Posted by: Debra LaValley | January 26, 2019

January 26, 2019

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Who Cooks For You?

I sometimes hear the “Who Cooks For You?” call of the Barred Owl – but I rarely see an owl. In fact, my last photo of an owl was in 2011! I am lucky enough to see eagles often – but the owl is very elusive and hides from me.

I took my mother shopping this morning, and we were heading back home when I noticed an owl sitting in a tree close to the road not far from Market Basket. I mildly cursed as I noticed the owl – because I had no camera, and I couldn’t pull over any way. It is a busy road (Fort Eddy – in Concord). The owl was facing into an empty lot beside the C.A.V.E.S. emergency veterinary hospital.

After- I drove my mom home and brought in her groceries, and I went home and took care of my groceries – I grabbed my camera and drove back to Concord. I have been looking for another owl to photograph for years! I was thrilled to see that the owl was still there when I arrived. I parked down the road to C.A.V.E.S. and walked into the field. There were a lot of thorny bushes – but not much ice – so I slowly headed toward the owl.

I did not get as close as I could have because I did not want to disturb it.
Owls are so mysterious. I love them. What a thrill. It made my day. I usually go out in search of eagles, owls, and otters. Last week – I saw an otter. This weekend – an owl. The two I rarely see. I still love seeing eagles – but what a treat to see the owl. It has been too long! It wasn’t far from where I work. I will have to check back this week to see if the owl is hanging around the area.

It seemed to be winking at me (or sleeping with one eye open). I like that it was dangling one of its talons too. I have seen eagles do that too.

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Posted by: Debra LaValley | January 12, 2019

January 12, 2019

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NH Winter Eagle Count

It was another successful Winter Eagle Count for me as a NH Audubon Volunteer. The sky was blue and no clouds in sight – unfortunately it was wicked cold (single digits most of the day). It was about 16 degrees late afternoon but with the wind chill it was only about 5 degrees.

I started just before 8:00 am and saw the pair pictured above almost right away! Unfortunately – I couldn’t get a decent photo. The branches were in the way. But at least – photo proof of the sighting.

I had seven eagle sightings for the day – however, I believe I only saw 3 different birds (the local pair and an immature eagle – of which I only snapped a far off terrible shot).

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I had a few single adult eagle sightings like the ones below – but they were in trees frequented by the pair – so I believe they were one of the pair.

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Below this eagle was this rooster who was coming at my car.

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I drove further down the road and got out to see if I could get a better angle of the eagle and maybe see if it had bands (the local pair both are banded). The rooster stood in the road looking at me and kept cock-a-doodling. It was right under the eagle’s perch. I was wondering if I might see an eagle with a “chicken” dinner. I didn’t. The eagle did not seem interested. At least at that moment. Time will tell!

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I can never see enough eagles. They really are stunning birds!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | December 25, 2018

December 25, 2018

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Today was a busy day filled with love, family, and food! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Molly is bushed and so am I! For those wondering – we did not have a White Christmas. That was ok with me because I hate shoveling, and last Christmas we had a big storm. It was nice not worrying about traveling, etc.

2019 is around the corner!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | December 23, 2018

December 23, 2018

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Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is almost here! I have been watching a zillion Christmas specials 🙂 We don’t know if it will be a white Christmas! Right now – things are pretty green and brown around here. We have a slight chance of a trace or 1 inch tomorrow night for Christmas Even.

It would be nice to have a White Christmas – even if it is just a wee bit of snow.

I am in good shape for Christmas – everything is wrapped and purchased. I may pick up some little things tomorrow at Dollar General, but I am really done.

I look forward to seeing family on Christmas Day. Tomorrow night – I will be taking my mom over my cousins after mass for a get-together. It should be fun.

More tomorrow!

(PS – I gave Rodney the Reindeer a Santa Hat tonight. The Gnome (I names him Cedric) is a Cosmic Moose creation that I requested. The artist is Charles Kuisinas (another 12/26 – baby). I think Cedric is adorable and looks great standing near Rodney and Rhonda!)

Posted by: Debra LaValley | December 2, 2018

December 2, 2018

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It is starting to Look Like Winter

We have already had a few snow storms here in the area. Northern NH has really been slammed with snow. Today – rained most of the day. Typical, New Hampshire. Snow one week or day – rain the next. It is hard to say if we will have a white Christmas or not. I don’t need a lot of snow for Christmas – a slight covering is good enough for me. I actually don’t mind snow in small increments. I am not a fan of snow removal. I love to use the riding lawn mower and mow the lawn – but I do not have the same feeling for the snow blower. It takes too much effort. Now – if I had a snow removal tractor-like vehicle – that could be fun. 🙂

They lit the Christmas tree in downtown Penacook last Wednesday night. I snapped the photo below Thursday night. I have always loved the look of downtown Penacook – especially during the holidays.

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Happy Holidays, Everyone!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | November 5, 2018

November 5, 2018

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November Has Arrived!

The world wind that is November is here – and will be gone before we now it. It always seems that November arrives and it quickly ends. Right now there is a little color left in the trees. Our gorgeous red maples at work are still glorious though most trees around have been stripped of their leaves.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. It is virtually forgotten in most of the stores – Christmas is in full-swing in the stores.

With all that is going on in the world – let’s take a moment to think of things for which to be thankful. I am thankful for my family and friends … thankful for a job that I enjoy going to most every day … and much more.

I wish you all a peaceful and joyful Thanksgiving!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | October 21, 2018

October 21, 2018

Haunted “Gingerbread” House (actually Chocolate Cookie) – 2018

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As you can see, we didn’t fare as well as last year in our construction. The royal icing did not want to harden. My sister and I tried and tried – but the roof slid off numerous times. My mom tried some decorating but gave up since most of the decorations were sliding off the house. It was an amusing mess and slightly frustrating. Next year, we will use graham crackers and our own icing.
The roof ended up with a gaping hole – so I stuck a little round candy in a piece of napkin – made a ghost with a little face and stuck him in the hole 🙂
My sister dragged out some chocolate ice cream sauce and used it to help stick the roof on. Below is the front view of the finished horror.

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The back of the house and the wee ghostie is below.

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I guess it really isn’t bad – it is just a haunted house in great disrepair.

Hope everything is well with everyone!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | October 8, 2018

October 8, 2018

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The Toad

Last Thursday, was a mild evening and there was a guest on my steps. The toad was sitting quietly watching. There were a lot of insects drawn to the porch light. It most likely was in search of food before the cold weather creeps in and it goes into hibernation.

Whenever, I see a toad sitting on the steps – I think of family friend Muriel Smith who passed away a few years ago. She was like a sister to my mom. We used to visit her often. I remember she had a white cat that would open the cabinet and grab cough drops. It liked cough drops 🙂 I also remember Muriel telling me that she often saw toads out on her back steps. She said she believed they were past pets that had passed away – come to visit. I always remembered her saying that. It is strange how the mind remember one thing over another.

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Suki & McKenzie

 

So – decades later – whenever, I see a toad on the steps – I think of Muriel and wonder what she had told me as a child. I wonder which one of my pets was this toad? Suki? 🙂

Posted by: Debra LaValley | September 30, 2018

September 30, 2018

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Pineapple Jack O’Lantern

Happy Last Day of September – tomorrow we enter into my favorite month – October. I made this Pineapple Jack last night. I was given a link showing me how to carve these. I think he is really cute. Not bad, for my first try!

Enjoy your day!

Posted by: Debra LaValley | September 29, 2018

September 29, 2018

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“A Bear! A Bear!”

This morning, I picked up my mom to take her to breakfast before we went grocery shopping. On the way to Market Basket – I said that I wanted to go by Horseshoe Pond to see if the Peregrine falcon that I had seen the past two days was there.
We get near the pond, and I spot a young bald eagle (first year) in a tree by the pond. It stopped and started taking photos of the eagle from across the street.

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A woman who was walking by doing her morning exercise – stopped to see what I was taking a photo of. She was impressed by the eagle and continued down the road. All of a sudden, I hear her yelling something. I look toward her as she walks quickly back toward me and she shouts and points down the road “A bear! A bear!” I took the quick shot of the bear by the stop sign just down the road from me and a few more shots as it moved off and then continued taking more photos of the eagle.

My first wild bear shots ever. I was shaking a bit from excitement and didn’t have a chance to change the setting of my camera – so not as sharp as I wish. We passed a birder down the other end of the pond – who missed the eagle but saw another black object far across the field (it turned out to be another bear with 2 cubs). My mom and I finished shopping and spun by the pond again on the way back home and then back toward Penacook.

Right before Concord Group – I saw the bear run away from the road along the building. I yelled “Bear!” and pulled into the side parking lot and parked. The bear was not far from us and he was trying to get away from the road. I could not take a photo because my camera and phone were in the back of the RAV4. I couldn’t get them because the bear was only about 30-40 feet from us. He climbed the fence – jumped onto a tree and headed toward the Lutheran Church.

I got my camera out and swung down toward the Pierce Manse (I can’t remember the street name). We drove toward the Lutheran church, but before we got there we saw the bear in someone’s back yard. I got my camera (I had my 500 mm lens – so I was not as close as it looks. I was very careful and was behind my car with the door open). The bear walked in front of a garage and ran toward another yard. The man from the house with the garage came out and closed one of his doors as we told him the bear was in the next yard. What an experience! I have always wanted to snap a photo of a wild bear. They aren’t as sharp as I would like – but I will take it! I am still surging with adrenaline! Click on my Flickr photostream, if you wish to see more photos of the bear and the eagle.
My favorite of the bear shots is below. It is slightly cropped.

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I am so glad that I put the camera with the 150-500 mm lens in the back of my car this morning! Always be prepared! 🙂

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