birds and stuff

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today just to talk about birds and stuff. You may remember me from such posts as “Potting Soil”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. You can see how hectic things around here are, right now.
It didn’t snow yesterday, like they said it might, but today was kind of chilly and so not much melting took place. They say by Friday it will be in the sixties, so maybe there will be more melting this week.
The guy I live with had to wear his YakTrax on our walk this evening. I don’t want him to fall down, so I was glad he wore them.

Now for the gardening news. Well, not really gardening, but kind of sort of.
The guy I live with got some seeds of the buffalo gourd, Cucurbita foetidissima, from a friend, and read up on how to germinate the seeds. One scholarly paper said the seeds germinated best at seventy degrees (twenty-one C) in the dark, so he sowed seeds in two pots, covered the pots, put them in a propagator on top of a heating mat, covered the propagator with a dark towel, and look what happened:
The guy I live with was fairly excited. We had this plant in the back garden, but one year it just disappeared. Maybe someone ate it. (Not me.)
I guess this seedling will have to be transplanted so it can get some chlorophyll.

So that was the gardening.

Now I’m going to show some pictures of my walks. I haven’t had to wear my boots because the snow hasn’t been too cold; the morning walks have been pretty pleasant, actually.
We saw a hawk the other day. Probably a red-tailed hawk. We see them a lot; they’re pretty big.
And guess what? The owls are back. We started hearing them again about a week ago.
This one is starting to hoot. They get all puffed up and sort of lean out, and hoot.
Here’s the other one. It was farther away; the point-and-shoot doesn’t really focus at that distance. Of course I wanted to get closer, to see if I could grab it. The guy I live with said no way.
The owls and hawks are probably interested in things like voles. Rabbits, for sure, but I think voles as well. I know I like to hunt for voles. The guy I live with tells me not to hurt them, but sometimes I get carried away, and he gets upset. He says that voles and rabbits (I like to chase them, too) have enough to worry about.
You can see their tunnels here.
They sometimes make tunnels that go all the way into peoples’ back yards, if there are bird feeders there, so they can get any seeds that might have been spilled.
The winter after his wife died, voles got into the garden and destroyed a third of what was the Long Border, and so that summer he removed all the plants in the border, and started over with what we have now.
It is my job to keep voles out of our garden, which I do admirably well, but there are a lot of them living in the field. I like to look for their tunnels, usually near the creek.

The guy I live with took a picture of the garden from the upstairs bedroom window, through the screen.
That’s Mount Lindo in the distance, over the shed. It’s 7,814 feet (2,382 meters) high, and about five miles (eight km) away.

There have been some nice sunsets, too.
As we walked farther down the field, the sunset got redder.
Yesterday he took a picture of the willows at the end of our walk, where we have to turn around.
This was where the owls lived last year. We haven’t see them in these trees for a while.

I guess that will do it for tonight.

Until next time, then.

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22 Responses to birds and stuff

  1. tonytomeo says:

    That owl is a rather big bird; but not Big Bird. Do you know who Big Bird is? It was probably before your time. Is that owl in a silver maple? It looks sort of shabby like that. I mean the tree, not the big bird.

    • paridevita says:

      All of the silver maples around here look like that. The guy I live with doesn’t like silver maples.

      • tonytomeo says:

        Most people who are familiar with silver maple dislike them. They are one of my favorite trees, but are rare here. It was one of the first trees that I planted when I was a kid.

      • paridevita says:

        Lots of hideous chlorotic ones in this neighborhood, planted in the alkaline soil that occurs here and there (not in our garden).
        Banned from being planted in parks now, because of the brittle branches.

      • tonytomeo says:

        In my entire career, I have never recommended even just one. Even good specimens have too much potential for problems. Nonetheless, I still like them, and would like one in my own garden.

      • paridevita says:

        Really hideous when chlorotic, and no autumn color.

  2. Paddy Tobin says:

    For a moment I thought the pot with the seedling was a dog’s dinner and I had to Google YakTraks as we certainly have no need for them here in soggy Ireland.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, the guy I live with says that the last few winters have had way too much ice, which only melts when it gets to about 20C. He says “hot paws” walking on the paths melt the snow and so the paths are all ice now. It’s not much fun.
      The seedling is in a pot topped with the usual gravel, which here, for some reason, is called “squeegee”. It’s hard to find these days.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We use a squeegee to clean our windows!

      • paridevita says:

        We have a squeegee for windows, too.
        I don’t know why they call that fine gravel by that name. The guy I live with says they call crusher fines “breeze” here.
        Who knows why. We have a lot of rock here. They even named the mountains to the west of us after the rocks in it.

  3. Mee-yow Guy yore Green Thumm iss kickin inn guud!!!
    An Mani you look so pooped out from all THE activity there, mew mew mew…..
    Wee gettin more snow an it lookss grate butt iss furry cold out…..rite now wee can not see across THE street! EEKKKK!!
    Wee love Red-Tailed Hawkss. Wee not see them alot butt efurry once inn a while one will stop bye an look inn at us.
    An HURRAH that Hootie an his mate came back!
    Happy trailss Mani an Guy…….bee safe…….
    ***purrss*** BellaDharma an {{hugss}} BellaSita Mum

    • paridevita says:

      Thanks; we’re glad to see the owls again, though we haven’t seen them the last two evenings.
      It’s not very cold here right now. Below freezing at night, but just barely.

      • Mee-yow it was -6 Fairenhite last nite… fore rEEL!!! Not a bird or bunny stirred from their nestss or burrowss!! BellaSita Mum iss gion to put snax out soon…she has to get dressed liek she iss an Inuit!!! BBBRRRR!!!!
        THE Owlss must nestle down inn their nesstss when it getss too chilley fore them!
        Bee safe Mani an Guy ❤ ❤

      • paridevita says:

        Thanks; same to you. It was only just below freezing here last night.
        Some people have suggested that the owls have moved to nests now. We haven’t seen or heard them for three or four nights.

      • It has warmed up to 26 Fiarenhite so mee sat out inn Condo today. BellaSita Mum got to due soem needed cleenin inn bedroom!
        Wee think THE Owlss moved nestss two!

      • paridevita says:

        They probably have moved to nests.
        It’s snowing here right now.

      • THE Eagless inn Decoarh that wee watch on Cammyra moved their nestss last yeer. So now each cuppell have 2 nestss an of coarse 3 mew cammyrass were inn-stalled!
        Iss snowin there??? YEAH!!!
        Has been blizzardin here all day!

      • paridevita says:

        Yes, it’s snowing here. We have about an inch of fluffy snow, even though the weather service says it’s raining. (It never rains here in January.)
        We have eagles here, too. We only see them when the guy I live with doesn’t have his camera with him.

  4. Mark Mazer says:

    Got voles. Would imagine you also have cotton rats (Sigmodon sp.). Yes? We recently live trapped and relocated five of the rather cute rodents from their tunnel complex near the bird feeders. My mom in FL was horrified when I told her.

    • paridevita says:

      We have packrats. And I looked at an expired regular rat on one of my walks, once. I suppose the regular rats frequent the dumpsters in the apartment complex north of us.

      • Mark Mazer says:

        Rather have cotton’s than pack’s. Cotton’s never enter homes. Raptors and reptiles keep them mostly under control on the farm as well as coyotes and cats when they are in the ‘hood. An elevator mechanic in 1970’s NYC, we saw our fair share of huge Norway/Brown rats in the elevator shafts and pits….. still icky and skeevy.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with said that way back when, he bought a box of Milk Bones for the purebred border collies who lived here at the time (I get fancier stuff), set it on the workbench in the garage, and the next morning the box was empty. Packrats.
        Flurry, the first purebred border collie who lived here, dispatched one, once.
        But that was before the coyotes and owls moved into the neighborhood. Things are a lot different now.

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