ladynox25: (content)
Had the beginning of what looked to be a very interesting dream the other morning, which was spoiled, alas, by the alarm clock insisting that I get up.

I was looking at what had been a very stormy, cloudy sky, but it was clearing up and you could see sky underneath the clouds. Also, the sun was behind me so everything was in this beautiful light. I was looking at a mountain range just below the bank of clouds, with rolling hills between me and them. There were scattered trees and scrub. There was a man on a bay horse riding into the hills. He looked a bit like Tom Selleck. Maybe it was this that made me think that the scenery was Australia, but I wasn't sure (now I think it might be New Zealand). Anyway, as he was riding towards the hills, you could see one "mountain" that looked strange. Its peak had a much smaller angle than what you think of for a mountain and it was much more conical. As my POV got closer, I could see that it wasn't a mountain but the spire of some sort of church, that just happened to be the same grey stone as the mountains and blended in with them. Then my POV started to back out at the same time the man went over the rise and I could see part of the rest of the church, including what looked like a barrel vault made of more grey stone. The strange thing was there was a goat standing on a part of the roof.

And then I woke up. I want to know who that guy was, where he was, and what the goat was doing on the roof, dammit!

Heard a cardinal out my window the other day singing its mating song. It's way too early for them to be thinking about nesting (we almost certainly have some more hard freezes coming that would kill any eggs), but with all the unseasonably warm weather we've been having, I'm not surprised. I do wonder if this will be more prevalent as the climate warms up and it worries me a little.

W-13

Apr. 29th, 2007 05:07 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
Back from a weekend at my parents' and having my "Bridal Facial" done. I don't seem to have had any reaction from this, which is good.

This weekend was apparently a weekend for wildlife. As some of you may know, my dad has been waging an ongoing war against wild hogs which occasionally tear up parts of his property. The week before last he actually shot one, sitting up at night in his stand down by the pond. It was a boar. This weekend he trapped two more. So of course, he got my mom and I to help him.

one wild hog story )

After that, my dad knocked on the door and when I opened it, he displayed for me a humongous box turtle that he had picked up, I have no idea where. The shell alone measured 11 inches from stem to stern--the turtle wasn't coming out, needless to say. My mom and I took him (or her, we were debating the gender) up by the pond and let him/her go there. Hopefully he/she will live a fair few more summers and not risk being run over down there.

I do wonder how old a box turtle has to get to get that big though. It was a great-great-great-grandmother (or father) of a turtle, that's for sure.
ladynox25: (Default)
Got to watch six deer come to the feeder, in one group of four and one pair. You can really start to tell which does are pregnant now, the rounding abdomens are becoming more and more prominent. They haven't shed their grey winter coats yet and that makes them very hard to see when they're standing still.

Was walking in the lower pasture this morning when I heard a cry and this hawk came swooping out of some trees ahead on my right and landed in a tree ahead on my left, still screaming. It called several times and then another hawk came in from across the road, also screaming and landed in the same tree. They screamed together a couple of times and then took flight, swooping around over the field and screaming some more. I can only assume, since they weren't attacking each other, that this was a mating flight. It was amazing.

Last night we had some major winds blowing through this area and some storms that spawned tornadoes to the east of us in Arkansas and Louisiana. Reports are that straight-line winds in the Dallas area were somewhere between 50 and 60 mph. Flights were cancelled at both Dallas airports (that would be DFW and Love Field, for those of you who don't know). I found the following observation by one of the head honchos at American quite amusing: "aircraft are grounded when the crosswinds reach 25 knots, or 28.75 mph, so operating when they're twice that is unthinkable."

Anyway, about 5 pm yesterday it started getting dark out there. Like, the sky was cloudy grey but looked weird, like there was more to it than just clouds. And the wind was blowing, gusting, dying away. And it was getting hazier and hazier as night fell. It looked, in fact, like a misty night, but with no humidity to speak of. The dust storm had arrived. All in all, it certainly could be worse. As it was, it was definitely pushing my "this is weird, I don't like it" buttons. Fortunately, it went out the way it came in, and this morning dawned bright and sunny.
ladynox25: (Default)
When I am at my parents' place, I know that occasionally, I will experience some memorable wildlife moments. This holiday weekend, I was treated to two.

The first was the unexpected appearance of deer. Of course, my parents see deer on their place during most of the year, but this time of the year, during and immediately after hunting season, the deer become a lot shyer and more reclusive. The first glimpse was on Sunday. After a night of mostly rain, morning drizzle, and grey skies, we saw a group of three crossing the top of the hill, at the edge of the trees. During the winter, we can see all the way up the hill and these were outlined against the sky. They didn't linger.

Then, late Tuesday morning, which was sunny and bright, my mom and I saw two deer come down by the feeder. One of them was obviously wanting to get to the corn, but was spooking badly. Either she'd never been there before, or the occasional breeze was enough to make her skittish. She finally set off through our back yard down into the pasture. The other one followed. When my dad came in, he said that there was a third one, so it might have been the same group.

The second was the unexpected appearance of hawks. Yes, hawks as in plural. On Saturday, my dad called me to the window to tell me that a hawk had landed in the big tree in the back yard. This was the same hawk that has been around for a little while, he told me. My mom was not too thrilled about this, since she wants songbirds in her backyard and hawks tend to play rough with smaller birds. I tried to take some pictures but my little point-and-shoot camera couldn't get a good enough close-up. The hawk didn't stick around long but went up into the woods.

Then on Monday, he (or she) was back. And he (or she) brought a friend. My dad and I were watching the returned hawk in the front yard, when *another* one swooped down into the same tree. Same size, same coloration, same species as far as we could tell. My dad and I watched them for a while as they went from tree to tree, across the road and back again, and occasionally down to the ground where it looked like they might have been after something under the fallen leaves (field mice, perhaps?).

I took the opportunity to grab the bird book and established that they were not red-tailed hawks, but Swainson's hawks, probably immature ones. Although the book did say that there were many different color morphs of Swainson's hawks so maybe they were just light colored adults. Regardless, I'm still amazed that the two of them apparently were coexisting peacefully. Could they be a mated pair already? It seems unlikely.
ladynox25: (Default)
Got back from my parents' today. Had a wonderful Christmas. Have much to talk about, but first an account from Friday evening after I arrived. A fairy story, if you will. Or perhaps a horse tale. Your choice. *grin* )
ladynox25: (rain)
I was walking up from the lab to the office yesterday. The days here are wonderfully nice lately when it comes to weather, although I know from experience that it won't last. So I was enjoying the mild sunshine, the slight breeze, the smell of cut grass, and birdsong, when I happened to look up at where the bird was singing and saw something that made me catch my breath. Four hawks were up there circling. They must have been red-tails, because they were huge. Obviously they were riding a thermal/jet stream, because every time they circled, they'd move a little to the left and a little higher. Rinse, repeat. I watched them until they were out of sight. Such beautiful, effortless grace!

Update

Aug. 21st, 2006 07:18 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
I think I've gotten into the very bad habit of thinking that my life is not important.

First, I got into the habit of not writing about things that are important to me because I thought it would hurt some people I care about if I talked about it here where they could see it. Then I got into the habit of being too busy to write. Then, after I stopped being busy, I would forget what I meant to write down or I convinced myself that it was one of those "you had to be there" things. Then, I got into the habit of thinking that no one cared anyway. And finally, I just figured that even if something was important to me, it wasn't important to write about. That's a damn seriously slippery slope, there.

So I hung around and read other people's journals, and commented, and posted quizzes and kept on posting poetry, more out of habit than anything else. I haven't even posted any pictures from my trip to Japan. Talk about lethargy! So now I guess I'm at a crossroads. I can drop out, leave LJ for good. Goodness knows, the staff here haven't exactly impressed me. And it does take time out of my day to go through my friends' page every day and at least skim the entries. But, OTOH, this is, in large part, my lifeline to the outside world. It is where I keep up with my friends--my true friends. So, instead of dropping out, maybe I should recommit. Post more often, who cares if it's about little shit, just so long as I post.

What do y'all think?

Another idea I've had is to start posting bits of fiction here, in lieu of my monthly poetry offering. Y'see, in the past few months, I've started writing little vignettes, short stories, fairy tales, call them what you will. They might be interesting, they might not. They are certainly rough. I've never thought that I could write well, and so I never really tried, but [profile] hoya99 encouraged me to see what I might come up with and so I have a few things now that I didn't have before.

Finally, a (not so) little update on the 411 of my life lately, for those still there after my long silence )

Wildlife!

Apr. 16th, 2006 09:56 am
ladynox25: (Default)
I was sitting on my balcony a moment ago, enjoying the coolness of the morning and grading papers when I heard a bird screaming in the little woods across the way. It sounded almost, but not exactly, like a gull and almost, but not exactly, like a jay scolding and I wasn't sure what it was but then I saw something swooping over the treeline so I grabbed my binoculars and took a closer look. It was a hawk; not sure what kind exactly, but I think a redtail, although I couldn't get a clear glimpse of the tail before he wheeled out of sight. Wheeling and diving and calling--what a sight! It made me wish I had [profile] hoya99's camera with the telephoto lens--I could probably have caught some quite nice pictures.

Wildlife!

Dec. 28th, 2005 07:55 pm
ladynox25: (rain)
I went home to my parents this past weekend, for Christmas, of course.

There was music, and good food, and presents. I got a new digital camera (yay!). But the most memorable thing of all was the after-Christmas-dinner walk that my parents and I took up on the hill.

My dad led my mom under a tree that had mistletoe and pointed it out to her, telling her she owed him a kiss. I looked up with her, trying to spot the green, and all of a sudden, I gasped out, "Oh, my, look at *that*!"

*That* was a flock of birds that was nearly overhead. Long, thin, white birds, with black on the wings, flying in a line, soaring on a jet stream. They were going in the opposite direction to the ground-level breeze (and it was quite windy) so it was amazing to see the speed at which they were gliding. And only the last few flapped their wings at all. We could also see the leaders trading places as they went along. A few minutes later, they had soared out of sight.

What was so very, very exciting about this is that they weren't a flock of geese, or ducks. They were a flock of whooping cranes. What a thrill, to see an endangered species like that!

And then, we walked along to the highline, and a bird flew out of the woods to our right and flew right in front of us to the woods at the left. It was a falcon, and at first we thought it was a kestrel. But then, back at the house, I looked up falcons in our Peterson's guide and said, "Um, just checking, but did that bird have a brown back or a grey one?" and my mom said "grey". And I said, "Was it jay-sized or crow-sized?" and my mom said "crow" and I said "It wasn't a kestrel. It was a peregrine!"

Two rare birds in one day, within moments of each other. What a wonderful, red-letter day. Too bad I didn't have my new camera with me!

Wildlife!

Nov. 10th, 2005 08:26 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
I recieved an email from my dad the other day, with a crazy story that y'all might like.

Apparently, the other day, my mom was on top of the hill, on the Gator, when she saw this big old rattlesnake going across the field. So she ran it over several times, pinned it under the wheels of the Gator, picked up a big stick, and whacked it over the head several times until it stopped moving. She then picked it up with the stick and put it in the back of the Gator and took it back down the hill. When she got to the house, she took it out of the back of the Gator with the stick and put it in a bucket and put the lid on the bucket and waited for my dad to come home. When he did, she showed him the bucket. When he touched the bucket, it rattled.

So my dad (very carefully!) dumped the snake out onto the driveway and chopped the snake's head nearly off with a hoe. Severed the spine. My mom took some pictures of it. Then she decided that she wanted the rattles, so she called a friend to come over and skin the snake, etc. While they were taking off the rattles, the head started snapping again! Well, the friend got the snakeskin, and the meat, and my mom got the rattles.

The snake, by the way, measured 4'6" and had 11 rattles on him. Or her. Big snake. Big old snake. Big old tough snake.
ladynox25: (rain)
So this weekend at my parents' place, I got to see the deer rather an awful lot. There are two groups of three that come through. One has a rather mean old doe that we call 'Grandma' and who chases everyone else away from the feeder when she's hungry. The other group has a fawn from this year. The fawn's big now, of course, and only has a few spots, but is still distinguishable from the adults. We also see at least one singleton, a deer that comes by itself, and we think that this one is a buck. We can't tell, of course, if there's more than one of those.

close encounters of the deer kind )

In the middle of the afternoon, after being cooped up for most of the day and night with no power half the time, my mom and I decided to take the Gator up on the hill and get some fresh air. It was wonderful, cool and fresh and not humid, just delicious weather, especially after the 100+ days we've been having. We drove around for a bit, and then I turned the Gator over to the edge of the pond. Now, you have to visualize this.

The pond sits at the bottom of an oval depression or bowl in the ground. On one of the small ends is the dam, where the deer stand is. On the other, the ground slopes steeply up to the hayfield above. The long sides are mostly wooded. We drove around to the far side of the pond, along the hayfield. I don't know what made me look up, but when I did, I stopped the Gator and just stared. My mom looked and saw it too. It was a rainbow. The sun was westering and the remaining clouds (some of which was the aforementioned morning mist) were catching the light at a perfect angle. It was a huge, huge, bow, arching over the bowl where the pond was, beautifully framed, rising and descending into the pine trees at the edge where the dam is.

It wasn't a complete bow. The middle third was hidden by clouds. But it was so well defined--each color was perfectly distinct, from red to violet. I've never seen one so clear--or so large. It made that day so wonderful. When I think about it, I'm still in awe. I wish I had had a camera, but I don't think there's a camera invented yet that could catch that soft light, that clear definition, brought into lovely contrast by the dark clouds, all set amist golden sunlight. And no camera ever invented could capture the clear sunny cool refreshment of the day in which that bow existed.

So ephemeral, yet so timeless.
ladynox25: (Default)
Okay, I think I agree with the people who say that doing this instructing thing this semester is probably a Bad Idea (tm). So that's the end of that idea. But, given a semester in which to prepare quizzes, tests, lecture notes, etc., in my spare time, is it doable next semster? Should I take that rain check?

[Poll #553978]

etc. )

Wildlife!

Jan. 23rd, 2005 05:14 pm
ladynox25: (analemma)
Back in HS.

Yesterday evening, watched the three deer come to the feeder. The oldest "grandmother" deer is really bossy now, pushing the others away from the feeder. We can tell her apart because she has some sort of growth on her abdomen. The fawn from that group is now almost as big as its mom and grandma. Then this morning, a second set of deer, four total, went up the hill without stopping. We think that this isn't their range or something. All today, we've been watching the birds at the feeders with amusement and interest. Bluebirds, goldfinches, cardinals, sparrows, juncos, and others have been enjoying our hospitality.

This evening took the cake, however, when we saw a lone coyote come down out of the woods on the hill, cross into the field beside the house, *sit down* and proceed to groom himself for several minutes, before getting up again and making his way to the road and down into the lower pasture.

Wow.
ladynox25: (Default)
Today as I was heading out to do some more job searching, I saw a hawk flying directly over the roadway. I'm pretty sure it was a redtail. Of course, I always think of [personal profile] merhawk when I see one. Then later on, I went out again, and I saw *three* at one time! I can go weeks and months without seeing a hawk around here, so four in one day is special. The three were circling over one spot, so I guess there must have been some sort of thermal there they were using to get aloft. They sure needed it, it was very cold today. Of course, people to the north of me have been having cold weather for a while yet. *waves to [profile] _constantine, [personal profile] turnberryknkn, [personal profile] prince_corwin, and [profile] publius1* Still, when it finally decided to be winter around here, it hit *hard*. It was 70 degrees F two days ago and then it just dropped like a stone. It was 40 degrees the next day with a storm of sleet, freezing rain and flurries, and then it just barely got above freezing today. Thank goodness most of the precipitation evaporated, but there was still the occasional ice on the roads. Of course, next week I get to go to Chicago where it's even colder! *bouncebounce* I'm packing things that are extra warm. And if I don't forget it, my cloak. Which is done, done, done!!! *bouncebouncebounce*

I do hope the ladybugs are all right. About this time of year, just before it gets really cold, they appear all over in the dozens and hundreds. I guess they must migrate. Anyway, they try to find places to hibernate or winter over or something, sheltered spots that will stay warm. In HS, we usually find several dozen in our two well houses and we'll sometimes see them in my dad's shop, but I think that the shop is too big and drafty for them because they don't stay. The well houses are a good choice for them because my dad has space heaters in both houses and on the really cold freezing days (and especially nights) he will turn on the heaters, to keep the well pumps from freezing. Which of course helps the ladybugs. Of course, other things try to winter over in the well houses too, like wasps. And you can't spray them without killing the poor ladybugs and we don't want to do that. So we swat the wasps where we can and put up with them where we can't swat them. At least they're not building nests in there; they just want a warm place to wait out the winter the same as the ladybugs. I've noticed a fair few ladybugs try to follow me into my apartment as well. I haven't seen any wasps though. I guess they know to stay away from me. *grin*

I really don't like killing things, so I adopt a "live and let live" policy when it comes to insects. Basically, if it's not poisonous and it's not aggressive, I will carefully catch it and put it out. This includes spiders (sorry, [personal profile] silmaril) as well as moths, crickets, ladybugs, etc. If it's poisonous (like black widows) or aggressive (like wasps and fire ants) I will try to kill it, but humanely, and preferably without poison. Of course I don't go looking for wasps' nests or anything; I only kill these critters when they try to move into the area around the house. I actively discourage anything that tries to build a nest. Spiderwebs I'm more tolerant of, unless they're where someone might walk into them. My mom is not tolerant of spiderwebs though. *grin* Of course, I haven't seen any spiders here in Kilgore, either.

Wildlife

Dec. 17th, 2004 09:05 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
Good Lord!

I no sooner get on the computer and log into LJ than the coyotes sent up a Godawful howling and yapping out there. It's rare enough to hear *one* but that chorus just sent chills down my spine.

Why, yes, I *am* back in HS, why do you ask?

Wildlife!

Nov. 1st, 2004 12:42 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
Vignettes from my last weekend in HS follow (warning, may be insectaphobic insensitive):

Vignette #1 )

Vignette #2 )

Vignette #3 )

Wildlife!

Sep. 6th, 2004 07:07 pm
ladynox25: (Default)
I recieved an email from my dad today with another funny wildlife story, so I thought I'd share:

Read more... )

Wildlife!

Aug. 24th, 2004 10:25 am
ladynox25: (Default)
Having just recently moved into an apartment of my own, I've been paranoid about seeing my first cockroach. I know that that's a risk you take in apartments and no apartment is totally immune. However, I didn't see any dead roaches after I fumigated or anything so I was figuring I got lucky and this apartment complex is fairly clean.

Then this morning, I went into my bedroom to pick up my watch on my way to work, turned on my bedside light, and saw a flicker of motion running across the patch of carpet in the corner of the bedroom. I immediately thought "Oh, shit, my first cockroach." Then it ran back across and I got a better look at it.

It was a lizard, or maybe (but not likely) a salamander, a very pale orange/peach color with some pale blue markings. About |------------------| long. Cutest little thing I've seen. Of course, he promptly ran underneath my nightstand so I couldn't get him out.

So now I have a tiny little lizard living in my bedroom. Which prompts two questions: 1) how on earth did he get in there, considering that my bedroom is the furthest room in the place from the door and 2) how on earth am I going to catch him and get him out? I don't mind him, but I don't want him to starve to death.

And here I thought I wasn't going to see any really interesting wildlife after I moved. *grin*

Wildlife!

Jul. 31st, 2004 06:51 am
ladynox25: (Default)
Talk about a fast and furious pace. I no sooner get up, and come in to the office to check my email before getting busy about moving business (about which, more later), than my mom calls me back out to the back porch where one of the hummingbirds somehow managed to get tangled in a long dangling spiderweb that wasn't there last night.

Poor thing was trying to break it by flying away and kept swinging back and forth, half on its side, like one of those huge bungee/swing rides that you see at an amusement park. You know, the kind you lay down in a harness and they swing you back and forth.

So I reached out my hand and carefully snapped the spiderweb above where the hummingbird was trapped. For a moment, I had the hummingbird swinging from my hands as I carefully broke the spiderwebs away without touching the bird itself. Finally, I weakened the sticky threads to the point where the bird snapped itself free and flew off.

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