Great Birding While Gardening

Wow. I’m really late getting my garden in this year. I’ve expanded it and we – my husband, son, my dad and myself – had to move some heavy things and cut through some clay that had my dad’s cultivator bouncing. It has been a lot of work but I like being outside, so that’s OK.

About all I have left of the many different seeds I started back during the winter is tomatoes. My cat didn’t like the tomato plants and that’s why. I’ve also planted beans and cucumbers. I sure hope this stuff comes up. An armadillo did a bit of his own digging in my garden and I hope I didn’t replant any sprouted beans too deeply.

Yesterday afternoon while I was planting tomatoes I was listening to a pileated woodpecker who sounded like he was laughing as he flew from tree to tree in the woods. Then I heard a single sound, “Peek!’, then in a minute I heard it again, and then once more. I wondered who that was and looked up at the mulberry tree and there was a rose-breasted grosbeak! Man, I wish there was a way to rig up binocular lenses that I could flip down over my glasses! I was pretty close, but binoculars would have been wonderful.

As I was watching him, I noticed another bird moving around in trees and brush near the mulberry. I knew that wasn’t one that I usually see but couldn’t identify it. Last night I looked in my book and I think it was a female summer tanager, but I’m not positive. I’ll have to watch for more of them.

At my feeders, I’ve had a female red-bellied woodpecker, two female house finches and one male, and yesterday evening an indigo bunting flew (probably from the feeder) into the window and knocked himself a bit silly. He sat on the fence awhile and waited for the stars he must have been seeing to go away. A couple weeks or so ago, I had a painted bunting on the feeder. Along with those birds, we have also had plenty of mourning doves, white-winged doves, sparrows of various types, cardinals, blue jays and chickadees.

I’ve been inside today catching up on things in here while I give my foot and knee a little time to rest. I flipped a heavy concrete thing over on my foot yesterday and really didn’t feel like using a shovel or standing a whole lot today. And my knee is just old and is complaining about all the bending. I may still get out there this evening a do just a little more. I have six more tomato plants that need to go into the ground.

Stinker of a Computer Virus – or whatever that was

The following is an email I sent to a friend whose wife calls him The Professor because he knows a lot about a lot of things. He gives us computer advice and we had been communicating about a virus or some bit of malware we had on our computer. His son had one that mimicked his anti-virus program and wouldn’t let him uninstall the program or do a system recovery either. AdAware found the problem and removed it. I never found anything that would fix mine. I’m putting this on my blog in case someone else has Zone Alarm warnings about something that you think it shouldn’t warn you about – like your anti-virus program that is not new. Or, if you get a notice telling you your Microsoft firewall is turned off and you didn’t turn it off. Computers don’t just do things without a command from somewhere.  So, here’s the email:

Ricky did a system restore back to March 31, 2010, but he said it didn’t tell him some programs would be taken off, and others put back, and then reboot, like it should, so he didn’t think it worked right. He did that last night after – Yesterday it was on because he had been playing games. I walked in the room and there were two warnings from Zone Alarm telling me something wanted access and said they were new programs. It was part of Avira – according to the names of them – but we had Avira on there long enough that it shouldn’t come up as new. (That was our anti-virus, along with Panda Cloud after we took AVG off.) Anyway, I guess when the firewalls kicked in on this thing, it turned them off just like it did before when it also turned off Panda when it was saying AVG needed to reboot. I think it didn’t matter that I didn’t click OK because it just turned the firewalls off.

Anyway, there are 3 ways to take it back to “new” and Ricky said it wouldn’t do two of them. We’re glad it would do the third. Recovery Management wouldn’t come up so he could restore through the operating system and when he went to change the boot sequence so it would read the disk, it didn’t show the options it was supposed to show so he could do it. He said nothing would move. He had to do the hard drive recovery. He had to use the administrator password to do that. I guess the password is what kept the virus from messing with that option.

I don’t remember what all I ran trying to find this thing but nothing picked it up. If I knew how to tell when a file was not where it should be located I may have been able to get rid of it, but I bet it would have taken out a bunch of good files when it left. It was a real stinker!

We’re going to use Avast!, Panda Cloud, and Zone Alarm this time. I remember when I was working I used Avast! and it would stop a page from loading if I went to a website that wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

So, this is our saga. And I hope a couple of cowboys win the Amazing Race tonight!

Thanks for the info you sent.

ADDENDUM: Well, shoot! I thought that race ended tonight…

Birds, Yard and Garden

Last time I wrote I was hoping I’d be able to move my arms and back after all the yard work I’d done. I was able and got a lot done last week. I worked outside six days in a row, followed by a day of rest on Sunday. I’ve worked out there a little this week and still have plenty to do. I want to get as much done as I can before I hear our weather man say the temperature will be 80 by 8:00 and 90 by noon!

A minute ago I watched a pair of cardinals on my feeder. I guess they just got married. (God marries the animals. My mom told me so when I was three years old.) I think when he feeds sunflower seeds to her, that is how they get married. I expect to see the young ‘uns on the feeder in a few weeks. They are always funny. They look like eight-year-old boys whose hair is never combed.

I have at least one blue jay (I can’t tell one from another so I don’t know if it’s the same bird each time or not.) who comes up to the feeder and picks up a peanut, puts it down, picks up a different peanut, puts it down…he does this several times before taking one and flying away. I don’t know if he is testing the weight to see which one is best, or if he’s trying to carry more than one and can’t fit them in his beak. I bet he’s testing weight. I think blue jays are too smart to keep doing the same dumb thing over and over and expecting different results. (Unlike some humans.)

I found out that the goldfinch that I thought was a straggler was part of a different bunch of birds. The ones we had this winter left, but about two weeks later a whole bunch more showed up. Now they are turning yellow. I had two of them on my window while ago. The seed had run out and they were looking inside the house. The only time birds ever cling to my screen or perch on my windowsill and look inside is when I’ve let the seed run out.

The other evening I saw three indigo buntings in my next door neighbor’s yard. I’d sure like to see a lot of those. I saw two or three last year, but we used to see them in flocks of 20-something.

I’m waiting for an orchard oriole. I forgot I was supposed to take the bee guards off the hummingbird feeder so they can drink from it. I learned that from a friend who says the orioles like her hummingbird feeder (the kind with the pretend flowers) better than her oriole feeder, but you have to take the guards off. I took them off yesterday.

The azaleas have finally bloomed! They were several weeks late. The man at the nursery where I got my milkweed the other day told us they had an Azalea Trail Tour in Houston at the usual time for seeing them loaded with blooms, but there wasn’t a bloom to be seen. I imagine that was a bust. I watched a swallowtail butterfly yesterday who was taking his own tour of my azalea flowers. I hope the swallowtails find the parsley I planted for them.

Lat year we thought my husband’s Texas Star was dead, but it has a bit of new growth on it this year. It always dies back and new shoots come up from the ground each year. There was no new growth last year. Weird. We still think the freeze got the lipstick plant and it may have wiped out my Lantana. I’ll give it a little more time just to make sure before I yank those out and put something else in their places. Also, a rosebush that I was ready to toss down the hill and into the woods must have heard me say I was going to do that. It’s looking great now. I’m glad because it’s a Seven Sister’s Rose and it’s pretty neat.

My beans are coming up. Something is munching on the leaves. I wonder if turtles eat bean plants? Oh, but it’s not time for turtles to be in the yard yet. They come up here in the spring to lay eggs but it’s too early. I think if it was a rabbit they would just gnaw them down to nubs. The leaves look like they’ve had a bite taken out here and bite out there. I need to put a small fence around my garden.

My cat – who at times like this reminds me of what a cute little black and white rug he’d make – has eaten most of my pepper plants. He got a few bites of the peanut plants, too. I put the peanut plants outside. I’m still working on getting the ground ready; we’ve been moving some bricks so the garden can be expanded.

Well, the work goes on. I sure have a lot of plans for my yard and I’m glad it’s staying cool longer than usual so I can get these things done.