Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

These are a few of the birds we've been seeing here on our walks at the marsh and in our little neighborhood. It's a wonderful thing to notice the little wildlife all around us.
White-crowned sparrow

Our first Bonaparte Gull (rare here on the coast)

Heron with the cows
Belted Kingfisher

House finch

Difference in size between a Snowy Egret and a Great Egret
We'd like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for stopping by to read our words and see our photos. We are grateful for your presence and kindness in our lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Timing

We got lots and lots of rain over the past few days. The weather report promised and delivered. I think we are above average for this time of the year, which really helps given the parched drought conditions we have been in. The meteorologists always have to warn that just because we've gotten a bit of rain doesn't mean the three-year drought is over, lest some people erroneously think a few inches means water restrictions will end. Nope. Not yet.

Once the rain passes, we head out for some good long walks in the neighborhood. All the grasses have turned back to their beautiful greens, and the birds are busy looking for food in the new shoots.
We did get to see these two crows preening on the high voltage post. I thought at first it was a pair of ravens, but after downloading the pics, not so much.
The one on the right was so patient, preening and preening, while the one on the left seemed a bit put off by all the attention. We hadn't seen these birds interact with each other quite like this, so we took a while watching them.
We were pleasantly surprised when the one on the left decided to return the favor and preen his/her friend. It was a lovely gesture. I said to Roger, "Isn't it great to be out to watch these two? Such good timing." (Just discovered that this behavior for Corvids is called allopreening. It's a way of strengthening the bonds of a mated pair.)

Then we walked on and came to the little goat-pig-cow-turkey-chicken farm. I noticed that the little piggy was no longer in the pen. It was a friendly little thing, always coming grunting over to us when we walked by, maybe looking for a little food or a bit of a scratch behind the ears. Oh well, it is Thanksgiving season, I suppose someone may be having some piggy for dinner. Then, we rounded the corner just in time to see a large turkey being held by its feet, upside down ready to be slaughtered. Our eyes met. I bolted and ran ahead with my hands over my ears. I didn't want to hear a sound, and I didn't.

Damn, timing is everything.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Irrational Exuberance

We almost bought a house. We were distracted by it for a week. We didn't think about anything else. We made an offer on it even though it really wasn't what we wanted. It had some things that were great, but way more things that weren't good at all.

To give you an idea of what the housing market looks like here, imagine this: most of the housing stock was built a long, long time ago, and much of it has not been upgraded at all. That means single-paned windows, no insulation, old plumbing, and mold.

This is NOT the house that we thought about buying. This is right down the street from us, in the neighborhood where we are renting. It was built in 1850. It is on the market right now for $595,000. Yup, you read that correctly. More than a half a million dollars. It does have 20 acres, but still, that's a 164 year old house. It currently rents for $2500 A MONTH!!!
This is the garden next to that old house. It's not fancy. The rest of the 20 acres is used for cattle grazing. Investors buy a lot of the houses here and rent them out to students. It's easy money. Yes, this place is rented to students. The house we crazily thought about buying had another interested buyer-- an investor. Of course.

We have not lost our enthusiasm. We are optimistic. We have a real estate agent who keeps us posted about all the new listings. We're ready. We were just a little bit surprised by our irrational exuberance about finding a house that wasn't even really close to what we wanted and making an offer on it. We set some rules. Now we just have to see if we can follow them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Winter's Divers and Dabblers

Eared Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Sleeping Green-winged Teal