Saturday, July 31, 2010

"Charlie"







This one's gonna be named Charlie if he/she is not careful - as in "Sorry, Charlie." Just a day or so after escaping 29 hr. confinement in the bird feeder tree, this little one returned, then after the dogs went inside, scavenged seeds in broad daylight. I even snuck outside to take his/her picture close up and it hardly acted surprised to be caught. Little monster...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Turtle pancakes


You've got to wonder what the heck animals are thinking sometimes. Like these turtles, for example. Of all the space on that floating log, apparently there is one prime spot. And just because the big guy got it first, doesn't mean the little guy's gonna let him keep it all to himself.

I love the way the little guy balances with his back legs outstretched. Reminds me of "Baby" doing her infamous leap up into Patrick Swayze's awaiting arms in "Dirty Dancing". :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

More tree barkage


Sadly, the bird feeder tree suffered more scrapings from the dogs as they strained to reach the varmints trapped in the branches. Hoping its wounds will heal again.

This is "Elvis"



I left the baby raccoons in the bird feeder tree after scaring away their father(?) on night 1 and their mother(?) on morning 2. I decided to peek out at them through my office window. Since their mom had left them, I saw 2 little guys give up, scamper down and run around the pond to freedom. Then finally this little guy, after being left all alone, decided he needed to make a break for it too.

So, after 29 hours of clinging to tree branches, I'm proud to announce that "Elvis has left the building!" Whew! Nice to know I could release the hounds without the thought of imminent blood shed or continued hours of tree torture. And yes, that makes 5 raccoons that were trapped in the bird feeder tree at one time. Whew!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My lame-o tools for critter scaring


Bandit morning #2, I set out to get the raccoons out of the tree rather than let them suffer through another hot, dry day being trapped in the branches. So, after getting all the dogs inside (again), I brought out my arsenal. Tried a pellet pistol - went "pfft" and dropped the yellow BBs at my feet. Tried a pail of rocks - both hand-pelting and using a sling-shot. Managed to fling a few rocks through the leaves near them, but obviously I need to work on my "David" skills before Goliath ever comes calling. Then, I pulled the truck around again, set up the step ladder in the bed and used an extend-a-reach tree saw handle to try to reach the raccoons. After several attempts at shaking the branches, getting the handle stuck in the tree and having it come apart on me, I finally rattled their world enough to scare the mom out of the tree and she ran off. Then I went back to the water hose and sprayer. Got the babies to move around - especially now that they didn't have their momma to cling to - but they continued to move higher in the branches instead of coming down. So I packed up my "tools" knowing I had done what I could - short of shooting them out of the tree w/ real guns.

Baby Blue Jay


Well, at least the baby blue jay was doing well. Day 3 on the limb, he bobbled down and I found him on the ground so had to catch him and restore him to his perch on the oak tree. He was bigger and stronger and his pin feathers had started to bloom. He was starting to look and sound like a blue jay.

Well, morning of Day 4, he again left his perch and landed on the ground near the pond. And while the Catahoulas were too busy watching the bandits ensconced in the bird feeder tree, a copperhead got the baby blue jay.

I heard the adult blue jays screaming and saw cardinals, chickadees and a pair of wrens all gather in to the pine tree to pitch a fit. So I went out to see what was wrong and saw the copperhead starting to devour the already dead blue jay baby.

So bye bye birdie. We did our best. Sorry to see you go.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bandits part 3


So, after securing all dogs in the house, I kept them confined for 2 1/2 hours to give the raccoons a chance to make their escape. I knew they wouldn't like moving during the day, but after an agonizingly long, hot day trapped in a tree w/ no water, I figured they'd be desperate. When we came back outside, I looked up and noticed one clump was gone. "Whew!" I thought. "At least 2 of them got away." Wrong. The 2 young ones had just re-clumped into their mom and sibling creating one bigger, hotter clump in the tree. And now the dogs were out again...

After a few more hours, I got the dogs back inside. At which point, Husband thought maybe a hose would coax the critters out of the tree. I hooked up the sprayer but the raccoons were too high in the tree for the water to reach. So I got a step ladder and tried again. Still not enough reach. So I got Husband's truck and parked it under the tree, put the step ladder in the bed and tried again. This time, was able to reach them somewhat, spraying between swaying tree branches and leaves. Able to get one of the coons to give up, climb down and run away. The others, however, still clung to the limbs and even moved higher up into the tree. "Well, at least they've had some water," I thought.

Kept dogs inside for several hours again. Night had fallen and figured cover of darkness would surely allow raccoons the security they needed to leave. Shined flashlight up into tree and didn't see any eyes glowing back at me. "Finally! They've gone!"

Wrong. Thelma and Louise kept vigil at the tree all night long. The next morning, I could still see the same high-up clump of fur and tails in the tree. Now what?...

Treed bandits continued...






After about an hour of tree duty, Baron gave up and came into the house. About an hour or so after that, I was able to trick BB into coming inside. Thelma and Louise, however, were not so easily convinced. Their powers of patience for waiting out critters have been honed over years of practice. 7 1/2 hours later, I was finally able to get them inside as temps were almost 100 degrees by then...

Monday, July 26, 2010

What a difference 10 minutes makes...


One morning the dogs just would not wait for our usual time to go out. It was only about 10 - 15 min. early - the sun wasn't quite up yet - but they wouldn't stop dancing around so I let them out. Well, 4 out of 5 dogs immediately circled the bird feeder tree. At first, I only saw one raccoon and I said "Oh, I'm sorry. It's going to be a long day for you." After coming back from the barn, I noticed more clumps in the tree - a total of 4 bandits trapped in the limbs.
Stay tuned...

Getting stronger by the day


Our little baby blue jay has made it 2 days and nights on the oak tree limb. I'm happy that the parents didn't mind me touching him/moving him and continue to feed and look after him. I'm a little worried about hawks spotting him, but so far so good.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A bump on a log


This poor baby bluejay fell out of his nest. I saw him when one of his parents landed nearby to check on him. He looked pretty pitiful, and I knew I had to get him off the ground if he was going to have any chance of survival. So I put him on top of an old wooden step-ladder that currently leans against the oak tree. Later that day, I found him again on the ground, but it was obvious his parents had been feeding him as he was alert and perky. So this time I used the step ladder to climb up and place him precariously on the only limb of the oak tree that I could reach. Right after I moved him, I saw one of his parents come in and feed him so I knew they had watched me move him. Hopefully they'll keep feeding him until he's big enough and strong enough to take flight. Poor little guy... Looks pretty pathetic.

Shutter eye


"Wait! I think I blinked! Can we take that again, please?!"

Saturday, July 24, 2010

BB doesn't need a squeaker




She's just as happy with the old knotted up waist band - no sewing necessary.

Destroying Toys




Baron and BB are happy with their new toys and begin chewing on corners and pulling out stuffing almost immediately. But that's what I expected. It's all done with love for those sweet little faces...

Purple Pixie


I recently purchased a brand new purple plastic sewing machine called a "Pixie" for $25 at a discount store. All I wanted one for was making dog toys - sewing old clothes into "pockets" stuffed with more old clothes and a toy squeaker or two. BB & Baron are notorious for destroying any and all toys so I figured I'd just recycle stuff instead of continuing to waste a few bucks at Dollar General on something that'll last 2 minutes.

So I finally brought it out and made 2 toys out of Husband's old jeans. The plastic machine took a little finesse - especially since I was attempting to sew thru denim seams and the thread kept breaking. But besides being the cutest thing I've purchased in a while, it did the job. After all, the sewing doesn't have to be pretty for dog toys. And I'm getting really good at threading the needle.

So hurray for old jean legs and cheap sewing machines! Dog Toys R Us!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thelma plays coy







Baron holds hands with, then leans in and tries to kiss Thelma, but she's playing hard to get (or at least reach), so he just gives up.

It ain't easy being (called) green...




A green-backed heron fishes from atop the fence railings that lead down into the pond. I personally don't ever see much green on these guys - more of a smoky/dusky blue color, if you ask me.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Dusty blue thistle thingys


No idea what kind of weeds these are but they produce some lovely dusty blue thistles. As long as they don't have mesquite spines on them, I'll let them live...

Defeat Mesquite


I donned my thick-soled shoes this week and spent some time tromping in the back pasture again spraying mesquite trees. Happy to report that the back area that I had sprayed earlier this year was holding pretty well - only a few new sprigs sprouting up from old stubborn roots. However, the area of the pasture that I had simply mowed w/o spraying first because the mesquites weren't that big yet - well, they were coming up thick as thieves there. So hopefully this round of Remedy mix will stymie their growth again (you can never really stop them - you just hope to slow them down enough to keep a forest from growing up).

Note to self: No matter how convenient, DO NOT grab a dog towel from the hamper by the front door to use as a sweat rag/sun shield. Even tho it has been washed, as you perspire the unmistakable smell of wet dog will rise from the towel wrap.

Also, the horses are of no help in pointing out baby mesquite trees that need to be sprayed. They simply linger nearby and wonder why you smell like wet dog.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

White Horse Up!





Gem shows me she's okay - better than okay, actually. Back on her feet and perky and gorgeous!

White Horse Down


I have to admit, this sight strikes fear into my heart and a leaves a sock-to-the-gut feeling. After Pearl's struggles with arthritis and having to be rolled to be able to get up, and after losing both her and Breezy, this particular pose of a white horse will get to me every time.

This, however, is just Gem's way of taking a break on a hot day.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No, this is not dog poo...


These mushrooms grow after a good rainfall. Unlike those white ones that grow in fairy rings, these grow in lines - like someone's been sowing rows of them when I wasn't looking.

They're almost as dangerous as dog poo to step in - fungi are slippery - but not nearly as stinky...

Biplanes

With the pond being so close to the house, we have a constant barrage of dragonflies to keep us company. Here's a sampling of our most popular models. I do enjoy them - especially since I know they eat tons of mosquitos!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More space sharing


Our resident white dove, a whistler and a squirrel meet at the "water cooler" feeder tree.

Sharing space


Cow egrets and black-bellied whistlers share the old dead tree as an afternoon perch.
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