Everything Is Gonna Be O-Kizz-Ay

February 2, 2014 at 1:00 am (Big Animals, Day to Day, Football, Holiday, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Super Saturday, Super Sunday, Support, Thank You, Updates, Weather, Winter, Zoo) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

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It’s February. It’s Super Bowl! (In about 18 hours–Peyton! Go Bronco’s!) I finally, kinda, sorta, feel like I might be back on track to have a job and a life that actually entertains outside interests. Maybe. I am giving it a test-go right here. It’s been snowing every other day with periods of sub-zero temps in between and it feels like I drive to work on the ice roads of Alaska instead of the ice roads of Illinois. Big difference. Except that it’s actually warmer, with less snow, in Alaska right now. Of course. Anyway, first post back and I’m not going to type on and on. This is from the Zoo. Yes. We are crazy in Chicago. We go to the zoo, in the winter time, with the intentional and specific purpose of walking around in the dark and cold and snow to see the lights and take a few pictures. FYI, it was actually like, negative 5 (that’s 5 below zero) with a healthy breeze, this day that I went. Alcohol was my friend. Didn’t feel a thing. In fact, I’m drinking right now, after being in the house all day, while 6 more inches of pure frozen hell fell to the ground and covered the other 6 inches we already had. Here’s to the rest of the year. Looking back and catching up. Thanks for hanging with me as always. I promise to be a better…well…everything. Later.

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More Random Wild Life. For My Mom.

August 24, 2013 at 5:24 pm (Babies, Big Animals, Big Fish, Birds, Day to Day, Fish, Flowers, For Rita, My Mom, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Chipmunks.

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Rabbits. This is the mom I believe. She looks kind of beat.

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Those ears kill me. They are gigantic. Is this technically a “hare”? Or a jackrabbit? Or just a plain, old, midwest rabbit? Probably doesn’t matter. I have a few more:

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This was before babies. She (?) would be sitting out there in the rocks every day when we would leave and sometimes when we would come home. I can only assume it was a nice warm spot by the house. Our walls are literally brick and drywall thin. And our crappy metal windows basically blow air in all year round. It only makes sense that the hot air was coming through just as well. On the upside, I tell my family that we will never die of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Too many leaks in the infrastructure. One less thing ya know?

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The nest of babies. We found it by mistake. The one closest to the front obviously did not make it. But the other two were squirming around. There may have been three at one time but we have only seen two in the yard on a regular basis. Here’s one:

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Isn’t that precious?

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This is like one of those “find-the-rabbit-in-this-picture” pictures. Highlights magazine. Or am I the only one out here old enough to know about this?

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Frog.

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Another frog.

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Let’s keep working this water theme. Ducks. And baby ducks.

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Mom and dad ducks.

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City ducks. Chicago Lock Ducks. That’s prob a good name for some kind of team. The Chicago Lock Ducks! Swimming into stadiums near you! Eh. Let’s just post the pics.

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To wrap up this very long segment, I will end with the fish and turtles inside of our house. The time is ticking away and my daughter wants to go out. Here is the old stuff and current stuff. Oscars, from young to old. Then the turtles, in order of growth.

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When you come up to the tank, they swim to the glass to see you. So friendly like. We had 4. Now we only have 2. Sad. What’s really sad is that we are kind of waiting for the other two, to, ummm, perish, if you will. They live forever and you can’t put anything new into the tank with them because they will attack and kill it. Not all, Great White shark attack killing, or gnashing teeth piranha swarming blood bath, no, they just head butt and try to clamp down with their giant mouths and take pieces out of the other fish until the poor sucker cowers into a corner, sinks to the bottom of the tank and die. Nice fish huh?

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Awwwww. So cute.

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Turtle as art. This is how they look now.

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All awkward and on top of each other. Their tank is really too small now.

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Just as an extra note to anyone that has turtles and a turtle tank that gets really dirty: Spend the 8 dollars on this moss ball thing. It really works. It looks ridiculous, and you are basically paying for something you could scoop out of a creek at the Forest Preserve, but hey, nature isn’t always pretty.

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So there ya go mom! I saved all the squirrel pictures and the skulking black cat that prowls around our backyard for their own separate posts. And there is A LOT. The squirrels we have in our yard are very crazy, so they need their own special column here. And the cat is just a cat, but I have various pictures of it doing predator-like things that I feel make it worthy of its own posting too. Plus, this is like 3 pages long. It’s enough. And I found more birds and flowers. And inanimate animals. I really like taking pictures of statues and fake animals too apparently. It’s a disease. It’s also 85 degrees and Saturday afternoon, and my day off. I need to get up out of this house and hit the streets. There is shopping to be shopped, dinner to be gotten, and drinks to be drank. Everyone have a safe night and I will post more. Later.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Raccoon In A Can.

August 22, 2013 at 1:02 pm (Babies, Big Animals, Day to Day, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Wasting Time In General) (, , , , , )

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Just going to do this now, and move on with my life! We did not harm the creature. We rolled the can to the grass. Laid it down very slow and gently and opened the lid. We gave the can a little nudge and the raccoon ran out scared and confused while we just stood there waiting for it to pick a direction. End of story. Again, have a great day all!

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On Another Stinky Note…And One More Hawk Picture! Scroll down!

August 22, 2013 at 12:51 pm (Big Animals, Birds, Day to Day, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer, Wasting Time In General) (, , , , , , , , , )

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Skunk. There was actually 2. It looked like a mom (?) and her baby (?) skunk. They were just eating any and all the leftover crap I throw out there because I know that the wildlife comes. Usually the raccoons crawl into our garbage can and dig out what they want and leave a mess, so I try to save them the hassle. The garbage can is one of those tall, basic, flip-top carts, that almost every city in America now uses for garbage per the town they live in, be it brown, blue, green, etc. In fact, I have a picture of a small raccoon that got stuck in the garbage can, at the bottom, because it was too small to reach and be able to crawl back out. Or too weak to push up the lid once it was in. I will try and get that up next. Prob tomorrow though. Work again. Poo. The same night this skunk was around we also had an opossum. But it ran away when I tried to take the picture. The skunks, literally, do not care. They will just stay there until you make a very loud noise, and even then, they kind of look up and wait a minute, to see if you are really serious, before they lift their tail and waddle towards the back weeds. Brave. They know they have the stink power. No one is going to go rushing up on that. Let me end this now with my last picture of the beautiful hawk that I got as close to as I could before it lifted off the ground and flew away. It was really looking at me. It definitely has that bad-ass-predator-air about it. It knows too, there was no way I was going to try and hurt it. It was sizing me up and dismissing me while I stood there taking the same picture over and over. Actual wild nature can make a gal feel pretty small in a big world. But happy to be a part of it. Every one have a great day! Later.

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Hawk.

August 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm (Big Animals, Birds, Day to Day, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Summer) (, , , , , , )

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And two for some size reference, zoomed out a bit. He/she was prob the size of a cat maybe. Very impressive I thought. Work calls. Later.

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Late Summer Bug Out

July 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm (Big Animals, Big Bugs, Day to Day, Heat, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Spiders, Summer, Wasting Time In General, Weird Shit Around House) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Late July, early August. This is the time to be careful. Every day I step outside to see some new type of bug (or snake–HA) trying to give me a fright.

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Not because they are soooo scary but because they surprise me with their quiet, non-moving, oddly, and sometimes ominously, colored presence in the places that I was the day before and they were not. And because of my schedule. I get to see day bugs, like that one above, and night bugs, which seem even bigger and buggier in the semi dark of my backyard.

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I have to look up on the doors and walls and down on the ground. I keep thinking that my lost snake will return like a cat or a homing pigeon, back to stay with the family forever or exact its revenge for abandoning it to the wild. As a bonus, I usually get to be the first one to walk through the webs that our wolf spiders are always trying to build across the door frame.

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Yuck yuck yuck. Three different kinds that I was able to get a picture of, not to mention the countless other spiders I don’t see. This moth (?) was just sitting on my flower pot while I dead headed.

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Did not move or even try to fly away even when I was shaking the planter. Standing his ground. It knows that I am not going to touch it. I mean, look at it. Eeesh. I also have some kind of giant bee or wasp or something buzzing around my butterfly flowers in the front. I am not exaggerating when I say “giant” either. It’s bigger than the average bee/wasp. Probably, conservatively, 2-3 inches in length and with a wider body. It does not sit long enough yet for me to get its photo, but, you know, I will devote the rest of the season to trying. My son just moved some sticks from our small branch pile in the back, and uncovered a swarming bee’s nest. He got stung three times. Luckily he is not allergic and has been stung several times before in his young life. Both of my kids have. I think that might be kind of weird just by itself. Some people never get stung by bees. And yet my kids get stung practically every summer. Hmm. I don’t really have any more reflecting to do on that. Just throwing it out there because I mostly type what I am thinking.  The BF has planned an actual weekend for us. With a schedule and list of things to do and places to go. And I have one more day of work to get through before the fun begins. I may or may not get to post as we go. I plan on putting the actual list here if I can but I don’t want to jinx our plans so I may have to do it after and let you know what we did or didn’t do. Plus, I have to send it to the computer and download and blah blah blah. So here are a bunch of bugs to enjoy while I am gone. Have a nice creepy day.

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FYI. Ending on a positive. This last bug is NOT a real bug. It’s a display from the zoo. But what if it was? Think about it. Later.

 

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Classic Bunny Pose. Right Before We Fed Him To Our New Pet, The Snake.

July 17, 2013 at 11:48 am (Animal Deaths, Babies, Big Animals, Day to Day, Heat, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Just kidding. However, we do actually have 2 little baby bunnies that seemed to survive the nest we found a few weeks back. Looked like 4 inside, but we only see 2 every day now. Oh? You don’t want to hear about these bunnies? What happened to the snake? Well, I’ll tell ya.

The snake survived fine, overnight, in the pillowcase, the first night into Sunday. We had discussions with family about who to call, what to do, where the snake should go, blah blah blah. We had some nature preserve ideas, natural habitat locations, and I did more research on the internet to find a decent solution we could all live with. We had a pretty good plan in place, but when we woke up Monday morning, it seemed that nature was going to decide for us. The pillowcase was wet, but only in a certain spot, as if something tried to attack it and either the snake was now dead, or it defended itself and released liquids of some defensive sort. I don’t really know enough so I thought, dead. I got gloves, cause, ewww, and when I picked up the bag to untie the cord the snake was rattling and angry. But alive. So we let it out nice and slow like they say to, and it calmed right down. I was able to hold it and inspect it and it looked OK. But, it definitely could not stay in a pillowcase, inside of a plastic tub, in a backyard, for anymore days or nights. Based on more research and a few phone calls, the best course was to let it go in its closest natural habitat. The snake is one of our Illinois snakes, and it is considered mostly passive as far as wild snakes go. And they move around at night in the summer. So, maybe it just got really lost. We have, well, let me say, we had, a wild, wooded area right at the end of our block-set mere weeks ago. But after several episodes of flooding, the town, or county, or whoever, leveled all the trees, bushes, grass, etc., and created a retention/detention pond-type area. It was quite dense and wild. It had coyotes. We saw them over the winter. At any rate, they’re all gone now. The land is flat and I’m sure the animals that didn’t get killed outright, moved themselves out asap. And maybe our little friend finally worked her way over to our backyard looking for shelter. Or she was just passing through and just wasn’t fast enough. OR. She’s been hanging out in our backyard for god knows how long because of all the wood we had piled around and since we moved some of it in our clean-up attempt she had to move too, but we just never saw her until the other day. Eck. We could have been sitting and standing near her for days. Or weeks. Eeesh. Let’s not think about that though. Let’s think about this instead: The nice thing about living in the suburbs is we live very close to, “the end of the suburbs”, which is basically open land and fields and forest preserves. We picked the best one that had everything: Prairie-like land, woods, marshy swamp area, and water. And not visited or populated by many people. Some areas see lots of traffic, the one we picked has very little, in general and by comparison. We drove over there Monday, nice and early. No people. took a walk deep into the back, a nicely wooded and flat area, where the secondary, smaller pond is, and let her go along the tree line. It’s a good spot. Lots of space for a young snake. (We have been thinking juvenile, totally based on color and patches, via the internet again. I could be completely wrong of course. Male. Old. Dying. Who knows.) Anyway this is her new home:

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We let her out of the pillowcase, onto the ground, behind where we took the picture. Thick woods, away from the roads or parking areas, with that view across. She layed for a minute in the grass and the sun. And slowly slid into the trees. Then she was gone.

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Stepping Up Our Wildlife Game

July 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm (Big Animals, Day to Day, For Mason, For Stevie, Nature, Picture Posts, Posts In Pictures, Snakes, Summer, Unusual, Weird Shit Around House) (, , , , , , , , , )

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S is for snake! This little lady was laying right in front of our door last night when we got home from shopping at Target. I mention the Target part because we do not live in an area where this type of snake roams free. And truthfully I didn’t even see it. I apparently walked right over it. Stevie too. Mason started yelling from the door, “Are you kidding me?? Did you guys NOT see this giant snake sitting out here on the ground?? Are you kidding me??” I am paraphrasing for time. Add many more swear words and repeat 10 more times. I thought he was kidding. Nope.

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Of course she slithered herself in between the outdoor plastic tub we have and the house. It was near dark when we found her and could not get a good look. She was rattling her tail and beating it against the ground and bricks while trying to move. So we thought rattlesnake. This is my night pic. The only one I could get:

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Looks like a rattlesnake to me. Sounded like one too. So we called the police because we thought they need to know about potentially dangerous animals. They do. BUT. This isn’t really in their scope. They sent an officer who helped us move the tub so we could catch it. We did. Put it in a plastic bin and then into a pillowcase. Left it outside by the garage. Then went to the internet to try and identify. Success! I feel kind of smart too since that is a crappy picture and memory is not as good as you might think when you are terrified that a rattlesnake is going to bite you or try to crawl into your house. Our pretty little snake though, seems to be a Fox Snake. Often mistaken for the rattlesnake in Illinois. Often. Quick FYI’s and possible, relevant, future knowledge, you might need too someday:

Rattlesnake: Similiar colors, but, with a lighter enhancing outline around the dark pattern. And shaped like bow-ties. Thinner in the middle.

Fox Snake: Darker, rectangular pattern with light background. Picture proof obtained.

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Rattlesnake: The rattle on the end.

Fox Snake: No rattle, but tries to mimic the rattle, by vibrating the tail just like a rattlesnake. Yep. True that. It rattled that rattleless tail alot to scare us. But, no rattle. Also confirmed via pictures.

Rattlesnake: Slit eyes with vertical pupils. Vertical. Up and down. Very scary looking.

Fox snake: Round eyes. Round pupil. You can see her pretty eyes in the above pic. And here. We really got in there this morning with the picture taking.

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Rattlesnake: Light bottom. Similar coloring to top.

Fox Snake: Yellow bottom. Or orange. Could not confirm that until today. Yellow.

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Both snakes are available in various lengths, but the Fox Snake is 3-5 feet. Ours is prob 4 feet.

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The head is lighter in color, like the pattern gets blurry or smeared, whereas the rattlesnake head keeps the pattern same as the body.

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And constricting. Bites for defense, but not poison. The internet claims it doesn’t hurt. Hmm. That will remain unconfirmed. Eats mice and rodents. It’s a sub species of rat snake I guess. Not aggressive unless attacked or threatened. Also, most likely female, based on size. We are just going with it. We played with her for quite awhile this morning and she never attacked. She did try and constrict and curl and keep trying to get out of the bin, so I picked her up bare handed and was able to look at her closely and then put her back into the pillowcase without physical harm.

A few phrases come to mind: “Snake charmed.” They do have a mesmerizing magnetic effect that makes you want to keep them and touch them. “If it was a snake it would have bitten me.” I NEVER even saw the damn thing laying straight and flush against the house. Camouflage in action. “Snake wrangling.” We were quite hilarious and ridiculous last night chasing that girl all around the house trying to pick it up with rakes and sticks. Little did we know we could have just grabbed it. But in our defense it was pretty “strikey” last night until we calmed it down.

At any rate, I posted it on Facebook for anyone to have. We can’t keep it, but we won’t kill it or let it loose somewhere. Could be a pet that got free, because it is not really indigenous to our particular location. One more interesting factoid: It is unlawful to catch, keep or kill this snake in Iowa. Endangered I think. Protected maybe. Mason found that info. There are like, 39 different kinds of snakes in Illinois at any one time, (4 are poisonous), and we get an out-of-towner. Seems funny. And don’t worry, I’m not going to just give it to anybody. It’s not food for something else or material for shoes or purses. If no one legitimately can take it and care for it properly, I am calling a private owned pet store we know of–that only deals in fish and reptiles–to see if they want it or can at least take it and fine a home for it. No animals will be harmed in the making of this post.

So, that was our night. We have to go to a grad party now (Yay Jesse!! High School Over!! College Bound!!) and prob won’t be back until dark again. I cannot wait to see what will be hanging outside the back door later on! The lost reptile wildlife of suburban Chicago must know we specialize in taking care of fish and turtles and are hoping to expand the family with snakes. What will it be tonight? I am hoping alligator! Or crocodile! Either way, it’s going to make an awesome photo gallery tomorrow! Last shot because I have one more picture I want to use.

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Guess What This Is

July 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm (Big Animals, Day to Day, Holiday, Nature, Picture Posts, Stevie Pics, Summer, Vacation) (, , , , , , , )

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My usual boring stuff can wait for another day or so. Especially when my girl sends me much better things to share. I almost can’t believe this colorful guy was just walking around, in view, waiting for his moment of internet fame. He’s from Kentucky. Appears to be several years old. May be single. Hard to tell because he took all day to get across the road. The camera loves him. I don’t know. I’m just making all that up. Here’s his head shot:

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He was sent to me without comment. Along with some underwater pictures that I will put up next. Then, back to my regularly scheduled programming. Unless…my son sends me something later too. You definitely want to keep checking back for all this mystery and excitement. Do we need the sexy side view? Chilling on the side of the road? Of course we do!

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Warriors In Pink

October 3, 2012 at 12:42 pm (Big Animals, For The Cure, Pink October) (, , , )

This is kind of a lazy post today because I am really crunched for time, but it’s not nearly as lazy as the second pink elephant picture I was going to post. Different angle, different pic. That’s my philosophy. I also have some pink sky pics I took last night to throw up here, but those can be for tomorrow in case I can’t find anything cooler today while I am out at work and in the world. I plan on filling in the pink spaces with other stuff too. I have more ideas than just this one “Pink October” thing I am trying to start. But as you all know from reading this blog daily, weekly, whenever the computer skips to it accidentally while you are searching for something else…I have a small problem with consistency and carrying out a theme to the end without getting sidetracked by five or ten other themes. It’s almost happening right now while I am typing. Refocus. I really do have to go. Shower and work. Here’s that elephant picture anyway so I won’t be tempted to use it later. Later!

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