Tuesday, February 28, 2012

BAD NEWS

2012 Eagle Cam Web Log
February 27, 2012
Our latest news from the nest is that the surviving chick did not make it, so we lost both chicks to what appeared to be an eagle intruder. We've seen individual adults leaving the nest on and off, but it's not clear which adults have been visiting.
We know it's sad to lose the second eaglet, but since there's a good chance the chick was injured, we think it was a merciful thing that it did not survive, especially if the parents are dealing with another eagle around the nest.
Some of you who were with us during the 2004-2005 season remember Craig Koppie, a raptor expert with the U.S. Fish and Wildife Service. He was the one who helped deal with the George and Martha eagle drama at the Wilson Bridge and other raptor events in the Washington DC area. He's also the person who climbed our Eagle Cam nest in 2005 to take one of our chicks to Vermont for the eagle restoration project in that state.
The staff at Blackwater Refuge have asked Craig to review the video and stills and offer a biologist's opinion about what might have happened at our nest. We're waiting to hear if Craig will have time to take on this task, but we're hoping he does, since he's familiar with eagle aggression and how these types of incidents are increasing as the bald eagle population grows and eagles are vying for prime nesting spots and mates.
We've decided to keep the cam offline for just a bit longer. We will be bringing it online again soon, but we hope you'll understand our decision. We do have a good bit of news in that we're being allowed back into our old PC room this week (the room that was damaged by the rain), which means we should be able to bring the Osprey Cam online soon.
Cam watchers have asked if we think our eagle couple might lay more eggs this season. It's rather late in the season for new eggs, so we don't expect them to produce any more at this time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

EAGLE BABIES

Just a quick update... just caught a couple cool pics of the babies having breakfast this morning.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FIRST GARDEN UPDATE FOR 2012

FIRST GARDEN UPDATE FOR THE YEAR!!!! Can you imagine? At 72 degrees today, I could not stand it any longer... I have cleaned out the Pea Patch. Frank pounded in a couple metal fence posts for me and the strings are up. I am tired of rotting wood posts, and amazingly the metal posts cost less than wood when you figure they won't have to be replaced in 2 years. But best of all, the weeds are pulled (mostly turnip greens) and the onion bed is clean and ready for the onion sets I bought last week. Sweets. Then, since I was already in the same area, I cleaned up the small asparagus bed and the strawberry patch. Figured I might as well, I will be too "stove-up" tomorrow to do it anyway, plus, I was already sitting on the ground (not intentionally) so I might as well keep pulling. Once I managed to get up, I was not going back down... 'course, the trick was getting back up!

It was, or is, difficult to remember it is February. The daffodils are blooming. The forsythia is showing color. The roses have their baby leaves... sigh.
The birds are starting to make their nesting sounds... seeing and hearing robins don't mean much. I have a small flock that winter here. They have had an easy winter. The snow geese are on the move again - huge flocks have been flying over. When I say huge, I am talking thousands Really. They make so much noise, it is easy to keep track of them. The ponds are snow white, some of the fields are white... I am not a farmer, so I think it is beautiful. I understand not everyone feels this way. But they don't eat any of my crops. If I had to worry about that, one goose would clean up my garden in short order! But, It feeds us... and I still find it exciting to go out in the yard and pick something I am going to eat for lunch or dinner... or pick berries for my cereal. No chemicals, not even any chemical fertilizers, and my cow manure comes from field grazed cows... remember? Like they used to do? Cows in the pasture? What a novel idea. Home grown food. Not crap from China or some other country with worse rules than we have, and folks, we have bad rules when you consider GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and tons of chemical fertilizers. If you are close to my age, you will have noticed food just doesn't taste like you remember it from when you were a kid, does it? Even many of the tomatoes from farm markets taste like cardboard these days. Why? They have been genetically modified so they look prettier, grow bigger, ripen faster... Didja ever notice cherry tomatoes are sweeter than regular tomatoes? The goal is not to take all that flavor and stretch it into a huge tomato, so it is sweeter. Now the big thing is grape tomatoes. They grow fast, are harvested in weeks, and have tough skins so they can stand rough treatment without bruising. But how do they taste to you? Lots of chemicals in those tiny red things.

I am keeping my eye on the weather forecast. Mid 70s tomorrow, but probably rain. If I can move and it doesn't rain, I will get another area ready. Then Sunday, highs in the mid 40s.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

THANKS, I NEEDED THAT

THIS HAS BEEN one of those days... on top of several other days. Been too busy for my body to be happy, and this morning started out cold and out doors, down at the Train Station talking to a mason about a little more work... then discussing what we are going to do inside... you can keep up with the goings on at the station on the SPOTS blog. Anyway, I got home, cold, tired from working in the woods the past 3 days, and had to deal with 6 phone calls... more work... more scheduling. Tell me again, why do they call this retirement? oh, right... I was tired of working, and now I am re-tired all over again. duh.

Anyway, I finally got to checking my non-urgent emails... and my dear neighbor sent me a laugh or two. Thought I would share them with you! (with apologies to blondes, rednecks and idiots...)

Different Ways Of Looking At Things

Two guys were discussing popular family trends in sex, marriage, and family values. Bill said, “I didn't sleep with my wife before we got married, did you?” Larry replied, “I'm not sure, what was her maiden name?”

A little boy went up to his father and asked, “Dad, where did my intelligence come from?” The father replied. “Well, son, you must have got it from your mother, cause I still have mine.”

A doctor examining a woman who had been rushed to the Emergency Room, took the husband aside, and said, “I don't like the looks of your wife at all.” “Me neither, doc,” said the husband. “But she's a great cook and really good with the kids.”

An old man goes to the Wizard to ask him if he can remove a curse he has been living with for the last 40 years. The Wizard says, “Maybe, but you will have to tell me the exact words that were used to put the curse on you.” The old man says without hesitation, “I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Two Reasons Why It's So Hard To Solve A Redneck Murder:
1. The DNA all matches.
2. There are no dental records.

A blonde calls Delta Airlines and asks, “Can you tell me how long it'll take to fly from San Francisco to New York City?” The agent replies, “Just a minute.” “Thank you,” the blonde says, and hangs up.

Two Mexican detectives were investigating the murder of Juan Gonzalez. “How was he killed?” asked one detective. “With a golf gun,” the other detective replied. “A golf gun! What is a golf gun?” “I don't know. But it sure made a hole in Juan.”

Moe: “My wife got me to believe in religion.”
Joe: “Really?”
Moe: “Yeah. Until I married her I didn't believe in hell.”

A man is recovering from surgery when the Surgical Nurse appears and asks him how he is feeling. “I'm O. K. But I didn't like the four letter-words the doctor used in surgery,” he answered. “What did he say,” asked the nurse. “Oops!”

While shopping for vacation clothes, my husband and I passed a display of bathing suits. It had been at least ten years and twenty pounds since I had even considered buying a bathing suit, so I sought my husband's advice. “What do you think?” I asked. “Should I get a bikini or an all-in-one?” “Better get a bikini,” he replied. “You'd never get it all in one.” He's still in intensive care.

The graveside service just barely finished, when there was a massive clap of thunder, followed by a tremendous bolt of lightning, accompanied by even more thunder rumbling in the distance... The little old man looked at the pastor and calmly said, “Well, she's there.”

AN EASTERN SHORE SNOW!

AH, YES, THIS IS MY kind of snow. Here for breakfast, gone by lunch. Fun to see, exciting coming down, little kids go to bed dreaming of making snow men, snow puppies, snow anything... but, well, it was more like thick slush. Way too wet to pack into anything. The water content was .67 inches, so we did get a good amount of wet-stuff, but with the temps never getting below 35 degrees, most of it melted as soon as it hit. These are white camellias on the bush to the right. If we had had today's temps with that snow, we would have had 2-3 inches of white stuff waiting for us. It is 29 right now. (Supposed to make it up to 70 by Thurs!) It did bring a load of birds to the feeders and brought this little fellow back to the redbud. See the snow on the branch???? Look carefully or you will miss it! BTW, this posting is just for certain people who asked to see our great snow!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

FOOL PROOF!

THE BEST $108 I EVER INVESTED had to have been this chain saw. For one thing, it is FOOL PROOF! Which is a good thing since I have been known to hurt myself with tools. This saw comes apart, each section being 4 feet in length. Here I have assembled 2 sections, the third or middle section is on the top shelf of my potter's bench. This saw runs on a battery pack that goes in the handle end, so the blade part is always at least 8 feet away from the hand holding down the run button. That way the user cannot possibly cut off their own toes! It is up to you to stay out of my reach! The chain part is only 8 inches, so one is limited to cutting a branch or tree 4 inches or under. Now how much trouble can one get into with something that skinny? (I am still doing research...) The unassembled saw fits in a neat black canvas bag and the screw driver/allen-wrench fits in the chain shield. These are 7 foot doors, to verify the size of the saw as I usually use it. I am not comfortable with the 12 foot length, tho' I have used it. My problem is not that I am a Klutz... but that I have problems understanding limitations. Maybe it is because I grew up as the only girl for miles in a neighborhood of boys. If they could do it, so could I! As a kid, my step-father always made me help him do things. I learned about making mistakes by watching him rip up more than he fixed. When I lived with my father, he made me help him do things, and with a Master's in Mechanical Engineering, he did not make as many mistakes, and he was a good teacher. He taught me not to be afraid to try things. For example, he made me rotate the tires on my first car before he would turn the keys over to me. That way he knew I would be able to change a tire if I had to - and I had to change more than one! He knew I could not call im and have him help me out as he was seldom in this country, let alone close enough to change a tire for me. 'Course, now I am too old and have no idea how to even get to the so called spare tire. Oh well.
The woods I needed to thin out has grown thick with little trees, honey suckle, VA Creeper and green briars. In another month there will be a fine crop of poison ivy, too. My goal is to get this clean enough to walk thru. So I used my saw to cut down anything small enough for me to cut, and get someone else to cut down the slightly bigger stuff. I want the pine trees to come back in this area, and they are few and far between. So... pile #1... Remember, that saw is 8 feet long, so this pile of little trees is over 7 feet high. Now on pile#1, it doesn't look like much until you notice, some of these trees with a 2 and 3 inch diameter are 20 to 30 feet long! Most of them I had to cut in half just to move them to the pile.... Pile #2...is badly piled... too many trees I should have cut kept getting in my way. It was an unplanned pile, but really high, long and deep. I planned on going back and cutting the few trees holding the pile in place and restacking the trees, but it actually started to sleet. Needless to say, I quit. Besides, I was getting cold. I hate sweating and freezing at the same time, but I am really pushing my body to do this stuff. However, I am determined to be as independent as I can be. I have learned there are not many folks that can be depended on... not even the folks that supposedly make a living doing this kind of work... or the folks that beg for small jobs. So, if I can stand and walk, I will keep at it. Do not remind me that a woman of 68 is not supposed to be doing this stuff. Do not remind me of that wheelchair in the barn.
This is almost what I want it to look like... a few more hours, someone with a bigger saw... another day with the new blade weed-whacker. The string type will not cut thru these vines. That little pile in the middle of this picture is pile #1, so you can see a little bit of how much area I cleaned out This is about half of it. It is raining harder now and is mixed with ice pellets... supposed to turn to snow tonight. That will be good as a nice heavy snow will compact those piles and also show me all the little stuff I missed because of the leaves. Lets just hope we don't have an ice storm because someone always gets hurt. But, a nice clean snow will be good. Actually, I am excited as this was impenetrable last summer. When I get done, I am going to transplant a couple dozen camellias into this area. I want to turn it into a Meditation Garden...

Going back to the price, 3 years ago of $108... when I think of what I pay someone else to do the heavier stuff I can't do at $10 or $12.50 an hour, I have saved a fortune by doing so much for myself.

And a BIG thanks Frank (spaceflighter) for helping me get the chain back on the saw and tightening everything. It took 3 hands and a better brain than mine. 'Course, if I read the instructions, I might have discovered that tension screw... duh. I have been blessed with wonderful neighbors!

THANKS FRANK!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

EAGLE UPDATE

PROGRESS!?
02/18/12:In this shot from Saturday morning, it appears there is still a hole in the bottom egg, but the chick hasn't made much progress. Also, on Friday night our father brought the mother a rabbit dinner, which would also indicate that the parents heard a chick coming.

I sure do hope these links will open for you. Mama is still sitting and looking around... Come visit at:
http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm2.html

Monday, February 13, 2012

MY HERD

WELL, THAT IS WHAT a number of my neighbors call them... Just because they LIVE here, sleep here, have their babies here in my woods, and terrorize people driving past here too fast... really doesn't make them mine. Does it? I was reminded of the wash tub of water I keep out during droughts and the deicer I keep in the ground level birdbath so they can drink when everything else is frozen. Just because I buy bags of apples for them... doesn't mean I OWN them. Anyway, today I saw them visiting across the street. There were 13 in all. I grabbed my camera and tried to stay behind my bushes, (can you see them?) but they got freaked anyway and headed across the street into my woods. How many did you count? Ya gotta look really carefully.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

FIRST CROCUS

WE HAVE HAD an extremely mild winter here, so far, at any rate. The ground got dusted with a little snow once or twice - if you slept in late, you missed it! That is part of what I love about the Eastern Shore. One snow fall per winter to satisfy that need to see the white beauty of Ma Nature and that is enough... but not enough snow to have to drive in it. Works for me! Anyway, it has been a very mild winter, as I said. The first crocus is up and blooming. The daffodils are about to show color. And the forecast is for some cold weather ahead. And "It always snows on the daffodils!" So we shall see. But that is OK, I need to stay inside and get some cleaning done. However, the garden catalogs are rolling in... sigh... so I spend my time planning, itching to go buy some lumber and make myself another stand-uppity garden, skinnier but deeper. Maybe 2 of them, one each for my onions and carrots. Maybe another 4x4 to transplant my strawberries into... Where will I put my tomatoes this year? The cucumbers...
It may be chilly outside, but my brain is thinking SPRING IS HERE!

Monday, February 06, 2012

TWO EGGS (over easy!)

A number of you have asked if we have any eagles this year... the answer is yes, in fact, quite a few it seems. At Blackwater, we even have 2 eggs... saw the Mama roll them over, real easy this morning. Unfortunately, I canNOT get the picture to post in blogger - but if you really want a copy, let me know. I have it in my email. Go figure.
OR, you can visit http://www.friendsofblackwater.org/camhtm2.html and keep track of them yourself!
Happy birding!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

TODAY'S MEETING with TIM KAINE

FORMER GOVERNOR TIM KAINE came to town today... we had a Meet and Greet lunch at the Sage in Exmore. He met with a packed house - not even standing room! The intro speaker was Senator Ralph Northam. Kaine is running for Senate. Governors are allowed only one term here in VA - otherwise the man would still be in office! Tim and Frank Moore, DemCom president for Accomack County. Tim and Luz, the liason with the Hispanic community; with A┼čir; Tim, guess who, Luz, and Ralph.