Monday, February 25, 2013

PEE-YEW! What's that smell???

Spring must be getting close. I woke this morning to the wonderful smell of skunks. NOT! Did you know that the biggest predator of skunks is cars?  By the number of skunk road kill I saw this weekend, they must be coming out of hibernation. Good sign of spring coming, but not a good sign for us. Living out here in the country is great. Wide open spaces, wonderful fresh air. That is till the skunks show up. My hubby has a live trap behind our storage shed. He usually catches 3-5 skunks a year. He takes them for a ride to see the country side and then lets them go .Friends think he is re-trapping the same skunk again and again. I don't think so. I have read skunks do not have a homing instinct. I know they are good at keeping rodents and snakes down. But I don’t like them in my yard. Did you know a lot of people keep skunks as pets? Can’t image that. And did you know that there are four different types of skunks in North America? We have the common type in our area, the striped skunk.

You can read more about skunks here. Very interesting reading.

Have a good Monday,

Friday, February 22, 2013

Lady Luck was on our side.

We lucked out. The snowstorm that hit Kansas City lost some of its punch before it got to us. We only got about 4 inches of snow. Thirty miles away in Council Bluffs, they got 9. And the best part, the winds weren't even close to the speed that was predicted. I have a feeling this fellow would agree with me. He spent a good part of the morning coming and going from this feeder.

Northern Flicker

Another snow storm is possible on Sunday evening. Hope they are wrong on it, too

Stay warm and have a safe weekend


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

More on our very old house.

My blog on houses on the Underground Railroad has some of you wondering about my house. It was built in the 1880’s like a lot of homes in our town. From what I could find on line, this house is one of the oldest, if not the oldest. It started out as a two room house, with additional rooms added as time went on. There is a step up, about 2 inches, to the kitchen and about a 2 inch step down to the toy room/laundry room. Off this room there it a pantry with the door to the basement. The pantry had, at one time, a door to the outside, which we called the sandbox door. I had a giant tractor tire sandbox right out it, which, also, made it right under our kitchen window. Very convenient to keep an eye on four rambunctious girls. An upstairs was added around 1895, going right over the existing window in the dining room, not bothering to change it. Strange.
Stairs to 4 bedrooms

The glass in one of the bedroom  window upstairs, there are four, had 1895 etched in it.B. When we replaced those windows, I had the installer save that piece of glass and I have it framed, along with an picture of the original front of the house.
House with original porch.
We had to replace  the original porch in the 1984 after a tree fell on it. We later converted that into a sunroom.

House with sunroom.

Inside our favorite room, the sunroom.

 The house, at one time, was a duplex with each side having two bedrooms upstairs and sharing a bathroom upstairs. Can you image? No thank you. Because it was a duplex there are  four outside doors. It was a one family home when we purchased it in 1965. Over the years we have done a lot to this house. But nothing to the basement. We never felt like we needed the extra space to warrant the cost. Thus the basement is just like it was years ago. Cleaner now than in the past. Hubby does a better job of that now. Just ask any of my girls. Back then, we had a huge garden that included potatoes. We used the basement as a root cellar. The girls would argue who was going to go down and get potatoes when the potato bin was empty. Too many cobwebs for any of us. Now those are gone, but I still don’t go down if I can help it. Only if it sounds like a tornado is taking aim at my house.

If only this old house could talk, it would have a lot to say, I’m sure.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

House on the unground railroad??????

I was reading an article yesterday on President Lincoln. It was a brief summary of the hardships he suffered through his life, the dead of a wife, a child, the civil war and slavery. Got me thinking about the slaves and their hardships. Not far from us in the town of Lewis, is a house confirmed to be on the Underground Railroad. I have always found this fascinating since we have always wondered if our house was safe haven for the slave and possibly one on the chain.  Our basement looks like it could have been a place to hide slaves. It has your normal steps going down but, at one time there was a brick wall closing off and hiding and underground passage. It was removed when a new furnace was added many years ago.

Remains of original wall

 Behind that once present wall, is a dirt tunnel leading to a ladder.

original ladder leading to closet

 If you climb up that ladder you would come out in a closet that is in the dining room. 

looking into basement from closet

trap door in closet

We always have wondered if this dirt area was a place to hide slaves when needed. They would have been hidden behind the brick wall and out of sight. Over the years, we have had school kids call and ask if they could see our basement and take pictures of it for a school project on slaves. 

Definitely food for thought.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Even in the fowl world-Friday Funnies

Notice that one seems to being saying," I told you, Martha, it was too early to come back." Took this picture when we out looking for the Eagles at Lake Manawa, Iowa.

Have a fun, relaxing weekend.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Lemonade Girl Scout cookies, Oh My.

 You know, every January I decide to lose some weight. Not just to look better, but to feel better. I figure, maybe, I wouldn't have has many aches and pains if I did. But boy, it is not the time of year for that decision. Okay, maybe there isn't a really good time of the year for that decision. Anyway, it really isn't. First there is my birthday in January. Always more eating events going on. Then follow that with Super Sunday. Now we have Valentine’s Day. Hubby always gives me a box of chocolates. You can't let them go to waste. Plus, I wouldn't want to hurt his feelings, right? So I eat. And who thought this was a good time of the year for Girl Scout cookies. The Girl Scout cookies we ordered came last night. Hubby ordered his usual, Peanut Butter patties and I love lemon anything. So I ordered the new Lemonade cookies. Let me tell you, are they delicious. I could eat the whole box in one sitting. But I am settling for two at a time. And, boy, that isn't an easy feat for me. 

I don't know if there is a good time to think of losing some weight but I think ,maybe, March first would be better then January first. We'll see.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bald eagles everywhere.

It was a beautiful day here in Iowa. The sun was shining and the wind wasn't blowing too strong this morning.  Perfect day to go to Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs, to see if we could spot some Bald Eagles. Lake Manawa is located very close to the Missouri river. Hubby needed some new jeans, so we figured we could take care of that, too.

There were eagles everywhere.

I was so excited to see so many at one time. It was great.

And more. Glad it was so nice out. I had hubby stopping the car a lot to take pictures.

We spotted these two as we were leaving the park. Beautiful sight.

We saw over a dozen eagles on our drive. Very large, beautiful birds.

Oh, and hubby was only able to find one pair of jeans he liked. He buys by feel. If they don't feel soft he won't even try them on. Can't convince him that they will soften up with washing.

 All and all it was a great day.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Things change and time marches on.

A fellow blogger wrote today about loosing her sunset view. I would not be happy if that happened to me. Got me thinking about the little things we take for granted. We have construction happening just to the south of us. The old school building is being converted into 34 apartments. There was a house between us and the school till a couple of years ago. It was torn down because it was in such disrepair it wasn't worth saving. That changed our view from our bay windows for the better.

This was our view after the house came down. It looked so different. We loved it.

But that view will be changing again. It already has. Work on converting the old school building began a few months ago. Big machinery runs occasionally making our quiet neighbor not so quiet. But I suspect in a few months we will look back on this time as the last of the quiet neighbor. I suppose, when all 34 apartments are filled, the traffic will pick up, along with the noise. Things change and time marches on. When we bought this house, the land behind us was pasture. It was fun to watch the cows. We tried to buy a piece of that ground from the elderly farmer that owned it but he would sell just a small piece of it and, of course, we couldn't afford the whole farm. The day came when he died and another farmer did buy the whole farm. So, now one year it is a soybean field and the next year, a corn field. But at, least, it doesn't block my sunset view the whole year. That I would not  like. So enjoy the little things in life before they are gone. Things change and time marches on.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Let the little children come to me...

Let the little children come to me...Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

Jesus' attention to children would have been unusual, even surprising, in his culture. What do you think he means when he says, "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these," and "Receive the kingdom of God like a little child"? What aspects of childhood do you think he's commending?

Have a Blessed Sunday,

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday, February 8, 2013

Plants can multi-task too.

Every Thursday, our local paper, the Omaha World Herald carries the column on gardening written by JAN RIGGENBACH. This week she started her article by saying, "Multitasking isn’t just for people. Plants can do it, too.” She went on to say, "Shrubs like blueberry, for example, not only produce delicious fruit but make a great landscape plant, too." The article went on to talk about one of her favorite shrubs. It has yellow flowers, followed by red currants and smells heavenly. It sounded just like a shrub I had but never knew its name. I dug up a shoot from a neighbor when we first moved here in 1965. I love the fragrance the yellow flowers give off when they bloom in the spring. It is very strong and sweet. My hubby can even smell it and he has a terrible smeller. But I never knew the name of it. I have moved shoots from the south side of the house to the north side of the house by the kitchen window. That way I can enjoy the flowers and their perfume while working at the sink. But until yesterday, I didn't know its name. It is Crandall clove currant. My daughter has dug up shoots and planted them when they built their house. She has a very green thumb, thus a lot of Crandall clove currant. My Crandall isn't looking so pretty anymore. Old age, I suspect. But it stills blooms every spring, perfuming the air. I think it is time to have her dig me up some new shoots.

Crandall clove currant
4-6'tall x 4-6'wide (cutting propagated) Spring bloom- This intensely fragrant, fast growing heirloom selection of a native currant was originally chosen for its abundant crop of flavorful black fruit. But its clove-scented yellow spring flowers and mahogany-red fall foliage make it a plant with three seasons of garden beauty. Thrives in all but dry sand or wet clay soils. 

You can read  JAN RIGGENBACH column on Thursday's in the Omaha World Herald's Living Today section.

Can you tell I am getting anxious for spring.

Have a good weekend,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Squirrels 1 , Rose 1

Anyone know of a way to discourage squirrels from feeders? I figured we had it made with our backyard squirrel deterrent but these squirrels aren't  dumb bunnies. BUNNIES. That is another blog come spring. Back to the squirrels. We now have one that has found the square suet feeder on the south side. I can not think of anyway to stop him, other then bringing the feeder in. But the woodpeckers would not be happy with that. Any thoughts?

And to top it all off, the Cooper Hawk showed up today. He usually shows up every January when the snow cover keeps him from finding food. His favorite meal consists of small birds found at feeders. I guess he just gets tired  of the work involved with hunting in the winter. Haven't seen a bird all afternoon even tho he left awhile ago. Must be in hiding.

Take care,

Friday, February 1, 2013

Do the Birds Know Something We don't?????

The weathermen are talking snow tonight. Not much, just an inch. But the way the birds are feeding, it makes you wonder. The finch have been thick. Hubby filled them late this morning and I bet they are almost empty. We have a zillion finches. Well, maybe not a zillion, but we do have a lot. We have two feeders on the south side of the house and two on the north side of the house. And do we ever go through the black oil sunflower seeds. Oh, we, also, have a suet feeder for the woodpeckers. Lots of birds. The daycare kids enjoy watching them. And even the 5 month old will sit in his walker and watch all the action.

Move over, let me in.

Waiting for their turn.
The goldfinch feeders have been very busy, too. Maybe  these birds know something we don't know.  Like more than a inch of snow?

We have a lot of squirrels. Way too many squirrels. Some of the neighbors have problem with them eating porch railings and window trip etc. I think it is the lead paint in these old houses. I have read where it tastes sweet. One neighbor had them eat through an eve and make a nest in the hollow area. She had to call in pest control. After it was all said and done, they removed around 30 squirrels of all sizes. Can you image? We haven't had any of those problems, yet. They just like to get at the sunflower seeds.

Took this earlier this week, before our last snow. 

The squirrels jump from the garage roof, right on to the top of the pole that holds the feeder pictured about. Solution to the above problem? I bet NOT.  They will jump off the roof right over them.But, maybe, it will make them think. LOL

By the way, the wire going up the pole is a metal slinky. It does work. They climb up the pole, catch a hold of slinky, and slide all the way to the ground. Quite funny to watch. But we did find out, it has to be a metal one, not plastic. They love to eat plastic.

Have a good weekend.
Stay warm,