How to Rent an Irish Cottage

I’ve always dreamed of staying in a cottage in Ireland and experiencing village life. What fun to travel around seeing the area and really getting a feel for Ireland and its people. Now I find that it’s really possible to do this.


Sandhill Cranes

very young sandhill craneI’ve been following the growth of the baby sandhill cranes this past month.  They were late arriving and I assume the cranes just postponed nesting and breeding since we had several freezes in Central Florida.  Maybe they had eggs in February like the previous year, but lost them to the cold weather.  I’ve been here for five winters and this was our first freeze.  Anyway in March, there were finally little fuzzballs following the parent cranes around.  Our pair of cranes surprised us with twins this year.

I took lots of photos whenever they came by the house.  Guess I’m the crane version of paparazzi.  When the babies were really small, I’d hear the parents making a purring kind of noise in their throats.  This might have helped keep the babies close to them or it might have been a warning sound to me to keep back.  When a parent would raise its head to full height and look directly at me, I figured it was time to back away.

Now that the babies are more in their pre-teen stage (no feathers yet), the parents let me get closer with the camera.  They are hungry little fellows, quick to pluck a grub away from the parent who pecked around in the sandy soil to bring it up.  It seems this year that the cranes are making pretty deep holes to bring up the grubs and making quite a mess of the golf course fairways.  I’m careful when hitting the golf ball as I’d sure hate to hit one of the little guys.  A golf ball at full speed could be lethal.

Here are some photos of the baby cranes (I have my full album on Webshots if you want to see them all).

baby sandhill crane feeding

My Nature Photos

I love taking photos of flowers, particularly close-ups.  My other photo interest is wildlife.  My trusty Canon Powershot A550 does a good job for me.  Here are links to my photo albums on Webshots.  When you go to the photo albums, then select SLIDESHOW to see the pictures larger.

Flowers and Plants: 

Oops, out of time for today.  I’ll add to this later and branch out into my photos of alligators, sandhill cranes, etc.

Recommended Reading

I’ve been an Amazon reviewer for four years now and managed to work my way up to Top 100 Reviewer ranking.  As a retired librarian, I have more time to read now and posting reviews on Amazon helps me keep track of what I’ve read and how I felt about it.  Along with writing the book reviews, I started making booklists on Amazon.   I’ll share those with you here.  There are 96 booklists or as Amazon calls them Listmania! lists.   I’ll try to group them here by subjects to make it easier to find one that interests you.  This will take awhile, so I’ll add to it over the next week.  Favorite Childhood Books (Just click on the blue links to see the lists)

My Booklists on Amazon

Childhood Memories of WWII

Gardening Books -These are titles that I’ve found helpful while landscaping and creating a new vegetable and flower gardens in New Hampshire. I like using native plants, being somewhat organic, and keeping things low-maintenance.

Decorate Your Deck – Books and items to help you make the most of your outdoor living space.

Making the Most of Summer with the Kids -Don’t let the summer go by with the kids lounging slack-faced in front of the TV and complaining about being bored. Here are some idea books to get the most from the summer, making it an interesting time for them and you.

Fun with Fabrics – If you’re wondering what to do with that stash of fabric, ribbon and lace, here are some inspiring books. Give them a try. Some projects don’t require sewing. It’s amazing what you can do with spray adhesive.

More Paper Crafts to Try – It’s wonderful to see the varied ideas in these books. The cross-pollination between cardmaking, scrapbooking and altered books benefits all paper crafters.

Love Between the Covers – If you’re looking for hot stuff, then you misinterpreted the title. I’ve long been a reader of romances and want to share with you what’s between the covers of my favorites. There’s something so satisfying when I cozy up with a book and read about two people whose lives become entwined and love evolves despite various obstacles.  It amazes me the variations on this theme and the titles on this list are special to me.

For Elsie Lee Fans – Her romantic suspense and Regency novels are such fun. Her heroines are super smart. Don’t miss her novels under the pseudonym Elsie Cromwell as well.

Learning About Autism

Your Man and Why He Makes You Crazy

Men at Midlife – Is there a male midlife crisis?

Kansas History Made Interesting – History doesn’t have to be dull.

Sandhill Cranes & New Babies

We feel so privileged to see the sandhill cranes daily around Solivita and in our backyard.  This spring, the arrival of the new chick seemed about a month late.  We thought it was due to the extra cold weather we had this winter, but worried that something had happened to the eggs.  There are coyotes around, also alligators, bobcats and even panthers.  The last week or so, we kept seeing a single adult crane so we hoped that meant the other crane was nesting.

Yesterday, we saw the new chick on its first outing.  Wait a minute, there are two chicks!  Wow, our crane pair had twins this year.   I admired them through the binoculors from across the lake.  I hope my neighbors over there don’t think I’m a peeping tom.

Today they brought the twins over to our side of the lake.  I ran out with my digital camera and snapped lots of photos.  Even though they stay pretty calm and let me get within about 6 or 7 feet, my pictures weren’t the best.  I get so excited, that at first I forgot to put it in the action mode to minimize blurring from the moving cranes.  Then I wasn’t holding the camera as steadily as I should.  Some were good shots though.  I’m glad the cranes tolerate my paparrazi behavior so well.  sandhill crane and babies

Here’s a link to the 500 photos (not kidding) that I took of the 2008 baby crane.    I’ll start a new album for the 2009 twin cranes.