Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Back In Black

The chipmunk population was knocked down for a couple of months, but, they've come back pretty strong in the past few weeks.

On Sunday night, I walked into the garage and heard an unusual noise. I stopped and looked around. Then, I saw it....there was a damn chipmunk in the bag of sunflower seeds I had sat on top of two stacked coolers!!!!! I don't know how the bastard climbed up there....chipmunks (A.K.A ground squirrels) don't really climb like a regular squirrel.

So, I decided it was well past time to resurrect the Pool of Death

I set the Pool of Death up inside the garage and caught 4 in one day!!!!! I wonder how many brothers and sisters they have?????? Too bad I don't have a few rat snakes around, that'd take care of the problem!! If anyone has a rat snake or two they don't want, let me know!!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Update to Southern Illinois Trip

Pelican line up
Originally uploaded by chymerikaen
In my previous post "Trip To Southern Illinois", I mentioned seeing 40+ Snowy Egrets in one spot.

Well, after seeing this, along with a couple other shots by chymerikaen, I believe this flock of pelicans is what I saw. What can I say....we were driving down the highway and I just got a glimpse....

Still, I am envious of this shot and the opportunity to see that many pelicans...right here in Illinois!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Summer Is Winding Down

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been slipping into a minor depression....well, maybe depression isn't the correct term...saddened is probably better. It has become increasingly apparent that Summer is coming to an end.

It all started a few weeks ago when "the never-ending salsa bowl" ran out. See, this is the first year I have planted a garden at my current place (and years since I have had one due to rentals, no space, etc...). I planted tomatoes, Serrano peppers, Cayenne peppers, Basil, Cilantro, and bell peppers. I love fresh tomatoes, and love making (ok...eating) home-made salsa as well as pasta sauces. Around mid July, I had enough tomatoes and Serrano peppers to make my first batch of salsa. From that point on, every time the salsa bowl got low, I'd make more. This lasted until probably about September, when I was running low on tomatoes. I've had a slow but steady supply since then, so the salsa bowl is back up and running. But, I know within a few more weeks, it'll be all over for the '07 salsa bowl. Sad, sad.

Then, just this past week, I was going out and it was chilly enough that I put on jeans rather than shorts. Also, have had to close the windows at night a few times due to the cool temps. Yep, Summer is on its way out. Now, don't get me wrong, it's nice to not have to run the air conditioner non-stop, and I look forward to Winter food like chili and stew, and Fall has its beautiful colors. But, are they worth the cost of no more beer gardens or fresh home-grown veggies or grilling out?? Or is the fact that you have to get up when it's still dark, and get off work when it's already dark?? I don't think so...

For a long time, I have always liked the warmer weather. I like the snow, but not the cold. But, I have never really dreaded the end of Summer like this year.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trip to Southern Illinois

Over Labor Day weekend, I went "down South" to Southern Illinois. I always make the trip "home" over Labor day weekend for my daughter's birthday, and this year was no different.

We were going to do her birthday stuff (dinner, cake, presents, etc..) on Saturday, after which, she was supposed to be leaving for the weekend. However, something happened with her plans and she ended up sticking around for the weekend. So, that was nice...got to see the family and daughter over the long weekend.

Of course, as usual, I got about 3 calls over the weekend about things happening back here in Peoria...that weekend, there's always parties, cookouts, poker tournaments, etc... This year was no exception. I tried to talk one event organizer into having a card game "here". But, once "here" was defined as 4 hours South, things didn't go my way. haha!

Sunday evening, though, dad and I went driving around the National Wildlife Refuge around Crab Orchard Lake.
Sunset at Crab Orchard Lake

I always enjoy hitting that area around sunset. I'm sure it would be just as beautiful at sunrise...but, I'm never awake to see it. :-) I was hoping to get a really spectacular shot of a Snowy Egret, but didn't have any luck. I saw a few, but they were generally too far away, or if we had stopped and gotten out of the truck, I'm sure they would have taken flight (been there done that). I did get a shot of a Great Blue Heron, but it is far from spectacular.

There was one spot/scene that I am dying to get a shot of, at least under these conditions. As we were driving along the highway, we came across a cove that was LOADED with Snowy Egrets! There had to be 40+ birds there! Which, from what I have seen and from what I have read is somewhat unusual. The sun was setting, the trees lining the lake were in shadows, so the reflections in the water were pretty dark, but, it was peppered with all these beautiful white birds and their reflections (the water was like glass). But, since we were driving down the highway, we didn't stop right there. We did look for a way to get back there from a side road, but the only side road leading to that area has been closed off for several years now.

After that, we went back to the house, had beer and brats and just chilled for the rest of the evening. Monday, got up, mom made a huge breakfast, and we ate, then I headed out for the 4-hour trek North.

Nothing too eventful on the ride home, but I did see a buttload of cops and more motor homes/campers/boats than I could count. This is the first sign that it's time to start storing food for the long hibernation season that will be here before you know it.

LST-325 Visits Peoria

I know, it's a bit late as the USS LST-325 has already left Peoria, but, I thought I'd post anyway.

The ship was docked here in Peoria from about August 22nd - September 5th (give or take a day). Originally, it was going to be here for a week, but, rains up North caused the Illinois River to rise past flood stage, so, we got to enjoy the LST-325 for a little longer.
LST 325
A shot I took from the walkway just North of the Murray Baker Bridge.

Background Information Taken from http://www.lstmemorial.org:
"This LST (Landing Ship, Tank) is an amphibious vessel designed to land battle-ready tanks, troops and supplies directly onto enemy shores. Ships of this type proved to be enormously useful during times of war and peace both. This particular LST was originally known as LST-325 during the Second World War, USNS LST-325 during its arctic operations in the 1950's, and later L-144 (A/G Syros) while it was in the service of the Greek Navy."
While in Peoria, over 21,000 people visited/toured the ship.

While I'm not a Navy buff or anything, it was neat to see this ship and I got to take quite a few shots during my 2 visits.