Saturday, May 31, 2008

Eastern Towhee

This is the first Eastern Towhee we've seen this year. The white stripes along their tail really stand out when they are in flight. This one is eating the bits on the ground under the squirrel feeder.

Improper Eating Manners, GRIN

The squirrels have learned how to lift the lid to the squirrel feeder. The feed is getting low here and this one has to practically stand on its head to get the sunflower seeds. Notice how it's standing on one leg and using the other to lift itself up. Our back yard is always busy with birds and other animals. We're might have baby wrens - both mom and dad wren are bringing in food, but we don't hear them yet.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Indigo Bunting

I thought you would enjoy seeing a young indigo bunting in this flowering tree. This one is just getting color. Did you know that they really have black feather and it is the light refracting that makes them look blue. Some of them will look like they have black feathers in their wings and tail sections. I like to photograph them when they are sitting in the late afternoon sun when they look such a gorgeous blue.
This is the Tulip Poplar blossom - you see how it got its name. The leaves are also a very unique shape. The whole tree has been covered with these blossoms for a couple of weeks now.

Tulip Poplar tree

The Tulip Poplar tree is the state tree of Kentucky. We have one in our yard and I couldn't get far enough away from it to get the whole tree. It is very tall. It's been blooming and I'll show you the pretty blossom next.

Little Tubby

This little ground hog decided to visit our back yard. If we go out the door, he runs for cover under the porch. They live in the woods across the street. I guess they like to munch in our yard too.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Here Birdy, Birdy

Tuffy on guard under the wren house. He has the most beautiful markings on his face, doesn't he? We're not partial or anything though. Grin


Here is mama wren sitting on her nest. How about this for a bird's eye view?

Kitty Lust

We have wrens nesting in the birdhouse on the clothesline. Tonight Tuffy saw one of them fly into the house and he took up this position under it. He says - come on out and play....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Whitesocks goes to Kitty Heaven Today

Whitesocks, age 15 (that's 76 in people years) went to be our kitty angel today as a result of kidney failure. Socks adopted Wayne when we first moved to Paducah in 1994, and she had just had her first litter of kittens at the home we were renting. When the owners moved her to their home (just a few doors away), every day Socks would bring all of the kittens back to our house. After a few days, the kittens would stay at the new house, but not Socks. So Wayne and Socks were partners. She would come to his whistle and walk to the mailbox with him like a puppy would.
She could be a little dickens. After we moved into our home on Finley Court in 1995, something chased her up a tree...not just any tree, but one that was about 50 feet tall. A call to the fire department told us that when she was hungry, she would come down. After two days of sitting up in the tree, Wayne rented a 40 foot ladder, our neighbor Huel and I held the ladder while Wayne climbed up after Socks. After that she did a little tree climbing, but not anything that tall.
She didn't welcome Tuffy much when he joined our family a couple of years ago. They settled into Tuffy trying to play with her, and Socks hissing at him. Today Tuffy is looking for her.
Whitesocks was a good kitty and we will miss her.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The National Quilt Museum

So here is how the front of the building looks now. When the sun isn't so bright, I'll go take a better photo of the museum with its new signage.

The National Quilt Museum

After the unveiling of the new sign on the outside of the museum, Meredith Schroeder, Congressman Whitefield, and Bill Schroeder posed for a photo to mark the occasion.

MAQS recognized as The National Quilt Museum

Yesterday, May 17, Congressman Whitfield presented quilt museum founders Bill and Meredith Schroeder with the Congressional Record proclaiming the Museum of the American Quilter's Society as The National Quilt Museum.

The ceremony was attended by staff members of Senator Mitch McConnell and Congressman Whitefield, city and county officials, present and past MAQS Board members, Friends of MAQS, Paducah Ambassadors, quilters, and others interested in quilting and the quilt museum.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Armadillo - born dead along side the road GRIN

After I taught in Chicago, Wayne and I drove to the Ozarks for a few days. I quit counting how many dead armadillos we saw along the road, but it was a bunch of them. Finally decided I should stop and take a photo of one of them. I swear they must be born dead along side the road because I've never seen a live one. Here's a bit of information about the armadillo:
In the U.S., the sole resident armadillo is the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), which is most common in the central southernmost states, particularly Texas. Their range is as far east as Florida and as far north as Kansas, and while cold winters have slowed the expansion of their range (due to a lack of sufficient body fat), they have been consistently expanding their range over the last century due to a lack of natural predators and have been found as far as western Kentucky, and are expected to eventually reach Ohio before the cold winters inhibit their expansion.

Armadillos are prolific diggers. Many species use their sharp claws to dig for food, such as grubs, and to dig dens. The Nine-banded Armadillo prefers to build burrows in moist soil near the creeks, streams, and arroyos near which it lives and feeds. The diet of different armadillo species varies, but consists mainly of insects, grubs, and other invertebrates. Some species, however, are almost entirely formicivorous (feeding mainly on ants).
Armadillos have poor vision but are not blind.

This armor-like skin appears to be the main defense of many armadillos, although most escape predators by fleeing (often into thorny patches, from which their armor protects them) or digging to safety. The North American Nine-banded Armadillo tends to jump straight in the air when surprised, and consequently often collides with the undercarriage or fenders of passing vehicles -- guess that explains why there are so many along the road.

Amish Planting

Another farmer was busy planting his field near Arcola, IL. He has five horses pulling his equipment.

Amish Plowing, Arcola, IL

Wayne and I stayed in Arcola, IL, on our way to Chicago. The Amish men were busy in the fields. This one is plowing with a team of nine horses.

Don't you just love the pastoral nature of this photo? Bright white fences, cows grazing, and the horses working the field.

Anothe version of Whacky Nine Patches

This was the barn raising version of the Whacky Nine Patches class. Penny used very similar values in the reds for her half-squares. Look at the texture that adds to her quilt - using several fabrics of similar value instead of one fabric.

Salt Creek Quilt Guild, Chicago

Last week I taught for the Salt Creek Quilters in Chicago. What a great group. Here is Bobbie showing off her Whacky Nine Patch quilt. This class lets you set the blocks a variety of ways. Bobbie used some fun yellow and orange fabrics. Do you see the Nine Patch blocks?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Jenny Wren

From my swing on the back porch, I can look right into the wren house. This one was busy making a new nest in the house - see the twigs sticking out under the eaves. That's how high the twigs are piled inside it.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Here's a pair of Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male on the left in front of a female cardinal, and the female grosbeak is on the right.

Did you ever wonder why the male birds get all of the color?

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers

We have four kinds of woodpeckers that frequent our feeders. Here is a female hairy woodpecker on the left, and a male downy woodpecker on the right. They both landed just as I was ready to take this photo.

We also get a few pileated woodpecker sightings, and lots of red-bellied woodpeckers (larger than either of these).

Indigo Buntings

The indigo buntings are some of my favorite birds. Here two of them are eating under the big feeders, where the cardinals knock feed off.

Hummers are back

Our backyard is humming with birds. The hummers always come back about a week before the quilt show and this year was no exception. Wayne only has two feeders out now, but that will increase to four when more of them arrive. We usually have 15 to 20 that live between our feeders and Lorraine's next door.