Bald Eagle – Wow!

I am continually amazed by the beauty of nature and all forms of animal life.

Today I was so fortunate to finally get some shots of the elusive Bald Eagle. I’ve seen him/her fly overhead a few times, but the time I grabbed my camera it was too late. Well today I decided to sit on my front porch and enjoy my coffee. I took my camera with me because I had seen some lovely butterflies. But then I heard the screech and got totally distracted from the butterflies. I wish my camera settings were a bit better, but I did not dare take the time to change them because I didn’t want to take my eyes off the eagle.

Truly my lucky day!

Playing Leap Frog

I have really enjoyed growing my garden this year. It’s not perfect, I still struggle with issues like weather and seasons, neither of which I had much in S. Calif.

Right now I have 9 beautiful heads of lettuce. I decided to make a fresh summer salad for dinner so went out with my pairing knife and selected one of the heads and picked a few green onions. Back inside I filled the sink with cold water to rinse the veggies and BOING! BOING! BOING! Not one but 3 small frogs are now leaping their way over my kitchen counter. One is on the window ledge, another is plastered to the side of my espresso machine. (Now for those wondering, no I do not have a fear of frogs, I do have a problem with them hopping all over my kitchen)

Here’s the scene – after my initial shock of having these (btw they are tree frogs) leaping up out of my sink in a silly game of leap frog I realized I had to capture them quickly.

Tree Frog

Tree Frog

It’s probably a lot like having 3 small kids, the minute you focus on one the other two are going to get into something. In this case my dinner preparations. So I grab the one on the window sill, he hops out of my hand and onto the side of cupboard. These guys can move! Finally I wrangle him, being careful not to squish him. But I can’t just toss him outside, two reasons.
1 – I have a very large cement patio and that would just be cruel and painful to do to the little guy. They’re beneficial critters.
2 – I cannot leave the other 2 alone or I’ll never find them.

Solution – grab a coffee mug and place Sherm inside to wait for his buddies. Huh..they were right here…

Nothing is more fun than a great game of hide and seek in the kitchen with your opponents being about an inch long, able to climb walls and hang upside down.  Now while I don’t have a fear of frogs, I do have a horrible fear of the garbage disposal. I cannot put my hand in there, I can’t! And I have this horrible thought that one of them is in here. BOING! While contemplating my impending doom one of the other frogs has decided to make a leap on me as if to say TAG you’re it! That’s it Ricky you’re going in time out with Sherm. Now where is Octavia. Yes it’s a female, she’s more of a brownish color whereas Sherm and Ricky are a brilliant and bright green.

Oh thank goodness!! She’s not in the garbage disposal. She’s just hanging out on the cutting board. She, and her two cohorts are now heading back out to the garden. And I shall go disinfect my kitchen.

So remember folks, not only do you want to wash your fruits and veggies before you eat them, you also need to check for critters before you bring them in the house.

It’s Baby Calf!

****WARNING MAY BE GRAPHIC TO SOME****

 

****WARNING MAY BE GRAPHIC TO SOME****

 

Today had a wonderful surprise. As I was sitting in our living room looking out over the reservoir and the field next door, I noticed a cow that was acting peculiar. Then she turned where I could see her profile and I knew something was up.  She had a large sack that was protruding from the rear. It looked like a giant water balloon.

Now I do ask forgiveness if my descriptions are graphic or the words I use to describe them are inaccurate as I am a old city gal who has never experienced this before. I also document more than needed for my own reference so I can remember the details of this wonderful event.

She was pacing around and kept looking back her to hind quarters. Then she laid down and assumed a position that looked like the way a cat would lay before it pounces on her prey. This would last about 3-5 minutes before she would heave herself up take a few steps and attempt to follow her instincts and graze. But she could only take a couple of steps before she had to lay down again and repeat the process. This pattern went on for an hour. Then she went off to lay down and I could see her sides heaving. After about 15 minutes there, I saw them, the front two hooves. It was happening!! The baby was coming. Up and down she went for the next 30-45 minutes. Holy cow it’s a nose..a nose folks that means this little thing is going to arrive soon. I am GLUED to my binoculars and my chair. I will see this to completion.

She wanders into a brush area and the one cow that’s been laying next to her all calm and composed simply watches her and stands up and moves up a bit and lays down again near her. Then another female comes over and starts checking out what’s going in the rear area. The new mother kicks at her and she backs up. But she continues to try and get close, even licking the baby’s hooves clean. New mom kicks at her again and she backs away.  Next thing I see is the entire herd suddenly running full board towards the new mom. They must know it’s getting close. They surround her in a ‘bovine wall’ even the other 2 young calves that were born (Norman and Sarah, yep I named them and not clue if they are male and female respectively) were curious. After about 5 minutes they all wandered off but the original cow that was calm and peaceful and the other cow that was all up in her business.  15 minutes later…da da ta ta! We have a new little calf, who I have named Katydid.

But then the soap opera started! All the other cows came to see the new calf. They all do a meet a greet and wander away, except the cow that was so up in her business. She remained and became very pushy. I actually wanted to hop the fence and shoo her off. She kept putting herself between the new mother and calf. The new mother head butts her. But the other cow is persistent and keeps maneuvering herself to put her rear up to the baby calf. What I don’t know is, if she’s currently pregnant and is developing her udders for nursing and reacting the hormones released or isn’t pregnant but wants this calf for herself.

It’s dark now so I cannot see what is developing. I hope to see in the morning the new mother and calf bonding together and her successfully nursing. The picture below is very soon after the birth and before all the other cows came to investigate. Man living out here is so incredibly enriching!

Baby Cow

Don’t feed the birds!

So I read a post today that the with the inclement weather the birds are having a difficult time finding food and water.  I love how everyone has rallied to put food out and water, taking care to ensure it doesn’t freeze over.

I wish I had heeded my own comments, which were, “I cannot put out bird food as it would be like putting out a vending machine for my husbands cat. (We don’t own a cat)”

However, I caved. I saw the little birds, a family I think. Small, cute, looks like miniature robins. A male and 2 females. So I waited until I knew Ranch Cat was asleep in the garage and then I put out a small smattering of seeds.

Judge – So you willingly put out seeds knowing full well the killer was in the vicinity.
Me – Yes your honor. But in my defense…
Judge – Quiet…you do understand the killing instinct of your cat yes?
Me – Um, well your honor it’s my husbands cat. I don’t own a cat. And, yes, I know they love to chase and pounce on things.
Judge – You are GUILTY of murder!

He’s right, I am, and so much more…

In the time I fed these little birds (a time period of 2 days) the following has occurred.

1 – Ranch Cat brought one bird into the garage and left it at the back porch. Small bites had been taken but the bird was not consumed. Feathers all over the the steps.
2 – Ranch Cat brought in yet another bird to the garage, this time she consumed it and a LOT of feathers were left on the back steps that made their way in to the house.
3 – Ranch Cat brought in a third bird that got away, within the garage (still to be located). It hopped/flew around until it got behind a large shelving unit.
4 – Ranch Cat then went out and willfully caught and brought in a mouse to the garage. In the process of displaying her newest find, Ranch Cat while playing with said mouse heard the 3rd bird begin to make noise. She then stopped playing with her new toy and went to investigate her old toy. Said mouse, realizing his good fortune made his get away.

Not wanting our garage to become mouse country safari, hubby captured the mouse and took him outside and release him. This is where it all went down hill.

He tossed the mouse back near where Ranch Cat found him. But the mouse, now in shock from being caught by a cat, then by a human and unceremoniously tossed into the snow went into shock. He just laid there in the snow, breathing hard and then slower. I couldn’t stand it. So I picked him up by his tail and put him on the mound of dirt I believed to be his home. There is the defining moment when you know you have to do the right thing, and I did it. “Kitty Kitty!! Din-Din!” She comes running with a confused look of “I know it’s close to dinner time but you never feed me out here. Yet you never lie when you yell Din-Din you always have food.” And she came a running. She bounded once again across the snow and it was there I guided her to the mouse. She pounced and ran off with him. She stopped on the back patio and ate her prize.

You know it’s ranch living when you feed a live mouse to your (husband’s) cat. By the way, the third bird is still somewhere in our garage….the hunt continues.

The Cat Bringeth and I take it awayeth…

My morning –

Get up have coffee and some fried potato cakes. Look out kitchen window and see Ranch Cat sitting in the grass watching something. Her pose is somewhat relaxed.

Finish my coffee and breakfast and take the dishes to the sink. Ranch Cat is still out in the grass in her relaxed position. Her ears ever alert are listening to the rustle in the grass. She shows no concern.  There must be something out there to grab her attention.

Weather is cold and damp, fire is lit so I sit to read for a bit and finish book #2 of the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. About 40 minutes have passed, and I’m curious. Yep she’s still sitting there. I put another log on the fire and glance back. Ranch Cat is gone. Rut Oh! I run to the garage in hopes of keeping her from bringing her new ‘toy’ inside. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly nimble and fast I can move when I need to. And yet getting up in the morning I feel like I’m 90 year old. I’m too late. There she is in the middle of the garage playing with her new toy, which is very much alive and feisty.

“Whatcha got there kitty?” Yep I am actually waiting for to stay “Why it’s a mouse, it’s a gift I bring you…”

It’s at this moment I see that the mouse is not remotely injured and he’s a fighter. Stands up on his hind legs and tries to bite her nose. Ranch Cat finds this so amusing, grabs Rocky (yes I named the mouse Rocky because of his spirit) and hugs him close and rolls with him. As cute as all this seems there is the realization that she’s not going to kill it and will soon get bored with it, at which point it will be loose in my garage chewing thru things to make a nice cozy life for himself and future family. Not acceptable.

Ranch Cat is now tossing Rocky in the air, who squeals with joy..no I’m sorry that’s not exactly true, it’s what Ranch Cat thinks he’s doing, but really it’s pure rage. I believe he flipped her off at one point. I am grabbing a big rag with the intention of grabbing the mouse and taking it outside, way outside, and releasing him back to the wild. I have no gumption picking up rodents, snakes, lizards, crickets etc., but I do draw the line at spiders. Those will be furiously screamed at, ran from and have a husband sic’d on them for their destruction.

This is where we must cue the music to Keystone Cops. As I reach for Rocky, Ranch Cat senses something is about to happen and bats him across the room. I go for the mouse, he goes for the motorcycle parked in the garage. Ranch Cat thinks is is GREAT fun and pounces. Rocky makes under the tire and to a perfect position where Ranch Cat can’t reach him. I use a corner of the rag to goose Rocky out from under the tire, he makes a mad dash for anywhere but here and heads to the front of the bike, I jump up from my hands and knees  and scramble to the front, Ranch Cat is there like 2 days before I even got up and scares him back to the rear of the bike. We are in a standoff. I must invoke the power of that is the Whiskas, Ranch Cat’s favorite snack in all the world. Nooo she is resisting the scent of (looks at the bag) salmon chews.  Rocky sees his moment, he makes a bolt for the workbench, oh but Rocky I saw that gleam in your eye and I knew you’d try it. That is why I am standing right in his path. That’s it…just a bit closer. *SCREAMS* Never saw that coming, Rocky makes a bee line for the work bench but decides that going up my pant leg would be even better. I scream again and kick my leg, and seriously I think I literally heard Ranch Cat laughing.

Rocky is now under the work bench. There’s lots of stuff here for him to hide in. I get on my hands and knees looking under the giant tool chest, Ranch Cat wants to see too and gets in front of me. (I’m trying to spit her fur out of my mouth) I see him! He’s up against the wall and working towards the big wall shelves. If he gets behind there it’s over! I grab a stick and poke it in there, scares Rocky the other way, I scramble to the other side hoping he’ll pop out and I can grab him, although at this point I’m not so keen on it. Ranch Cat jumps up on my back for a better vantage point, get off me! Oh no..where’d he go? I don’t see him…I begin to slowly pull things out (and by the way I’d like to mention my husband is just standing there chuckling over all this saying ‘just let him go, she’ll catch him eventually) I don’t see him, but I know he didn’t make it to the wall cabinet. He’s got to be in something. Ranch Cat is having a fit and is now blaming me for letting her mouse escape. I’m actually arguing with her ‘well if you had killed like you’re suppose to we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

It’s when I pull out the shop vac and one of the extension tubes I realize “I got you!!” He was in the tube, and ran out but I was quicker and slammed the tube on top of him, no I didn’t kill him, it was the open end of the tube. Ranch Cat is so happy “oh that was great! Ok now give him to me…seriously I want him back, I promise I’ll eat him this time.” Nope you had your chance. So after all that work which was about 30 minutes of a vigorous work out Rocky was taken way outside and released to live another day.

It’s a bird and what a very special bird it was!

As most of you know by now I am a city woman who is now a country gal. Living in S. Calif my idea of wildlife was the opossums you’d see ‘napping’ on the side of the road or a stray dog. Occasionally you’d hear or see a coyote and my folks often get a view of a bobcat in their backyard. But for the most part nothing too exciting.

Then I moved to Oregon and man is there a lot of wildlife here. One of the most impressive things I love to watch is the Red-tailed Hawk that lives in one of my giant douglas fir trees and a kestrel that is living on my neighbors property.

But then I saw it…the bird of all birds. She was flying low trying to scare mice out of their bolt holes. Her wing span was about 5 feet. I knew she was special because of her all white feathers. This ladies and gentleman was an albino hawk!! And it was living on my land. I ran to my computer to see what the odds of this could be. Then I was thinking who do I call? Audubon Society? The OSU Bird program…the newspapers?!?! People are going to want to know about this!

Wait…what? Google is saying this is Osprey. It lives near a body of water, yep I live near a large reservoir, it eats fish, plenty of that here along with crawfish and is known to hunt land mammals and sure a lot of those nearby. Well am I sure glad I didn’t starting making all those calls. Hahaha and I am so grateful for Google!

Osprey - Image Courtesy Oregon Dept Fish and Wildlife.

Osprey – Image Courtesy Oregon Dept Fish and Wildlife.

Coming out of gate # 1 – The Sutherlin Rodeo!

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the Sutherlin Rodeo. What a fun night!

I must give props to the City for putting on this rodeo and providing entry for free if you brought a canned good. So not only do we get to help restock the food bank, but then we get some great entertainment. Just think, you take a .89 cent can of green beans and while you get to see come exciting action, your .89 cent donation went so much further. So on to the rodeo! I was amazed for such a small town how many people were in attendance. All the bleachers were packed and it was standing room only. What a fun experience.

The Flag team rides in, and while we had to stand because we arrived late, still had a great view. While I am not familiar with all the various breeds and techniques, I still want to go again. Being so close the railing it was very impressive to see strength of these animals.

Flag Team

Flag Team

One thing that made me proud was before the announcer had to ask, everyone started getting to their feet and the men removed their hats when the rider carrying the American Flag rode in and the Star Spangled Banner was sung loud and proud.

All Rise!

All Rise!

Let the games begin!! First up – Ewe Riding. These young kids have got cuts. The youngest little gal was 3 years old and landed on her face. But she was a trooper!

She's up!

She’s up!

Nope she's down.

Nope she’s down.

Overall I think the winners were the sheep. They just popped all the riders off and gathered in the middle of the ring for a pow-wow.

And the lambs win!


There were some beautiful horses and serious speed. I’ve heard the term thundering hooves but never experienced until this rodeo. 

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Calf Roping

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And the most gorgeous horse of the night? This one. The golden color just rippled across this horse.

Such a beauty and look at the muscles.

Such a beauty and look at the muscles.

I must encourage all of you to go to a rodeo. Many are held during fairs and those are going on all over the place right now.

Besides it’s a great excuse to eat food on a stick!