Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Challenge or Two

I spent a couple days last week at my parents' house in the Bay Area to visit.  Dad fell and broke his hip and although he's doing really well, I wanted to see him and see what I could help Mom with.  Boy, this aging stuff is not always Fun with a capital F.  One of the tasks I set myself to was to pull a few weeds in the raised beds Dad has worked for darn close to 40 years.  The soil was so beautiful that the weeds almost leapt up into my hand; it could hardly be called work at all.

When I returned on Sunday, I had just enough time to get some laundry done and a couple of other chores.  I took the day off Monday and spent the whole day in the Lower Garden pulling weeds.  Now, this was a Task.  Since I'd tried and failed to explain to Mom the difference between weeding at their house vs. weeding at our house, I decided to take a picture.  This shot shows the path from the top of that garden area, with big roses along the fence on the right and another rose bed with miniatures on the left, culminating in a quince tree - the trunk is visible.  Everything but the roses and the quince are weeds of some sort.  Icky filaree, dried grasses and false dandelion.  I spent six hours at it and filled I'm not sure how many wheelbarrows full.  And unfortunately, I didn't even finish cleaning up the whole garden, but have big plans for this coming weekend.  Woo hoo, long weekend = Weeding!

Side note:  I splurged a few weeks ago and bought a new lens for my camera:  a Lensbaby Control Freak with double glass optic and the macro converter kit.  This is the band saw in the shop building.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kestrels, Culverts and Pretty Blue Visitors

There are now five nestboxes occupied by kestrels; two of the nests were found occupied only within the last couple of weeks.  One of the "routes" or areas where a cluster of nestboxes was installed is going to be decommissioned for the year.  Dino is visiting today to put plugs on the entrance holes to this particular group of boxes - none of which were chosen by kestrels this year.  The concern is related to fire danger, with the grass in that area having grown tall but now rapidly drying out, it seems better be safe than sorry when it comes to driving the ATV to check the boxes. 

In addition to checking the kestrel boxes put up with the Yosemite Area Audubon Society members, Dino is also working with a master bander, helping to check large groups of nestboxes - including wood duck and barn owl boxes in addition to the kestrel boxes.  He's also learning how to band the kestrels.

On the home front, Dino added a big piece of pipe to a culvert that got dug out on the road last week.  Here's the nifty new spot:

Saturday morning, as I was sitting in my easy chair drinking my first cuppa, I heard a really weird cry, which certainly brought me quickly to my feet. Turned out to be this beautiful blue boy, accompanied by his drab brown wife.  They spent some time under our bird feeders, scavenging, and seemed to join up later with one of the turkey groups that have been coming around for the same reason. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Four Nestboxes Now

You thought it would be something other than kestrels?  Granted, Dino is the one doing most of the work at the moment, what with yours truly not being retired yet.  Today, he's doing two of the monitoring routes - I don't expect he'll be home till after dark.  Anyway, total count as of this morning, is four kestrel nests - another nest was found this past weekend by the monitors.  Since kestrels incubate their eggs for approximately 30 days, sometime soon, hopefully there will be cute pictures of fuzzy little baby birds!

Besides the kestrel work, Dino is also helping monitor wood duck and barn owl, and I believe, bluebird boxes for another project.  It's darn close to a full time job, or as he jokes, "fool-time".  It sure is interesting though.

It's a disappointing wildflower year, but I saw the watercress in the ford blooming this last weekend.

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