Archive for Retirement

Live Tree Ornaments

Goldfinch Cardinal

We had one of our spring-like winter days today with mostly clear skies and warmish (not as warm as we like) temperatures. While eating breakfast we could see the birds frequenting the feeders on the little hill behind the RV driveway.

I speculated that some of the birds would hang around after breakfast, so I headed out there with my camera and 300mm zoom lens. I managed to get several shots of the little flying critters including the two above. On the left is a goldfinch and on the right is a cardinal, both males of their respective species. They were both briefly “decorations” on the mesquite tree up there. Click on either image to enlarge.

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Happy New Year!

happy-2019.png

We had a pretty good day today. It started out with a little light snow, some of which stuck. Snow is unusual for us here and, coincidentally, it snowed here on New Year’s Eve in 2014, but today’s snowfall was nothing compared to that event. After it warmed up a bit, some gentle rainfall slushed all the snow away this afternoon.

2018 was good to us. Even though we had some surgery on the thyroid last march, there have been no health issues other than the usual arthritis and other aging things. We started a diet a couple of months ago and it has been working. I lost over 10 pounds so far and a couple of notches on the belt. Verna is doing as well.

In the coming year, we have springtime plans to head to Colorado. This year, we had a marker placed on an ancestor’s grave in Montrose, CO and we are planning to go view the work and to place a wreath or three. We also will be visiting in Pueblo, CO to place more wreaths and perhaps meet up with some long lost cousins.

For 2019, we wish everyone a wonderful, prosperous and happy new year!

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More Backyard Birds

Curve Billed Thrasher

Today, like many Mondays, I went up on the knoll behind the house and replenished the bird feeders. We have a Seed Block Cage, a Bell Holder, two large Nyjer Seed Finch Feeders, a smaller Finch Feeder and a Songbird Seed Feeder.

After finishing up on the knoll, the usual avian customers came out to enjoy the fruits of our labor. I got out my Canon EOS with the 300mm zoom lens and captured these three up near the feeders. Top: Curve Billed Thrasher, Bottom Left: A Male Gambel’s Quail and Bottom Right: Abert’s Towhee. The latter of the three, we don’t see very often, but it was availing itself of some of the songbird seeds after it posed in a mesquite tree. Click on any image to enlarge.

Gambel’s Quail Abert’s Towhee

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Rainbow’s End

Rainbow’s End

Yesterday, we had some badly-needed rainfall here in the desert. It didn’t reach flash flood stage, but we got a fair amount of rain.

As the main part of the rain clouds passed to the northeast, conditions were perfect for a full double rainbow, horizon to horizon. I positioned myself to capture this photo of our house with the rainbow seemingly ending on it. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Household Dietary Changes

Cobb Salad

Verna and I are now on a low carbohydrate dining regimen because of recent doctor’s advice. I could stand to lose some weight and She needs to lower her triglycerides and glucose. With those criteria in mind, we are now avoiding pasta, bread, cereal, fruit and other carb and sugar laden food items.

About the diet: we’re not going to strictly count carbohydrates, but rather select food items that we know are on the “good” list. It’s not really hard to do and there is plenty of on-line help and printed recipes that support the diet.

The Cobb Salad (pictured above - click to enlarge) we had for lunch yesterday was nutritious, high in protein and fiber, and delicious. Since October 21st, dinners that we posted on the Food Blog reflect the sorts of things we are now eating.

Over the last week, we have been easing ourselves into revised eating habits and this weekend we prepared both main meals with the diet in mind. We’re just getting started and already we’re noticing subtle changes to our bodies.

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Mailbox Upgrade and Autumn Decor

Mailbox Upgrade and Autumn Decor

I finally got around to painting the milk can under the mailbox this week. I have had the paint since summer, but the instructions on the can said not to use it in temperatures above 85 degrees. Well, that isn’t possible until fall weather brings the temperatures down here in the desert. Anyhow, I painted it white this week as I have been wanting to do for a while now.

The next day, after the paint dried, I decorated it with faux sunflowers and a little scarecrow doll for the changing season. It now looks appropriate for Halloween and Thanksgiving. There will be poinsettias and Christmas decor after that. Click on the image to enlarge.

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Harris’s Hawk

Hawk in Flight

Perched on Flagpole

I noticed a large bird in the Mesquite tree up by the bird feeders while doing dishes in the kitchen. I dried my hands, grabbed my camera and went out to see what it might be. I took the top photo while this juvenile Harris’s Hawk was in flight departing the bird feeder area.

The bottom photo is of another Harris’s Hawk perched on our flagpole. This bird does not have the juvenile speckled feathers on its breast. It flew off shortly after this photo and joined five other Harris’s hawks on the large power pole and wires across the road from our place. Harris’s Hawks hunt in groups two to seven birds. I guess we have a group that hunts locally now.

Click on either image to enlarge.

Wikipedia says this about these hawks:

This species occurs in relatively stable groups. A dominance hierarchy occurs in Harris’s hawks, wherein the mature female is the dominant bird, followed by the adult male and then the young of previous years. Groups typically include from 2 to 7 birds. Not only do birds cooperate in hunting, they also assist in the nesting process. No other bird of prey is known to hunt in groups as routinely as this species.

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