Sunday, September 29, 2013

Back at OTOW

Bill and I are getting settled into our little home in Ocala after a long but pleasant drive from Colorado. We stopped to visit friends Mike and Mel along the way. I ALWAYS enjoy seeing them and spending time on their porch watching the amazing variety of birds they have at their feeders.

Back at OTOW, Bill is flying every day, I'm playing Mah Jongg and I finally finished the Bargello quilt top. Bocce begins next week and we are having some improvements done on the house: new counters in the kitchen and new -much larger - lanai on the back. I've been meeting with contractors, looking at floor tile, stainless steel sinks (who knew that 16 gauge stainless is better than 18 gauge stainless!), ceiling fans and blinds. It's great seeing our friends again; we've missed the active social scene here at OTOW. BUT, since we returned early, we got to experience Love Bug Season - the worst here in years. Love Bugs look like lightening bugs with out the lights and fly around in pairs hooked together at the tail - hence their name. They don't bite but their sheer numbers are mighty annoying! Fortunately, they don't stay very long and are now completely gone.

The birds won't eat the Love Bugs because they taste bad and they need to be washed off your car before they damage the paint. Needless to say the car washes love them! This is a Northern Mockingbird who sat in our tree in front of our house and sang the morning away.

Out back we have a daily visitor (he's there now) - a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

He likes the sun flower seeds. It's interesting how he uses his tail.

Polite as ever, he takes a seed and goes back to the top of the feeder post to eat it.

I also made myself a new purse. The last one had served me well (it was the first thing I made after getting a sewing machine). This one was inspired by a couple of my favorite patterns and material I purchased a couple of years ago in Denver. Now I can bird watch right in my living room!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Visiting House Wren

Every once in a while we see a House Wren in the yard - and yesterday was one of those rare occasions. I had to double check my ID and confirm it was a House and not a Bewick's because of the faint eyebrow extending just behind the eye.

He was enjoying the berries that grow in the lush bushes along our back fence.

This is an interesting creature. We saw half a dozen of these last night after dinner flitting from the 4 o'clocks to the honeysuckle. They never stopped and it was almost impossible to get a decent picture.

The camera setting stopped his wings so I could get a good look. This is a White-lined Sphinx Hummingbird Moth. Apparently the caterpillars feed on 4 o'clocks - and we have quite a few (except ours are more like 7 o'clocks!).

It only takes one terrible picture (and trust me - I cropped out the worst parts!) for me to take the camera away from my dear hubby, Bill. He was supposed to be getting pictures of the large flock of Bushtits that stopped by while I was painting the new door on the potting house - but he has a short attention span.

Why a door on the potting house after all these years? When we returned from Florida in May, we discovered that a large family of raccoons had been using the outbuilding as a common latrine. Apparently, raccoons defecate in communal sites and we found a huge pile. Their feces can be dangerous to people as they harbor roundworm eggs - but I didn't learn this until AFTER I cleaned up the mess. It took several applications of "Critter Ridder" and ammonia to convince them to "go" elsewhere. After en extreme cleaning and new floor boards, we added the door and I painted it red to match the flower in the stained glass window.

Bill never did get a decent picture of the Bushtits - or me.