Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Musings on Hummingbirds

I've taken 100's, maybe 1000's of photos of hummingbirds.  I was going through them this morning and thought I just might put a few of my favorites here.  They are framing today on the house and I'm kind of getting into this blog thing a little.  

As I was going through the photos, I realize how many are terrible shots.  Why did I keep them?  Photoshop is not that good!  No way to make them better even exists.  Or if there is, I sure don't know how to do it.  

Here are some of the ones I think are the best.  And some I think are just OK.  I want to share what I've seen and what I know about them.  If you're not interested, that's ok, too. More on the house in a day or two.

First, is the Anna's Hummingbird.  The photos of the Anna's are from Marysville.  They have been taken over the last few years.  They are the most common hummingbird on the Pacific Coast.  No larger than a ping pong ball and no heavier than a nickle.  

This is the male Anna's.  With "iridescent emerald feathers and sparkling rose-pink throats, they are more like flying jewelry than birds."  

The one below is my favorite.  I think the feathers look like pink chain maille.  And I love the little bug stuck on his bill.

The female Anna's is stocky, too, and mostly iridescent green. 

Anna's are welcome backyard birds.  They are easy to attract and love the feeders.    


I started feeding my hummingbirds year round in 2008.  I loved seeing the hummingbirds eating when there was a bit of snow on the ground.  Most of the time, I remembered to take the feeders in at night when it was going to freeze, but sometimes not.  Didn't seem to deter them at all.  Maybe they like their sugar water on the rocks once and a while!

I did bring in the feeders and put them on the heat register to thaw them.  I didn't want the hummingbirds to get brain freeze!

The other hummingbird that visited us in Marysville was the Rufous Hummingbird.  They are the feistiest hummingbirds.  The Rufous males are "bright orange on the back and belly and have a vivid iridescent-red throat."  The feathers on the throat are called a "gorget."  It is called that from the piece of metal that used to protect the throat during battle.  


These little ones attack flowers and other hummingbirds.  They seem to be relentless!  This photo is from 2009 and it seems they have not been visiting as much since.  

Their red throat really shows up when they buzz by.  They are pretty noisy, too.  You can hear them coming for sure.  

The Rufous female looks much like the Anna's female.  The major difference I see is the orange tummy and orange going down the tail.

When you see the Anna's photo next to the Rufous, it's easy to see the difference.

If you see them on their own, it's very hard to tell which is which.  

Now that I am in Idaho, I have seen new (for me) species of hummingbirds.  The first one I'm showing is the Calliope Hummingbird.  These hummingbirds are the smallest breeding birds in North America and Canada.  They are also the smallest long-distance migratory bird.  "This bird was named after the Greek muse Calliope."

Their backs and heads are a metallic green and their throats have purple feathers that look a lot like rays.  He almost looks like he has wine-red whiskers!

This morning was cold and rainy.  This little guy was all puffed up to stay warm.  

The Calliope females are also green on the head and back.  Her throat is white with faint speckles that may show red iridescence.  The female's white tummy is buff colored on the sides.  The female also has white tips on the outer feathers of their dark tails.


The last hummingbird I've seen here is the Black-chinned Hummingbird.  I have only seen the male shown here one time!  He is quite elusive.  I read they are widespread, but not at my house.  Or he is that really quick one that is gone before I have my camera in my hands.   

The Black-chinned Hummingbird has a green head, back and sides.  He has an iridescent purple stripe at the base of his black chin.  He also has a gray chest, a black tail and a white spot behind his eye.  The throat of the Black-chinned Hummingbird can look like the whole throat is velvety black like the one above.  I will be working to get a shot that shows that purple stripe!

The female also has the white spot behind her eye.  She has a greenish back and head and a clear, smooth gray throat and belly.  The female Black-chinned Hummingbird is also bigger than the male.  


I hope you enjoyed my hummingbird photos.  I love trying to capture them.

I'm also hoping to get more shots of that male Black-chinned hummer.  

OK, here are a couple of photos of me and of us at the house.  I couldn't resist!



Sunday, May 26, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes

I had a jail break yesterday.  Scooter got home and we took Kenzie, Aaron and Mimi out to lunch for an early birthday meal.  We ate at Dockers in the Coeur d'Alene Resort.  Always a great choice.  How can she possibly be 23?  It really goes by too quickly.

After lunch, we headed to the property to see how things have been going.  It's been a week since I've been there and two weeks for Scooter.  Oh boy!  Things are moving now.  

Last time, there were only footings and foundation and lots and lots of dirt.  Now, the foundation has been waterproofed and back filled.  And the floor is done.  This view is from the NE corner above the house.  On this end are the two spare bedrooms.  This is the back of the house and you can see where the covered porch is going to be.

This view is from the NW corner of the house.  You can see the garage has been poured, too.  Our bedroom is in the sticking out part on the back. 

Here is looking West through the great room, dining nook and kitchen toward the front door.  Mom is in the office and Scooter is where our closet will be (I think).  Mom still has her shoes on, too.

Rather than build a separate building for a shop (additional cost and taxes), we have enlarged the garage.  This is essentially Scooter's shop.  It is two garage bays wide and 
36' deep.  It will also have 12' ceilings.  Hope it's big enough!

The front porch is on the left and this will be our front yard.  Lots of work to do.  Oh my gosh.  We have lots of time to do landscaping, I hope.  

This is the back yard.  The wall will be cut back farther about ten feet and then it will be rocked.  I'm guessing there will be grass from the patio to the rock wall.  Two more trees will sacrifice their lives (not my idea), left and center, to move the wall back.  I may need to get a job after all!

I took this shot from across the street looking North.  I really like the set back and the fact we are able to keep some trees in front and on the West side.  

I find it amazing all the dirt piles are gone!  Wow.  We thought we'd have to haul some off somewhere, but apparently not.  

I'm still thinking about how big this lot is.  The dirt has been pushed to the left property line, but is somewhat over the line of the next lot.  But the back is about right.  

The East property line is about from where I am standing, straight up through the middle of the line of evergreens and on the right side of the last evergreen in that line.  

This dirt road was used when they put in the septic systems.  We are going to do what we can to make it go away.  It is not a turn around and it we'd like to keep it that way.  I see lots and lots of time in the yard for a very long time.  I'm going to be looking for great, discounted deals on shrubs and trees.  The biggest I can get at the smallest price!  I'm thinking there is no reason I can't get them now and just move them when the time is right.  If anyone locally has any double purple or white lilacs they want taken out...lol

I start driving again Tuesday.  I hope to have more frequent posts.  I still need to take it easy for 4 weeks, so I won't be out and about every day.  

Thanks for checking in!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cabin Fever

Being stuck at home is no fun.  I had back surgery (successful, I think) and am not supposed to drive for another four days.  Since I can't drive and Scooter is at work, I've not been to the new house.   I can hardly wait for him to get home tomorrow so we can go look.  

I thought I was easily entertained, but apparently I was wrong! I haven't had to stay home like this for quite a while - at least not since I seriously started taking photos.  Not being able to look for potential subjects has made me be a bit for resourceful.  Maybe that is a good thing.  

First, I've been looking over my older photos and have been doing some editing and some deleting.  Not enough deleting, I'm sure!  Here's one that caught my eye...

Mostly, I've been watching the wildlife here.  Lots of hummingbirds and a few others.

These quail have been hanging out under a tree in front of our rental.

I love the pheasant.  He has been calling and calling.  I think he's looking for a girlfriend.  I hope he finds one.  He is so handsome! 

A friend from college came today to visit.  She brought me these lovely daisies.  It was so nice of her.  

The simple beauty of a daisy is why I like them, I think.

Here are a few of the hummingbird photos:

These are both calliope hummingbirds; female on the left and male on the right.  They are one of the smallest hummingbirds and they actually migrate the farthest.  Anywhere from 5000 to 9000 miles.  

Tomorrow should bring some new house photos.  Hope you enjoy my cabin fever shots!  I took all of these photos from inside the house.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Good Foundation

I haven't been to the property since Sunday, due to my back surgery.  My sister came today, Thursday, and I asked her to take us to the house.  She hasn't been since they broke ground.  Even after a five hour drive, she was nice enough to drive there for me.

One of the most important parts of a house is the foundation.  And we have a foundation for our house now.  Looks like the crawl space will be adequate.  Looks like It wouldn't be bad to crawl around in, as long as I don't have to be the one doing it!

This view is from the East looking toward the garage.  Mostly you see the porch in 
the foreground and the garage in the background.

This view is from the porch, straight through to the back covered porch and our bedroom on the left.

And this is the far East side of the house which will be two bedrooms and a Jack and Jill bathroom.  

Now I think the house looks huge.

They will be painting the waterproofing on the outside of the foundation probably tomorrow.  Then they will back fill the foundation.  

After the back fill, we will have a better look at how the house will sit on the property.  Our plan was NOT to have a bunch of stairs up the front.  There should be only one or two steps to floor level.  Guess we'll find out soon enough.

Yep, looks like a good foundation.  You need that in a house.  You have a good foundation in a house and you're apt to have a great foundation in your home.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Address, Forms and Footings

Just before we went to Spokane for our anniversary, we ran out to the property to see how far they had gotten on first cut day.  The first thing we noticed was that we got an address!  Everyone has been calling it lot 37 Shiras.  And here it is!  

The first cut was displaced with a hole!  It didn't look like a deep hole, but there was lots and lots of dirt!

The culvert for the driveway was also placed.

The next morning, we noticed that the Deerleys must have sent word to their cousins that we were moving in, because there was evidence they had been there checking it out!


Next, are the footings.  It finally looks like a house is being built here.  It's so hard to
get an idea of the size from footings, I think.  I look, and it looks small, then I look again, and it seems really big!


Wednesday, May 8th, it was hot!  After we knew the guys had gone home, we went to the property so Scooter could limb some of the trees.  I wanted to be able to get better photos!  That is what is important anyway. 

It was so nice.  There was a little breeze blowing and all you could hear were birds singing.  I could sit there for hours.  This is almost where the front porch will be and I probably will sit here for hours!  

Meanwhile, Scooter was limbing the trees.  I was worried about the chainsaw and overhead limbs.  I worry about everything.  But all was well.


Here we are in front of the forms!  It is so hard to take a good photo from above.

Scooter went to work on Friday and I didn't get back up to the house site until Sunday.  The forms were all done and most of the footings were poured.  

This is from the SE corner looking West.  

This is from the NW looking across the entire house to the SE.  I'm up on a bit of a hill to see it all.   

And here's Mimi - already on the porch, wouldn't you know.  She didn't even take her shoes off!

When I opened the door to the Honey Bucket, there were our house plans!  lol  I guess it is the reading room for everyone everywhere.