Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bloggsy needs a Doctor's Excuse...!

Aunt Bloggsy fell victim to a viral plague that has infected the area. She's feeling a bit better today, but likely will be back in bed this afternoon. Bloggs' can't even cook and hasn't shopped in some time, anyway. Hubsy is doing his best with peanut toast and popcorn....He hopes I feel better soon!!

Monday, February 21, 2011


...I expect a new photo of the Gardener's Twin Grandchildren soon, meanwhile this story is Hot Off the Presses and too cute to wait!!  When last we visited the Twins, Hurricane Molly was a probable suspect in the Mystery of the Missing F-Key; at present, she's lost strength (resting and calmly plotting, perhaps) while her brother, the ordinarily Mild-Mannered Micah, is the talk of the Facebook account! A solid lad, fond of toy (since that's about all he can get) tools and busy learning to talk. And, yes, he's having some trouble putting his consonants and vowels together; little one syllable words that start with F and S, naturally. So words are coming out of him that no one in his family has ever uttered in a few centuries!! For example, at dinner time, when he looks at his Daddy and says "F*** and S***!" what he means is "Papa, Dear, please may I have a FORK and, as it suits your convenience, Sir, please SIT and enjoy your dinner! Your Obedient Son, Micah".  Great Stuff. Good Times!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Little Pioneer...

...on that windy, cool Friday there were few children and mom's out at the playground. This pre-schooler enjoyed exclusive access to the swings and other equipment. She kept running back and forth among swings, slides and others. She needed a playmate, but there were none. Her mommy likely decided it was time to get out here, get some fresh air and run her little legs off!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ice Rink is Closed because...

...the ice melted! If only there were some ducks bobbing around gently in the blustery wind.

Friday, February 18, 2011

For a Walk, I went....

...this afternoon. It was Friday, clear, a bit chilly and blustery--but who's counting? This shot of the north edge of Johns Park came out alright, with the shadowy contrast, perspective and so on. A couple of months and everything that should be green will be green and leafy! There will be walkers, joggers and doggies in multitude; today, only me and a few others. A First Attempt for Shadow Shot Sunday.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Sensations of Spring...

...the photos are grey, with dirty snow and brown grass; you probably have that where you are. But I will tell you that each day, a Goldfinch looks more yellow, a Cardinal sings a springtime song and I see parades of acrobatically nimble squirrels, the females dashing away from squads of mating-frenzied males! This morning, we opened the back door and were hit with powerful "eau de skunk"; my theory is female skunk views the mating-frenzy as an unwanted nuisance or threat--so likely turns and sprays a faceful of scent on her male pursuer.   Handy!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Before the Snow Began to Melt...

...we met this lovely young lady from the neighborhood as she was building a snow fort for the kids next door to her. She had some help; a guy working inside the fort. This was "snow-fort" and "snow-man" snow.  But as the days warm up, the Goldfinches turn yellow and the birds start to sing "spring" songs, the snow will melt off soon. Then we will have another storm, of course! C'mon, it's still February!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cheap Entertainment for Old People...

Hubsy thinks it might cost about .75 a day to feed all these birds and the associated rodents that feed from the leavings.  A bit less than $275 a year. Less than feeding the cats; certainly less than vetting the cats. But whose counting? With the feeder outside my office window, I get hours of wholesome Old Lady fun!

The Vole Community in Residence...

...clicking on the photos will enhance the view of one of our Voles who have found shelter beneath our deck; they come out, one by one, to nibble on seeds that the birds kick down from the feeder. In warmer seasons these funny little animals entertain us by blasting out of nowhere in the yard as we walk about; they rocket past like jet powered fur-balls to some other hiding place. In winter, they grew fat and glossy on the sunflower seed; I don't think they bother anyone or get into the house; the cats would come and tell me about that!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're going to NEED the F-KEY it just me? Or does anyone else think that, come some warmer temps and sunshine, about 3/4 of the US is going to turn into A Great In-Land Lake of snow melt?  Words like "flood" and "flow" and "filling"....perhaps some others will be needed.... just a thought.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First Signs of Spring...

...the olive drab colored male goldfinches slowly begin to change into their fine brilliant yellow "jackets". It happens before our eyes: click on the photo to enlarge; the shoulder of the bird on the lower left is palest yellow. The other birds show signs too. The days are longer. And my Gardener friend next door has posted on her Facebook: that even tho it's been an (rotten, stinking, etc.) exceptionally cold winter, it hasn't been that (flippin') bad. Words of someone who is looking forward to (digging a tunnel under the 2 ft of snow in the yard) getting outside, playing in the dirt and replanting that yard!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, Good! A TV Show I can stand to watch....

...I'm picky, but I enjoyed Chicago Code   Monday evening on Fox. Attractive cast, well crafted, the most compelling locations in the city, great plot.  Let's see how long they can hold my interest.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hairy Woodpecker, too... addition to the Downy Woodpeckers (similar appearance, but smaller), I regularly get visits by a pair of Hairy's. Quite dramatic, forceful and loud, they cause the other birds to scatter.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ronald Reagan's 100th Birthday....and Superbowl Sunday.

As an older member of the BabyBoom Generation (1948), I remember Ronald Reagan first as a movie star that neither of my parents cared for much; so I didn't see any of his films. But in the mid-1950's there was a program called "GE Theatre" on TV; generally it was well-crafted wholesome drama, we used to watch it and it was hosted by Ronald Reagan. At eight or nine, he seemed like a kindly "uncle" figure. Nice; he projected basic goodness and warmth.
I only voted once for a Democrat--I could not bring myself to vote for Richard Nixon. By 1976, even I could tell that Carter was not going to be helpful; that started my pattern. I was not political as I did not understand then how over-reaching government policies can be so hurtful to individual citizens. It was not until the early '80's that I understood, for example, that raising the minimum wage causes small business employers to let go of employees. It's way more complicated than that, but that was the issue that turned me "conservative". So I'm glad I voted for Reagan both times he ran for President and appreciated him when he was alive.     They should change the motto of Ill. to Land of Lincoln and Reagan; Lincoln was born in Kentucky and grew up there and in Indiana, arriving in Illinois as a young man. Reagan was born in a rented apartment upstairs in a commerical building in a tiny hamlet called Tampico in NW Illinois, grew up and went to college in the state; a true son of Illinois. And, of course, nobody knows where Obama was born. All I can say is to join the chorus of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President." Now I'll go downstairs and help Hubs' shell some shrimp for our "just the two of us" SuperBowl" dinner. (I refuse to call it "The Big Game"; so sue me.)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Storm is Over....

...scene at sunset Wed. Feb 2.; looking west on Harrison St. as clear skies and frigid temperatures creep upon the Chicago area after The Greatest Snow on Earth.   Kids, I'm glad you didn't have to wait for your school buses on these snowy mountains. We never had snow like this when you were growing up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Favorite House in the Neighborhood...

...located about 1 block for us, the house is not typical of our area, rather it is one of only a few homes that were original farmhouses in the latter 1800's. This one was built in 1896; the old lady (whose estate sold the house) was born in the house and lived there all her live, it seems. New owners made some renovations, but basically returned the floor plan to the original layout; they did a lovely job.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hubsy Weighs in....

...Wednesday morning, during the Lake Effect phase, Hubs' started the shovelling (a path to the garage to get the snow blower). Here, he takes the mandated "break" to prevent potential cardiac arrest; he snarled when he saw me at the window with the "Hubby Cam".

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Howling Night...

...the storm ended up early in the afternoon, my Wednesday. This shot was taken mid-morning, during a torrent of  what we, near the Great Lakes, call Lake Effect Snow. For us, on the western shore of Lake Michigan, it's usually not too bad, since the prevailing winds are from the west. We leave it to Michigan, Northern Indiana, Northern Ohio and Buffalo NY to enjoy the heavy stuff, picking up the lakes' moisture.
But this gigantic storm system, as it left us, produced juicy East winds off the Lake. I could hardly see my neighbor's garage.  It was the 2nd largest amount of snow, since they started counting about 1870; 1967 still has the trophy! But winds gusted to the 60 MPH range, there was Thunder Snow, Lightning and lots of noise all night. Amethyst's Mom's livingroom picture window was broken--unsettling thing to have happen in the middle of the night.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wow... at 7:56 PM CST

...snowing for about 4 hours solid, with winds of 40-50 MPH. The high-rez radar image shows we just finished with a long strip of "dark blue" but there's an even bigger and deeper blue blob of precip headed our way. No use posting photos but will tomorrow.     The birds and squirrels were so cold and blown around this afternoon, I tossed extra food out under the feeder.   We have a "vole community" living under our deck--no worries: tomorrow they will tunnel around under the snow to find food--safe from the marauding predator birds.   

Full Blast at 3:23PM...

I'm headed to the basement to exercise.

2:37 PM: Snowing Hard Now and Blowing...

...the weather guys are predicting Thunder Snow. (Which sounds like the name of a heavy-metal band from Fargo, ND) I'm looking forward to it.    I also missed the next most popular Chicago blizzard, which happened in 1979.   Hubs' tells me the snow blower is brimming with fresh gasoline!

2:08 PM: Big Snow Flakes...

intermingled with light snow that just started again. The Big Flakes are heavier and are falling faster than the others. The wind catches the vent of the drier in the room next door, making a slapping sound once in a while.

The Blob Approaches...

...on the high-rez radar map, the storm seems to be as far North as downtown. The wind is blowing so hard, my Goldfinches are not always able to balance on their feeder perches! But it's not snowing here just now.
It's about 2PM.

Live-Blogging the Greatest Snow on Earth...

...the projected storm is compared with a one in 1967 which strangled the city for a few days. I wasn't in town, being on semester break and visiting someone in Milwaukee (it wasn't so bad there). The thing I do remember from this era: the big national news was the accidental fire that killed the three pioneer astronauts on Jan 27, 1967. Anyway, at 12:45 PM today, I noticed the flakes are starting to fly.

The Butterfly Hotel is open for business--and packed!

We started, several years ago, to assist the butterfly population by nurturing the young specimens indoors. It was slow going. But this...