Sunday, March 1, 2015

My Winter Time Bird Friends

Its come to the point this winter that I am looking for ways to entertain myself in the house.
I can't do anything with the greenhouse.  The ground is frozen solid with at least 8 or more inches of snow on it.  The dogs and cats are just driving me and themselves crazy.  And though my house could be seriously better organized and I could really probably do more cleaning, its just not appealing to me.
So, I watch birds from inside the house.


I have numerous bird feeders around the yard and of course I feed the premium feed with the black oil sunflower in it and the safflower. I also have a couple of suet feeders for the woodpeckers.  


This guy frequents my front yard feeder a lot.  I believe he is a red-bellied woodpecker.  Though if anyone reading knows different, please let me know!


He is very entertaining to watch.......


.......but he is a quick one and I take a ton of pictures just to get a few good ones!


Of course, how can on not love the morning doves?!  


They are so peaceful and serene to watch.
And they make a great clean-up crew for all the seed knocked out of the feeder too.


Of course, a feeder would not be complete without a bunch of house sparrows! 


I caught this morning dove checking out her opportunity to hop down to the feeder below.


I believe this little guy to be a titmouse?


I was taking these pictures from my bedroom window using a zoom lens....I was pretty impressed with myself cuz these little sparrows can be fast little guys when they see the slightest movement.


Wondering if my little bird friends are thinking what I am thinking, 
"Will this winter ever end?"

Monday, February 23, 2015

Playing Find the Squirrel

It was another brutally cold morning....windchill was kicking in at -16.  ( I didn't have school again.  So sad...lol) The average high is suppose to be 40 degrees on this day.....as of this writing it is 5 degrees....I don't think its going to make it to 40 today....it might get to 30 by Saturday....fingers and paws crossed.
So Dixie and Meesha have a lot of energy and sometimes it gets really bottled up when they are stuck in the house on these Arctic days.  When I opened the back door today my blue merle girls went flying out like dogs gone wild. With nothing better to do I grabbed my camera to take some pics of the girls. As luck would have it and much to the girls delight, the resident squirrel was out too!


Yep, he was at the bird feeder in this tree.....


......Dixie says, "No,  the squirrel is in the other maple tree."



......Meesha says, "No, he is in this tree."


Dixie says, "Are you sure cuz I think he is in this tree."


Meesha, " Nope, I am positive he is up here in this tree."


" Yep, I see him now!!"


And with a little luck the zoom on the camera wasn't frozen and I saw the squirrel too!
Either he is really cold or scared shit less!


Dixie, "Oh, yeah I see him now!" 


Meesha, " You think he is going to come down and play Dixie?"
Dixie, " Maybe, maybe not....probably not right now....maybe later. He knows we got him treed."


"Okay, then can we go inside now cuz I am getting tired of playing squirrel and its pretty cold out here!" 


Smart Meesha;)



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Who Isn't Complaining about the Snow & Cold?

To say that this past week's snow and cold has been brutal is, in my opinion, an understatement.
The school district that I work for was closed on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday due to the snow and insane Arctic temperatures that invaded Northeast Ohio.  
On Friday morning my Weatherbug app so kindly pointed out that it was -20 degrees.....that was the actual temperature.  The windchill was -28.  Come again?????
Weather records were being shattered all over the state of Ohio. In 47 years of existence I have never personally felt those temperatures before and since the dogs were not volunteering to feed the barn animals on Friday morning, I knew I had to woman-up and go outside. 
With long johns and shorts on under my coveralls, a turtleneck and flannel shirt on, Carhartt coat, wool socks, boots, 3 pair of mittens, hat, and a scarf wrapped around my face, I bravely opened the door and ventured out into the Arctic Blast.
Of course, I couldn't move really fast cuz I was bundled up like an Oompa Loompa and if I fell down I knew I would be screwed and would never be able to get back up and since the wimpy dogs and cats were still inside and even if they were outside they won't be able to lick my face because they wouldn't be able to find it under all the layers and if they did find my face and licked it then I might get frost bite on my face and........well you get the jest that I am a snow and cold complainer.

However, on that brutal Arctic Blast morning "who isn't complaining about the snow & cold?.....


........my sheep.  
I took 2 pictures that morning just for evidence that I really did go outside.  Amazingly the sun was out and the sky was blue and there sat my sheep, wondering why I was dressed like an Oompa Loompa.  I could hear their snide remarks and chuckles as I began feeding them.

Fast forward to today, and this Saturday morning there was a mini blizzard going on, though it was not nearly as cold and I was able to snap some pictures of the non-complainers without my fingers falling off due to frost bite.


"Chelsea"......she lives to be covered in snow.


"Bethel"........the mouth on the farm.


"Fairlee"........my go-with-the flow girl who obviously likes eating snow.


"Ethan"......my biggest buddy....he is on the right....
that's Chelsea on the left, probably stating why this should be the year of the sheep. 


"Betsy"......the matriarch of the sheep flock......at 10 years old, I am convinced she still hates me.


"Autumn"......grain girl crazy.


"Danby"......believes he should live on the other side of the fence. 


"Putney".....a youngster who believes life is all about eating and eating more.


"Abby"......big mouth, grain pig, gate dasher extraordinaire. 


"Nieves"........goof ball, scaredy cat alpaca.
("nieves" means snow in Spanish)

This is just a small line-up of who isn't complaining about the snow and cold.
I give them credit.  They embrace the snow and cold.  They suck it up and never complain. 
However, me and my Oompa Loompa self are done with winter.
Winter can not leave fast enough.  Snowmen are not cute anymore.  I packed their smiling little faces up and put them in the attic.
I do have to admit though, the Year of the Sheep has definitely come in strong:) 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

215 Reasons Why I Haven't Blogged

So the last time I posted I was talking about Halloween stuff......like 4 months ago....pretty pathetic.
But in all honesty  I have 215 reasons why I haven't blogged.
Its not that I don't want to......I just can't find the time nor can I stay awake long enough at night to even write something let alone take some pictures.......I think I said that backwards?
So what are my 215 reasons for not blogging?


215 STUDENTS.
Yes, that is the number of students I am reasonable for teaching everyday.
That would be 215 9th grade World History students.
That breaks down to an average of 38 students per class.
Am I complaining?
Yes. Yes I am complaining.
Why?
Because it is ridiculous. 
 And included in those numbers are 25 students on IEP's.
I am the only history teacher in the 9th grade, all other core subjects have 2 teachers.
Guess history doesn't matter......no reflection on the state of the US today and teenagers
....yes, I am being sarcastic. 


The politics of education and the over testing of students has honestly taken away the passion I use to have for teaching. There is a lot more I could say about it but I will refrain from it.   I think 215 students for one teacher speaks volumes.  
Everyday I think more and more about how much I want to be at home and make something more of the small farm I have. 


It is the year of the sheep and in the Chinese Zodiac I am a sheep.
I look to this year to give me hope...maybe a sign....a direction.
I once heard these words in a movie: "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone."
Teaching has been my comfort zone for 22 years..........sometimes change is good.



Friday, October 31, 2014

How I Scared Myself on Halloween

Today I scared myself......seriously.
Okay it started off in the morning.  Its so flippin' dark out when I am feeding the animals at 5:45 am so sometimes I do stupid things in the dark when I can't see.  Like pulling a bale of hay down and not realizing the one next to it is a tad higher so when I yanked the one I wanted, the other came down too and hit me in the face.....awesome.  Even more awesome was when I got into the house 30 minutes later and looked in the mirror I had blood on my face and a nice one inch scratch on my cheek.......perfect for Halloween, no make-up required.
 
 
So, it got better when I got to school.
I am in charge of the morning PA announcements.  Every day I play a one minute music clip at the end of the announcements.....its my personal way of getting back at the kids:) 
Of course, today was Halloween so I had to pick the best Halloween song ever.
Yep........... I picked the one and only.......
 
 
...........Michael Jackson's "Thriller"!!
I thought I would give the students some trivia facts on the song before I played it.
You know, cause the music these kids listen to today is so lame;)
The first fact........the biggest selling album ever......yep I bought it!
Second fact.......it aired on December 2nd, 1983.......come again?
1983!?!?!?!
That would be like 31 years ago!
How can that possibly be 31 years ago?
I remember watching that video like it was yesterday, not 31 years ago!
I can not possibly be that old.  I was 15 years old when that video aired......wtf???
 
THAT .IS. TRULY. SCARY!!!!
 
 
PS.......When the kids asked where I got the scratch mark on my face this morning, I told them I got attacked by the Grim Reaper in the barn and I won.....these kids today believe anything;)
 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pumpkins......Oh My!!!!!

 Hands down, autumn is my favorite time of the year.
I love decorating, I love Fall smells, I love the colors, I love the food...........
and of course, I love the pumpkins!!!!!

Last Friday was Charm Days in Amish Country.  Of course, it started on a Friday so of course I came down with an awful headache & cold which caused me to call in sick to school.....I hate that when that happens.  It was so bad my parents had to come and take care of me.....cough, cough.  


Our first stop was Hershberger's Truck Patch stop for some bakery and yes........some pumpkins!!!!
It became overwhelming on which ones to get...........


........the white ones were very cool.........


.........I just was having hard time finding the perfect pumpkin!!!


Isn't this the coolest display of pumpkins!!!


After a number of attempts to get a picture of me and my Mom in front of the display, my Dad finally got an off center picture using my smart phone.....he was just killin' me!!


Dad preferred just sitting around while me and Mom did some shopping in Charm. 
That was fine......then he couldn't see what I was spending money on;)


So, when all was said and done.......
.....these are some of the Fall goodies I filled my little wagon with when I got home!!



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Now I have a Duck........

So in the previous post I discussed the fact that I have a squirrel in my backyard.  
A squirrel that my neighbor brought home and now drives my dogs crazy.
Now I would like to discuss the duck that I am feeding........


Ms. Duck has been around for about 3 years now.  She has been a frequent flyer at my neighbor's pond.....the same neighbor who brought the squirrel home.  Below is a picture of her and all her little ducklings she had back in June.  She is a very protective mom and my neighbor and I were very watchful of her and the babies.

We would count them every time she brought them out for a swim and we stressed out when we did not see them every day.  Everyone seems to have grown up and moved on.........except mom.


Last Friday I was "sick" and had to take a "sick day" off from school.  When I feed in the morning during the week its around 5:45 am and its dark so I don't see everything going on or better yet, who comes to eat.  So on Friday when I was "sick" and feeding around 8 am I was quite surprised to see a duck eating right along side of Jed.......come again???? 
Then after a closer look, I realized who it was........it was Momma duck.....ain't that somethin'?


She has no shame........picking up all pieces of grain in the bowl.........


..........and picking up around the alpaca's feet.  The boys were oblivious to her and I believe she could care less what they think as long as she gets any missed grain.  When she was done with the boys area I watched her walk over to the bird feeder area and pick up seeds the birds knocked to the ground.....notice the chicken eyeing Ms. Duck up;)


I asked her why she hasn't flown south yet.....I got no answer.  She apparently likes her new routine as I saw her waddle up all this weekend.  I think she has been doing this for awhile and I just caught her in the act:) 
I left her some extra grain under the bird feeder on Monday morning......and on Tuesday morning......and this morning.......and probably tomorrow morning......
This is crazy.   I didn't ask for a duck.
 I. Am. Not. Buying. Duck. Food. 
I probably should put straw in the dog house that the dogs never use in case she decides to stay for the winter and needs a warm place to sleep...........