Monday, May 31, 2010

About Hummers

I've been checking out the hummingbird site (see sidebar). The "Photos and Videos" link at the top is fun. Today I watched a video from last January of Phoebe actually laying her eggs. It was taken at 6:44 AM. Still rather dark. But you can see her clearly enough. I find it so amazing that this takes place in a nest about the size of a golf ball. When the chicks begin to grow, two of them are really crowded in the tiny nest.

Singing Bear
asked me about the fact that there is the sound of running water in the background today. I can't imagine why, but it is there. Wasn't there yesterday. The nest is located in California, so will be blacked out depending on your time zone, early in the morning.

I hope many of you enjoy watching this as much as I do.

Hummer's Nest

I am posting another hummingbird nest webcam on my sidebar. This is Phoebe, an Allen's hummingbird. She is non-migratory, and lives in Orange County, CA, where she builds her nests in a rose bush.

Nesting season out there is from October through May or early June, and she lays four or five clutches per season, so we should be able to watch this happen over and over if we start each fall. This year I guess we will see only one. The web site will tell you lots of facts about hummers.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day

I remember well the days of the Second World War. I was very young, and did not fully realize all that it meant. I remember the rationing and the black out curtains on our windows, the war bonds and savings stamps. I remember my brother in his uniform and his friends in theirs. I remember the newsreels shown before the Saturday matinee, and everyone standing up in the theater, singing the National Anthem as loudly and enthusiastically as we could, hands over hearts. To a child my age it was all very exciting. I remember the V-mail letters we sent off, and the strange censored ones we received in return.

But I also remember the little flag we hung in the front window. Thankfully, our little flag always held a blue star in the center.

But as the war stretched on, we saw more and more of those little flags with gold stars.

And then came Vietnam, and Korea, and the Gulf, and Iraq, and Afghanistan ......
Will it ever end?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday again! Lots of fun shadows to be found on Tracy's blog, Hey Harriet. Go on over and take a look.

Today I have an assortment of shadows, taken over the past week or so.
There was a shady road that I traveled.

And along the way I saw an inviting shady lane.

And finally there is my hanging basket of petunias. On the other side of the pole is a hummingbird feeder.

Friday, May 28, 2010


For those who have been watching the eaglets (see sidebar), all three have been sitting on branches above and around the nest, and last night one made his maiden flight. All three are flapping wings this morning, trying hard.


This is just beyond words.

Please visit Miss Moll at Wandering and Pondering to watch a video she has posted. It is from ABC News. Divers going UNDER WATER, into the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. What does it look like under there? How can anything survive this? How can BP dare to continue trying to wriggle out from accepting total responsibility for this horrific mess?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

For Green Thursday

This is the time of year when I am torn between being optimistic and frustrated. I've planted seeds in my garden - most of them too early because I am always anxious to get started. They are frequently washed away by storms or seedlings are frozen by unexpected weather. Then I have to either start over or give up. Then, by May, I am either replanting, or watching seedlings and feeling that frustration because they aren't blooming yet.

But mostly I'm optimistic. I do see many things starting to grow, and of course I do know they are showing promise.

And there are times when I completely forget I've thrown in some seed, and put in others - like this leaf lettuce growing in this container, along with heaven-knows-what-else. (but the lettuce tastes just fine.)

But I have to admit, I sometimes get too impatient and just have to add a few plants already in bloom. I haven't done that yet this year, except for the hanging basket. I know that this pretty little white flower will soon be dwarfed under the cosmos towering over it.

I guess you would have to say that my gardening these days is rather hap-hazard. I can't do much any more, so I just toss some seeds and say a prayer for good weather and healthy perennials. And my children are kind enough to help out with some digging. But I must have a garden of some kind. I can't imagine not looking forward to flowers and perhaps some vegetables in summer time. It would be a sad world without them, and the butterflies and other insects and birds that they attract.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Photo Nut

I am one. I admit it.

Today Kitty arranged to call me on Skype after Isaac got home from pre-school. It was a first for me, and of course I had to immortalize it with my camera. Taking a picture of a picture on a Skype call has to be a little nutty. - And does not make for a very great photo either. But I did it.

Rita was here at the time, so we both enjoyed visiting with Kit and Isaac in California. Isaac played his guitar for us - and had his mom accompany him on the tamborine.

At one point he decided to crawl under his bed, so I also took one of him emerging from there.

I know - I'm a nut. But here are a couple of the pictures that I took, blurry and weird though they be. They are of our boy, and I love them.

And, yes, that's Rita and me in miniature, down in the corner.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Future of Education

Interested in the subject of Education? My daughter, Kathryn, has posted what I think is a very interesting video on her blog. If you have a few minutes, and an interest in the subject, take a look.

Pretty Visitor

There was a very pretty visitor to my garden today. I was pleased to see her (or him) and decided to take a few pictures if she let me.

There isn't much blooming yet of course. That didn't seem to bother her.

In fact, she completely ignored this -

In favor of the cosmos, which have a long way to go before they bloom. She seemed to like them very much anyway, and came back to them again and again.

She is welcome in my garden any time. In fact, I hope she brings her friends.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Michelle says it is World Turtle Day today. I guess this is my contribution. Please follow the link to her blog for some excellent suggestions.

Took a ride the other day through a rural area nearby. As I rode along I spotted a big old snapping turtle crossing the road. She was moving very slowly. Fortunately, I was in no hurry either. I would have stopped in any case, but this time I sat hoping no other traffic would come by, since she was really taking her time. A pick up truck came towards us from the other direction. He stopped too, but he was in more of a hurry than I was.

He got out of his truck, and I warned him in case he didn't know that it was a snapper. He first tried to move it by its tail. No luck there. Then he tried to push it along with his foot. No luck with that either, and out came the long neck to make a pass at the foot that was being so annoying.

Finally the man got a crowbar or something of the kind from his truck. By this time there were at least a half dozen other cars and trucks backed up along the road. He managed to get the turtle moving, and off the road and well into the grass, and we were all on our way again.

I'm always happy to see people stop and try to care for any animal, whether hurt or just confused by traffic. And when it's being done by one good Samaritan, no one else seems to mind, and are in fact inclined to join in with the rescue. I cannot imagine why there are those who act differently when alone. We do see the sad results of their action along the highway.

I hope Mrs. Turtle went on to lay her eggs, or whatever her intentions, in some safe place.

Another good example of animal rescue is the redtailed hawk nest at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. When the hawks first started to build on a window ledge there, office workers reinforced the ledge with a platform under the nest, and watched over them. I believe this is the second year they have built there. The video cam on my sidebar shows it to you. This is a photo I took from the video on the 21st of this month. The chicks are growing fast.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Our Australian friend, Tracy, is our host for Shadow Shot Sunday, and you will find lots of great shadow shots at her site. Stop by and see for yourself.

This week my daughter, Kitty, has sent me photos of her wonderful garden in California. I think they are beautiful. Hope you enjoy them.

The first is of shadows of lavender on her drive.

And I have always loved California poppies.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Colors of Spring

At last - a few sunny days, and some color appearing on my doorstep.

The miniature roses that Lisa gave me a couple of years ago.

The hanging basket.

The pansies I received at Easter are blooming beautifully now.

A tiny birdbath from Mothers' Day.

Soon there will be nasturtiums.

My little snow peas - my concession to a vegetable garden this year.

Below the steps is a pot of lovely mint. Smells so wonderful!


And in the back, just a little phlox from last year is blooming.

I know the rest will be along soon. It just seemed such a long time waiting.

I have a few more things coming, and of course the long garden full of cosmos are growing very fast. I've even seen a few butterflies.

More About Chocolate

When I posted earlier about chocolate, and specifically about Hershey, I had sent an email to Hershey asking why they did not participate in Fair Trade. I have received a lengthy email in return, from their Consumer Affairs Department.

In all fairness, I feel I should tell you that they told me that they are "...committed to ensuring that cocoa is grown responsibly." They went on to list programs in which they participate or fund, which strive toward this goal. And they referred me to their site:
It is impressive.

However, no mention was made at all of Fair Trade. It puzzles me that despite all they have told me, organizations like Green America, and others are still telling us that Hershey refuses to consider Fair Trade, and continues to buy from those using slave labor. These are reputable organizations working to eliminate such conditions. Someone is not giving us the full truth in this matter. Check it out for yourselves and draw your own conclusions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mmmm Chocolate - Think Green

Time again to join Michelle in Thinking Green.

First, let me say that I am a chocoholic. And my favorite is a plain Hershey bar. I really, really love them. BUT.... and that's a very big BUT.

The Hershey Chocolate Company is one that it seems to me feels it is above things like playing fair or caring about the welfare of others. What else am I to believe, since they are very big on publicity for themselves, which of course adds to their popularity, and therefore to profit. This includes promotions which favor charities. I applaud their contributions to charity. But just how far does this go? Does it go beyond our shores and the children we know?

Far from our country, on the Ivory Coast, the big chocolate manufacturers and distributors must buy their cocoa beans. Many companies, which bring us very fine and very delicious chocolate, have become aware that on the Ivory Coast there are hundreds of people working under horrible conditions - a huge number of them mere children - slave labor. These children, like our own, deserve a better life. They deserve to be in school and playing happily, not toiling day after day to supply us with a treat. And many companies have pledged to buy only FAIR TRADE cocoa, which frees these children, and gives the cocoa farmers a fair price, raising their families' standard of living. Hershey refuses to do this.

In the United States we have a shameful history of slavery. But, thank God, our slaves were freed some time ago, and we like to speak proudly of that. Every time we indulge ourselves by buying from Hershey or any other company refusing the Fair Trade label, we deny the right to be proud.

As much as I love my chocolate, I will not buy it unless I see the Fair Trade logo. It's a very small gesture, but it seems to me the least I can do.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Feeling Nostalgic

Guess it's because I just sent some old family pictures to my cousin. I started looking at still others and thinking about my family. They are all gone now. I am the last of the older generation.

I was very much the youngest. My sister, Margaretta, was fourteen years older than I. My brother, Bill, was eleven years older. So when these earliest pictures were taken, I hadn't even been thought of. Weren't they adorable?

Even in the sad looking swimwear of the era, they were cute. This was taken in the surf at Ocean City, NJ.

As they grew up, this was taken in front of the house where I was born - considerably later.

This is my sister and me in the sandbox. She must have been about sixteen.
She looks so much older.

Gee. I was kind of cute too in 1936

In 1939 they were still pretty smart looking.

And a year or so later, World War II had begun. Bill was in the Signal Corps. He was in the Battle of the Buldge. He was Army. His two best friends were, one in the Navy and one in the Marines at Iwo Jima.

I graduated high school in 1950. And just the other day, the mail brought me a notice of our sixtieth class reunion. Can you believe - sixty years!?

I can't.

OK. Enough of this. Back to the future.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Tracy hosts Shadow Shot Sunday for us each week. Why not visit her blog to discover what fun shadows we have found? Why not go shadow searching yourself?

This week I had a doctor's visit, and as I left his office I stopped to take a few shadow shots.
First I looked toward the rear of the property.

Then down the ramp.

I enjoyed these lovely shadows very much.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thinking Green

Michelle has decided to have a weekly Thinking Green post, to be published at any time during the week.

Just a brief one. I was watching TV today and saw a short piece on the fact that the State of Delaware is having a day when everyone can bring all of their old, unwanted prescription medications to designated sites to be disposed of. I think this is a really super idea.

Dumping old medications into toilet or trash is really dangerous. It can contaminate our water supply. I'm pretty sure most of us at one time or another has been guilty of doing this, without thinking. Of course they can be taken to hospitals or some drug stores for disposal, but that just isn't done that often.

Wouldn't it be a great idea if all states, or municipalities would have such a day to clean out our medicine chests? They could do it once a month, or at least every so often, and our drinking water would be a lot safer. And we wouldn't be tempted to use old, out-dated meds from time to time.

Lily has asked in her comment how we can dispose of meds safely ourselves.

We are told that we can mix them into kitty litter or coffee grounds, and put them into a sealed container in the trash. Personally, I don't understand how even that makes them safe, but that is what the experts tell us. I do not know how they are treated by the authorities after we return them to drug stores, etc. I'll have to investigate that.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Age of Electronics and Me

Maybe I just don't belong in the year 2010. Maybe I should have been born a generation or two earlier. Weird things happen to me involving these new fangled inventions.

I did so much better without things like cell phone cameras, computers and television. I really enjoyed the old Brownie box camera, and French phones with a party line and a friendly operator. The pencil and fountain pen were easy to control. And gathering around the old Atwater-Kent in the evening brought the family together, and Little Orphan Annie and The Lone Ranger didn't encourage children to experiment with sex or drugs, but to get out of doors and play hide-and-seek or to go climb a tree.

Now that we are more or less enslaved by electronics, I keep running into strange things that confuse me. The latest of these happened yesterday.

There I was, happily using my computer to search for more information about my great-grandmother, when a little box popped up in the corner of the screen. It informed me that my daughter in California was calling me on Skype. I abandoned my great-grandmother, and clicked on the Skype button. Immediately I was thrown into confusion. I had never used Skype before. When Mike installed it for me a couple of weeks ago, he had called me from my old computer to my new one across the room to be sure it was working. That was the extent of my experience with this. When I answered the call yesterday, there was no green button that said "Answer". There were only two green buttons: one saying "Call" and the other "Video Call". I tried one, then the other. Neither helped me. Finally I heard Kitty's voice. I did not see her picture, but my own appeared in miniature. We had a rather strange, disjointed conversation at first, because as it happened, she was in a public library in California when her laptop rang and a box had popped up telling her that I was calling her. She walked outside to talk to me. Neither of us had made this call. She did not have her clip-on camera with her. When we had talked previously about calling one another we had said it would be pre-arranged, so that my grandson would be present too. That was the whole idea.

So, how did all this happen? We may never know.

I do know that I have had several emails from Skype, encouraging me to "Make a Call - It's Free". Maybe they got tired of waiting for me and put one through for me. At first I wondered if I had hit the button accidentally. But then wouldn't I have had to select another button to reach the person I wanted to talk to?

That old fashioned French phone and the friendly Long Distance Operator are lookin' pretty good to me right now.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Waiting Rooms

There are many kinds of waiting rooms. Some are filled with anticipation and excitement. Some are sad and lonely rooms filled with our greatest fears and anxiety.

Those I spend most of my time in these days are just doctors' waiting rooms where I am waiting to make a scheduled visit every few months. So many of them! This kind of wait can be boring, or can be fun. I never know who will be there ahead of me or how long a time I will be there. I really enjoy some of them. Great conversations sometimes with strangers.

One I visited this week was empty when I got there. I didn't have to wait very long. There was a brief chat with the woman behind the window. She's a very pleasant person to chat with. And I always get a kick out of the childish pictures tacked to the door. I asked the doctor about them long ago. It seems that one of his daughters had decided to add to the decor one day. Obviously, she was quite small at the time. She is now attending college, but he said that so many people seemed to enjoy them, he just never took them down. I like that. There is also a series of colored paper leaves on the window, probably from the same source. I like the doctor too. He also is very pleasant to chat with, and very conversational, unlike some others who almost make me feel that I am imposing just by being there.

I also enjoy my visits to my family doctor. She and her nurse and receptionist are all such nice people. I look forward to those visits.

I do remember one waiting room where the staff was almost ready to throw us out. It was in the hospital where I was to have cancer surgery. They weren't really ready for me when we got there, so we had a little wait. It was fairly small for a waiting room, and we were the only ones there - all of my children and myself. It may have been started by tension and worry on their part I suppose - but before long we were all kidding around and laughing. A nurse came in to find out what all the noise and merriment was about. She looked rather incredulous. That was a really nice hospital stay too. And I HATE hospitals. But there were no beds on the floor where I should have been, so they put me into a private room on Pediatrics. At Shore Memorial, the hallways on the Pediatrics floor are painted like the boardwalk - with all the colorful shops along one side, and the beach and ocean on the other. Each room has a bright, cheerful decorative theme and the nurses' station has a huge tropical fish aquarium. Of course, the nurses on that floor are exceptionally kind and cheerful. It was great!

My wish for all of you would be that, if you ever find you must be hospitalized, you find just such a pleasant place for it.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Guess I'll Be Bothering SOL Some More

Very, VERY slowly, I am getting used to the new computer. I'm waiting until I am more proficient just typing on it before I bother son-in-law with too many questions. (I hit double letters about six times in that first sentence alone. Keyboard is so much larger than I'm used to.)

But now I've moved the printer over by the chair, so I can use them together. I had to send an SOS to SOL right away. I also asked oldest daughter, who seems to be really up on such things, but so far she hasn't been able to help either. Yes, I have cleared everything and set my printer as default, and all that good stuff. But it still spits out blank paper. I went to "trouble shooting" too. That explanation is long and complicated, and way beyond my limits of understanding.

It seems that Windows 7 is very different than any earlier version. I have yet to be able to print a photo, or even a letter. I know there must be an easy way to do it, but it has evaded me so far. SOL told me we could share a Skype call, so he could see what I was doing, and give me help that way, so I'm sure that sooner or later all will be well.

OK. It seems he neglected to tell me, I can't install my printer with just the instructions in the computer. I need to do it differently for Windows 7. I should have guessed. Only I can't understand their instructions either.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day

I think it is only fitting that my thousandth post should fall on Mothers' Day. A mother is who I am, what I'm all about, all I ever wanted to be. Oh yes, as a child I thought for a while that I wanted to be a nurse. For a time I even aspired to being a deep sea diver. Or a pilot or a dancer, or a few other things that children dream of. But I always knew I wanted to be a mother. And I thank God that I am mother to four pretty wonderful children, and grandmother of three.

My own mother was, of course, very dear to me. She managed to raise me alone, for most of my life, despite total deafness, almost no formal education, and very little money. She surrounded me with love, and I grew up almost unaware of most of the difficulties she must have

Thanks, Mom.