Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Sparrows Inc.

Hello everyone. This is The Daily Bone and I'm your dedicated doggie reporter 
Chester L. W. Spaniel. 


Long time readers may remember that I've maintained an excellent business relationship with Sparrows Incorporated for several years. The CEO is Mr. Mortimer Seedcruncher, with whom I have negotiated multiple business deals regarding the birdie feeders, and real estate ventures in the bushes nearby. In fact, for the last few winters, my humans provided a giant pile of sticks between the fence and the wooden glider which Sparrows Inc. leased as a deluxe winter lodge.

Here's a picture from last January of the Sparrows Inc Winter Lodge in the Sticks. It doesn't look like much, but it provided excellent protection from high winds, snow, and predators, and could accommodate dozens of sparrows.


In return for providing birdie seeds and shelter, Sparrows Inc. gave me season tickets to all their events, like the Sparrow Spring Convention, the Sparrow Kick-boxing Finals (those little birdies can really kick **s and there's no holds barred!) and Sparrow Chirping Contests. 

However, this year, my humans have decided they were no longer going to create a giant stick pile in the back yard. They also did not fill the birdie feeders for the last several weeks to try to keep the Evil Squirrel Cartel away from our pear tree. And then, on top of that, they had the gigantic silver maple tree cut down! I was worried Sparrows Inc. might choose another site for their business and real estate plans. I didn't see or hear them for a long time.


But last week, my ghostwriter finally decided to fill up the feeders again. Suddenly, hundreds of sparrows appeared in my back yard!


A young sparrow came up to the window box feeder and introduced himself as Mr. Seedcruncher's grandson Phillip. He told me that he was in charge of negotiations this year. He thanked me for the seeds, and told me that Sparrows Inc. would be glad to lease the arborvitae bushes for their annual entertainment productions.


He also told me that the umbrella-shaped tree next door would provide an alternate venue for the Sparrows Inc. Winter Retreat. It's only a short flit away from the seeds!


Well, I'm glad that's all settled!




Friday, September 13, 2019

Harvest Moon and More

Greetings friends and fans! This is The Daily Bone, and I'm your diligent doggie reporter 
Chester L. W. Spaniel. We have a lot to cover today, so hang onto your squeaky toys!


First of all, it's been one week since our big silver maple tree was cut down.
There's nothing left but a pile of dirt.


I'm happy to report the Evil Squirrel Cartel has hardly been around at all, even though the birdie feeders are filled up with all kinds of delicious seeds! There has been an army of sparrows coming around to get their fill, though.


Our next item is from my NC associate Angus B. Terrier.


He sent us a picture of this lovely hawk that came to visit his back porch. Amazing!


Last night, or this morning, or whatever you consider 4:30am, we were awakened by a very strange sound: Who-hoooo-who-who-whoooo! A great horned owl! We couldn't see the owl, but it was definitely in one of the evergreen trees near the north-east corner of the yard. We're wondering if we'll hear him again tonight. (My ghostwriter is kind of hoping he will schedule his next performance before midnight so she doesn't get woken up at 4:30am again!)


Meanwhile, my Florida associate, Miss Charlee's humans are getting ready for their favorite holiday: Halloween! Yipes!

What the heck, mom?

My Jason human sent me this picture of a beautiful monarch butterfly:


They're migrating south this time of year. Yesterday, we saw another interesting sight. Dozens of swallows were flying around overhead in our neighborhood. They were gone by today, so we think they're migrating as well.


And now it's time for our creepy crawlies report.

Cricket

Earwig

Bumblebee

At the nursing home where ghostwriter works, somebody brought in a bunch of milkweed leaves with lots of monarch caterpillars. Everyone got to see them transform into butterflies, and then release them outdoors.




Cicada

That big cicada fell out of the silver maple before the tree was cut down, and landed on the ground right behind me!


We've had some changeable weather lately. One day it's hot and muggy, the next day it's cool and windy. We've seen some beautiful blue skies, big puffy clouds, and amazing sunsets. Here are some pictures from the past week, in no particular order.







Hmmm. I should be able to see the moon tonight. It's a special Harvest Moon. I'd better go back inside the house …


… and take a good long nap …


… so I'll be wide awake tonight to make a call to my dearest Princess Leah on the moon phone.

earthsky.org/tonight/harvest-moon-on-friday-the-13th


























SPIDER ALERT SPIDER ALERT SPIDER ALERT SPIDER ALERT SPIDER ALERT


As long-time readers will know, we are a family of science geeks. We think spiders are beautiful and fascinating. But we've been seeing less and less of them lately. In fact, while this is prime season for garden spiders to create their big orb webs, there's not a single one anywhere in our yard right now! We think people are using too many pesticides on their lawns!

However, a very regal spider has made the dining room window (outside) her home for the summer. Her name is Lady Octavia. We're actually pretty lucky to get this picture of her, since she spends most of the day hiding at the end of her funnel web.


OK. If anyone was scared of Lady Octavia, here's a video that will clear your mind:

Lucas the Spider

(How can you not love Lucas the Spider?)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Never Forget

We will never forget …


We may have run out of words, but we never run out of tears for that day.



Please check out these links to a few of our annual tributes to 9/11/01:




Thursday, September 5, 2019

Big Tree Down

Good evening. This is a special report from The Daily Bone. I'm your excited doggie reporter
Chester L. W. Spaniel. As promised, today I will document the removal of the huge silver maple tree in my back yard.


Here's a picture of me in front of the tree yesterday. Ghostwriter says the siblings planted it over 30 years ago when it was just a tiny seedling. It  grew quickly, and provided shade for many family events.


Eventually, it became a behemoth, with four main trunks, either of which could fall and do major damage to our house or our neighbors' yards if there was an ice storm. 

Over the years, the Evil Squirrel Cartel has been trying to claim it for their headquarters, repeatedly building nests out of sticks and leaves, only to have Dad knock them down. They also like to scramble up it whenever I chase them away from the birdie feeders. Won't they be surprised when they find that tree is gone! 


This morning, lots of trucks pulled up in front of our house, with several different big machines. The first guy on the job climbed part of the way up the tree, and started cutting branches with a chain saw.


He soon had a pile like this:


He had a few other guys to help clear away the branches. Next he drove this machine into the yard:


It had a not too terribly noisy motor that put down four legs to keep it steady. Then it literally unfolded until it looked like a preying mantis. There was a big bucket on the end that one man could fit into.


It lifted him way up high so he could reach the tree top.


The branches that reached over our yard were no problem. They fell down onto the ground in our yard. But many of the other branches were extended out over the fences and the neighbors' trees and bushes. He needed to use a rope and pulley system, and lots of help from his team to get these down without hitting anything. In the next picture, you can see a limb coming down attached to a rope:


Another guy held the rope, with the help of a pulley, so that the branch could be lowered carefully to the ground.


Sometimes he had to pull pretty hard to keep it steady!


After all the over-hanging limbs were down, he began cutting off the two remaining trunks. Piece by piece, they fell down with an earth-shaking thump …


… until all that was left was the stump!


While all this was going on, another man drove around in a machine called a Dingo, that picked up the felled branches and took then to the front yard.


Don't be fooled by its small size. That Dingo could lift even the heaviest tree trunks!


Most of the branches were ground into chips by this super noisy screeching machine:


The bigger logs were piled up by the curb, until they were picked up and loaded into yet another truck:


There goes the last log!


In case you're wondering, I spent a lot of time running and barking back and forth from the front door to the kitchen window. I think I did a good job supervising. The entire job took about six hours, and the team worked together like a well-oiled machine! Ghostwriter wondered where they found such hard-working folks for a tough job like that.  


But they weren't done yet! There was still this last piece to get out of the ground:


Another roaring dragon loud machine thing named Bandit arrived, and in a short time, ground down this stump into a big heap of wood chips.


Then the Dingo came back, after exchanging its lifter claw for a shovel, and took most of the wood chips away. Dad asked the guys to leave some of the chips so we could use them as mulch.


Now, here's the spot where the monster tree used to be:


They also removed the dying spruce tree in the front yard. But that one only took them 15 minutes!


Thanks Flower City Tree Company!


What an exciting day!




Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz …