Saturday, March 31, 2012

Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

This is one of my favorites. It’s wingspan can be up to 5”. This one is not quite that large.


The L “swallowtail” is missing on this one. She posed so well I took a second picture. Very distinct pattern on her wings.


I believe this is a male….see the blue ringed with orange near the tail? And it has both tails.


This one is missing the R tail. Looks like I had 3 visit the Bottlebrush Bush today.


We spent over a week on the boat. If you like gators….check out the boating blog…

I have video of a Gator, Manatees and Swallowtail Kites…but unable to publish them.   If you go to   and put CmyBirds2 in the “search” it will bring up all the videos I have posted on both blogs.

If anyone one knows why the sudden problem with attaching videos to the blog..please let me know.

Monday, March 19, 2012

3.19.12 Another recycle…from Camper to Flatbed

Each trip to NY, VT and back, Jim had to patch up the old Award camper. It looked fine inside and out…but Jim saw all the places that were disintegrating.

It doesn’t look too bad from here….but inside the walls on the L front corner and the R rear corner…the wood foundation was quickly rotting out.

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It’s only 23’ long, including the hitch….and Jim used everything he could from the interior and walls for the car hauler/ camper.

All the doors, windows, cupboards, toilet, shower,sinks and closets were used.


The kitchen area is from the camper…The fridge quit so we used the little one that came with the car hauler. The furnace also was giving trouble so Jim added a propane heater on the wall over the counter top stove. (2 burners over the fridge).092cs

Some of the outside wall was used to make the fold up bed. Even the little rail trim was from the camper. He used 5 windows from the camper and the door. (We needed a way out of the car part and it has a screen door.)


So….we now have this.


and this……   our old camper is now a flat bed. Jim loaded all the stuff he couldn’t use. Sorted out the clean aluminum, brass, steel and other metal, and it all went to the local recycle station.


We still have 3 windows left…..hummmmm…I wonder what he can make with them?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

3.15.12 View from the screen room

This is the view from the screen room. Last winter we added a woodstove to it and heat with wood. We set our thermostat at 61 but so far, it hasn’t come on.

Cool mornings we start a fire and enjoy our coffee. When the day warms up….we just open the doors.

Cardinals, Painted Buntings, Indigo Buntings, Gold Finches and Titmice come to the feeders. Northern Parula Warblers feed on the bottlebrush and Catbirds bath in the birdbath. Carolina Wrens climb over everything looking for insects. Squirrels and Doves come to the hanging platform feeder.

We have our coffee and enjoy the action. When it starts to warm up outside..we just open the sliding doors.

The white objects in the back are beehives. The tallest one is a hollow tree we cut in pieces, glued and restacked for a hive. No bees yet. Waiting for a swarm.

I had honeybees last year but wax moths invaded them and the bees left. So I have to start over. I don’t use chemicals, and they were new hives …one from a swarm and one a package of bees. They were just getting started and hadn’t built up strong enough to protect the hive from the wax moth larva, which destroy honeycomb and sometimes feed on bee larva.


I am starting to see a few more Painted Buntings at the feeders. I’ve seen 3 males at the feeder at one time. There may be more but that is the way I have to count them for They record all the sightings. This prevents you from counting the same bird several times.

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Aren’t they beautiful? They show up around Nov and leave by April.


The greenie could be an adolescent male…or a female



The feeder pole is PVC pipe in concrete. There are several scratch marks where the Raccoons have tried to climb it…but they have to let go with one foot to reach the feeders….and down they go.


The birdbath’s automatic drip runs into the tray beneath the Giant Milkweed. If I just sat the pots on the ground, fire ants would make a home in them and kill off the plants. This way they get a little water when it doesn’t rain.

I have a small swarm trap hive on a stand in the front yard by the Bottlebrush bushes. I have it as close to their line of flight, as possible, without it sitting in the driveway.


The Bottlebrush are just starting to bloom. We had a little rain and that will help.

When the bushes are in full bloom they just hum with honeybees.


They are also a favorite of the  butterflies.


At one time this feeder was in the back yard. I’ve moved it to this area because it provides more shelter during storms. It has a hot wire running over it to keep the raccoons out. They used to climb across the cable and empty the feeder.


The big ball is a Staghorn Fern. My sister gave it to us when she moved. It hangs on a thick chain between the two Cabbage Palms. A heavy frost did a lot of damage but it is coming back.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

3.11.12 “Feral” cat feeder

Since Smokey, (the grey female cat, that took over our back porch) came to stay ……she added a couple of kittens to the family.

They are definitely outdoor cats. We are allowed to pet “Smokey” and “Lightening”, when they are eating, but don’t let them see your hand moving towards them or they will run.

“Bolt” wont even come to the plate if we are close to it.

Jim gave the kittens their names because of the lightening like pattern on their legs. This is Bolt. You can see his marking on the R front leg.035cs

This is Lightening. His mark is on a hind leg. Don’t you just love that little butterfly mark on his mouth?


Since we go boating for a week or two and camping for as long or longer, we needed a way to help keep them fed, even though they are not pets.

I did some research on “feral” cats and how they feed colonies of them without raccoons robbing the feed. This is the type of feeder some were having good luck with.

It’s a bit over 3’ off the ground and the same distance from the deck. The heat pump is to the left of the feeder and about the same distance. I’ve seen them jump from the ground up and from the deck.


The aluminum around the base is to prevent raccoons from climbing up the post. Supposedly, Raccoons cant jump. It’s been in place a few days and so far we’ve not noticed any robbing by them. I put Vaseline around the top of the post, up under the skirting, to prevent ants from getting into the food.

It has too openings so they can’t get trapped in there by another cat or critter.008cs

The only thing we had to buy was the feeder inside. Everything else Jim recycled from something else. The skirting around the base is from the old camper…. the wood from the car hauler and he made the brackets for the post from camper parts.

The enclosed corner is towards the west where many of our storms come from. The two open sides face the deck/screen room and the mobile home. That should keep most of the hard rain out. A neighbor will check the food to be sure it hasn’t gotten wet or spoiled or empty.

We could have put it in the woods…but then we wouldn’t be able to watch the cats and harder for our friend to check on it. Not the prettiest thing around but we’ll live with it.

Smokey has been spayed and the kittens neutered. That will help keep the feral or stray cat population down…and if they decide they want to stay….they have a home.

Smokey must like us….she presented us with a nice big fat rat a few days ago. She’s a keeper.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

3.3.12 My Husband, Jim……Master Recycler

Jim wears many hats. There isn’t much that he can’t do….and if he doesn’t know how?…..he learns.

But I never really thought of him as a “recycler”. He doesn’t throw much away and when he needs a part or a piece to repair something with…he goes hunting. If he can’t find the part he needs…..he can usually find something to make it with. Not always….but just about.

My garden hose hanger was falling apart and I was sick of looking at it. I asked Jim if he had an old car wheel around that he could paint up and hang for me. He didn’t have one……but he did find an old stainless pot full of nails and stuff….


I guess we could have gone to town and forked over a few bucks for one of those fancy things, but would it have a place for me to store my plant food?

Take a close look at my shovel. Early this morning it was made of wood. I was prying up some potted trees that had sank deep roots in the ground and it snapped. Jim found a piece of square tubing….now I have a new shovel.

Guess what he did with our old washing machine. It is the new cat house. The mother cat is a stray and somewhat afraid of people. We had to leave shortly after the kittens were born so they aren't friendly either. I have been able to pet the mother and one kitten, but the other scoots away when you get too close.

Now they have a nice warm, dry place to sleep during the winter or hurricane season.


We had a couple of sheets of strand board that came out of the car hauler when Jim remodeled the front into a camper. It wouldn’t last long outside so Jim made the top and sides from the old washer.

It has vents in the rear…that can be closed for the coldest part of the winter.


The entrance and vents have porches to keep the water from running in.

The front is hinged so I can open it to wash the bedding, and to spray for fleas etc.

Since there are 3 cats, it is set up so they can sleep together for warmth or each have a separate space.


The hinge is on the R side and a wing nut on the left, above the porch, keeps it securely shut until I want to get into it.


We left it on the deck for 2 nights to see if the cats used it….they did. Now we need to build an outside feeder that the raccoons can’t get into.

Even though most of our lives were spent in the “disposable” age, I think we both remember what it was like to go without… wasn’t much fun at the time…but I think it did us more good than harm. We have the ability to appreciate everything we have….even though it might not be the biggest or the best.

One of the best things our parents taught us to do without? Debt!!!. If you can’t pay for it…go without….until you can……or…learn to recycle what you have…….and can Jim ever recycle!!!!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

3.1.12 Bird bath

I normally have a hose on a slow drip sitting in the bird bath. Yesterday, Jim buried a water line to it and rigged it so I could have it drip all the time. I can turn the water up to clean it or leave it as it is.


Now I don’t have to worry about the hose being knocked down by cats, squirrels or even raccoons. Normally there is plenty of water around…but during the winter ( our dry season) the canals are the only water access.

I have one in the front yard, sitting on the ground for any other animal that comes through. I have it on the outside of the dog pen to protect Raisin. All animals are welcome in the main yard, and that includes wild Hogs, Raccoons, Armadillos, Opossums, feral and stray cats and dogs and even a Bobcat once in a while. Can’t have them in Raisin’s area.

The squirrels seem fond of this one.


I just have a hose strung along the fence …a water line to go in shortly.

Mosquitos don’t like moving water. With the constant drip, I am hoping to keep them from breeding in them. The run off from this one waters the Tangelo tree…and did we ever have a bunch of them this year. The other bird bath waters one of the Bottlebrush bushes.  Most everything does double duty around here.

Our water is from a well, and if we are gone for any length of time, these slow drips start the pump every now and then. Motors here in FL don’t last long if allowed to sit. Ants, mud daubers and humidity can really mess them up. Jim starts everything at least once a month.