Sunday, October 25, 2009

Greetings from the Neglectful Blogger

Sorry, I've been kind a neglectful blogger lately! For some strange reason, I really thought I'd have more time for blogging once the lawn mowing and garden tending chores were done for the season, but things haven't turned out that way. Deer hunting seems to be taking up quite a bit of the weekend time, and knitting to keep my Etsy store restocked is keeping me busy indoors. But, I decided to put off housework a little while longer by editing some of the photos that have been in my camera for weeks and getting this blog post ready today (actually anything that delays housework is a good thing -- at least for me!)

Our deer have been quite busy in the backyard lately. With all the rain and snow we've been having, their tracks are quite evident and also the fact that the corn trays are emptied nearly every night. I put a couple of the trail cameras in strategic locations and here's a few shots from last week. This one is my fave! I wonder what they're looking at? Could be the gray fox or maybe the possum I saw again Friday night for the first time since last spring.

I like the trail cameras because they tell us what time the deer are showing up. The other morning there was a nice big doe here at 4 AM when I took Sophie out. I always keep her on the leash now (since the skunk incident), but that doe didn't even run away when Sophie started barking at her. We walked within about 18 yards of her and she finally ran.

This little buck was a complete surprise! We're rapidly approaching the deer's first "rut" season (this year it will coincide with the full moon in the first week of November). I'll have to put the cameras on again next week to see what other interesting pictures we get.

By now, most of you have probably heard we had a little snowstorm last week. Here's what it looked like out my backdoor on Friday afternoon. This was completely unexpected!

We ended up with 4.1 inches of snow! This broke the previous record set in 1910! It was awful wet and sticky snow--great for snowmen but pretty horrible for driving in. We saw quite a few cars in the ditch on the way home from work. Thankfully it was all melted by Saturday afternoon. (I'm really glad I finally got my carrots dug up earlier this week.)

This little song sparrow was right outside my back door looking for seeds on that snowy Friday. They're usually the first migrant sparrow to show up in my backyard in the spring, but I almost never see them -- especially this close to the house. I checked my migration chart and it said they usually head south around the 3rd week of October. I bet this guy was wishing he'd left last week instead!

The end of fall also marks the time when pocket gophers are extra busy digging new holes before the ground freezes for winter. Mr. Johnson has been busy trapping them again lately and it looks like this particular pocket gopher decided to get his revenge by digging in my weedy perennial beds right next to the house! Grrrrrr! I hope it dries out in a couple days so I can get this mess cleaned up before winter.

On my way to a medical appointment a few weeks ago, I happened to spot these lovely cattle on a little farm not far from here. I didn't have the camera with me, but was on the same road a few days later and stopped the car to get out and take some pictures. In this area where Holsteins, black Angus, and red & white Herefords are the norm, these cattle are definitely a unique sight. I love that face!

They are White Park Cattle (I had to google that!) These guys were all napping in the pasture on this fine sunny afternoon, but as soon as I parked the car and started walking up to the fence, they all got up and trotted over to investigate me. I resisted putting my hand out for them to get a sniff (even though I really wanted to). I just thought they were cute and unique and wanted to share these photos with you.
Have a good week everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Have you read this book yet?

Are you a Birdwatcher's Digest subscriber? If so, perhaps you read Julie Zickefoose's recent review of the book "Life List" by Olivia Gentile. After reading Julie's review, I was able to borrow this book from my local public library.

This is an amazing story about Phoebe Snetsinger, a phenomonal birder with a life list obsession. It's an extremely well-written story and captured my attention from start to finish. Without giving away any details, I believe this story may be especially appealing to any woman who is a birder, a mother, a wife, or has any particular hobby or interest that you've ever become even marginally obsessive about.

After finishing the book I couldn't decide whether I was glad that I don't have any obsessions like this (bordering on mental illness, in my opinion) or whether I am a lazy underachiever for not pursuing anything in my life with more single-mindedness!

If you get a chance to read the book, let me know what you think about it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You Know You're From Minnesota.....

You Know You're From Minnesota When......

......Weather is 80% of your conversation
is it any wonder when we have weather like this?

......You keep snow tires on your truck all year because it ain't worth it taking them off for only 4 months!
and that's a darn good thing today!

This photo of my front yard was taken at 11 AM TODAY (October 12, 2009). I think I'll use it for my Christmas card this year!

......You have gone trick-or-treating in 3 feet of snow
only 3 more weeks till Halloween and I think it's gonna be one of those years!

......You laugh every time you hear about a blizzard shutting down the entire East Coast
I think this weather system is heading northeast and I promise not to laugh too hard

.......You know what "uff-da" means and how to use it properly
yup, that's exactly what I said when I looked at green leaves covered with snow: "uff-da!"

......You own an icehouse, a snowmobile and a 4-wheel drive vehicle
I don't even have to explain this one do I?

......You have ever worn shorts and a parka at the same time
I know if I went to the mall today, I'd see people in this attire

......You can name both of the seasons: Winter and Road Construction
Thank goodness, at least this means road construction season is finally over!!

......You actually "get" these jokes and pass them on to your other friends from Minnesota
and to all my friends not from Minnesota, hopefully this explains what makes us proud Minn-e-sodans!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh No, SNOW!!

This blog post is dedicated to all my southern friends and relations--wish you were here! :-)

Here's one my frozen-solid backyard birdbaths covered with our overnight trace accumulation of snow. Poor birdies don't know what to do!

And adding insult to injury, it's COLD too!! Glad I got that last 2 buckets of apples picked yesterday afternoon when it was sunny and still in the 40's.
Hopefully October will still have a few nice days for us......

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Finished Project & Miscellaneous Photos

Here in Minnesota it's gone from being a dry and summery September to November-like weather--been rainy and chilly here for almost a week now. Somehow, autumn and October just missed us altogether and our weekend forecast is sounding like December with lows in the 20's and snow showers predicted! Oh well, I'm planning to take advantage of a couple sunny days predicted for tomorrow and Thursday and get my lawn mowed for the last time and whatever other outside chores I can accomplish during the small sunny window of opportunity.

As usual, I've been knitting like a fiend while hanging out indoors the last few days and I finally finished this Montavilla Market Tote (a free pattern from KnitPicks--click on this link and scroll down the right hand side where you'll see the title "100+ free patterns") This is a long overdue birthday present and hopefully I'll be able to get it washed and dried tomorrow, so I can ship it to the recipient before her next birthday rolls around!

I have no other blog-worthy items to report, so I'll share a few pictures with you in this post. I thought this was a cute picture of the Downy Woodpecker waiting for the Hairy Woodpecker to vacate the suet log, and it's another good size comparison for these woodies too.

I helped with birdbanding at Quarry Hill Nature Center again last Sunday. Here's the White-Throated Sparrow I was able to get out of the net. This is Glenna's hand holding the bird and after she banded it, she allowed me to release it again. They're really pretty little sparrows and I'm starting to hear quite a few of them in my backyard and out in the deer hunting woods right now too.

And speaking of deer hunting, we were out again last Sunday, but no deer seen. I'm sure the weather change this weekend will bring a change in the deer habits too. And of course, once it freezes hard, there will be a lot less vegetation to deal with in the woods which always makes hearing and seeing deer much easier.

Here are a couple pictures from one of the trail cameras we had out there. These pictures are always my favorite! The deer are so inquisitive and this camera was located on a tree right next to one of their trails. It doesn't make any noise, but there's a fabric webbing that attaches the camera to the tree and I'm sure she was checking out my scent on that webbing.

Here's a cute little guy venturing out on his own (click on the picture to enlarge it and you'll see his little antler "bumps"). Doesn't he have the sweetest face? I don't think his spots have been gone for very long. There weren't any other pictures of deer just before or after this little one, so I hope he finds some other young deer to hang around with for the winter.

Oh and before I end this post, I want to mention that last hummingbird in my post from October 2nd, really WAS the last hummingbird......I haven't seen any since, but I'm planning to leave the nectar feeders up until our predicted hard freeze on Saturday night.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is She the Last One?

On this chilly and rainy October 2nd, I was amazed to see this lone little hummingbird still sipping nectar from my deck feeder. I wonder if she's the last one remaining from the hummers in my yard this summer? Or is she a migrant from up north, taking a little rest and sustenance in order to continue her long journey?
Safe Travels Little Hummingbird! I'll be looking forward to seeing you again next spring!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fiber Therapy

It's been a particularly crappy week at work, so this morning I decided to stop at my local yarn shop on the way home for a little bit of much needed fiber therapy. I actually did need some yarn for this black vest I'm working on because I won't have enough yarn to do the ribbing around the arm holes and neckline, so here's my ball of yarn for that.

I've taught some classes here before, so Kristen (the store owner) asked me what classes I wanted to teach this fall and I asked her what was available. She told me I had a choice between socks on circular needles or mittens. Since I've never made socks that way, I chose mittens. We'll be using this pattern where you actually knit a mitten that's sized specifically for your hand and here's what I whipped up this afternoon so Kristen can put it on display in the store to advertise the class. I figured since I was still in "knitting teacher" mode from teaching Lynne a couple weeks ago, I thought it would be fun to teach this class too. So on the first 2 Saturdays in November, I'll be helping some knitters learn something new and probably get some Christmas presents knitted too!

And here's my "therapy" purchase -- this beautiful dark mauve-colored ball of "Sublime," a delicious blend of 80% extra fine merino and 20% angora that's unbelievably soft. I'm going to knit it into a neck warmer for myself.

Kristen brings her sweet little Japanese Chin dog (Lulu) to the store with her every day, so after about an hour sitting in the store with Lulu on my lap and also being able to see and touch all the beautiful yarn, I felt a whole lot better. Pretty cheap therapy, I'd say!