Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I have added some videos of some of my favorite animals from spring. These videos are not intended to be funny or exciting, they are quiet segments of real life.

Purple martins building nests and interacting as a strong community. At the start of the video you can hear the horn of a barge at the lock on the Ohio river miles away!

The bullfrog video was shot in the dark, so although the frogs are there, you won't see them. At about the 55 second point the chorus starts to get very intense, and then a rest, and another verse or two. They seem to build on a song and repeat the same patterns over and over. Turn up the volume. A biologist was once at our farm and could recognise the voices of six types of frogs. I would like to know all the voices too.

Never confuse frogs and toads again- this video records the high pitch song of a two day breeding frenzy of American Toads.

The chicks from this video are now Robin sized birds with feathers, but they still stick close to mother and all 10 are still alive. The weekend the toads are breeding their call is inescapable!

Speck shows his moves!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I have to do some extreme sewing this week and then it'll be dress rehearsal dance recital hell...ehh... practice week. Every afternoon- all afternoon with all three kids on "behavior pointe" in the windowless cinder block cell block cafeteria of the Rising Sun "school is on lockdown can't go in and out for walks in the sunshine"... the only thing sunny about that place is the name. My son is in two skits and there were no male costume offerings to suit the themes- so I'm on the spot. That's ok- I can handle it as long as I can keep everyone's hands off the brilliant white sailor shirt pieces at least until it's made.

Poor dance teacher- there has been a costuming disaster this year- the company who had her costume order appears to have taken the money and run. They are not returning her calls and she hears that hundreds of other dance schools are in the same boat- so at the last minute she had to contact another company and order ready made ready to go costumes... and wouldn't you know it- of the costume options- the only costumes (for all the skits) which they had left in stock were the blue. Usually a lot of interest is built into the mediocre dancing (did I just say that?)with an exciting variety of costumes... but the kids will almost all be dressed in some shade of blue, and dancing in front of a beautifully painted backdrop from last year of... a blue (sunless)sky. The stage at the middle school does not have any sort of lighting and it's lit with the most morose green cast fluorescent school lights. There are two lighting options- bright and dim. There is a chance that some lights may be imported- I pray. When the replacement costumes arrive- they will have to be fitted at the very last minute. I think I might offer to help with that- but I will need my mom's backup to keep the kids.

Well, here it is, the sailor shirt finished. (from scratch, no pattern!)

The dance is a really nice tap routine, a salute to our armed services. I had to make the eagle on the patch up using just regular old zig zag on my machine- I don't have any sort of fancy embroidery program. I think it came out good enough for a stage... with dim fluorescent lights. Next up- The African Safari Jazz Cheetah!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Our pond is a nice size- and it grows a nice size bullfrog- that's for sure. When I was a kid we used to catch frogs and tadpoles tag team style in this swampy little shallow wetland creeks in New Jersey- back with the rotting oak leaves and skunk cabbage. Well- catching frogs here on the farm is not so easy when one hop delivers them to a sure escape in the deep bottom of the pond.
Country folks talk big about frog gigging- in fact our neighbor has apparently been listening to his dinner sing to him from our pond and today asked John if he could have some of our frogs, he said they sound real big... hah- don't we know it! Would you believe they even sell frog legs at Walmart? Do they sell frog legs at everyone's Walmart? I have yet to taste- or see anyone else eat a frog leg though, and I'll be fine if I never do.
Which brings me to our funny story today. The three kids and I were out on the pond in our canoe ...really- the pond is not THAT big.... but it's fun to paddle all around it and see the frogs in their hiding places and visit the red wing blackbirds in the cattails building their nests. I let the canoe drift right up to the shore and we cornered a really big frog- I was just thinking that we just might be able to reach out and catch him when - BONK- he jumped right into the canoe with us. He hopped around a few times from end to end and of course we all had some tippy canoe frog freaky giggling catch 'em if you can hilarity- and eventually I got my hand on him and we took him in and took his picture just so people would have to believe us when we tell them that we have some really big frogs here.