Wednesday, May 25, 2011


We did have a little positive experience on our walk in the park…a red-tailed hawk sitting on a branch just chillin’.

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Heron rookery…

During the tornado this last Sunday, the Heron rookery was demolished. This is something that a lot of people enjoyed coming to see and take pictures of.  Each spring the make Herons would fly in and try to get the best nest, sometimes we would see them squabbling over one. It was fun to see these huge birds (they remind me of pterodactyls) carrying nesting material in their beaks. There were so many of them and they were so big to be balancing on these skinny little branches so high up in the trees. I kept telling my sisters and my boys to walk on over there and see them. Now they won’t get a chance…there are only a few trees left on the island…all 200 nests are gone…all but seven babies are gone…a lot of the adults are gone, either they died during the tornado, or had to be euthanized because of severe broken legs or wings.  A few are still flying around, but they probably won’t build another nest this year, and they probably won’t be back there next year. Hopefully they will find another island not to far away and start a new rookery. They will be hugely missed.

We took a walk there tonight (Wednesday May 25) to see how much damage there was to the park and the rookery. Quite a few trees, very large trees are either snapped in two or just uprooted and nothing is cleaned up yet. I took pictures, but they just don’t do justice to the amount of damage. We had to climb over or go under whole trees in some places. Most of the path right down by the river is impassable right now. I’m assuming the Minneapolis park board will take care of cleaning up all the fallen trees, but with the economy the way it is..I’m not so sure they will. There is one HUGE old tree leaning over the path and resting on another tree right on the river. That one has got to go so no one gets killed. A person would Not stand a chance if it fell.

We found lots of shingles, siding from a building across the freeway on Lyndale, insulation, and a blanket. Take a look…

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$36 was a very small price to pay for peace, for Annie and for us.

Annie would pace, and pant and be totally obnoxious whenever there was a storm.  She would start her pacing at the first sound of thunder, add lightening to that and she was a complete mess. We felt sorry for her, but she was so out of control, we just wanted to lock her in a room. But if we had actually done that, we would have had to replace a door by now.

We gave her “Calm tabs”  that worked a little bit, for a little while, but not nearly enough to make a comfortable difference. I started looking on the internet for a solution to her nervousness and found a cape that had medal threads in it. It was expensive for no guarantee and I just didn’t want to fork out the money. We got an emergency blanket (you know, the silver ones you should have in your emergency kit) and it worked a tiny bit, but made a lot of noise. We tried locking her in the bathroom, because dogs are supposed to like being by iron (the bathtub is cast iron), and that also worked a tiny bit, but she didn’t like being locked in the bathroom. During one late night storm on a weekend that I had to work, I begged David to take her to the family room and kind of hold her. Thank you David for giving in to my whining!! Well he wasn’t going to do that for all storms, so I went back to the internet and searched some more.

I happened to be at work (tsk…it was slow at the time) and Cornelia and I were complaining about our dogs being afraid of storms, and I came across the It works on the same principle that works on autistic children, where they calm down and feel secure when they are secured in something tight or heavy, like a weighted blanket. The Thundershirt is a soft knit fabric vest that closes with velcro. It attaches around the neck and snuggly around the chest, and by golly it works!

After each storm, Cornelia and I will compare notes. She had to hold her golden retriever and even let her sleep with them so she would calm down, but not any longer. The last storm that we had, May 22, 2011, was a doozy, an EF2 tornado came through just 10 blocks to our south and while it missed us, we still got a good storm out of it. I  happened to be at work, but David and my mother-in-law Marie both said Annie was comfortable enough to lay down and take a snooze during the storm. I would say that is $36 well spent.

Annie looks a little strange with her Thundershirt on, because she has so much fur. I think she sort of looks like her rope chew!!!

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Mama Squirrel…

Well, I think Mama Squirrel took her babies away. We watched her carry one in her mouth this morning, this was quite a site because she wasn’t much bigger than the baby. She would run a few feet, stop and catch her breath, run a few more feet, rest a bit, then up the fence post, across the fence and down the other side. I think she was going to the neighbor’s pine tree. After I left for work, David watched a while longer and he saw her get her little “trouble maker” across the yard. He didn’t need to be carried like the other babies, he was able to follow her on his own, but still, she would stop every few feet to make sure he was indeed following her, and hadn’t fallen into the pond. They climbed the fence and went towards my mom’s house, which is where all the peanuts are, and this is one reason why I think maybe there were two families living in that tree. The one that went towards my mom’s was probably offspring from one of the squirrels my sister feeds. They come to the safety of my yard (with my dog and cats) and make a nest to have their babies, then leave to gorge themselves on peanuts! Hmm, our birdseed isn’t good enough for them, huh?! They were extremely entertaining, and I’m actually sad that they are gone. I wonder if we’ll have a family of red squirrels again. They are even cuter than the grey squirrels, but they are just little devils, especially when they get older. Attitude!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Baby squirrels…

Spring is my favorite season. I love watching the snow melt with the coming warm weather. Little green plants start poking out of the brown, messy garden beds. Trees start getting substance with the leaf buds forming. The grass greens up and resumes growing…fast, maybe too fast and with it, dandelions. Within days, plants are up, the grass has been mowed, the ducks are back at the pond and baby animals are showing up. Some people have birds in their yard, some have deer, some racoons, we have ducks and squirrels. Last year we had a family of red squirrels, the cutest little things I have ever seen. We may still get a family of them, but I haven’t seen any yet. This year we have a family of grey squirrels living in our dead tree attached to our pond. It has some hollow branches that are connected to their nest and they can run in and out of it. Their mother sends them out to play for an hour or so every evening and we sit in Andy’s old room and watch them chasing each other all over that tree. We’ve counted at least five of them, but there may be six…poor momma squirrel, she looks a little ragged.

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