32 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 3-21-18

  1. No snow here, but we did have an hour of fierce rain, wind, and thunder and lightening. Now it is gone and calm out. I was dry and secure, but I always think of those on the surrounding hillsides living in essentially grass huts, no quite so secure.

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  2. Dusting of snow here. I doubt that it will affect anything.
    But schools are open two hours late.
    That’s all .

    If that guy had stopped and left after the first couple of bombs, they never would have caught him.
    But people with minds like that can’t stop.

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  3. It’s 37° at the office just south of the Atlanta airport. It was an uneventful drive in unlike yesterday’s drive in. That’s when we saw a banged up car facing backwards on a main street with a lady standing out on the the roadside looking like she was waiting for help and officers to arrive. A little up the road in the grocery store lot across the street a police officer had lights flashing while looking like he was ticketing a person. Not sure if the two were related, but it looked like the officer was neglecting the main event just down the street. Then later on the expressway we saw a tow truck with a patrol car up on the platform and a second patrol car being pulled behind it. Finally we saw a flatbed truck load of caskets. It almost gave the feel of being in The Twilight Zone.

    Things are going a bit smoother for the moment at work. This is such a people oriented job. We did not leave until almost 10:00 p.m. last night. I have at least found someone who can do our filing to give a bit of relief in one area.

    I look forward to when I can catch up on reading all of the recent comments. But for now, my eyes are strained to the max by tax work.

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  4. Hi, Chas. Our phones are not working right. We sent postcard reminders to all who still need appointments. When people call our main line it rings and I pick up the phone and no one is there. What they get is the sound of a person answering and then hanging up. We have had phone technicians in all season from AT&T who blame it on our internal system. The internal system guy checks and says it is an AT&T external problem. All our office machines are involved with this problem. The credit card machine is dial up as well as our postage meter and FAX machine. Sometimes the phone works better than other times. Today it is off so it is quiet. This is definitely hurtful to this type of communication dependent business. Okay, I just answered and a person was on the line. It was the internal phone guy, LOL.

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  5. I see all the sign-twirlers out in force these days, wearing their green Statue-of-Liberty outfits offering advances on refunds and 50% off fees. But there’s still nearly a month left.

    When I walked into my tax guy’s office last Saturday, he was sitting there surrounded by file folders, all over the floor, the desk, everywhere. Stacks and piles of paper, his head barely visible as he hunched over his desk.

    I have a 10:30 news conference in town to get to, but am hoping to pop back home after that to confer with workers who are supposed to return today.

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  6. The header: it’s a red-headd woodpecker in flight. I remember seeing one of these guys when I was a child of maybe 10. Arizona has a woodpecker that nests in saguaro cacti (and looks a lot like the red-bellied woodpecker of the east), but this is the one I always associated with “woodpcecker,” only I went more than 30 years without seeing another. My husband also went 20 or 30 years. From what I read, there are only about half as many around as when I was a child, because more than any other woodpecker they want stands of dead (but still standing) trees, and there just aren’t a lot of those around. (You do see portions of two such trees in the photo.)

    Four or five years ago my husband and I were walking in our semi-local state park. He had been there before he married me, but I don’t think he had ever really hiked the trails. (They also have a lake with a beach and such, so families might be more inclined to sit on the beach and wade and watch the boats.) On this particular walk he and I got to one patch of forest and stood quietly to see what birds we could see. (They are more inclined to show up if you stand quietly, as long as other people don’t keep walking by you talking.) In about 20 minutes we saw all but one of Indiana’s woodpeckers. (Well, he saw the yellow-bellied sapsucker and I wasn’t sure whether I saw it–I’ve never definitely seen one in there–but between us we saw them all.) We saw the pileated woodpecker (but my camera battery had died and I hadn’t yet bought a second one so I could keep one charged); a flicker coming in and out of a hole, probably a nest; the hairy and downy woodpeckers; and the red-bellied. As we were walking out, my husband commented that that was all of them but the redhead, but he hadn’t seen one of those in at least 20 years, and I said it was probably closer to 30 or 35 years for me. And pretty much as he said it, a red-headed woodpecker flew across the path, landed in a tree, and we both saw it for a few seconds. All seven species in 20 or 30 minutes!! (We’ve never had that happen since, though we have seen several in short periods of time. That region is wonderful for woodpeckers.)

    At any rate, the next time we explored that park, we went slowly through the area where we saw the red-headed woodpecker and we saw seven or eight of them!! We found out that is a real hangout for them. (It is where I shot this photo.) It is also a really wonderful area for red-winged blackbirds and for bluebirds (both in summer), and I’ve also seen swallows and one kingfisher there, and sandhill cranes a couple of times, and multiple other species less commonly. Just a really tremendous birding area, in terms of local species.

    The park ended up cutting down a large swath of the dead trees in this portion, for reasons we never heard, and now it’s rare to see more than two or three red-headed woodpeckers in this portion, and occasionally I don’t see any at all. (Until they cut down the trees, we never walked through here, even walking quickly, without seeing at least one, and we might see eight or ten.) The last two walks I have taken in the park, both this month, I have been alone and I have seen multiple red-headed woodpeckers, including a lot of young ones. I think they were migrating through. Two weeks ago I might have seen 20 of them, scattered throughout the forest and not just in this area, but most were juveniles getting their red heads and not adults. (Continued.)

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  7. Tax forms filed at long last. As usual, I neither owe anything nor do I receive any refunds. Having an excessively low income works that way (the government is fully aware of my student loans, they simply do not factor into one’s taxes as it would be silly for the government to tax their own loan).

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  8. When I went to the park on Sunday, I decided that I didn’t know how many more times I would visit this park, or how often I would see red-heads in the future. I have never gotten a photo of one in flight (except one poor one), because flight photos are either good luck (you take the photo just as it launches in the air) or patience and good timing. Since my husband wasn’t with me, in addition to walking around the park a bit, I could just stand in the area of dead trees and watch for red-headed woodpeckers, and work to get one in flight. It’s a whole lot easier to shoot birds in an area of dead trees than in a living forest, since you have fewer branches in the way, and no leaves, so I should have a chance for some good shots if the birds were actually around. I have gotten dozens of good photos of the species in this area, because it is really perfect for woodpecker photos, just not flight ones. I also prayed that God would give me such a chance.

    I’m guessing I stood and walked around that area about an hour, maybe longer. My husband could not have stood that long, and would have gotten bored had he been there sitting. But one lone bird was very cooperative, flying from one tree to another about every two minutes. Frequently it was too far away (too many trees between); sometimes I pushed the shutter too late and it was half out of the photo or all the way out; sometimes it had a limb between us or the bird was out of focus. Sometimes its back was to the camera when it flew. But I managed to capture (well or poorly) at least 14 instances of the bird in flight (it’s hard to tell, looking at my photos, whether some instances are two shots of the same flight or are two different flights). And several of the shots are pretty good, I think.

    But this one is my favorite. By the time I cropped it a bit, it isn’t super sharp, but it’s clear enough. And in it you can see all parts and all colors of the bird: its red head, black eye, and gray beak, its feet tucked up underneath, its white belly, its black and white wings, and even a hint of its black tail off at the left. This is the only species of Indiana woodpecker in which both sexes look alike (and also the only species in which the juveniles are notably different).

    From the back, you see mostly white when it flies, since its body is all white and its wings have those white feathers in the rear (which look a bit like piano keys), with a short, spiky black tail. They are so pretty in flight that I wanted a flight photo. I was blessed to get several.

    Oh, and since I was standing in one place quietly, while I stood there I also saw (and photographed) several other birds in flight: a pair of Canada geese, a sandhill crane, a great blue heron, turkey vultures, red-tailed hawks (two different sightings of the same one or two different ones), and a red-winged blackbird (not a good flight photo, though, since the red didn’t show up in the angle at which I caught it). I also saw song sparrows and chickadees and heard mallards. I even saw (but couldn’t photograph) a swimming muskrat, which dove with a splash as soon as it saw me.

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  9. Good morning. I am on a long work stretch. On day 8 of a 10 day run. I have peeked in to the prayer requests at work, bu cannot comment, as I don’t remember my wordpress password, and I don’t have it saved on that computer.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. It’s a terrible thing to be thwarted by your cat.

    While I was reading my email, she reached out with her paw and touched something on the keyboard. My email is now so tiny, I cannot read it and no, I can’t figure out–after 10 minutes of trying and reading through the Internet–how to enlarge it again.

    I guess all email will be off the Ipad today . . . until my engineer gets home to save me.

    Honestly.

    Tasha, of course, wandered off with a swish of her tail and doesn’t care.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Michelle, I wish I had the proverbial nickel for every time a cat did something like that to me. I usually had to call Hubby at work for help. I’ve learned to keep a notebook on top of my docking station so that no bad cats turn it off on me.

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  12. When I had foster children, I once sat down at my computer to work on the book I was editing. The whole 250-page book had been reduced to something like vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvxxx.skjvjhjjjhdhhj (I don’t mean 250 pages of that, just that the 250 pages had disappeared with only a few characters on my screen, from random hitting of keys.)

    Fortunately, two undos was all it took to bring the book back (and I had also e-mailed it to myself the night before). It wasn’t malicious, because my children had no understanding at all of computers; it was just a child sitting down and hitting keys. But obviously it could have been a really serious headache. After that, I was really super careful to back up nightly!

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  13. Back in the twilight years when my children were home and we had only one computer, the boys would routinely download new games and run into problems with memory.

    A quick glance through the computer–what are all these stories?–and they’d delete my writing.

    Not sure how many times that happened . . . they’re lucky they’re still alive.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Cheryl, there are commercial programs that automatically back up everything you write.
    If I were into computers commercially, I would have it. Probably to protect me from Ransom Ware.
    But I don’t have that. I don’t hae anything that important. And I have hardcopy of what little important data I have. (Like this year’s income tax, for example.)

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  15. The new photo is a red-tailed hawk. It was pretty high in the air, so that is zooming in. You can’t really see its red tail from underneath unless the sun is shining through it, but from other views of it I could see its red tail. (It looks like a redtail anyway, but view of the red tail provides confirmation.)

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  16. It is a beautiful day, it the 60s, birds every where. My turkey is setting on 8 eggs. We have been counting each day as she lays them. Today, she decided to set.

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  17. Well it is school break between terms and I am arranging a trip off centre. Looks like there will be eight ladies on a flight to Goroka. It is only a fourteen minute flight. The roads are terrible and dangerous, so flying is a wonderful option. I just went around talking to all of the singles I knew and asked if they would like to come. We will go next Tuesday. Trouble is, they are going to pick us up at 5:30am. Yikes

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  18. Okay, I am ready to travel. Anyone want to meet me in Cairns, Australia in June?? Actually the plan is for another teacher to go. Leave here on 22 June and go for ten days.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Okay, I always thought Australia and New Zealand would be interesting. But I don’t really travel anymore, as you know, so could you arrange for an earthquake or something to send it on up here on the prairie?

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  20. The other teacher got her ticket today, too. and I told her my seat number and she will be next to me. She is the adventuresome sort. a young gal still in her twenties, we will have fun.

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  21. The airline with no notice changed their flight schedule this week. It is a PNG airline. Friends missed their flight because of this. But I hadn’t gotten my tickets yet. They are now only flying a later flight to Cairns a couple of days a week and that was the day we had decided to fly! I used to return on a 6:30am flight. Had to get up at 3:30am, not a good way to end a vacation. Finally I realized that they have an 11:30 flight so I can have an unrushed morning. so much nicer.

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