Thursday, July 16, 2015

Texas Barn Owls

I have become addicted to a bird web cam. My drug of choice is the Texas barn owls available through Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. http://cams.allaboutbirds.org/channel/42/Barn_Owls/
You can also follow them on Twitter (official)  and YouTube (there's official and viewer content).

When I first discovered the cam, early June, all four owlets were hatched. They all still had down, none had branched, and the youngest was very small and immature. As of a couple days ago all have fledged! I've learned so much and believe it is great family entertainment.

They still associate the nest with feeding so they hang around the vicinity of the nest box during their nightly fly arounds. Plus, they continue to roost there during the day. It's strange how a group of strangers have come together to cheer on both the small and large accomplishments of 4 little birds and to worry about them as well. This was probably helped by the fact that the youngest was a bit of a runt having had a lean start and no one was sure he was going to make it.

Here are some photos from Twitter (they are not all mine):


Their home

Sometimes it seems they know they are being watched

Huddled together sleeping
 

The day a female wood duck landed on the nest box and then snooped around. the owlets were on alert for the stranger!
Mid July when all had branch but the youngest had yet to fledge
 

Mid June waiting for someone to feed them
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eddie's Office Remodel

After remodeling the sewing/craft room, Eddie insisted we do something to clean up and better organize "his" office. So with a little paint and a lot of Ikea furniture, here it is:


Eddie approved storage bench in the window


From the door, toward the west


The north east corner of the office


The south east corner including the desk


The south west corner and Eddie show us "the end".

Friday, May 29, 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Big City

Today is a 10am check out of our apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and a train ride back to my cousin's house. (Tomorrow we fly home) So, I thought it was a good time to post photos of the place where we have stayed.


This is it! 1631 W Winona. We had the upstairs apartment with the balcony.


This is view looking down the street toward the other residences. It is a beautiful street with people walking dogs, pushing strollers, gardening, etc. The other direction is toward two busy streets which were handy for restaurants. The area was settled by Scandinavian immigrants and it still shows in the area some.


This is the stained glass fire surround in the living room.
 

The dining room
 
The bathroom - it as a big blue tub!

The kitchen
 

One of the 3 bedrooms 


And the sun room behind the kitchen
 
 
It was a very comfortable rental with an enjoyable neighborhood. The cab rides to downtown were over $20 though. We took the bus to/from Wrigleyville because it was a straight shot and that was $ 6.75 for the 3 of us each way.

I have relatives and friends who have opted for "vacation rentals" instead of hotels so I thought I would give it a try. I didn't miss the hotel services at all but, instead, enjoyed the comforts of a home environment.

When Jerry and I lived in Kodiak we had a mother-in-law apartment downstairs. We set it up as a business and called it Serendipity Guest House and it was a morph between a B&B and a long term rental based on our clientele.  Now I have figured out we had a vacation rental!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sight Seeing Day Three

We started the day at Millennium Park. The Cloud Gate, or Bean, was on my list of things to see.




 
 
 
 (This photo is inside the bean looking up)
 
The photo doesn't show it well, but this is a large garden of wildflowers anchoring the tall buildings.
 

This art piece is one in the Boeing gallery. It appeared to be glass blocks/bricks that has a video playing through the bricks. The face changes (eyes blink, etc.) and water pours off the roof ad sometimes out the mouth.


 
 

Next we went to the water tower area. It's one of the areas I remember from when I used to travel to Chicago for business since I usually stayed in a hotel in the area. Since I know work with water/utilities, thought I would snap a photo of the old water works building.


Boy! Bloomingdale's changed a lot since I was there last (in the early nineties, I believe). They made it into a mall meaning Bloomingdale's gave up room for other stores.
 
 Next it was off to Pizzeria Uno which was on Jerry's list. Here he is pictured with my cousin Diane outside the restaurant. He remembers it from years ago.
And, our dinner - deep dish, Chicago styled, pizza.

Chicago Sightseeing Day Two

Yesterday we took a tour of Wrigley field - it was very interesting because the field is over 100 years old so it has a lot of history. It was also exciting because it was game day - our 90 minute tour was at 3 and the game started at 7 so before we left the players showed up on the field. (notice coach Joe Madden as the first image to the right of the sign. he was the coach for the Rays and gave a wonderful motivation speech to City employees shortly after our new mayor took over.)
 
Really awful photo of me and hubby (due to wind and age) behind home plate. They had all these barrier things set up - I guess to keep folks from getting hurt during practice.
 
Jerry's aloha shirt standing out in the stadium shot. All the flags on top of the building have meaning. The ones on the left side of stadium are team accomplishments and the ones on the right are individual player accomplishments. Oh, this stadium was the very last to have lights. They didn't get them on for a game until August 8, 1988; however, rain delayed the game so the first game under lights was played on 8/9/88. Previously Mr. Wrigley purchased lights for the stadium and they were delivered in November 1942 but Pearl Harbor was bombed before they were installed so he donated them to the war effort. And finally, the first lit game at the stadium was actually the women's professional baseball league (as seen in the movie "A League Of Their Own") when they played at Wrigley and brought their own lights!
 
The visiting team dugout. The team is the Washington Nationals. Some of them were there really early and I will assume it was because their guest suite wasn't comfortable. Our guide, John, told us about the guest suite for the visiting team but we couldn't see it because it was occupied. That's the downside of going on the tour on a game day. He said it's small but has hosted more top athletes than any other stadium in history because a) the field has been there since 1914 for base ball, and b) the Chicago bears football team used the stadium for 50 years. The best of the best have played here.
 
Having a little knee issue so I couldn't walk up the last few ramps to the top so I took some shots of batting practice once the cubs arrived. These are zoomed in because I found  spot to sit while my tour group climbed the upper two ramps. 

Infield
 
 Outfield

Dinner (before and midway through) at the Old Crowe. My cousin Brad's father-in law is the executive chef and he came by our table several times. I love BBQ so it was a great choice. It would have been a great place to watch the game with huge TV's and an indoor/outdoor atmosphere.

 
I wish I had taken a photo at street level of the corner where Wrigley field is located when we first arrived (about 2pm) and when we left (about 6:15). You would not believe it was the same place! It went from pretty quiet with a few people walking around in team gear to packed! It was a flood of Cubs teamwear and a few Blackhawks jerseys.