Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Horses and Kids, 2010

As you can probably tell, I've been looking through my old YouTube videos.
Here is one when we were at the barn in Litchfield.
My grandkids, Ava and little Jack, came for a little ride.
This was 5 or 6 years ago.
They were young, the horses were young, my kids were young and I was young(er).
My son, Carl hadn't ridden a horse except once on Preacher since horse camp when he was a kid.
He just gets on and rides like nothin'!


Springtime Memories from 2005

Our first horse, Satire,  And Michele's love of her life.

Satire's first day out in the Spring 2005.  He just want SOMEBODY to play with him!
The white horse is William's, Rauls.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tiny and Feisty, the Hummingbird

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

These are the amazing tiny birds that migrate up to the eastern part of the US to breed every season.
They weigh well under an ounce.
They can fly as fast as 60 mph and can maneuver forwards, backwards, up and down and can hover in one place by making their wings flutter in a figure eight movement.
They winter in Mexico and Central America!!
Imagine something so tiny traveling that far!!!
And they usually come back to the same exact breeding ground and most of the time the same feeders!
The sound made by their rapidly moving wings gives them their name.
Some people are concerned for this creature because of their small size but hummingbirds are actually quite hardy.  
They are feisty and fearless and will definitely defend their territories.  They are solitary creatures and are not often seen in large groups.  At feeders and around their nests they can be extremely aggressive and will chase other birds.

The adult male has the red throat and slightly forked tail.
The red is actually not a pigmented color but depends on the light and can sometimes appear black.  Both sexes have the iridescent green back.
The hummingbirds usually appear in Ohio from mid to late April.  I always try to have my feeders out by April 15th.
Hummingbird feeders are increasingly popular with Ohio residents and many people believe they have the same birds coming back every year.  Banding experiments prove this can be correct but many new ones also come.
Peak activity periods at feeders are early morning and late evening.  Many see increased activity before and after thunderstorms also.

Reproduction and Nesting

The ruby-throated hummingbirds are polygamous and the male and female only associate during mating.  The females build the nests, incubate the tiny, usually two, eggs till they are hatched and fledge.  (What a gal!!)
The young hatch in 14-16 days and will fledge about 21 days after hatching.
The hummingbirds nest is amazing.
It is so tiny, about the size of a ping-pong ball.
The inside is made of soft cotton and plant down and then plant parts are woven and intertwined with spiderweb silk to hold it all together.  Plant lichen is stuck to the sticky silk on the outside to camouflage it making it almost impossible to find.

I hope you will be so lucky as to attract some hummingbirds to your house.  
Put those feeders out there along with some flowers that they collect nectar from.

Favorite Plants For Attracting Hummingbirds

FuchsiaBee BalmCoral HoneysuckleButterfly Bush
ImpatientsCannaCypress VineFlowering Quince
JacobianaCardinal FlowerMorning GloryLantana
JewelweedCoral BellsScarlet RunnerManzanita
PetuniaFour O'ClocksTrumpet CreeperMimosa
SalviaFoxgloveCanary creeperRed Buckey
Shrimp PlantHostaCarolina jasmineTree Tobacco
SnapdragonLupineGlory vineTurks Cap
NicotianaColumbineCypress vineWeigela

Good Luck.
They are the most amazing little birds.


Added note:  Here's a YouTube video of a Nature Documentary on the World of the Hummingbird that is just fantastic.
Hope you take the time to watch it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Birds in My Yard

I just put my hummingbird feeders out this past week.
I have two but have sent for another one.  A flat type that I think they like better.  
I usually get quite a few hummers.  I haven't seen one yet but they are due about this time .

I'm going to write a post about them in the next few days.
They are fascinating tiny little birds.

My blue birds have built a nest in their house that they build in every year.
I looked in there today and there are 4 beautiful blue eggs.  The mama was watching me so I left quickly.

Here's mama leaving the box.

My bluebird house is sure nothing fancy.  
In fact I was planning on getting them a new one this year but, too late now!

Here's another sign that Spring is really here.
Yellow finches turn bright yellow and leave their drab winter feathers behind.

It seems, especially this year, that it has taken forever for Spring to get here.  
But I am feeling hopeful now!!  
I love this season.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

And Then There Were Four

It was a bad, sad day here on my little homestead.
Lily, my white easter egger chicken got out of the extended run and Dexter got her.  
He hurt her pretty bad so I took her up the the vet and she mercifully put her out of her misery.
Lily was the one of the flock that liked to fly over things so I think that is the only way she could've gotten out.
There is a little opening where she could've made it and I didn't see she was loose before the dogs went out.
I feel horrible.
Poor little Lily.
She was one of my two easter eggers that laid green eggs.
She was the "rebel", never coming when I'd call the flock back from the yard.  I'd always have to go herd her in.
Her tuffs of feathers by her beak were always dirty because she'd get them wet then go scratch and peck around in the dirt.

She never would get on my lap like the others but she was always very inquisitive.
You'll be missed little girl.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chickens, Horses and Dogs Ta-Da

I've been a little lax on the blog!
I have a ferocious spring time cold!!
This is the most I've done in a few days.  I may have to cancel Easter dinner and have it the following week!
I don't think I feel good enough for all that!

Anyway, before my cold. I took some pics of my animals.

The nicer weather (finally) meant that the chickens at least get to go out into their outer run where there's good things to scratch and peck at under those old leaves.

A short trip to the barn to see my boys and check out the two new horses that arrived.
Echo and Preacher say hello!

Sarah, barn owner, got a new little barn pony.  His name is "Squirt"!
He is soooo cute.
Look at that wild hair-do!!

The other horse in for training is a beautiful black arab-cross.
His name is "Cowboy"

In the meantime, at home, Spirit thinks he found a stick in the house.
No Spirit, that's a fireplace log!!!

Dexter and little girl Spirit.
They are always very attentive when I'm eating!!!!

Hoping to feel a little better tomorrow!

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