My life among the trees….

Dear Diary…

I ask you, “What’s not to love about trees?” Pretty much nothing of course unless you live in the middle of suburbia and are trying to kid yourself that because of a few trees you’re living in the Sherwood Forest or even the Sequoia National Forest! All those neighborhood barking dogs should be enough to put that little fairy tale to rest. And those big and strong old oak trees that surround me are self sustaining and independent when they are growing in the forest but when we humans set up housekeeping in among those same lovely trees they seem to suddenly become helpless. We are suddenly tasked with spending hour upon hour in the fall cleaning up their leaves. Those falling leaves don’t seem to even exist in the forest, only in our yards…

Front Yard Leaves

Backyard Leaves(Click Photos to Enlarge)

And while we are on the subject of leaves… in that top photo of the leaves, you see all those leaves across the street in my neighbor’s yard? Well fortunately he is one of my neighbors who does his best to clean up his leaves in a timely manner but leaves are really smart if you didn’t already know that. If he didn’t clean them up, the first wind to come along, a large number of those leaves would hitch a ride and blow across the street into my yard. If there’s anything leaves can’t stand it’s someone’s “in your face” clean, leafless yard” staring right back at them and taunting them.

And all those twigs and small branches that can litter the yard after a thunderstorm, you never see those in the woodlands and forests….

Driveway After Thunderstorm - 02(Click Photo to Enlarge)

And those winter snow and icing events, well let’s not even go there or I will have to start bitching about my neighbor’s tree that came crashing down three years ago from the weight of a snow event and damaged my fence which I, of course, had to pay for….

Fence Damage from Neighbor's Tree(Click Photo to Enlarge)

Then comes all those much larger tree limbs that seem to want to start prodding and poking at the house, seemingly coming from all directions. Many of my tree’s limbs seem to suffer from some sort of exhaustion affliction and want to lay down and rest on the roof of the house. It is at that time when I find out that living in among the trees can get very expensive. I have been living in my home surrounded by a forest of oak trees now for almost 17 years and have spent several thousand dollars over that time period both removing and trimming the trees in my own personal forest.

I just had more limbs attended to only about three weeks ago at a substantial cost which is reflected in the two photos below. I wasn’t very happy about it since it involved working on removing numerous ‘dead’ limbs from trees growing in my neighbor’s yard near our shared property line. They fall on my roof and they fall on my second little car which has to be parked in the open so I have been having to park it away from their trees. Just plain aggravating to live next to people who take no responsibility for their property.

Tree Trimming Work - 01
Tree Trimming Work - 02(Click Photos to Enlarge)

Well ‘Dear Diary’, don’t know about you but I feel much better now we have had this little talk. I so appreciate the fact that you never interrupt or take exception to what I say regarding my little rants, raves and otherwise meaningless obsevations. Thanks…

Little sisters never get older….

Dear Diary…

My little sister turned ‘sixty’ this past week and I think I was more in shock over it all than perhaps she was. Obviously whoever was doing the calculations on her newly acquired age really needed to take a remedial course in math. Sixty years old? No way! My little sister will always be my little sister and even today when I look into her face I still see my little sister.

Family - 374a(Little ‘Sis’)

Little ‘Sis’ is 13 years younger than I am so it’s obvious why she is and always will be my little sister. We are both definitely too old for me to play the “tickle monster” any longer but I doubt either of us will ever be too old to remember the love we’ve shared over the years.

Alan & Edie(Me & Little Sis)

Early Morning Thunderstorm….

Dear Diary….

I woke this morning at 2:57 AM and found it quite difficult to go back to sleep. Then at 3:20 AM I heard thunder and presumed a thunderstorm must be nearby. So I got up, turned on the computer and checked out the local weather. Sure enough, radar indicated a thunderstorm was about to roll through so I did a screen capture for posterity’s sake and then crawled back into bed.

Weather - Monday - 10-06-2014 - 3-20 AM

The nerdy little weather guy on the local news last night said there was a very slight chance for thunderstorms overnight but I pretty much discounted his thoughts on the subject. One look at the weather map this past evening, which was totally devoid of any weather activity whatsoever, and even a novice such as I could see there was absolutely no possibly for any rain… much less thunderstorms.

Well, just for the record the nerdy little weather guy gets no kudos’s from me just ‘cause he got it right for a change. I’m not about to forget all those times he blew it!

Bye, Bye Birdie….

GoodbyeIt has certainly been well documented by ornithologists as well as hummingbird enthusiasts alike that little is known about what triggers Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to head south toward the end of summer. Most agree that by the end of September to the middle of October the majority have left their northern territories and have headed south to Texas and Mexico.

As I drew the curtains on my patio doors this past evening I saw my little dominate Ruby-Throated male sitting on his favorite limb keeping watch over his domain. But this morning when I opened those same curtains  the little fella, whom I had featured in my last post by the way, had apparently headed south sometime between dusk last night and 7:00 AM this morning.

Of course one could assume it all quite coincidental but I would be terribly amiss if I didn’t mention the fact that he left at the dawn of the fall equinox. Yep… oddly enough this evening at 9:29 PM the Sun will be crossing the celestial equator and my little hummer is so smart that he apparently noted that last night as he looked to the heavens and knew it was time! So take that all you smarty pants bird people!

Bye, bye little birdie… and may the wind be at your back and the sun upon your face and may the winds of destiny carry you to the safety of your southern sanctuary. :(

There’s Been A Changing of the Guard….

Almost before the ink could dry on my last post regarding my hummingbird visitors, the adolescent male whom I had posted about was gone and there was a new king on the mountain, so to speak. Seems an adult male has now staked his claim to the feeder and is willing to take on all comers. And when I say the adolescent male was gone, I mean I have not seen him since so the new adult male took over so he must have sent the young man packing for good. In fact, much to my dismay the resident female I posted about I have not seen in sometime now either. With migration time almost upon us I could assume both hummers just decided to go ahead and head south for the winter but of course one cannot really know these things for sure. One thing for sure, the little female I referred to as my ‘resident female’ will be sorely missed. :?

The weather was to my liking yesterday so I went out on the patio and setup for another photo session in the afternoon. Took photos off and on for about four hours but the adult male who is currently king of the castle was the only hummer who showed up to be photographed. Here are a few of the photographs from yesterday….

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 01(Click to Enlarge)

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 02(Click to Enlarge)

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 03(Click to Enlarge)

Dominant Adult Male - Session 2 - 2014 - 04(Click to Enlarge)

Next week brings on the first week of fall so it will be only some three or four weeks before all my little friends will have headed south. Photos will probably be far and few between from now on but I will have my eyes open for transients traveling south who may opt to stop by for a ‘pick me up’ on their long journey. :)

Out with the Old… In with the new!

Perhaps it’s just me but sometimes we humans can be quite an odd lot. Especially when it comes to some of the choices we make in our day to day lives.

Being “frugal” I would think is an admirable human trait but our individual application of such an act in our daily lives can at times border on the completely ridiculous to the outright hilarious.

Old Ironing Board Cover - Old Grey Boy

(Old Grey Boy – Click to Enlarge)

Such an example has just occurred in my own life recently. Last Thursday, after some 43 years as best I can estimate, my ironing board cover as well as my patience for dealing with such a relic reached its final conclusion. I refused to deal with the aggravation of the old cover any longer and went out and purchased a new one.

Now the old one back in the early 1970’s when I figure I bought it probably cost me around $7 to $10 dollars, perhaps. My new one I just purchased was $19.19. But here is the puzzler in all of this. When it comes to items of considerable expense such as an automobile, for the least little excuse I use to go out and trade my perceived heap of junk which normally was only around three years old and purchase a new one and we are talking thousands of dollars here. Perhaps the car did have a nick or two on it or even a small scratch but had it reached its dismal end? Well of course not!

New Ironing Board Cover - Tropical Splender

(Tropical Splendor – Click to Enlarge)

I consider myself being endowed with a reasonable amount of common sense so why would one hang on to an ironing board cover that is literally falling apart and that would only cost $20 to replace… and yet go out and trade for new cars every few years when the new car smell had barely disappeared from a car which costs thousands of dollars, to say the least?

Obviously I cannot answer my own posed question so I am left within the grasps of a self inflicted conundrum. Referring back to my opening statement where I surmised we were all part of an odd lot was perhaps a bit presumptuous on my part. Perhaps I am the only human among us who would dare to keep an ironing board cover for 43 years and then complain about having to buy a new one! :?

The Adolescent Male…. You da’ Man!!

If you are familiar in the least with hosting a hummingbird feeder then you know that there is pretty much always one hummingbird in the mix of visitors who thinks the feeder is solely theirs and spends the better part of their days running off the other hummingbirds who try to feed. That particular hummingbird is, of course, typically referred to as the dominate hummingbird. Others like myself may refer to such hummingbirds as “little assholes” since they wreak havoc on any plans one might have of taking any meaningful photographs. :)

Unfortunately for me given my photographic aspirations as of late, I have one of the most tenaciously dominant hummers I have ever run across. And what is most surprising about the little critter in that he is an adolescent male less than a year old, probably born this past spring. He not only keeps any potential visitors away from the feeder, he keeps them out of the entire yard. He literally watches the yard from high in the trees and when one encroaches he goes on the attack.

You will note the dark colored spots on the throat of the hummer below which indicates that he is an adolescent male. Males normally tend to be the more aggressive of the species although as I have mentioned in an earlier post, I have a resident female who holds her own against all the males and feeds when she so chooses, despite their strong objections. But back to the featured little pesky male. He will migrate this fall and go through the molt stage during our winter and then next year when he arrives back north in the spring/summer his throat feathers will all be present in all their ruby-colored glory. If in fact he would by chance return to my area and feeder I doubt I would even know it since he will look completely different.

Adolescent Dominant Male - 2014 Season - 05(Click to Enlarge)

Adolescent Dominant Male - 2014 Season - 06(Click to Enlarge)