Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey Topics), 5 August 2012

Loch Garten ospreys

Loch Garten ospreys
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Loch Garten ospreys

Weekly Chat (Non-Osprey Topics), 5 August 2012


    News for This Week

    I'm giddy!  Curiosity, NASA's super robot-rover, is getting ready to land on Mars!

    The big robot will make the risky, crazy maneuver to land on the Mars surface all on its own. NASA can't help, because the rover will be out of touch from the time it hits the Mars atmosphere until it lands on the surface  -- called "7 minutes of terror" by the scientists!

    NASA doesn't have a great track record for getting crafts to Mars, so a successful landing for Curiosity is not a sure thing. It should be a suspenseful, exciting time!

    Curiosity landing times:
    U.K.: 06:31 a.m. BST Monday morning
    U.S.: 01:31 a.m EDT Sunday night - Monday morning
    U.S.: 10.31 p.m. PDT Sunday night
    Adelaide, Australia: 3:00 p.m. CST Monday afternoon

    NASA's really nice main site explaining the mission.
    Ways to watch the landing from NASA.

     Florida Manatee

  • Thanks Diane for starting us off. I was going to say "early bird Diane" but no, you are a "night owl"!

    HeatherB - We also get scam calls despite being on the "Do Not Call" register. The last few months the most common is the computer one going on about "windows". However I deliberately misunderstand and try to book them to come to clean my (glass) windows. Then the next call I get mock angry because "we had an arrangement and they failed to come so I cancel the deal". OH says just hang up. I know my method doesn't do any good but it makes me feel better after rushing to the phone.

    WendyB - I'm not sure that pressing "9" will work as for many of these calls the numbers are computer-generated, just random.

    Alan - I hope Lady P gets her medication balanced asap.

    Linda - SLOW DOWN and put that foot up. That's an order from Dr AQ.

    OG & Linda - I am very careful of my knee (well, both of them) when with LittleMiss. It is difficult to get up from the floor etc, etc. Now it is my shoulder that's giving me h%#*. Next babysit isn't for a month.

    Yesterday I developed a sore throat. Grrrr. I can only have picked it up when out food shopping. I'm supposed to be having lunch tomorrow with an older friend. Probably wiser not to spread it to her.

    Are they not over yet? The O****s, I mean. A comment in today's paper that we should change our team colours for the next O***s from green & gold to green & silver because Aussies are coming second instead of the high expectations. How about praise for just getting into the team, getting into the finals, and doing their best?

  • Hi, all. First, let me apologise for not having posted much recently. I've had a health issue that kept me tired, weak, and lethargic, but I'm now taking meds and feeling able to kick *** again! LOLOL!

    No way can I properly catch up, so I'll just say that I hope everyone who is ailing recovers soon. Alan, I hope Lady P gets the right treatment and meds so she can feel better. AQ, well done on your continuing recovery from knee surgery. I'm very proud of you. Don't overdo with the babysitting. Lindy, I'll second Dr. AQ's advice and order you to stay off of that ankle and keep ice, cold packs, or frozen veggie packs on it so it will heal properly. And Patricia, I'm thinking of you and sending good energy.

    I also hope that all ailing doggies improve soon. Loved all the recent photos of companion animals, including Hamish the Brave of Scotland. Lindy, I liked the way Buzz had one ear up and one down in his last photo. Made me laugh!

    I've also enjoyed all the photos of grandchildren and great-grandchildren: the delightful Delilah, Little Miss taunting patient Jasper, the ever-handsome and intense Tomasz, the kid pics from Wendy, and the lovely baby posted by Starling.

    My best wishes to all who are enduring family relationship breakdowns and problems (Annette, Heather...). Divorce is never easy on anyone. Been there, done that, got the tear-stained tee shirt to prove it. Sometimes, it's the best for all concerned in the long term.

    I've enjoyed the smiles and funny pics (dibnlib, Lindy, AQ...). Thank you.

    It's been a very strange year for ospreys. I watched the drama at Rutland with interest. Odd behavior from 5R, but raptors are a cranky lot. I'm happy to see Ceulan thriving at Dyfi. I'm amazed at 12(10)'s cheeky visits to the Dyfi nest. I receive the Dyfi updates on my Facebook news feed every day.  After a rough start, I'm glad to see the success of the LG nest. Caledonia and Alba are tough birds, which should serve them well.

    Okay, I plead forgiveness for my neglect, and I will be posting more regularly.

  • Evening all: Interesting evening at the rodeo. Some of the events, such as team cutting, where three riders separate three cows from a herd and drive them into a pen, and barrel racing (both timed events) were fun, but was uneasy about the bronco riding and also the kid's event - too much emphasis on all the wrong things it seems.  Not sure we'll go again next year.  Anyway, after daughter left this morning, I decided to play the tourist and went off to the Fiesta Days arts/crafts event down by the beach, bought myself a rare ice cream cone (mocha chip - yum!), took a nice walk along the breakwater, bumped into a friend and chatted for a bit then sat on a bench on the bluff overlooking the ocean and read for a while before heading home to BBQ chicken and asparagus. While out, met a couple  with two kiddies from Leeds enjoying the beach. They'd started their vacation in San Francisco, driven to Yosemite, then back down Highway 1 to Santa Barbara before heading south to San Diego and then back to LA and home via Disneyland. The friend I met gives tours of the Courthouse and said she had 20 French tourists in her group this morning, so, lots of overseas visitors here right now.

    Diane: No apologies accepted - or indeed needed! Hope the meds do the trick and that you're back to your feisty self soon. How thoughtful of you to post times and links for Curiosity's landing. I should still be up then!  Had to smile a "tear-stained T-shirt" - no blood or sweat I hope!!  I've been on LoTL a lot this year; such a peaceful season there; just what I needed. Laddie has turned out to be a brilliant provider and Lady looks well rested; Blue44/Lewis definitely well-fed for his first big flight too. (Also thanks again for the New Thread; please don't feel obligated....)

    Lindybird: Had to laugh at the notion of Hairy Bikers' Diet! Must check out the BBC website. Nice shot of Buzz off on an adventure. Take care of that foot; a glass of wine will definitely help. Agree with your sympathies for non-Olympic folks; we're getting a lot of coverage from NBC on various channels; more than in previous years and I'm enjoying it.

    Heather: We were getting computer "service" calls from India a while back.  We have Caller ID and if we don't recognize the number, or if it's "unknown" we don't answer it but wait for the answering machine to pick up. When that happens, the robocalls click right off, but sometimes not quick enough coz the pesky machine will beep as if there's a real message, then we have to go and do the "play/delete" business. Grrrr. We're on the Do Not Call list, but you have to renew it every now and then and I've a feeling we've been remiss doing that.  Interestingly, my sister in the UK, who used to always answer my calls immediately due to the "International" I.D. now waits for me to speak before picking up because they've been getting overseas sales/marketing calls and she can't assume it's me anymore. Hope the housewarming went well; also that your daughter can stay put long enough to find her emotional footing. Is there any indication the house is up for sale or are you doing "advance" worrying?  :-)

    Alan: Hope "rare" pill does the trick for Lady P and isn't too hard to track down; also that Hamish's paw heals itself.

    Trish2: Can picture you out in your nightie following Mia around the garden!

    Wendy: Oh that apology link is a hoot! (Hope I'm not now going to get e-mail from folks selling you-know-what and similar items!)

    BrendaH: Hope sis-in-law is on the mend; sounds - um - uncomfortable to say the least.

    patriciat: Wonder if the recession has caused folks to be late paying the dentist, hence the new policy, but it makes you feel like they don't trust you doesn't it?  Don't look now, but many of our doctors (not vets) require payment at time of service (definitely not the NHS).

    OG: Don't do as I do, do as I say (rest!).

    AQ: Re those annoying phone calls, my OH goes through periods where he answers and immediately starts punching various numbers to confuse the computer (he thinks). Not sure if it's a valid theory.  You are gargling with salt water, right?

    Planning/hoping for a quiet Sunday. Take care everyone.

  • Here's what's been happening in my country life. Don't read this if you aren't interested. I know I'll go on too long. LOL

    Red Fox Update

    I think I told you all that I'd seen a fox with an injured leg around my house. Well, it turns out the fox I saw was a female. She's denning under a big, old tree stump in my back garden. I've seen her several times now sitting by my garage door. She's eating the field mice who find their way in and out of my garage. (She's welcome to them!) She knows I watch her from the porch, but she shows no fear of me.

    She'll roll over on her back and scratch like a dog. Sometimes, she cocks her head and stares at me intensely. You haven't been stared at until you've been stared down by a fox! Sometimes, she'll lie down and watch me watch her. :-) She has breathtaking yellow eyes.

    One day, she had a pup/kit with her. She licked on it; it was so sweet to watch. It was digging up earthworms to eat, which explains why I have an increasing number of mysterious small holes all over the yard. I've seen the kit a couple of times since. I don't know how many there are. The young one isn't as trusting as the adult vixen.

    There has to be a male around. A mating pair usually has 5 or 6 kits, but they can have more. And here in the U.S., a pair often has a couple of "helper" foxes, who are usually offspring from the previous year. So I could have 10 or more foxes around the house. I watch carefully when I mow.

    One night, I was awakened by an unholy scream. I honestly thought someone was being murdered at the pub on the highway. I was debating whether I was ethically bound to call for help, when I heard it again: a piercing scream very close to the house. After I was fully awake, I realized that I'd heard my first fox scream. Incredible!!! 

  • Country Update continued

    Yesterday, the rabbit had another litter of young. She made her nest just a few inches from the old one. I don't have high hopes for their survival, so I'm not getting emotionally attached. I suspect the foxes will dine on them, if the wee bunnies survive the heat and drought. They are at that stage when they look like human penises. LOLOL

    I've heard the pileated woodpeckers and the red-bellied woodpeckers, so they are surviving. Red-Tailed Hawk is still deep in the forest with his young, but I did hear him recently. He gave me a scream when he flew over the house. I was happy to see a hummingbird the other day. They are visiting the trumpet flowers, which have managed to bloom despite lack of water. The foxes have eaten all the juvenile chipmunks, I think. I put moth balls under the car and sprayed vinegar, so I haven't had any more problems with mice. The little blighters...

    The ongoing heat and drought have taken a terrible toll on wildlife. Food is scarce, because most vegetation is dormant or dead. My grass is brown and crunchy. My apple tree didn't produce a single apple this year. I really hope the pokeberries and holly berries appear. If not, I will lose the pair of catbirds near the house. Area farmers have lost most of the corn crop, and other crops are lost, too. Water is also scarce. My creek is completely dried up. The water level in the region's lakes is extremely low, and the water is saturated with toxic algae bloom.

    Temperatures have been near or above 37.7 C (100 F) for weeks. I'm now in a D4 drought zone (that's the worst possible). Officials are now firmly warning us about future water supply! We might have to endure water restrictions, not just the current hosepipe ban. I suspect our water bills will skyrocket, along with food prices. I'm working hard this weekend to get my house cleaned and all of my laundry finished. So on that unhappy note, I'm going back to work! :-)

    Everyone have a nice day!

  • Diane:  Eeeek - that would be scary; worse than a car crash; hope your fox family doesn't make a habit of it (wonder if the local sheriff has been called out for fox screams....)  EDIT: Was looking at TV coverage of brush fires in Oklahoma yet?!!!  Awful that the drought is having such awful repercussions for the wildlife; hope your a/c is holding up. In the meantime, we had a little rain last night (storm working its way up from Mexico), but very little.  Coastal temps here will be in the mid- to high-70s this coming week; and peaking around 90 over the hill in the valley, but humidity will be low, so not too awful.

  • Annette: I read about the recent car crash and commotion in your neighborhood. Awful! What's wrong with people?!?

    AC is holding up. The electric bill made me pee my pants a little! LOLOL

    Glad you're enjoying The State Within. My local NPR radio station is down for maintenance, going on 3 weeks! Driving me crazy...

    The fox vixens usually scream during mating season, but this one also seems to scream once in a while when she's calling to a missing kit. I'm not disturbed now that I know what it is. This has always been coyote country (until the local eejits decided to kill every last coyote; don't get me started...). Foxes and coyotes are competing predators, so I'm not used to having red foxes around. I've enjoyed them a lot.

  • Thanks to Diane for starting us off on a new week again.  See that there are several posts from Diane, above, and am just going to sit & read them.

    No-one been on here since this morning!   Everyone must be having a lie in after watching too much Olympics yesterday!   - and What a Day it was!!      Just       < a m  a  z  i  n  g  >  !     -  am busting with pride at the effort our young 'uns have put into this, and how modest they all are.


  • Morning all,

    Diane : Thanks for starting the week off. Interesting about the Mars landing tomorrow. Also sorry to hear that your drought situation continues. We were lucky to get rid of ours fairly sharpish and it has rained practically non stop since the beginning of April. Amazing that you have a fox living so close to the house.

    Linda : I must admit I agree about the commentators talking all the time and analyzing every tiny bit of action. I have tried to be selective but the BBC is just constant Olympics and even when the news comes on it is just a repeat of what happened half an hour ago. It is just too much. What about all the people who dont like sport?

    Thanks to everyone else for the chat etc.

    Not been doing much the last couple of days as I was unwell with a tummy upset on friday night. Spent most of yesterday watching the Olympics. Mind you the weather was awful yesterday with torrential rain at times and thunder. It is a bit better today but we are still getting showers. Still not feeling 100% so it looks like another lazy day.

  • Been trying to watch Ben Ainslie and Andy Murray battling for their medals, both at the same time - kept switching back & forth until Ben got his medal (at last!)  Now Murray is doing well in his fight against Federer, who doesn't seem himself today, and looks as if he will bow to Murray as the champion for this time.

    Sorry to hear you have had a bad tum, Alan - that's rotten, especially if it lingers for more than 24 hours.  Be kind to yourself,and just sit back & watch Team GB!

    Diane:  We were told about the Curiosity on the News channels the other day;  I knew about it but hadn't realised that the Time for Landing was so near.  Thanks for the links.

    More from me later:  must go back to the TV!!!!!

  • Morning all: Just woke up in time to see John McEnroe interviewing Andy Murray about his Gold Medal win over Roger Federer. Hurray!

  • Woo Hoo!!  Andy has won and it was great to see him receive his medal.  We are on a roll for these Golds this weekend!

    EDIT:   Glad you got to see some of it, Annette.

  • Thunder is rolling about overhead, but thankfully, Buzz doesn't seem to hear it these days:  he has really gone so deaf that he misses a lot now. Here are some pics of him enjoying the beach:

    "Its great, why don't you all come in with me?"

    "Hooray, I just love it here..."

    "I'm dancing for joy at the fun of it!"

         ~    It was wonderful to see him enjoying himself so much.

  • Re Olympics, why isn't NBC showing more Equestrian events!  :-(

    Can't say I was impressed by the French sync swimming duos ring noses-- decidedly distracting and dare I say ugly?