Sunday, July 26, 2009

Blue bird update

Wednesday, July 22nd our baby blue bird flew the coop. Al checked the nest in the morning and he was there. When I got home from work he was gone. Evidently he's hanging out in the cherry tree by the nest box as mama and dad are close by.

It was day 17 for him.

We saw him yesterday with mama and dad. You could tell him because he had a little trouble landing on a wire and his tail is so SHORT!.. Guess he's still ok

Our Brown Thrashers have all left. It seems they come in late spring, have their babies and leave until next year. Tina had 2 successful nests this year and the third was started but something took the eggs. Probably a snake.

Al got a new lawnmower today. It's a Troybuilt with a Honda motor. We use the zero turn Grasshopper mostly but he needs something small for the pond area and the trim. It's always something

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cool weather!

It was in the low 90's during the day but we had a nice breeze and it the humidity wasn't stifling.

We called and got a "burn permit" and decided it was a good day to burn some yard debris. Living on 11 acres means there is always yard debris. We're constantly trimming something and of course that has to be disposed of. We initially piled the debris on the trailer and hauled it to dump but that is way too much work for the huge amount of waste we have.

Anyway, when we had the hurricane shelter put in they dug us a burn pit. Unfortunately it's sometimes full of water after a heavy rain.

Al burned a lot of waste and I worked on mowing. We then did a little work on the motorhome. I brought my book, Eclipse up and read a while. It was pretty cool and I got a wild hair to "camp" in the RV. We have such a nice RV site fixed up now it's a shame to waste it. Al wasn't too excited because he figured he would have a problem setting up satellite signal so we could bring the TIVO box. Since we got the new dish, we aren't having any problem picking up the signal and we even get local channels. I guess our old dish was outdated and no one told us.

We brought Squeaky with us, fixed spam sandwiches, watched TV and opened the RV windows and turned off the air. It was a little cold this morning. We put on sweatshirts and long sleeves! According the the news it was in the low 60's. What a wonderful thing for July. We loved sleeping with a cool breeze blowing in at us.

We're going to do it again tonight!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cacuzza Squash

One of Al's pest control customers gave him some seeds from the Cacuzza squash. He planted them along the barbed wire fence. They are large squash and need good support. The plants grew fast and appeared healthy but when the little squash first started they kept turning brown and falling off. The plant appeared healthy so we didn't understand what the problem was. We knew they did well in Tampa so decided maybe they liked more water. That seems to have done the trick as they are now growing very well. They get 2-3 feet long and must weigh over 5 pounds.

This one is too small. They grow several inches a day so it'll be ready to pick in a few days.

Al brought back some fresh fish from Tampa, thanks to a friend who just got back from a fishing trip. He gave us Red Snapper, Mangrove Snapper and Amberjack. We fried the fish in Panko Bread crumbs. I sliced the squash, dipped it in Vigo Italian Bread crumbs and fried it in Olive oil. It was VERY good, as was the fish. YUM.

Blue Bird nest - day 13

I just checked the nest today. The baby is fine. He is the only one that hatched. Today is day 13 since he hatched and per my book the cut off day for opening the nest box. If you open it now it may cause him to fledge early (before he is ready).

Our nest box has a plexiglass window in the side. You can open the shade and see inside but between it being dirty inside and the glare, it's hard to see well inside. I peeked inside thru the plexiglass and couldn't see him, so I was a little concerned. We have a top opening nest box, so I carefully cracked it open and saw baby inside. He's ok. According to the book he should fledge from day 14 thru 21. I'm thinking since he was the only child and well fed, he may leave earlier.

As soon as he leaves we will be able to move the motorhome to mow under it. Hate to disturb the family by moving it right now, but the grass is getting a little high!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


With summer heat in the upper 90's every day, the flowers are suffering, however there are a few that seem to thrive during the heat.

One is Vinca and of course Crape Myrtles.


Red Crepe Myrtle

Calla Lilly


Al's cucumbers (he calls them pickles) are doing well. We have canned 14 jars of pickles. Some dill and some sweet and sour. They are pretty tasty but not as crisp as we'd like. I had heard to try Alum to make them crisper, but did a websearch and found that may be a little of a health issue as this stuff is toxic. It is approved for food by the FDA but it can be toxic at relatively low levels so I guess we'll have mushy pickles.

We were told to pick the cucumbers early and can right away. That didn't help. I think our solution is to get a different type of cucumber, made specifically for pickles.

We're still picking jalapenoes, green peppers, tomatoes and eggplant. Our okra is blooming and we should be eating it in a week or so.

Al is taking 2 of his Cacuzza Squash to friends in Tampa. One is 22 inches long! They are huge. I found a website on them.. it has recipes!

Brown Thrasher

Our mama Brown Thrasher has been using the same nest for 3 years now but her luck has run out on this great nest spot. She had been sitting on her 3rd nest of the season but when we checked on the nest this morning there was nothing in it. We're sure a snake got to it. We felt so bad.

About a week ago we saw a snake in our oak tree by the front porch. He was in the process of eating a small bird. Al and I do not believe in killing snakes normally but this one was eating one of our birds...he's no longer with us. We did put the dead snake out for the hawks to feed on and someone did get it. At least the snake and the poor bird weren't wasted. Our good friend had a snake eat a baby Dove she had been watching and protecting. Carol urged us to kill the snake so he couldn't get anymore babies. It appears we may have more than one. I believe in live and let live but don't mess with my babies!

Anyway, poor Tina (Brown Thrasher) won't be having her third nest this year.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Blue Bird story...continuation

There were 4 eggs. One hatched. Two days ago we looked inside and saw one egg with a chip out of it. We figured the baby was getting ready to break out. We checked later in the day and nothing had changed. Al checked yesterday and the entire egg was gone, baby and all. We figured something must have happened to the baby and Mom and Dad removed it. There was NO trace of anything and we are sure nothing got into the nest because the first baby is there, fine and growing like crazy. We then noticed that baby one's shell was not in the nest. Mom and Dad must remove the shell to keep it clean. How interesting.

We now have 1 baby and 2 eggs. There is the chip out of another egg. We'll check tomorrow to see if we have another baby. Hope this one is all right.

July 14th:

Still one baby hatched and 2 eggs. I guess they aren't going to hatch. The baby sure is growing fast. He seems kind of lazy, always sleeping when we peek inside the box. I guess he doesn't get a chance to get hungry since he's the only child.

He hatched on July 6th. This is a picture on July 13th. He was 7 days old. How he has changed!

We have checked and double checked our baffle and wire netting. We want to make sure no snakes can get to him. His little nest seems dry and bug free. We are concerned about the heat inside the nest but he seems to be doing ok so far.

Carolina Wrens

Our resident Carolina Wrens (Nancy) hatched another nest in our barn. Al discovered the nest in an open box. They fledged 2 days ago. We were waiting to see if Mom Nancy would have them spend the night in our flower baskets on our front porch. She did and appears to be following her pattern that she does with all of her babies. They fledge, she brings them to the oak tree in the front and at night just before dark you can hear her calling them. She is VERY loud. They come when called and then the babies sit on the porch railing for a minute or so then fly up into the flower baskets where they spend the night. Mama and Daddy don's spend the night there. This is the 3rd summer we have seen this very same behavior. We just looked out when we heard Nancy calling them. We saw a bird that was very obviously a baby, sitting on the railing. He made an attempt to get into the basket but overshot the landing site and went into the oak tree. I have no doubt he and his brother/sister will end up there tonight. Couldn't get a photo because I left the camera in the golf cart in the garage.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Blue Birds

Our youngsters from the first nest of the year have grown up and made a nest of their own.  The first baby bird hatched on July 6th.  I wondered how a bird could be inside those small eggs.  Today I found out.  I opened the nest box and one of the 4 eggs had hatched.  The baby was curled up just as if he was still inside the egg.  I guess he hadn’t gotten around to stretching his legs out yet.  He was curled up just exactly as he must have been inside the egg  He was so small and bald.  I didn’t try to take a picture as mama was getting a little upset.

This morning  we checked the nest again and here is what we found.  This is day 2 for the baby and the other 3 eggs have not hatched.

2nd day after hatching, hungry

Blue bird 2nd day after hatching





Notice the faint feathers from his wing?  It looks more like hair.

Tallahassee Tea Party

We felt we should do our part to protest the enormous spending, stimulus packages, health care reform and the Cap and Trade bill, so we made our way into Tallahassee on the 4th of July.  The Tea Party wasn’t too well attended but a LOT of people showed their support by honking as they drove by.  I think the extremely hot weather scared a lot of people away.  It almost did us, but once we got there we found a nice breeze under the shade of the large oak trees.  

There were several speakers, one an 11 year old girl who was amazing.  If she doesn’t enter politics I would be surprised.  Her name was Sara but I can’t remember her last name.







It was a peaceful and inspirational day.