I am not a summer person.  I hate being hot, and this summer has been that and then some!  So it is with great relief I observe the shortening days, cooler temperatures, and the gorgeous fall colors.  There's a quality to the light this time of year that feels magical, especially around dusk.  Maybe it's because I have a fall birthday, but this time of year always makes me feel-- connected-- to the earth in the way I don't normally.  I feel more alive.  

I took a few photos this weekend, some of a rare visitor to my yard (a melanistic fox squirrel, which I've never seen before!), others are just prettiness.  Look behind the cut to see them.
Read more... )
kelliem: bare tree wrapped with lights (yule)
( Dec. 14th, 2009 02:49 pm)
This is the view out my office window right now:

Hellems fox 2

And a couple of closer ones:
Hellems fox 1

Hellems fox 3

No, I'm not getting any work done, why do you ask? ;D

(Click on the pix for bigger versions.)
kelliem: fall leaves & lamp (fall)
( Nov. 7th, 2009 05:42 pm)
Last night as I was just getting ready to leave work, one of the faculty came in to tell me and my co-worker to come look out the window in his office, as a hawk had just caught a pigeon and was chowing down on it atop a kiosk out in the outdoor amphitheater my building surrounds. So we did, and it was. I ran back to my office and grabbed a camera and got a video and a few still shots. The quality isn't the best, I was fairly far away shooting through a dirty window, but I am still pretty amazed that this was taking place right outside my office!

After I got home I checked my birding books to ID the type of hawk, and I'm pretty sure it's a Cooper's Hawk though it could be a Sharp-Shinned, they look a lot alike. I think this is a Coopers because it doesn't have the rusty cheek-feathers that the Sharp-Shinned seem to have.

Warning! These shots may be a bit graphic for those of you who don't like to see things being eaten by other things.

cut for the delicate )
kelliem: tree & lawn (green)
( Aug. 13th, 2009 08:02 pm)
Have I really not updated since July 23? Wow.

Has anyone else caught Defying Gravity? It's a Canadian-made SciFi show-- a little soapy but interesting so far. ABC seems to be trying to kill it, as I haven't seen a single promo for it. Ron Livingston, who played Nixon in Band of Brothers is in it, as is Cristina Cox (Blood Ties) and Laura Harris (who was the pixieish blonde in Women's Murder Club). And the guy who played Sherrif Andy a couple of eps of Eureka ago is also in it. You can stream it at ABC's website or on Hulu (I hear).

Our front porch and back patio have been sinking for years. This year, the only year since we moved in (1991) that we decided to plant some flowers around the back patio, the landlord decided to have the concrete leveled. That involved pouring concrete over the old porch and patio. Even after we specifically asked the concrete contractors to be careful with the plants, it was apparently too much trouble to do so. They stepped on them, knelt on them, dropped rubble on them, broke them, and in some cases poured concrete all over them. We are very not happy campers. I think they ruined or almost ruined over $100 dollars worth of plants. That might not be much to them, but it is to us! Here's one of the few plants that survived and seems to be doing okay, it's a mandevilla:

And here's our slightly-the-worse-for-wear clematis jackmanii (I keep wondering if it's named after Hugh...)

Speaking of things flying, we've had some new visitors to the feeders. Pix behind the cut. Read more... )
kelliem: icy lakefront sunrise (Default)
( Jun. 18th, 2009 03:12 pm)
I won't inflict all the pix on you, but if any of you are interested in the ongoing saga of my yard, I have more photos of flickers and other birds and wildlife up on my Flickr photostream here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/52219858@N00/ and I have some videos of the flickers up on Youtube:

Dad feeds the girl: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4yO1qKlcnYE

Boy Flicker sticks out his tongue: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14IlkZJRyO4
(I've nicknamed him Gene Simmons!)

Mom & Dad Squabble: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P99sssPFs1g

Mom vs. the Squirrel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URbRKBvz1No
kelliem: tree & lawn (green)
( Jun. 3rd, 2009 09:53 am)
We got a couple of new loaner cameras for work (faculty and grad students often need them for archival work) so I borrowed one to check it out so I can answer basic questions about it. So now I am going to inflict photos on you! Cut to spare your journals.

Our Fox )

Northern Flicker )

Finches )
kelliem: can of spam (spam)
( Mar. 21st, 2009 05:22 pm)
This is the best sheepherding video you will ever watch. ;D

(Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bkwyrm for the link.)
Today we had some leftover pancakes that we didn't want (they don't reheat well), and since it was a cold,snowy day and I felt sorry for the squirrels, I tore the pancakes up and tossed them out onto the patio for the little beggars to munch on. Turns out they didn't much like pancakes, (picky, picky!) and they left most of them lying there in favor of raiding my bird feeder (grrr!). A while later, around 3 in the afternoon, in broad daylight, our friendly neighborhood fox trotted up and scarfed down what was left. So if you have ever wanted to see a fox eating pancakes*, here's your chance. ;D (sorry about the screen-door blur, if I had tried to rearrange the doors my visitor would have scarpered!)

*Yes, I know you're not supposed to feed the foxes, but I wasn't planning to! The squirrels were supposed to eat them!
The last couple of weeks we've been seeing our neighborhood fox again. It's been a year or so since she graced our yard and I was worried she'd been hit by a car or something, but she appears to be hale and hearty. She comes and hangs out in our yard when it rains, which leads me to believe her den must be in a low-lying area near the creek which floods easily.

Then today I came home early to help daughter-unit finish up some costumes for Otakon, and then we spent an hour not sewing. She'd mentioned on the phone that the cat was going nuts looking at the fireplace which was rattling a lot-- we figured it was the wind. Wrong. Just after I got home, she yells "Mom, I think there's a dead bird in the fireplace." So I went in asking "Why do you think that?" and she says "Look." So I look and sure enough there is a bird in the fireplace. Only... not dead. Very live bird. (At which point I start hearing Monty Python saying "Not dead yet!")

So we spent an hour trying to figure out how to get a woodpecker out of the fireplace. Finally called a wildlife pest control place who told us that a) woodpeckers are federally protected and b) to open all the doors and then open the fireplace up and stand back with a broom to shoo him toward the door. We tacked a sheet up so he wouldn't go upstairs, and towel across the exit from the kitchen to the dining area so he couldn't go there, and then opened up the door and fireplace and Voila! In about 10 seconds the bird was outside.

Sadly, Riku-kitty is VERY disappointed.

Ah well, excitement is over now. Back to sewing.


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