Thursday, June 26, 2008

Can you Identify Birds?

Well, the hawks have found the bird feeder.

I was working at the computer yesterday when I heard all the little birds making a great racket. I went outside cautiously to see what was happening and this hawk flew over to the neighbor's fence.

These were the best shots I could get. (I want a camera that can take REAL close-up shots for Christmas!)

Judging by the length of the white wood I would say he was about 15 inches -- I couldn't see his tail.

My best guess is that he is a young Cooper's hawk. We get a lot of them round here.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008



May You Live to be as Old as Your Jokes!
Copyright Mike Scovel 1995

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

...T'uppence a Pack...

I started feeding the birds just over a year ago. Up until now I have inadvertently been feeding possums, rabbits, a chicken and -- now a squirrel. Those I don't mind too much.

But I absolutely draw the line at this! A locust, I think. He's about 3-4 inches long, but look what he has done to one of my favorite plants! I call it a red sword plant because I can never remember its name. Those back legs measure at least 6 inches if stretched out.

If you look at this picture below, it took him only about a day to munch all this (note the spear bottom left), so you will understand why I did not appreciate his presence. I shooed him away the first day. The second day MOTH got rid of him for me. I won't tell you how, someone might object.
I didn't see him today -- or any of his friends, if he has any. So hopefully he has really gone.

Speaking of "gone", MOTH has said that Henrietta has to go. He can't put up with her messiness any longer. He doesn't enjoy the garden and patio any more when it is not clean. So I told him, "Just don't tell me where, when or how!!"

On to happier things...

This church is taken from one of Jose's posts on his blog "Arizona... But it's a Dry Heat". It wasn't easy to do as my white Prisma-color does not show up at all well and the church is mostly white.

It is now part of my series "Doorways " and it is #3.

Thank you Jose for giving me permission to copy this.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

What Did I do All That Time?

So what did I do during all the time MOTH was gone?...
  • I read seven books
  • Went out to dinner with friends four times
  • Watched over Henrietta
  • Caught Rhoda twice and returned her to her owner
  • Fed the birds daily
  • Watered the yard and the flower pots
  • Had three doctors appointments
  • Kept Bailey happy
  • Called the city twice about the lamp-post
  • Kept up with my blogs
  • Spent about a week hassling about my book cover
  • Ate two one pound boxes of Sees chocolates! Bought with Christmas gift certificates. (Shameless -- but confession is good for the soul ...and that is actually less than two chocolates a day!)
  • Ate Olive Garden's lasagna once and fish and chips once.
  • Ate cottage cheese and fruit for dinner more times than I cared to, but I had to compensate for the chocolates
  • Read my daily Bible Readings out on the patio every day
  • Didn't read the daily newspaper -- I'm happier that way
If all that sounds too relaxing -- Well, I AM supposed to be retired!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


The MOTH (Man Of The House, in case you've forgotten) arrived home safely last night after a
month out on The Islands, as we call them. Specifically, this time he was on the islands of Saipan, Guam and Pohnpei. There he held a week of Bible classes, mostly for the Micronesian people. It was three hours a night for a week on each island and then six days traveling -- three there and three back.
It is sort of like seminary or Bible College for these island people who mostly have no more than a sixth grade education. After they have finished a certain number of courses, they are granted a diploma. They can then return to their islands and in turn teach their own people. We have three or four missionaries who teach these classes on various islands, under the name of the Morning Star Institute, each for two or three weeks a year. In the photo below you can see MOTH in the blue shirt and missionary Alan from Australia standing next to him. They are both wearing mar-mars, the traditional island gift of honor. This particular photo was taken a couple of years ago. This trip MOTH went alone. He has been conducting classes on the islands of Micronesia for close to 25 years.

The islands look spectacular. They are very beautiful, but very hot and humid and not very healthy. They are located just 6 degrees above the equator and there are hundreds of them, some with only one or two families living on them. I used to go and help teach the teachers in the Christian schools, but not any more. The climate became too much for me. Women are not allowed to teach men, in the churches. That is their custom handed down from the 1800's when these islands were first visited by the missionaries. When we first used to go there, women could not wear shorts or pants -- only the Micronesian style dresses. Even now it is more respectful for women to wear this style of dress.

There are very few sandy beaches on these islands and for most of us to go swimming, we have to go an hour or so off shore to a small uninhabited island where the water has not been contaminated by drainage. It rains a great deal, heavy tropical downpours --300-400 inches a year in some parts.

This is a reef around one of the islands, probably Chuuk, which used to be known as Truk. It is famous for its diving and wrecks from WW ll -- not to mention sharks.

This is a typical island church. There is much poverty there, especially now that they are no longer a trust territory of the United States.
The Islanders are suffering because of the high price of gas -- everything has to be flown or shipped in. The price of rice, their staple food, has
recently skyrocketed.

On approach to one of the islands by boat. Boats are the main form of transportation. Most islands have no roads or one main road, with lots of potholes.

The people are wonderful-- generous, kind and happy. Sadly many of them suffer from diabetes and health facilities are very scarce.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Light, Birds and Doorways

When we came home from our Thanksgiving vacation last year, we were met with this sight in our circle.
Someone had knocked down a light pole. This is the only light in our circle and it was darker than dark! We phoned the city regularly. Yes, it would only take 13 weeks to replace it. So December went by... January...February... March... April...May....June....

So it was, 24 weeks later when lo and behold..."Let there be light!" At last!

Tonight I sat watching the TV news when there was a terrific racket of birds chirping and calling outside the window. By the time I got my photograph, more than half had flown away. What was making them cause all the racket? Then I saw.....the Scrub Jay. The finches and sparrows must have been afraid for their nests. This must be the third round of nesting that these birds have gone through since February. The light among the bushes was not good enough to take a photo of the Jay.

This is my latest miniature which I copied from the cover of the book "The Inklings" by Jeschke. The book is about the literary group C.S. Lewis began while he was studying at Oxford. It is a very innocuous romance. It was worth reading because of all the details about Oxford University and C.S. Lewis, but I wouldn't number it among my favorites. But I did like the cover!

I have decided to a a series of miniatures like these and call them simply "Doorways" This will be Doorways #2.
Doorways #1 is below.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mary, Mary,.....

My garden is growing very well right now, thank you. The plumeria has three stems like these, promising flowers soon.

Remember Scarecrow and how he was treated in such an undignified manner by Henrietta? Well after all the petunias died I just stuck him at the base of the plumeria, and look --a moss rose re-seeded itself, and doesn't Scarecrow look pleased!

Then there are these lilies that have re-bloomed from last year and have yet two more buds to open.

And the beautiful blooms of the jacaranda tree are so perfect. The jacarandas have been outstanding this year.

Can't wait until MOTH gets home and we can put out some more flowers. It's going to take a while because he has mountains of snail mail and e-mail to go through.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This one's for Jose. I saw it outside the post office just as he was just about to drive away. I asked him if I could take a photo and he said it was OK, but I didn't have time to get a better background. It has a palm frond roof with surf boards and diving stuff on top. That's California, Dude!

Rhoda came for a visit yesterday!

Look at the mess she made. She is twice the size of Henrietta and makes twice the mess. However, she is very tame and after watching the owner's sons catch her a couple of times I tried my magic on her and guess what ....I caught her quite easily and took her back home. I was quite proud of myself because she has a large beak and two strong scratching legs!! Guess I should have been a farmer's wife!

Supper time for the house finches and sparrows.

We cut down this big old Yucca tree but decided the stump was just too big to try to remove. We hadn't decided what to do with it and now see what's happening. I guess it's just not going to give up.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


As you can tell, I'm no Abe Lincoln (the one who blogs and takes marvelous bird photos.) but at least you can see the little yellow splotch on the seed sock.

These are the first gold finches to visit our yard in over a year. I was so pleased to see them after waiting all this time!

They are the Lesser Goldfinch. Their back is green and they have the little black hat but their front is definitely gold.

A few years ago I was feeding the birds regularly and at that time I would get as many as twenty goldfinches at a time. I had four socks with thistle seed hanging up for them.

Then one day I saw a big hawk sitting on the wall not ten feet away from the socks. He was hiding behind the bushes and I know he was looking for a meal of goldfinch. So from that day I stopped feeding the finches. Now, maybe the hawk has forgotten. I hope.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Henrietta's Story

It all began about week ago.

I hadn't seen Henrietta for day or two. That night, I was sitting at my computer which is right by the den window and it was about ten o'clock at night. Suddenly Henrietta dropped down outside the window, (I couldn't see from where), with a great fluttering of feathers and, cackling and squawking. I thought maybe she had been up on the roof and a cat was after her, or worse yet, a possum or coyote had found her roost in the olive tree. So I grabbed a broom stick which we use to put in the groove of our sliding door and went out to do battle with whatever was attacking Henrietta. By now she had arrived on the kitchen patio and was making a terrible racket. I thought the neighbors would come out to see what had happened. So I went outside but I couldn't find anything that had been chasing her. I tried to calm and quieten her down by talking softly to her. (I know, I'm a little flaky, trying to calm down a hen at 10:00 at night, with a broom stick in my hand!) After about half an hour or more of me sitting out there and she with numerous renewed bouts of clucking and squawking, she began to calm down. It seemed as though she wanted to go off the patio and presumably back to the olive tree but every time she got to the edge, away from the light of kitchen, she wouldn't go any further but turned back towards me with renewed squawking. It was now about midnight. Suddenly she flew up onto one of the patio chairs and then up to a pot of Christmas cactus that was hanging from the eaves by the door. Finally she settled down and looking very uncomfortable she began to fall asleep. Poor thing, I think she was exhausted.

I think she stayed there all night. But I didn't see her for a day or two after that. Then the same episode happened again a few days later and once again she settled in the Christmas cactus. The next night or two I peeked out and sure enough there she was, roosting in the Christmas Cactus.
I finally remembered to take a photo of her.

It certainly doesn't look very comfortable as you can see from the above picture. I think she feels safe there because no owls or other birds of prey can swoop down from above -- nor cats or whatever are prowling the roof top! I wanted to get a perch or coop or something to hang there, but MOTH says NO! (He called from Guam.)

Today she has been back around the yard again as usual, chasing the mourning doves and settling on the planter outside the den window, cozying up to Bailey.

Nap Time

I thought this would be a good time to take a photo of my own jacaranda tree today, since I don't think it will get any fuller than this.

Watch this Space...

Watch this space for more of Henrietta's escapades -- Coming Soon!
Been working too hard, too long on the PC. Give me a day and I'll be back -- and so will Henrietta!


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Post Office Corner

This is my latest miniature. It is taken from a photograph of what is known as Post Office Corner, Flamborough Village. Can you imagine a double-decker bus coming out of that narrow street and turning the corner to stop just past where the man is standing?!!! But it did, several times a day. And I rode it to and from school every day. It lurched and swayed its way around the corner and several others in the high street. The top of the bus was as high as the upstairs windows of the houses. The post office is actually the shop where the horses head is and the other shop at the bus stop is a newsagents. It carries newspapers, magazines a few books and trinkets, various kinds of soft drinks and of course, sweets (candies). I think it is called "The Tuck Shop" today. The photo from which I copied this was taken about the 1920's, but the shops haven't changed. The field where the horses are is now a small park or green area, with flowers. The shops were made from the white chalk limestone of the area. These horses are the large cart horses the farmers used, something like a Belgian horse -- a work horse. Very heavy and sturdy.