Sunday, November 30, 2008

Out of the Garden

While Thanksgiving day was opened by a big blazing sun we weren't so lucky with the weather today.
Today we almost decided to stay at home due to the foggy conditions. We also had some rain this morning to add to the miserable conditions.
While we didn't think we were going to be lucky enough to see much of anything at our usual birding area things did start to reveal themselves to us. There were the usual Great Blue Herons. We usually can't get too close to them but with the fog almost acting as a blind we did get fairly close to some of them. I thought this made an interesting shot. Even the huge rafts of Mallards let us get close to them. Of course as soon as they realized we were so near they all took off.
One of the most interesting sights we saw today was, no not thise lovely little coot but one of its own being devoured by an adult Bald Eagle. Unfortunately when we got close enough to see what was happening we were unable to get a picture because the Eagle took off with its breakfast dangling from its talons.
All that was left behind were the feathers that the Eagle had been plucking. As we went around the SW end of the area we bird to an area we don't hit every week we were thrilled to find 8, no not 8 tiny reindeer, 8 huge Whooping Cranes flying through the air.I mean this is almost unheard of anyplace since these birds are still an endangered species. This area is right along the Wabash River which we suppose that the Whooping Cranes were following south.
We ran into a hunter that told us they had been in this area for 2 weeks. Some of them have radio transmitters on them and they are being monitered by every agency that has a concern for them.
There are two immatures in this group. If you enlarge one of the pictures you can see the cinnamon coloring on the juveniles. It takes a whole year for the juveniles to molt into adult plummage.
There they go into the fog. Just a magical moment seeing these birds come out of the fog into view.
I am so thankful that my DB took these wonderful pictures. I was way too excited to even think about it. I hope you all are having a good day too despite any foul weather.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Many Thanks

Luna and I were sitting out in the garden the other day thinking about all we had to be thankful for and I want to take this time to thank all of my blogger friends near and far for making my blog interesting. For without your feedback it would be a dull exercise.
We were getting a little chilly so we walked around the path and saw a splash of yellow. I was so excited to see that the Amsonia was finally turning color. I thought it would just freeze out.
I am so thankful that I got to see this last bit of color in the garden. I wanted to share it with you. I hope that if you are celebrating Thanksgiving this week that you have a happy day with family and friends. Those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving I do hope you and yours are happy and healthy too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sky watch Friday

Luna was patiently waiting for me in the truck while I went in to get my gloves. It was one of those days.
Even though the sun was shining and the skies were crystal blue there would be no swimming on this freezing Friday. The wind chill was below freezing but it was great to be out and about in the sunshine. Luna, Luna did you hear me? NO SWIMMING.
It didn't matter if you looked up river...
Or down river you didn't see a cloud in the sky. That means it will be even colder tonight. That is ok. It is late fall after all.
Happy Skywatch Friday to you all. If you want to see more sky pictures go to Skywatch Friday to see many more skies from all over.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Speaking of Friends

My DB and I have a birding friend that lives in Puerto Rico. One of his dreams was to have a family and a garden to attract birds. He is a great photographer, I mean he has had a showing of his bird photos etc. I am happy to say that his dreams are being partially met now. He married back in September and has a sweet wife and step-son. They are now living in a place that has a yard that he is turning into a garden for birds.

Obviously he didn't take these pictures. I took all of these pictures the summer of 2006. I just didn't want to bore you with repeats ya know... anyway... Lois Burns (the daylily pictured below) and I want to invite you to go to Gabriel's new blog where he is chronicling his dream.
Believe me, he has some obstacles to overcome and it will be interesting to watch his progress. I know that he would appreciate any and all encouragement. There will be a Royal Celebration (name of daylily below) when he is able to start posting his lovely pictures of birds in a beautiful garden. His first language is Spanish but he also posts in English. I hope you have a few minutes to encourage him occasionally. Maybe you would know what to do with 300 coconuts. ??
Buenos dias Amigos.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Out of the Garden - Christkindlmarkt

When we got up and about today I found that there was a thin coat of ice on the bird bath. Brrrrrrr I really didn't mind because it put me in the mood for what we had planned today. We went to a feastival in Ferdinand, Indiana called Christkindlmarkt. I am not one that usually goes to these types of events but I couldn't resist this one. Oh yes, it had the typical small town entertainment. The darling children's choir performed as well as a group of violin players. There was a nationally renouned marionette group performing. Of course the big draw was all the christmas decor. Not only that but this community was created by German immigrants. Some of them were my ancestors and I still have family that live in the area.
While I enjoyed the German foods , christmas trappings and the charming entertainment I really went to see the booth set up by my friend Patricia. She is a milliner. Millinery is an almost lost art form. Women don't wear hats as they once did, yet it seems that in this day and age there is a small contingent of women that still like to wear hats.
Since Patricia's children are out of college and have their own lives she has pursued her dream of being a milliner. She has been to Chicago and other places taking classes from women that are world renounded for their hat making. She knows what she is doing.
She usually goes down South to peddle her hats at juried Art Shows. Every one of her hats is hand made and no two are alike. She was invited to enter this show and decided to enter this show because it was so close to where we live.
It is such fun to be able to go to where she is selling her hats. Seeing her hard work fly out of the booth in its own little hat box. Ladies just delighted to find a quality hat that fits just right. She makes everything from tams to big picture hats.
She makes hats to match wedding attire or any other special occasion. All custom fit of course. If you have been to the Kentucky Derby or watch it on tv I am sure you have seen some of her creations there.
When she goes to a show she makes hats that she thinks will entice the community of women to buy. Of course you never know just what will sell at a new venue. So she had quite a few different styles and colors.
I took close up pictures of several that I particularly liked. We got there sort of at the end of the event so there wasn't as much of a variety in hats left in stock.
Of course I am not being paid by her to put this on my blog. I just had such a good time at the markt and I think her art form is so interesting I thought I would share it with you. I am so proud of her for following her dream to be a milliner.
I get excited when I see a large grouping of her work because I see them in all phases of creation. From being cut out on the work table, blocking, steaming, seaming, decorating and of course...
I can't resist a new hat from time to time.

If you would like to know more about the interesting community of Ferdinand and the Christkindlmarkt you can go here. Or if you would like a new hat I could sure put you in touch with a good Milliner.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - November 2008

As you can tell by this rain gauge this great November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is a wet one for me. This is yesterdays and todays (so far) accumulation of rain. So I finally got tired of waiting to see if it would stop raining when it was convenient for me to get out to take pictures and I went with umbrella in one hand and camera in the other.

Not much blooming out here after two heavy frosts and all this rain and cool weather. The pussy willow bush is all confused. It is opening some of its catkins. It thought all this rain meant spring had arrived I guess. Poor little puss is gonna get cold. The wind is gusting like crazy so my photos are not so good. I do apologise

I didn't realize it was so dark in front of the house. I don't think the camera liked this angle. There are a few soggy mums by the front step still haning on. The berries of the holly are prettier than the blooms.

This is the last faded bloom of the year for the CLematis Ramona out front. It is so pale but was able to survive because it is on a tendril that sneaked out from under the Spriea bush. I was sort of glad to see this valient last effort from Ramona.

Happy Garden BLoggers Bloom Day to all. If you want to see more blooms from all over the globe go to Carols May Dreams Garden. Thanks to Carol for gathering us together like a gigantic bouquet for display.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ginko Trees Performing

There is quite a show going on at the city park where we walk Luna. Even on this dreary overcast day and after almost 2 inches of rain the golden blanket the ginko trees has laid down is still beautiful.
The Ginko trees are celebrating another succcessful season of life. You can see here in the following photo the fruits of their endeavors. I have often thought of these fruits as looking like persimmons. It is too bad you can't eat them. This tree is so prolific. It must be so prolific because its mate is so close to it. The male tree is the big fat tree in the back and the female bearing all this fruit is in the foreground.The trees around the ginkos try their best to out shine the ginkos.
Even though they are quite striking in their fall finery.

It is hard to outshine this carpet of gold.
The golden yellow almost matches the color of the childrens slide in the background. Now that is some yellow.
Having one of these living fossils in your garden would be wonderful if you have room for it. You can go here to read more about it. It seems that they turn yellow and then drop their leaves all at one time. A beautiful sight. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.








Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cameras

Lisa said that there have been several bloggers asking about what cameras we are using to get our pictures so here goes.

Lisa uses a Canon PowerShot point and shoot type camera. It does the job for most of what she wants to take pictures of around the garden and around town. For some situations, she relies on me or my camera for pictures.

Mine is a Canon 350D Rebel xt DSLR (digital single-lens reflex). This is the type of camera that allows you to

interchange lenses, for those of you who don't know. I mainly use a 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens and rarely use a 400mm telephoto. Very, very rarely I also use a 2x extender lens with those, which more than doubles the power of the lens. You see the 400mm lens in the above picture. For flowers and butterflies, I use the 70-300mm lens. That does a decent job but with my old Canon Rebel film camera, I often used a 28-80mm lens with a macro feature. The macro setting allows for close focusing. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get that lens to be recognized by the digital camera even though it works fine with the film camera.
As you can see from her pictures, we sometimes set the camera on a tripod for feeder pictures to keep the camera steady. When we are "out of the garden" , however, this is usually not possible or convenient. Then the shots are hand-held. Lots of blurred pictures due to the unsteady photographer.
Let Lisa know if you would like more information. Don't want to bore you all.

DB

P.S. Don't blame DB for these awful pictures. I took them...Lisa

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Where did those birds go??

OMG...DB yelled at me to come look out the window. There was an adult Cooper's Hawk sitting on a limb in our back yard. No wonder the birds all departed. I took one photo through the patio doors. Yes, the neighbors are having new siding put on their house...
I asked DB to get his camera and take a picture. It turned around on the limb. It was looking all around. It just knew dinner was here some place.
Looking around some more. Just look at the beautiful slate colored back and its dark cap. OO oo was there movement down there? Come here little birdie. I won't hurt you...
I said come here. Don't hide in that hydrangea. I can see you sneaking out the other side.
The Cooper's walked several feet around the bushes. Poking its head in every once in awhile. The poor thing departed with empty talons. Too bad. We have plenty of House Sparrows to spare.