Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fire Safety Home Checklist

We had a house fire in the neighborhood yesterday.  Thankfully, the conflagration did not take the entire structure but rather was confined to a new construction area above the garage.  I haven’t heard that anyone was injured but the place is a mess and the house itself was damaged. 

Incidents like this are a sobering reminder that we all need to be prepared in case of fire and work out an emergency plan with our loved ones.  In particular, those of us with wood burning stoves/fireplaces need to make sure the chimney is cleaned at least once per year.  Maintenance depends a lot on the type of wood used.  Well-seasoned hardwood produces less flammable creosote.

Earthwise and the blog FireSafetyforAll created the home checklist below to help keep fire safety foremost for all families.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thoughts for the Work Week Ahead

This week’s words of inspiration are from the late Bob Ross--artist, teacher and PBS host--who instilled in generations not only a passion for painting but also a love for nature.  He looked outside and was in awe of God’s majesty.  His artworks were filled with  “happy little clouds” and “happy little trees."  

*Ethan Trex from MentalFloss revealed:

Bob was also an animal lover.  As a child growing up in Florida, he once nursed a wounded alligator back to health in the family's bathtub. Throughout his life, he maintained his soft spot for animals; his Florida home usually housed any number of critters that Ross was trying to help rehabilitate. At various times he played host to birds with broken wings, orphaned baby squirrels, and an epileptic squirrel that lived in his empty Jacuzzi.

Ross liked animals so much that he would tape squirrels in his backyard. During the early 1990s, shortly before his untimely death of lymphoma, Ross had hoped to develop a new non-painting show that would introduce children to a variety of new wildlife.

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Bob!  Your legacy lives on . . . 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Blessed Sunday

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Make It a Great One!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Another Milestone!

Be Prepared!

Good health is something most of us take for granted.  The ability to walk, to sit, to bend to lift seem like givens as we concentrate on day to day concerns.  But when these basic abilities are gone, believe me, everyday problems are put in perspective.

Last week’s lifting-related injury left me flat on my back and in a real bind.  I wasn’t able to focus on rest and getting better but rather was worried sick about my animals.  With JB out of town I was alone and unable to get outside to care for the wildlife.  Sunday night I’d left the feeders out and on Monday morning could see the deer had emptied all within their reach.  Additionally, the bird baths were only half full. 

I tried to tell myself that my absence for a few days wouldn’t make a difference but instinctively knew better.  Sure enough, by mid-afternoon I was jolted from a pain-induced haze by the appearance of a Pileated Woodpecker outside my bedroom window.  For an instant our eyes locked and I read my feathered friend’s thoughts:  Where are you?  We are hungry.

A glance outside confirmed my fears:  the suet plug feeder, the Pileateds’ personal favorite, was empty. With tears in my eyes I turned away from the window.  I knew I couldn’t make it outside nor lift feeders. 

Thankfully, by late Monday evening, prescription pills were taking hold and I could at least manage the pain and move from room to room. 

After a night of semi-comatose sleep I made the decision to head outside and was greeted with a flutter of wings and aggravated avian chatter.  As several swooped close I sensed confusion among my winged wildlife.  Moving slowly, but with much overhead encouragement,  it took me all morning to get most of the feeders refilled.  Only the ones requiring a ladder to reach were left untouched.  Bathed in sweat, I shakily retreated to the house and collapsed into my bed.  Mission accomplished.

Each day since has been a bit better but the experience has made me realize the importance of a contingency plan.  I take my responsibility to the area wildlife seriously.  Like backyard birders all over the world, I have seen my efforts over the past four years make a huge difference. Migration patterns have changed and species have flourished.  Simply put:  around Bon Bon Pond there are now more birds, more of the time.

To all my kind-hearted kindred--particularly those in cold weather climes--I urge you to profit from my failure and be prepared.  In case of accident or injury, every backyard birder needs a backup plan in place to ensure our beloved wildlife continue to receive the care they’ve come to expect.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Missing in Action

Story Tomorrow

Monday, October 22, 2012

Thoughts for the Work Week Ahead

No graphics today.  No LaBonBon today.  Just an important message to share with you, her friends.  

“Time and health are two precious assets
that we don't recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted.”

--Denis Waitley

LaBonBon is presently in a world of hurt.  She seriously injured her back moving some outdoor furniture into the barn for winter storage.  She will return to these pages when she can once again sit.  For now she is unable to leave her bed.  Her message to each of you today is please, please take good care of yourself.


Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Blessings

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Have a Wonderful Fall Weekend!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Migration Report

The Dark-eyed Juncos have returned to Bon Bon Pond! These lovely little gray cold weather residents flew in late last month, marking a much earlier debut than previous years.  More surprisingly, usually migratory male Red-winged Blackbirds are still here with me enjoying both sunflower seeds and suet.  For central Minnesota,  these birds are supposed to switch over to an insect diet in late summer then clear out later in the season. My other winter birds arrived in mid-summer:  the Red-breasted Nuthatch on July 11th and the Pine Siskins a couple weeks later.  What in the world is going on here? 

Recently I viewed an excellent PBS documentary about hummingbirds (a portion of which I posted earlier—just click on the “Ruby throated Hummingbird” label below) which speculated that the migration patterns of these awe-inspiring avians had actually altered in response to human intervention.  Hummingbirds have begun to winter on the U.S. gulf coast since so many people are putting out nectar.  This revelation is not news to me.  On a much smaller scale, and in only four short years,  I have personally witnessed the dramatic effect that plentiful, nutritious and dependable food sources, plus year-round fresh water, will have on our feathered friends.  Both the scientific study of the hummers and my anecdotal evidence are exciting for birders as it proves that each of us, in our own backyard, can make a difference.

Peanut, the Red-breasted Nuthatch, a traditional winter bird of central Minnesota, now spends all but eight weeks per year (nesting in northern MN) at Bon Bon Pond.