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Robins and Frogs

By: BriarCraft , 7:12 PM GMT on February 20, 2013

The robins returned en masse on February 18, a gray day. The sun came out on the 19th, as did my camera. According to the map below, found on All About Birds, robins are year-round residents here. But they're not. They appear in February or March, court, mate, build nests, and make babies. By July, 80% of them are gone. A few remain until September or October and then they are gone, too. I don't know where our local robins winter. Perhaps someplace less soggy or with more berries or bugs. It can't be for lack of worms, as there are plenty here.

Robins eat large numbers of both invertebrates and fruit. Particularly in spring and summer they eat large numbers of earthworms as well as insects and some snails. They also eat a variety of fruits, including chokecherries, hawthorn, dogwood, and sumac fruits, and juniper berries.

For pictures of robin nests and instructions how to make a nesting shelf for places where natural nesting sites are in short supply, click here.

Pacific Tree Frogs, also known as Pacific Chorus Frogs come in a variety of colors. In my yard, they are mostly green, although in late summer they change color to varying shades of brown. I found a page at Getty Images that shows our little froggies in all their various colors. So how can you identify one? They all have a dark stripe running through the eye from nose to back of head and they all have sticky toe pads. There are some interesting pictures and information about them at mister-toad.com. Here is one of their YouTube videos, because hearing them is half the pleasure.

Where I live, they provide a nighttime chorus at odd moments from December through February. There is no predictable time. It might happen at 9pm or 2am. It might last for 5 minutes or an hour. One moment the chorus is so loud it rivals the decible level of some power tools. The next moment, absolute silence, as if someone or something startled them.

In springtime, one or two frogs take up residence in my greenhouse, keeping my seedlings bug-free. In May and June, I can't walk across the lawn without seeing dozens of half-inch-long baby frogs jumping around my feet. When it's time to mow, I keep an eye out for frogs and slow down to give them time to get out of the way. During our dry summers the frogs have to get creative about finding moisture. They love the dew-wet grass in early morning. During hot afternoons, they take shelter under cabbage or primrose leaves.

Together, the robins and tree frogs, by their very presence, assure me that these few acres are good habitat for more than just people and cats. No insecticides or poisons are used here. Beyond the mowed grass, patches of briars and brambles and low-hanging branches are left untouched to provide shelter. The seasonal pond is never drained, but allowed to dry out naturally.

People and nature can do more than just co-exist. We can live in harmony. In urban areas, there can be backyard habitats. Even in an apartment, there can be a butterfly-friendly plant in a container on the balcony. And we can help make sure that natural areas are set aside and preserved or restored for the benefit of us all.

Find more about Weather in San Francisco, CA
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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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107. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
1:09 AM GMT on March 21, 2013
BriarCraft has created a new entry.
106. Ylee
9:04 PM GMT on March 20, 2013
I guess I'll have to use the boss' computer to see your blog, Briar!

Good luck!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
105. WatchinTheSky
5:49 PM GMT on March 20, 2013
Aacchh! New tabs! So it takes a week to get across the Pond and down to SoCal?? I guess it's still manageable.

A couple of nice photos of the Blackbird would be cool. That is one fine plane.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
104. BriarCraft
5:04 PM GMT on March 20, 2013
GG: Good point! And I did see lots of weather yesterday: frost in the morning, increasing clouds, then sprinkles while walking across the parking lot, then heavy rain on the drive home.
I look forward to seeing the results of what you learn with Adobe Premier!

Sandi: You may not have done many blogs on weather, but you've done quite a few on the outdoors, sometimes showing weather and its consequences, as you educated us about the English countryside from your many trips and outings.
Welcome to the "Community" tab.

Ylee: I just checked the contents of my camera's memory card and found 136 photos on it. Now the challenge it to hone it down to a reasonable number for a blog. I think I see a lot of collages in my future -- at least for today. And I'll apologize in advance, because I'll be uploading the photos to Photobucket for the blog, instead of WU. I'll try to make it worthwhile for you to have a look at the new blog on something other than that old Glitchomatic.

PhotoScape here I come! Oh, and gotta do some research, too!
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103. Ylee
7:54 PM GMT on March 19, 2013
I'll be looking forward to the new blog, Briar! Sounds like a lot of fun!

I run Classic WU 99% of the time, so NUWU's new trick doesn't apply. I hope they don't do away with Classic, as this old computer doesn't handle NUWU very well.
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102. sandiquiz
11:05 AM GMT on March 19, 2013
Have fun today, I am sure your camera will get a good work out.

And how many blogs on weather have i done in the last 8 years? Probably one in ten, if that!

I was born to be an "educator", not a weather forecaster, who doesn't educate, only informs.

So we will look forward to a new blog, whatever the topic:-)

EDIT - Guess what! When I logged on this afternoon I've finally got the new drop down tabs, where the blogs, and lots of other things, are under the "Community" tab! Only took it five days to cross the Atlantic! lol
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101. GardenGrrl
10:03 AM GMT on March 19, 2013
Hey planes and such are affected by weather. Travel and site-seeing have weather...therefore the new blog will be weather related. Looking forward to it.

Hey, have sort of figured out how to make decent "instant movies" with Adobe Premiere hair puller video editing program. Each one has gotten a bit better.
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100. SBKaren
9:30 PM GMT on March 18, 2013
Briar - take lots of photos of the Spruce Goose because I never went to see it while it was here next to the Queen Mary. I can still see the dome where it was housed...but darn, never got there!!!

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99. ycd0108
8:38 PM GMT on March 18, 2013
Just saw Momma Robin by the RV in the shed. I think it is probably the same one that nests seasonally there on the beams. They put up with me running noisy tools and starting the RV now and then. Had a pair of Flickers in the closed shop a few years ago. They could get in because I had the boat poked in for repairs and loosely tarped. When I came in the man door they would want to fly out past me. I never got used to having a good sized bird pass my head so close but the Flickers must have enjoyed it because they stayed quite a while.
I'll be watching for the photos from the tour of the Air Museum. Last time I took a tour was in Duxford, England:
We are also starting to check out "Roadside Attractions" closer to home.
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98. BriarCraft
6:43 PM GMT on March 18, 2013
Pros and Sandi: It was fun chasing the two of you around WUville Saturday night/Sunday morning.

We're heading to Portland tomorrow to visit my parents, but it won't be the usual lunch chat this time. We're going to visit the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon, about an hour's drive from my parents' home.

Among other things, the exhibits include the famous Spruce Goose, a B-17 Flying Fortress, a Titan II missile inside its own silo, and an SR-71 Blackbird, which flew at speeds over 2000 miles per hour. This is yet another example of fun things to see or do in one's home territory that often go neglected in favor of a vacation elsewhere to see the sights. The Spruce Goose was moved from Long Beach CA to McMinnville in 1992, two years after the museum first opened. And in all that time, none of us have done more than drive by the place on our way to the beach. Time to stop and spend a day!

And yes, I will take my camera! It's time to start a new blog. I hope nobody minds if the next one isn't about weather or nature?
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97. sandiquiz
7:24 AM GMT on March 17, 2013
I am following Pros around the blogs, trying to get her to go back to bed! Lol

You are not kidding when you say it is different! What a make over, and why only you. You must be special:-) I haven't seen any blogs where folk are complaining about the change....so strange.

Wishing you a Happy Saint Patrick's day...but I celebrate April 23rd, myself! (St George)! lol
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96. Proserpina
7:20 AM GMT on March 17, 2013
Briar, yes. I like the way you put it," take your camera for a little spin". Actually my sleepless head is spinning right now as well. Yes, I am prowling the blogs.
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95. BriarCraft
1:22 AM GMT on March 17, 2013
Pros: Did you take your camera for a little spin? Very nice!

WTS: I'm using Firefox version 19.0.2 on a desktop computer, Windows 7. Up until mid-day March 13, I saw the same thing you are seeing now. Go figure! And yes, I've always had a firefox icon: a little fire-orange fox wrapped around a blue globe.
Those Lepracons better watch out for hungry kittehs, eh?
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94. WatchinTheSky
10:45 PM GMT on March 16, 2013
Oh Yeah, Happy St Pat's

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93. WatchinTheSky
10:43 PM GMT on March 16, 2013
Hi BC! WU looks the same to me, but I see your Firefox top left corner looks different. A little round fox instead of orange rectangle like mine?? Is yours ver 19? Are wu on a pc?

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92. Proserpina
10:41 PM GMT on March 16, 2013
Photo by M photo MarchGreenSpringFarm035as_zpsa6c260ad.jpg

May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.
~Irish Blessing
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91. BriarCraft
6:36 PM GMT on March 16, 2013

Sandi: WU is different! In time, I'll get used to it, but it's no longer just a simple scroll down with the mouse, nor is it intuitive. Why isn't My Blog and Favorite Blogs under the Blog heading where it belongs??? Stupid WU screen designer!

It does seem as though muscle repair takes an inordinately long time, doesn't it? Especially when you feel fine until you do something you thought you were ready for>.
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90. sandiquiz
9:27 AM GMT on March 16, 2013
For my desktop computer, there used to be a drop-down menu for Blogs. Now it's called Community and includes Photos and Social as well as Blogs.

That is so strange - I am running NUWU and it is the same as it as always been, with a drop-down tab for blogs, that includes community as the bottom option.

I wonder if WU is doing a makeover and the system change hasn't made it as far as Europe, yet!

Screen shot to show you that all is the same over the Pond!

Congratulations on the first anniversary of your new hip :)

I hear you about muscle repair... five and a half months down the line from my op and I feel fine, (raring to get up and at 'em), until I do something stupid, as I did Monday, lifting an object down from a top shelf. It wasn't heavy, but the stretch and the action was just too much for the muscles, which then played up for a few days.... and oh, boy, do they tell me to take more care! The rest of last week went by without me being able to do much of anything, except resting. Today, things are settling down again, thankfully.

My ex-MIL has had both hips replaced, the first was 27 years ago - and they are still going strong. But I do know she would agree with you about wondering, initially, whether it would 'hold'.

Have a good weekend:)

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89. BriarCraft
9:41 PM GMT on March 15, 2013
Sandi: I don't think the browser makes a difference, although using a smart phone or iPad might yield a different appearance. For my desktop computer, there used to be a drop-down menu for Blogs. Now it's called Community and includes Photos and Social as well as Blogs. Not as simple to get where I wanted to go as previously. I am using the newer version of WU, not the "classic".

WTS: I'm enjoying the Earth Madness, too, and was pleased to see most of my picks make it to the second round.

YCD: Try Paper is Not Dead again. You do have to click on the arrow in the lower left corner to get it to play.


One year ago today, I had my right hip replaced. It's been quite a journey. I have to confess that I wondered for awhile if I had done the right thing. It seemed I had traded one set of aches and pains for another, one set of movement restrictions for another.

My range of motion will be restricted as long as I live, but it's not horribly restricting to my activities. In old software support jargon, there's a workaround for that. In other words, I can find a way to do the things I want to do, it's just that the way is sometimes different than it used to be. Don't get frustrated. Adapt. Learn new habits. Carry on.

I can walk a mile now, where I used to struggle to walk a quarter of a mile. As I walk, a deep ache gradually sets in, whereas it used to be a sharp, stabbing debilitating pain. The Tai Chi I started learning back in September is gradually improving my ability to balance. Muscle tone still is improving with exercise, though I have a moment of held-breath fear whenever I take that first step down stairs as I wonder, 'Will the leg hold?' I think there will continue to be some improvement in mobility as I get back into walking over the uneven ground around here and working in my garden.

Looking back, I am glad I had that surgery. It was worthwhile. It did improve the overall quality of my life. It's not perfect, but it definitely is better. And I'm looking forward to getting into all sorts of mischief in the coming months. Now, if only the weather will cooperate!


Yesterday was the 110th birthday of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Clean water. Clean air. Unusual and abundant wildlife. World-class recreation. The Refuge System provides and protects it all on 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state.
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88. ycd0108
1:15 AM GMT on March 15, 2013
Hi BriarCraft:
We are seeing a bit of the plume of "Pine Apple" but nothing overwhelming here.
I don't recall actual sunshine today but it was pleasant till mid afternoon when a cold wind wafted in. Light rain and mild by our standards just now.
I just wanted to fill out my claim (on my blog) that mine were the last comments on my favourite blogs since I looked here and someone else had the last comment.
I've been lookin' for Robins and listenin' for Frogs and some day some way I'd like you to be able to watch the "sound video" of the Sea lions.
The "Dead Paper" video would not play but I could drag from image to image and get the gist.
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87. WatchinTheSky
3:31 AM GMT on March 14, 2013
"Paper is not dead' - very funny! No wait, that would NOT be funny =:O

Looks like you missed the express, your temps seem like they may be heading to spring-like. Really liking the later sunset, but still tired in the morning.. yawn..

picked at 81% on the first round! (earth madness)
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86. sandiquiz
10:30 PM GMT on March 13, 2013
Quoting BriarCraft:
What is WU up to? I was unable to upload that satellite photo earlier. Then all of a sudden I could. Now I just came back to visit some of my Favorite Blogs and discover they changed the drop-down menus in the past hour. What next?

Everything still looks the same to me?
Mind you, my Flickr friends who run on IE are having difficulties with things missing and changing, whereas I am having no difficultly with Chrome. Weird, and strange!
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85. BriarCraft
10:02 PM GMT on March 13, 2013
What is WU up to? I was unable to upload that satellite photo earlier. Then all of a sudden I could. Now I just came back to visit some of my Favorite Blogs and discover they changed the drop-down menus in the past hour. What next?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
84. BriarCraft
8:12 PM GMT on March 13, 2013
A friend shared this link with me -- it had me laughing out loud (not just a wimpy little lol. I'd embed it here if I could figure out how. Paper is not dead http://vimeo.com/61275290 -- a 39 second video in French that needs no translation. Go see it!

Poppy: Even Ylee might agree about heinous things being done to 'yotes. Seems I recall a time or two he wasn't too thrilled about his job. Seriously though, what you talk about is one of the great things about having an older, wiser dog around to help with the pups. If anything, pups pay more attention to an older dog than they do to people. Shadow would probably give them a nip if they don't mind her, whereas I doubt you or Mr. Poppy have ever bitten a pup. ;-D

The weather gurus goofed. Yes, the Pineapple Express is here, sort of. The town of Forks (as in Twilight movie fame) got 3.5 inches of rain yesterday. According to one Seattle TV station's website: "We still have a FLOOD WATCH up for a lot of western Washington. We do expect some minor flooding along the Snoqualmie river. Otherwise rivers and streams will be running at capacity." Yesterday, when I first looked, the storm track was going through the NW corner of Washington, right past Forks, and then through the southern tip of Vancouver Island and on into British Columbia. Now, it shows quite plainly that the NE corner of Washington and the Idaho panhandle are getting wet. All I've seen here is a boring drizzle. Truly underwhelming as Pineapple Expresses go. Then again, the jet stream could shift farther eastward and move the whole thing on top of us, so I take back my complaint. Boring is just fine!
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83. calpoppy
12:25 AM GMT on March 13, 2013
Hi Briar! First Robin here today. On its way to the mountains I am sure. But it was very nice of it to stop over for a drink and a bath.

Yotes are opportunist, that is how they have survived despite every heinous thing we could throw at them. I like them and my dogs, so it would really be our fault if something happened to our pups. Shadow is our early warning coyote device, when she barks the pups run into the house at warp speed, lol.
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82. BriarCraft
11:03 PM GMT on March 12, 2013
Ylee: We all know that ol' Kentucky 'yote is kinda sweet. Nothin' at all like the nasty cat- and pup-eating western 'yotes.
So far, at least, the Pineapple Express has been dumping most of it's rain north of here, but if it does anything interesting in my neighborhood, I will have to take a look-see, camera in hand.

Sandi: Well, Jamie Oliver has a way of complicating just about everything, but he sure makes food look yummy on television. Now, off to check out a certain Fish Pie recipe...
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81. sandiquiz
10:43 AM GMT on March 12, 2013
Fish pie... :)

Your search for the fish pie did result in something similar, although Jamie has made it more complicated than I do. I have posted my recipe in my blog.

It is cold here this morning, and I really need to get out to buy necessary provisions, so no more prevaricating... needs must!
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80. Ylee
11:25 PM GMT on March 11, 2013
Well, this old 'yote may be on the prowl day and night, but nothing nasty here, lol!

Do you think you could make it out to a stream with prodigious runoff, and snap a few pics? Safely, of course! You don't have to on my account, just something that I might do, if I lived up there!

Take care!
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79. BriarCraft
8:50 PM GMT on March 11, 2013
Bug: I've ordered online for in-store pick-up a few times in recent years -- from JCPenney, Ace Hardware and Cabela's. It seems that more and more stores keep only the popular items in stock, but have a wealth of other items available for special order only through their websites. I guess it makes sense from a cost control perspective, but 2 out of 3 above were for my parents, who won't get anywhere near a computer. Happy hunting for the gear you want!

Skye: That Pineapple Express will delay my outdoor efforts, but the big concern is for flooding. Freezing level will go up to 6000 feet and, with 3-5 inches of rain expected in the mountains on top of 100+ inches of snow, there's going to be a lot of run-off hitting the rivers.

Shore: That photo series is quite endearing. Don't think I've ever seen a cat with eyes like that. Thanks for sharing that find here!

Pcola: Thanks for the kind thoughts. Right back atcha!

Poppy: Glad you're sticking close to the pups. Those nasty old 'yotes can be on the prowl any time, day or night. Lot of folks think they're strictly nocturnal, but not necessarily. Coyotes aren't much for rules of any kind.
That string garden really is pretty cool and it looks like the sort of thing that might tempt me except for my truly awesome ability to kill just about any house plant.
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78. calpoppy
4:24 PM GMT on March 11, 2013
My oldest son who is into gardening sent me this link on Japanese string gardens. They are pretty cool to hang in a window!


We have spring like temps coming up, I am enjoying being out with the pups! We can't ever leave them alone outside, yotes!
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77. pcola57
1:56 PM GMT on March 11, 2013
Good Morning Brair..
Just stopped in to send you a happy and peaceful wish
for your day..
(I gotta go look at those shears..they look handy indeed)
Peace to you..
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76. shoreacres
12:57 AM GMT on March 11, 2013
Well, if you're "pineappled in", you can spend a few minutes looking at these marvelous photos of a Japanese lady and her cat. She only has the one - a stray that came to live with her - but they have quite a relationship. The photographer is the old lady's grand-daughter, and she did a wonderful job with the photos.
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75. Skyepony (Mod)
10:27 PM GMT on March 10, 2013
Nice to see you getting some garden sprouted & tended. All the rain sounds a little daunting. Hope it kicks off spring for you.

Been very dry here. Garden has been putting out okay. Need to replace the cabbage with something. Planted some watermelon a month early.. It's coming along.
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74. palmettobug53
9:53 PM GMT on March 10, 2013
I was in Lowe's and Home Depot earlier this afternoon looking at their doormats, boot scrapers, birdfeeders and the newly arrived plants.

I did a quick glance over their garden tools. Lowe's does carry a fair selection of Fiskars tools but not the long handled grass shears. Home Depot didn't have much of anything in the way of garden tools. They didn't even have bird feeders. I may have to order the thistle feeder I want online.

Neither place had boot scrapers and, though they did have plenty of doormats, they don't have the one I want.

I might check one or two more places but I've a suspicions I'll have to wind up ordering the thistle feeder, shears, doormat and boot scraper online. Which might be just as well; Walmart has them all; just not in the store.
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73. BriarCraft
9:04 PM GMT on March 10, 2013
Puget: Sunglasses?! That is enough to give you a boost, and even if you were running errands, you were outside enjoying blue skies and sunshine. We do have to be opportunistic this time of year and take it where we can get it.

Ylee: Snow in March is bad enough, but April? Hail is not uncommon here in March, but I can't recall ever seeing snow in March, except in the mountains. You folks east of the Rockies have waaaayy too much weather sometimes.

Pros: Crocus and jonquil are a good start to spring. Still waiting for them to make an appearance here. In fact, I've been watching one lone crocus bud, showing a bit of purple, but still afraid to open. All the other buds are refusing to show any color yet, except for primrose, which never stopped blossoming last fall and winter.

Bug: I think I've got you squared away on those clippers. I really like that the blades swivel, so that you can reach to the side and still cut at an angle parallel to the ground. Happy shopping, then happy clipping!

GG: So glad you had a good time at the Sci-Fi convention. And that's great you found out how to make your carnivorous plants happy. Just don't get carried away; insects are enough! My imagination just flashed to the carnivorous plants Morticia Addams used to tend. Then again, maybe your spouse would appreciate seeing you in a Morticia Addams dress? And it would be a great way to deter door-to-door peddlers.


DH enjoyed his birthday dinner yesterday. Grilled rib-eye steak, fresh asparagus sautéd lightly in olive oil, baked Yukon Gold potato with chives, and lemon meringue pie. And his praise made me feel the effort was worthwhile.

I had hopes for today, as it was supposed to be nice until evening, but I woke up to 34F and drizzle, so no outdoor fun today. I did get to do some gardening on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday and this time of year, 4 days out of 7 ain't bad. As a result, the orchard got a dose of Super Phosphate to promote blossoms, the scraggly grass around the cane berries got clipped, and some volunteer raspberry runners got transplanted to where a different variety died out last year.

In the 80F craft room, the tomatoes and basil have sprouted; still waiting for the pepper seeds to wake up.

Weather prognosticators are threatening the heaviest rain we've seen in months as an unseasonable Pineapple Express heads our way, so it doesn't look like I'll get out much this coming week.

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72. palmettobug53
10:29 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Now THAT'S what I need. And from Walmart or Target, to boot.

Thanks for the tip!

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71. BriarCraft
10:07 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Just a quick fly-through. It's DH's birthday and I've got to make a lemon-meringue pie, as requested. I'll spend more time here tomorrow.

I did want to show off my Fiskars long-handled grass clippers to Bug. And any others with bad knees or hips. They can be ordered from WalMart or Target websites for delivery to the nearest store. I never would have gone in search of them last year, except for the hip surgery, but now they're one of my favorite yard tools.

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70. GardenGrrl
4:50 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Good Morning, the sci-fi convention was way fun. Spent two hours talking with a carnivorous plant vendor. Found out mine are doing great just need more humidity. Think I found my plant niche.

Such a fun weekend. I'm going to be so tired tomorrow at work.
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69. palmettobug53
4:30 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Just went looking. They're electric, rechargeable or gas. I was thinking it was something manual with a long handle.
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68. palmettobug53
4:24 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Hi, Briar.

Long handled grass clippers? Man, I'm going to have to look for some of those. The knees are not quite as young as they used to be.

I need to go to Home Depot sometime soon, as I want a new shoe scraper and a new doormat for the front stoop. I'll have to add the clippers to my list.

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67. Proserpina
2:09 PM GMT on March 09, 2013
Good morning BC

We have a sunny day, cold at the moment but it should warm up as the progresses.

Crocus and Jonquil buds are dancing in the sun, waiting for the proper moment to smile at the world with their joyful colors and scents. Camellias are in bloom, as are some Pieris shrubs. Birds are gathering twigs and leaves for their nests, and so are the squirrels. Soon we will be enjoying the happy sounds of the squirrels as they merrily chase each other round and round the tree trunks, also the chirps of new baby birds will fill the flower scented air. Proserpina is awake and hard at work.

May the warm rays of the Spring sun warm and delight your heart.
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66. Ylee
7:25 AM GMT on March 09, 2013
Hi, Briar! About 10 years ago, we has a couple of inches of snow in April! That was a shock!
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65. PugetSoundPost
4:22 AM GMT on March 09, 2013
Sure was a nice day today, with hopefully another one tomorrow! After very dense fog till late morning, it cleared up into bright sunshine! But a bit of a nip in the air still. I'm glad you got out into the yard. Unfortunately I didn't get out too much - running errands and trying to catch up some things. But, I did wear my sunglasses while driving around for the first time in a very long time! Just that gave me a boost. Enjoy Saturday's sunshine! It isn't going to last very long.
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64. BriarCraft
8:55 PM GMT on March 08, 2013
Karen: I know I sound like I'm bragging, but again, I am very proud of our district and feel extremely fortunate to be able to work and live in it. I feel that way because my girls benefited from this great education!
I'm happy for you, really I am. I've never experienced a school that I thought so highly of, nor a job that I loved as much as you love yours. You truly are lucky.

Sandi: I wouldn't have recognized that little fellow as a juvenile English robin. Thanks for dropping him in here.

And just for comparison, here's a juvenile American robin I found at AllAboutBirds.org
They have a hint of robin-redbreast-color, but not very handsome at all.
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63. sandiquiz
12:11 PM GMT on March 08, 2013
A robin photo for you - one I found in the archives when looking through for something else.

What a little beauty :)

Thsi is what they look like for the first six months until they get the "red breast" :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
62. SBKaren
1:21 AM GMT on March 08, 2013
Thanks for the update on how schools are organized these days. There is a big push to teach kids faster these days and teach them to the tests. I remain concerned that so many schools have abandoned physical education, art, music, and life skills (remember shop class and home ec?) all of which are so important to balance and creativity.

I want to comment again, and of course I can only speak for my district, so I hope someone else speaks up about theirs! If I sound like I am boasting, then perhaps I am. I think we are a very forward thinking district. I also agree with you on the balance - it IS so important!

I don't think it's just a push to teach kids faster, I think kids know much more than we did as kids. They are exposed to a lot more than we were - not all bad, not all good. I swear kids know how to operate the iPads or computers quicker than adults. I think a lot of it is that they are not afraid to take a risk. An adult is a little more apprehensive about making a mistake, or not doing something right.

Today I had my 4th graders creating a bibliography using an online citation maker. I'm not sure I knew what a bibliography was in 4th grade. Because of the nature of the program, I had them save their bibliography in a word document (and save it to their My Documents folder), and then open their Mission PowerPoint and insert a new slide. Then I had them readjust the size of their windows so they were open side-by-side (Word and PowerPoint). Then I taught them to copy and paste from the Word document into their PowerPoint. Only a few kids had problems. When I have a few that get done quickly, then I disperse them to help others. I've learned that if you can teach a process to someone, then you have mastered it yourself!

In California Physical Education is required - 100 minutes every two weeks. I can only speak for our district, but elementary students get P.E. at least 3 days a week, and it is required up to grade 12. Now, in high school, sports will often take the place of a specific P.E. class. But if you are doing dance or playing football, you certainly don't need to take P.E. on top of that!

Our district still has art and music and my school boasts the only elementary school in Orange County with a credentialed art teacher. Our district values the arts in all forms. Matter of fact, tonight is our All District Choral Concert and it will showcase the elementary choruses, middle school choirs and high school choirs. It's a sight to behold (and hear!). I went many times when my girls were in school as they were involved in the choirs.

I snagged this picture from our school page on FB. A parent went as a chaperone to the rehearsal today and snapped this. Most of the kids in red in this picture are from my school.

And, as far as I know, they still offer Home Ec and Shop in middle school and up. Both my girls took Home Ec while in middle school, and there were plenty of boys in the class! My youngest took a ceramics class in HS too.

I know I sound like I'm bragging, but again, I am very proud of our district and feel extremely fortunate to be able to work and live in it. I feel that way because my girls benefited from this great education!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
61. BriarCraft
9:03 PM GMT on March 07, 2013
Sandi: As you know, I'm quite taken with your pond squirrel. I added the little guy to My Favorites. And I left a nice comment for the fellow who did the Fester of Frogs. It doesn't look like the water is festering in that photo. Thanks for tipping us off to that one.

Karen: Thanks for the update on how schools are organized these days. There is a big push to teach kids faster these days and teach them to the tests. I remain concerned that so many schools have abandoned physical education, art, music, and life skills (remember shop class and home ec?) all of which are so important to balance and creativity.
Your grandsons sound exceptional and you're justifiably proud. Getting a such a good start to learning broadens their future possibilities.

Ylee: What's with your weather, anyway? Didn't you folks learn that it isn't ever supposed to snow in March??? The daffodils and tulips are going to be so confused.

GG: Speaking of naps, I just woke up from an accidental one. I sat down to enjoy a cup of tea and read a magazine and the next thing I knew, my tea was cold and I'd lost over an hour.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
60. sandiquiz
3:30 PM GMT on March 06, 2013
Thanks for the comments on my Jay and Squirrel photos.

I thought you might like to see the winning photo for the February Calendar challenge in my Flickr Group ...

A Fester of Frogs (and yes, a fester of frogs is the correct collective noun, apparently!)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
59. GardenGrrl
3:06 PM GMT on March 06, 2013
Good Morning, catching up on the blogs..then a nap..then try out the adobe program.
Can't believe I missed your frog video. That is way cool.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
58. Ylee
11:15 AM GMT on March 06, 2013
Somebody forgot to e-mail Ma Nature, and tell her that it's meteorological spring! It's snowing here, not to mention the dump up north got!

Glad you got some quality time outside!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
57. SBKaren
1:09 AM GMT on March 06, 2013
Interesting that kindergarten seems to be required these days and optional, private schooling begins by 3. I do wonder about the wisdom of that. Isn't early childhood supposed to be about discovering the world and learning to tie your shoes and how to do a somersault? Or maybe pre-school is a substitute for having a parent at home? Probably so. When I was that age, kindergarten was optional and private and 1st grade was my first schooling.

Well, pre-school is optional, and usually not every day. When they are 3 they would probably go 2 days a week/2-3 hours at a time and at age 4 maybe 3 days a week/2-3 hours at a time. This is strictly pre-school and not day care, although some might use it as such. Still lots of free time, time for art and creating and coloring and painting.

In this day and age of drop down curriculum, kids need to have pre-school experience so they can handle school. Even if all they learn is how to sit longer than 10 minutes, take turns, socialize, it's all important. You don't HAVE to send your child to pre-school, but a Kindergarten teacher can spot a child with no school experience on the first day of school. By K, if they have gone to pre-school, they have experienced separation from a parent, and all sorts of other social issues. Our school district is a little different than most in that we have an all day Kindergarten. They go to school from 7:55-1:15. Most kindergarten classes are half day - 8:00-11:30. I'm generalizing here, but from what I've seen, that's how it goes.

The Kindergarten curriculum is probably comparable to what we learned in 1st or 2nd grade. I can't attest to all states (although pretty soon that will change too with Common Core Standards - standards that will cross state borders).

Most students are expected to be reading by the end of Kindergarten. Comprehension might not be the same for all students across the board, but at least letter recognition and the sounds they make and blending words together and READING!

I know I am often surprised by the level of books that students check out in the media center.

Both of my 1st grade grandsons read higher than their level. One is reading at a 3rd grade level and is working on his comprehension so that it isn't just reading for readings sake, but he is able to reiterate what he read so you can tell he understands. His vocabulary is quite high. For example, one of his spelling words last week was experience. He has to know the word, how to spell it and use it in a sentence to show he understands it's meaning. Generally he can. But some words are hard. He had honor a few weeks ago. That is a hard concept for a 6 year old to understand.

My grandsons scare me with their intelligence, yet I know their parents let them absolutely be boys most of the time too. But that said, you have to challenge them if they can do it. They aren't pressured, he likes getting hard words and says that all the time. My other grandson is the math wizard. He scares me with what he knows about numbers. I swear he's going to be an engineer - or something that uses lots of numbers, as he seems to understand things that he shouldn't. I hope they both continue with their passion for learning. With their parents, I have no doubt that will keep up. I can't wait to see what they grow into!
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