Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hunkered Down

Tuesday afternoon as I sat on an exam table waiting for the doctor, I watched and felt the room and everything in it shake and move as we experienced an earthquake.  I grabbed my cell phone to call Abbey as I knew she was home alone. The message did not go through, apparently because the system was overloaded with people trying to make calls and text.

I stepped into the hall thinking I would get better reception there and the doctor was coming by to see if I was okay.  He said everyone had headed outside the building but since I was only half dressed (and not too concerned) I waited there.  His office was right across the hall from my room and he let me use the office phone to call Abbey.  She was fine and had been trying to call me but even the house phone had no dial tone briefly.

I also called John and he said his office building shook and shook and that the building and those around it were all evacuated.  The earthquake lasted just 30-45 seconds, but very unusual for New Jersey.
~*~
Today we are awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene
She is big and although currently a category 1 our biggest concern is the amount of rain and the ensuing flooding. August has been the wettest ever August in reported history with more than 16-inches of rain so far this month.
Forecaster are saying we could have 12-13 (some places as much as 15) more inches in the next 18 hours from Irene.
While clearing the porch and the patio of furniture, pots and anything that isn't secured I enjoyed watching the hummingbirds.
This little lady did less drinking than watching the other hummers that zoomed about her apparently annoyed that they weren't perched on the feeder.
Wow ~ are they giving each other the evil eye!
 Look out!  Incoming at 11 o'clock
 These two tried to dine together
briefly 
You would think they would just drink from another available port but they are far too territorial to share.
~*~
We are expecting to be throttled by Hurricane Irene the most from 2-8am Sunday morning.
 
The possibility of power outrages is the biggest concern for John.
Our home sits on a four foot crawl space.
We have a sump pump and French drain but without electricity the pump won't work.
John tried everywhere to get a generator or back-up system for a couple of days, but everything was sold out.  I think he will be sleeping lite tonight and listening intently for the happy sound of the sump pump!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Katie & Mike's Wedding

The very sweet daughter of my cousin, Karen, married her best friend in early August.
I was honored to do the photography for
Katie & Mike




Thank you Stephanie Rose, for snapping a pic of Uncle John and I!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Simple Pleasures

Lunch with dear Friends
Me and Sandy
This dear friend shares my birthday.
Me Marcia and Sandy (Susan, our host, was taking the photo)
Dear friends for 26 years

One dear friend moved to Colorado
One dear friend moved to Texas.

We always have a birthday lunch

We laugh together
encourage each other
pray for each other
love each other
Marcia, Susan, me and Marcia at the marriage of Susan's daughter
Through the years

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words.

unknown

Proverbs 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother
Proverbs 27:17

As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another
Proverbs17:17

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity

Joining Dayle
(from a Collection of This and That)
a dear blogging friend for her Simple Pleasures party.


Project Simple Pleasures2

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flower Ice-Cream Sundae

My, dear friend, Susan told me about something she made at a Flower Camp she attended with a friend. I was looking for a craft project to make with the kids at Keri's birthday party and this sounded perfect!
Cute, huh!
Supplies:
*Ice-cream dish (I found ice-cream cone glasses at Christmas Tree Shoppe for 50c each)

*Bend-y straws (Abbey bought from Friendly's for $3.00 for 15 of them)

*Floral foam for fresh flowers (AC Moore doesn't carry it so we went to a local florist.  $1.50 a block.  I cut    six squares from each block that filled 6 glasses).  I pre-moistened the foam in each glass.

* 2 Bunches Mums from Produce Junction ($2.00 per bunch) Carnations were what Susan used but they were $5.00 for a smaller bunch and I thought these would work just as well). I pre-snipped the stems to about 4-inches long and had the foam in each glass.  I could have let the kids do this themselves but for the sake of time and the littler ones, I did it ahead.

*Little red flowers for the cherry on top (I snipped red impatients from my kitchen window box)

* Squares of white plastic so the green floral foam doesn't show through the clear glass (I cut white WM bags) I would double this next time.

*water

*Scissors and garden clippers

NOTE: Susan said they lined the top edge of the cup with green leaves before adding the carnations. I didn't do this with the girls.

 
 
 
 
Oh, Keri, with the dark brown eyes ~  Mom-Mom loves you!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Amazing Hummingbirds & Sugar Water Recipe for Feeders

I mentioned several posts ago that we have had an incredible number of hummingbirds this year and I have been snapping away trying to get shots of these very fast, very tiny birds.
Like all hummingbirds, ruby-throats are precision flyers with the ability to fly full out and stop in an instant, hang motionless in midair, and adjust their position up, down, sideways, and backwards with minute control. They dart between nectar sources with fast, straight flights or sit on a small twig keeping a lookout, bill waving back and forth as the bird looks around. Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds aggressively defend flowers and feeders, leading to spectacular chases and dogfights, and occasional jabs with the beak.
~*~
 We have three feeders ~ each positioned to be easily seen from inside the house.

One is on the front porch, one right outside the side door and one just outside the kitchen window.
I keep the feeders filled with sugar water that I make by bringing
1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water
just to a boil so that the sugar is completely dissolved.
When cooled I bring in the feeders, empty and wash them, and refill with the fresh nectar.
The hummers wait for their feeders to be returned so they can again get their fill.
Can you see the hummingbird in this photo?
it is hard to see her...
There she is. The female Ruby-Throated hummer does not have the iridescent red band around the neck as does the male.

Measurements
Both Sexes
Length
2.8–3.5 in
7–9 cm
Wingspan
3.1–4.3 in
8–11 cm
Weight
0.1–0.2 oz 
2–6 g

Happy to have the feeder returned, this little bird can barely wait for me to hang it on the hook. See her flying in from the left of the photo, right at the roof edge?
She didn't land on the feeder while I was holding it but she came very close.

Migration

Medium to long-distance migrant. Most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds spend the winter in Central America, and most get there by flying across the Gulf of Mexico. Some birds stay in North America along the Gulf Coast and at the tip of Florida; these are usually birds from farther north rather than birds that spent the summer there.


Cool Facts (Source)

  • The Ruby-throated Hummingbird beats its wings about 53 times a second.
  • The extremely short legs of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird prevent it from walking or hopping. The best it can do is shuffle along a perch. Nevertheless, it scratches its head and neck by raising its foot up and over its wing.
  • Scientists place hummingbirds and swifts in the same taxonomic order, the Apodiformes. The name means “without feet,” which is certainly how these birds look most of the time.
  • The Ruby-throated Hummingbird does not show a strong preference for any particular color of feeder. Instead, it prefers specific feeder locations.
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds prefer to feed on red or orange flowers. Like many birds, they have good color vision and can see into the ultraviolet spectrum, which humans can’t see.
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds normally place their nest on a branch of a deciduous or coniferous tree; however, these birds are accustomed to human habitation and have been known to nest on loops of chain, wire, and extension cords.
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are eastern North America’s only breeding hummingbird. But in terms of area, this species occupies the largest breeding range of any North American hummingbird.
  • Male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds don’t stick around long. Pairs are together long enough for courtship and mating – just a matter of days to weeks. Then he’s off on his own, and may begin migration by early August.
From Wikipedia:
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are solitary. Adults of this species typically only come into contact for the purpose of mating, and both males and females of any age aggressively defend feeding locations within their territory. The aggressiveness becomes most pronounced in late summer to early fall as they fatten up for migration. This is important because, as part of their migration, they must fly across the Gulf of Mexico - a feat which long confounded scientists, as a 500-mile, non-stop flight over water would seemingly require a caloric energy that far exceeds an adult hummingbird's body weight of 3 grams. However, researchers discovered the tiny birds can nearly double their body mass in preparation for their Gulf crossing. The additional mass, stored as fat, provides enough energy for the birds to achieve this amazing flight.

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