Tuesday, June 22, 2010

LIfe List Additions

I'm not a hard-core bird or animal "life lister" but I can add a couple more this week. First, we have one Trumpeter Swan on the Madison this summer. These birds often winter here, but we only have a few breeding pairs. We haven't had any breeders on the Madison for at least 3 years. So now we have one Lonely George, or Georgette. And we hope it can seduce a mate to stay with next summer.

Two days ago at the Junior Ranger Station, I was doing a bison program on the back porch, due to the 50+ bison in the valley. I caught a glimpse of something on the picture window, figuring it was one of our pesky ground squirrels. Not. It was a long-tailed weasel. Really pretty critter. It was running from hole to hole trying to find ground squirrel babies for breakfast. We didn't see it with any, but farther up the hill, we did see a mama ground squirrel give the weasel a run for its money.

Not a bad day at work. Yep, it's tough being me some days.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Quick Trip Tips

Gosh, I have time to write for a change!

I haven't seen my yard in June for two years--this has been interesting! The back yard, where we had to take several trees down looks like a rain forest! Speaking of which, NW Ohio has had two record-breaking months of rain. Oh, shucks, I missed most of it.

I took a quick stroll in the front today--quick because my knee is killing me and because the skeeters nearly carried me away. Last spring I stained the front deck marine blue. Sadly, it turned out to be North Toledo Blue. Way too much of a good thing. This year I found some "fern green" stain, and DH re-stained it last week. Much more soothing on the eyes. I like it enough that I think I'll ask him to do the boardwalk this week.

And my flowers! Actually, they're mostly weeds, but that's the way I roll. Six or seven years ago, milkweed showed up in the rocks around the foundation in the front of the house. Since this is the host plant for Monarchs, I let the milkweed stay. Now it's growing like crazy, and looks really good around the house. I also bought a butterfly weed plant and a holly for each side of the porch. All are doing well. And wow! Today I found two itty-bitty catepiggles! I miss 'raising' Monarchs out west, so this has been a nice bonus for this trip.

The weedbeds between the yard and the road are looking good, also. Lots of native phlox and Sweet William that came from a can of seeds eons ago are also doing well. The Sweet William had several Tiger Swallowtails around.

The down side of Ohio in the summer? Humidity and mosquitoes. I managed to get about a dozen bites in my short foray. I know I'll be attacked by buffalo gnats in a couple of weeks, but at least I get to see buffalo! Nothing exciting about mosquitoes. All of my Claritin is out west, so I took a Benedryl--which induced a weird nap, complete with drooling. Sheesh.

The sky is dark and menacing now, thick with heat and humidity~~we're under storm watches for the evening. DD and DH are out rail-fanning with DD's club, FTD's best bud spent several hours over here, but when all is said and done, all is right with the world.

A Quick Trip Home

I've mentioned before that I don't often fly for trips or vacations. I prefer the car or the train, so I can see what there is to see out there. I also like to stop hither and yon and see what stuff the locals like in their own communities--especially if there are Junque stores and quilting shops.

But for FTD's "graduation" a flight home was necessary. DD and I left Bozeman at 1:00 Mountain Time and landed in Toledo at 10:00 Eastern Time. Amazing. And except for severely twisting a knee standing up after 4 hours of sitting, all is well.

Ohio is green and lush and humid. We left Wyoming in cold and slop, it's sunny and warm here. I know I shouldn't be amazed about this, but I am. Some folks take flying through time and space for granted. Those of us who don't do it often continue to stare out the windows, trying to pick out landmarks below, instead of looking sullen and bored with the whole affair, acting like the article in the journal is the most important thing in the world. (I suppose if the person reading is a brain-surgeon and the article is about the next day's surgery, well, that's okay.) But come on, traveling by air is remarkable (and probably not really possible). Do me a favor and act amazed about it.

DH and FTD have enjoyed being bachelors. They eat when they feel like it, didn't bother with all that cleaning crap I insist upon, and enjoyed the quiet. FTD finished his classes, with DH sending him to school even on Senior skip days. I would have let him play hookey, since it's part of the 'experience' of being a Senior. DH has no concept of social life, and since FTD's even more clueless, I guess it all worked out. Sigh. FTD will be in high school for two more years (maybe), so this social graduation is an exercise in just making it this far. When we planned his Eagle Scout ceremony last spring, we had in mind that that would serve as his "coming of age" event. And it was a great day.

Tomorrow will be bittersweet, more so for me that for most parents. Something like 90% of the AW grads will be going on to college or the military. My son goes back to 'job skills' training in high school. His name can't be published in the program, so as to protect him if our insurance company or the draft board decide he's out of school. All of the kids get blank folders tomorrow, but Tommy's will stay blank for at least another year. In a perfect world, he'd be able to get better insurance (and after getting several bills this winter, Medicare might actually be better), and a job where he's treated as a valued worker, not just the token disabled guy. In a perfect world, he'd fall in love with a charming young woman in a few years, and they would embark on a journey together. But this is our world. At least FTD is in love with me--that's one more person than many folks with autism can love. And I will love him and care for him until our dying days, high school diploma or not.