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Indian Paintbrush and Texas Blue Bonnets

Friday, April 29, 2016

I Spy With My Little Eye....

The main reason we came back to Ohio so early this year was for Bill to have cataract surgery.  Both eyes need it and our doctor here prefers to wait a few weeks between the procedures.  Wednesday, April 27th was the big day....
Left Eye...  All Done!
There's Bill with Dr. Lembach following surgery.
She removed the cataracts from my eyes 5 years ago.  Why do we drive 75 miles to Columbus when we could have it done here in Athens?  The Arena Eye Center is a 5 story building totally devoted to eye care.  If anything should go wrong during surgery, like a torn retina, there is a specialist right at hand ready to step in.  We went there to begin with because there was a 3 month waiting period even for the initial evaluation here in our hometown.  Once we met Dr. Lembach and her staff, both Bill & I have continued to go there.  Bill's scheduled for the right eye to be done on May 18th.  

"I can see clearly now the rain has gone"...
Okay...  we still have rain, but now Bill will see things clearer...  and brighter!
What a collection of colors!
There's an Indigo Bunting on the left, a Goldfinch at upper right and a male Cardinal at lower right.
No worn feathers this time of year...  everyone looks their best....  afterall, wearing one's finery is part of attracting a mate, isn't it?

We've never had an Indigo Bunting come to the bird feeders before.  This little guy has stopped in at least twice that I know of.  I had the door to the rig open and was sitting inside using the laptop when I heard his song...  looked out and there he was, on the ground below the feeders having a snack.  I've seen him a couple times since, but suspect he'll head for the tall trees to hang out soon.

One of my favorite birds...
This male Rose-breasted Grosbeak arrives around this time of year.  He'll hang around a few weeks then move on....

This is mating season...
The feathers in his armpits (wing pits?) are as rosy red as his throat this time of year...
You can see them here as he's landing on the feeder to have a snack.

And...  the object of his affection...
His lady friend...  the female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
Of course, being the female, she's drab with no bright colors at all.  There's no question as to how they got their name "grosbeak" is there?  

The Purple Finch and the Juncos have gone now.  The spring birds are arriving or some just passing through.  One that I've been hearing now but haven't seen is the Wood Thrush.  Early mornings and evenings I hear his melodious call just below our rig.  The leaves are coming on now and the floor of the woods is greening up, so it's not easy to spot birds in that growth.  I don't mind, just hearing the wood thrush is enough.

That's All For Today!


Monday, April 25, 2016

About That a CITO Event...

I believe I took the long way to get to that Geocache event...  took me every bit of 1 hour and 15 minutes....  but the road I took is curvy and I don't believe I ever got up to the 55 MPH speed limit.  I'll have to write again about some of the memories that drive brought back to me....  but this time it's all about that event.

A CITO event is a duel thing...  a geocacher gets credit (in this case we got a virtual souvenir on our geocache profile page) for attending.  But also the participants clean up an area... pick up trash, do whatever it takes to make an area be clean again.  The host had chosen a cemetery that had several fallen branches strewn about as well as old plastic flower arrangements on gravesites that were way past their prime. (the flowers, not the gravesites)


This is Arlene, the host of this event.  Turns out we'd gone to an event in Zanesville, Ohio 8 years ago that she'd hosted.  Right after that her husband passed away and she hasn't done any geocaching since then.  This was kind of her "getting back in the groove" thing to get herself back into geocaching again.  That's her husband's gravesite right behind her.  Her passion is honoring US soldiers who gave their life to defend our country.  She has hundreds of caches hidden....  each in honor of a particular soldier.  

These are some of her geocaching coins (kind of like a commemorative coin, only each has an assigned number and is registered....  it can be circulated or can be kept in one's own collection) as well as brochures, informational sheets, photos and various other geocaching items she has collected over 
the years.

I wrote in my last blog that I didn't think we'd know anyone else there...  I was wrong!
That's Thomas (geocache name... Didemous) talking to Patty and Roger (CTeam).  And we know all of these folks.  In fact, Patty and Roger live less than a mile up the road from us.  We'd have gone to this event together except I thought they had already left for their vacation in the Canadian Maritimes.

Did I mention that we cleaned up the cemetery?  Actually, what happened was that when Arlene contacted the County office to ask about doing this, a few days later they had a crew come in and clean up all the winter debris and even do some mowing.  So really, our group had very little to do.  I think we had 2 bags of old flower arrangements and a bit of debris, but most of the time we all stood around talking about our shared hobby.



Some of the original group had already left by the time I remembered my camera was in the car...  but we spent the better part of 2 hours making this cemetery look better and just hanging out with like company.

We headed home...  I drove a different route home than the one getting there...  shaved at least 15 minutes off the driving time...  and though the scenery was beautiful, I'll admit that the drive there is outstanding.  No photos as I was driving....  although if time would have allowed, I'd have pulled over (where?  there were hardly any places to pull over!) and take some photos.  

I loved this outing today...  we've been busy working on the rental and it was good getting away and seeing some old sights.  It was fun doing the geocaching thing, but especially fun meeting up with some old friends and meeting some new ones.

We're thinking that we'll probably go to the May meeting of this same group....  it's kinda nice to get off the Ridge for a few hours and do something different.

That's All For Today!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday Samplings....

Just a couple hours after I posted my last blog we had our first visitor to the hummingbird feeder...
This male Ruby-throat Hummingbird checked out both feeders.
He stops by a few times every day now.... after he has a mate and they build their nest we'll see them more often.  

I bought a hanging basket of bright red petunias to attract the hummers...
They love the color red and will fly close to check you out if you're wearing a red shirt or hat.

I thought the Yellow-throated Warbler was maybe a one-time visitor, but he's been coming by every day around 4 or 5 pm.  He likes the suet cake...  just grabs a few bites and flies off.

We seldom get Bluejays at these feeders, but this guy stopped by recently.  I know they are noisy and scare off other birds, but I love them.  Apparently he wasn't aggressive enough to scare off that nasty Cowbird that is on the left.  Cowbirds have a melodious call, but their habit of laying their eggs in another birds nest is definitely an undesirable habit.


We get several woodpecker species at the feeder, but the Red-bellied is my favorite.
There are Pileated Woodpeckers around but I haven't seen any so far.

Our bird feeders (which are just outside our motorhome) here on the farm are in a very good place for attracting a variety of birds...
I took these photos from inside the rig...  looking out the back and driver's side windows. 
Bill started planting trees here 40 years ago...  nearly every mature tree you see is one of his trees.  There were no spruce or pine at all when he moved here, so it's a pleasure to look out and see a 50' high pine tree looking healthy and being a shelter for birds.

This morning when I looked out...
These 4 deer were just over the hill....  seeing if there was any feed around.
At the lower center is a box holding a mineral block, but I also put out sweet-mix horse feed.  I think these were 2 does and 2 yearlings.  Mom will soon birth this years fawns, so we won't be seeing many does during May.

Yesterday was cold and overcast, but of course Saturday morning means Farmer's Market...
I'm standing about in the middle of the market....
there are vendors lined up along both sides of this row...
Looking in the other direction...
We bought a loaf of artichoke/leek bread, a container of ramp pesto, 2 bottles of salsa, 1 rabbit (dressed... ready to cook), some asparagus, and FRESH STRAWBERRIES!!!  I'd show you a picture of those juicy, red, sweet strawberries, but we ate them already.  We're located about 30 miles from the Ohio River and farms along there always have corn, tomatoes and fruit weeks before anything is ripe here.  The vendors at this market come from miles around to sell here.  In the summer there is even an Amish vendor who comes in his horse and buggy.

The market is always great, but this week there was a special treat...
I didn't see where this group was from (possibly part of the OU School of Music), but they played classical selections throughout the morning.  There are often "street" musicians playing guitars or the such, but to have an entire ensemble for the entertainment was awesome.

We're heading over to the Muskingham River after lunch today.  There is a CITO geocache event.  That means "Cache In, Trash Out".  It's a get-together of geocachers who pick up trash and clean up a designated area.  This group will be cleaning up a cemetery and having a social time as well.  We probably won't know a soul there, but I'm sure it won't take long to make some new friends.

That's All For Today!



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Catching Up... Again....

Last blog I wrote about the April snow...  hope y'all didn't think we got snowed in, lost our power and had to melt snow for water.  Truth is, it melted off the same day....  and it's been gloriously spring ever since!  But my laptop spazzed out....  two trips to Staples to have the virus(s) removed.  I still have all my programs but all my bookmarks and other stuff were wiped out.  So today is the first time I've used my laptop for almost 2 weeks.

But I haven't been twirling my thumbs and watching the world go by...  One of our big projects this summer is to get the studio apartment back up to speed.  Or really...  in better shape than it's ever been, including the 10 or 15 years that Bill & I lived there.  Bill is doing all the electrical work and other "high tech" stuff...  I "get" to do the painting.  

Next week is Bill's appointment in Columbus to have the cataract removed from his left eye...  he figures he'll be on "light duty" for a while so is trying to get all the heavy stuff done now.

I haven't taken a lot of photos...  but these will do for now...

Here's our rig....  
Bill put in this parking site before we left 15 years ago, but we didn't have the concrete pad until last year.  There is a dump station at the base of that big poplar tree.  Right now we're still using an extension cord, but when we get the rental done, Bill hopes to run an underground electric line and have our own meter put in.  Lots to do this summer....

We don't have a Weber Q...
A renter left this charcoal grill sometime past....  it'll do for us.
(I think of George and lovely grill)

Grilled pork chops and marinated veggies....
Yeah, I need to learn how to adjust the heat.  Really though, those chops didn't taste as burnt as they look.

Although it's been 15 years since we've lived here we still have friends from way back...  sometimes we're here such a short time we don't get to visit much.  This time we are even here long enough to get invited to a party.  Friends of ours were having a get-together to introduce their new puppy to everyone.  Maybe I should have asked what breed the puppy was before taking this....
Isn't this Doggie Binkie about the cutest thing you've ever seen?  It really is a teething ring for puppies and you can put a treat in the handle.  Well....  here's the puppy...
That's our friend Kathy holding her baby...  a rottweiler.  His ears are still in bandages to keep them standing up.   Look at the size of his feet!  He really is just a baby, but he's already a fair-size dog!  I hope he doesn't swallow his binkie whole....

It was kinda funny at the party...  there must have been 20 or 30 people there, and aside from the hosts, Bill and I knew only 1 person.  Guess we have been away for a while.

We have a deer-feeding area below our rig and while the feed would disappear overnight, I didn't see any deer.  A day or so ago I raised the blind...  looked out.... and...
looking back at me was this doe.  
I think this photo was the impetus to finally clean the rig's windows....  

The hummingbirds should be back any day now.  I have two nectar feeders out waiting for some takers.  We have several other feeders out as well...  black oiler sunflower seed, a couple of thistle feeders, a mixed seed feeder, some suet...  the usual.  We were sitting outside the other afternoon and were delighted when we had this visitor...
A Yellow-throated Warbler!
He's not a regular, but we've seen him at least 3 different evenings.  There are woods on 2 sides of us so we're getting a nice variety of birds, but this is the first time we've seen this guy.

So... spring has sprung....  Bill mows every couple of days, and I've mowed the field twice already.  I'm way behind on reading blogs....  I tried to comment from my IPad and nothing ever posted.  Oh well...  I've missed my blogging friends and hope to catch up soon.

One thing I did while my laptop was off line... I freed up space on my computer by downloading 24 gigabytes of photos onto CDs.  I never did say I was shy about taking lots of photos!

That's All For Today!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas....

April (and even May) in SE Ohio can have any kind of weather...  sometimes several different kinds of weather in the same day.  This is what we woke up to this morning...
That hummingbird feeder looks totally out of place, doesn't  it?  Well, I used to keep records of when the hummers first appeared back in the spring.  April 12th was the earliest....  so I thought I'd get ready for them.  If they're smart they'll stay in Mexico a while longer.  

Yeah, I know...  that's where we were.  But because of income tax and Bills eye appointment (made months in advance because of our prior plans for the summer) we came back earlier than usual.  I read Facebook entries and keep in touch with our Lo de Marcos friends...  and sigh....

Anyway...  I do love all kinds of weather...  even seeing the snow today...
Looking out our side window into the lean-to type shed across from us...  there's the lawn mower...
Not going to use it today.....   even those pruners look kind of forlorn, don't they?

Looking out our back window (a Lazy Daze motorhome has wonderful windows on all sides)....
Really, not any real accumulation of snow...  just ...  well...  just snow....

And.... out the other side window...
Down over the hill is our deer block....  along with some "sweet mix" horse feed.  The mineral block has been used quite a bit in the last week, but so far I've only seen birds and squirrels partake of the grain.  

Right outside that same window....
These 2 male Cardinals were just a few feet from my camera (but I was inside)...  and I didn't have a "speed" setting on.... but their bright red color and those green vines were a real contrast to the snowy landscape.

A few more birds...
The male Goldfinch show up really well on this gloomy day, but I'm betting they have keeping warm on their minds more than finding a partner.

Underneath those feeders....
A cardinal and a couple kinds of sparrows....

What do I do on days like this?  Well...  we went to the Farmer's Market this morning...  not as many vendors but still quite a few.  I bought a big roaster chicken...  came home and boiled it until the meat fell off the bone...  removed the skin and bones....  added onions, garlic, peppers, squash, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes (heck, I cleaned out the veggie drawers in the fridge)....  added some herbs and spices...  let it simmer...  and warm up the rig...  all day.   So this evening we had chicken soup (stew?) for dinner.  

Of course...  remember this is SE Ohio....  it may be snowing today....  it may look a bit like Christmas...  but tomorrow who knows?  The sun may be shining....  the grass might need mowed...  the birds will be singing a song of Spring....  And Christmas is  many months away...

That's All For Today!









Thursday, April 7, 2016

White's Mill.... Athens, Ohio

White's Mill has been around a long time...  since 1809
It's been owned and operated by the same family nearly all those years.  I think the current owner is a descendant of the original one.  When I was growing up the dam was still on the river right behind this building.  Farmer's still brought their corn in to be ground.  The area to the right held burlap bags of feed for all kinds of animals.  There were always a lot of cats around...  mousers....  keeping the rodents at bay and away from all that grain.

The dam has been torn out but the Hocking River still flows right behind.  The building to the right still holds bags of horse feed, chicken scratch or about any other kind of grain that a person would need to either feed their critter or grow a crop.

It's the low, flat building on the left that I love to visit when I return to Athens...
There are still cats around...
From the looks of her, I'd guess she's either an excellent mouser or quite lazy.  She was very friendly and loved being made over.  I'd say she gets a lot of attention as she welcomes anyone who notices her on the counter.

Greeting the kitty was just the beginning...  I started wandering through the very crowded aisles...
Those are handmade candles on the front shelves...  along with some bird feeders at the top.  Displays of seed packets are further along.  They truly have everything for the farmer or home gardener.
See that table in the middle?
A great collection of field guides...   birds, butterflies, plants...
Some "how-to" books....  and even some local artwork is available on the upper shelf.

I like this rock-art frog.  He'd make a great garden feature...  ribbit, ribbit...

Soon you'll hear the cheeping of baby peeps when you walk in the door..
These brooders will be filled with baby chicks of all kinds.    
 There'll be Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth, Buff Orpingtons...  even ducks, geese and guineas...  all kinds of breeds and species.  

To the right of the chicken brooders...
Rabbit pens...
There are lots of 4H clubs in this county and kids raise beef, hogs, chickens...  and yes, even rabbits, to show in the county fair.  Other folks raise rabbits for table meat.  The sign indicates that one rabbit will cost $16.95, so a pair will cost around $34.00.  But, remember...  that just gets you started in the rabbit business.

Everywhere you look, as you walk around the aisles you see something of interest...
Those are bee-keeping supplies on the top shelf....  and just look at all the gardening tools...  pruners, watering cans, water buckets...  on and on...

There is a huge pet supply area...  including a section to keep your pet healthy...  and odor free.  There is a horse supply area as well.

Need a bird feeder?
The hardest thing is deciding which hummingbird feeder you can't live without!
Around the corner is another display of seed feeders....  and bird baths....  and if that's not enough, you can get really fancy ones that are as much art as they are useful.

Aren't these kerosene lamps beautiful?  

There's even a section of jewelry and pottery...
Most of this area looked like it belonged in Santa Fe or Gallup...  lovely turquoise and silver jewelry and Native American artwork.

This is a store for farmers...
It's April...  buckets of seed corn and beans are for sale.  (The red corn has been treated to keep it fungus free)...  and look at those crates of onion sets!
Look close on the left...  they even sell Gazing Balls.... ornamental glass globes to give your lawn or garden some character!

This photo is for our friend Memo...
When Bill & I would take our afternoon walk in Lo de Marcos, we'd often stop for a popsickle on our way home.  By the time we got to Memo's office we were about done with the treat and would leave our popsickle sticks with Memo...  he'd use them to mark his potted plants.  
Couldn't help but think of him when I saw this display.

I don't know how long we were in the store...
It takes a long time to check out all the wind chimes....  or the straw hats....  or look at the Aladdin Lamps.....  look at the heirloom seeds....  We didn't even go outside to the nursery where the bedding plants and shrubs and trees are kept.

Finally we felt we'd seen enough...  we'll probably be back when the chicks arrive.  Nope, not to buy any, but just to hear their happy peeping and know that spring really is here.

I said my goodbye to the kitty, and so for now...  this is...
The End

That's All For Today!