Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gas Explosion

We were at the bank this morning before my dentist appointment and noticed an ambulance speeding by with alarms going.

I got to my dentist office and was told that a 34 year old man in town was killed in a gas line explosion.  The local tv station said he was on a back hoe and hit a buried gas line.  It appears it caused a flash fire.  While still at the dentist a man came asking if this guy was a patient, as they needed his dental records.  This poor guy went to work just like he did every day and I'm sure never expected anything like this.  There was another gas line accident last week in a nearby town and it was reported the gas line was only 3-4 inches underground.  That doesn't seem too safe to me.  They were saying something about erosion bringing them close to the surface.  I don't know, but it's a tragedy.

We are enjoying the cool weather today.  We have the air-conditioner turned off for the first time in months and it's lovely!  What a difference a day makes. It was 59 degrees when we got up this morning.  We haven't seen the 50's for a long time and it sure felt nice.

Al is out mowing around the motor home.  It's really too nice to stay inside....but unfortunately, I have house work to do.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Busy Week

Today is rest day.

We've had an extremely busy week with two home showings, and a garage sale, and all that goes with it.

We are finally getting some very much needed rain.  Our grass is getting very brown.  The good thing about a drought is the grass grows slower, but the bad thing is the ugly brown color.  Since we're trying to sell the house, we want green.

We currently have the entire 11+ acres mowed!  All at one time!  That's a rarity for us, and something usually only reserved for company!  I finally finished up the pasture yesterday.

We have a bunch of hummingbirds and they are chasing each other all over the place.  Al was in the golf cart the other day and one flew between his chest and the steering wheel.  That's a little close!

No sign of our foxes so we fear the worst.  We have still been seeing one raccoon though and when he's cute enough, he gets fed.  He's pretty cute!

Al found an interesting item in his shed yesterday, in a old squirrel nest he was tearing down.  I haven't had a chance to get a picture yet, but will do so soon.  We couldn't believe it.

I am still planning on keeping up this blog until we sell the house and become full time rv'ers, but unfortunately nothing much has been happening around here lately.  We have no garden planted and my summer flowers have about had it.  It'll be a while before we start getting any real fall color.

Right now we are monitoring the hurricanes/tropical storms in the Gulf.  When they get into the Gulf, we have to start to worry.  So far, so good.

Al is watching the Buccaneer's  play (and already doing a lot of yelling) and I'm planning to stay away and watch a movie in the bedroom!  It's the safest place to be during a football game :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Snakes and Armadillo's

Al got home from Tampa Friday night, tired and glad to be home.  I made him help me with the garage sale Saturday morning but his heart wasn't in it, so we closed up shop early, did some shopping, then came home for a nice long nap!  Hey, he was tired and I needed to keep him company!

About 7pm last night, I finally decided to get outside and start mowing.  I had to wait until then for the temperature to fall below 90!  Once I got started, it was nice with the breeze hitting me.  I ended up getting the entire main front yard done.  Of course there is still the "front front", the "Bluebirdy meadow" front, the in the woods front, and the side front, but the "main" front was done!  I felt like I had accomplished something.  I didn't do any mowing while Al was gone, so I'm behind!

While mowing, I kept thinking about what we were told about the Rattle Snakes being on the move, as I sit on the rider with flip flops on!  I am waiting for one to jump up at me!  It was getting pretty dark by the time I was finishing up and I actually came across a snake.  It was a small one, and I don't know what kind it was.  I almost ran over him, twice.  I think it may have been the same one (or a sibling of) the one Al saw earlier in the day.  The one I saw ended up going towards the woods, so that is okay. The one Al saw was close to the house, so that's not okay!

We have also been seeing evidence of an Armadillo that is tearing up the yard.

This was a borrowed picture, but this is what we're dealing with.  They dig holes in the ground, looking for insects.  We think one has been burrowing a hole under one of our sheds.  I guess he's looking for a place to spend the winter.  I sure found a lot of freshly dug holes in the yard though.

Today is football day (for Al) this afternoon, more mowing and then we're going to start watching season 3 of Dexter.  We just got season 4 as well, so we have a lot to catch up on.  If you haven't watched the Dexter series its really a terrific show.  The story line is about a guy who is a serial killer, but he only kills the really bad people, but there is a twist!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Mystery Solved

Yesterday afternoon, I finally decided I needed to investigate where the tree cutting was coming from.  I started to worry that someone on the other side of our woods was cutting down trees that might ruin our wonderful privacy.  Our property is surrounded on 3 sides by woods, but our property only goes just so far into those woods.  If someone decided to clear the woods right up to our property line, it might not be good.

There is a little gravel road that goes beside our property, so that's where I started first.  It sounded like the cutting was coming from up that way.  I drove up there and found nothing and of course the tree cutting had stopped at that time, so I couldn't follow the sounds.

I then headed another direction, and found the source of the sounds I have been hearing for days.  It turns out there appears to be a large planted pine forest in there that had gotten extremely overgrown, and that's what they were clearing. They weren't cutting down the pine trees (at least that I could see), but they were clearing out the undergrowth.  Phew!  I don't know how far back that property goes, or if it comes near our place.  When Al gets back home, we'll have to go check it out more.  I was glad they had waited until after the bird nesting season has ended.

South Georgia is known for pine forests, good hunting and mild winters..  This used to be the place for the rich northerners to spend their winters.  Many visitors stayed in the fancy hotels, but many bought land and plantations.  The northerners changed them into winter residences, spent a lot of money on them, and changed this area forever. They built elaborate houses and stables.  There are over 70 plantations here today that cover over 300,000 acres.  Many of these plantations are now owned by large corporations who use them as executive retreats and hunting lodges.  There are only a few that the average person can visit.  One of them is Pebble Hill Plantation and it is an amazing place.  We took a tour of it a few years ago.  It has had some notable guests visit in its day, including Jimmy Carter, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  Jackie Kennedy came to this area after her husband was assassinated. Many of the plantations host famous people for hunting trips on horseback, and I understand  Quail hunting is very popular.  Rumor has it that VP Dick Chaney comes here frequently to hunt.  It's all kept very private though.  One of the sayings I heard when we first got here which I found interesting is:     "they come from plantation money."    Anyway, that's the history of the pine forests in south Georgia.  Once the Florida was discovered and the railroad got down there, the rich northerners deserted Georgia for Florida.  I have to agree...the weather in Florida is much better in the winter!

This morning, I awoke to a nice 63 degree temperature again!  If it would just not get to hot in the afternoons!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fall is Coming?

I got up this morning to an outside temperature of 63 degrees!  It’s been a long time since we’ve seen it that cool here in Georgia!  We’re not looking forward to cold weather, but we sure do like it here in the fall.

Last year we went camping quite a bit starting the end of September and I’d really like to do it again this year, but I don’t think we’ll be able to. With the house on the market, we really need to stay here, have garage sales and get rid of more stuff.    We’ve been selling quite a bit of small stuff at the garage sales, but I really need to tackle some of the more expensive things, like the china, silver, and Al’s big ole wood splitter.  It might be the right time of year to sell the wood splitter.  It was one of those toys he just had to have and really didn’t use much.  Of course, he would compare my treadmill and ultra glide to that, so I’ll probably not mention that!

Somewhere up the hill and nearby it sounds like someone is cutting down trees…a lot of them.  We've been hearing it for the past several days.  Wonder what’s going on?    I may need to take a ride and see what I can find. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blue Shoes and Rattle Snakes

The Realtor sent the "sign guy" back out to put up a second for sale sign on our property.  He told us that this is the season Rattle Snakes start to look for holes to spend the winter.  He said they are out and he's seen and killed quite a few on his property lately.  He was warning us to be careful.

Every year, in January there is a "Rattle Snake Roundup" nearby.  It's a little festival that attracts all kinds of people.  We went the first year we were here.  Yes, there were a lot of snakes.  They of course kill the snakes, after milking their venom.  Although not a snake lover, I do believe animals are put here for a reason and I don't know how I feel about it. 

I copied the following information about the procedures for capturing the snakes.  I do not approve of this method or gathering snakes as it also kills anything else that's in the hole.

Typically, 300-600 rattlesnakes are collected annually for Georgia rattlesnake roundups, but some years have yielded more than 1,000 snakes. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes make up the vast majority of the collected snakes, although a small number of timber rattlesnakes are also entered. The standard method for collecting snakes is to dig them 
Courtesy of John B. Jensen, Georgia Department of Natural Resources

out of gopher tortoise burrows or force them out by introducing gasoline fumes through an inserted garden hose. Both methods are harmful—and often fatal—to the tortoise and other burrow inhabitants.

 I certainly don't want any poisonous snakes running around our property and I can understand why people with outside animals and children want to kill them.  I don't think we'll be killing any Rattle Snakes...hopefully we won't find any. I'd be afraid of getting bitten.  One year when Al was gone, I was walking up to the mailbox and saw some sort of large snake sunning himself on the driveway up by the mail box, which is a long way from the house.  I had been looking upwards in the trees checking out the blooms, and almost didn't see him.  I think it may have been a Rattle Snake.  Al saw one last year near the same area. Hopefully if there are any, they will stay in the woods and not by the house.

- - - - -

Al has been having problems with his feet for the past year or two.  It started with pain in his heels and then on to the entire bottom of his feet.  He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Plantar Fascitis.  He got injections in his heels but unfortunately still has problems.  We have to find soft soled shoes for him.  He has a pair of croc-like shoes he got at Walmart that have worked well.  When we went to the consignment shop last week to collect some of our unsold items, I found a pair of powder blue Crocs for $4.  They fit so we bought them, despite the fact that they look a little feminine!

How do you like his pretty blue shoes?

He says they are really comfortable and he likes them better than the ones he has from Walmart.  He just has to be careful that he doesn't accidentally wear them away from the house!  Of course he's already gotten black paint on them, but we don't really care...maybe a little more black paint would help them!  I'm going to order him another pair in a nice brown.  Although I really don't think Crocs are the best looking shoes, when you have problems with your feet, comfort is the main thing.

Our weather has heated back up again, and we're up to 98 or so every day.  Our cooler weather was short lived.  We woke up this morning to 75 degrees...a bad sign of what is to come!  We badly need some rain.  The grass is starting to get brown and that's not what you want to see when you're trying to sell your house.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Salad Spinner aka Yankee Squirrel Flipper

In my post yesterday I mentioned the bird feeder we used to have that  we called the "salad spinner."

We used it at our house in Tampa, because we had a small yard and there was no place to put a feeder where the squirrels couldn't jump from either a tree, fence or pool cage to get at it.

This Droll Yankee Squirrel Flipper was the ticket!  It's a little expensive but I'm telling you....it worked!  It has a rechargeable battery.  There is a ring where the smaller birds can perch and eat.  If a squirrel lands on this perch, it spins them right off!  We watched one or two squirrels try it, spin off and give up!  After that, none of them bothered it, although we wanted them to so we could laugh at them. We got it at Wild Birds Unlimited.  They had the cutest video showing a squirrel making numerous unsuccessful attempts at getting into this feeder.  It was hilarious.  I couldn't find the video I had remembered, but here is another one I found, here.  It's not as funny as the original one, but still shows hot the spinner works!

Since we have a much larger yard here in Georgia we can put the feeders far enough away from anything the squirrel can jump from.  Our most successful squirrel proof feeder is this one.

It has a platform type feeder on the top that even ground feeding birds like Dove's can get into.  The baffle makes it impossible for squirrels to climb it.  We tried a pole feeder without the baffle and they climbed right up it without any problem.  We tried greasing the pole, but you had to grease it daily.  It was fun watching the little buggars try to climb the pole and then slide down though!  This feeder works well and is fairly  inexpensive.  You just have to place it at least 8 feet from anywhere a squirrel can jump from.  In some yards that is not possible.  We have two of these feeders and never had any problem!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Squirrel Wars

Al is waging the age old battle of the squirrels...and losing!

We have a birdfeeder that is hanging from a tree branch from a thin plastic wire that is about 5-6  feet long. You'd think that long of a wire would deter the squirrels, right? Think again. They shimmy right down the wire into the feeder that has two baffles on it.  This feeder worked well at keeping them at bay, for a few years, but lately they learned how to beat the system,  and Al is losing the war.

The squirrels have learned to climb down the wire and if they are very careful, they can stretch over the top of the two baffles and get inside the feeder.  Sometimes they make it, sometimes they fall off, but they keep coming back and eating the birdseed.

On top of eating the birdseed, the little buggars were chewing on the hard plastic baffle.  You can tell they didn't like it!

Al finally decided he'd "fix them", and he put another metal baffle over the top of the other two baffles.

You can see how far down it is hanging from the tree branch.

You can see the dark colored metal baffle over the top of the two other baffles.  It appeared to be working and Al would go out and laugh as the squirrels would try to get inside the feeder platform, and fall off.  He thought he had won the war.......and he was gloating!  I knew that was a bad idea.

Well guess what?  Yup, they figured it out.  They are now climbing the tree trunk, getting level with the feeder and jumping over and hitting the feeder, causing it to swing enough to spill the birdseed on the ground!  So now they don't need to get inside the feeder because the seed is spilled all over!  This morning, we found one inside the feeder though, so it appears one may have figured out a way in!  The little stinkers!

The good thing is that the Dove's also found the spilled seed and are eating it.  Hunting season for Dove's started Saturday, so we're hoping all the Dove's in the area come here and stay safe!  Why anyone would enjoy shooting a tiny little bird, I do not know.  How much meat could they have?

Here is a cute picture of a Cardinal and a Bluebird at the birdbath

Last spring, Al hooked this bird feeder to the window. thinking the squirrels couldn't get there.  You can see how well that worked.  The cats enjoyed watching the squirrels and birds.

We always have a lot of birds around (we feed them well) and we sure enjoy watching all the critters.  We will miss this place when we start our fulltiming adventures, but we know we'll always attract wildlife wherever we are.

For those of you who have never had a bird feeder, it is so enjoyable to just sit and watch the birds and see their different behaviors.  We buy Pennington Sunflower Chips from Walmart.  It has no shells (no mess) and there is no waste and nothing grows below the feeder.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

We Made it to the 60’s!

We have had such a hot summer this year but the past week has been cooler.  We’ve actually had a few days where it didn’t get  into the 90’s.

We’ve been waiting for it to get down into the 60’s at night and this morning we got up to 67 degrees!   Hallelujah!

The weather here in South Georgia is very nice in the fall and we’re really looking forward to it.

We’ve been real busy preparing the house for sale, while trying to keep up with the normal chores like mowing, weeding and trimming.  The grass is still growing pretty fast, so that’s a daily chore.

Our last Bluebird family is around and so far all 3 babies have survived.  The other families are scattered so we don’t see them together.  We certainly had a busy and successful season with them this year.

Al is getting ready to plant some snow peas.  We planted some this spring, but got them planted too late, so the heat got them before we got our fill of snow peas.  They do well in the fall, so we’re hoping to get another crop going.

My home made soap has cured and I have started using it.  I gotta tell you, home made soap is much better!  Or maybe I’m prejudiced, but we both really like it.