Hummingbirds 2016

This year has been a record for the number of hummingbirds I’ve had.  The last couple of months I’ve had ten feeders up and was changing out five daily.

Don’t use the red dye stuff in your feeders.  A feeder with red on it is all you need.  Use one part sugar and four parts hot to boiling water.  Cool and put in a clean feeder.  Change out every two to four days depending on the temperature in your area.  At the beginning and end of the season, I usually only have the feeder a fourth full.

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Swans of Spring Park

After several years absence,  swans were re-introduced back into the pond at Spring Park.  During the spring, the newly introduced pair started nesting.  The much anticipated cygnets never materialized as the nest failed.  The following are a series of pictures I took over the course of this year. I did included a couple of pictures of the ducks and geese.

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Changing oil

You need to change the oil on your mower and you can’t remember the filter number to buy?

I have a solution.  I use a paint pen that you can find in the the craft section to label the end of the filter with the filter number and date changed.  The new filter has an arrow to tell you the direction to turn to put the filter on. However that arrow usually isn’t visible when you go to take it off.  I also paint an arrow to indicate the off direction also.


On my John Deere 3032E, I got tired of crawling under it trying out sockets to fit the oil plug.  I took the pen and wrote the size and direction to turn the wrech.


Check out my GRIT magazine blog post.

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Iris and Spring Blooms

My daffs are just about finished and iris are starting to bloom a little later than previous years.  Right now I’m fighting honeysuckle, privet, blackberry, hackberry and grass.  I think where the blackberry and a large amount of privet, my best bet is digging up the iris and daylilies and taking the front end loader or middle buster to the mess.

Hummingbirds have returned.  So get your feeders up. Don’t use the red dye.  Four parts hot to boiling water, one part sugar (no substituting) .  Cool and put in feeders.  Put leftovers in the refrigerator.  Change out and clean feeders every three or four days depending on how hot the weather.

Hopefully I’ll have someone coming to help in a week or two.

Check out my GRIT magazine post.


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Free the forsythia

If you want formal, don’t plant forsythia, an old southern favorite.  It was meant to be free, not a pom pom.  Plant in full sun with plenty of room to arch out and be free form.

Check out my GRIT magazine blog post.



pom pom






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Wheeler Wildlife Refuge trip

It was a beautiful day with temps in the sixties last Saturday.  I decided to take a trip over to Wheeler Wildlife Refuge in Decatur AL in search of sandhill and whooping cranes.  I found both, plus several species of ducks.

There is a heated observation building on site, so you can sit in comfort and watch and photograph.

Please check out my GRIT magazine blog post.

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2015 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Hooligans Letter to Santa 2015



Hooligans 2015 Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, we have been really good doggies this year. Mom says we haven’t been and need lump of coals and switches in our stockings. We love sticks, but can’t figure out what coal is.

That skunk that we caught trespassing kept throwing his tail up at us and wasn’t nice and we decided he needed to leave. It got behind some of Mom’s pots and refused to leave. We had to forcibly remove it and when he went over to Grandmaw’s place and we decided to chase it off from there. After all we have to protect her place also. Trying to get it out of her shed, we accidently grabbed the siding when it slid under the wall into her shed and got under some bags of pine mulch. We helped scatter it for Grandmaw while we were chasing off the interloper.

Mom says we’ve been bad. Blackie won’t come and eat when Mom calls her, but she needs to check out the barn for mice first. Levi crawls in Mom’s lap when she gets home from work and fusses that he is getting her clothes dirty. Levi is just trying to get that hospital smell off of Mom. Patches keeps poking Mom in the back when she is getting food out of the wall bin. She just wants to be sure Mom doesn’t forget her. And can you believe she was fussing about us dragging mulch up the front walk? Here we are camped out protecting the house, and the pine tar stuff sticks to our hair like glue. Mom says we dug up some of her flowers. We were chasing after a critter and we can’t tell what is flowers and what isn’t. We did get those pesky moles some snakes and some critter Mom called Alvin. We left our spoils of victory at the end of the driveway so Mom could see how we’ve been protecting the farm.

Mom says Patches hasn’t been telling her the battery was dead in her collar and sneaking out. She just didn’t want Mom to worry, and she didn’t until one of the neighbors was a stool pigeon. Mom thought she had spoiled Patches fun, but the collar wasn’t working and she had fun visiting until she was squealed on again and got a new collar.

So you see Santa, we’ve been good doggies. We need toys again as some critter walked off with our stuff from last year. Mom says not to bring Patches one of those tires with the rope as Patches like to whop Mom in the knees with it. Blackie wants biscuits that aren’t healthy. Since she has been having trouble with allergies, Mom won’t let her have wheat cookies, beef or chicken strips or apples or tomatoes. Blackie was pulling tomatoes off of the plant by the compost box and eating them. Mom was so mean, she pulled the plant up and threw it in the box so Blackie couldn’t have any.

Now that we’ve thought about it, Mom’s been the naughty one.

Merry Christmas to one and all from Patches, Blackie, Levi and Mom.

Check out my GRIT magazine blog post.

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Fall butterflies

This fall the butterflies finally arrived.  They really love the Profusion zinnias that I grow in my yard.  While photographing dragonflies, I thought I finally saw my first Monarch, but it turned out to be a Viceroy, a butterfly that mimics the Monarch.   My first Monarch were a couple of days later when two visited the milkweed in my yard and a few of the coneflowers.

After the Coondog Cemetery was decorated for the Labor Day Celebration, several were attracted to the silk flowers.

Check out my GRIT magazine blog post.

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There’s a couple of sites in Colbert County that found that are a photographers paradise if you like dragonflies.  One is off of Second St on Pepi St  in Muscle Shoals City just past the airport on the left.  A few Great White Egrets are wading there, but are camera shy.  It took me a couple of trips, but I finally managed to get a few pictures of them as well as many dragonflies.

The second are is a the Alloys Park off of River Road south of Muscle Shoals.  It is near the Alabama birding site near Double Head Resort that several white pelicans are located.

A good area in Lauderdale County to see dragonflies is at McFarland Park in Florence. A few of these pictures are from there.

Check out my GRIT magazine blog post on some of the festivals I photographed in the Shoals.

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