Saturday, October 30, 2010

Storm Aftermath

By now I'm sure most of you have heard about (or even experienced it for yourself) the wild weather system that passed through Minnesota earlier this week. Our house sits up on top of the hill and we catch a lot of wind. Some of my trees have gotten big enough to function as a windbreak -- especially northwest winds -- but most of the wind in this storm came from the west-southwest and I don't have any big trees close enough to the house to block winds from that direction. The finch feeder pole attached to my southwest facing, second story deck was no match for 50+ MPH gusts and this is the awful sight I woke up to last Thursday morning.

Don't you think this poor little goldfinch looks really sad at losing its favorite dining spot? I was really sad too.

So as soon as I got home from work on Thursday, I grabbed the cordless drill and some much longer screws and went to work getting the thistle seed feeding stations functional again. I even managed to find another good perching branch to attach to the pole. YAY!! Hungry and happy finches are back!

After getting the finch diner restored, I decided to walk around the yard and see if there was any other damage. I headed down to the weeping willow tree -- notorious for dropping limbs and branches in any wind event. In my little aspen grove I did spot 2 trees that had blown over (you can see one of them in the center of this picture), but I think they were both already dead, so now Mr. Johnson can rev up his chainsaw and cut us some more firewood.
I think Sophie's following some hot raccoon scent in this little grove.

Surprisingly there weren't too many branches down from the willow tree, but lots of leaves.

I piled up the branches I found and this should be a good start for our next backyard recreational fire.

Friday, October 29, 2010

A Weekend With My Sissy

I finally took the time to download and edit my photos from a couple weekends ago when my sissy and I were in Nisswa, Minnesota in the heart of Minnesota's lake resort area. My sissy had a 1-day Minnesota Dept. of Health nursing seminar on immunizations. So while she was indoors making the most of her registration fee, I got to spend my day enjoying the beauty of the Grandview Lodge -- the host location for this conference.

Here's the little cabin we got to call home for 1 night (with my sissy's "new" car parked out front).

This was such a cute little cabin. We were sad the conference rate only applied to the 1 night's stay (it doubled after that) because this was the view from our living room. I can see this would be a very cool place to spend a long weekend during spring bird migration. You can see over to the right that there's a big deck out front too (coming off a large screened-in porch).

This is another view of the living room. It was a little chilly in here, but we couldn't start the fireplace because one of the glass doors was broken. It was a pretty room to sit in though.

Kitchen/dining area. We figured most people probably didn't spend much time making their own meals, but you sure could if you wanted to because there were dishes, silverware, etc. in the cupboards. I love the knotty pine interior, but wondered whether you might eventually get tired of seeing that golden color all the time?

There were 3 bedrooms in this cabin! My sissy took the big bedroom (which also had its own bathroom.

I took one of the little bedrooms. The other bedroom was about the same size as this one and they both shared the other bathroom.

After breakfast I took a walk around the resort to see if I could spot any birds or wildlife. It was a really nice day and the fall colors were still very much in evidence.

I headed up to the main lodge to check out some trails that were shown on the map. This is the back side of the lodge (facing Gull Lake). I enjoyed my breakfast seated at the table right next to that biggest center window. They had wireless internet access here too.

This is the view of the main lodge building from the back. It's quite a beautiful building and on the National Register of Historic Places. My sissy said it reminded her of the resort from the Dirty Dancing movie. I was impressed with the landscaping. It looked like they tried to incorporate a lot of native Minnesota plants and flowers.

I just turned around on the path from where I took the above picture and snapped this shot of the walkway out to Gull Lake. Wouldn't this be a really gorgeous place for a wedding?

They had an indoor pool and these lounge chairs were all outside the building where the indoor pool was. It was hard for me to imagine how busy this place must be in the middle of summer when lots of families are enjoying their vacation time here.

There was a nice sandy beach all the way along the resort property also. What a pretty view don't you think?

There were also some lakeview cabins down here. These were designed to accomodate 2 separate groups -- 1 upstairs and 1 downstairs.

And this is the view from the front of these cabins. Wow! Pretty even in the fall!

Unfortunately, I really didn't see much for birds or wildlife. I did see this one obliging gray squirrel who sat still long enough for me to capture a photo before scurrying higher up to the other side of the tree to escape the paparazzi.

I also spotted this Great Horned Owl guarding the dock from pesty seagulls.

And one tiny ducky was riding the waves next to one of the other docks in an apparent effort to seek refuge from any duck hunters who might be nearby.

We were fortunate that the weather for this weekend was beautiful and clear for both of the days that we were out and about. Here are some photos of the beautiful blue skies and cloud formations.

Thanks Sissy for inviting me to come along on this trip! I had a great weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Random Photos

I've neglected this blog for far too long, but really, nothing particularly exciting has been going on with me lately besides working and knitting. My sissy and I did have a 3-day getaway last weekend and I've got some pictures to post from that (hopefully this week yet). But in the meantime, here are a few pictures I've taken in just the last couple days.

While I was gone over the weekend, Mr. Johnson reported that we had a new visitor in the backyard. As luck would have it, that visitor showed up again a short while ago and was more than willing to come right up to the back door for a photo op. This is the first time we've seen a raccoon in the backyard. Hopefully this busy little critter doesn't decide to start destroying my birdfeeders!

The weather has been quite lovely for the entire month of October. Lots of "summer" birds still hanging around here still including grackles, red-winged blackbirds and robins. This one was trying to get a drink from the nearly empty birdbath on the deck. They're such pretty birds!

And for the first time since I put up the new aquarium, Penny has finally discovered the perfect spot for watching the fish!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

More Trail Camera Photos

If you don't have a backyard trail camera of your own yet, here are some photos taken during the daytime. This will give you a good idea of the capabilities of this camera for detecting and photographing birds and critters much smaller than deer. This particular camera is motion and heat activated, and as you'll see from the photos below it doesn't take much motion to activate.

A flock of sparrows comes to eat

The flock of hungry sparrows flies away & the camera catches it

More sparrows at the feeder & flying away

Bluejay & bunny

Mr. Cardinal

Bunny checking up on supper

One of my fat little squirrels

Another bluejay

Something I don't often see -- bluejay & sparrows at the same feeder at the same time!

Solitary MODO


Two Bluejays -- they love corn!

Bluejay & Dove

And here's three more great shots from early this morning....

Looks like it's getting a little crowded around the corn tray -- maybe I'll have to think about getting a small feed bunk to accomodate these larger groups!

Wild possum dash -- we've gotten a few photos of a single possum, I had no idea there were two out there!

These 2 bunnies look a little startled by the bright flash