For starters, we still have the cute and amazing Jezza!! Anyone, anyone who wants a kitten, consider giving him a home!

Here are a quick few pictures to show what’s coming up in this blog…not everything, but some of the best.

Here is a video in honor of Ryan saying stuff like “Addie can tell like all the birds by ear and tell you if it’s a boy or a girl and how old and stuff like that.” Ok, he doesn’t exactly say it that way, but he definitely gives me a lot more credit than due.  Love him for it, but here’s a video for him. I’m still trying to track down the little sneaks who make this noise.  It reminds me of a scold from a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, but a lot bigger and more throaty.  I thought I caught a glimpse of a Scarlet Tanager, but never got a good picture.  So, I’m still working on this noise.  However, I’m kinda happy because I didn’t find this noise for Scarlet Tanager on the Cornell University website about birds, but I did find the “TICK-BURRR” sound I’d been trying to track down as well… so now I know that’s a tanger!  And at the end of this video, there is also a call from Ryan’s T-bird…the Towhee.

Here are some extraneous pictures and video from the cats taken during Egg-A-Day on the 2nd.

Indy was stalking me for attention and for the camera time I think.  And of course, I have to stop in and say hi to Jezza.

And here is Indy in two videos.

And her hiding in some grass plotting something…

I went to the bank on the 3rd, and used the drive through (although I walked through it, I was too late to use the inside, but the drive through was still open…so I just walked around the building to the drive through and got in line with the cars.  A nice lady let me go in front of her I think, (I was writing my deposit slip, so I think the lady next to me was the vehicle that there when I got in line and not that that line went way faster than I noticed and she just let me over since I was in the  line over from her but was there first…anyway, thanks to the nice person!) and while I was talking with the teller, I noticed there was a large moth on the outside of the building.  So once I was done doing bank things, I went to the van, got my MP3 phone (’cause it’s camera is better than the phone phone even if the microphone is broken on the MP3), and went back to take some pictures.  Luckily, there wasn’t anyone using the ATM lane of the drive through, which is the one closest to the building, so I wasn’t in anyone’s way.  I probably looked a bit odd or whatever if you didn’t see the moth I was staring at, but when has that bothered me 🙂 .

I didn’t know what it was when I took the pictures, but I just looked it up.  It’s a Cecropia or Cecropia Silkmoth.  And I learned another thing today!  This moth species is actually a tiny bit larger than the Luna Moth!

Here are the pictures, and one video with lousy sound–I don’t think it’s overly loud, but it’s not exactly working properly either.

So coolies, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually known what I was seeing if I saw one in the past, now I hope I’ll remember what it is if I’m lucky enough to see another one!  It’s a Cecropia or Cecropia Silkmoth, Hyalophora cecropia.

When I got home and let the dogs and cats out, and put Jezza in his play pen, I then headed down to the ram pump.  I was hoping I had gotten the solution to the problem at Lowes… I got a new check valve… the brass-ish NO LEAD flappy valve metal one, not the PVC one…. at about $10, and with the system designed so it could be screwed on and off, it should be a quick fix if that’s the problem.  We did have one valve die on us already since we installed the pump (which by the way, is about a year old…maybe a bit longer now?), and that’s not exactly a horrible wear rate, as this isn’t what the valve is really and truly designed to do.  I don’t think it’s designed to face upwards, or be put through so many cycles of open/close so frequently.  I think over time, as it gets slammed shut, it may occasionally not be aligned, as there is a little play on the hinge for the valve, and maybe over time it vets a tad warped.  I dunno.  Anyway, I got 2 valves, one to have as spare (and if this didn’t work, I left it in the package so I could return it if we didn’t need it).

Here’s the first bit of the experience.

So, when I saw that when I went down to change the valve, I was more certain it was going to work.  The petering out of performance I’d been having trouble with up to now was kind of like what it had done last time we needed to replace a worn valve.  However, that time it was shooting water sideways as well when the valve was closed, whether it was holding shut, or ka-chunka-ing  and pumping away.  So, seeing this spraying sideways made me more sure that this valve was worn, too.

At this point, I closed the intake valve, so water from the spring wasn’t getting past that valve and wouldn’t come out the tube at me.  I left the outgoing valve open, so no back pressure would build up, but I didn’t drain the lines, as I didn’t think there was water in the air tank or sediment in the lines.  I figured it wouldn’t take a long time to refill the pipe back up to the house that way.

Next, some pictures of the new valve and the new and old valves, and me using that thread tape…I hope I wrapped it the right way… I wrapped it so I think when I twisted the new valve on, it would tighten the tape?  I had to pull some plastic out of the new valve, I think it was in there so the valve wouldn’t flap flap flap in shipping and on the shelf and on the way home.

Here’s the next video and picture and video.

DSCF7170Time to open the intake valve, and hope a bit.  The outgoing valve is already open.

And as I’m writing this July 4th in the evening, the pump hasn’t stopped since I started it by opening the valve. It’s running slower than it did when we had it running normally before, but I’m ok with that.  I’m wondering if maybe when it was going faster there was more pressure on the valve, which wore it out quicker?  Also, I’m thinking I should make sure to get down there at least once a month during the rainy seasons and drain the union at the corner so no silt builds up.  I’m hoping that will also reduce back pressure on the valve, and hopefully reduces wear.  We’ll see!

Ok, moving on to July 4, I’ve been busy today.

Here are some photos and video from the morning, before the jog with Kyle.  Some of them are from the yard while getting ready, and some of them are on the prejog walk with Ralf and Kyle.

Starters, a picture and two videos of what I think was a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers.  They’re definitely woodpeckers, and I am pretty sure they’re Hairy Woodpeckers.  I heard them before I saw them (quite often how I spot birds), and the first video they’re not really in but that squeaky squeeaka noise is them… and then the jingle is one of the dogs shaking their collar.

And a picture of one. These guys didn’t hold still very long.


And here’s one doing the typical bobbing up along the tree.  They use their stocky tails to help them brace against the tree.

And after that, we have a few pictures and video from the walk.  There’s a newer picture of the orange floewrs of the Butterfly Weed, a video and few pictures of a Song Sparrow again, the Holly tree is looking a bit better, it put out new shoots, and Ryan’s strawberry plants are still giving it a go.

And here is the Song Sparrow in video again.  I don’t have it making it’s singy song, but that’s another noise it makes.  I think there’s possibly a Indigo Bunting in the background.

Here’s from jogging with Kyle.  The river /creek /stream /whatever where we turn around and I bring Kyle down to ‘get wet’ if it’s warm out definitely has a little delta thing forming, and it’s eaten that big rock in the large stream it’s gotten so large.

The red flowers at the bottom are Bee Balm, a type of Monarda, Monarda didyma.  There are a few very similar looking relatives, one is white, I think there’s a kind of pinky-lilac one… Some other related names are things like wild bergamont, horsemint… and I’ve been doing a bit of web snooping to try to figure them all out and get them straight…and it’s not so simple, as most of the search engine results are nurseries trying to sell me some variety or other… not great for information usually.  Anyway, it’s a native wild flower!  Speaking of native, one of my favorite colors for flowers is the (indigo/blue flower in the pictures) Chicory flower, Chicorium intybus, is not native, but has naturalized and is common along road sides.  It’s really pretty though.  I learned another thing or two!  It’s related to the dandelion and asters.

And here’s a video I’ve been trying to get for a while. It’s Barn Swallows.  I still haven’t gotten any good pictures of them in terms of color, but this is a nice one of their chatter and some decent zipping around of them flying.  I like swallows a lot, they eat a lot of insects that might be annoying, and they also look waaay cool and pretty. Jet fighters probably looked to them (or gulls) for shape… they were here before planes, so obviously planes look like them, not the other way around.

and the next two videos are out of order here, they were from the early part of the jog, or maybe even the walk, but whatever.  First, I was trying to get an audio of a few birds, including an nuthatch (probably white-breasted), and it did fly over my head, but for some reason the call wasn’t being picked up by my camera.  What I did pick up was the call of an Indigo Bunting again.  I like them, they’re one of my favorite colored birds (ok ok I like blue ok), and they weren’t that common in Wisconsin or da UP, so I wasn’t so hot on picking out their call, and it took a while to connect that twetwe twatwa …sort of sets of two call with the bunting, but now I have, I’m hearing them all over… and yes, I see them a lot more often here!

And this next video is an audio, I was pretty sure it was a thrush, but it didn’t sound like the Hermit Thrush I grew up listening to.  So I looked it up, and it turns out its a relative, the Wood Thrush.

And then in the afternoon, I shifted some of the logs I’d stashed in one of the truck topper sheds into the other one…and split them, too.  I got a whole ROW done!! Woo!  I’m still using the splitting maul axe thing, and I think it’s 8 pounds.  I had to evict a spider from the log I use for a splitting base…and there are a few shots of some of the more impressive or stubborn logs.  A few of the pictures are showing that I prefer, if I can, to put a log which will have stubborn stuff with it on the bottom, that way I can use the leverage of the log itself to help push it open, instead of bouncing the axe (maul?) head off the really tough spot if I have it on top.

The weird rash thing on my arm is from an ant bite from the last time I hauled logs into the yard… it ITCHES.  But I don’t think it’s infected or anything… I’m wondering if maybe I got poison ivy?  But I don’t generally react so much to that stuff (thankfully).  I have had a few ant bites since we moved down here, and while they all haven’t been so T-shaped, my system does NOT seem to like the ants down here!  Or maybe tiny aliens looking like ants made a pseudo-crop circle on my arm?  Whatever, it will go away.  Just figured I’d get some pictures of it as it was kind of weirdly geometric, and y’all might want to see one of my souvenirs from log moving.  Oh and yah, hooray, that spider (or relatives) didn’t bite me while I was shifting all those spider web decorated logs in the shed.  That would have hurt, that guy had some size!

Lastly, here’s some more pictures from in the yard, and near the chicken coop.  Those hazels are looking quite large… but hey folks, warning… as fuzzy as the leaves and new stems are… those leafy covers over the nuts are like little porcupines or sea urchins, very very irritating tiny spines.  I learned that one as a kid.  Don’t touch directly!

And I think that’s the last of stuff to add, and it’s getting late enough to be early, so hope you had a great 4th of July!