Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Severe June Thunderstorm

Yesterday was an exciting and scary day.  I always write about our Wisconsin snowstorms, but I don't usually write about thunderstorms.  It started out as a normal day.  We did have a rain storm a few days ago as a result of unseasonable 90 degree temperatures, but yesterday was nice.  The temperatures were in the upper 70's.  The weather forecast mentioned a chance of thunderstorms, but we didn't take them too seriously.  Our television stations are from Green Bay, Wisconsin which is two hours away from us.  Even though we are in their viewing area, the weather is usually very different from what they predict.  At 1:00pm my husband headed down to the Senior Center to play Sheepshead.  He plays cards on Wednesdays.  I always take that time in the afternoon to do a project.  It isn't that he stands in my way, but I always get more done when he is gone.   I decided to clean my wood floors.  I was moving furniture and working away, when suddenly it started to sprinkle.  Then within seconds a huge wall of rain came through with high winds.  It got very dark.  There weren't any tornado sirens, but I went downstairs just in case.  It sounded like a low tone constant thunder sound.  We are surrounded by big trees and I thought if one blows down, it will come right through the roof.   I texted my daughters to warn them of the storm coming.  It was moving East, and we were getting it first.   I learned my granddaughter had taken her brothers for ice cream in a neighboring town.  Fortunately she saw the weather was taking a turn and got back just as the bad weather hit.  She hasn't had her license that long, and I worried about her driving in torrential rains. We were very lucky and didn't have any damage, so I relaxed.  I checked the rain gauge, and we got 1 1/4 inch in a very short period of time.

When my husband returned home, he said there were trees down all over town.  Being the old people we are, we went for a ride.  One of our neighbors had a tree down and a half mile down the road many trees were down and uprooted.  

This large tree is down in our neighbors yard.

This big tree was pulled right out of the ground.

This tree barely missed this house.  A small part of the porch was taken out.

I think you get the idea.  A lot of cleanup is going to happen during the next few days.  We aren't alone.  The entire northeast part of Wisconsin has similar stories.  Fortunately I haven't heard of any injuries or deaths.  Property can be repaired and replaced but people can't.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Wisconsin's State Bird

Anyone who lives in our part of the world, which is Wisconsin USA, has had experiences with the robin.  They are a very common bird, and they don't use very good sense when they are building their nests.  Most of us have had a robin nest almost everywhere.  They put them on outside lights, ledges, on eavetroughs, in trees and my latest experience in a hanging flower pot.  I hadn't even noticed her building the nest until I took the plant down to water it.  Lo and behold, there was a perfect nest with one oddly shaped egg in it.   The next day there were two eggs and then the next day there were three eggs.  All of the eggs looked cone shaped.

She laid a total of four eggs.  She sat on them patiently for two weeks.  Since the basket was hanging right outside our front door, she did get upset every time we opened the door.  We could come into the house but not go out the door without a big fuss.

On May 29th I checked the basket and found three of the eggs had hatched.  One had not but I didn't know if it was just a little behind the others.

In a couple days this is what I saw.  There is no sign of the unhatched egg, but I wasn't able to count how many babies there were.  It looked like three, but I wasn't sure.  If there were three, then I wondered if mama robin had removed the unhatched egg.

These are 3-4 day old baby robins.

Robins grow so fast.  Four days later the robins were starting to get feathers and had grown a lot,

8 day old baby robins

They grew very quickly and in ten days they were starting to grow out of the nest.  Mama was very protective and really didn't like us at all.  She would circle around, and she would make as much as noise as she could.

These robins are ten days old.

All this feeding and squawking has taken it's toll on mama.  She looks skinny, dazed and tired.  I guess it even happens in the bird kingdom.

Both the parents feed the young ones.

On Saturday morning I walked out the door.  There perched on the edge of the nest was one of the babies.  I don't know if I scared it out of the nest or if it was ready, but it jumped off.

This little one sat in the grass for a while and then took off.

The other two robins (yes, there are two left) waited until Sunday morning to leave.

When I took the plant down to remove the nest, there was the unhatched egg.  It was cracked.

I think it is amazing.  I have seen dozens of robin nests and baby robins, but I never realized that it takes less than a month for a female robin to lay eggs and raise the babies to full grown.  No wonder there are so many robins around, but even so we still get a thrill each Spring when we see our first robin of the year.