveway? I can't remember if you said you had a bird feeder in your front yard or not. We have several families of cardinals living around here, it's so fun to see them come eat. I just saw 2 of them this afternoon again!


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