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Ladies and Gentleman, We Have a Family!

As you know, I've been searching for at least the last six weeks for the owls with no success, although I had heard rumors that people were hearing them, just not seeing them. Ever the optimist, back I went, hoping this trip would not be in vain. At first, I saw no owls, however, the Swallowtail Kite was once again on the perch! What is going on?
 I was standing in the street in front of Victor's house, watching this fascinating bird, when Victor's wife was leaving the house and stopped to tell me all about how she saw the owls feeding their young frogs in front of their house. Nice! Then Victor came out, and I showed him the Kite, which he found nearly as exciting as I did. We began hearing some uproar from nearby birds, and he said one of the owls must be around, and sure enough, right there in the Magnolia tree between his house and Nell's, I saw one of the juveniles! Woo hoo...then I saw they were both there!!
Before long, the one on the lower branch hopped up to join his sibling. She was wet, probably from being in Victor's birdbath, which you can bet, I wish I'd seen for myself! They were grooming each other, and it was just awesome. That said, the light was horrible, thus a little weirdness in this shot.
I was torn between the owls and the kite....so much action all at once!!
I left a very happy camper indeed! Had I not work to do at home, no telling how long I would have stayed there. I watched as one of the owls flew off, quite expertly I might add, in the direction of the next street. I filed that information away.

Before Bruce left for Dallas he remarked, "wouldn't it be easier to just buy some fabric for the backing?" My response was, "yes, but where's the fun in that?" Thus, here is the back of the charity quilt I've made,
using up nearly all of my solid fabrics. The assignment was for a twin sized quilt that is gender neutral, not an easy thing to sort out, but here's what I took it to mean.
Because it is so large, and because the only open space I have is on the patio, I've learned to become a little creative when it comes to the basting part, which in laymen's terms means putting lots of pins in to keep all three layers together, and flat, for quilting. Instead of doing it all at once, I do it in sections on my sewing table.
The back is clamped tight, followed by the batting...
and finally the top. I do one section, then I pull the next section onto the table and so on.
There you have it...ready for quilting! Because it is 70 inches wide and 90 inches long that is a lot of lines spaced 1/2 inch apart. I've completed maybe a quarter of it, and the sewing continues, in between trips to see my birds. But, you knew that didn't you?

So, the rain continues to stay away, causing brown lawns, and low lake levels across our region. There are only a handful of things that Bruce and I have had for our entire married life, and our Staghorn fern is one of those things, having purchased it as a tiny pup from a neighbor 43 years ago. It is huge! Not to mention very difficult to water, but I did what I could the other day because it was looking just dreadful. You might note the dead tree, along with a little growing grass from our neighbor's car fire in the background.
I read in today's newspaper that there are only two Aprils in the last 100 years when we've not had a drop of rain but that is what it is looking like with only a few days remaining. May 1 is just around the corner, and it is Jonathan's birthday. Boo hoo...another birthday, and he is in Austin and not with his Momma and Daddy.

Looking at this hibiscus in the back yard, I got to thinking about how a person need look no further than nature when putting colors together for a quilt.
That said, I wonder if I would have thought of putting yellow and red together? How about you?

Bruce returned from Dallas while I was sleeping last night, however, he got up almost the same time I did. After making him some coffee I told him I needed to go check on my birds and I'd be right back to make breakfast. Now some of you might be thinking, "why doesn't he make his own breakfast?" which is a fair question. To answer that, I would say that he'd be more than happy to do so, but he knows I like to take care of him, and that's the God's honest truth! I do like to take care of him in that way because he takes care of me in so many other ways. In other words, it is my pleasure.

Right around daylight, I rode over to see if I'd have any luck finding the owls again because that would be considered feeding time. The Kite was there! The owls were not! Once again Victor's wife described the previous evenings antics that I missed. Then another woman, whom I've become friendly with over the owls, told me a shocking story...in a nutshell, one of the owl parents swooped down, grazing her head when she was getting too close to one of the owlets sitting on her fence!! She even had me look at her scalp!! Holy Cow...that's a first! Pointing out the Kite to her, that took a little bit of the sting away. Following our conversation, back on my bicycle, I rode around the corner, noticing bird poop in the street....hmmm...I know what this means. Plus, I'd seen the youngster fly that way the day before.

First I found, what I'm guessing, is the Papa..
and then what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the owlets who were soon joined by their Mama.
I'm including this shot because it gives you a little perspective on how these shots are somewhat hard to get. One thing that was kind of crazy is the woman who lives in the house where the tree stands, came out to walk her dog. Asking her if she wanted to see them, naturally, she said yes! Pointing them out, she was thinking of using her phone camera to get a shot, and I wished her luck with that. As we were talking, I was moving around, trying to somehow get better lighting when....wooosh....Mama flew right at me, landing in the tree where you see her down low! I forgot to mention the woman who was grazed by the owl said it felt like someone hit her with a baseball bat! Most days when Bruce is home he advises me to be careful on my bike ride, however, I suspect he never thought of an owl grazing as one of the things to be careful about. :)

More folks came along and were happy to have them pointed out with me acting as the tour guide. Ha ha...Just before I left, Mama must have been telling me to mind my p's and q's, as my late Mother would say.
That mouth is seriously pink, isn't it?

I can't tell you how thrilled I am that at last they have been found even though the owlets are much older than I've seen in years past, I'm still tickled pink.

What is on some of your minds is, what is happening with the move? Am I right? Last week something unexpected happened; the condo where we were going to live was sold to a buyer who made them an offer they could not refuse. Oh my goodness!!! Steve, Bruce's boss, says he's got it all figured out, so hopefully I'll know more fairly soon. It is still two months away, making it not crazy urgent, but still something to take a girl by surprise, that's for sure. No doubt the next place will be absolutely perfect. That is, if I have a place to sew, and of course, photograph birds.

yours truly,

Gail

p.s. You probably never notice the tags I put at the end of my posts, but they help me find stuff later. Many tags are repeats and come up after typing only a few letters. In more than 10 years of those tags, this is only the second post that has a Swallowtail Kite tag and you can safely bet I would have posted a photo before because, they are indeed, very cool birds. :)
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