Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body,
but rather to skid in broadside, totally worn out & proclaiming “Wow, What a Ride!”

Saturday, March 29, 2014

wild saturday ~ still waiting, also you might like

week five ~ still waiting... not much to report other than Mom and Dad are patiently waiting. There have been several wind storms, one so bad I thought the nest and mom would fly right out of the tree. But these two did a wonderful job building their home; the nest or mom didn’t budge.  It rained heavily on Monday, so much that the photos are blury from the camera getting wet, but its lens is designed to clear up in those conditions. The only time I have ever saw a viewing problem was several years back one of the Hornby eaglets made a bulls eye “potty” shot to the lens and it was covered in eaglet poo, out of commission; luckily we had two cams on those rascals.
a very wet mom
sometimes I think she needs a "chill pill"

As it stands, right now, looks like D-18, the first egg, didn’t make it past the freeze. I would think that it should have pip’d or showed signs by now. But... until the experts say nay, I will have hope. D-19 should very soon. 
mom's ticked dad didn't come
 sooner to relieve her
someone had all their eggs in a row!
yep, dad

Every time we get a chance to look in on the eggs closely, every speck we inspect with held breath. So far nothing. Our biggest hope is going to be D-20 who should be starting to get active Monday or sometime in the middle of next week- keep fingers crossed. These two have done a spectacular job I would hate to have them without a viable eaglet.  

Decorah Eagle Nest Cam Live ~link to live cam

links to past postings: 
week one:  we have eggs
week three: windy days and mousie lunch
week four: waiting patiently, heroic hippo, & polar cubs

If you really enjoy this wildlife webcam, I have a couple of other sites you should check out.

this one is my favorite:    

They have webcam from Kittens, Puppies, Wildlife, Bees, to scenery from beach shorelines and lakes. If one of the cameras is offline they will show highlights of any special moments. And.. one of my favorite features is you can take a snapshot of a particular screen to share it with your Facebook, Twitter, Google +, it’s kind of neat.  you should check it out.


The second one I enjoy is

This one is all about wildlife cams. You can even follow along on an African Safari with a guided tour. This is really fun. You can watch wildlife cameras from all around the world.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

thursday’s garden ~ new residents and other things

I was in my kitchen the other day, where I can see and hear the birds at the feeders and trays, all of a sudden there was a rush of chattering and then absolute quiet. It was strange. Looked out the window and spotted a beautiful hawk clutched to the top of one of the feeder poles... ahhh, okay, I see now what happened. I snapped a quick shot before he took off and then had to research exactly “who” this was disrupting my morning garden. It was small, thinking maybe a juvenile,  but had that distinctive “hawky” look about him. As it turns out this guy is a Sharp Shinned Hawk, one of the smallest hawks around; winters in California; sadly it feeds on smaller birds...and not rodents such as voles, which would have pleased me tremendously. Nevertheless, he was beautiful and welcome in the garden.

The other visitors (or new residents) are a pair of California Thrashers. I had heard of the Thrasher; I see the name on some seed I purchase. I always wondered why they were called Thrashers...ha! Take a look at what these two are doing to the edge of my lawn while looking for bugs and worms. They have very long beaks which they "thrash" around in the ground. They move so fast it really is hard to get a good photo of them, and the other really funny thing about them is that they move around in my garden by running, very fast, along the mow-strips. 
Yesterday I found the perfect tiny iron statue to place in the corner where I have buried a couple of bird friends. 

Speaking of the garden birds, the National Wildlife Federation has certified my garden as a “Bird Friendly Habitat,” it already was a Wildlife Habitat.

lastly... the lizards were out Saturday for a moment in the sunshine. They weren't in their usual spot in the cactus/desert garden, but in the area where I suspect they always have their nests. They are cute, one is blackish and the other grey- both are western fence lizards (aka: blue bellied lizards).

which do you see?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

meal ideas ~ spring lamb

Thinking of spring and meals always brings Lamb to mind. I love the taste of lamb. Many do not and many people haven’t tried spring lamb which is different than regular lamb; spring lamb is sweeter and more tender. Spring lamb is defined as any a lamb born in the late winter or early spring and sold for consumption before July 1. Here are three new recipes I have been saving to cook this spring; actually one will get chosen for this upcoming weekend. hum wonder which one?

Garlic-Fennel Lamb Chops
Mediterranean-spiced lamb chops offer a nice break from traditional red meats. Pair this dish with oven-roasted potatoes, or keep with the Mediterranean theme by whipping up some couscous. Makes 2 servings

 1 clove garlic, minced
 3/4 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
 1/4 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
 4 lamb rib chops, cut about 1 inch thick and trimmed of all fat

 For the rub, in a small bowl, combine garlic, fennel seeds, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle rub evenly over all sides of lamb chops; rub in with your fingers. Place lamb chops on a plate; cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

 Place lamb chops on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill until desired doneness, turning once. Allow 12 to 14 minutes for medium-rare doneness (145 degrees F) or 15 to 17 minutes for medium doneness (160 degrees F). 

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:PER SERVING: 129 cal., 7 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 48 mg chol., 338 mg sodium, 1 g carb. (1 g fiber), 15 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: Lean Meat (d.e): 2.5

Lamb Chops with Grape-Balsamic Sauce
Sweet grapes pair with tangy balsamic vinegar in this rich sauce. Once you trim the lamb ribs (or pork loin, if you prefer), you can enjoy this dish for just 230 calories per serving. makes 2 servings
 4 small lamb rib chops
 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
     or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, finely crushed
 1/8 teaspoon salt
 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
 2 teaspoons olive oil
 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
 1 tablespoon water
 1 tablespoon snipped fresh mint (optional)

 Trim fat from chops. In a small bowl, combine rosemary, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle evenly over chops; rub in with your fingers. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add lamb chops. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until lamb is desired doneness (145 degrees F for medium-rare or 160 degrees F for medium) or pork is slightly pink in the center (160 degrees F), turning once halfway through cooking. Remove chops from skillet. Keep warm.

 In the same skillet, combine grapes, vinegar, and the water. Cook and stir just until boiling; reduce heat. Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes more or until grapes are softened but still hold their shape. Serve grape mixture over chops. If desired, sprinkle with mint. 
Nutrition Facts Per Serving:PER SERVING: 230 cal., 10 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 75 mg chol., 205 mg sodium, 10 g carb. (9 g sugars), 24 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: Lean Meat (d.e): 3.5; Fat (d.e): 1; Fruit (d.e): 0.5

Lemony Lamb Pitas
 1 large onion, sliced
 1 to 2 - pound boneless lamb leg roast
 1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
 1/2 cup chicken broth
 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 1 teaspoon snipped fresh rosemary
     or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 4 large whole wheat pita, halved crosswise
 8 lettuce leaves
 1 recipe Yogurt Sauce
 1 small tomato, seeded and chopped

 Place onion in a 3 1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Trim fat from roast. In a small bowl combine lemon-pepper seasoning and dry mustard. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the roast; rub in lightly with your fingers. Place roast in cooker. In a small bowl combine broth, lemon peel, lemon juice, rosemary, and garlic. Pour over all in cooker.

 Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours.
 Remove meat from cooker. Using two forks, shred meat; discard fat. Place meat in a medium bowl. Using a slotted spoon, remove onion from cooker and stir into meat mixture. Discard cooking liquid in cooker.

 To serve, open pita bread halves to form pockets. Place a lettuce leaf in each pita half. Spoon meat into pita halves. Top meat with Yogurt Sauce and chopped tomato.

Yogurt Sauce
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1/4 cup chopped and seeded cucumber
1/2 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
 In a small bowl stir together yogurt, cucumber, and lemon-pepper seasoning. Makes about 1/2 cup.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: 293 cal., 7 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 76 mg chol., 515 mg sodium, 28 g carb. (4 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 29 g pro. Diabetic Exchanges: Lean Meat (d.e): 3.5; Starch (d.e): 1.5; Vegetables (d.e): 1

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

healthy living~ ..... for memory recall

This is a re-posting from Feb 2012, however, I myself revisited the subject to refresh myself on memory, health, eating, and supplements- after re-reading this I decided it would be good to refresh you as well as new readers. 

Like a Dick Tracy decoder ring, sometimes the answer to life’s most perplexing memory problems are found inside a cereal box.  What we sometimes assume is the onset of “senility” may be caused by marginal nutritional deficiencies. I recently made a joke about my forgetfulness to one of the doctors I work with and he laughed and said I wasn’t old enough and I most likely didn’t eat my bowl of “Total” cereal that day. And…he was right- although my cereal is Bran Buds, it still has the amounts of all the vitamins and minerals that my mind needs.

Many researchers are discovering that when people are low in certain nutrients, their mental performance dips. Even not getting enough water can cause the mind to get fuzzy. Not all memory problems are caused by diet. But when nothing else is amiss, it may be what you’re eating—or not eating—that is slowing you down.

If you've got great long term memory recall, but have trouble remembering something you've just seen or heard, you'll benefit from remedies shown to sharpen your short term memory. Whether it's a phone number, associate name or business you've passed in the car, storing the information for permanent recall will be easier when your sensory and short term memory are functioning at their peak. By altering your diet, you can fuel your immediate recall. Consider these ways to eat foods to improve short term memory.

Improve memory and concentration by eating more foods that contain Vitamin B. The B vitamins are perhaps the most essential nutrients for helping keep your mind sharp. Your body uses B vitamins to turn food into mental energy and to manufacture, repair and increase your brain cells. Add leafy green vegetables, lean meat (like turkey), eggs, bananas and legumes to each meal to increase your intake of B vitamins.

Eat foods to improve short term memory that are rich in antioxidants to reduce inflammation, protect your brain against damaging free radicals and help your brain function more efficiently. Fresh fruits and vegetables including broccoli, blueberries, strawberries, avocados, spinach, oranges and cranberries are all good sources of antioxidants that can combat memory loss.
Include more foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, which can also reduce inflammation that can lead to short term memory loss and even dementia as you age. Try servings of salmon, halibut walnuts, flaxseeds, tofu and soybeans three times a week. Although you can also add Omega-3s through vitamin supplements, getting the acids through fresh foods allow them to be absorbed more efficiently.

Consider drinking an eight-ounce glass of grape juice or red wine daily to consume Resveratrol, an antioxidant known to prevent plaque build up on your brain which can lead to long and short term memory loss. If you'd rather eat foods to improve short term memory and avoid the wine and juice, add more Resveratrol to your diet through items like peanuts, cranberries or blueberries. And yes, you can purchase this in pill form. I am not a wine drinker, but the benefits of Resveratrol  are so wonderful in many ways this is one nutrient that I supplement.  

According to Suzy Cohen, RPh (Diabetes without Drugs) here are the most trusted brands on the market-
Xymogen’s Reversatrin
Resveratrol 100 by Jarrow
Transmax Trans-Reverstrol by Biotivia
Polyresveratrol by Thorne Research
Longevinex 100mg

Monday, March 24, 2014

thank you my little friend

Tiera Sharmai
1994 ~ 2014

Of all the feline friends we have had the joy to have walked our path with us, bah-bah T, will leave the heaviest paw prints. She involved herself in our lives from the day we brought the sweet little kitten home to a family of two Chows, and a gentle mountain cat. Tiera established her role immediately; it was her personal goal to oversee everything from cleaning the house, to when we ate, to how long we slept, always reminding us just “who” the queen was. A nine pound Abyssinian that would bully around a one-hundred twenty-five pound Bernese Mountain dog, even kicking him off of his cookie mat if the sun happened to be shinning there when she wanted a nap. She loved to sleep in the sun, she lived to sleep in the sun, her African roots were obvious. She loved her heated bed in the winter time. And she gave me many a frustrating moment with her antics (those who know her know of her ability to regurgitate-at-will just to prove the point she was in control of your life if you happened to forget.) Nevertheless, she gave me many fun and happy memories over the twenty years I served her... she will be missed.

thank you for sharing your soul with mine, baby t

I never knew just how much she really loved Jesse
 until after his rainbow journey and I found her
 in a moment of remembrance with one of his toys. 

this is the first time in forty-one years that our home will be without either a fish, frog, cat, or dog- however, we have decided to still wait until the time to move to Colorado permanently (and that will be defined by my recuperation from the stupid heart attacks.)  although.... you know how life is...if it says you need this "special soul" will give it to you now~ 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

wild saturday ~ waiting patiently, heroic hippo, & polar cubs

                                        week four~  
This week in Decorah Land has been quiet, chilly, and very windy. Several times I had to shut off the sound on my computer the wind howled so loudly. If it is loud for me, I can’t even imagine how our two parents feel. Here are a few photos for you to enjoy if you aren’t watching live.... but.... hang on because next week we hopefully should start to see some action. I have my fingers crossed that the first two eggs will bring us some rather ugly, have to admit it, chicks, but they do get cute and fun fast. The third egg should pip around March 31st.

The photos I am sharing this week are mainly of the eggs, with the impending "pip" we will be looking closely at the eggs for that first little hole or crack indicating it has begun.

←mom always looks so intense

looks like someone had breakfast→

←I can always tell when dad  has been on the nest... his eggs are all in a neat little row-ha~

mom's layout→

←I love this shot: mom is re-positioning the eggs after a change of guard, her big talons are so gentle.
there will be close up views →
of the eggs as often as we can get to check for that hopeful "pip"

Someone asked about how I get my photos of the eagle nest. Well,the webcam is up on my computer screen for most of the day. When I am working at my desk on the computer, such as blogging, I have the eagles in the background and my camera right next to me so if a nice moment arises I can take a photo. If I am not working on my computer, the camera sits on its tripod in front of the screen and is either on automatic timed, or I am close by with a remote. That is pretty much it. The whole of wildlife photography, including a webcam, is waiting...waiting for that moment which comes rarely but very worth it, in my opinion.


Decorah Eagle Nest Cam Live ~link to live cam

links to past postings: 
week one:  we have eggs

Here are a couple of other wildlife stories I want to share, one is just awesome and the other adorable. Please visit the links, it is well worth your time, I promise.

Heroic Hippo Saves Gnu From Crocodile  ~March 11, 2014 2:46 PM  Yahoo News

Photographer Vadim Onishchenko captured this incredibly rare moment while on a photo safari on the Mara River in Kenya. After a crocodile had caught a gnu (a type of antelope) crossing the river, a group of hippos observing the scene quickly made their way over, with one hippo in particular scaring off the crocodile. This is the amazing moment a heroic hippo saved a gnu from certain death. The situation became even more amazing after that same hippo escorted the gnu back to shore!  After chasing the giant croc away, the unlikely hero is then seen guarding the creature and even nudges the gnu to the edge of the river in effort to move it out of harms way.  After trying desperately to get the gnu out of the water the hippo leaves; the exhausted antelope did later managed to escape to safety.

Link to this amazing video:   Hippo saves Gnu ~ photographer's video

It is not sad, trust me, this is another moment that proves the emotional lives of animals exist ~

Link to a slide show of still pictures of the event: Yahoo News=  hippo saves gnu slideshow-

Hellabrunn Zoo unveils polar bear cubs and they are adorable!

14 week-old twin polar bear cubs play next to their mother Giovanna during their first presentation to the media in Hellabrunn zoo on March 19, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The male and female twins were born on December 9, 2013 in the zoo. (Photo by Alexandra Beier/Getty Images)

Link to a slide show of these adorable cubs and their mama: 
Hellabrunn Zoo's unveiling of cubs

thanks Steve for finding these two stories for me... i love them and i love you!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

thursday's garden ~ it can get smelly sometimes...

Having a wildlife friendly garden has its not so fun aspects, as one of my coworkers apparently found out when she disturbed a bush while trimming her “back forty,” what she considered her wildlife garden. She called in a panic and asked me one of the most common questions I get concerning wildlife and sometimes involving gardens. “How do you get “skunk” smell out of....?”

Sometimes, there is someone close by that overhears the question and hollers out “TOMATO JUICE !!!”

...and I holler back “NOT TRUE !!! There is something better.”

real life Bambi and Flower
In one of my first wildlife veterinary courses the instructor brought in a “horrid” smelling shirt and told us to hold our noses, listen, watch, and learn. He mixed up the following ingredients, put the shirt in the bowl and amazingly the “horrid skunk” smell disappeared. I have thankfully never had to use this recipe, but have save many an olfactory sense from the intense devastation of the... skunk scent. 

Remember, spring is nesting time and if you do have a garden you allow wildlife to reside, best wait to do any maintenance until early summer, and even then be watchful for rattlesnakes.

Skunk remedy – Polecat Perfume
1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon dish-washing detergent

Mixing the three ingredients creates an effervescing action that oxidizes and allows skunk spray to be washed away. This process breaks down and neutralizes the oils that bind the skunk's scent to pets. This recipe is safe for pets, humans and the Environment, however you do want to keep the wash out of the eyes and mouth

Directions: Things you will need:
1) 1/2 Gallon or larger bucket to mix the Polecat Perfume in.
2) Access to plenty of rinse water.
3) The will and compassion to get beyond the skunk smell and to know that things will be better in a few minutes.

Wash Procedure
1) Prepare yourself, your pet, or item to be de-skunked by having a bucket for mixing the Polecat Perfume recipe as well as access to plenty of warm rinse water. Pre-washing produces the best results. An exceptionally dirty dog (muddy, oily or otherwise) will require more Polecat Perfume to overcome the excessive dirt. For best results wash yourself or pet with a Tea Tree soap before application of the Polecat Perfume recipe, but this is not essential, just have more Polecat Perfume available. Following this simple step allows the active ingredients to break down and neutralize the skunk spray. Once the Polecat Perfume is thoroughly rinsed away, carrying the skunk order with it, a good soapy wash and rinse will complete the task.

2) Mix the three components, the 3% hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and dish-washing detergent together in your bucket. Important: mixing must take place in an open container. Any attempt to contain the activation could cause the container to burst due to the effervescing action of the three ingredients.

3) Immediately apply and work the mixture into skin, the pet’s fur, and any other items that may have come into contact with the skunk spray, clothing, collars, leashes, etc. The reaction created by mixing the components together lasts about three minutes. Allow the mixture to set on the item being washed, working it constantly into the fur for 7-10 minutes. Once you are satisfied with the wash, you will need to rinse the pet well. As with any shampoo, we recommend flushing the eyes with plenty of water if the mixture comes into contact.

How it works
Skunk spray is composed of thiols, the same compounds that produce the unpleasant aroma of rotten eggs. Thiols are acidic and not water soluble, a combination that results in a substance that sticks to hair, fabric, skin, etc. and is difficult to wash off. The Polecat Perfume recipe reacts and oxidizes the thiols in skunk spray. Oxygen is added to the sulfur atoms of thiols in a chemical process converting the thiol molecules into sulfones and sulfoxides. These converted compounds become odorless and water soluble making the skunk spray easier to wash off.

NWF- living with skunks

By the way~ Melissa called to say the mix worked, and that the mama skunk and her kits were okay too! At least she thinks so from her safe distance of view of the nesting area- that will now remain undisturbed for a couple of months. As a rule skunks burrow underground for their nesting sites, but will on occasion use hollow logs and tangled bushes for their homes, especially if they feel safe in their territory- good job there Melissa, you obviously have a safe haven for your wildlife critters. For more information about living with skunks follow the link.