Fledgling Bluebirds

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer Recap...

The time goes by fast when we're here in Ohio, but this summer has been especially busy.  Bill had cataracts removed from both eyes...  that meant 8 trips to Columbus.  He could have had it done here in Athens, but I had mine done at the Arena Eye Center in Columbus 5 years ago and was very happy with the doctor and other services provided.  It's only about 85 miles one way and the drive isn't bad at all, so Bill chose to have his done there too.

We had 2 rentals empty, one we planned to renovate, the other the tenant had lived there 11 years and expected to stay forever.  However, his teaching position at OU was terminated due to down-sizing and he was retirement age, so he moved to Spokane to be closer to family.

Lots of work, lots of repairs, lots of painting, cleaning and all those things required when a rental becomes empty.

Bill's still working on deck here....  the new tenant moved in August 1st, and the inside was done, but with everything else going on, there just wasn't enough time to do it all.  All the outside of this house got a new coat of paint but parts of the deck might have to wait until next year.

We've seen the Spring Migration when we first got here in late March, and are still here at the beginning of the Fall Migration in late August.  We've watched the bluebirds nest, feed their young and watched the young fledge.

It looks like the Cardinals did well this summer...
The young are still getting their "real" feathers, so often we see some strange patterned birds at the feeders.  I counted 8 "this year" cardinals at the feeder at one time yesterday, so I think they did well.

Another bird that hasn't gotten it's adult feathers...
This young Towhee comes without his parents now....  scratching and scattering seeds everywhere.

We drive through a State Park getting home from town, and there's a lake along side the road.  
I love it when the Marsh Mallows are in bloom...

I had never thought about it before, but this year got to wondering about the "marshmallows" we toast over a campfire and the Marsh Mallows that grow in swampy areas.  Googled it...  sure enough...  originally the Marsh Mallow was used to make marshmallows.  Of course there's more to learn there, but I won't go into all that.  Just found it interesting....

One day when I was driving home I saw this fly fisherman out in the lake.  You can see that the upper end of the lake isn't very deep.  I have no idea what he was fishing for...  this is not fast moving water, nor is it very cold.  It's the first time I've ever seen anyone casting like that here.  For all I know he was just practicing.

We bought 2 tomato plants in May.  The cherry tomato we put in the ground.  The bush tomato we put in a container on our patio.  We got our first ripe tomatoes at the end of June.  Looks like we'll get at least one more ripe one before we head out.

We've seen 6 black snakes and a couple of ring-necked snakes this summer.  But no copperheads...  which I'm always on the lookout for.  Bill came across this fat toad on our patio this morning.  He's another "good guy"...  might keep the insect population down some.

I had my game cameras out for about 3 months.  Did real well getting great photos until the crows and raccoons took over.  I still continued to feed the critters, but took down the cameras when I started getting 3,000 to 4,000 photos a night.  The batteries on my game cameras were constantly going dead and I got tired of deleting all those photos.  
I took this photo from inside our motorhome.  We have several apple trees around the yard and the tree next to us has some kind of blight.  The apples are constantly falling off...  no sense in them going to waste....  the deer love having them to munch down on, and I'm happy to pick up a bucket full of them from the ground to keep from running over them with the mower.  The big buck on the right tolerates the smaller spike buck on the left, but runs him off if he gets too close.  Guess rut isn't too far off.

I took this photo only yesterday...
I don't know the species of this baby bird.  Looks like there might be some yellow feathers around his rump.  He was in the poplar tree right outside our rig.  It seems awful late in the year to see one so young.....  I hope he makes it.

The rentals weren't the only thing were busy at...  we closed on selling the house in New Mexico and the one we bought in Mexico, we had another rental re-roofed, Bill & I both got new eye glasses, we had a 3 day yard sale and got rid of a lot of the stuff we should have gotten rid of years ago, we went to most of the June evening concerts on OU campus, and best of all...  we had great visits with our family and friends.  Our daughter had a big party for us and we had all 4 of our kids here at one time, as well as Bill's sister and my brother and sister.  It's been a great summer....

One last photo...
Me, my brother Larry, and sister Cynthia...
Breakfast this morning at Bob Evans....

Still have a few more days of finishing up here on the Ridge and we'll be heading out soon.  
What a Summer!

That's All For Today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Rest of The Story... The Power Wagon, the Man-Lift and more....

I said that I'd report back on the Power Wagon.  It was delivered last evening.  Even though the driver got lost getting here (what's wrong with following directions?), he made it, unloaded it out at the road and off he went back to the shop.  It was too late for Bill to do more than park it in the shed, but after running some errands this morning, he was ready to go out and give it a go...

 It can be bought with either a big "Rubbermaid-type" wheelbarrow bed, or the wooden bed, which you can see is what Bill chose.  

Off he goes....  walking it up the driveway to the hillside that he has been steadily cutting back.  He uses a shovel, digging and piling the dirt into his wheelbarrow...  load after load.  He still uses the shovel, but this trip he piled in into the bed of his new toy.

 That's a lot of dirt...  especially heavy since that hillside is always damp.  After loading it he just walked the wagon right down the driveway.

 And...  look here!  The dump bed just lifts up and deposits the load where he wants it.
I took this photo from a window in our rig....  those papers in the right corner were on the back of the couch.  It's basically a motorized wheel-barrow...  you walk behind it.

Bill is very pleased with the Power Wagon's performance.  It has 4 speeds and he said he hasn't even got it up to the highest yet.  It also has reverse, which is quite handy, too.

You may remember that I got a comment from Emjay, who bought one a couple of years ago and it just didn't have enough power to do what she needed done.  I don't have the answer to why this one is so different, but it looks like a real labor-saver for Bill and I think he'll be happy with it.

The Man-Lift will be picked up tomorrow...
Bill finished painting the barn house, and even replaced some boards along the edge that were deteriorating.  He's painted this building several times in the past...  always using a series of ladders and such.  Renting the Man-Lift made this job so much easier...  and safer.

While he has it, he also did some tree trimming over the driveway and around the site where we park our motorhome.  

The new renter moved into the barn house on Monday...  I finally got around to taking some photos of the finished apartment...  but Steve had already moved in a lot of his stuff...
We painted all the cabinets, some walls, put in a new sink and counter-top in the bathroom, replaced several blinds, took out the old sliding door and put in one that has blinds between the panes, repaired a lot of stuff...  bought a new refrigerator, washer, dryer and microwave.  The kitchen range was bought a year or so ago and just needed cleaning.  In the upper right photo you can see the skylight.  Steve is a musician who works nights...  Bill figured out how to put a covering over the skylight that will block out daylight, but can be retracted when he wants light.  All in all the place came out looking very good.  I had a hummingbird feeder right outside the kitchen window...  told Steve I'd take it down...  but he said no, he'd never had a hummingbird feeder and enjoyed seeing the little guys.  I will continue to clean and fill it...  it's kind of nice having someone else enjoy the birds, too.

One more photo...  remember a couple of months ago when we had 5 black snakes appear within 24 hours?  Well, we hadn't seen any since.  We were sitting in the motorhome having lunch a couple of  days ago... I looked out and...
This big guy had climbed up the side of the shed and when I first saw him, he was laying across the top white board.  Yes, that is a bluebird box on the post, but it hasn't been used this year...  I wonder what attracted him to the box?  I waited until he was on his way down, grabbed him and we hauled him down the road to some new territory.  Got to thinking later...  it's said that black snakes keep away copperheads.....  maybe I shouldn't be so hasty in relocating these guys.

I do like my birds though...  maybe Bill will just make better predator guards on the houses he puts up.  Not going to worry about it this summer.

I was asked if I'm getting itchy feet.  Well, we have been here 4 months and that's a long time.  But the way my mind works...  if I go into something expecting it to last "x" time, then I'm okay.  That could be 2 weeks, 2 months or whatever.  It's like I'm psyched for that time.  But whatever time that might be, I start getting antsy a few days or a week before we leave.  When I'm ready, I'm ready!

I know, not a particularly exciting post...  but Bill sure has done remarkable things here this summer and believe me, his work is appreciated.  And my blog is also my journal.

That's All For Today!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Boys and Their Toys....

Well, a lot of girls like these big toys too, but it rhymed and made a catchy title...  so that's what I'm calling Bill's latest endeavor...

No, he didn't buy this Man Lift (although I'm sure he'd like to own one)...
He rented it from Bedrock Tool Rental, a company in town that rents out all kinds of heavy equipment as well as hand tools.  They delivered it an hour or so ago...  Bill didn't even get it back to the end of the driveway before he got his pruners and started lopping overhanging branches overhead.

It's raining today, but that didn't stop him... he has it for only 1 week and wants to make the most of his time.

You can see what job he wants to finish...
And the backside of this barn/house is 3 floors high (it's a bank barn) and his extension ladders wouldn't reach that far.  This is far safer than scaffolding or the like....  
There is also a section of wood on the roof that needs replaced.  Yes...  he'll be busy doing all kinds of work with this lift this week.

In my last blog I wrote about a "Power Wagon"...  
It's basically a motorized wheel barrow...
(photo from the internet)
Bill is always hauling loads of dirt - usually from the hillside above the driveway out to where our motorhome is parked...  he's creating a flat area where it's currently a hillside.  His wheelbarrow has served him well for 30 or so years, but it's time to make life a little easier.

One of my readers, Emjay, commented that she'd purchased one and it just didn't have the power to do what she wanted it to do.  Bill had read the on-line reviews before ordering his (it will be here in a week or so) and they were all favorable.  I looked for Emjay's "return address" with no luck, but would be interested in more details.  Of course, in a couple of weeks, I guess I can write my own review.  I hope we have better luck than Emjay did, as it's such a letdown when your expectations aren't even close to the end result.  

The 90+ degree weather has finally let up...  it's in the high 70's today and raining.  We had a good thunderstorm this morning, but now it's barely a sprinkle.

No wildlife photos today, but we did see 2 different turkey families along the road as we were coming from town.  And 3 bucks with lovely racks crossed the road just as I was about to turn into our driveway.  I didn't take the birdfeeders down last night...  until about 3:30 am.  Yep...  the  mom raccoon and her three young'uns were scrambling around outside our window trying to get to them.   There's nothing like trudging around barefoot and in your jammies at that hour...  at least it wasn't raining then.

Just another day up here on the Ridge....
That's All For Today!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened at Walmart and Other Current Events....

Bill and I were at the local Walmart yesterday...  doing the usual...  getting prescriptions filled and trying to figure out where this store keeps the chips.  I wish I could remember exactly what was initially said, but this big guy, walking towards us began talking about RVing and then blogging.  I was so surprised when he told me he read my blog that it took me a few minutes to sort it all out.
Jack and Bill
Jack follows a lot of blogs and we "know" a lot of the same folks.  We both commented on how blogging seems to have declined lately.  We lamented the passing and poor health of some of the people we know through their blogs and how a few quit blogging when they stopped traveling.
I asked Jack how he found my blog...  I think through someone else's blog... he came across a photo that I'd posted as we were crossing the Ohio River.  He recognized the bridge and sign... kept reading and realized we were heading for Athens.  He lives about 10 miles from us and travels in his 5th wheel.  I hope we get to talk more later.  But...  it just blew me away to meet someone who reads my blog...  I felt like a celebrity!  

Speaking of the Ohio River, Bill & I drove down to Pomeroy, Ohio a few days ago.  Bill is interested in buying a power wagon (more on that in a future post) and since the place that sells them is close to Pomeroy, I wanted to have lunch at the Wild Horse Restaurant, which overlooks the river.
 Watching a barge being pushed down river....  
There wasn't much river traffic that day, but we enjoyed seeing what went by.

We were the only folks sitting out on the dining patio.  When temperatures are in the 90's most folks sit inside in air conditioned rooms.  It is quite hot here now, but still, the view was worth it.

I took this photo over a week ago, but I'm including it anyway...
Bill's sister, Alberta, flew in from New Mexico for the big party.  We took one afternoon to show her around the Ohio University campus.  The campus green is really lovely.  Memorial Auditorium is where events are put on...  and have been for years.  On the wall of one of the entrances are plaques telling about some of the speakers...  when they spoke and a bit about their lives.  (Teddy Roosevelt spoke here in 1905...  JFK in 1959)....  Two speakers I remember listening to were Eleanor Roosevelt in 1954 and Dag Hammarskjold in 1958.  I loved attending events at Mem Aud...  saw my first ballet, heard the US Marine Band and much, much more!

And...  another event...
My son, Dan's 54th birthday!
That's his girlfriend, Yvonne, snapping a picture on the right.  My daughter, Donna and husband Glenn were still here from the party, so it was really a good celebration!

Now...  for the wildlife photos...

While we've heard turkeys a lot, Bill spotted this hen and several poults in our back field.  I wasn't quick enough to get a shot of the young'uns, Mom is herding them off into the woods.

And from our motorhome window...
 The buck's antlers are growing into a very nice rack.  We have at least 3 bucks and a couple of does who hang out closeby.  

The "Daddy" bluebird....  
He's a parent to the two fledglings on my header.  I think so far he and the missus have raised two families this summer.  

We have another month here in Ohio.  It is really hot and humid, but Bill has one more eye appointment in Columbus and while the work on the 2 rentals is almost finished, Bill's still painting the outside of one barn house.  
He's planning to rent a lift so he can get the really high places.

So, Jack, thanks for stopping to talk in Walmart....  kind of gave me the incentive to stick with it despite the "ho-hum" life we live this summer.

That's All For Today!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Celebration of Life...

and of family, of friends, and most of all, with love and laughter.  Often funeral announcements will give the time and place that family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of their departed loved one.  Bill and I got lucky...  we didn't have to die and we got to attend and enjoy the celebration that our kids put on for us.

As it happened, Bill's older daughter and my daughter graduated in the same high school class.  Their 35th class reunion was last weekend and both planned to attend...  Donna from New York and Michelle from Pennsylvania.  Bill and I are here (Athens, Ohio) for the summer, so Donna got the idea to have a party while they were here.

When we had the farm, Bill & I raised goats and for several summers we hosted a "goat roast", inviting friends and family over for a day of food, (BBQ goat etc), music, and fun.  Our farm was named "Bish Farm", and it was the Bish Farm Goat Roast.  

Donna called this the "15th Year of RVing Bish Farm Reunion"

This is the cake she had made...  (Bill had several bee hives and we're both birders...  very appropriate!)

Eclipse, where the party was held, was really nice.  While the table settings and some of the decorations were partly provided, Donna made colorful flags to decorate the room.

Alberta, Bill's sister, and I helped Donna and Glenn gather wildflowers for table bouquets.

Alberta flew in from New Mexico...  a real surprise for Bill....  and quite a prank in the process.  

But Donna really outdid herself!

She made displays of photos from past years...  everything from both Bill & my childhoods, to teens... and into adulthood...  our parents, our kids at all ages, our grandkids, and great-grandkids.  She also made up a "memory book", so that folks attending the party could write something about their relationship to us.  That will be a treasure I'll always keep!

The people started arriving...  
I've been friends with the couple on the left (sorry I cut Judy off) since I was 15 years old.  Those are Bill's two daughters... Michelle from PA and Celeste from TX heading in.  My brother and one of our sons-in-law in the background.

 Me, greeting my brother and his son and daughters and their families...

 Celeste and Michelle...  Bill's daughters.

 Family Photo...  Alberta, Victor and Celeste, Richard and Michelle, Bill and me, Glenn and Donna.
My son hadn't arrived yet, and we never did get a photo of all of us together.

 Glenn...  and John Clark and Pat Paterson.  John and Pat were (and still are) good friends of my son, Dan...  I've known them since they were teen-agers.

 We just met Deb for the first time.  She's Fish's friend and she's with Rhonda, who I used to work with.  I've known Rhonda almost 40 years!  (and, yes, she was just out of high school when we met)

Fish, Celeste, Wendy and Jackie

 My brother, Larry and his daughter Cindy

Here's Larry with Cindy's twin sister, Kim

 Donna, Dave and Theresa Smith and me.
While Dave is now our rental manager here in Athens, he used to be our neighbor and has always been our friend.  I babysat for him when he was about 5 years old...  we go way back ;-)

 Donna, me, and my son, Dan

Celeste and Michelle, with their Dad

 The annual "Rose between Two Thorns" photo...
Me, my brother, Larry and my sister, Cynthia

 There was an open bar...  it was Brew Week in town and they had all kinds of different beers available as well as wine and other drinks.

 My great-niece and her boyfriend....  groups of folks chatting...

Mary and Chris Hanning ...  John Clark

My son's girlfriend, Yvonne, Bill, our good friends (and geocaching buddies) Roger and Patty, and Glenn with his back to us.
In the background to the right is our friend, Joan Kraynanski and her grandson Ryan.

Dan and Yvonne

I worked at O'Bleness hospital for 20 years, beginning in 1977...  every one of these folks started there before me...  Rhonda, Mimi, Sandie and Skip.
Even though all of us have retired or moved on from there, we still remain friends today.
Mimi and Rhonda's husbands were here also.

Did I mention that the party was catered?
Donna had Kisor's BBQ set up their signature buffet.
Pulled pork, BBQ chicken, slaw, baked beans, pasta salad...  probably other stuff...
But all delicious and oh, so tasty!

And... for the grand finale..
A Group Photo!
I think a few folks had already slipped away, a a few slipped in late, but this is pretty much the whole group.  Some folks sent their regrets, and some of our good friends just live too far away.

Thank you Donna and the others who planned all this, and all who came to celebrate our friendship.
I was truly a wonderful day.

That's All For Today!