Monday, August 22, 2011

Bits and Pieces

A few days ago, I posted a police log about a woman who 'saw electricity traveling outside the wire.'  While I think it is one of our whackos who reported this, Janet did question whether this actually could happen.  So, I decided to ask K about this.  After all, he DOES keep the machines going that make electricity, so he might know more than I do on the subject.  He thinks this is questionable, but he shared some thoughts about it.  First, he has walked around the power plant property extensively through the years.  He has seen the power lines arc, but THAT is NOT a good thing and is usually connected to a problem.  He also said that in the right conditions, you can 'hear' the electricity flowing through the wires.  AND during the proper conditions, some people have said they can see a 'halo' or 'glow' around the power lines--but K has never experienced that.  So, that is as close to an explanation as I can give for 'escaping electricity.'


K went to open the door on the storage shed last week and when he did, a swarm of yellow jackets flew out.  They had begun building a nest on the inside of the shed door and got it to the size of a large silver-dollar pancake.  K didn't want to spray the nest with Raid because it was so close to our tomato garden, so he took a shovel and slammed it on the nest, causing it to fall to the ground.  For many hours after that--actually for a few days--I watched 6-12 yellow jackets continue to figure out what happened to their home.  If the queen would have been killed, I believe that would have been the end of it, but she was still around, being tended to, a day ago.  I believe the nest is being rebuilt.  Yuck.  Anyway, I digress.

The day after the nest was knocked to the ground, I watched a chipmunk go to it.  He ripped it apart and stuffed whatever was in it into its pouches.  When he was done, there were just tiny little bits of grey 'paper' left on the ground.  I never knew chipmunks would do something like this.  I may start liking them after all.  ;)

Our neighbor said that they had a huge paper wasp nest last summer and after the first frost, a half dozen blue jays ripped that one apart.  They proceeded to eat everything that was inside.  And THAT was surprising to me.  So, am I the only one that didn't know this about our wildlife?


I'm sure I have mentioned that I got a NOOKcolor a few months back.  As it turned out, I had a lemon and had to get a replacement in July.  Of course, I didn't know that it was a lemon until it completely crapped out and I got one that actually works right, but I'm pleased with my replacement.  But, obviously, I'm not pleased enough, because I have now turned the NOOK into an Android tablet.

Almost from the beginning, the geeks have been working out a way to turn the NOOK into a full-on tablet.  I started reading about this before I even got my NOOK and figured it was something I may do down the road at some time.  When everything finally was working right and the geeks figured out a way to change the NOOK without changing anything on the inside--no hardware or software changes to the original machine--I knew it was time to see what the NOOK could do.  Unfortunately, despite the fact that this was something pretty easy to do, there seemed to be a lot of information that had to be read and sorted through before I could attempt this transformation.  And I dragged my heels, not wanting to spend the time necessary.  Basically, one had to take an SD card, download some files, put the card in the NOOK, boot it up, and there you have a tablet!  (Of course, there was a bit more to it.  ;))  And all it cost was the price of an SD card and your time.  Still, I couldn't bring myself to do this on my own.

A couple of months back, an enterprising young man realized that there were a lot of people like me and decided to cash in.  He started doing all of the work involved in this transformation and selling the cards to people who didn't want to do the work themselves.  Last week, I bought my card.  And so far, I couldn't be much happier!  The NOOK is now like a bigger version of my phone--without the ability to take pictures or make calls, of course--and I can put almost any app I want on it.  I'm pretty pleased and hope everything keeps going well.

The thing that amazes me most about this is the cost.  If someone wanted a 7" Android tablet, they could buy a refurbished NOOKcolor for $170 and a card to transform it into a tablet for $35.  For a little over $200, a tablet could be had--much, much, much less than the $300-600 or more that full tablets are going for.  A good deal all around.


And so we get back to wildlife.  Specifically, the cardinals that have been frequenting our window feeders.

I know this isn't the greatest picture, but it will have to do.  As you can see, there are Mr and Mrs Cardinal eating out of the same feeder.  Not only am I thrilled to have them at my window, but they are quite fascinating.  Whenever the two of them are together, one feeds the other.  Most of the time, it is the male that feeds the female.  He will take the shell off of the seed and then give her the nutmeat.  One day he did this for a couple of minutes.  Adorable!

It would be great to get better pictures of these birds, but they are extremely skittish.  And, for the most part, they like to come to the feeder at low-light times, like just at dawn or right before dusk.  Those aren't times when you can get good pictures.  I certainly hope they stick around for the winter--it will be nice to have their red coloring along with the blue of the jays during the long, white, winter months.


Anonymous said...

St. Elmo's Fire on the high tension wires? I only thought of this because I came across it in a book recently.

cmk said...

That could very well be a possibility--I never thought of it. This is something that I have never seen, so I'm not sure what it looks like. :)

Mrs. S. said...

Pretty birds.. Most of what we see around here are those blasted starlings. They've pretty much torn up most of the insulation around the top of the shop (what little there was to begin with). Drives the hubs nuts.

cmk said...

The starlings and mourning doves are definitely not favorites of mine--I prefer the 'colorful' birds. We haven't seen too much of either this summer and I'm hoping they don't come back in full force this winter. (Because I suffer from CRS syndrome, I don't even remember if they winter here or not.) But, unless K gets the soffit taken care of, the starlings will be back in the spring, living in the eaves over the computer room. UGH!

meleah rebeccah said...

* Still, "escaping electricity" makes me laugh.

* Holy crap. I would FREAK out over that Yellow Jacket nest. And I love chipmunks. But I hate squirrels.

*OMG. That is sooooo cool your NOOK now works like a tablet!

*Awwwwww…The Cardinal Couple are SO cute!

cmk said...

That 'electricity' thing is quite funny. And, like I said, it just 'sounds' like one of our zanies. ;)

And K opened the door to the shed last night and there were more than a half-dozen YJ clustered around the queen. They hadn't started a new nest, but they were getting ready. I think he killed all but one or two, which flew away. He'll have to check again to make sure the queen REALLY is dead this time.

I can't like chipmunks--the little buggers are just too destructive and they empty my bird feeders within a couple of hours of filling. Then the damn things bury the seeds and can't find them again! At least the squirrels will dig up what they bury. :)

Yeah, I'm pretty pumped about my NOOK. BUT, there is a new firmware update today from B&N, so I have to find out what this will do--if anything--to the tablet abilities. Keeping up with tech is an all-consuming, never-ending job. :-/

The cardinals are darn cute. I have to research whether they will stay for the winter--and I keep forgetting.

Anonymous said...

Aw, the cardinals are sweet-I didn;t realize they fed each other-I'll have to watch for that when I put up my bird feeders.

I wonder what's in the yellow jacket nests that are so tasty to chipmunks and blue jays?

cmk said...

The only time I have ever seen birds feed each other is when the adults feed the babes--so I was very surprised when I saw this.

I'm thinking the eggs must be what the jays and chips are eating--I wouldn't think it would be the larva. Although, I guess the jays could eat those just as easily as the eggs--but the chipmunks wouldn't be putting the live, wriggly larva in their pouches. Just very interesting.