Tag Archive | cute

Flat Rabbit

I believe everything cycles. Things go up, things go down. The perfect song that comes to mind is called Turn Turn Turn, by the Byrds. Did you know that the song is word for word the first eight verses of the third chapter of the biblical Book of Ecclesiastes? These tid-bits are what keep my Trivial Pursuit gold metal on the wall 😉

Anywho.

The reason I launched into cycles was to describe the rabbit population around here. I’ve lived in this house for 13 years now. When we first moved in, there were enough rabbits around here to make stew for the whole block! They munched through all my veggies, perennials and had me swerving out of the way of them on my street. Don’t know why I didn’t just mow them down. Turkey vultures need to eat too.

The next year the rabbits started strong, however shortly after June, I barely saw any. I didn’t really notice any correlations, just that there were no rabbits.

Fast forward to living here for 7 years. Six of those years were spent enjoying my life without rabbits! I could grow my spinach, beets and carrots without having to build a fortress around them. The seventh year was the return. My Rudbeckia was decimated. I thought I was having seed failure in my beets. My dogs started digging under the fence. The rabbits came back with a vengeance. Again, they were everywhere.

Later that year, I started to notice how many birds of prey were circling overhead. Many times I would hear the loud chirping from birds during a combined effort of mobbing. The clincher was having fur and rabbit pieces strewn across my lawn on a weekly basis.

Fast forward another 7 years…

As my boys are sight orientated, they seldom notice things that are still. I will normally notice something in the yard before they can get to it. Sadly, my hubby isn’t as observant. After getting home from a long day, he opened the back door for the boys to go out. He propped the door open, and sat down to have a smoke. It wasn’t more that 10 minutes, when Breck brought the last half of a rabbit to him. He just put it down at my husband’s feet and looked up at him.  How nice of him! Hubby took a shot for me (He knew I’d blog this!!! Thanks Sweetie!), scooped it up and put it out front. He then went out back to see what had gone down back there. There was clearly a scene of carnage out there. Only fur and bloody pieces remained. He assumed the bird was able to take off with at least one half. He gathered all the pieces and promptly buried what was left in the front yard, away from the boys.

I titled this post Flat Rabbit, because one of the boys favorite toys is a stuffingless rabbit, called Flat Rabbit. This was a whole nother type of flat rabbit!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

White-Crowned Sparrow ~ Zonotrichia leucophrys

This post was a bit lost in my drafts folder… These guys were passing through last month. They, like the Juncos, like to be up North for the summer. And I mean like the Great White North! I’m also too far North to be in their Northern, Southern range. Ah, alas I am in the migration range only.

The male does most of the singing, however the female likes to belt out a few delicate, but more intricate tunes. Males learn their songs not only from their fathers, but from all of the other White-Crowned Sparrows in the neighborhood. If a male grows-up on the edges of two communities, they might sing two different songs, one from each community, you could say bilingual. 

They mainly eat seeds, however will feed insects to their young. These guys were happy to see many protein-packed sunflower seeds and peanuts on the ground, as they need a bunch of energy for their migration. These guys have been known to stay awake for two weeks straight! Not only that, the can fly for a long time without tiring. Scientist have this little guy running tread mills and other endurance tests. They are trying to figure out what keeps the little guy ticking for so long. Clearly, Scientist’s want to learn how to keep us humans working longer than our standard, 40 hours, sigh.

See you next Fall, White-Crowned Sparrow! I wish I could go with you to Mexico for the winter!!

     

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

New Doggy Bling

Last week, we ordered new collars for the boys. They were from Four Black Paws. These are beautifully, hand-made and well constructed. We got cute hearts for Oreo and a grayscale pattern for Breck. Oreo needs a thicker collar at 1″ wide, whereas Breck doesn’t need a thick collar, and we got him the 3/4 inch size. Both were size large.

The super cool part about these collars, is that their names and contact phone numbers are etched onto the clasp. No more jingle, jingle.

     

So cute!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Western Painted Turtle – Chrysemys bellii

I’ve written about the Eastern Painted Turtle, however the photo for that post was lacking. And, admittingly, I think it actually was a Western Painted Turtle, as the Eastern are not supposed to be in my area. Although the painted turtle is found in most of the United States and some parts of Canada, there are four different species, and a lot of inter species mingling. As you can see, Illinois has either Western or Midland or a combo of both. Miss-identification can happen sometimes.. I’m a horticulturist, Jim! Not a herpetologist 😉

One of the more interesting things I learned about these turtles is that their sex is decided by what temperature the eggs are exposed to while in the clutch. These temperature-dependent turtles lack sex chromosomes, thus relying on the temperature to decide. Low temperatures during incubation produce males and high temperatures produce females. Think Jurassic Park!!
Since Painted turtles are cold-blooded, they need to bring their temperatures up when they want to be active. Basking in the sun is the best way to achieve this. Turtles of all varieties bask in large groups on logs, fallen trees, and any object that’s just above the water. Sunning also helps rid them of parasitic leeches. Ick.
Painted turtles feed mainly on plants, small fish, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and carrion. Young painted turtles are mainly carnivorous, possibly because they need the extra protein to grow, acquiring a taste for plants later in life. Turtles have no teeth, although they have tough, sharp plates for gripping food. Painted turtles like to eat in the water since their tongue does not move freely.

The painted turtle was designated the official Illinois state reptile in 2005 after winning the vote of the citizens of Illinois in 2004.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Where’s Your Food?

We never spent a bunch of time training our boys to do parlor tricks. They do enough cute things throughout the day to entertain us! However, sometimes it’s not so much dog training as much as human training. Their food and treats are kept in this pantry. I started to notice Breck would paw at the door while I was in sight of it. Every time he did it, he would try to eyeball me. Who was being trained here?!? I started to ask him, “Where’s your food?”  After a little while, I was able to ask him and he would paw the door. Oreo can’t be outdone. He didn’t paw the door, his answer was to point his nose at it.

     

Where’s your food???

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Grass Flip-Flops Brings Summer to Winter

When it’s cold outside and there’s snow on the grass… These grass-lined flip-flops sure bring back memories of summer.
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Brrr! Only about 4 more months till summer… Sigh.

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PS – (Added to post much later than above was originally written) To a keen eye or another Midwesterner… This photo was clearly taken over a month ago, back when there was actually snow on the ground. True. It’s been floating in my ‘Scheduled’ folder for awhile. I almost thought about pushing it off yet again, until there was some snow on the ground to exaggerate my point of needing these grass-lined flip-flops… After checking the forecast for the next few months… I feel there’s very little hope in seeing any decent amount of snow the rest of this winter. Oh. so. NOT. sad!!!! Seems we may have an early spring. I sure hope so. Toes crossed!

© Ilex ~Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Border Collies – The Animal Kingdom’s Meteorologist

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Incoming!!!!!

I rarely have to check the weather to see if a storm is on the way, as Breck let’s me know by becoming ‘clingy’ (Clink-on dog) or hiding. I’ve written many posts about this already…

There is a prediction of 8″ of snow on the way to us. I found Breck hiding behind the boxes in the garage, after I had let him outside and then had a heart attack  when I couldn’t find him in the yard. Thanks, Buddy… not. When it comes to snowstorms it’s funny… He knows they are coming, however he doesn’t freak as much since there is no thunder. Rarely, do we get thundersnows, ie, thunder during snowstorms. Watch the video below about a meteorologist and his reaction to the rare phenomenon.

Cliff’s Version: The ingredients necessary for thundersnow are so exceptional that it’s estimated only .07 % of snowstorms are associated with thunder. In a 30 year study of snowstorms with lightning, meteorologists found there’s an 86 % chance that at least 6” inches of snow will accumulate within a 70 mile radius of the lightning.

I remember the first time we experienced a thundersnow. It had started to snow so we went out to get some energy (anxiety) out before the snow hit hard and filled the yard. All of a sudden a huge, varicose vein of a lightning covered the sky, then a very loud clap of thunder! It was super awesome to experience… well, at least for the humans. The fur kids were high-tailing it for the garage.

Animals might react to incoming weather events and natural disasters wp-1481903109197.jpgby using one or all of their five senses which are usually better than a human’s. Many weather occurrences generate sounds in the infrasonic range, too low for humans to hear, however well within the range of many animal species.

Scientists have observed animals being effected by barometric pressure and sound waves. Sea birds are frequently noted flying inland when the pressure drops before a storm.

I do believe animals can sense many types of weather or natural disasters. Read here about the animals in the area of the Asiatic tsunami of December 2004. Animals don’t think about paying bills, having the latest android, if they should dye their gray hair, quit their job… They only need to think about survival; food, water, shelter, procreation, safety. When that’s all you have to think about, you get good at learning about these things. Stupid humans… why do we clutter ourselves so??

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl

Another Dog Dilemma for the Oreo

Oreo can’t get enough tennis balls. He loves to chew, chase and de-fuzz them!

Normally, we keep all the dog toys in the white rack on the wall where he may be able to see them, however not get to them. He knows they are there, and when he want’s to play, he will sit in front of it and stare at the rack. This time he noticed there was a ball near the rack that he could reach. He didn’t understand it was on a rope!

I’ll have more info about this ‘ball on a rope’ in an upcoming post. For now, just enjoy and laugh at the poor, ‘lil guy!!

Previous Dilemma’s in a Dog’s Life  1 2345 – 6

 

© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl