Friday, September 19, 2008

Skywatch Friday, A Gift and Awards

Although I am posting a photo (click to enlarge), I am not submitting it to Skywatch Friday. I don't know if I will be able to visit any of the fantastic blogs that participate, therefore, it doesn't seem right for me to post my url. If you have the time, drop by Skywatch Friday and click on some links. This is amazing group of skywatchers -- great photos!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Surprises of Rainy Days

We had a lot of rain in July and August, not enough to cause destruction, but just too keep the grass too wet to mow. Two dry days in a row had my husband eager to get on the riding mower and mow down our crabgrass. I decided to take a stroll around the yard before he mowed.

First, I wanted to give my grandson a break and fill the front birdfeeder. Much to my surprise, there were beautiful tiny flowers growing around the feeder. I'm guessing that the birds dropped the seeds. I don't know what either of these flowers is called.

Each of these small white flowers is smaller than the diameter of a dime!

Each of these blooms is about the diameter of a nickel. I couldn't see the "veins" until I downloaded the photo to my computer.

As I walked past the birdfeeder towards the front of our lawn where it slopes down to the road, I was amazed. The first photo in this post above represents a small section of the masses of wildflowers that greeted me. I couldn't believe my eyes. The entire area, which measures about 40 feet across and runs about 15 feet down the slope, was covered in wildflowers. The scene wouldn't fit into a single shot.

Off towards the side was a mass of brown-eyed Susans. I captured a small section here.

Then I stood and stared at the mass of flowers. There were many flowers I didn't recognize among the lavender clover, white clover, and Queen Ann's Lace. At first, I thought I was looking at a lot of lavender clover, but closer inspection revealed that most of the lavender blooms were small lavender and white flowers I did not recognize.

Friends told me they thought this flower is crown vetch. I googled it and sure enough the photos that turned up look just like this.

The name of these small yellow flowers is a mystery to me. I love their unusual shape. Very pretty!

These grow in other parts of the yard, too. But they make a beautiful part of the wildflower mass. I don't know what they are called. I call them "daisylets" since they look like miniature daisies to me.

There were a few other flowers that I didn't do a very good job of photographing. Maybe next year. Dave and I have decided the slope won't be mowed. I hope you enjoyed my little tour of the wildflowers.

One thing I find very interesting is that we do have an area in the back yard that we have let grow wild for the last three years because it provides a nice space for the the birds to forage and get out of the elements. Most of the plants and wildflowers that grow there are different from those on the slope.

Here is a photo of the weedpatch taken from the deck.

Here is what the rainy weather this summer has taught us:
"Don't Mow, Let the Wildflowers Grow!" :-)

Saturday, August 30, 2008


One of the six hummingbirds visiting the feeders this summer. They are such a joy to watch! (Click the photo to enlarge.) :-)

Friday, August 29, 2008

Skywatch Friday

This caught my eye because it looked to me like a cloud volcano erupting! Please click photo to enlarge.

Don't miss out on beautiful sky shots from all around the world. Visit Skywatch Friday Thank you for taking the time to look at my sky photo. I appreciate it. :-)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Last week these ominous clouds rolled in quite suddenly and brought a real humdinger of a thunderstorm with them! Please click the photo to enlarge.

Don't miss out on beautiful sky shots from all around the world. Visit Skywatch Friday. Thank you for taking the time to look at my photo. I appreciate it. :-)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Skywatch Friday

Please click photo to enlarge. The tiny bugs the dragonflies are after will come into view.

Last year I wondered where all the dragonflies had gone. I'm pleased to report that they are back. A couple of nights ago, I was amazed to see the dragonflies swarming in the front yard, apparently feeding on tiny bugs that seemed to be rising from the soil. I wasn't able to get a photo that reflected the great numbers of dragonflies in the yard. They zoomed past so quickly, I felt lucky to get a few in one shot. And luckier still when they rose high enough in the air that I could photograph them against the sky!

Don't miss out on beautiful sky shots from all around the world. Visit Skywatch Friday. Thank you for taking the time to look at my photo. I appreciate it. :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

An Award from Jo!

Today, I was very pleasantly surprised by receiving this award from Jo at Moodscapes. Her kind and sweet words touched me deeply and certainly made my day. Please drop by her blog. She writes about life's daily ups and downs in a way that leaves you feeling inspired and hopeful. Jo is definitely "good people"! :-)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Skywatch Friday

During one of those rare days when it didn't rain recently, I took this photo. The clouds were so lovely. It was really nice to look up and see a blue sky and lovely clouds instead of getting a face full of rain! Please click the photo to enlarge.

I'm sorry about the blank last week. I think I must have used the Picasa function the wrong way. I use the blogger upload function this week. Hopefully, the photo will not disappear!

Click Skywatch Friday to see many beautiful sky photos from all over the world!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tina Needs - a Meme

The 'Needs Meme'

I was tagged by Storyteller at Small Reflections for this one.

This is a very simple but fun meme. Here are the rules:
Google your first name with the word needs and post the first 10 results. I included my comments in italics. You don't have to do that if you don't want to. Tag folks if you want. I will leave it to you. If you'd like to do this meme, please let me know so I can read your results.

Sweet Tina needs a slower pace. If I move any slower, I might slip into a coma! LOL
Tina needs a home. To adopt Tina, contact Animal Aid. Hrmmph!!!
Tina needs to win the Home Depot Contest Weird because I am trying to get Home Depot cards! LOL
Tina needs your help!!!I need all the help I can get! LOL
Tina needs prayers. I need all the prayers I can get! LOL
Tina needs to be seen for you to understand exactly what she had to go through to get where she is today; one hell of a rock diva. ROFL
Tina needs to get over herself! Oh yes, I am just the most fabulous person, darlings. LOL
Tina Needs Diet Pepsi!!! Yuck! I do not like diet Pepsi (I do not like green eggs and ham, either!!
Tina needs to build up her backbone. Hey, I once stood up to a threatening klansman - I backed him down!!
Tina needs a blunt and a time out for this Fashion Forum.I don't know how I got into a Fashion Forum. Look my name up in a thesarus. I am an antonym for fashion. LOL

I had fun doing this. Thank you, Storyteller!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

SkyWatch Friday

Posted by Picasa
Please click to enlarge.

I call this a "Cotton ball sky" because the entire sky looked like a mass of cotton balls. Click this SkyWatch Friday link to see beautiful skies from all over the world!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Please Help Spread the Word

Mary at Mary's Writing Nook made the following very important post to help spread the word about the vital importance of organ donation.

Nancy at Nancy's Nonsense shared this. It originated with Memoirs of a Mommy who created this award in honor of the donor that saved Noah's Life. Noah is her son, and he had a heart transplant when he wasn't even a month old. This dear little boy just celebrated his first birthday earlier this month!! Her hopes are that in passing this award around, we will create more awareness of the importance of organ donation. Please take a copy of this award and post it with a link back to Memoirs of a Mommy and help promote organ donation.

Won't you please help spread the word? Click this link to Memoirs of a Mommy

Thank you!!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

SkyWatch Friday!

Click to enlarge. A storm was moving in, so these last few sun-bathed clouds framed by the dark clouds were a treat!

SkyWatch Friday - click this link to go to the SkyWatch home. There are hundreds of great sky photos posted from skywatchers all around the world. It's great!!

I've Been Doubly Honored!

I have been doubly honored with this beautiful award from Storyteller of Sacred Ruminations and Patti of Patti's Pantry. You probably also know that Storyteller has another great blog - Small Reflections and that Patti has another great blog - Nonna's News. If you haven't dropped by their blogs, do yourself a favor and drop on by! You will be glad you did.

Storyteller and Patti, I really appreciate this award. Thank you for your thoughtfulness and kindness!!

Here are the rules that accompany this award:
Once an award is received,the rules are as follows:
1. Put the logo on your blog
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4.Add links to those blogs on your blog
5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blog

I'm afraid I just can't single out seven people. All my blogging buddies are fantastic! Dear Blogging Buddies, please know I would love for you to have this award - so please scoop it up if you would like it!! :-)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Posted by Picasa
          Sunset on July 1 (Click to enlarge)

Sky Watch Friday has a great new look. Click the link to check out the beautiful photos of other sky watchers!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Renie's Plant and Mine?

Click to enlarge. I didn't get a very good photo. It is hard to see the far side of the bush with the weeds and phlox foliage near it.

Last May, Renie posted an article, "A Little of This, A Little of That" that includes a photo of a plant I think looks like a plant in my yard. Only problem is neither of us knows the name of the plant - that is if they are one and the same. Below is a closer view of mine. It only started blooming a couple of weeks ago. But then I am living much farther north than Renie, so I thought that might account for my later blooms. I think we have the same plant. What do you think?

Click to enlarge. I think I got a better shot with this one.

After looking at many flower photos on google images, I stumbled upon Anthony Waterer Spirea bush. I think this is it! It is referred to as a shrub. I don't know what the difference is. It is a compact shrub that flowers and lends "interest to the landscape" according to many of the websites. I think it's pretty and I like it!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sky Watch Friday

Early last evening the sky was empty except for this man-made cloud:

And this heavenly body:

Sky Watch Friday is hosted by Wigger's World. Click the link to check out the beautiful photos of many other sky watchers!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Quick Shutdown Update

I finally got a chance to try the keyboard shutdown command on a Vista operating system. I found that I had to go one more step - I had to click on "Enter". So it went like this:

Windows Key then
press right arrow 3 times
then press Enter

I don't know if there are variations from on Vista to another. You might want to try this to see if it works on your computer before writing it down and storing it away.

Here's hoping you never need it! :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

An Award from Linda!

Linda at This and That has given me this delightful "Super Commenter Award"! Thank you, Linda. I really appreciate it. I enjoy visiting your blog very much. Friends, if you haven't visited Linda's blog, please do yourself a favor and stop by. She's a terrific blogger - you will enjoy your visit - I promise! :-)

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Lesson I Learned the Hard Way

Last week I was working at the computer and the monitor screen went blank. I tried turning it off and on to see if it would work properly. It displayed for a second, then went blank again. That is when another dilemma arose. I needed to shut down the computer. You would think I could shut it down without having to press the "on" button and hold for a few seconds (which is not good for the hard drive). Alas, I had no idea how to safely shut down my computer.

I had to shut it down the bad way. Then I realized that my home network would be brought down without my main computer running. That wouldn't go over well with the rest of the household. The monitor is not necessary for the rest of the network to get online, only the computer itself must be running. I didn't know how long it would be before I could fix or replace the monitor and I wasn't going to shut down each day in the way that could harm the hard drive.

The mouse is very handy but only when you can see it. After using a computer all these years, I knew that it could be shut down using the keyboard. I just didn't know how to do it - so I looked it up. In Windows XP the computer can be shut down using these keyboard commands:

Windows Key then
press the letter u twice


Ctrl + Esc then
press the letter u twice

I've used both methods successfully. I read that some Windows XP systems use the Windows button for another function leaving it useless for a shutdown shortcut. The second method has no such problems.

I found these directions for Vista but have not verified them:

Windows Key then
press right arrow 3 times

If you are like me, not keyboard shortcut savvy, you might want to write these directions down in your password book -- just in case one day you can't see your mouse.

It looks like my monitor is really dead. Fortunately, we have an old monitor that we had stored away. We got that out, dusted it off, attached it, and held our collective breath (this monitor is really old) and tah dah - it works!

Lesson for me? I think I am going to try very hard to learn keyboard shortcuts beyond copy and paste. :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chipmunk Playing Statues

Dave and I were birdwatching on the deck early one morning. Oscar sniffed around the edges and investigated the new package of potting soil under the hammock. I noticed a chipmunk standing in the walkway. I wanted a picture, but was afraid it would scamper off before I could reach for the camera. Slowly and steadily I picked up the camera, turned it on, and adjusted the zoom. Much to my surprise, the little fella never moved. He remained standing like a statue for at least five more minutes before turning around and racing off into the bushes. Then it dawned on me. My little hound neither saw nor sniffed out the chipmunk, but the chipmunk spotted him. His little game of statues worked. Oscar didn't see him until he was well on his way to safety!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Beautiful Saturday Afternoon!

What a beautiful Saturday afternoon! A gentle breeze makes the 76°F (24°C) temperature feel perfect. Big puffy clouds fill the sky. A quick thunderstorm is predicted to rain down on us later this afternoon, so Dave and I decided to take a little time to enjoy the sunshine out on the deck with Oscar and the mourning dove sitting on the line.

This little purple finch stopped by for a while. I think he is a young bird, it looked as though some of his feathers were still coming in or changing color. He spent part of his time eating, then turned to watch us while we were watching him.

There weren't many birds around. It was a bit early in the afternoon, but after the purple finch finished eating and watching us, a pair of evening grosbeaks stopped by. They also seemed to think that we were the dinner show entertainment, too, as they watched us while dining. A hummingbird stopped for a quick sip of nectar, but was off before I could get a picture.

Just as we were about to go back into the house, I noticed a big duck in the sky about to fly away. Can you see it?

I hope you are having a beautiful Saturday, too!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Ran Into My Culture On TV

First of all, I want to make it clear that I love the different cultures of the world. I love the different cultures of the United States. I love our diversity. Our differences enrich us all.

But sometimes, when you least expect it, your culture appears out of nowhere. It calls to you. It's as if you are among people who speak a different language and all of a sudden, familiar words make their way through the many conversations in the air, to your ears. At once, you recognize the words and you are at home.

Last week, I saw many memorials and tributes to Tim Russert. I knew he was an excellent journalist, commentator, and interviewer. His peers remembered him fondly and with reverence. These tributes were heartfelt and allowed me to see sides of Tim Russert that I didn't know. His friends and colleagues wore the pain of his loss on their faces.

Friday evening, I turned the channel to MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews -- one of the political programs I watch regularly. Chris Matthews and his two guests, Mike Barnicle and Pat Buchanan reminisced about Tim Russert. Their tributes and memories were no less heartfelt than those of their fellow journalists. However, their manner of expressing their grief was different. They smiled and laughed. They even argued a bit. All good natured and every bit of it imbued with humor. I learned more about Tim Russert through their conversation and memories. They talked about Russert's roots, his upbringing in a Irish Catholic working class family and how that upbringing and those values shaped him. I understood more about Tim Russert. Matthews ended the segment, laughing as were Barnicle and Buchanan, stating words to the effect, "Well, there it is - three Irish Catholic guys paying tribute to another Irish Catholic guy."

That he meant Irish American Catholic is understood. I'm not a guy and my politics are not always in agreement with Matthews and Barnicle, and seldom in agreement with Buchanan. But I felt at home watching this tribute to Tim Russert. It was warm, loving, reverent and filled with humor and laughter. I understood it because it was the culture I was brought up in. I felt that comfort of recognition, of connection with my culture, history and a sense of belonging. I have been there. Laughter laced with tears expressed how deeply I felt the loss of my Aunt Eileen, my best friend. I vividly remember shaking with laughter as tears of grief streamed down my face when my cousin recounted a funny experience my aunt and I shared at the service. I knew my aunt was laughing, too.

Who would think that a political program with "three Irish Catholic guys paying tribute to another Irish Catholic guy" would immerse me in my culture? It did and I smiled.

Image Courtesy of Tangled Spider

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

An Award from Mary

Mary gave this wonderful award to her blogging buddies. I'm honored that I am one in that happy group. I recently realized that I have not been properly highlighting the awards I've received. I truly appreciate each and every one and each and every one of my blogging buddies. It seemed seredipitous that the first award I received after realizing my error came from Mary. We are dear friends from our Suite101 days. Mary contacted me to let me know that she and other Suite friends, like our dear friend Renie, were blogging here at blogspot. She encouraged me to join in and so Tina's Odds & Ends was born. I enjoy being part of this community with old friends and new!

Thank you, Mary, for this wonderful award and for bringing me into this wonderful community!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rainy Wednesday

It's been raining all day, which should bring the pollen levels down. So far the thunderstorms predicted earlier in the week have not materialized. It's just a pleasant, somewhat cool, rainy, spring day. I love to listen to the rain and to see how it makes the greenery appear greener. It doesn't seem to bother the birds. The birdfeeders are well visited by birds and squirrels alike!

Purple finches

and Evening Grosbeaks

are some of the visitors to the front feeder. The squirrels ran away! And what a surprise when I looked out the back window to spot a turtle in the grass.

This is a good sized turtle. It's hard to judge with nothing nearby as a guide. But I took this photo from the distance of a second story window.

All in all, it's a lovely day!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Look Who's In the Duck House!

On Monday, I heard the familiar sound of tree swallows in the back yard. When I looked out, I saw two swallows flying around the duck house. I'm not sure if they were building a nest, feeding the young, or if they were fledglings. I am sure they are not wood ducks! LOL

Two years ago, we saw a cute little face staring out of the old duck house. It turned out to be a baby squirrel. We soon learned he had siblings. They were all very cute.

We see plenty of wood ducks. Perhaps some day, they will give one of the duck houses a try.

Did you notice the water? That's not pollution - that's pollen. Our yard is covered with a blanket of pollen. We can see it floating in the air. Sneezin' season.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A New Bird and an Old Friend

I've been birdwatching from my yard for about six years. It's not surprising that in the last few years, I seldom spot a bird I have never seen. As you can imagine, it's quite a treat when I do see a new one. About two weeks ago, I spotted a bird I had never seen. Actually, Dave spotted it first. Luckily I had our camera handy. "Unluckily" the new bird landed near the garage that is undergoing some renovation. Not the prettiest background for a photo. I'm just thrilled to have seen it and gotten a picture.

According to my research, this new bird is a brown thrasher. It's related to the northern mockingbird and the gray catbird. It is much shyer than its more gregarious cousin the mockingbird. It forages for insects, especially beetles, and is often found overturning leaves in its search for dinner. It also eats fruits and nuts. The brown thrasher's habitat is mainly fields with scrub, thickets, and woodland borders. Its breeding range is from southeastern Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and the northeast of the US south to the southern part of Florida. It spends the winter in the southern part of its breeding range.

Like the red-winged blackbird, it is very protective of its nest. It is so fierce that it sometimes draws blood from people or animals that get too close to the nest. Brown thrasher chicks fledge at a very young age - 11 to 12 days! Another unusual characteristic is its call, which sounds like a large smacking kiss.

I didn't hear its call or observe much of its behavior. It landed on the old fence by the garage and, much to my surprise, stayed there for a good five minutes. Then it flew across the yard and high up into the oak tree before setting off again out of the yard.

Sometimes when I spot a new bird, I look through my bird journal to see what birds I may have spotted in past years. Six years ago to the day, I saw my first red-winged blackbird! Although they are frequent visitors, I have yet to get a really good photo of one of these beautiful but noisy birds.