Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sunday Stills: Doors and Doorknobs

Short on time, I photographed these doorknobs and handle all from one of our old farm sheds this afternoon. I tried to look for the abstract in line and composition.

For more images of doors and doorknobs, visit Sunday Stills.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Farm Friend Friday: Hummingbirds

Dozens of hummingbirds at a time visit our feeders

One of the animals we consider family on our farm is the humminbird. Black Chins and Ruby Throats begin showing up in early March. I put out a couple of quart sized syrup feeders for them. We use a 1 sugar : 4 water ratio and we don't heat it as it becomes too time consuming as the weeks advance.

 They don't seem to mind my presence

In April the males are flying their daredevil J dances, taking nosedives zzzzzzz zzzzzzz zzzzz to impress the right girl. I have seen a perched female with her head going up and down, back and forth as if she were watching a tennis match.

As mating season begins, the females start coming to my office window to remove spiderwebs which they use to bind the lichen together to form their nests. They will lay only two small eggs in these tiny nests no bigger than a golf ball. Once the ladies begin sitting on nests activity at the feeders will suddenly decrease by half; after the babies are born in the summer it will greatly increase again.

 One of the nests I discovered a couple years ago, photographed without a zoom lens

Over the years I've taken part in many area hummingbird banding projects. What we've learned is that these birds are very territorial, that the same birds will patronize the same feeder on the same day each year. Birds at one feeder are likely related. As the different families have grown, so has my need for lager feeders. Currently they are consuming two gallons a day! I've also had occasion to rescue a few.

This bird got stuck in the grape jelly set out for the Oriole, was cleaned and released

Tired of filling quart feeders 2-3 times a day, I recently decided to hang chicken waterers to make my life easier. These have been ideal. They are inexpensive, unbreakable, easily cleaned, and red. I just measure four cups of sugar and fill the rest with water. The generous lip allows for a couple dozen birds to feed simultaneously.

Throughout my life wild (and domestic) animals have trusted me, but I do seem to have a special relationship with these birds. Here are a couple videos I hope you'll watch and know you will enjoy. The first one Farmer Rick took of me hanging the feeder. Amazingly they even land on my hands. The second one I took holding the camera in front of my face, so you can experience what I do when I feed them. Be sure to have the sound turned up on that one to hear their chirps and the whirring of their wings!

I even enjoy painting them.

For more animals friends, be sure to visit Farm Friend Friday!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Stills: Rust

First, I should say something about the obvious lack of recent posts.

We've only received a half inch of rain in the past ten months and are under the highest level of drought. Our well went dry at the beginning of Spring and we are currently surrounded by smoke and wildfires burning up hundreds of thousands of acres in west Texas, some as close as an hour away. Hauling water for our farm and planning for the possible evacuation of ourselves and 67 animals has become more than a full time job.

Rust--we have plenty of it. On a farm it's always working, even while we sleep. I've learned to appreciate it's artistic efforts and use it to justify my tetanus shot. I've tried to pick some of the more interesting cases for this photography challenge. I can imagine myself making a series of abstract quilts based on these images. Which one do you like best?


For more images of rust, visit Sunday Stills.
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