Thursday, October 29, 2015

Will the Bluebirds Stay or Will They Go South

I have written about the Eastern Bluebirds many times.  I get excited to see them in the Spring.  I watch them build their nests in the birdhouses close to our house.  I protect them from the House Wrens while they are nesting.  Then in August, after their last brood has fledged, they usually disappear from around our house.  I see them in the woods, but they stay there to raise the youngsters.  Once in a while, I will see several passing through in the fall.  They usually don't hang around.  This year is different.  I don't know if the mild fall temperatures have allowed them to stay.  The past few days I have seen quite a few bluebirds, but today I saw them no matter which window I looked out of.  They are sitting in the trees, in the yard, on the roof, on the deck railings, in the rain gutters and on the birdfeeders eating the regular birdseed we have out for the wild birds.  They may be gathering for migration or the word is out that I will feed them all winter.  I can give them mealworms, but it appears they will also eat the seed I have for all the other birds as well.  I put some pine needles in the birdhouses, in case they want to roost in there, and I put out water which has a heater so it won't freeze.  I guess I will have to trust the birds to know if they will stay or they will go.  Until then, I will enjoy the time they are spending here. 

I know I have taken way too many pictures of them, but I sometimes feel like this will be my last chance.  Hopefully they won't leave forever, but just in case, I have taken a lot of photos.

The Eastern Blues are sitting in the trees.

They were sitting on the deck railings.

 They are perching on the shepherd hooks.

It was like he was posing for me.

They are looking for food wherever they can find some.
I think this is an unbelievable sight on October 29th in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pillows and Shoes are Hard to Buy Without Trying Them First

Earlier this month I wrote about our trip to Sam's Club and how it prompted me to repair our food saver.  What I didn't talk about is why we were near the Sam's Club in the first place.  We were in the area for my husband's allergy doctor appointment.  He has had allergies for many years and even had allergy shots more than forty years ago.  This year his allergies have been worse than usual, so we felt a trip to the allergist was in order.  They asked the usual questions about whether you have dogs, cats, carpet or knick knacks.  Then they put thirty or more pin pricks on his  back and checked for a reaction.  Of course, it is always the same for our family.  It shows various trees and shrubs, ragweed and dust mites.  I asked the nurse if there is anyone in the world that doesn't react to dust and dust mites and she said "yes, you would be surprised that many people aren't allergic to them".  Right, show me someone.  I have not heard of anyone.  I have never had allergy testing, but I bet I would react as well.  They recommend not having any carpeting, never open a window in your bedroom, never leave any clothing on the floor and strip anything decorative from the room.  Dust mites feast on dead skin cells.  How gross is that?  In addition, it is recommended that you wrap the mattress and the pillows in very expensive covers that are made to kill dust mites.  As luck would have it, we saw a couple of people demonstrating some wonderful pillows at Sam's Club.  They were not only supposed to be the best pillow ever, made up of chopped bamboo and foam, but also had dust mite covers on them.  We thought this was meant to be.  The cost of the entire thing was the same price as buying a pillow cover.  We pondered the situation and low and behold, just that day (of course), we could buy one and get two free.  Such a deal!  We walked around and decided to go back to purchase them.  We brought them home and fluffed them for the night.

I washed the bedding, vacuumed the room and got ready for bed.  I laid my head down on my new pillow.  It seemed comfortable, but I couldn't go to sleep.  Something was not right.  It was like sleeping on lava that slowly crept to the outside edges leaving my head laying in a hole.  I fluffed the thing again, and again I found my head slipping into the indentation.  When I laid on my side I felt the pillow smothering my face.

The third time, I got up and gathered my own special perfect memory foam pillow that I had been sleeping on for many years.  It felt so good.  My husband was having similar issues on his side of the bed.  The next night, I decided that I should try the new pillow again.  Maybe I hadn't given it enough time.  Within fifteen minutes I had my old pillow back.

I should have been suspicious when I saw that this
gigantic pillow could fit in this little bag.

So now we have three king sized pillows that we can't enjoy, and I need to find room to store them.  I will never fit them back into the tiny bag they came in.  I did take the mite repellent covers off the new pillows and put them on our old pillows.  To make things worse, we saw these pillows for sale at other places for the same price per pillow as the three we purchased, and we wouldn't have had to take three to get the special deal.  We could have tried just one to see how they were.  I usually have a good sense about these things and very seldom get lured by a slick talking sales person, but not this time.

I  still have to address the issue of a mattress cover.  They cost almost $200.  The nurse said to never wash bedding in cold water.  Only hot water can kill dust mites and then dry in a hot dryer, never outside.  I thought, if dry heat kills mites, then why not put the electric blanket on high for a half hour every now and then.  I don't like sleeping with the electric blanket on anyway, but I do like to warm the bed covers before crawling in on a cold night.  The thought of all those electrical waves surging through my body is scary, but it may kill the mites.  I decided to google it and there it was in print.

We know how accurate everything we read on the internet is, so this must be true.  I guess it won't hurt anything to try, and who knows it may just do away with all those tiny microscopic critters that we are all allergic to.  

Monday, October 26, 2015

With Winter Approaching, Stop and Enjoy

We are in the midst of fall.  We have had our first freeze and everything is quietly moving toward  winter.  The days are still warm and nights are cold.  This is the first year in a long time that we haven't yet lit the pellet stoves and only once have we had a fire in the fireplace.  It is getting dark earlier and earlier in the evening.  I can't say I am ready for winter, but what choice do I have?  I might as well enjoy the process.  Today I walked around in the woods.  It was very quiet except for birds chirping, the sandhill cranes gathering and the geese landing.  Those are familiar sounds so I consider them almost the sounds of silence.  Those from the city who aren't used to those sounds would probably find them annoying or loud.

Almost every morning brings a layer of fog that gets burned off by the sun.

The sky is full of landing geese looking for a place to rest.

The woods is getting covered with a layer of pine straw making the ground soft like walking on carpet.

There were a couple of downed trees that fell during a summer storm.

The color has peaked leaving behind shades of brown.

The squirrels are gathering leaves to line their winter nests.

This time of year forces us to settle in and slow down our lives.  That isn't easy for some who think you can't be productive unless you are on the go all the time.  I admit, I have to work on that.   I saw a poem on a walking trail.  It describes the woods perfectly and gives us a new appreciation for its wonders.