Welcome to My Little Piece of the Prairies ...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Yellow!

Another crazy day!  However, it was sunny and hot ... I loved it!  A great way to say goodbye to July and 'hello' August!  Wait ... 'goodbye' to July!!!  Our summer is definitely running away from us.  At least it gives us bright, sunny 'snippets' of color ... in this case ... a lil' bit of yellow out in the native prairie!  Actually, there is a LOT of yellow out there right now ... more to come in August!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honker 1, Honker 2, and Family

The reality is ... we will be reaching 'mid-summer' soon, and those spring babies are growing up quickly!  My pair of Canadian Geese ... yes, I claim them, arrived back on April 5th (My 'Honkers' Are Home) and back on May 29th (Bird on the Run) I was happy to catch a glimpse of their very young goslings ... all 4 of them.  Well, Honker 1 and Honker 2, along with all four of their babies were in view this evening.  It was great to catch a glimpse of them once again and to see that those lil' gosling will likely be ready for the fall migration!  (In the first photo, Papa goose is at the very back of the pack and Mama goose is in the middle with 2 young on each side)

Friday, July 29, 2011

After the Storm

Alas, the clouds rolled in and the thunderstorm struck before I had all of our raked hay baled ... however, the sky cleared and the evening was beautiful, in fact the horses were full of playful energy and tail swishing!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Days End!

It would appear the weather is going to cooperate for a few days and therefore, we will be spending the majority of our days in the hayfield!  Today was a raking day ... and after several hours, I was finally able to  call it 'quits' for the day!  The tractor is now hooked up to the baler ... and I'm set for tomorrow!  Note to self ... pack snacks, camera and the ipod!  The radio reception back in the hills is the pits!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Olive" the Owl Update and The 1952 Chev!

Well, the lil' Great Horned Owl that we rescued from the barbwire fence, is doing well over at the Medicine River Wildlife Centre (www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca).  The owl is in fact a she ... which the boys then deemed as "Olive!"  She had muscle damage to her wing but did not break her wing!!!  Thank goodness!  She is residing with an adopted sibling that was found with a similar injury and circumstance, along with an adult Great Horned Owl.  They are hoping to move them to the outside enclosure soon and if all goes well ... they are hoping they can bring not only "Olive" but her newly adopted sibling back home to release in the next couple of weeks!  That's exciting!  

Aside from the owl news ... it was just another busy day!  The clouds finally moved off and the sun returned!  I think if the ole' 1952 Chev "chop" truck can weather the storms and still come out running (which it does) ... I guess I won't complain!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Not a Bird, Nor a Flower ...

Meet "Wally the Wood Frog!"

What can I say ... it's not a bird ... and I have boys!!!  And what do my boys love to do in the summer ... find frogs!  Well this particular lad (perhaps lady??) was found at the back of our house.  Both the boys were rather excited as it was BIG in comparison to their usual frog finds!  This is a Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica).  The cool thing about Wood Frogs is they can change their color very quickly from either dark to light!  Hence, if their needing some heat ... they will darken to absorb more heat ... hmm... I need to learn this strategy!  Well, I am happy to report that "Wally the Wood Frog" was placed over in the trees and sent on his/her merry way towards the dugout!  Thanks for stopping by "Wally!"

Monday, July 25, 2011

Evening Clouds

It was a 'jam-packed' busy day ... the kids started swimming lessons, a trip to Lacombe, AB, and home to the hay field ... not much time for snapping photos.  However, I did sneak out of the house quickly after supper.  I thought for a moment I might be able to catch a beautiful sunset.  Haha! ... I came around the trees only to see the BLACK wall of clouds headed our way!!  Rain is in the forecast and another severe thunderstorm watch has been put out.  Hopefully the rain and the severe thunderstorm stay off to the west.  I would prefer to see the sun for a couple of weeks!  (One can wish!  Right?)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Haying Season is HAWK Season!!!!

And I would likely get more bales made if I wasn't so fascinated by 'hawks!'  I apologize ... I've been on a bit of a bird run again ...  but summer is short and such amazing creatures just don't stick around for our Canadian winters ... so please bare with me!  After raking hay in one field, I headed over to the other one to check on my boys to see how baling was going!  Of course, I had to pack my camera knowing the hawks would be in abundance!  Perched on the bales or soaring above, hawks have a feeding frenzy on mice and voles in a hay field!  These are a couple of Swainson's Hawks (Buteo swainsoni).

Heading out of the field, a Red-Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) soared above me blasting us with its piercing call!  As I drove past an aspen grove ... I caught a glimpse as to why the red-tailed hawk was a bit boisterous ... two young, spring juvenile hawks were perched up in the tree obviously waiting for supper!  VERY COOL!!!  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mr. Crow!

Hmm ... the American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos).  I will admit, I kinda get a kick out of these characters!!!  They are often too smart for their own good and are rather comical to watch!  And besides, morning coffee outside in the summertime just wouldn't be the same with out listening to their morning "caw-caw-caws!"  

Friday, July 22, 2011

Raining AGAIN!

Well, if my yard in the background is looking "lush" these days ... there hasn't been a shortage of moisture in Central Alberta!!!  This was as far as I ventured with my camera today ... too soggy for this chick and definitely too soggy for her camera!!!  I guess it was a good thing I got all of the lawn mowed yesterday.  Now, if only we had our hay put up!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Berry Thief!

Meet one, of the many, Cedar Waxwing's (Bombycilla cedrorum) that assist me in picking my saskatoons!  These beauties are our summer waxwings ... and if it wasn't for their beauty I think I might be a bit more upset at their berry picking tactics (get them while the humans sleep and get them fast!).  Well, the saskatoons are definitely beginning to ripen and between the robins, the waxwings, and various other feathered friends, it is usually a bit of a competition as to who gets the most!  As long as they pick off the high branches and leave the low ones for me ... I'll remain happy!  Haha!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Afternoon Siesta!

Or in this case ... "Cat Nap!"

Meet Max ... and behind him is Eli!  Apparently, the 'boys' felt they had done a sufficient job hunting mice and therefore, in the mid-afternoon sun took it upon themselves to curl up in my willow chair for an afternoon siesta!  Hmm ... hard to argue with logic like that!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Owl Rescue!

On his way to the hayfield today, my dear Hubby discovered (much to my husband's horror) the young baby Great Horned Owl wrapped around a barb on the top wire of a barbwire fence.  It appeared as if this young owl had likely been out on a 'hunting/training flight' and misjudged the fence.  Whatever happened, it managed to catch it's left wing on the barb.  We were able to free him but it's left wing was injured ... to what extent we did not know.  After a quick phone call to the Medicine River Wildlife Centre (www.medicineriverwildlifecentre.ca) we placed our little injured owl into a box and headed for aid!  Tonight, this little owl is in the care of the wildlife centre and it is hoped that it's injury is not serious and that it can be returned and released back to its home very soon! 
If you get a chance, check out the Medicine River Wildlife Centre's website ... an amazing organization!!!  I'll keep you posted on this little one's progress!  

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Pelican Brief!

OR ... should I say 'The Brief Encounter With Pelicans!'  

We were fortunate enough to find a few hot, sunny days for a canoe trip down the Red Deer River!  High and flowing fast, it was a perfect time to be on the river!  We've done some day trips on the river but we decided to take our boys down the river for 3-4 days.  We left Content Bridge on Friday and arrived in Drumheller, AB yesterday afternoon; a 118 km trip.  This is a beautiful run that takes you through the Aspen Parkland and into the Prairie Badlands!   My brother and his fiance joined us on our excursion ... along with some pelicans!  These were a few shots I snapped quickly on Day 1. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gossamer Wings!

This is 'Greenish Blue' Gossamer Wing!  Not the best shot ... and I only got the one ... as he was very quick to flutter away.  However, there seem to be many fluttering through my yard these days.  Hopefully I will get another chance to snap a much better photo of this little iridescent blue gossamer wing!  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pretty Petals

My perennial flower bed is offering an abundance of color these days!  I love the vibrance of these pretty red and yellow petals!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Boys of Summer!

A brother shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams.  
~ Author Unknown

It's moments like this that make you appreciate everything you have ... in my case, two boys that share a bond of brotherhood that will surely last their lifetime!  I am thankful that we can raise them under blue skies and miles of mother nature's space.  And, if only for what will appear like a moment, maintain the innocence of their childhood!  Kids grow up too fast!  

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Fritillary!

Butterflies are self propelled flowers.  ~R.H. Heinlein

Who doesn't love seeing a butterfly in the summer?  Amazing little creatures that bounce and flutter in the air!  This little orange butterfly is a Fritillary ... and I think it's an Aphrodite Fritillary ... but don't quote me!  Haha!  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

That's Better ... The Baby Great Horned Owl!

Back on July 3rd, I posted a few pics on a family of Great Horned Owls that live on our home quarter.  The pictures were okay ... but alas, my 70-300mm lens is not fast enough in dim light and hence many of those pictures were darker than I would have liked.  Well, I got lucky this afternoon and was able to catch that 'baby Great Horned Owl' in some better light.  Still not as good as I would like but definitely an improvement!  I love it's EYES ... I look forward to capturing this lil' one as it grows!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Moody Moon

It was a dreary day ... a wet day.  Definitely not haying weather!  I was hoping for a clear sky tonight ... but alas, the wind is still blowing and the clouds are still rolling, making the moon appear rather 'moody' behind all those clouds!


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