Monday, May 28, 2012

The Noisy Neighbors, Among Other Things

 This should actually be at least three blog posts but the likelihood of my sitting down again to do this is in question. Blogging generally gets bogged down somewhere amidst good intentions.

Above, you will see one of our new neighbors.  Meet, Mr.(or Mrs.) Red-Shouldered Hawk.  The young couple is nesting at the edge of our forest and have been obliging enough to rehab a nest that's had the for sale sign hanging out front for the three previous summers of our residence.

Having moved in and set up housekeeping they soon brought two new feathered bouncing juvenile red-shouldered hawks into the world.  This, has become a mild obsession and I now have hundreds of slightly grainy photos of hawks.  Grainy as the nest is in one of the tallest pine trees in the forest and is a bit beyond my best lens.  Of course, this also underscores why I need a more super-duper lens. (Perhaps, we shouldn't mention that to The Finman.) 

Here, is the first fellow to leave the nest. He was kind enough to perch quite close to the path I take with The Hound Dawg in the mornings. Poor Hound Dawg was a bit confused and miffed to find his walk unbelievably cut short while I scurried back to the house for my camera. Lesson learned.  Now, I always carry my camera on the morning walk. This has meant sacrificing my mug of coffee for the duration of the walk but I'm a woman on a mission and for this I can (briefly) step away from the caffeine. 

The young ones amuse me greatly.  They are both out of the nest and will sit perching near the nest or sometimes in a tree nearby.  They are not yet independent and the parents are still close by and still bring food.  Today, I noticed that although they now spend a great deal of their time out of the nest when the meal shows up in the form of Mom or Dad, they hop right back in the nest and wait to be fed.  Oh, and they are whiners.  You would think the poor things never had a meal.  This morning, I could hear them griping all the way to the end of our street.  Red-shouldered hawks have the "hawkiest" call of all the hawks and we have become quite accustomed to hearing them screech throughout the day.   (You should hear the things they say to their parents.) 

Now, lets talk about some of our other critters. 

Above, is one of my top bar honey bee hives.  I have two observation hives.  They are observation hives as I can open a door and  peek at those busy girls to see what is going on.  Both colonies are new this year and as they build comb, I will add more bars and expand the space in which they build by moving those dividing bars.  This is my second go 'round with this hive.  I built this hive last year and then got a very bad shipment of bees.  I didn't know enough about the process to refuse them at the post office and thus was stuck trying to nurture a very weak colony.  No such problems this year and everyone is looking good.

And here, meet our compost dwelling box turtle.  He has been dubbed Tommie.  He's pretty much eating the compost as it comes in and it will never make it to the garden.  But hey, he's cute.
Last, but obviously not least our bird feeder swinging squirrel.  Notice the feeder is empty.  It took him over a year to figure that out.  Wish I could say "I'm proud".

And to think, there is SO MUCH more I could blog... maybe next time.


  1. Never a dull moment at your house. What do you mean by a "bad shipment of bees"? How would you know?


  2. Scott, when you order a package of bees, it is generally a three pound package which contains roughly 10,000 bees as your starter colony along with the queen. Many suppliers pad the weight a bit to account for some die-off during transport. They are then sent priority mail. Last year, my bees shipped during a very HOT spell and arrived with 3/4of the bees dead. It was bee carnage. In fact, the main area post office 40 miles away called the night they got to that point to see if I wanted to pick them up there rather than wait for them to come to my post office the next morning. Had I know enough at the time, I could have refused the shipment and then the supplier and post office would have been left to sort out who was responsible and most likely I would have either received another shipment or received a refund. As it was I accepted the shipment and then it was my problem.

  3. Oh my stars you are raising bees! I've been researching it. I love your observational hive. Did you design/build it?

  4. O, this is the culmination of about four years of reading, research, and interest. It started when I ran across the website of Phil Chandler, a beekeeper in Britain. The website is, I bought his ebook, The Barefoot Beekeeper and was hooked. The concept is basically that you have a more symbiotic relationship with the bees than traditional beekeeping. You take less honey than standard beekeeping and you allow the colony to exist much as a wild bee colony would exist. This is the reason for the top bar hive, which is a hive style common to Africa, it mimics how bees build in nature, a hollow log, etc. As to this hive, I did build it. I didn't mean to. I had one ordered and then the builder had a medical emergency, was hospitalized and didn't build my hive till months too late. I had about three evenings (after work) to gather the materials for this one and build it. I followed the plans from Phil Chandler's site with my only modification being a plexiglass window with the hinged door. I was pretty proud of myself when it was done. However, if you decide to go with a top bar hive there are several people online that build them if you don't want to go to the trouble.

  5. I'll have to arrange to drop by for some honey one of these days.
    It is easy to imagine the hawks becoming an obsession. I would have a hard time not observing them 24/7
    Glad to hear you are having fun and keeping the wild neighbors in line.
    Squirrels love bird feeders, empty or not, I guess.

  6. Johno, you will definitely need to stop by!

  7. Thank you for the website and the info. I am really in the research stage and hope maybe by next year to have a hive. Will check everything out!
    Love your fledgling ^^^ up there! Too sweet of a grumpipuss.

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