chickens, fences, flowers, friends, gardens, neighbors, on closer examination, photography, sunrise, unintended consequences, weather

And it kept on raining…

Looking out the kitchen window that morning I saw some definition in the clouds, so I loaded the cameras and tripods into the car and headed to Hammonds Creek for the sunrise.  It’s only a five or six mile trip to the gulf coast, but before I got there I was seeing drops on the windshield.  Just heavy mist, I told myself.  But it was a downpour just a minute later, so I turned the car around and headed for home.  No sooner did I do that than I saw a promising looking sky again, and no rain.  Again I reversed direction, and again I drove into a torrential downpour.  And yet again the weather was fine on the way home.  Sometimes you have to settle for a sunrise from the backyard.

Also in the back yard are flowers that I was offered by a neighbor I used to talk with when I walked Zoe a longer walk than I had for the last couple of years.  She was digging up some of them because they spread.  You would think that I might have gotten a hint from that, the possibility that one day I’d be trying to get rid of them I mean.  But no, what I saw was red, sort of tubular flowers, and I had read that that’s what will attract hummingbirds.  So on the barest smidgeon of information I brought them home and planted them, and within years I was digging them up, but there is no getting rid of them.  They have made themselves so at home that they have diversified…6-2threepinkfeature5-29white5-29whiteandpink5-29pinkandwhite5-29yellow

But only the ones way out back have these new colors.  Out back in chicken territory.  My neighbor laughed when I suggested that her chickens were responsible, a chicken version of cross-pollination.  Or maybe it’s the morning light back there.  But it has taken several years for these new colors to develop, which coincides with the chicken invasion.  I’m not complaining though, the chickens come over and de-bug my yard fairly regularly.  They are welcome any time!

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backyard visitors, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, neighbors, photography, squirrels, technology

And then there were two…

My plan was to edit the above photo a little differently, because last night when I took it I was brokenhearted to see Mama Sandhill crane returning to the nest with just one colt.  I was out there with the camera because I had just seen the other adult flying in, and he landed on my side of the lake.  I thought he had joined the family, but they weren’t there, then I saw the other adult and one baby.  Try as I might I never saw a second colt last night.  It wasn’t until I looked at this photo this morning that I saw him.  I almost couldn’t believe my eyes.  Whew.

My neighbor must have better eyesight than I do because she thought she saw a second one, but then we got distracted because she started calling her squirrel.  Yes, you read that right.  I happened to be heading out with both dogs a while back when her daughter pulled up out front and wanted me to see the three baby squirrels she was bringing to her mom’s house.  Over time I forgot all about that, but I got the rest of the story last night.  Two of the babies disappeared when they got bigger, but one, which has been named Rosie by her granddaughter, now has a little house within the pool screen.  And she has access to the outside through an opening in the screen made just for her.  So she is free, but comes back to her house at night, and will come when she is called.  Even with the dogs out there, all acting jealous because my neighbor was calling the squirrel, Rosie still raced around through the branches and eventually came down to get petted.  And I have proof…5-29rosie55-29rosie45-29rosie15-29rosie35-29rosie2That Rosie was loving her heavy petting session was obvious.  What she wasn’t appreciating so much was the camera clicking away in her face, so I left them to enjoy their moment…

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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