Wednesday, June 24, 2009

New Family Addition, New Confession, and a New Camera

Pretty bird!
She's a baby.
A very TINY baby! I took this picture the day after she came to live with us. Coco was about 8 - 9 weeks old at the time. She's a Green-cheeked conure who will remain small (not this small, though) and will learn to talk. She won't talk as prolifically as Bailey (whom you met in the video posted a few weeks ago) but that's okay. What she can't say, she makes up in sweetness.
As you know, we HAD four parrots. Two of them (the Amazons) were "rescue" birds and were meant to only be with us for a few months. Those months turned into years. They were previously a couple (Amazons mate for life) but we kept them in separate cages. They REALLY wanted to share one cage. Hubby and I aren't bird breeders and didn't want to be. Then, at the bird fair we attended a few weeks ago, we met a couple who were interested in our Amazons. We thought it would be a happier home for them and as a result, the Amazons have a new home and we have a new baby.
NOW - are you wondering what I'm about to confess?
Let me ask you a question: Do you notice anything different about my blog photos?
If you do, there's a reason. I left my "old" camera outside one night. As luck would have it, it was a night of heavy rain. No, it wasn't raining when I left it out there.
Long story short, the camera got drenched. Turned it on, it flickered a few times, then went black. Deader than the proverbial doornail. Responded as vigorously as a river rock. You get the idea.
SO.....I researched cameras and actually found a nice, affordable Canon, with which I photographed these flowers from my garden.
I later discovered that, if you remove the batteries and memory card from the drowned camera and bury it in a bed of uncooked rice, the rice may just revive it. (Evidently, rice will absorb all the moisture. But be patient! It may take 3-4 days.)
I now have two working digital cameras. One has been very reliable for several years; the other takes better closeups and handles macros and because it's new, is really neat-o! The reliable one now belongs to my Hubby.
The rice trick, by the way, works with cell phones, too.
Didn't I once state that rice is the answer to everything? (Spoken by a true Filipino-American!)
Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Staying Green, Remembering and Miller Cuckoos

Go ahead and laugh at that top picture. I know my kids will make fun of it and me but I'll bet I'm greener than them! I can't really claim it as a trash to treasure item, but I CAN call it repurposed! It's an old mattress spring frame that is (for now) being used as a trellis for a gourd plant that the wild birds planted for me. (The ones I planted are on the other side of the garden)
Below is one of my daylilies. It looks like bugs have nibbled on the edges of the bloom but I still think it's pretty:
We've been pretty busy the past several days. Our area was fortunate enough to have the traveling Viet Nam Memorial Wall (aka the Wall that Heals) nearby and we took step grandson Joseph to see it. I had seen it before but it's always good to be reminded of the men and women who served in Nam and those whose lives were ended way too early.
I lost a lot of friends and high school classmates in that war, as did most of us babyboomers. For those of you who were either too young to remember or who weren't even born: This was the time of the military draft and all single, healthy young men (excluding students) were classified by the government as 1-A as soon as they turned age 18. This meant that they would soon become property of the U.S. government (drafted into the Army). Any time someone was sent to Fort Bragg (one of the training camps) we knew they were most probably going to be sent off to fight.
Below are some of the photos one of our Veterans brought with him to "the Wall" to share. They depict some of the conditions our soldiers lived in at that time. See the picture of the two young soldiers to the left? That is ringworm on their bare bottoms, contracted because of the wet conditions they endured while in "the field".
The name below that appears above the white paper is just one of my classmates who was killed there. We were classmates all the way through grade school and high school. I think it's important for you all to know that NOT ONE senator's son was sent to Nam.
On a MUCH lighter note, we also took Joseph to an exotic bird fair. Below are the two cutest cuckoos there! One of the vendors gave caps to my Hubby and Joseph! GrinninGrampa is a really good sport and wore his most of the day.
Oh - I almost forgot about another step we took for the good of green. Not only environment, but the green in our bank account. We had a huge street light in our back yard that had been installed before we bought the house. The light was nice to have but it was on a dusk-to-dawn timer and this time of year cost an average of $11 per month. Obviously, the bill was larger in the winter with the longer nights. We had it removed and, since I blog just about everything, this picture is especially for you.
It was really hot that afternoon. I gave the workers a bottle of cold water each and a headband designed to help keep them a little cooler and to keep the sweat out of their eyes. They were extremely polite and seemed very grateful, telling me that most people don't even offer them a cold drink. If you have workers on or around your property, I hope you remember how hot it gets out there.
Until next time, be not just blessed yourself - be a blessing.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

...and this is BAILEY!

Lots of things to talk about, so little time! Meanwhile, here's a little something to entertain you - our Cockatoo, Bailey, during bathtime. He usually sings and dances. Today he decided to show off by shouting, "Touchdown!", calling a kitty, then answering himself.
In case you can't see the video here, it's posted on Flickr:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Giftaways, Hideaways and Getaways

Yes, it's been awhile since I've been here (again) but I'm hoping you remember last April's Giftaway, won by Michele of Country Vintage.  Thanks, Michele, for posting pictures of your gifts!  Another hearth thanks goes to Vickie of Sand Flat Farm, who posted photos of her candleholder in her beautiful farm home.  She won the candleholder when her name was pulled for our special 200th post Giftaway.

As much as I work outside on our property, you would think that I would know where every little bird home is so I could be careful not to disturb the fledglings.  But the other day I was working in one of the smaller gardens right next to our home - the one where two of my lilac bushes are - and I thought I saw something a little different buried deep in the branches of one of them.  Sure enough, 'waa-a-ay in the back of the largest one, buried deep in the foliage, I could barely see a nest.  Hoping I could get just one picture of a baby bird or two, I grabbed my camera and str-r-retched as far as I could and snapped this picture.

As much as I would love to be a nature photographer, my skills obviously do not feed into that field.  I think the nest is probably a robin's nest but unless I can somehow wiggle a tall stepladder safely next to that lilac bush, it's doubtful that I'll be able to see any perfect little blue eggs or baby robins. Not in this nest, anyway.
One reason I enjoy working in the yard is the wonderful aromas I am treated to.  This honeysuckle vine grows wild alongside our property.  A gentle breeze blowing through these vines surrounds you with the prettiest of natural scents.  If you get a chance, pluck the stamen from the middle of the flower blossom and lay it on your tongue.  You'll get a tiny drop of juice; it won't quench your thirst by a long shot - but you'll be treated to a really delicious taste of honey-like syrup.  It's even better if you have a child with you to share the experience.
I'd be embarrassed to call this next shot a picture of trash-to-treasure.  
This old chair was missing its seat, a rung or two, and had been ill-repaired several times over the years.  And, you know my propensity to turn every seatless chair we pull out of someone's trash into a garden chair (of sorts).  I decided that I wanted a pink chair in my garden, so out came the brush and the little bit of pink paint that I had been hoarding saving. I attached a little wooden box (one of those things I had been holding on to for such an occasion) and filled it with wild geraniums and baby hostas. The geraniums promptly wilted and will probably stay wilted until next Summer when the new shoots come up lively and healthy.
Are you wondering about the May Giftaway?  We pulled a name on June 1 but didn't blog it!  The winner of the May Giftaway is Janet Fish of Janet's Art Journey!  You will soon have a special surprise package at your door!  Congratulations, JANET!
AND, expect scant posts here for this month and next. We'll be going on a little Getaway with my two kids and all the grandkids next month (Yaaaaaay!) and the days surrounding it will be filled with LOTS of gardening chores and CANNING!  So, I'll be around but just not often.  Hmm.  Sorta like what you've seen here lately.
Meanwhile, I hope your summer is FABULOUS!