INTERESTING LITTLE FACTOID

I love weather! I love watching in in real life, on TV, on my techno-gear or where ever.

• The movement of the clouds.
• Which direction the wind is coming from.
• Is there a storm blowing in the wind?
• Are we going to get hail?

These little questions and quirks are the things that keep me so interested in it. Some may say it is just because I am a farmer/gardener, or is it because a survived a tornado as a child, who knows, but I don’t think that is all there is to my interest.
As a kid (ok, did this earlier this summer with my grandson) I loved to lay back on the grass looking up at the clouds. We take turns trying to figure out what the cloud shapes were – turtle – dragon – butterfly – you name it.

clouds

Another part of my interest maybe that also, since I was a child, my mother always got the Farmers Almanac from our local feed store. Predictions for the coming year for weather, stars, when to plant and when not to. She would cling to that book all year long and base her decisions on it. (Please note, this is not a sales pitch, I am not getting paid by them to do this. I just happen to find it a great read, very interesting and wanted to share.)

2017_FAs_Slide

To this day, I still get it, and I buy the next years edition for our older sister as a Christmas present every year. I am also signed up for their monthly newsletter which is what brings me to this story. In this morning’s inbox, their latest delivery shares a secret – sort of. They wrote an article about how they determine next year’s weather – and it is not with the help of modern techno gadgets. It is base on a method that was developed in 1818 and has been used ever since – I FIND THIS AMAZING! All of our modern technology and they choose not to use it. So, if you are a fan of weather like I am, you may be interested in this article:

How Does The Almanac Predict The Weather?

Those of you that are farmers and/or gardeners should really love this! My older sister is not a farmer, and she can kill house plants – but she loves reading this book. It is not very big, but it’s always packed with useful (and some useless) information. There may even be those of you out there that have never heard of it or never read one? Please, go to the local library and check it out – you won’t regret it! I just believe that it is one of those bits of information in life that make it worth living. The fact that they are still around and still write in pretty much the same manner should also tell a person something.
Hope you take a moment from your busy daily grind to sit back and enjoy a bit of entertainment. Who knows, you may even learn something new?

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(This is our front yard pond with waterfall – total relaxation! Woo Hoo!!)

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IS IT REAL? A BLAST FROM THE PREHISTORIC PAST? A BIRD, PLANE, OR SUPERMAN?

How many of you know what this is:

male silver guinea bird(see a video here)

The head of a dino, body of some crazy speckled fish-like-thingy, legs of a chicken – runs like the wind, but never seems to be going in a straight line (loves spinning in place with several others at a time). It’s a Guinea Bird/fowl.

We purchased our first ones a little over 10 years ago and got the surprise of our life. The first came to us as babies, looked almost like the baby chickens until tguinea babieshey started to “form”. Early on their heads looked strange – but, as they grew, the noise they made was even worse than their head. The eggs are not very good for breakfast but, like duck eggs, make great noodles. They are shaped like a huge upside down teardrop, short legs but man could they cruise!

 

It’s a summer Saturday evening, cocktails by the fire pit, and then it happened. We have a huge circular driveway around our house, of which the guineas took full advantage of – the race was on!

Sun setting, frogs having a party down in the pond croaking away, faint call of a coyote in the distance (yea – stay there!), and the guineas were at full speed. Three of the dino-birds started racing around the house via the driveway. They would run around about 3 times then stop in the center of the yard/drive and start spinning in circles! WWHHAATT?? I had never even heard of a guinea before we bought them, but they were supposed to be good pest controllers. So what was with the racing and, more important, how could they spin around like that without falling over? They looked funnier than a dog chasing its tail – and that’s funny! It was a mystery.

guinea fowl

Of course, we never once tried to stop them. It didn’t seem to be hurting them, they actually seemed to like it (could tell by all the squawking they were doing) so no harm no foul (ok, bad pun). We also had the issue of not being able to stop laughing at them (biggest reason why we didn’t stop them). Then, of course we all picked a bird and watched the races till the sun set.

When the sun was finally down low enough for the yard light to come on, they finally settled down. This also meant another oddity of them – they flew up and perched in the tree at night. Chickens do not do that! They like to perch on racks we built in their barn, but you would never find them up in a tree. The biggest reason why not is that they can’t get their butts up there. Well, take another look at this silly bird – how does it get off the ground shaped like that? Have no clue, but they do.

There are a couple of great benefits to having them. 1) They are better guard dogs. Anything odd and they sound off – person, vehicle, or critter – doesn’t matter. If it’s out of the norm and they will let you know. 2) The best at pest control! You should see them rip apart a mouse, snake, or a grasshoppers doesn’t matter to them. If they can catch it, it’s theirs. They will beat the snot out of it till dead. Grab it, throw it in the air, stomp on it, or split it (literally) with a fellow guinea….ahh, bonus protein meal.

guinea-fowl-vs-rattlesnake

Rattle snakes are in Colorado, but we have never (knock-on-wood) seen one on our property. We love our guineas. Think we will keep them in stock (pun intended).

WHO WINS THE RACE?

If your days are anything like mine, they get full pretty fast. Rushing from here to there, worrying about tons of different deadlines for different projects all at the same time. The mind is racing and somedays it’s really hard to get focused – or worse – to sleep at night! Well, we have found a most excellent way to draw our minds back into brain-dead status – TOAD RACING!

Now, this is not your fancy frog racing adventure. No race track, no fast moving frogs, and only 2 rules…1) Who ever makes it to the finish line is the winner, 2) NO CHASING THE TOAD! This last includes tossing a stick or stone to try to direct or redirect it in any way. It has to be all on the toads’ own will power.

toad 1  toad 2

This may sound stupid to some of you but picture this: It is a quiet cool evening. You have had a long hard day of doing too many mental and physical chores. You find yourself sitting in a comfortable glider rocker chair next to a nice glowing fire pit. The stars are our, the crickets are chirping, you can hear the howl of the coyotes in the distance – but you just cannot relax!

Frustrated, you go grab a cool drink, sink back into your chair and then happened to glance around at your environment. You see a toad hopping about. It seems to be on a mission – but – no – wait, it turned around bolting in a new direction. Your screaming brain just came to a screeching halt – “what is this critter looking for?” You now start to see other toads of all different sizes and shapes, popping out from all different places. You lean over to the buddy sitting next to you and say, “I bet that one can get to that stick first!” Your sister/friend/significant other looks at you, selects their own specimen smiles and says “you’re on!”

You shuffle your feet to try to make it turn another direction, but you are not allowed to get up and chase it in any way, shape or fashion – it must move totally by its own will. It stumbles over a small tree branch, travels about a foot toward your goal and you start to get excited – oops, wait it turned to face you now. Pretty sure this toad knows that I have pegged it as the winner so it just decides to squat right down and stare at me – jerk! The other fellow’s toad is now racing, has caught up with mine and actually rammed right into it.  Now they are both just sitting there like bumps on a log (ok, now you know where that phrase came from – you’re welcome!).

You and your buddy begin laughing uncontrollably – can’t help it, the whole idea is goofy! But then, that’s the point…your mind is now totally blank except for how to get this toad to move, your body has become physically relaxed except for the hysterics pouring out of you. Ahhh, job well done!

The unplanned plan worked perfectly! Totally by chance of a perfect night, perfect conditions and stopping to notice the surroundings – relaxation was found!

A couple of months have now passed since that glorious night, and we found ourselves sitting on the east porch contemplating Saturdays chores that we had accomplished. There was still a large amount to be done, so the “list” began to bounce back and forth between us. Do this first, do this by the first deep frost, finish processing the veggies, and my sister slipped in the house to get a couple more drinks. That’s when I spotted them!

ladybugs

(Look close and you can see the 2 at the siding edge trying to come over to beat her, however she is also traveling toward them?)

Not toads this time, but ladybugs! Dozens of them crawling all over the porch railings, ceiling, along the house wall, everywhere. They were moving so fast I thought that they must have a plan? As one moved close to me I set out a finger – she climbed right on it – now this is silly! How will she get where she is going while perched on my finger? But, again, moving non-stop she reached the edge of my coat cuff, bumped it and immediately flew off and reconnected with the house again. These were not sluggish toad, these little puppies cruised! When my sister came back out with fresh drinks, I pointed out the lady bugs and stated; “I believe that one of mine (the one spinning in circles) will reach the end of the porch ceiling first!” She started giggling and said “You’re on!”

So who won the race? No one, everyone, who really cares? The whole point of this is not who wins the race, or how they won the race, but the fun we found along the way. Yes the ladybug is faster, but she is just as dizzy as the toads were.