Monday, October 24, 2016


Purina Feed Company has been handing out these cool tin signs with purchase of their chicken layer feed, Purina Layena.  (A fav of our flock)

I picked this (there are 3 to choose from) sign speaks for itself.  Thank you Purina!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The windy city!

Adventure....BIG CITY style!  Taxis horns blaring on every corner, smells that can knock you over, lights, flashes, crowds, wind, panhandlers, smiles, EVERYTHING expensive......That's what I can say about downtown Chicago.

Just so happened that the weekend we explored (mostly on foot, holy smokes the walking we did!) the downtown area of also happened to be the weekend of the Chicago Marathon, President Obama was in town to visit some "private donors" (gotta stroke the donors) and Monday finished it all off with the Columbus Day parade....none of which we new was happening before we arrived.

Apart from navigating throngs of people we had a fabulous time...visiting such places as the House of Blues, the Navy Pier (where we were in the above photo) and the Field Museum to name a few.  Other highlights included eating original Chicago deep dish pizza at the Pizzeria Uno (YUM!) and exploring the darker parts of the city via a haunted bus tour of various locales full of local flair. 

Who knew Harpo Studios had been torn down? And that was also the same site used as a staging area for family members to identify the victims of a horrible boat accident in 1915 now called the Eastland disaster....also described as "tragedy that defies description".... 845 people died.  When Harpo Studios was still there it was said that you could sometimes here sloshy footsteps and sounds of children laughing and playing in the building.  To read more about this disaster click here.

All-in-all was quite an experience....but oh my was I glad to return back to quiet, calm, country living again.

Needless to say...the city of Chicago has LOADS of history and certainly is worth many visits.  We hardly touched the tip of the iceberg during our stay.  Maybe that means we will have to visit again?

Before this visit, I knew nothing of the Chicago river...but another really cool thing we got to do was take a boat taxi from one end of this river to the other through the city. Was a COOL way to explore the high-rises of the windy city...and I had to laugh when we came round the bend in the river and staring us in the face was Trump Tower.  Only high rise I saw that had "TRUMP" in HUGE letters at basically eye level compared to the names on other high rises.  Nice branding there Mr. Trump.

Well, here we go onto more adventuring...who knows where we will end up next!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Meet Nellie...or Nell's as she is affectionately called around our house.  She is currently our mascot guinea pig...full of personality!

Before yesterday...she didn't have a bed of any I made her this one out of a small box...fastened it to the side of her cage and walked away...just to sneak back around and see if she liked it and I was able to snap this photo of her chillaxin in her new crib!  YEAH!

I laugh because now...she sits in her little box...sticks her head out the door hole and can reach her food bowl without ever leaving the box.  I have noticed that she is much quieter now...she seems more comfortable...which makes me happy.

She LOVES celery...and usually doesn't miss a chance to squeal at any passerby in an attempt to influence said passerby to give her a few celery snacks.

Not sure why...but seems like our house is a magnet for pets full of personality.
No...please don't drop your's off...we have plenty.

When things go awry in nature...who do you call?

Enter....Nature's Nursery, Whitehouse, Ohio.

Their hotline: 419-877-0060

It was totally a fluke how I first learned of this local non-profit.  It was Spring of 2014 and I had just raked the previous years dead garden foliage into a pile and lit it on fire...only to my UTTER dismay....there were about 5 baby rabbits hidden underneath.

Needless to say...I felt horrible.  I managed to rescue 3 of them...enter....Nature's Nursery.  We called them up...they said bring em over...and that was that.  Three baby bunnies...nursed back to health...grew up a bit and were released back into the wild.

This is a typical story that comes from what Nature's Nursery is all about.

Chris and I were able to attend an open house they hosted this past Sunday.  My how educational it was indeed. As a demonstration to what Nature's Nursery is all about, they released a red-tailed hawk back into the wild on Sunday after his long recovery from being shot.  Pretty cool to witness...although I think I heard every small to medium sized rodent within a 2 mile radius scream in fear for its life...but...I digress.

Above is one of Nature's Nursery many volunteers talking about the barn owl that she is holding. He among a few other various animals are permanent residence at nature's nursery due to the extent of their injuries and not being able to make it in the these animals have become educators.

While the photos I've posted here are all of owls....they also assist with possum, skunk, raccoon, turtles...if it's in the wild and it's injured or orphaned...usually they can help.

To learn more visit the Nature's Nursery website.

It's only natural to want to help when we find wild animals that are injured...well finally there is someone we can call.

Birdhouse do-over.

Sometimes the things I create don't quite get something is off with it...needs to be tweaked.  Well, that can be said for this birdhouse above.  The "duplex" birdhouse sat in the yard untouched by any of the nesting songbirds this you don't have to tell me twice...the local birds said, "fail!"  Time for a do-over.

I'd been reading on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website about various important traits of homemade detail of which has to do with the hole size.  If the hole size is too big then predator birds can get in and kill the littler ones. (I did witness a starling this year trying to wreak havoc on a bluebird pair that claimed one of my houses as their nesting site.)  If it's too small...well obviously there will be no takers.

The other interesting detail I was reading about was to do with not installing perches.  Perches simply create a ledge for predator birds to sit on while poking and jabbing through the hole at the baby birds.

I was also interesting is learning about tree clinging birds that are native to this area...the tree clingers and the bit about no perches then gave me the idea of using a natural bark like an effort to attract these types of birds to nest.

So here's the do-over version.

There have been some clingers come round and check it out...but I imagine that since it's long past nest season...maybe we will have some takers on this one next year.

Time will tell.  And the backyard birding/nestbox experiments continue.

Stay tuned...

Look who stopped by for a bit...

Not sure why...but I really haven't seen many wild turkeys around this year. (besides the male that came around in the Spring)  So what a DELIGHT it was to spot this group of girls hanging out in our yard the other day!

It's hard to tell from this photo...but there are two different juvenile groups in amongst the adult hens here.  A few really little ones and then some that were about twice the size. They were really fun to they stuck around for about 2 hours or so before skadaddling off into the corn field.  And I have no idea what's up with the whitish one?  Can't say I've seen that before in a wild hen.

One never knows what will come meandering through out yard next.  I'm kind of hoping for maybe a little bantam rooster that needs a home.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Drawing elephants...

Not sure why, but I've found myself suddenly interested in elephants.  This may have some to do with my recent discovery of the Elephant Listening Project (click on this link to learn what the ELP is all about).

And then drawing elephants caught my attention.  So while looking for images of elephants to inspire some new drawings...I came across a most fascinating story of an elephant named Motala and the world's first elephant hospital.

I was inspired to make a little sketch of Motala.  Might even one day create a painting or two or a larger drawing (as this ones just a few inches wide).

Click here to watch the Documentary "The Eyes of Thailand"
(62 minute film - "The Eyes of Thailand" is the inspirational and powerful story of one woman’s quest to help two elephant landmine survivors—Motala and Baby Mosha—walk on their own four legs.)

In brief, Motala, an elephant landmine survivor, stepped on a landmine near the Burmese border in 1999.  But thanks to the efforts of Soraida Salwala and her work creating the world's first elephant hospital, Motala now wears a prosthetic and is doing well some 17 years later.

click here to read Motala's story

click here to learn more about the world's first elephant hospital

click here for images and info about Motala from ABCnews

click here to donate to "Friends of the Asian Elephant" and support their efforts 

click here to learn more about Soraida Salwala and why she is helping the elephants

It's stories like these that inspire me to reach for things that have substance/meaning, to engage in our surroundings, to pay attention to those who are making a difference...(even if it may seem trivial to some to help elephants).  These things serve as a reminder that trivial crap like social media, television programming, and countless other time wasters are just that...time wasters.  We all can make a difference if we will just pay attention.

Thank you Soraida Salwala for your passion and caring for injured elephants and to your whole hospital team!