Thursday, December 25, 2014

Keep Xmas Weird


full unipiper christmas

PHOTO CREDIT: The Musician/Band The Unipiper. Used with permission.

My sentiments, exactly. That’s how I’d choose to spend the holidays if’n I was only 25 and still drinking…

Merry Christmoose, y’all!


Merry Pugmas

Here’s a little something that showed up in my email this morning. Even though I’d never voluntarily choose a Pug as a constant companion (Iggy, the smelly schipperke is quite enough trouble, thank you).

Merry Christmas, Y’all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Deluge Thoughts & Holiday Cheer


Almost 3 1/2" of rain dropped by serious thunderstorms all day yesterday as a cold front stalled out overhead. Despite 12 hours of tornado watches, we were spared. Good thing, as getting to the house for shelter involved wading ankle deep in puddles. Iggy was closer to a drowned rat than a Schipperke after a foray to the backyard at midday to relieve a nearly bursting bladder.

One of the downsides of that much rain was the unexpected overflowing of the black tank this AM from the rainwater that went down the vent. It was enough that things rather reek in here at the moment. Unpleasant but the odor will be gone in a few days of drying out. Just wasn’t expecting the need for that much Febreeze deodorant over the holidays with everything closed.

Still, it could be a whole lot worse. I feel badly for the folks NE of here that were hit by tornados. A hard thing at this time of year. Makes it hard for those who had very little to have to start over again with nothing. A donation to the Red Cross would be appropriate if you can spare the funds, a donation of blood if your precious bodily fluid is acceptable is the gift of life, y’know.

Nothing big planned for the holidays here. SWMBO is trying to come off Cymbalta without benefit of a titrating dosage and is a cross between an angry dragon and an old sow bear getting ready for hibernation. She can’t help it. Doesn’t make it fun to live with, though. Am firmly of the mind that Doctors who prescribe a medication should know what the issues with discontinuance might be – except this time it was Eli Lilly & Company that allegedly lied to the FDA, the medical community and the patients about the side effects of withdrawal.

It’s odd, the falsehoods our brains seize upon and hold onto like a guard dog with a burglar. A certain party, unnamed to protect the guilty, told us we must not use the blue and white snowflake lights we bought last Friday because “only Jews display blue lights at Christmastime.” “Gee,” say I, “there sure must be a lot of Jews in the USA, because from 38,000 feet flying across the country in a jet, I have noted that blue lights are the most likely Christmas lights to be visible at that elevation (red has a much shorter wavelength than blue). Anyway, despite evidence presented to the contrary, I don’t think they were convinced.

So, that’s the snooze fit to spill. We’re doing well, everything considered. Hoping to hit the road to warmer climes before too long. I hope you all have safe, happy holidays. Sleep tight, don’t let the Krampus bite, and make sure your fruitcake has been soaked in 101 proof bourbon for at least a year before sampling it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Well, yesterday was a success for me. I hope it was for you, too. An afternoon visit to the Cardiologist revealed the startling news that I managed to lower my Triclycerides by over 900 points! I'm back near-normal. So, one hurdle crossed off - I'm free to resume our traveling plans, if the primary care doctor agrees. That appointment is shortly after the New Year. Got to hustle to be ready for wheels up - hard to do during the holidays.

Finished Christmas shopping last night, now to wrap and label. Me wrapping presents is like the Marx brothers - except I'm all alone with tape stuck here, and there and . No photos, please. 

Nice to have good news to relay, for a change.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Interim Report: Baton Rouge, LA

We survived Thanksgiving, had a wonderful Ham dinner and all the trimmings with one of SWMBO's daughters, including way more dessert than I should have, but hey, it's T-Day, after all. Hid out through the Black Friday - Cyber Monday madness. Been fighting some stomach bugs off and on since that manifest in odd moments for no apparent provocation. A visit to the Lab next week for bloods should offer up a numerical value or two on the state of my recovery or decline. We'll be meeting with the doctor on the 19th. It is hoped he will give me the OK to resume my wanderings as we were hoping to winter near Port Aransas, Texas. Keeping fingers and toes crossed.

In the meantime, preparations are underway for the coming holidays. Urgency to start and complete repairs is notched a little higher. Never a dull moment when you're a procrastinator, is there?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

Traditionally at this time of year one gives thanks for the good things that have happened and will hopefully happen in future. We gloss over the bad stuff and cast a rosy countenance upon ourselves. I'm thankful, too, but there are no rose-coloured glasses astride my nose. No Siree!

Then we stuff ourselves silly on roast turkey with all the trimmings, beaucoup pies and sweets, topped off with Bordeaux and Bourbon, until replete, whence  we waddle off to the nearest easy chair to sleep off our excesses as we "watch" football.

Sadly, that hasn't been my modus operandi for many years. This year will be no different. Not sure what I am serving for dinner, but it won't be turkey, goose, duck or any other roast fowl. Roast veggies are a possibility if I can get my wife to drive me to Wally World in the AM, else it will be the luck of the pantry. Beans, more than likely. Rice. The staples of most of the non-Western world. Off to a daughter's for dessert in the evening, mostly for the company as this diet doesn't permit such luxuries as cheesecake or blueberry pie. Lunch for yours truly will be a revisit with the Hot and Sour Squid Soup I made for my supper today (SWMBO claims I'm part Squid...) while the Mrs. will probably opt for a PB&J if I get some bread in the morning. Steel cut oats laced with stewed raisins & a scrambled egg was my fast breaker. 

Such is the life of the cardiac challenged. Hope yours is a tastier repast. Nevertheless, beans and rice beats the alternative I stared down in the ER just 2 1/2 weeks ago. Wasn't quite ready for the Reaper and his scythe just yet.

And So It Goes. Have a happy holiday and drive safely ... the life you save might be mine.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Convalescent Ennui

It's been a quiet week devoted to recuperating from recent traumatic health events. A major mood setback occurred on Wednesday with the arrival of the hospital bill for nearly 60 grand, and that doesn't include doctors and surgeons, nor ambulance ride to the ER. All in, I suspect close to 80 grand before we are through. Seeing as how I have never earned that much money in my life in a year's time, I suspect a working familiarity with the bankruptcy system isn't far away in my future, if you know what I mean. I don't suspect I'll ever get it fully paid off before I die. Pisser.

Bone-headed move be me: I went to renew my drivers license the other day. The drive to the DMV is a far trip. SWMBO told me the night before to bring my birth certificate. Yours truly failed to do that. You can guess the rest. Got to the DMV on Thursday afternoon and the clerk informed me I HAD to have my birth certificate. I've had a DL for almost 50 years. Not once did I have to provide a birth certificate. This is utter bullshit. Bad enough the governor caved to the RFID chip in the license, now the pharking gestapo expect us to have "ze papers upon our person" at all times!?! Heil Hitler! The better half was some old PO'd at me. She still is and offers no sign of an inclination to desist, either.

Hope y'all stay warm and dry as much as possible this weekend and in the week ahead. Be thankful next week for what all you have, material and immaterial. The Pettybees will figure out a way to take it from you before long.

And So It Goes...

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I’m Still Here, Sort of…


Yep, still amongst the living. I was discharged from the hospital last Friday night, too late to obtain the multiple prescriptions written by my cardiologists and hospitalist. But, that didn’t keep me from toodling around the local Wal-Mart on a scooter buying groceries while waiting for the one emergency prescription I could get filled.

Home again, finally, to a very excited Schipperke. Poor Iggy had to sleep outside with the other dogs, eating Old Roy Chinese dog kibble (Wally World brand) and generally feeling abandoned all week. So you imagine how happy he was to see his sleeping partner (me), his personal gourmet food provider and personal walker (also me), return to end his travails in the wilds of the backyard. Aside from a bad case of the itchies from the Chink Food, he appeared none the worse for wear.

The weekend was slow, but apparently I didn’t take it easy enough. A hematoma the size of a large grape arose on Sunday night and much spousal consternation ensued. Attempts at reaching the appropriate parties were fruitless until a PA at the hospital said I should go by the office the following day. That is about all that PA did, as I got chewed out by office staff the next day for showing up unannounced. An EKG, and a sonogram of the heart and I was told there was no damage, just a blood-filled vein with a bubble of blood. Take it easy, sir, and you’ll do fine…

So I did as told until last night, when I wrestled with a stuck kitchen drawer and the drawer won. Now I’m sore and we don’t know if the stent was disturbed or just a pulled chest muscle. We’ll see the Cardiologist on Monday afternoon as scheduled and find out then if there’s a problem.

Until then, we are trying to stay warm and dry in the coldest autumn we and Baton Rouge have ever experienced. Compared to the rest of the country, there isn’t much to complain about. Twenty-seven degrees and 3 1/2 inches of rain on Sunday to look forward to, I guess. Propane here is high, because of tailgating the LSU games, of all the ridiculous excuses for screwing the consumer.

The Doc has put the kybosh on any travels in the next year so am (literally) stuck here until Spring when I must renegotiate with said doctor about closing out my affairs in Maine. Maybe next year we’ll get to see the desert in Spring bloom. So much for the Gulf Coast of Texas, the Rio Grand Valley, Quartzite and beyond.

That’s my world today. Closing in around me, but it STILL beats the alternative,  ;)

And So It Goes…

Friday, November 07, 2014

Master of horror Stephen King talks baseball, his latest book ‘Revival’ and how he’s not done yet

I thought you might be interested in this article from the BDN:

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Still Amongst The Living

This'll be a quickie. Still in hospital in Louisiana. The cardiac docs did a cardiac catheterization on Wednesday afternoon. The bad news, all 3 grafts from the CABG 11 years ago were either partially or fully blocked. The good news is they reopened the blocked artery with the high-tech equivalent of a hand drill and opened and stented one of the original blocked veins. Two out of three isn't too bad in this situation. The post-operative time in the ICU was eventful as I tried to bleed out through my IV tubing.

The plan has me being discharged today to my RV for further recovery. As it will be a while before I can drive, travel planned for this year is on hold, dammit.

More news as it becomes available. And So It Goes...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

New Home Away From Home

I have moved up in the world to the 7th floor of the "Tower That Cardiology Built":


Cardiacs Be Us

Had an episode of angina after eating a late supper last night. Not an unusual occurrjence, but this time I couldn't quash it, despite injestion of a couple of nitro tablets melting under the tongue. So after dithering a bit on the subject the folks at EMS were summoned, and a third nitro-stat consumed. In a few minutes, the men and women of the local house of fire and agony arrived and my nice, sedate life was turned into a race. A race to run a strip, a race to load up, a race to the thruway, and a race off the bus into an ER (A&E for Aussie and British acquaintances). Much poking, prodding, and inquiries as to "where does it hurt?" and "on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst pain you've ever felt, how much does that elephant sitting on you weigh?" Things like that there...all at a rate unbelievable in good folk in Louisiana. They can make a dissertation about breakfast last until dinner!

Multiple blood draws later, the general consensus is I had a heart attack, but only a little one. Probably my glucose levels are the proximate cause. In any event, their current plan involves stabilizing the glucose readings and doing a angioscopic catheterization tomorrow or Thursday and see what's what. That's the plan, Stan. More as I am able.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

We Shall Never Forget

This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. 
I have absolutely no rights to the composite nor the individual images. See 

There will be much written and spoken this 13th year after the ignominious attacks by terrorists upon the USA. They were not the first, nor will the be the last. Unlike those that came before, we watched the September 11, 2001 attacks live, in high resolution color, in every way and from any direction possible. In horror.

My wife woke me shortly after the first airliner struck the World Trade Center. We watched with the rest of the nation as the second plane struck the other tower. We watched in inevitable horror, shock and resignation as the terrorists piloted a third jet into the Pentagon. The crash and disintegration of the fourth passenger plane in a field in Pennsylvania was a bitter aftermath to the horror of the morning and early afternoon's carnage.

While I have aged along with everyone else since then, the nightmare images persist in memory. Their immediacy, the feeling of helplessness to affect the outcome of the events of the day rage in my chest today as they did then, replacing the calm strength and vitality that once were my stock-in-trade response to tragedy and chaos as a firefighter and medic.

I shall not forget unto my dying day. Will you?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Foolish Penguin...

Too hot to work, so just napping. Got to hit the road, real soon now.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Echoing Sentiment Heard On Letterman ...

Labour Day, 2014

Dear Mrs. Clinton,

It is given that you will run for President of the United States again in 2015. Like Adlai Stevenson (RIP), you won't win, for all the wrong reasons. You do yourself a grave disservice, assuring defeat, by being out and about, punditing your way through TV interviews ostensibly about your new book. Cut it out. We all know you are angling to be nominated. Give it a rest. You will be nominated.

So, give us all a break -- take your miscreant husband and go on vacation in the Bahamas for, oh, say, a year or so. We'll like you a whole lot more in your absence than we will with Clintons crunching underfoot every time we turn around.

Oh, and Rick Perry? If you are really serious about running, which I doubt, stay home and keep your mouth shut for the next year, too. Just saying...

Saturday, August 09, 2014


The Jim Hensen Company just put this up on YouTube in HD.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why, Yes, I DO Hate the Catholic Church

Recent events have raised my internal red flags. In fact, my personal "Devil's Advocate" has been anxiously bouncing up and down, imitating a Sea Cucumber and just generally been a massive PITA ever since the appointment of an old-style Socialist to head the Vatican.

Now, I hate conspiracy theories. I become even frostier when it comes to those who promulgate this nonsense. So imagine my chagrin that it is my own slip showing in this debacle. What 'debacle' am I referring to, you ask? None other than the rapid escalation in unaccompanied children illegally crossing our borders from Central and South America.

This situation smacks very clearly of socialist engineering or brinksmanship. Latin American parents are not, nor ever have been, culturally biased towards sending their children to the North alone. From personal observation, these folks fiercely love and protect their offspring. It is not the cultural norm to abandon their children to an uncertain future in the US, with or without distant relatives to care for them. No. Despite how stagnant or depressed their local economy may be, sending their children off on an unaccompanied journey to cross the border with a guide (coyote) at an expense of $5000 to $7000 USD per child with no guarantee of success is not something most Latina mothers will do. Someone, someone highly trusted and considered beyond reproach has convinced these parents that it is safe to send their children. There is only one class of people with that kind of trust in Latin America. Parish priests. And this issue has only reached crisis proportions in the past two years. The two years since "Papa Francisco" ascended to the papacy (3/13/13). He is a Jesuit. His writings are clearly Socialist. Ipso facto. Roman Catholic priests are actively encouraging parents to send children to the States. No other answer fits.

No, I can not furnish proof. Even if I could, I wouldn't. At this point, all I have done is give voice to internal suspicions. Prove it and I become a target. While I only have a few years left, I really don't want to spend them looking over my shoulder. Because, I have witnessed the reach of the Gnomes of Rome and what lengths they can and will go to to protect the Mother Church. Squashing me would be all in a day's work.

Skillet-baked Cinnamon Roles

No oven, so baked in a covered cast iron skillet. Only one (the center) got too dark on one side. Used the standard cooking time but turned over halfway through baking. By the way, there were eight a short while ago, and it's just me and the pooch at home this afternoon.

And So It Goes...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's taken seventeen years to reach this state ...

A redneck spring is in full progress here in Baton Rouge. There's a riot of colors as flowers and trees bloom. The Magnolias are magnificent... even scrawny little twig-like transplants in front of new stores have put out a dozen blooms. And the snakes and insects -- "Oh, My!" as George Takei is fond of saying.

Something new, yet very old, has been added to the mix. CICADAS. They're in full swing, their 17-years long life span is winding down. The full moon had them singing from the tree tops. Presently, they are trying to drone out the sound of the weekend gardeners, mowing, tilling, sawing and weed whacking peace and quiet into memories. They are close, but haven't succeeded, yet (the CICADAS, not the Weekend Warriors).

Here's a delightful, mesmerizing video on the life of CICADAS, directed and produced by Sam Orr with music soundtrack score by David Blaine. This is a Kickstart crowd-funded production. If you'd like to contribute go to to add your support for this worthy project.

P.S. Does anybody have an idea on how to embed a Vimeo video from a Kindle HD into Blogger? That is the link above to a great video but darned if I could get it to embed. And So It Goes...

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Spring is in full swing in this small corner of Louisiana. Birds are flying through on their way North that haven't really been seen here all winter. But what I'm most recently proud of was identifying the "smooch ... Smooch" call of a Northern Mockingbird. We rarely see them in Maine and I don't consciously recall hearing one on the farm since moving there from Vermont in the mid 70's. All accomplished with "Merlin", my bird ID app on my iPhone from Cornell.

Happy Spring folks.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Disability From The Inside Looking Out

I've been reading Jay since she was barely out of her teens, discovering herself amid the absurdities of urban Toronto as a fledgling drinker, socialite and social worker. She's come a long ways, baby...

"I am the face of disability. It's not necessarily (hopefully not, anyway) the face you expect to see getting out of the car in a handicapped parking space, but not every disability comes with age, and not all are visible."

"We call them "hidden disabilities" although if you have known me over the past 10 years, you'll know I have trouble hiding it, as much as I'd like to. I have chronic pain. Deep and abiding pain. Pain that never gets better but does get a whole lot worse, at inconvenient times, and in suprising and sometimes humiliating ways. I have an incurable disease, an "orphan disease" which is a pitiable term meaning that there are no doctors in my country with any kind of knowledge of it, and there is no funding being allocated to rectifying that. When I meet a new doctor, I have to spell out my disease so they can Google it, and then I am their guinea pig while they throw treatments at me just to see if any stick. They never really do. I wake up in pain every day of my life. No, that's not quite true. Some days I don't wake up because I was in too much pain to sleep. My good days are more than enough to keep most people in bed but I lived that life in the early years of my diagnosis, and it's not for me. Lots of people with my disease are on disability, but I'm trying not to be one of them. Instead, I structure my life around my pain in order to live as fully as I can..."
Do read the whole entry at her blog Kill The Goat. It's an enlightening piece.

This Is Gonna Hurt...

photo borrowed from The Flying Tortoise
original copyright holder unknown.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Mardi Gras

Today is Fat Tuesday, the day before the start of Lent, the traditional day for Carnivale in Rio de Janiero and Mardi Gras here in Louisiana. Sadly, it's grey, rainy and bitterly cold in Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Those who would normally flash their naughty bits are seeking padded bras rather than beads. There are no bare cheeks in chaps on Bourbon Street this afternoon as rain and temps in the 30's drown gay boy's exuberance.

It was 29°F this morning, icing overpasses and bridges in spots at sunrise. Temperatures climbed a few degrees, but not very far. Today was the 32nd freezing day in Red Stick this Winter. Unusual, but not a record. With climate change accelerating as the polar ice decreases (Yes, Virginia, global warming is real), vernal swings are to be expected to occur more frequently. With the Jet Stream resembling a Sine wave on an oscilloscope, these unpleasant swings are happening within a shortening period.

Having noted a -1°F reading in Bangor the other day, I am NOT complaining, merely observing. I am much happier at 70° one day and 32° the next than I'd be below zero.

Anyway, let the good times roll, just don't forget your longjohns and umbrellas.

And So It Goes.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Unwanted Hitchhiker

This is NOT who you want to find hanging out, waiting for a ride deeper into the swamp. Let's go fishing, boys!

It's been cold and windy and rainy, off and On. Not golf ball sealing weather by any means. Not really fishing weather, either. But the Bass Pro catalog arrived a few days ago and I feel the juices stirring...

And So It Goes...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Here We Go, Again

Roads once again ice and snow covered here with almost everything shut down, curfews in place. Martial law the next step if the food supply doesn't catch up quickly. Power lines are predicted to fail after daybreak with winds projected. Oh joy... And I have bronchitis, too. A bad winter here but far, far worse in Maine.
Stay warm, y'hear.
And So It Goes...

Friday, January 24, 2014

This is NOT the "Life of Riley"

For those of you old enough to recognize the title of the radio/TV show above, you can fathom the depth of emotion I'm conveying by saying "What a revolting development THIS is." upon discovering all bridges, cars and other quickly cooled surfaces are covered in ice, like all of the Interstates and bridges across the Mississippi River. A good day to stay at home.

 And So It Goes.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Live Oaks

Sitting outside the Live Oaks HS. Waiting for a granddaughter to finish a baton clinic (who knew a baton gets sick?) I was struck by how beautiful this tree is.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Oodles of Noodles

So, I hit my head yesterday. Second time in a week. Second time I've been bit by the corner of the bedroom slide out. Second time I've drawn blood. First time that I saw stars for more than a moment. And the first time that I should have had a stitch taken in the skull this week. Number 1 Grandson found the piece of pipe insulation in the shed, there being none to be had in the entire Southern half of the US after the Arctic Vortex got done extorting millions of households this past week, shaking them down for every last drop of fuel oil, Natural and LP gas, firewood and KW of electricity. I scavanged the swim noodle, leaving an IOU for a new one when they hit local shelves in a month or so (swim season starts early here) and performed required surgery thereupon.

Voila! No more bloodbath, I hope.

And So It Goes.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Updates and Merlin Bird ID App & Fwd: Cornell Lab eNews: Happy Birding This New Year With Our Free ID App

Well, the sub-freezing weather is gone for awhile. Actually, I'd be happier if it didn't return at all - these folks aren't ready to cope with freezing temperatures here in central Louisiana. I hear the plumbers will be out straight for two weeks, repairing frozen pipes. Then comes the painters and plasterers, they get to tackle water-damaged ceilings and walls. Good for the trades. Keeps insurance adjusters afloat. The big box stores are doing land office business in what is usually their quiet time. But homeowners are taking it on the chin, according to the news broadcasts.

I haven't even begun to deal with the damage from the sub-zero freeze up we had in Maine in early December. I do know the water pump and hot water heater are shot. Haven't assessed the extent of pipe joints and pex that will need replacement. Just hoping the water tank and waste tank made it through unscathed. Maybe next month I can start the process of tearing out everything from the "basement". Nothing is coming out until I know there is no further freeze up possible this year. I can limp along with water jugs and sponge baths a while longer. I know for certain the black tank is sound (don't ask).

I got this news release in my morning email. If you like birds, as do I and the Mrs., then this FREE app for iPhones and ipads is just what the doctor ordered. If you do Android smartphones or pads, signup to be notified when that version is ready for use, too.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Cornell Lab eNews: Happy Birding This New Year With Our Free ID App
From: Cornell Lab of Ornithology <>

In this issue: a free, easy-to-use bird ID app, winter garden tips, a very large eagle, and more.
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Cornell Lab eNews

January 2014

Download our free Merlin Bird ID app for iPhone and iOS7
Click image to watch a short video about how the app works.

Introducing Merlin Bird ID: A New Kind of Birding App

Information overload is the bane of the beginning bird watcher—as anyone knows who has ever flipped through 40 species of sparrows in a field guide. What if an app could quickly tell you which birds are most likely based on your location, date, and a brief description? Not just which birds theoretically could occur near you, but which birds are actually reported most often by other birders. That’s what Merlin Bird ID does. And it's free—because we want to make bird watching easier for everyone. 

Merlin Bird ID covers 285 of the most common birds of North America (with more on the way). In addition to help with ID, it contains expert tips, more than 1,400 gorgeous photos, and sounds for each species. It’s available now for iPhone and other iOS7 devices, and it's coming soon for Android. 
Do you know which species this is?
Do you know the name of this yellow, green, and black seed-eater? Photo by Collins Cochran via Birdshare.

Which Species Is This?

Our latest mystery bird is a little yellow, a little green, and sometimes a little black. These small, primarily Western birds sing songs that include snippets mimicked from other species. Breeding males are distinctive, but in winter you might overlook them at your feeders, thinking they are another kind of American gold. Do you know what species this is? Check your guess and learn more.

Test yourself with more quiz photos: The above photo features a helpful shot of a bright breeding male. Want to see some more challenging plumages? Test your wits against this set from Project FeederWatch. How many can you get? 
Evergreen holiday wreaths can double as winter shelter for birds.
A nice winter feeding station by Linda Roa via Project FeederWatch.

Your Holiday Greenery Can Double as Winter Bird Habitat

in January and February, with no leaves on deciduous trees, shelter can be hard to come by. That’s when birds turn to evergreens, whose dense needles offer protection from heavy precipitation and wind. Right now, you can breathe new life into your holiday wreaths and boughs by placing them near feeders and birdbaths. Read our full set of tips on making a welcoming winter garden—the birds will thank you.

Top 10 Green Garden Books: If the weather outside is frightful, escape to warmer days by planning your spring garden. Our YardMap project suggests these great books for green gardens as inspiration. 
Video: Golden Eagle flying through snow in Wyoming

A Quiet Moment in the Snow—With a Very Large Eagle

Our Multimedia program is working on a documentary about the great sagebrush ecosystems of the American West. Tying together the many strands of that story is one of the region's top predators, the Golden Eagle. On a filming expedition last fall, as a morning snowstorm descended on the gray-green plains of Wyoming, we captured a brief moment with one of these majestic predators. Watch it.
Get Ready for a Global Bird Count: The Great Backyard Bird Count happens this coming February 14–17. Participation is free and open to anyone, anywhere in the world. We hope you'll join us!
Birding Goes Mainstream? A lengthy article in USA Today says 2014 is the year for bird watching—and makes a pretty good case.
Share Photos and Win: Enter photos, stories, or artwork by Jan. 15 in our Fascinating Feathers challenge, or check out our BirdSpotter contest with new weekly themes through Feb. 24.
Giving the Gift of Data: Over the holidays, Cornell Lab scientist Caren Cooper described for the CitizenSci blog how doing citizen science is like giving gifts to needy scientists.
Take a Road Trip: Our Upcoming Bird Festivals webpage makes it easy to plan your next birding destination. You can look through listings by calendar or on a map, so you can start planning your road trip right from the page.

Create a Legacy for Birds

Learn how to make a planned gift to the Cornell Lab
Northern Cardinal by Phil Haber.
A great way to create a legacy for birds is to include the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in your will. A bequest allows you to maximize use of your funds today while providing for the Lab tomorrow.  And modifying your will to provide a legacy for birds is easy. Some of the benefits:
  • A bequest provision will create a lasting legacy for birds.
  • Your bequest will not be subject to potential federal estate taxes.
  • You may designate how you’d like your bequest to be used and you may change it at any time.
For more information, visit our Legacy for Birds website, call Scott Sutcliffe at 607-254-2424, or send an email to
Find Us on Facebook: If you're on Facebook but don't follow us yet—please join our community of 172,000 fans for a daily dose of bird quizzes, gorgeous videos, fascinating articles, and tons of photos. 
Like on Facebook

Attention Educators: Check Out These Resources

Attend a special free webinar on Jan 20.
Free Webinar Jan. 20: Feeding birds can spark kids’ curiosity, interest in the outdoors, and engagement with science. Learn how to make feeders, identify birds, and more in our free Feeding Our Feathered Friends webinar, Jan. 20 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Ordinary Extraordinary Junco is a series of free, short videos and teacher resources produced by scientists at Indiana University. They've studied the birds for decades, and their excellent videos cover myriad science-standards-related topics.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a membership institution dedicated to interpreting and conserving the earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. Visit the Cornell Lab’s website at

Copyright © 2014 Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All rights reserved.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014

Tight fit

Not much sunlight, but we're in here.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Yeti Coolers

I got to see a Yeti® Tundra cooler ( up close and personal while at the RV Shop in Baton Rouge yesterday. I must admit to being very impressed. A semi-rigid polycarbonate, vacuum formed shell filled with urethane foam insulation, o-ring gaskets, well thought out features for locking and tieing the cooler down to your boat or truck's exterior, an excellent warranty and flat rate shipping. What's not to like? The price. Holy jehosephat, they're expensive. I use a big marine 7 day Igloo and a smaller 5 day wheeled jobbie for everyday use. Total investment twixt the two is about $125. For 3 1/2 times that amount, you can have a Yeti® Tundra the same size as our big Igloo. OUCH!

During the summer in Maine, we were using about 40 lbs of ice every two days keeping meat and other comestibles cold in the big cooler, as well as keeping SWMBO's soda and my Unsweet Tea cool and drinkable in the smaller cooler Iggy drinks from the lake when outdoors, he has a lake water bowl inside, too. I'm guessing a Yeti® might give us twice the duration of the big chest's ice but make little or no difference in the smaller chest as it is opened to outside air too many times a day to offer much increase in the duration of the ice.