captpackrat: (Bunny morning)
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captpackrat: (Packrat)

"Egg salad again?"


"Now Billy, you know that ever since the giant chickens came, there's been nothing else to eat but eggs."

captpackrat: (Camera)

Doesn't seem to be bobbing along.

That's a wheel from a car, embedded in a tree.

The donkey likes to go walkies with me.

My Little Orgy
captpackrat: (Bird)
Total bird seed consumption this winter:

At least 50 pounds of sunflower seed
19 pounds of safflower seed
About 30 pounds of generic bird seed
About 20 pounds of thistle seed
12 suet cakes
At least 10 quarts worth of scratch grains.

Bunch of damn fat birds out there.
captpackrat: (Bird)
(clickie on photos for full size)



The cardinals around here are very flighty and will take off the instant I try to take a picture, especially the males.  The females are slightly more tolerant of my presence, but they'll fly away if the males do.  The other birds like the finches and juncos will scatter quickly if startled, but they also return pretty quickly as long as I remain still.  The cardinals are hesitant to do that if I'm anywhere nearby.  This makes them extremely difficult to photograph.

I had to hang around on the unheated kitchen porch with the window open for half an hour in sub-freezing temperatures and with a snow storm going on outside to get these photos.  The photo of the female was particularly difficult as the falling snow was interfering with the autofocus, so I had to focus the camera manually.
captpackrat: (Camera)
Assorted pics I either forgot to upload or uploaded to Twitpic but not here.

The antenna I put up for my SO.  I wish I'd done more research; while this antenna works well, it's really overkill.  Separate VHF and UHF antennas would have worked better.

Saw this car with a tiger tail at the Omaha Costco.

Taking the Plattsmouth Bridge across the Missouri River.  These photos were taken back in October when I drove to Iowa to inquire about a marriage license.

After visiting the Mills County Courthouse, I stopped at the nearby Mile Hill Lake at the foot of the Loess Hills.  I walked around the lake, across the dam and up into the hills.  I used to go on these kinds of hikes all the time, but it's been a while and I'm a bit out of shape.

Christmas 2009, I bought stockings for my SO and my roommate.  Not just any kind, but stockings that were appropriate to their "furry preferences".  But I had a very hard time finding anything appropriate for me.  I finally found this stocking with rabbits that was perfect.

Birds are made from bird seed!

Have you given your dog a wet nose today?

Engrish is my favorite language.

One of my relatives!  It's a cute little kids book about packrats.

A Folkmanis Pack Rat puppet.

I've not had much luck getting pictures of the birds.  Every time I try to step outside to get a shot, the more colorful birds fly away.
captpackrat: (Bird)
The birds have been absolutely ravenous lately.  I filled all the feeders late last night and by noon, the 4 quart sunflower feeder was down about 1/6th, as was the thistle seed feeder.  There was a half-dozen finches on the thistle feeder and at least 8 mobbing the sunflower, plus another dozen or two on the ground gleaning the spilled seed.

I saw a new species of woodpecker today, a Red-bellied Woodpecker.  It's a fairly large bird, compared to the Downy Woodpeckers who frequent the suet cake feeder, with a large splash of red on its crown and a back-and-white striped back.

The other day there were no less than eight cardinals around the feeders.  It was a riot of brilliant red amid the dreary white and gray of winter.

I had some bananas that sat around too long and turned to mush, so I tossed them outside under the feeders.  I wonder if any of the birds will eat them.

I've also been setting food out for the rabbits.  I saw one eating out of the container yesterday morning. 
captpackrat: (Bird)
I replaced the 2 cup sunflower seed feeder with an enormous 4 quart feeder.  It's been up for about a week now and it's still over 1/3 full.  It also seems to be servicing more birds at once than the previous feeder.

I also bought a thistle seed feeder and the finches absolutely mob the thing.  It has perches for 6 birds, but it's usually full and fights frequently break out over space.  Fortunately they don't go through the seeds quite as fast as I feared; it takes about 4-5 days before the seed drops below the level of the upper perches.  They appear to be mostly Lesser Goldfinches.

The suet feeder is a favorite among the woodpeckers.  Few other birds seem to be interested in it, but the woodpeckers absolutely love it.  It takes them a little over a week to finish off one cake.  I've seen two different species of woodpecker, one fairly small, probably the Downy Woodpecker, and the other quite large with a brilliant red crown, possibly a Red-Naped Sapsucker.

The barn feeder finally got down below the level of the windows.  The birds are eating out of it, it's just that it's so large and holds so much seed it seems to take forever.  I emptied the last of my generic bird seed into the feeder this evening, hopefully it will last until spring.

This morning there were four cardinals, three male and one female, and I've seen at least two blue jays. The brilliant color of these birds against the white of the snow is very striking.  Naturally, every time the most colorful specimens are around, I don't have my shoes on and the snow is too deep to go out in slippers, so I can't take any pictures.

I'm hoping if I feed and care for these birds now that they will hang around come spring and eat up all the bugs.
captpackrat: (Bird)
A couple years ago I bought a cheap plastic bird feeder and hung it from a (relatively) low-hanging branch outside the kitchen window.  It stayed there and feed countless birds through the winter, until a powerful storm broke the branch off, smashing the feeder to bits on the ground.

Not wanting to throw money away on cheap plastic junk again, I replaced it with a wooden feeder I got at a discount because the chain was broken.  I repaired the chain and hung the feeder from a sturdier branch using a bent-up coat hanger.  It lasted just a couple weeks before one of the strongest wind storms we've ever experienced snapped the chain.  The feeder fell to the ground undamaged, but the chain and the coat hanger were never seen again.

I bought another bird feeder, a sturdier plastic material with a strong steel hanger.  It's in the shape of a barn, bright red with white and green trim.  I filled it with a generic "wild bird feed" which appears to be various kinds of millet, sunflower and safflower seeds and corn.  The birds have pretty much ignored it until very recently.

I then bought a small wire feeder which I filled with sunflower seeds.  The birds have gone crazy over this feeder, totally emptying it in less than two days.  I need to buy a bigger bag of seed next time.

After reading that some kinds of birds prefer pole-mounted feeders, I jerry-rigged a mounting for the wooden feeder and attached it to a metal pole.  It's a 3-station feeder and I fill it with the wild bird seed mix, the scratch grains (corn, oats and milo) that I usually feed the sheep and safflower seeds.  The birds had ignored this feeder until recently, now they're hitting it fairly regularly.  They don't seem to care much for the safflower, but they like the scratch grains.

The most recent feeder that I've put up was a cheap wood and wire suet cake feeder.  I load it with pre-fab cakes made with corn, oats, peanuts, almonds and pecans bound together with beef fat.  The woodpeckers love the stuff.

I've thought about buying a thistle seed (nyger seed) feeder; that kind of seed is a favorite for the brightly colored finches, but it's also obscenely expensive.  I've also thought about setting up hummingbird feeders when it warms up, but I've never seen a hummer around here, so it's probably pointless.

So far I've seen at least two different species of woodpecker, numerous sparrows, finches, nuthatches, chickadees and a titmouse.  All the feeders are outside the kitchen window.  The seed is fairly cheap in the long run and I think it's worth the small investment to have something pretty to look at while doing the dishes.  The woodpeckers in particular are amusing to watch, as they're almost as big as the suet feeder they love so much.
captpackrat: (Thumper Clover)
With spring comes the return of what I call the Car Alarm Birds.  They have a call that sounds almost exactly like a car alarm:  whooooop whooooop whooooop whooooop   peeew peeew peeew peeew.

March 11th I complained about it snowing.  Two days ago (April 1) it hit (at least) 88°F here.  The grass is mostly green and will probably need to be mowed by next weekend.  I've even seen a few speedwell flowers popping up amid the grass. 

The frogs along the creek are making an incredible racket at night.

I haven't seen any bunnies lately (though something keeps nibbling at the vegetable scraps I put out, and it's not the goats), but my SO says he saw a squirrel running off with a mouse in its mouth.  Weird.
captpackrat: (Hiding in the plants)

Gaggle of geese on the driving range at Bay Hills.

There were several people using the driving range while I was there.  Miraculously none of the geese got hit directly, although a few had balls bounce or roll into them, eliciting a storm of complaints from the goosed goose.


Jul. 19th, 2009 12:25 am
captpackrat: (Camera)
As always, clicky for full size.

Creative sign outside the Louisville Art Gallery.

I don't think this coal chute is going to do much good.  The date stamped on it reads 1927.  The sidewalk is obviously much higher now than it was in the past.

Any ideas what this might have once been for?  It's clearly been there a long time.  It appears that you are supposed to fit a crank to it and it would turn the ratcheting mechanism above.  Beyond that, I have no idea.   It was manufactured by Wolf Bros & Co of Omaha.

EDIT:  After a bit of Googling, I found an entry in the 1890 U.P.R.R. Gazetteer for Wolf Bros, indicating they manufactured "awnings, tents, drop curtains, wagon and seat covers, tarpaulins, umbrella, etc", so this was probably for raising and lowering an awning.

Birds on a wire

I left the garage door open for a while.  When I closed it this afternoon, I found this frog hanging on the side of the wall underneath where the door had been.  I guess it was nice and cool under there.

Sheep & Goats!  The goats have gotten big enough they can't easily fit through the fence anymore, but more importantly, they've learned that the barn is their home and a place of safety.  They're extremely curious and have to explore everywhere, but they also startle easily and the slightest thing will set them running for the barn door.

Crop duster, heading this way.

Look out!  Incoming!

There are several of these around here.  The individual flowers are quite small, but they make a cluster about 6-9 inches across.


May. 20th, 2009 06:49 pm
captpackrat: (Gadget Thinking)
I went out walking with our Great Dane, same as just about every other day.  At one point, she was sniffing through some tall grass as if she'd found something.  As we walked back to the house, something about her seeming a little off.  She wasn't interested in playing or exploring like she usually does.

When we got back to the house, I picked up a dog biscuit to give to her because she'd been a good dog and did her business outside.  At first she refused the biscuit, then she very carefully deposited something on the floor.  She'd been carrying an egg in her mouth!  No wonder she was being so careful.

It's a fairly large egg, slightly smaller than a golf ball, and a light tan color.  I'm guessing it's a pheasant, because we have lots of them around here, they nest on the ground, and they're smaller than a chicken but still larger than most of the local birds.

I tried to find the nest to put the egg back, but didn't have any luck.  It was in an area with lots of very thick grass and I was afraid I'd just end up disturbing the nest further or even accidentally stepping on it.  I also tried calling the vet (closed), the Nebraska Humane Society (they don't deal with wild birds) and a local wildlife rehab center (no answer) to get some advice.

I wonder why the dog was so gentle with the egg.  If she thought of it as food, why didn't she just eat it right on the spot?  She has exhibited strong mothering tendencies in the past, but an egg is totally different from a puppy.

captpackrat: (Camera)

The farmers have started planting their crops. It should be corn, this year. Corn is nice, because it grows so tall, you can't see the house from the road, which means you can go outside naked if you want.

Today's tornado watch was an absolute dud.  We barely even got any rain.  All the thunderstorms were waaaaaaaay off in the distance.

The red, red robins keep bob, bob, bobbin' along.

captpackrat: (Camera)
As always, click for full size.

A mourning dove in the maple tree outside the kitchen window.  Their drab coloration makes them rather hard to spot in the trees, but their distinctive, mournful cooing gives them away.

The Stinger 40 Watt bug zapper that I installed last year quit working when I plugged it in this spring, so I replaced it with a much more powerful Flowtron 80 Watt zapper.  The Stinger was a poor design; it used a metal grid to zap the bugs, which clogged up after just a single day.  If I didn't clean it out every morning, it would become totally useless within a few days.  The Flowtron uses a more open metal rod system that doesn't appear to clog.  On the down side, the bulb is extremely bright and it's more into the visible spectrum than the Stinger's blacklight bulb.   (I seem to be having bad luck with bug zappers; my Nosquito indoor mosquito trap also quit working.  At least in that case, it was just a dead bulb.)

captpackrat: (Aaaaaaa!)

YouTube Video

The moment I opened the front door, I was hit by the almost deafening noise from these birds.  I pulled out my camera and took some photos and video.  Then I stepped outside and started to walk to the garage.

The birds all fell silent simultaneously.


captpackrat: (Cold Weather)
Monday morning it got so cold (-11°F, -24°C) that a hawk froze to death.  I'd seen the body out there but wasn't sure what it was.  Today I finally got around to checking it out.  Judging by where I found it, it had been perched on the peak of the barn when it froze and fell to the ground.  It's a solid lump now and quite well embedded into the ice.  I'm surprised the dogs haven't tried gnawing on it yet.


Mar. 25th, 2008 09:52 pm
captpackrat: (Camera)
Seagulls?  In Omaha?

Bambi figurines

Glass rabbit candy dish

We are Cantaloupe of Borg.  Resistance is futile.  You will buy a melon baller.

Nekkid bunny!  On a pillow!  (NSFW)
captpackrat: (Homer AAAAAAH!)
There are birds outside.

Thousands of them.

The trees are swaying with their weight.

All of them are chirping at the same time.

The noise is deafening.

And every so often, they all fall deathly silent.

Just before they all take flight at once and the sky turns dark.



captpackrat: (Default)
Captain Packrat

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