Wild for Wildlife

I love animals. I love watching animals. I feel so blessed to be living in the time where web cams can be used to watch various animals in their natural habitat.

On of my favorite live web cams to watch is at the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. During the winter and early spring there were two web cams:  one in Lily’s den (where we were able to watch her and yearling Hope as well as the birth of Jason and Faith – the cubs born in 2011) and a den at the NABC where the two of the resident bears (Lucky and Ted) spent their winter. Now that the bears have left the dens the “Pond Cam” at the NABC is up and running.

http://www.ustream.tv/flash/viewer.swf 

Live TV : Ustream

Within the last few days the Minnesota Bound Loon Cam has been activated! The Loon Cam is at the nest of a common loon family in central Minnesota. It has been exciting to be able to watch the eggs being laid and the hatching. Last year neither egg hatched (not that momma and daddy Loon didn’t try) so we hope this year there will be success. as of this writing no eggs have been laid yet and I suspect momma is out celebrating her freedom one last time. Click here to get to the Minnesota Bound Loon Cam. 

Here is a video from last year just to get an idea of what you can see.

Here is the Decorah (Iowa) Bald Eagle nest cam:

http://www.ustream.tv/flash/viewer.swf

Live Broadcasting by Ustream

If you are wanting to check out some of the various web cams you can check out UStream’s Pet & Animal category page. You name it they probably have it….even baby owls which are possibly the ugliest little creatures as newborns.

Easter Glory!

Easter morning dawned bright and beautiful! The day started with a very emotion provoking service at church. Without fail the words of Pastor Randy found their way into my heart.

Tulips in bloom – gift to my Step Mom

After hanging around the house for a bit (Perry had to replace the heater in the car) we headed off to Aunt Rita’s for dinner. As always the food was wonderful! The company was pretty amazing, too!

Lisa & Carol chit-chat

As usual Cailin was a little princess! She really liked great-great Auntie Rita and Don! She looked adorable in her pink polk-a-dot dress.

Of course we can’t have a family gathering without the obligatory photo shoot!

The gals

The guys
Dad & the kids

Here are some other photos from Easter 2011:

Hope everyone had a joyous Easter!

Growing

I am happy to report that I have mostly success with the recent plantings!

The Victory Garden is coming along nicely. In fact there are more sprouts since this photo was taken 3 days ago! Can’t wait for the tulips to bloom!

The Mammoth Sunflowers after only 1 week! I’m going to have to transplant them pretty soon to bigger peat pots! Mammoth indeed!

In this photo we have lettuce (closest to front), broccoli and cauliflower. Can’t believe how they are growing!

So sad

For a bit over a year now I have been following Lily the Black Bear. Lily is one of many black bears in Minnesota being followed by the Wildlife Research Institute at the North American Bear Center in Ely. She and her cubs (Hope, the yearling, and the 3 month old twins Faith and Jason) have captured the hearts of thousands of people throughout the world because of the live den cams and the Facebook Group. Lily and Hope are radio collared making it a unique opportunity for researchers (and the rest of the world) to really learn about black bears up close and personal! It has been an amazing experience to watch the births of all three cubs live….to listen to them play and cry and nurse. To watch them grow and eventually leave the den with momma once the snow started melting.

Jason – 3 months old

Just today we (the Lily fans) found out that Jason, the only male cub, had died. It is heartbreaking….it feels like I’ve lost my own little pet and I know the feeling is shared by many many from all over the world. Yes, it is the circle of life – but it still hurts.

Here is an article of interest:  Lily’s Cub Dies; DNR and Researches at Odds.

As of this time it seems that the DNR has taken possession of Jason’s body. The researchers had wanted to do a necropsy to determine the cause of death in hopes of possibly finding some information that may help in the research. I (along with the other 131,183 Lily fans) am hoping that in the end the DNR will come through and let the WRI have access to the info. If they do I will update!

But – I’m just sad right now. Poor little guy.

UPDATE:  DNR confiscates dead bear cub from Ely researcher 

At Wits’ End Gardens

Step one of the creation of At Wits’ End Gardens complete! I’ve successfully managed to get all the seeds started! Whew! I’m hoping I have enough space to plant them! We have a lot of variety for this years garden. I know I will need to limit how much of each thing we grow but I wanted to try things out and see what works and what will not.

Here is what we will be attempting to grow:

Rutgers Tomatoes
Roma Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes
Big Jim Chilli Peppers
Green Peppers
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Buttercrunch Lettuce
Crimson Sweet Watermelon
Pickling Cukes
Cucumbers
Green Onions

These will be planted directly once it is safe:

Winter Squash
Sweet Corn
Radishes
Peas
Green Beans
Carrots
Rhubarb

In the herb garden:

Cilantro
Marjoram
Thyme
Rosemary
Sage
Oregano
Dill
Basil
Catnip
Garlic

Flowers:

Hollyhocks
Poppies
Sunflowers
Lavender
Morning Glories

Landscaping Projects

What an overwhelming feeling it is to step back and see how much we have to work on. The nice thing is that we are going to do things without a lot of expense. So much potential! This summer we will focus on the front yard. Pretty much anything we do in the backyard this year may just turn into a toy for Bones. By next summer he will be much better at not exploring everything by attempting to chew it up!

One of the first projects will be to work on the mailbox. Right now there is a border around it (as you can see) that is coming up. It is filled with rock. The border is in good shape so we’ll just pull it up and put it back properly, clean out the rocks, and throw a little soil in. I have started some Heavenly Blue Morning Glories that will look nice climbing up the trellis and mailbox post. I may also plant some tulips or another perennial as well to add a bit more color. This may not be the best place for a perennial simply because it is very close to the road so gets a lot of salt and stuff that is put down on the road during the winter. I’m still thinking that part through.

The next project will be the “Victory Garden” Perry started for me last fall. This is just a small triangular shaped area along the edge of the driveway and road that he planted tulip bulbs I purchased from the Susan G. Komen foundation. Yep – pink Breast Cancer tulips! So far I can see a few of them coming up. I also found some purple tulips (sitting in the tray in the photo) that I will be adding. I wanted to see where the bulbs are that Perry already planted. A border of some type will be added. I’m thinking of a small stone border like the stone crescent edgers on sale at Menards this week. Nothing too fancy and easy to mow and rake around (that would be Perry’s request more than mine). I can’t wait to see what comes up this year!

This photo shows the area to the left of the front door. Right now it is rock filled with no border. The rocks will be removed and used in the backyard (as soon as David starts doing it). I’m hoping to have my herb garden here. I’ve started a variety of herbs to see what works and what doesn’t. This is the year for trial and error. Perry wants to remove the two stumps you can see but I’m thinking they can stay and be used for something.

The photo to the right shows the front of the house that is to the right of the front door. Its looking rather junkie right now. Again, it is filled with rock which we will remove and relocate to the backyard. You can see the various Basset themed statues. And a bunny thrown in for some fun! I have 3 day lilies already planted there. Got them for a steal late in the season last year and I was pleased to see they survived the winter and are coming up. I know they tend to spread over time and that will be okay. They are closer to the house so there will be some room for the other flowers I am hoping to plant. IF it goes as planned in front of the lilies I will plant a row of Four O’Clocks (which are suppose to grow to 24″ to 30″) and in front of that a row of Poppies (with an expected height of 12″ to 24″). We’ll see how it works!

We have no sidewalk from the driveway to the front door. I suspect that may have something to do with the fact the well is directly under the front step. We decided to grab some of the larger garden blocks that were in the backyard to use as “stepping stones.” Obviously you can see they are not quite put in the right way. We’ll get them dug down and spaced a little better. One is cracked so it will need to be replaced and we will need one more for sure. The good thing is that the design is a standard one and readily available at Menards. Although they are not that expensive it is just nice to be able to utilize what we already have and avoid extra expense.

The rest of the front yard isn’t too bad. Except for the darned leaves! You can see that behind Perry on the property line between us and the neighbor there are some trees. Those are lilacs! I have always wanted lilacs and now we have a whole line of them between us and the neighbor that runs to the back of the property! As Perry was raking along the fence line he noticed something coming up. The little green sprouts look to be deliberately planted and not grass. Time will tell what they could be. I just don’t recall anything growing there! Of course, Perry tends to mow down anything that gets in his way so chances are I just never had a chance to see it.

This is the area of the backyard where the rock will be relocated to. There use to be a cement pad here that was removed with the idea of putting in a deck. We will use landscape timbers to frame the dirt area off and fill it with the rock from the front yard. Because this is a low area water tends to pool when it rains and during the snow melt. It is also the area the dogs come in and out of the house. Putting in grass just might be a no-win situation. We’ll put the rock in and down the road we can still put in a deck. For now it will at the very least clean up the area and (hopefully) limit the amount of mud that the dogs drag in. I can’t wait to get this area cleaned up. This is where the puppy likes to drag his very special prizes he has found….as in the solar lights that use to be in the backyard, the half burned logs from the fire pit…

This area is looking out the patio door. Right now its filled with rock but we’ll probably move the rock with the rest. I’m thinking of either a really neat flower garden or even a sand box for the grandbabies! Still contemplating that.

So, this is the beginning of what looks to be a very fulfilling summer of projects! As time goes on I will be showing you the progress!