Tuesday, January 25, 2011

January Spring

DSCF0968 Hard to believe it’s January!  While the rest of the country is pretty much caught up in snow and cold temps, we here in CA are experiencing a “false” spring.  Since I had a sleepless night last night and no real work lined up for today, I took the opportunity to take it easy.  With camera in hand, I walked around the yard with Sadie (bouncing along beside and in front of me) and snapped a few pics out in the 70 degree sunshine. DSCF0978 Steve has been busy sawing wood and building ---looks like bee colony stuff--- from some wood that was given to us.  The chickens are happy to have some sun and dryness too. DSCF0969 Charlie is his usual snotty self---always sneaking up on me and trying to attack from the rear.  I always take my trusty rake into the pen now.  The “girls” are doing great, even though they are showing signs of molting. DSCF0971 Spot is still a beauty and I believe this DSCF0976 is Fluffy (the biggest hen in the herd) and Grinnelda (the biggest pain in the neck of the Rhode Island Reds).  They are almost all bigger than Charlie, if you don’t count Charlie’s EGO! 

DSCF0980 Sadie found an old horn in the yard and loves to throw it around, pretending someone is throwing it for her to chase.  She does that with a ball too, and is hilarious in her play-alone antics.  She still hasn’t come into heat yet, but we’re hoping it will happen soon.

DSCF0981 Found this old birdhouse nestled in the twisting grape vines---looks unoccupied, but come REAL spring, it might have new residents!  They say this warm, dry spell will last until February, so I’m taking advantage of it all I can! 

Sunday, January 23, 2011


 bee1 BEElieve it or not, we have a healthy gang of BEES already setting our front yard tree in full hummm. imagesCAU1A2Z2 You’d think it was spring around here---temps in the high 60’s, sunny and mild.  But the humming tree has already startedimagesCA73VK9Y ---which is amazing to me.  Tiny buds are appearing on it, setting the BEES into a frenzy. 

Hubby Steve has wanted to start a BEE colony for years now, and is serious about capturing this swarm of BEES and having some fresh honey.   He put this sign out on the front gate to warn passersby of the BEES within. DSCF0961   Someone suggested he add the word “BEEware!”

imagesCAY9JV2H (from www.benefits-of-honey.com):

It is the only insect that produces food eaten by man.

The honey bee's wings stroke incredibly fast, about 200 beats per second, thus making their famous, distinctive buzz. A honey bee can fly for up to six miles, and as fast as 15 miles per hour.

It takes one ounce of honey to fuel a bee’s flight around the world.

A hive of bees will fly 90,000 miles, the equivalent of three orbits around the earth to collect 1 kg of honey.

The bee's brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things and is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency.

A colony of bees consists of 20,000-60,000 honeybees and one queen. Worker honey bees are female, live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.

These are just some of the more amazing things I didn’t know about bees.  I’m not crazy about them---as they are a stinging insect, but I do respect them and try not to kill them.  But, I don’t think I could ever do THIS:  honey bee beard

Sunday, January 16, 2011


DSCF0950 Yesterday started out so nice---sunshine and temps rising into the 60’s.  The morning was peaceful with the chirping of birds and baying of the hounds next door.  I dragged Max out of bed, finally, at about the crack of noon (actually just after 11) and he leisurely ate a bowl of cereal while watching some inane movie on TV.  Hubby had gone out to his mushroom lair, his new super-quiet MP3 player earplugs firmly pressed into his ears, listening to a non-fiction book.  The unsettling roar of a chainsaw seemed too close for comfort outside, but I figured it was just the neighbor preparing firewood.   Then Max announced that “someone just came through our front gate!”  I dashed out the back and met our neighbor (the one with the hounds) as he strode up the driveway.  “Is Steve around?” he asked.  I guided him to where Hubby stood, with drill in hand in the mushroom area.  The neighbor exclaimed, “I’m taking down a tree and it might fall on your pump house.”  He motioned Steve to follow, explaining to us that the tree had some dead limbs in it and he didn’t want it to fall on our property so he was taking the whole tree down.  DSCF0951 He’d already been attacking it with his chainsaw at the base and had a long cable running to his pick-up truck on the other side of his yard, in hopes of preventing the tree from falling our way.  However, as he pointed out, the tree leaned our way.  He also said that the arborists were too expensive to consider and that he and his two friends could take this tree down just fine.

Needless to say, we moved the boat, our trailer and van along with my car, which was in the carport.  Still, that tree looked awful tall to me (Steve thought it was about 85 feet tall).  If it came our way, it could wipe out the carport and possible the back of our house (mostly Max’s and our bedrooms).  If it fell towards the street, it would take out the power, telephone and cable lines and cause other related problems.  The only safe place for it to fall was directly opposite our place---in his front yard.  Well, the neighbor and his buddies (did they really know what they were doing?) decided to throw a line from the top of our pump house, up into the tree, hoping to snare a major limb and pull the tree in the opposite direction.  They managed to hit a limb with their rope and pull the entire thing down into our yard, wiping out our fence.  By that time, we were really nervous and left our house.  As we stood in the back yard, talking to our neighbors, one of the men decided to climb the tree and chainsaw some of the lower limbs, that promptly fell in our yard and the ditch.  Keep in mind he was up in that tree that had been almost entirely sawed through at its base. DSCF0954 (Of course, these young guys didn’t wear any wimpy safety glasses or ear protection when wielding their chainsaws!)  Well, our other neighbor suggested we call the power company, because it looked certain that the power lines would be hit.  I tried that and the power people suggested I contact 911 and they’d send out a fire-truck.  I also did that and the truck appeared only about five minutes later. DSCF0955 As we stood there talking to the fire people, the tree began to crackle and snap.  The neighbor guy ran up to it with his saw attacking the side towards their house.  The tree slowly toppled-----right into their front yard, barely scraping the front of his garage and dog pen.  DSCF0958 A cheer rose from the guys next door!  We all breathed a sigh of relief and thanked the fire guys for being so prompt! DSCF0959 Thank goodness it all came out OK!

It took my stomach several hours to settle down after that stressful event.  I’m just so grateful it didn’t go all wrong---for us and for them.  Just the tree was the only thing sacrificed…

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Last week visitors

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA I realize this is a week past due, but with school in full session this week and work and everything else, it’s been a hectic one.  We had Max’s friend, Lucas (with brother Jake, sister Haley and Dad in tow)SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA (this pic was from Max’s Thanksgiving visit with them) visit on Saturday, when we had all that snow.  They didn’t have the snow where they lived, so it was a pleasant (and WELCOME) surprise when they arrived here.  They proceeded to build a nice snowmanDSCF0946 and a couple of snow forts before their big snowball fight.  Lucas and his sister, Haley were on one side against Max and Jake.  Unfortunately, Max and Jake lost, but they all had great fun.  Lucas’ family also brought their dog, Sadie (who has been on this space before in pictures).  She is a gorgeous Australian Shepherd who has never been fixed.  They left her with us in hope that she might come into season (as it is about time) in the next few weeks and we can mate her with my friend’s male Aussie, Shostro. 

So, we are thrilled to be keeping such a sweet and smart dog.  She has adapted well and is making peace with our cats too.  My friend brought Shostro and his pack of 4 other dogs over to visit just to see if they got along well together.  All five dogs got along fine with Sadie, although Shostro totally ignored her.  My friend left one of the other dogs, Gus-Gus, who is a 5 month old black Lab puppy to play with Sadie while they went off for the rest of the afternoon.  I got his cute pic of the two of them during a quick moment when they weren’t chasing each other!  DSCF0949 Sadie had a blast with the dogs and slept well that night.

Although the snow has melted, it is still cold (below freezing) each morning and only gets up into the 50’s or 60’s during the afternoon.  The “girls”  and Charlie are doing well but their egg production is down to three or four eggs a day---I think they are getting ready to molt.  Charlie attacked my leg yesterday when I went out.  It’s a good thing I wear heavy jeans out there!  He’s such a brat!!!  I now carry a big rake whenever I go into the yard…

Saturday, January 01, 2011

WOW! Happy WHITE New Years!

WOW indeed!  When I came out this morning, here is what greeted me:  DSCF0936 Yes, we got some snow early this morning and it’s still coming down.  DSCF0937 This storm that came in last night is a real freak one for around here.  The temps are in the 30’s and rising slightly.  I expect it won’t last long. 

But, of course, I  grabbed my camera, threw on a coat and some shoes and ran outside for a couple of quick shots before even my first cup of coffee was done.  Haven’t see such accumulation around here in years. DSCF0939 Usually we get about an inch and then it disappears quickly.

DSCF0938 Charlie was crowing his head off and when I investigated their yard, they were all huddled in the shed, waiting for me to make it stop!  Spot DSCF0941 came right up to me and demanded pets while the others just pushed and shoved each other in the small enclosure, DSCF0942 afraid to go into the white.  I tried to coax them outside, but they would have no part of that.

Max should be coming home from Yuba City later this afternoon.  Hope they can make it over the small mountain range between here and there.  By afternoon, it should all be gone---we are expecting heavy rain today and tomorrow.  But the snow is fun while it lasts!  Maybe we didn’t have a white Christmas, but it certainly is starting out to be a white new Year! 

Crazy weather everyone’s having, huh?!  DSCF0940