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July 30, 2012

Turkeys, Crows, etc...

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Yeah, ya don't see that in your backyard everyday... Nine of the nasty looking buggers with another three beyond the camera's reach... I often wonder that if people got to know turkeys up close, how many would devour the bird at Christmas and such. If you could see what they leave on the lawn and how closely related they are to the velociraptor, you might choose a more savory meal like pizza, pork, or haggis. Look... I'm not trying to start a fight with the Turkey Farmers of Canada (or any such affiliated group...) I'm just saying that turkeys are filthy disgusting beasts and that Randy Newman should compose an ornithological version of "Short People" for turkeys... that's all... Jeez Louise...

Let's see... What else? The crows have continued their pushy ways demanding food unrelentingly. Here's a youngster screeching for a peanut from his mother...

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I guess the big picture is that if it gets hot enough, long enough, even the birds begin to look like drunken relatives who have long overstayed their welcome... Ahh, we'll keep feeding them, and I'm going to take a shower...

By the feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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July 29, 2012

Time for Thought...

IMG_4322.JPG

Just went back through my post drafts and found this... Beautiful...

Look... Truth be told, Mrs. CCA and I got some bad news a few days ago, and I'm kind of numb... We're talking the phone call you never want to get...Why is it that the most noble bear the hardest challenges? Still, the battle rages on and my money is on the champ...

Amidst all this, this is a time to think about what gets us by day to day... We all struggle -- we all have our trials. As the book title goes, "No one gets out alive". And for us, it was those stupid birds that brought laughter -- crows with left-over chicken. Who knows, but we laughed... The human condition -- someone should be selling tickets.

By the somber feeders

CapeCodAlan and family...


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July 24, 2012

Ok... Enough with the Heat

98 resized_IMG_4499.JPG

Yeah, 98 stinking degrees at 3PM... Enough already. Last week when we replaced the windows, the temp was the stinking same -- 90 - 100. Since we lost our massive shade maple tree, the summer has been brutal. Add to that no AC (our electrical system is already red line), and we've been sucking sirocco ever since -- ergo you've got the recipe for one cranky blogger. (Before you give me hooey about your temps, remember I'm on Cape Cod, and our heat isn't just humid -- its saturated with hot, moist salt air -- the kind of stuff that would make your shadow sweat and Patti Page move.)

I was talking with my old buddy Don from Michigan today, and he said that it was so hot that he couldn't scratch his backside without busting perspiration -- good description. You know... I've studied this global warming stuff from here 'til eternity... I've looked at all sides. All I can come up with is that yes, the climate is changing, but it's always changing. I don't know the percentage causality anymore than I know what the odds are for rain here on the Old Homestead a month from next Tuesday...

Too hot to debate...

By the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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July 21, 2012

eBook Review: "The Beauty of Birds" by Jeremy Mynott

Hi,

First thing... Thoughts and prayers go out to all those folks affected by that maniac in Colorado... Sickening...

Onward...

If you've been reading this blog for any time, you might remember that I've composed a number of Princeton University Press book reviews, and by and large, my only real complaint was that their publications were paper-based only -- no more. Enter this post's electronic title -- "The Beauty of Birds". (However, remember this is a 'Princeton Short' -- a collection of essentials from the original full text: "Birdscapes: Birds in Our Imagination and Experience"...)

Obviously, some of the the old review process has to change (book logistics such as paper, binding, the immediate and long-term ease of use, organization, photography, overall impression, etc...) Not only will the book itself be considered, but also the electronic delivery system. Consider the interface...

capecodalan bookshelf.jpg

And...

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Here we go...

First... As for the tome itself -- it's wonderful. Reading this thing is like sitting down at the bar of the local pub and buying a beer for the pleasant stranger sitting beside you who just happens to be a bird/history wonk. The text flows effortlessly, even irreverently for 30 plus pages... You've got everything from black and white prints to color prints to poetry to Monty Python to the naked human form. Just look at the table of contents:

  • Beauty and the Beholder
  • Volga Delta, 25 May 2007
  • Signs of Life
  • Image and Imagination
  • Colour and Form
  • Art and Nature
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements and Permissions
  • About the Author
  • Related Titles
For $3.00, this is the best beer you'll ever buy.

About the new "e interface" -- very good. It's very simple (though it can be a tad snarky on the copyright issue), and offers the simple things that folks such as myself long for: the ability to search, make notes, and bookmark. Like I said, that's a super cheap $3.00 beer. Here's a list of the side tabs:

  • Contents
  • Search
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
  • My Settings
Absolutely... Princeton University Press is on to something with their 'Shorts' and at a ridiculously low price. Hopefully, they'll simply stick with their existing interface, and then simply plug in new content...

The "The Beauty of Birds" is available directly from Princeton, or from outlets such as Amazon.

Go forth and buy...

CapeCodAlan


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July 18, 2012

New Windows, Rain, Heat, Food and Seed Prices, etc...

Hey!

First up... I apologize for the lag since the last post -- new windows, renovations, and heat take their toll. That being said, the new windows are in and the interior treatments have begun...

420 picture window with shade_IMG_4494.JPG

Here's a screen shot from the eBirdseed.com streaming cam as seen from the new kitchen window...

New window streaming cam screen shot_420_2012 first hummingbird.jpg

Excuse me while I notice that it's raining!!! Yay!!!

Onward...

This country is facing a serious drought emergency, and you should be aware... Expect veggies etc. to spike in cost towards the forth quarter of 2012... Canned goods are good things... Also vacuum packed and frozen meats go a long way... And don't forget your feathered friends -- buying in bulk now and vacuum packing seed will save money later... word to the wise. (We just started discussing buying an old freezer for storage, and purchasing bulk seed by the hundreds of pounds... Hmmm...)

By the busy feeders,

CapeCodAlan


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July 11, 2012

Out with the Old and In with the New

Despite the heat of the past few days, we've been working with our friend/contractor, Bill, to get our new windows installed. This entails ripping out the old windows (original to our nearly 40-year-old house) and replacing them with high-end double glazed energy-efficient swing-and-clean new ones. And the new ones are beautiful!

420 out with the old and in with the new_IMG_4442.jpg

As you can see above, the new window on the left (still with stickers and protective plastic) provides a beautiful contrast to the old window on the right. The new one is guaranteed for life! On the other hand, the old one is quite frankly rotting... Bye bye!

The install process itself is grueling but not particularly difficult--if you're an engineer, mechanic, woodworker, or such. Being unskilled labor, I've been standing around and doing what I'm told; everything from plugging in extension cords to pounding out the old windowsills. The actually work is being done by Bill and CapeCodAlan, and I'm ever so glad to stay in the background on this; my fingernails are in shreds already, and we're just over halfway done. And the hard part is yet to come...

Replacing the big front picture window is going to be the task of the day tomorrow. And it's going to be a doozy!

Chewing my nails by the feeder,
Mrs.CapeCodAlan


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July 8, 2012

Streaming Cam Will be Down for a Few Days... Renovating!!!

Hi,

Just a heads up... Our Live eBirdseed.com streaming cam will be down for a few days... Seems that we have to replace this puppy,

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and this one...

rotten_IMG_4413.JPG

And eight more...

Expect two or three days down-time max...

By the sawdust, the Ben Gay, and the feeders...

CapeCodAlan


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July 6, 2012

Summer Garden

Well, Independence Day has come and gone, but summer is still here, and with it, high temperatures, thirsty birds, and dry gardens!

Regarding the thirsty birds, we've been making sure that all four of our birdbaths are filled at all times. The crows, in particular, make this a sometimes unpleasant job, due to their preference for dropping their food into the water, and not fishing it all out. Cleaning the birdbaths thus becomes a chore, especially when the gummy bread residue clogs up the little pump we have to keep the water moving. That's just nasty.

birdbath_400.JPG

On the other hand, I guess mid-summer is breeding time for green herons. We got a magnificent shot of one of our local males, and lo and behold, his legs were almost scarlet, rather than their usual yellow. This apparently signifies readiness to mate. And what girl wouldn't be impressed by those gams!

green heron3_400.JPG

Given the hot temps, it's been vital to keep the garden watered, unless we want to see wilting lavender, hydrangeas, day lilies, and hosta. But we've been assiduous in keeping enough water going, so we're still enjoying the beautiful blossoms and scents of the season.

daylilies_400.JPG

lavender etc_400.JPG

And the birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other denizens of the neighborhood are enjoying it as well.

By the feeders,

The CapeCodAlans,


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July 2, 2012

Clouds

Hey...

Thought I'd take a break and mumble on incoherently about clouds and the sky for a while... (I'm a firm believer in mastering a wide spectrum of virtually incoherent mumblings... {Yeah, 'mumblings' is a real word native to England... Its French equivalent is 'bafouillage'... The things you learn on a stupid bird blog...}) Anywho, here's a rainbow sort of... Note the carefully crafted red outline... Ummm...

420_rainbow_IMG_4344.JPG

storm warning 420_IMG_4340.JPG

The shot above is an interesting one -- I've noticed a lot of bird activity when these types of clouds gather... Those circumferences (to borrow from Emily Dickinson) are dangerous to be sure... But my gut says that there's more to it -- more to the reason as to why the grackles and red wings scatter... Do they feel change in air pressure? Do they know that soon the air currents aren't going to be flyable? Do they just want to call it an early day and go watch Cavuto? Who knows...

Anyway... That's my take on clouds...

By those feeders...

CapeCodAlan

P.S. Within the very near future, expect a review of some exceptionally cool ebook stuff.... You don't want to miss this!!!


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