Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Cruelty of Nature

Today's blog is a story about nature, but it is sad.  I want everyone and everything to live together in harmony.  That is not reality in humans nor in nature.  A few weeks ago when the I was watching the bluebirds first visit to our property this spring, I noticed a pair of rabbits right under our kitchen window.  That was two weeks ago.  The rabbits were just hanging out a lot.  I didn't pay much attention.  We have a lot of rabbits at different times of the year.  We have more in the winter because of all the birdseed spilled on the ground. After a few days, I saw the rabbit digging under one of the sprawling bushes.  She would gather leaves and dead grass.  I saw her nosing her way inside a small hole she had dug.

It is hard to see her here.  A perfect camouflage before everything gets green.

Here she is with a mouth full of grass to line her nest.

A few days later I checked the area.  I saw the hole was covered up and I hadn't seen a rabbit for a few days.  I thought she had second thoughts about this area and left to build a nest elsewhere.  Then last weekend my husband was doing dishes.  He told me to come see the big crow or raven outside the window.  It was right in the area the rabbit had been.  I grabbed the camera and when I took the picture, the bird flew away.

I went about my business and suddenly I heard a crying sound.  My husband was outside at this point and said he saw the raven with something in his mouth.  I am sure this bird knew there were baby bunnies under that bush.  I had seen some rabbit fur on the lawn a day or two before and didn't think about it.  I bet this wasn't the first baby rabbit killed by this bird.

I told you nature is cruel and this was a sad reminder.  Mama rabbit came back today and just stared at the area.   So sad for her.

April 2015 Update

I heard on TV that people who participate constantly on social media are just saying "see me, see me".  In some cases I think that's true.   Facebook has recently started a program called "On this Day".  It is fun to see what happened on a specific day in past years.  I wonder if some people are sorry for some of their posts, like how in love they were with someone or how depressed they were.  Loves change, moods change and people change.  I imagine it's sad or embarrassing for some to read those things from their past, so I am very careful not to spill my guts over social media.  Sometimes I may not follow my own advice.  Most of the time, I try to post what is happening in this time and place of our life with nature or my family.  So here is what is happening at the end of April 2015.

Last week we often saw this turkey at the edge of the woods.  In fact, we saw her eating out of the compost heap.  I saw egg shells on the ground.  She must need some grit for her gizzard.  She also eats birdseed from under the feeders.  I hope we aren't sorry for making her so comfortable.  She and her brood may become a nuisance, but right now she is fun to watch. 

Mama turkey in the yard.

The turtle are sunning themselves everyday.  It can be cool and windy, but as long as the sun is shining they stack themselves up like dinner plates drying on a towel.

A couple nights ago we had the scary Carp boat come in with it's bright lights.  It was raining and when I went to take their picture, they turned around and left.

All kinds of birds are nesting.  The Tree Swallows have returned and are building a nest in the same gray box they choose every year. 

The mourning doves are busy but I won't post the X-rated version.  They look very innocent here, but I will tell you they are just exhausted.

Almost two weeks ago I wrote about the bluebirds returning this year.  I am so happy they have stayed, built a nest and now have four eggs in the nest.  I haven't seen any House Wrens yet but they will be here soon.  Hopefully the wren guard we put on the birdhouse will protect the bluebird eggs from these terrible birds.

I did learn about a new bird this spring.  I was looking out the window and noticed a bird eating at the edge of the marsh.  I went outside to get as close as I could since he blended in with the dry vegetation.  I was able to get a photo good enough to get an identification.  This bird is called a Sora.  I feel very lucky to see it because it is often heard more often than seen.

I have also seen the Eastern Towhee return.  I always called this bird a Rufous sided towhee, but learned that is the old name.  It is now called the Eastern Towhee.  With a quick glance this bird will look like a robin, but if you take time to look it looks and acts differently.

Male Eastern Towhee

Female Eastern Towhee
Otherwise it is just the usual spring in Princeton Wisconsin.  We have carp spawning (the reason for the carp fishing boat), the finches are bright yellow, ducks and geese are coming and going, a fox appears on the trail camera at night.  It is a very active time of year.  We expect the Baltimore Orioles, the Hummingbirds and the Indigo Bunting to show up in the next few days.


You Are Never Too Old To Have Fun

Sunday was a nice sunny day.  Our daughter called and wanted to borrow a piece of our lawn equipment.  We couldn't get it started but put it in the truck and took it to her house anyway.  Hopefully her husband can make it work.  While we were there, we got to see all the fun things they have been doing this spring.  They now live in the country and have the room to spread out the fun.  My son in law and daughter built a tree house for the boys.  The view was great and it will be fun to see how hidden it will be when the leaves fill in.  I even crawled up to see the view.  Crawled is the operative word, but I managed.

The entrance  to the tree house area has a little rock wall. 

They have an owl for protection.

The tree house is the latest addition to their playground area.  They also have a trampoline, a playset with fireman's pole and climbing wall and tether ball.  Ewan even has a little office set up in the storage shed. 

Before we went home they wanted Papa and me to play kick ball on the ball diamond.  I hesitated but figured we could try.  It was so much fun.  We felt like kids again, until the next morning.  

First Ewan.

Next Dylan.

Then Papa.
and Nana.

Machine Shed Potato Soup

I usually do a Tuesday recipe, but I ran out of time yesterday.  Our grandson got sick to his stomach in the car on the way to school.  He gets car sick but the school thought he had the flu and wouldn't let him stay.  He spent the day with us.  He wasn't sick and played all day.  We spent time walking in the woods.  We had to check on the leprechaun house and went searching for the Wicked Witch in the woods.  We had fun but I didn't get my Tuesday recipe posted.  Here it is.  Better late than never.

There is a restaurant in Appleton Wisconsin called The Machine Shed (  The Machine Shed has more locations but this is the only one I have been to.  They are known for many good recipes, and often demonstrate them on television.  This is their recipe for Potato Soup.  It is probably the most fattening recipe I have ever posted.  The good thing is that it is pretty filling and so delicious.

Machine Shed Potato Soup


1 Qt. chicken stock
1 Qt. milk
1/2 pound bacon, diced
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 pounds red potato, diced
1 medium onion
3 stalks celery, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

8 oz.  margarine (I used butter)
8 oz. flour

In a small sauce pan make your roux by melting your margarine over medium heat.  Stir in flour and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes.  Boil diced potatoes until tender but not falling apart, drain and set aside.  In a 4 quart stock pot, cook bacon over medium high heat.  When it begins to brown add the celery and onions and saute until tender.  Add milk and chicken stock and combine.  Turn heat to medium but don't let it boil.  When it begins to bubble around the edges use a wire whisk and add the roux until thickened.  Stir in the heavy cream and parsley, and gently stir in potatoes.  Salt and pepper to taste.