adventure, birds, connections, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, neighbors, nesting, Owls, photography, Uncategorized

Burrowing owls…

The only thing better than being lucky in love is being lucky in neighbors.  Well, okay, lucky in love wins out, but not by a lot.  If you are lucky in neighbors you might realize that your neighbor ran his lawnmower across the last several swipes at the bottom of your yard, the part that you are too chicken to do on your lawn mower for fear it’ll tip over.  Or you will be invited to go shooting, photographs that is, and you won’t get home for 12 1/2 hours, but your dog will be well taken care of, your outside lights will be on to light your way when you get home, and your mail, including a Mother’s Day gift, will be sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for you.  

And good neighbors also mean that when you have a chance to go on a marathon photo shoot you can say yes.  It was a ride along for me.  One of my friend’s main goals was to see young burrowing owls before they fledged the nest.  Or in their case the burrow.  I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I’d seen photos of these tiny owls standing beside their burrows in an open sandy field, with scattered shrubs and not much else.  I didn’t realize that the burrows in these fields would be marked off by short sections of white pipe with yellow tape, indicating the perimeter of their area, or that these open lots were in residential neighborhoods.  I hoped we’d see these owls, but for some reason I was dubious.  I needn’t have worried…

5-12burrowingowl5-12burrowingowl3Ah yes, the babies!5-12burrowingowlbaby5-12burrowingowlbaby2Didn’t expect them on the wire…5-12burrowingowlonthewireIn the burrow…5-12burrowingowlpopup5-12burrowingowllonglegs

Merlin said that these owls are characterized by their long legs, which aren’t apparent when they are hunkered down in the burrow, but they are showing here.

I’m a lucky gal every day, but yesterday was special…

dogs, home, life, life goes on, live and learn, nature, neighbors, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, sunrise, technology

Another point of view…

iPhone photography was what lured me into my current photographic journey, and I remain a fan of what the iPhone camera can capture.  Consequently I commonly take iPhone photos along with the photos with my Canon DSLR, but I don’t always remember to look at them later since they are always totally outnumbered.  But once in a while I think to check them out to see what I failed to notice.4-5zoofishLike this Lionfish that posed for me at the zoo.  I knew that the iPhone would be my best chance at a good photo of that very dramatic fish.  And also at the zoo…4-5zoodoorI thought this faux courtyard scene was positively charming…

And in the backyard I routinely capture sunrises since they come to me daily, and when I’m not enjoying the sunrise I can enjoy the honeysuckle growing up on my neighbor’s shed.  4-5sunrise4-5honeysuckle4-5weedy

When I noticed this little weed bravely struggling through the patio pavers it brought to mind the will to live, or the little guy persevering against all odds, or the miracle of life, and then I plucked it…

 4-5ozzie.jpgAnd finally Ozzie, who is always right where he should be at all times.  No need to stop what you are doing to see what he’s up to.  Nope, he causes no trouble, except when he is right behind you and you trip over him.  Such a good boy…

 

flowers, life, life goes on, nature, neighbors, photography, simple things

Flower stalking…

No, this isn’t my yard.  This is the front lawn of the house directly behind me, across the lake.  Last spring I spent a lot of time with my camera trained on the back of this property, waiting for the Sandhill crane family to return to the lake in the late afternoon. I felt a bit like a stalker.  And if that’s how I felt then, I really felt it yesterday afternoon when I went back after the dog walk and stopped to take a couple of pictures of their front yard.  Charley and I had owned our house for a while before we happened to visit during the several weeks in the early spring when the azaleas in this yard are in full bloom.  They weave their glorious way between and around the oaks, a patchwork of pink, red, and white flowers standing out against the green of the lawn.  The photo doesn’t do it justice, but it is never in full sunlight, always in dappled shade, so not so easy to photograph. Maybe the shade is why it’s so pretty.  But the hours and hours that the owners spend tending their property, dueling riding mowers and all, surely must have something to do with it.

Seeing their yard must have made me remember some flower images I had just seen online.  They were taken at the Florida Botanical Gardens, and included some butterflies and bees. So I went to our local botanical garden just down the road from me and wandered down the paths with the goal of reaching the butterfly garden in mind.  But I found that all the shrubs had been cut back and there wasn’t a flower, or a butterfly, in sight.  Which tells me it’s time for me to do the same thing to my plumbago and bougainvillea bushes, and soon the butterflies and bees will be back in my own yard.  Every year the azaleas lead the charge, spring is coming…2-27purpleflowers2-27bottlebrush2-27azaleas2-27Japanesemagnolia12-27Japanesemagnolia22-27japanesemagnolia42-27Japanesemagnolia3I don’t think I had taken note of the Japanese Magnolia before, but with so few flowers in sight they stood out.  Seems I’m always taking note of something I’ve never noticed before…

backyard visitors, go with the flow, nature, neighbors, photography, pigs, simple things, unintended images

The Wilbur Effect…

My only hope, I thought, as I walked out of work on my ‘day off’, was that maybe a photo op would come to me in the back yard, because I didn’t know if I had a trip out in me.  And that’s exactly what happened.  Okay, Zoe actually came to the rescue when she went to the back gate and Wilbur came over to say hello to her.  They snuffled each other through the fence.  Ozzie, on the other hand, acts like a savage beast, but the effort is lost on Wilbur.  He just snuffled through the fence, totally unimpressed with Ozzie’s mean killer dog act.

So I let myself in the gate to say hello.  I thought he’d frolic and I’d take pictures.  His hair is so wiry, not a cuddly creature.  Then he laid down so I could rub his belly.  And there was so such thing as watching him from afar, he likes things up close and personal.  I sat down on a paver to get a better angle, but that gave Wilbur a better angle also.  He came over, wet snout covered in sand, and proceeded to snuffle my feet, my legs, and my pant legs until I was wearing more of the sand than he was.  It felt like I was being sandpapered. I haven’t been that dirty since I was a little kid. I call it The Wilbur Effect.  Now excuse my while I toss those pants in the wash….

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backyard visitors, dogs, fences, friends, home, home improvements, live and learn, neighbors, on closer examination, photography, squirrels, unintended consequences

Good fences…

If good fences make good neighbors then how is it that I just love my neighbors on both sides, one on the side without a fence, and the other with whom I shared a length of fence that my uncle remarked was more holes than fence?  He was right, it was pretty hole-y.  But my neighbor’s entire yard was surrounded by fence that was long past it’s prime, and so when some used fencing came her way she started patching the worst areas.  Which gave me an idea, a true light bulb moment.  Since they were putting up fencing anyhow, how about I buy new fencing for the section that we share, and they put it up.  I really am a genius sometimes, ask Ozzie if you don’t believe me.

I wish I had thought to take a picture when it was nice and clean.  Already it has acquired a coating of sand where the grass hasn’t filled in.  Or the chickens flung sand at it, they’ve been visiting lately.  I certainly admired it… at first.  But I’m over the novelty of it and now it just looks… boring.  There used to be more to look at.2-10fencetextureI went looking through my photos to see if the fence showed up in any of them.  I took this picture because I was trying to take photos of the wood texture.  You see it was a bit see-through.  Zoe liked that aspect of it because she could keep an eye on what was going on over there in case she was missing something.2-10fencesquirrelThe squirrels took to the top of the fence whenever Zoe came zooming out the back door.  Chasing them is her favorite thing to do.  Ozzie, not so much.2-10fencesquirrel2I was able to capture this image because that squirrel likes having his picture taken.  I’d see birds sitting there also, but they weren’t as cooperative so I don’t have a photo of them.  Not that I didn’t try.2-10fencedieselThen there is Diesel.  He has a girlfriend a few blocks away, and he discovered that those boards didn’t really offer much resistance, so every so often he’d make a break for it and they’d have to hunt him down.  Now they know where to look for him however.

So, a new fence.  A home improvement.  Charley was a coin collector, old, rare coins, and patients would bring their old coins in for him to see in hopes they would have a rare one worth lots of money.  He’d tell them whatever they did, don’t clean them.  The color that develops on the old coins is called toning, and the coins are more valuable if the toning isn’t disturbed.  It didn’t matter, they always cleaned the coins.  One did it with a pencil eraser.  Maybe he thought Charley wouldn’t notice.  I never understood the value of the toning, I just took Charley’s word for it.  But it has occurred to me that that’s what is missing from the new fence.  Toning!  A little something extra to look at…

dogs, nature, neighbors, old dogs new tricks, photography, pigs

Meet my new neighbor…

I have a new neighbor, his name is Wilbur.  He’s short, and his wispy hair is quite wiry.  He moves pretty quickly, darting around the yard and digging holes.  He also likes to lean up against just about anything and scratch himself.  He likes to play with the dogs, in fact my neighbor is sure that he thinks he is a dog, and not just because he uses the dog door and likes dog food.  She says he is better behaved than her dogs are. Zoe didn’t seem to notice anything unusual about him.  Maybe she has just learned to expect the unexpected when she goes into my neighbor Sue’s yard.  After all, both dogs quickly accepted the chickens when they arrived, and pay no attention when they visit us in our yard.  But Ozzie hasn’t met Wilbur snout to snout yet.  I decided to let him think about it for a while before we take that step.

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