Sunrise on the Maumee

Sunrise on the Maumee

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snowy Owl

   I have been waiting for a good opportunity to spot my first snowy owl.  Snowy Owls are not normally seen in these parts.  They breed in the Arctic and normally winter in northern Canada.  Apparently there was a bumper crop of lemmings this past summer and most of the owl chicks survived to adulthood.  They have been forced to migrate much farther south this winter to find food.  Jim McCormick's blog, as usual, has excellent posts on this topic.

Today, the weather was beautiful and I had nothing in particular to occupy my time.  There was a report that an owl had been seen this morning at Maumee Bay State Park.  Hudson and I seized the moment.

Sure enough, we spotted the owl on the rocky shoreline of an inland lake - at the end of the little peninsula in the photo above.

Since I am rather deficient in the camera lens power department, I slowly walked out the peninsula to get closer.  I was not careful enough, however, and he took off.

I later realized there were serious bird people on the far shore.  They were not deficient in the camera lens power department.  
I can only hope they didn't recognize me.  So far, the birding website where I learned of the owl has not posted a scolding.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day

Christmas is over.  
The presents have been opened.  
Eighteen people have come and gone.
Hide and seek
Pot roast
Mashed potatoes
Noodle kugel
Spritz cookies
Apple pie
All consumed
Cindy's energetic cleaning
Patrick and Aunt Jonna watching Hercule Poirot's Christmas
Dan climbing into bed after his evening shift, his new Captain America shield close by. 

Little Bit

My niece Abby received a Yorkie puppy for Christmas from her fiancĂ©'s parents.  His name is Little Bit.  He is just that…a little bit of a pup. 

I just missed Hudson greeting him nose to nose.

Little Bit is being trained to go on a puppy pad.  He didn't quite know what to think of the snowy patio he found himself on Christmas Day.  Hudson tried to show him what to do.  No dice.

Luckily, I had some pads I had purchased - thinking I could teach an old dog new tricks (no dice there, either).   

Little Bit wisely chose the pad (in a warm house) over a snowy patio.  Smart little thing.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Critter

Rover Come Over doggy daycare gave Hudson a little critter for Christmas (they don't miss a trick).

Hudson sensed the danger right away.

The world is safe from yet another vicious stuffed animal.

Saving the world is exhausting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Chillowy Willowy

The thermometer has been falling and seems to have no intention of rising any time soon.  
Sunrise revealed ice finally forming on the mighty Maumee.
The full complement of feeders is out and they are well stocked.  I look forward to enjoying those partaking - from the comfort of my chair by the fire.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Spreading Tradition

After years of "old fakers", the Shermis family was ready for a real tree.  So, we invited them to go with us to the Whitehouse Christmas Tree Farm.

It was so cold.  We had a quick hot dog by the big fire, then picked out a Frasier from the already-cut pile.  

Maybe next year we can take a horse pulled wagon ride.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Walks with Ruta

     Monitoring season is over.  In it's place, Ruta and I take leisurely walks over the same paths.
It is interesting to see the woods and fields with bare trunks and dried seedpods and stiff grassy stalks.  The topography is revealed at this time of year and reminds us of the conditions each species requires.

  Hudson is a welcome companion.  His maturity complements Ruta's need and my preference to slowly amble along, stopping periodically to poke at leafy rosettes and debate which flower will emerge next spring.

  A gloomy rain prevents us from going out today, but at the end of last week's walk we came upon one of the few fall blooming trees - the lovely Witch hazel - cheering up the typically cloudy fall day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Late Bloomers

     Friday we came upon this still blooming Soapwort Gentian while collecting seeds at Campbell Prairie.  It was nestled in amongst thick dried grasses and so survived our first hard frost.  Most flowers have long since gone to seed - even the asters.
     This prompted me to look for lingering blooms in my garden.

Johnny Jump Up


cultivated Turtle Head

Black-eyed Susan

While out taking these photos today I ran into a bee - taking advantage of the nectar remaining.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Wooly Bear

     It's wooly bear time.  
I don't remember seeing any last fall, but there have been several crawling around the garden the past few weeks.

I'm usually hesitant to pick up insects, but there is something irresistible about these furry guys.  Their tiny feet tickle.  They roll into nice little balls. 

     Folklore posits the severity of the coming winter can be predicted by the length of the caterpillar's light brown middle; the longer the middle, the milder the winter.  

I think that's good news for us this year.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Honorary Monitor

This is Cedar, Denise's little 3 month old Brittany Spaniel.  Circumstances necessitated his accompanying us on our monitoring excursion Friday.  
He should make a good field dog.  He was happy to sniff and explore and didn't mind the rain or mud in the least.

It took the former law enforcement official amongst us nerds to recognize this marijuana plant.  
It is amazing that with all the ground we've covered over the years, especially in the new corridor sites, we have not run into this plant before.  

It is a little late in the season for Cardinal flower to bloom, but there were several doing just that.  They were in shade or in areas mowed several weeks ago.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fringed Gentian

     We went to one of the older corridor sites yesterday to monitor the Fringed Gentian, one of my favorite wildflowers.  The site is named the Jordan Tract, but we re-named it Gentian Meadow about eight years ago after counting well over a hundred plants.

This year we found only ten.  
Buckthorn has long since invaded this wet meadow and the park system began fighting back this past spring with close mowing.  We wondered if this might have been the reason for the drop in numbers, but in researching this post I discovered a reliable site stating that populations of this biennial are erratic.

Apparently, I am not the only one who looks(ed) forward to this beautiful flower each fall.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

While the cat is away....

...the hummingbirds will eat grape jelly?

The Orioles and Catbirds have taken off for warmer climes, but I figured it couldn't hurt to put out a little grape jelly each day for a while - just to make sure there aren't any stragglers.  

The hummers often fly around the jelly feeder - nothing new.  I had always assumed they were attracted to the insects.  

Earlier this week, however, I saw one perch and eat the jelly.  This happened several days in a row.  I don't know if it was the same bird, of course, but it was always a female.  So far, I've only seen one mention of this on the Internet.  That comment stated the concentration of sugar in grape jelly (23%) is quite close to that of the nectar we all make for our hummingbird feeders (25%).

Who knew?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Still Here

The white rabbit has been lying low all summer.  I've only seen her once every week or two.  Here she is near the grape jelly feeder - at dusk last night.

I was worried for her.  The hawks are migrating.  They love to perch on the large dead Ash tree, near the wildflower beds where she seems to spend most of her time.  This was the first I'd seen her so close to the house in quite a while.  There was a Red-tailed Hawk on the top of a telephone pole at the street, not 40 yards away.  

My flash caused her to duck for cover under the Wisteria.  

Wiley old rabbit.

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Glass Half Full

     We live six houses away from a turnpike.  The noise is a disadvantage, but the lights and concrete of the overpass I cross every morning with Hudson attract lots of cool insects.

     This is a White-lined Sphinx moth.  He was about 2 inches from tip to tail.  

Luckily, Mr. Eat Now, Ask Questions Later did not see him.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Fulton County Fair

Old Tractor (1936)

New Tractor...

...complete with satellite dish

Big Cow

Little Cows

Harness Racing

The Great Pumpkin

Moving through

The Way, Way Back

In addition to being the name of a pretty good coming of age movie, it was Paul's solution to how to load 6 people in my car yesterday morning.  Denise found it quite amusing.

The "problem" was a meadow full of dewy Indian Grass - mistakenly planted years ago to cover a dune - and our reluctance to get soaking wet at the beginning of our day.  
It was beautiful driving towards the rising sun through the ocean of sparkling grass.
Unfortunately, the plant we had come to monitor (Great Lakes Goldenrod) had been invaded by the Indian Grass.  Count it we must; our dampness was merely delayed. 

We finished by monitoring more Great Lakes Goldenrod at Ostrich Barrens.  I've never seen so much Dense Blazing Star (purple).  The yellow flower is Gray's Goldenrod.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Patrick's Birthday

Sleep in
Aunt Jonna's Egg McMuffin
Popcorn and Sprite Icee while watching "Percy Jackson"
Lots of Uno with Aunt Deb and Aunt Cindy
Thrush's German Chocolate Cake

Happy 15th!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Passing Generations

My father was the oldest of my grandmother's eight children.  Uncle Philip was the next oldest.  He died last week after 82 full years.  I miss him, and in mourning him, I mourn again my father's passing - and the eventual passing of a generation.

Uncle Phil with his daughter Mary Lou and first wife Rose Marie around 1983.

Uncle Philip on his tractor at the tree farm.  

He possessed the traits of many McRurys- a love of machinery, a knack for tinkering, restlessness, hard work, frugalness, persistence, and the gift of gab.

Jim, Dee, Bill and Dan at the visitation Sunday evening.

Sarah, Suzanne, and Katie

A recently found photograph of my father, just after High School graduation in his Army uniform. 

The brothers bore a striking resemblance to each other and had many of the same mannerisms.

Katie, Dan, Sarah, Bill, Cindy, Suzanne and Deb - just before the funeral mass.

We'll miss you, Uncle Phil.