Monday, October 31, 2011

We have firewood!

Here's what we're doing with the wood we're cutting in the backyard! Well actually not the new wood. A sweet neighbor who came and cut up the larges trees that had been pulled out of the ground, also brought us a load of seasoned firewood to burn in our new wood stove.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Getting there

It's going to take us awhile but we're working on clearing up the hurricane damage to our backyard. Here are before and after photos of one section:

The bench is in the same place in both photos.
Fortunately, we have a wonderfully generous neighbor who has been over twice to help take down the largest trees that we simply could not have handled with just the two of us. Thanks Tony!!! We will need to call professionals to come and take the root systems from both large trees that were pulled up when the trees went over.
The good part is, we're going to have tons of firewood to burn in our new wood stove next winter!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene

This is just a sample of what Irene left us last Saturday night. We were fortunate not to have flooding in our immediate area, just some water in the basement, but we lost about 15 trees or more in the wooded area at the back of our property. The view from our deck is now quite different than it was last week! And when it's all cleaned up, we'll have lots more open space in the yard, which is at best a mixed blessing. But we're fine, and after three nights and two plus days without power, I'm feeling much, much better today!! Had my morning shower, so now I can go grocery shopping to replace most of the stuff I had to throw out of the fridge and freezers, pay bills, run errands, etc. and people won't avoid me because I'm smelly! LOL!!!
Goodnight (and goodbye) IRENE!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

You never know what to expect....

We knew there is a hurricane(Irene) headed our way and that was enough to think about, especially since one of my children and her family are down at the Outer Banks, and that's a prime target. But this afternoon we were treated to a rare 5.8 earthquake on the East Coast! I felt my chair shaking and asked my husband if he was doing that. But he wasn't and soon the little wind chimes I have hanging on a cupboard in my sunroom (indoors) began to chime, and dear husband notice the wall behind him shaking, too. The noise got louder and louder like a huge convoy of construction trucks might be going by, so we knew it was an earthquake. Not unheard of in this area, but certainly not of this magnitude. It lasted a half-minute or a little less and we just didn't know what to do. What does one do in an earthquake? I know in a tornado you go to the basement,in a hurricane you evacuate(which is what I hope my daughter will do in plenty of time), in a flood you go to high ground, but what does one do in an earthquake besides just hope for the best???
Anyway we are all okay, and all the children checked in (some within the danger area in Virginia, and some near the Washington DC area that was hit fairly hard). Everyone was fine though, so I feel very fortunate. People in California are probably laughing at us for getting so excited over this, but it's just unheard of in our area so it really is a big deal for us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


This is a normal occurrence at the feeder outside my window. One hummingbird, either male or female, in this case, will find a perch to guard the food source and prevent any other birds from feeding here.

But this day I was lucky enough to catch two birds feeding at once! I don't know if this is a mother and "child" maybe, or if they just didn't realize the other bird was there. These little birds are so much fun to watch!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's Done!

It needs a few little refinements...a bit of sanding here and there, but I'm sooo happy to have a deck I can walk on without tripping over splinters! And I'm glad not to have to worry about the builder having a heat stroke in my backyard during the hot weather that he had to work in everyday. It has moderated enough now, although it's still pretty hot during the day, that we are able to sit out there in the evenings. We even had our dinner out there last night. Nice!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday Party.....early

My dear children and grandchildren gave me a surprise birthday party this past weekend and the photo shows my birthday gift from them all. What a perfect addition to our new deck (which isn't quite finished yet)! It was too dreadfully hot to go out and enjoy it while they were here, but there will be lots of good times around this table in the future, I am sure!
We had a grand time. They brought food and we had a wonderful crab and steak feast along with a prize winning chocolate pie from one daughter The other daughter brought a fabulous birthday cake that said "Happy 29th", (which of course is fudging my age a *few* years(decades, actually) and her husband brought steaks and grilled them perfectly for us! My son and his wife brought the crabs and his wife made us a lovely salad with tomatoes and basil topped with fresh mozzarella, yum. All the grandchildren were able to come and it was glorious having them all here together. My only challenge was to find bed-down room for everyone later, but we managed just fine! Wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Almost finished....

It would be finished if the weather hadn't gotten so very hot that our builder just couldn't work out there any longer. He hopes to finish it next week when we'll be maybe 10 degrees "cooler" (down from 100 today). I'm so glad I insisted on those steps!
They still need railings and there are a couple of other refinements to do, but we'll be able to use it this weekend when the children come, anyway...providing it isn't too awfully hot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Balusters are up!

The flooring is all finished now, the balusters are installed and the steps are being built today, so the deck will be finished soon. By the weekend, I hope, because I've just learned that all my children and three grandchildren will be coming Saturday. Which means I have to find sleeping space for six or seven addition to dear husband and me! (If all the immediate family was coming there would be 12 of us!) But we always have a good time when they come and they want to celebrate the new deck with us.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Wren House Update

No picture today, but I should mention that we finally took the wren house down. After numerous visits dragging sticks and other debris into the house the wrens finally abandoned the nest. We waited as long as we deemed necessary, but after no activity there for a couple of weeks, and after the work on the new deck got underway and still no activity, we took the house down. I put the hummingbird feeder on that hook. It had been hanging over the deck railing but of course that's gone now. So far I haven't seen a hummer near it, though. The other birds were wary at first when the deck work began, but they're pretty well used to it now and many will still come to the feeders while the work is going on. More come in the evenings after the builder leaves for the day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

New Deck!

After 18 years, (and it was built long before we moved here) we're having our deck rebuilt! That's the old foundation you can see in one picture, and it's still in great condition, so we just have to do the upper portion since we aren't changing the configuration much. It's going slowly, but I'm looking forward to having a deck that I can walk on without tripping over large splinters that are breaking away from the flooring and railings that aren't warped and pulling away from the posts. That dry patch in the grass you see is from the drought we've been having for the past few months. A young rabbit loves to dig out a little space in the dirt to lie in when it's shady there.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fledging Day!

Sorry the photo is skewed, but I took it hurriedly. Bless him I think I frightened him into flying before he had made up his mind. As soon as I clicked the shutter (without turning off the flash), he flew into the maple tree across the yard in the direction that he's looking in this picture. He was the last one to go. We only got to see three of them, but there were five eggs in the nest, so we must have missed the first two. That's what we get for sleeping late this morning. But now we can close up the house and get our new deck started!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wren house update

Well, this is what a house wren's nest looks like. She has brought in long twigs and other strange materials, some of which she can't even get into the house. She could hardly get into the house herself on one occasion this morning, there was so much junk poking out the door. I'm so unhappy about this bird! She's lucky she's protected or I would take the house down now....or would have before now, actually.

What happened????

I just posted an update on the wren house and a photo, but it isn't showing on the blog. Hmmmmm, somebody here doesn't like me??????? I know...I said something mean about the bird...yeah that's it......

Monday, June 20, 2011


It's always something, isn't it? I looked up some wren information online and it's apparent that the current female who is building a nest in the wren house is a house wren, unlike the first one whose brood fledged recently. She was a Carolina wren according to the photos I found. This one, being a house wren could be a threat to future bluebird nestings if she stays around the area. I understand that this variety will puncture other bird's eggs and render them useless. I am just heartsick about this. House wrens are among the "protected" varieties (I don't know why) so I can't destroy the nest she has begun to build, but I do hate providing nesting space to a bird who might destroy the eggs of my bluebirds I love so much. Nothing I can do at this point, but as soon as this brood of wrens fledges, the wren house comes down! Be sure to click on the photo so you can get a good look at her mess.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Wren update

The baby wrens (see my previous post) fledged a couple of days ago, but unfortunately we didn't get to see them go. They fledged either late in the evening or early the next morning, so we missed it. I don't even know how many she had this time. But the good news is, before Roy could go take the house down so we could clean it out, mama wren was back again today, already refurbishing the old nest inside, preparing for her next brood! I knew that hummingbirds often begin preparations for a new brood right after the first one fledges...sometimes before....but I didn't know about wrens. Still don't actually, this is a learning process for me. I just hope we'll get lucky enough to see this new brood fledge. We'll just have to be quicker about cleaning out the house after they go.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Baby Wren

It's not so hot today as it has been, but apparently, with the sun shining on the house, it's hot enough for the babies (I think there are at least two of them) that one finds a little comfort in poking his wide open beak out the door. It has been quiet over there this morning, so I think they must have been snoozing in the cool we welcomed earlier today.
Mom and Pop bluebird are busy feeding five little babies in the other bird house, so it should get interesting around here in a few days. The wrens should fledge in a few days...the bluebirds will take another couple of weeks or so I think.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Not much new today

Nothing new to report it seems. This is the view of the backyard from my window near my computer. You can barely see on the left the bluebird house, and on the right the covered feeder for the other birds. The bluebird eggs should be hatching soon, if they're going to. She has been incubating them for fourteen days today, so it's time. She seemed to spend a lot of time off the eggs themselves, peering out the door, or flying off to have lunch or whatever, so I do hope they will hatch.
The wren in the little house I posted earlier(she did win out over the chickadees who tried to invade) has babies in there now and I see her coming and going to bring food to them. Wish I could see inside the house! I'll hopefully get to see them fledge if I keep watch though.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Today's Musing

No photos today, but I needed to post something here, I've been so bad about keeping up with this blog. On the bird front, we have a bluebird sitting on five beautiful blue eggs now after an unusual beginning. She built one nest, but then apparently changed her mind and abandoned it, so I cleaned out the house. Papa kept guarding the house however, so eventually she returned, and before I realized it had laid five little eggs. And in the "wren house", after winning out over the chickadees, the little wren hardly ever showed up, or at least I seldom saw her. And again, she apparently laid some eggs...I have no idea how many because it's difficult to see into this little house. But she is currently also sitting on eggs and I see both her and the female bluebird peeking out the doorway occasionally to get a breath of air in this heat. We're close to 90F today and are supposed to get up to 93 or better tomorrow. Summer just couldn't wait.
Otherwise, I'm fighting an infestation of ants in my house. I battled them last year and thought I had won out, but they're back again now. I cleaned my kitchen counter and cupboards good least where I keep food, and sprayed bug barrier all around everywhere I could think to spray. We have a professional man coming soon (I hope) to spray around the foundation, but I'm not sure when. If he doesn't come soon, I may have to be committed....I'm going crazy!!!!!!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

New on the bird front

Not a great photo, but I had to take it through the window which isn't very clean right now. This is a little old birdhouse Roy built from some scrap lumber some years ago. He hung it at the corner of the garage this year just to see if it would attract any birds. First a wren showed some interest yesterday and began carrying in tiny bits of nesting materials. She was well on her way to getting a nest built when a pair of chickadees appeared with some interest of their own in the house. Today they began going into the house, bringing out the nesting material the wren had brought in, in preparation for building a nest of their own. The wren has not given up so far. She waits patiently until the chickdee(s) leave, then brings in another beak full of materials. Roy said to just let them work it out on their own, but it's hard for me not to go out and protect the little wren's interest! I love the chickadees, but I was hoping to get to watch a wren raise a family. We'll see who wins out eventually.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Spring is here...finally

It was a long time coming, but it came with a vengeance. The terrible tornado systems that devastated the midwest and then the south came through here leaving some damage, but not the horrific tolls it took elsewhere, thank goodness. We had no tornadoes in our immediate vicinity, fortunately, and in our neighborhood we only had some good rain out of it.
But my bluebirds began building a nest in the birdhouse yesterday, the hummingbirds are back at the feeder outside my window, the other summer birds are busy checking out the menu in the feeders further out, and the resident lizards are sunning themselves on the paved areas just outside the sunroom doors. Oh, and the neighborhood rabbits are loving the quickly thickening grass in the backyard, and the side yard, and possibly the front yard, too....I haven't looked out there.
Lovely to have the wildlife again, I miss them in the winter.

Monday, January 10, 2011

We have had more than enough snow already this winter, as have many areas of the country. Add to that the back to back blizzards we had last winter, and you'd think I would find nothing beautiful in a coating of snow. But sometimes you are given a small gift of beauty, and that's how I felt when I saw this lonely leaf lying in the driveway as I went out to get the paper one morning recently. Nothing earth shattering, just a spent leaf from a neighbor's tree. But I was struck with the perfection of its frosting of snow that gave it one last moment of glory.