Monday, February 19, 2018

Spy Cam

Hoot Hoot. We hear the owls late at night, sometimes in the middle of night, or in the earl morning far before dawn. Rarely do we see the giant horned owls, but occasionally we have what I like to call a Harry Potter moment when we see the owl take flight from its high perch in one of giant Ponderosa pines. As the owl flies through the dark of night, its white underneath gleams in the dull yard light on the pinnacle of the barn roof. My heart takes a leap at the thrill of getting even a fleeting glimpse of the majestic bird of prey.

Owls, as nocturnal creatures, are really hard to find, but they leave behind sign. So when the Head Gardener found these odd looking things on the lid of the box where the irrigation valves are located, he knew we have a second species, a barn owl perhaps. Owls spit out pellets that contain, for lack of better description, the indigestible parts of their prey such as bones and hair. Here at the Garden Spot the owls are likely to eat small birds, mice, and voles.  Wearing a glove, he collected the ones that were on the lid and in the grass located beneath the peak of the barn roof. The owl must perch on the peak of the barn roof to enjoy his meal or to digest it.

Last year the Head Gardner built a nesting box for either barn owls or the horned owls, which ever needed a home. He hung it just outside the barn above Pop's stall, hoping to attract a pair, but the box remained empty, so he decided to moved it to a more private place, high in the tree when we see the great owls perch. He decided that the stall area for the horses had too much traffic for the owls. I should have documented the installation of the nest box, but I didn't. It was ugly, requiring a very tall extension ladder, a rope and pulley system, and of course, a safety belt. Now I ask you, should any 65 year old grandpa be climbing trees and hoisting heaving boxes for creatures to maybe nest in? Apparently so. 

Of course, Boone gave the nesting box one final inspection and his ARF of approval before it was installed.

It is doubtful that we will have any takers this year since the owls begin nesting as early as February, so they have probably already found suitable accommodations. Next year, perhaps.

 Our next step was to determine what sort of owl is depositing it pellets, so we invested in  a game camera that is now located on the side of the chicken house to photograph what might light on the barn roof.

Here is brief sequence of the first 24 hours. Nothing interesting.

Hmm. A stranger wearing a hoodie and ball cap. Oh. It's the Head Gardener.

The camera takes a photo when it detects movement. You can see the boys standing outside their stalls.

More Movement: Boone. 

There's that hooded guy again.

Who knows how long it will be before we see an owl. The weather is bad. Snow. Cold. Wind--which also activates the camera to take a photo when the pine tree limbs move, so the HG will move it so that it does not take unnecessary photos. And I hope that we don't run out of mice or voles. 

This next photo was taken and edited by my friend, Patty Lang. She and her husband spent the weekend with us and we were looking at her collection of photos. She uses an online editor, Smart Photo Editor, which lends her wonderful special effects that take her photos to the next level. I believe that this photo was taken on a very foggy morning at Confluence Lake in Delta, CO. It is an interesting photo because if you know geese you will recognize the white geese as domestic ones, the two grays with the hump nose are domesticated Chinese geese, and the one wild Canada goose. You have to wonder why he is with the domestics.

There are a dozen captions that go with this photo. What would you say about the photo?  I'll post them, if you want to suggest a caption.

Well, thank you for visiting. I appreciated your concern and good wishes for the horses. They are all old and we can sympathize with them. I wake up many mornings stiff with sore joints from the arthritis that is settling in. Sundance is now on a injection of some sort--a cortisone type drug that will help his joints produce lubricating fluid and an anti informatory tabled "For Dogs Only." So far Sundance has not begun to bark yet, but he is moving more easily and we hope pain free.

I'll be linking up with Life in Normandy Mosaic Monday. You will find we at the bottom of the list. 

Have a wonderful week.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Happily Returning

 Happy Valentine's Day

Greetings. Yes. I have been neglecting my blog and you. I miss my little community of friends and wish I were more disciplined to do my weekly posts. I will try to be a little more diligent, friends.

It's mid February and we are in the grips of a Colorado winter, thankful for the moisture since the Weather People--those pretty, sweet, smart young women who deliver the grim weather new reports with a smile, outside in the elements, dressed in chic winter coats and faux fur hats--reminded us of the reality of a warm (?) dry winter who remind us that we are officially in a drought, dreaded news for us here in the northern part of the state who hope for green pastures and abundant hay in the summer. Thus we have snow on the ground, not a huge amount, but it is a mere eleven degrees out there with bright sunshine that promises to warm up the day, with more snow in the forecast. We remind each other that it is February; it is winter; and it is Colorado. But enough about the weather. It will change in awhile, anyway. 

My first mosaic pretty much shows what I have been doing: Sewing for the girls, the 18 inch ones. I do enjoy sewing for them because they are are patient with the fittings and always love what I make for them regardless of the color or style or fabric.

The two dolls pictured are Target dolls, Our Generation. Both rescued from the dreadful toy bins at the thrift store. The price of these dolls is climbing. Last year I picked up a couple of Madame Alexander dolls for two to three dollars; the cute little red head was fifteen dollars. You will not find American Girl dolls in a thrift store either. Used, you will find them on eBay and Craig's List. 

If you want to know more about the patterns, email me and I'll be glad to share them with you. The first dress and the American Native dress come from a book of patterns by Joan Hinds. This book has dresses of the decades beginning in 1700 through 1950. The patterns are very easy to sew. They come on a CD and are scaled to print out the perfect size.  The little Edwardian dress pattern comes from a website specializing in doll clothes: Pixie Fair. Click on the link to see the pattern. The site also offers free patterns. You order the pattern then download it and it prints to the correct style. 

I buy most of my fabric at the the thrift store when I see a piece that calls out to me. I am acquiring quite a stash. I am also trying to use up my stash of notions and materials that I have collected over the years. My sister-in-law gave me a piece of doe skin leather that I will make a more authentic American Native dress. For this first one, I used faux suede. It was a very easy pattern to sew. I still have to finish the little moccasins. I've purchased a dark complected Madame Alexander doll on eBay with long black braids as my native doll. She'll be here tomorrow. I can't wait to meet her. 

I also need to catch you up on the equine members of the family. The boys are doing well, sort of. We noticed that Pop, the pony was shying at shadows, stumbling, and not quite sure as to where to go sometimes when he had his UV protective mask on. One day as Jen helped Lily ride, the light caught Pop's left eye just right so that she could see a cloudiness in his eye. The vet confirmed that he is blind in that eye and partially blind in the other eye. She says that blind horses do quite well and with Sundance as his buddy, he gets along very well. In fact, Doc Autumn told us that he has been blind for a very long time and that he probably had the condition long before we got him. He turns 30 this years and still has spunk.

Sundance, the golden boy, has more problems that poor Jen is trying to sort out. Basically he is lame. She has had a chiropractor work on him, put him an arthritis medication for dogs only--but also prescribed for horses--, and now he is on butazoline. Once used in humans for gout and arthritis, it is still used in horses for inflammation. But he has a lameness in the right hind quarter that suggests two problems: sciatica or even a cracked pelvis that will take months to heal. He will a begin around of shots soon to help his joints make lubrication fluid. Jen is heart broken. She had hoped to be able to ride Sundance with her girls this summer.

Ellie and Lucy both have horses now at their house. Ellie's horse has problems, too, that we are trying to figure out. Right now Jen is researching the possibility that Honey might have stomach ulcers. The horse's stomach can be scoped with may or may not locate the ulcer and it is an expensive procedure, so she is trying to figure out how to help the mare get to feeling better.

Horses are big animals and when they get sick or injured, it is often expensive to diagnose and treat their problems. Surprisingly, they are treated with much the same medications as humans are such as omperzole for ulcers, for example. Such treatments for horses are very expensive, so Jen is looking for alternatives, wanting to find homeopathic ways to heal Ellie's mare.

With Spring just around the corner, we are beginning to think ahead to spring gardening. While we have more snow yet to come, with March our heaviest snow month--if you can believe that. 

That that winds up this post. I'm joining Maggie at Life in Normandy for Mosaic Monday. See you there. 

Have a fabulous week. Thanks visiting. 

A Rose by Any Other Name

Jackson and Perkins roses have been in the garden for at least 10-12 years. This year they have been spectacular. The bushes were taller and...