Thursday, March 19, 2009

Miscellaneous Thursday

Signs of spring are becoming more frequent here in SE Minnesota. I'm happy to report that I saw and heard the first Eastern Bluebird in my backyard yesterday morning.....he was truly the "bluebird of happiness!"

I saw that the Common Grackles and Red-Winged Blackbirds had arrived last Monday when I got back from California. Those grackles are pigs and will become more annoying once all the babies have fledged, but I only have to tolerate them until July sometime. I could take my feeders down, but I don't want to deprive all the other backyard birds, so this is the first and last time you'll hear me complain about grackles (for this year anyway).

I saw this different looking grackle the other day. I desperately wanted it to be something like a Brewer's Blackbird or Rusty Blackbird, so I took this picture to check it against my field guides. Alas, I believe it's only a juvenile common grackle (sigh). I will keep checking these flocks of blackbirds in the hopes that I might see something unusual one day though.

Bluejays do not have good "clinging" skillz!

Crows love possum food!

Here's a picture of a couple hats I knitted this week.

My Master Naturalist class started last night. I think it will be a fun course and the students are a pretty diverse group of people. One of the young guys at my table is retired from the Army--after 2 tours in Iraq. We also have an electrical engineer, a ski instructor, a chemist, and a guy who readily admitted to the whole group "that he loves his dog too much." Oh yeah, I think he's going to be my favorite classmate!

On another positive note, official testing sources have confirmed that I am neither a criminal nor a drug addict, so I will be starting my new (part-time) job next Tuesday! And not a moment too soon as I still have not seen a single dime from the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance. I could launch into a good rant here, but will spare all of you dear readers with the sorry details. Back to the's going to be very similar to what I did in my previous job, only in a different area. The other good thing is that I'll be working with most of the same people I worked with before, so I'm happy that I'll be working with people I already know and like. For now it's only 2 days a week, but with a pay increase over my previous position, hopefully I'll be able to cover the majority of my expenses. It will be nice to be working but also have days off for gardening, lawn mowing, and other fun spring and summer activities.


Red said...

Whaa??? I'm first?

Congrats on your PT job Ruthie! That was pretty quick :) IT will at least help with the birdseed costs :D

Too funny about your dog-lovin' classmate. What a wide variety of people.

I'm happy you saw the bluebird :) Yay! Spring is there!

RuthieJ said...

Hey Girlfriend, aren't you supposed to be working??

Deb said...

Hooray on the job!

Are you going to the Master Naturalist conference at the Audubon Center in May? I'm helping to lead one field activity there.

Wisconsin Birder said...

Those hats are just beautiful. I knit hats too but much simpler - not sure I could follow a detailed pattern like that! Spring really is in the air - over here in Wisc. too! Good luck on the new job, part-time sounds like the best of both worlds!

Marsha said...

So glad to hear I haven't been corresponding with neither a criminal or drug addict :-)

The grackels have descended here as well but the crows do not come to our feeders. It must be the dogfood. I can't wait to see photos of your bluebird of happiness.

Good luck with the new job, is it still at I*M?

RuthieJ said...

You know Deb, I wasn't planning to go to the conference (due to limited finances), but now that I know you're going to be there, I'm going to try and see if I can save enough money. After checking further, I found out the registration fee includes meals AND lodging, so maybe it's a pretty good deal after all. I'll keep you posted.

Hi Wisconsin Birder,
Try to find a two-colored knitting class at a knitting store near you. It's really not that hard and you could probably learn the technique in a couple hours, plus it's so much more fun than knitting with just 1 color. (Or if you're ever coming up to Rochester, let me know and I'll teach you!)

Hi Marsha,
I was glad with the results too ;-)
Only 3 crows in the yard this year (last year I had a family of 4) and I usually put out food scraps for them, so they're used to coming around.
And "yes" to your last question (I'm employed this time as a vendor through Adecco--Manpower hasn't been able to find anything for me.)

Kallen305 said...

I am so happy to hear you are working again. The class sounds great and I look forward to hearing more about it as time goes on.

Anonymous said...

Hurrah for the bluebirds in your backyard. Saw another red tailed hawk on our way to Preston today. It is so nice to hear all the birds singing at dawn it's barely lite and they are out there singing their hearts out already. The flying manure spreaders [grackles] are busy at work in out yard, they love all of our tall trees and the bird bath.


Larry said...

Congratulations on the new job!-it sounds like a good start.Try to cut the grackles a little slack-they're hungry! I'm glad you saw a bluebird of hapiness but just to let you know the official bluebird of happiness now resides in CT. I saw him about a week ago.

Julie said...

Is Love-His-Dog-Too-Much single and what does he thinks of cats? LOL
Congrats on the new job! I'd love to work part time. I think of all the things I could get done, but then you just find more things to do and you're still left without enough time!
Interested in hearing more about your class. Glad you're getting some nicer weather. They're already predicting severe weather (tornado!) this coming Monday! Its too soon! Have a good weekend!
OH and beautiful stitching!

NCmountainwoman said...

I do love your attitude, Ruthie. Accept the birds you don't like in order to feed the ones you love. Great news about the part-time job, and that you aren't a criminal or such. I loved the hats.

TatteredSpinner said...

Grackles. The only good thing about them is their name. And you could pronounce that equally well if they were under control. I don't know why, but I relish saying that name - listen: Grackle, grackle, grackle...

Jayne said...

The Master Naturalist class sounds great Ruthie. Looking forward to hearing all about it. Bluebirds! Yay!

Congrats on the new PT job. I love working part time and having one day to get errands run etc. :c)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Yesterday I saw Mourning Doves and Grackles with nesting material. Spring has really sprung here.

Congrats on your part time joy Ruthie. I hope it all works out.

jan m said...

Ruthie, my grackles are back in full force too. Ugh.
Congratulations on your new job, glad things worked out for you.
Love the hats!

Ruth said...

Part time work would be very appealing especially if the salary was sufficient. Glad you were able to line something up after your nice holiday. Grackles have never liked my yard :-)

troutbirder said...

Congratulations!!! I like your take on part time with a pay increase. I wish I had known about this naturalist course. It sounds like a lot of fun. Baron and I went to FF for some dog food and then Quarry Hill. Nine brown creepers. A lifer for me.

Mama Pea said...

Love both of your hats. You're right, knitting with two colors makes it so you don't want to put it down. Watching the design appear is addicting.

One of the neat things about a class like your Master Naturalist's is that you get to meet and know people who you would never have encountered otherwise. And you'll have so much in common with all those folks.

Congrats on the pay increase for your part time job. And being back at the same place means you won't have the uncomfortableness of feeling like the new kid on the block at first.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Meggie said...

So happy to hear about your PT job...and with folks you already know and like...sounds like you will be most content. What a diverse group you have at your Naturalist class. I think the guy with the dog might be my favorite also. Is he cute?

Mary C said...

Congrats, Ruthie, on the PT job, and getting to work with people you already know. Will you be able to ride to work with Mr. J, like you did in the past? I'll be waiting to hear more about your Master Naturalist class as you progress. And I sure hope you'll attend that Audubon conference in May.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Kim,
It sounds like we'll be spending lots of time outside for the class (weather permitting) so I'll try to remember my camera for future sessions.

Hi Mom,
Yeah, I'm not looking forward to those grackle fecal sac bombings coming up in a few weeks.....

Hi Larry,
I think my yard is just too appealing for grackles--especially with all those big evergreens that are just perfect for nesting in, so it's my own fault anyway.

Sorry Julie, he's married and has kids (but he had no pics of the kids on his phone--only the dog!)
Hopefully the severe weather goes around you next week (we're just supposed to have rain all week).

Thanks Carolyn. I'm looking forward to working again. Hopefully I won't have forgotten too much in the 3 weeks I've been gone!

LOL Tattered Spinner! You're right about that name--grackle sounds so much more dignified than blackbird (as we called them when we were kids)

Thanks Jayne. Hopefully I'll be able to stay on top of all my summer yard and garden work with a couple extra days off during the week!

Thanks Lisa. I've seen some house sparrows in & out of a bluebird house, but no evidence of other nest building activities yet.

Thanks Jan M!

Hi Ruth,
You're so fortunate that the grackles have never found your backyard.

Hi Troutbirder,
Sounds like you and Baron had a fun day! Good job on the Brown Creepers, I usually only see them when I'm out in the woods for bowhunting--they're neat little birds!

Thanks Mama Pea. I think this is going to be a fun spring for me.

Hi Meggie,
I'm looking forward to getting to know other classmates during our next 11 weeks of class too.

Thanks Mary C. After my initial training week, everything else about the job will be the same as before, so yes, we'll be able to ride to work together and have lunch together again too.
I'll be able to attend the Master Naturalist conference after calling to see if I was eligible for a $50 scholarship (I was!) They have a silent auction to raise scholarship funds, so I'll be contributing some knitted items for that auction to pay them back for giving me a scholarship.

dAwN said...

Howdee Ruthie,
First I want to say that I think it is kind of nice that you will be working part time for a will have time to do all this fun activities you mentioned ..and making more of those purdie hats.
I think it is so cool that you are taking a naturalist course...sounds like some interesting fellow classmates!
Can you teach us all that you are learning..tee hee..