Archive for the ‘turkeys’ Tag

03-30-2018 My Wildlife Welfare System   Leave a comment

Being a lifelong animal lover has it’s ups and downs and living here in Maine makes things even more interesting.  With the harsh winters and constant snow cover the wildlife here has become quite  deligent in their hunt for food. I’ve been a loyal bird feeder for most of my life because I really enjoy having the birds around.  My better-half is also a bird lover and we currently have six feeders we keep filled.  I estimate the birds are eating close to 125 lbs. of feed a year  not counting the many packages of suet we purchase to keep the woodpeckers healthy and happy. Add to that two or three quarts of sugar syrup for the hummingbirds and you begin to truly understand.

It became apparent some months ago that the birds living in this area have a rather accomplished communication system to spread the news concerning food sources and the location of predators. This came to my attention when a herd of wild turkeys showed up out of nowhere and began feeding from the food accidently dropped from our hanging feeders.  Needless to say my better-half was quick to buy more corn and began strewing it everywhere. That’s all they needed to make our home the number one spot on their regular feeding rotation. With the heavy snow cover this winter they needed to do something inventive to help them survive the winter.  Thus began the feeding of a another new group of dependents that I couldn’t claim on my taxes. As always I just went along thinking that would be the last of the additions to our extended family of two hundred or so really hungry birds.  I was sadly mistaken once again.

Last year I erected a squirrel feeder on a nearby tree hoping it might convince the little buggers to stay away from the bird feeders. Once again, no good deed goes unpunished. We found out very quickly that turkeys and the occasional deer are also fond of corn.  So began the battle for the corn that lasted most of the summer and into the winter. My better-half still insists on bringing home an endless supply of corn to keep the battle going.  I left one of the bags sitting in the basement and hoped she would forget about it.  She forgot for a time but the field mice did not.  They like corn too and we soon found ourselves overrun with mice. Since the untimely demise of my lifelong best friend, my cat Stormy it’s been difficult to keep them under control.  He died a year ago and the mice discovered his absence rather quickly.  A new war was a brew’n.

A quick visit to Lowes supplied me with an armload of mouse traps and a determination to keep the mice out of our home.  I did discover that putting cheese in a mousetrap is a waste of time.  At first the mice were able to pull the cheese from the trap without harming themselves.  After some research I discovered that JIFF creamy peanut butter really gets the job done.  I’ve peeled 13 little corpses off those traps so far and I hope there will be many more to come. I toss their little corpses out onto the snow bank in the backyard where the crows and coyotes fight over the free meal.  At least with the mice I only have to feed them once.

I wish that was the end of this sad story but no such luck.  Next on my list is a large group of industrious little chipmunks who have quite a nice residence under our home.  My father always told me if you see one chipmunk you probable have at least ten. If that’s true then we may have upwards of a hundred roaming around. Oh yeah, they also love corn and bird seed just like damn near everyone else. It’s a little more difficult for them because they’re so small and the birds are constantly chasing them away.

I’ll begin working in our garden within the next few weeks and “Job 1” is to be certain that the fences are intact.  All these little varmints, birds, deer, and skunks are just waiting for me to make a mistake and then my garden will be trashed.  Don’t even get me started about that big fat skunk that patrols our property looking for trouble.  If he was any bigger I could just ride him around  like a horse.

So begins another summer here in Maine.  It should be interesting.

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02-26-2016 Journal–Turkeys, Art & a Dirty Joke!   Leave a comment

This winter weather here in Maine remains fickle. Fifty degrees one day, then fog the next, ten degrees the third day, and freezing rain and black ice the next.  I’ve pretty much given up listening the the forecasters because they apparently don’t have much of a clue either.

With February almost gone we’re within six weeks or so from seeing winter start to fade away.  Overall it’s been one of the better winters since I moved to Maine. Temperatures were mild up until Christmas and we’ve only had one snow storm worth mentioning.  Without a doubt the best part is how much money we’ve saved on home heating oil.  Warmer temperatures and a serious drop in price from $3.40 a gallon to a $1.35 have kept a smile on our faces all winter.  We’ll probably end up saving between five and eight hundred dollars in heating costs this season.

We took a ride through the surrounding area last week just to see what was happening.  As always here in Maine we stumbled on wild turkeys a number of times.  With most of the snow cover already melting they’re able to feed in more locations than usual.  Here they are . . .

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Maybe they’re the true harbingers of Spring and not that dumbass gopher in Pennsylvania.

With the rediscovery of my creative juices I’ve been working on two projects steadily for the last week.  I’ve finished one and in another few days I’ll finish another.  I won’t post too much of either until they’re both complete.  Here’s a shot of a two square inch portion of the first. It’s a little strange but that’s how I roll.

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Just for a laugh I thought I’d send out a truly tasteless joke.  It made me laugh out loud for some reason but it’s sure to irritate a few of the ladies out there. That’s too bad . . . but here it is anyway.

A women went to apply for a job as a truck driver. Not too keen on the idea, the personnel manager for the trucking company said, “You have to be pretty tough to cut it as a truck driver, you know.”  I’m tough, I really am,” said the eager applicant. “Well, do you smoke and drink?” “Yes of course.” “Do you cuss a lot?” asked the interviewer. “You bet you asshole, “ said the woman. “I cuss like a lumberjack.” “So have you ever been picked up by the fuzz?”  “Well, no,” she admitted, “but I’ve been swung around by the tits a couple of times.”

Please no moaning . . . everyone needs a dirty joke once in a while even if it is a little corny.

C’MON SPRING

10-17-2015 Journal – Horses, Turkeys & Leaves!   Leave a comment

There’s nothing better than a spontaneous road trip around southern Maine in the Fall.  My better-half had a mid-week day off which is reason enough to grab the cameras and hit the road. We cruised around, shopped a little, and enjoyed the day immensely. The sun was bright and the colors of the woods in some areas are really vibrant which seems to be a necessary requirement for a successful Indian Summer.

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I also saw my first bus load of leaf peepers driving up the turnpike this week with many, many more to follow.  People can’t seem to stay away.  Many areas remain green but one night with a hard frost will change all that very quickly.

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As we ride around we stop often to take photo’s or to check out yard sales but one of our regular stops is at this small farm to say hello to the horses. Again I forgot to bring apples along and they seemed disappointed but it didn’t stop them from running across the field to say hello.  They like checking us out as much as we do them.

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I’ve mentioned in the past about how often we see turkey’s in our travels. They’re kind of like big ugly versions of those pigeons you might see in Boston or New York.  This photo was a quick shot out of the car window as a flock was attempting to cross the road in front of us.  It appeared to be a Mama bird and a line of teenagers following behind.

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They seem to be moving around more than normal since the woods are now filled with hunters.  I  wonder which of these birds will be served up for Thanksgiving this year.  It’s a dangerous time for these fellows and I wish them luck, they’ll need it.

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Gotta love Fall.

05-08-2015 Journal – Beaches, Blankets, Bikinis   Leave a comment

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Yesterday was a day spent enjoying the warm and sunny eighty degree weather. My better-half had the day off and we were able to spend some quality time together just bumming around.

Living in Maine has it’s issues like bad winters and quirky weather patterns but it also has a lot of pluses.  We’re able to visit the White mountains within an hour, the ocean and beaches within a half hour, the  New Hampshire lakes region in one hour, and Boston in two hours.  We also have an abundance of wildlife that we sometimes take for granted.

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As we left our home and traveled less than a mile we observed turkeys roaming around  in a nearby field.  We see turkeys on a regular basis as well as hundreds of seagulls and as many hawks.  People in our rural community that have chickens are well aware of the hawks, coyotes, and foxes. If your chickens are free range or left outside of a fenced area then you can be sure to lose a few to these predators. It’s also possible to lose a small cat or kitten right off your deck if your not careful.

These two pictures were taken less than a mile from our house. This fat old fox was just strolling along the road, crossed right in front of our car, and then stopped to watch us from the woods.  He hung around long enough for me to get these shots.

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With the day being so warm we decided to make our first Spring visit to a local beach.  Maine residents are a hearty folk who hit the beaches as early as possible in the Spring.  We have a need to shake off those winter blues once and for all.  While it was sunny and warm the wind still had a chill to it but it didn’t seem to matter.  A lot of sunbathers were on the beach and even one crazy fool of a wind-surfer.  That water was damn cold but he was having a great time.

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We had an all-around terrific day walking the beach and taking a few pictures. There’s no better way to kick start our Spring and Summer seasons.

01-26-2014 Journal Entry – I Love the Nightlife!   1 comment

There was a time time in my life when I was the ultimate night person.  I slept all day and worked and played all night.  After work I’d  visit a variety of clubs and bars returning home in the wee hours of the morning.  It was a great time in my life because everyone knows the best shit happens after dark in the middle of the night.

I worked those hours for more than five years.  My job required visits to massage parlors (not officially as a patron), strip joints (not officially as a paying customer), and even the occasional brothel (again, not as a paying customer).  I became educated very quickly to the unbelievable quantity of nightlife activities, how to enjoy them, and even more important, how to survive them.

The more things change the more they remain the same.  All these years later I’m discovering a whole new word of nightlife here in Maine that I’ve been totally unaware of.  We live in what could be called a rural area.  Our home is adjacent to a small river and a large forest of pines.  We live far enough out that without assistance from technology (range extender) we can’t receive cell phone signals and are not registering on most GPS devices.  It’s like living in Never-Never Land.  That being said, we love it. We thought that “wildlife” in this area was mostly confined to the Portland metro area and was low key and had a minimum of crime to deal with.  How little we really knew.

Last night we had an unusual snow fall. It snowed for no more than twenty minutes and then stopped completely.  There was just enough snow to cover everything in a pristine white sheet.  We went to bed after the snow fall stopped and remarked to each other about how white and smooth the back yard seemed with the new snow cover.  There wasn’t a mark of any kind on that snow.

We awoke this morning and walked to the window and were shocked at what we saw.  It appears that our backyard is the night club for most of the “wildlife” in this area.  These pictures will give you some idea of the night time traffic taking place in our back yard.

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We live our lives giving little or no thought to the “life” swirling around us every day and night.  I saw tracks of coyotes, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, one lonely turkey, a big fat skunk, and a trail left by that sneaky cat belonging to our neighbors.  I’m not surprised too often but this was amazing. I guess that one day warming trend we were blessed with brought everyone out to celebrate.

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I think I may have to pay a little more attention to what’s going on around me.    With a good lens and a small night light I might just be able to get some really interesting photographs.

06-15-2013   2 comments

Today was all about relaxing.  My better-half and I decided to just take the day, go where we please, relax a little, and we did just that.  We had a great breakfast at home and then headed for the coast to snap some pictures.  As expected traffic was heavier than usual with the influx of tourist beginning to increase.  The summer season is almost upon us.

Our first stop was the Portland Head Light which is a light house on a point of land at the entry to Portland harbor.  This is a favorite spot for tourists from all over the country if the license plates we saw today were any indication.  My luck much be changing because just as we drove past the main entrance someone pulled out and left me the best damn parking spot you can get.  We took plenty of pictures, spent some time in the gift shop, and then near the water watching the boats come and go.  It’s a very relaxing place and the adjacent park was filled with kids and parents flying kits, throwing Frisbees, and playing ball.  It was very nice.

We then left the park and drove through the suburbs of Portland and headed northwest out of the city. We drove at least a hundred miles in a large circle covering a large portion of southern Maine.  We stopped to shop in a number of antique shops because I was hot to buy something today.  Unfortunately for me my better-half was not.  We saw many really cool things but ended up buying nothing at all.  I found a working Dictaphone circa 1865 with a number of wax cylinders still intact and workable.  It was in beautiful condition and I had a hard time walking away from it.  For $150.00 it could have been all mine.  It still may be mine.  My better-half returns to wok tomorrow which may force me drive back to that shop and make the purchase anyway.  Should I or shouldn’t I? I’ll know tomorrow when I get out of bed.

We had a great day together and it gave us a chance to reconnect after a few weeks of her hectic work schedule.  We antiqued a little and then stopped along the road to see some lambs and take their pictures.  I also got some great shots of my better-half chasing a flock of turkeys through a farmers field trying to snap pictures while running.  It was really funny and I’ve got it all on my camera to be used later to embarrass her.  Life is good.

We returned home tired but relaxed.  She’s back to work tomorrow where the stress will start working on her all over again.  Since this was my official Fathers Day celebration I was happy as I could be.  Steaks on the grill later, a nice glass of wine or two, and hopefully a restful nights sleep afterwards. If you get my drift.

11-22-2012   2 comments

Thanksgiving has come and gone for another year but for a change I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.  Since I’m not a religious person the holidays of Christmas and Easter don’t get me all that excited.  I participate in the activities but only because I care for the family members who go dog-shit crazy over them.  New Years was a great holiday when I was younger when drinking and carousing were the rule of the day but that ended a while back.

The Fall of the year is my favorite season.  It’s that old harvest time mindset in Maine that really attracts me.  Every weekend from Labor Day until Thanksgiving will find people at Town Fairs, Farm Shows, and festivals of all kinds.  Home made foods, home made gifts, and farm animals are the order of the day.  It’s still a place where many Maine families carry on the tradition of visiting one of our local tree farms for picking out the family Christmas tree.  It’s even cooler when you’ve had a fresh snow fall and you get to walk out in the woods with a saw in one hand and your kid hanging onto the other. It just makes the seasons feel more meaningful and it gives those kids a life-long memory to enjoy.

I’ve been fortunate over the years to have attended many family Thanksgiving gatherings with my family and the families of others.  That’s really what makes Thanksgiving mean more to me than any of the other holidays.  It’s the tradition of the day more than the food that makes it extra special.  The fact that the Pilgrims created the  first Thanksgiving is nice but so what.  What’s important to me is the family members making the effort to be together and be thankful for the things and people in their lives.  Our celebration this year was a small intimate family group with the new grandson enjoying his first Thanksgiving. He was the lucky one who didn’t overeat and got to sleep through the meal.  The food was great and the company was too.  I was in charge of the bird this year and (patting myself on the back) it was delicious.  That bird made the ultimate sacrifice and we all appreciated it.  I’ll appreciate it again over the next month or two when we can snack on those homemade pot pies he’s going to be a part of. Yummmm!

I hope all of you enjoyed  the day and your time with your families.  We’ve lost a few family members this year and have welcomed a new arrival as well.  Keep them all in your thoughts.

Posted November 23, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying

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10-27-2012 (2)   2 comments

Well, as I mentioned earlier today I finally was able to spend some quiet and interesting time in a nearby wildlife sanctuary. It was a beautiful sunny day and I seemed to be totally alone in over eighty acres of woods and fields. You should understand that this sanctuary is located adjacent to the Scarborough River and it’s 1100 acre fresh water marsh. It’s really a beautiful place to spend time. I made my way to the river bank where I sat in the trees observing no less than a thousand birds slowly circling the marsh. I can only assume they’re gathering for their migration south but it was really something to see. I attempted to get a few photos but they were too far away and I didn’t have my telephoto lens with me. It’s things like this that have a real calming effect on me and actually made my day.

As I worked my way back to my car I walked into an open field and found myself surrounded by at least fifty wild turkeys. I stood perfectly still as they wandered all around me. If I had moved the least little bit they would have been gone in a flash but I managed a few shots as they left the area. It’s been quite the year for wild turkeys here in Maine. I’ve seen hundreds in the last few weeks and even had a dozen in my back yard for a time a week or so ago.

It’s that time of the year in Maine when walking in the woods can become a life threatening experience. It’s like being in a war zone except many of the soldiers are under the influence of alcoholic beverages. I don’t want to be the headline in the papers: Man Shot by Hunters, Mistaken For a Cow, so I’ll be staying home until hunting season is over.

I’m making my special chili tomorrow for a group of my better-half’s friends and family and I need a few habanero peppers to spice things up a bit. A quick stop at Hannaford Foods and then back home.

The radio tells me Sandy is making her way up the coast and will be here in a day or so. Sixty mph winds should make for an interesting night or two. Thank God for our generator.

I’m looking forward to movie nite with my better-half. We were recently introduced to a BBC program made for TV that is an updated remake of Sherlock Holmes. You should know I’ve been obsessed with Sherlock Holmes for years and I’ve read everything ever written about him. I stumbled on the DVD at a local store and now I must find the second season. It’s absolutely addicting.  We can kick back and relax for a while before sleep.

Tomorrow is another day.

Posted October 31, 2012 by Every Useless Thing in Just Saying Again

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