Saturday Sanity: The Antidote to the Madness (March 28, 2009) First Hummingbird and First Cactus Flower!; Wisconsin Robin; Happy Birthday, TORO the Dog!; Trooper Shows Off)

~~By InsightAnalytical-GRL

Just because we’ve been enjoying some great spring weather lately (although the last couple of days have been cool and windy), it doesn’t mean there aren’t signs of spring in other places, too.

Kenosha Marge sent in this report from way up north in Wisconsin after reading last week’s Saturday Sanity:

SO and I have seen a couple of Robins the past few days and were getting that “Spring Is Coming Soon” spring in our step. Yes, yes I know that the offical first day of Spring was Friday the 20th. That’s what the calendar says. When a Robin is in your backyard birdbath and on one of your backyard bird feeders that really means Spring is coming. Or maybe not. Here’s some expert who just had to rain on my parade.

Steve Lewis of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Birds in Minneapolis said some robins in northern Wisconsin might have come south from Canada, “but they’re not birds that are coming back early from their wintering areas.”
Some may wonder how a bird weighing under 3 ounces can survive in a climate that can drop below zero degrees without warning.
For robins and other winter birds, it’s simply a matter of sprouting a few more down feathers for extra insulation and finding a steady source of food.
Frozen ground means no worms and frozen air inhibits crowds of insects, so robins and other birds like cedar waxwings will seek out fruit from crabapple trees and other berries still hanging on branches.
If they can keep their stomachs full, they see no reason to leave, said Dick Verch, a retired DNR employee who organizes the annual Christmas bird count for the Chequamegon Audubon Society.
“If you look at a lot of the fruiting trees – mountain ash and others – they still have fruit on them, and very often at this time of the year they’ve been stripped by birds,” Verch said. “That’s an indication there’s a good quantity of food, so maybe as the birds went into the winter with a lot of food around them, it kept them here.”
Verch said participants in the 2008 count spotted 76 robins – 56 more than the previous record of 20, set in 2004.
A few weeks ago we had this in WI...

A few weeks ago folks in in WI were doing this...

Wisconsin Robin!

Last week...a Wisconsin Robin!

While we’re on the subject of our animal buddies, I thought I’d share a pic of  Toro, our first dog, who turns 10 on March 31st!  Happy Birthday, TORO!  With spring in the air, Toro has taken a fancy to eating al fresco!

Birthday Boy Toro

Birthday Boy Toro

Here’s an update on TROOPER, my betta fish.  Over the last few weeks he seems to have really “grown up” in his behavior….he’s gotten larger and more aggressive about going after his food. He’s probably reached maturity and he certainly is robust in health, especially since I change him every 4 days!  I picked up a calendar at my State Farm office which feature golf courses…and the greens and traps seem to bring out Trooper’s colors very nicely.  He’s such a dark blue that he needs the contrast to be seen at his best!

Trooper likes to hang out on the 18th hole...

Trooper likes to hang out at the 18th hole...

Disappointing news…I’ve had to give up hope that I could entice Mario, the runaway chihuahua. The food was being eaten by birds, so it seems Mario is gone.  Best of luck, little guy…

But, some good news…On Tuesday (3/24) I was buzzed. A few moments later I saw my first hummingbird of the season!  The feeder is up and it looks like it’s being used.

The desert plants are beginning to wake up and within a couple of short days, the cactus in the front yard started blooming!

Cactus flower

Cactus flower

The NM privet that was flowering last week is now leafing out and the larger privet in the front yard is also starting to show some leaves.

Backyard NM privet

Backyard NM privet

The peach, fig, pomegranate and apricots are all continuing to bud out and the baby figs and peaches are really growing fast.  And my oldest grape vine is really starting to rev up:

Flame grape

Flame grape

Finally, here’s a shot of my garden beds with a lot of the plants waiting for transplanting under the sun shade. I cover them at night because it still gets chilly and the wind over the last few days dries things out in a very short time.  By the way, I found Ichiban eggplant and those fantastic pimiento peppers this week, so I can’t wait to get all these wonderful things into the ground!!

Waiting for a little less wind...

Waiting for a little less wind...

Hope spring is happening wherever you are!

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27 Responses

  1. Just FYI, snow snorkeling in Wisconsin is usually done when there is alcohol involved. Never tried it myself, with or without swimsuit. Will this be one of the things I regret not having done as I shuffle off this mortal coil? I really doubt it.

  2. I am happy to report this week that there is no white stuff on the ground, and I’m actually starting to get encouraged about Spring finally coming (although we try not to get too cocky around here; we’ve had snow in June before).

    The sun is shining morning and a grackle just lighted on the deck railing wondering where the feeder is. (Of course the grackles are the main reason I took my feeders down – they were attacking all my “sputzies” and keeping the mourning doves away.) It actually seems like Winter may be drawing to a close…

  3. Woke up to rain again today. All day yesterday and all night last night. Got my pots and soil, but haven’t put anything in them yet.

    Marge’s robin and IA’s garden have put me in an envious mood. I can’t understane why I’ve seen no robins here. Maybe I’m just not looking out at the right time. Lots of sparrows and of course the pesky English grackle but that’s all. Maybe the other more civilized birds won’t come this close to Washington, D.C., this year.

    • LOL! All animals know when danger is near!

      For example, whenever a hawk is near, all the birds disappear from my yard. Funny, this year I had a hawk in my yard several times, once eating a little rodent of some sort. Birds just scatter when this guy is around…

  4. I am just ready to leave – mother is ill.

    No rain here, but the sky is grey and it looks like snow!
    The temp is 33 and we are expecting 1-3 inches of white stuff this weekend.

    I really don’t mind. I don’t fit into my last year’s clothes, so I’ll keep on hiding under my down coat a bit longer.

    LOVE the cactus flower and the robin photo… I think I’ll use it or the robin as background on my laptop if it’s okay.
    (Please say yes !)

    • Forgot to mention how intense Trooper is!
      Beautiful………Happy Birthday, Toro!

    • Hope mom is OK, Leslie!

      • Thanks.
        She looked better today.
        But when a person is 96, as she is, it doesn’t take much to upset the balance. I’ll be tiptoeing in my heart until she’s well again.

    • I’m not sure if that’s Marge’s photo or a file photo…but I don’t think anyone would mind if you use it!

  5. leslie, here’s a link to a whole passel of Robin images. I trade off on them on my desktop every couple of days.

    http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://sdakotabirds.com/species_photos/photos/american_robin_11.jpg&imgrefurl=http://sdakotabirds.com/species_photos/american_robin.htm&h=532&w=750&sz=199&tbnid=mCN0bSvt6QkvqM::&tbnh=100&tbnw=141&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dphotographs%2Bof%2Bamerican%2Brobin&usg=__2AqAPPrQ-J7JUXXT-hjJsmZmCiY=&ei=cTTOSeHYH-mHlAfuzMDVCQ&sa=X&oi=image_result&resnum=3&ct=image&cd=1

    • thanks for the link. I just got in and I’ll take a look as soon as I can.

      How sweet, to have bunches of robins (would that be flocks?) to brighten your computer.

  6. Albuquerque had SNOW yesterday — and it is still cold up in Northern NM.

    Meanwhile — up in the Northwest — rain — 90% chance today.

    At least it is sunny in NM — it’s cold and sunny.

    In Southern NM the fruit trees were blooming — not so up here.

    My husband was surprised when I told him I saw humming birds in the bushes at Joshua Tree National Monument (in California– near the Arizona border). It turns out that humming birds of various species make their homes in deserts.

    The desert is a magical place — as IA in southern NM shows with photos and words.

    The only complaint I can think of for NM is that it is a long way from the ocean.

    • We’re 700 miles from San Diego, about 12 hours, which lots of people do in a day or by night to avoid summer heat.

      And, about 8 hours from Port Pebasco (Sp?) where loads of people go for scuba diving from here! There’s a “free zone” corridor so it’s easy to drive directly there..

      • PS–about 1 1/2 hours north here around Carizzozo, there seems to be the line that separates south from the rest of the weather!!!

  7. enjoy MOM Leslie..happy birthday Toro.
    the pics are beautiful thanks ..

  8. My best wishes to your mom Leslie. I lost my grandpa this week. I live far away now but until 3 years ago, I moved up there to be closer to him and my family. It was dumb to move away but had to do it. I wouldn’t trade anything for having that last few years with him. As an adult, I got to ask alot of questions and he had alot of wisdom and thoughts I had never heard before. I knew him better and was able to figure out some of my own thoughts and behaviors from that. I had forgotten so many little things like camping and fishing with him as a boy. He had more influence on me than I realized.

    • Thanks, glennmcgahee and foxyladi14, too.

      Glenn, I am so sorry that your grandpa is so recently gone. How fortunate you were to get to really know him. (And most likely he thought the real blessing was his for having you so close.)

      We are so lucky to have our loved ones with us for as long as we do. Mom is doing better this afternoon. I am certain she would feel both embarrassed to be the center of anyone’s thoughts, as well as tickled for the same reason…

    • glennmcgahee…

      What a very sweet remembrance of your grandfather…
      I’m sure he knows how much you appreciated him…

    • Glenn,

      So sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds like you were able to spend some quality time with your grandpa, though, which is what really counts.

      How is your sister doing? Did she ever consult with Dr. Flavin? My thoughts are with her and you, and I hope she is doing well.

  9. WOW, I just realized that we’ve gone well past 180,000 hits!
    It has been getting busier here lately, so, it’s on to 200,000!!!!

  10. Leslie,

    I’m so sorry to hear that your mother is ill. I will be praying for her and for you. Keep us informed,please.

    IA, I finally got one one you. I”m only two hours from the Ocean, but that doesn’t compare with the beautiful pictures you have given us.

    Happy Birthday, Toro. And I love that beautiful fish.

    • Lee, I actually lived a block from the ocean with the backyard of the house on the Shark River in Belmar, NJ…Winters were pretty harsh!

  11. GRL,

    Thought you might like to check this letter out (courtesy of Logistics Monster). Should go viral:

    http://logisticsmonster.com/2009/03/28/lady-liberty-is-weeping-and-we-have-a-job-to-do/

  12. Alert to all backyard gardeners!

    Please check out HR 875 The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009.

    Many people are interpreting this as an attempt for Monsanto and friends to usurp control of the food supply in the U.S., potentially outlawing organic farms and backyard gardens.

  13. Yes, we blogged about this last week or so! I think it may have been in a Scanner…

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