Piece of my past circa 1976

While at Mom’s today, I saw this photo on her desk and scanned it. That’s me in the middle, about 3 years old (check out my groovy pants!). My brother is the cute blond kid in the foreground. I am sitting between my father’s parents.
They lived in a farm house just outside Western Hills, a suburb of Cincinnati. My grandpa was a farmer from a long line of farmers, and my grandma was from “better” family. She defied her mother and married my grandpa against her family’s wishes. She was 25 and he was 24 when they were married, which at the time (1925) was pretty old to get hitched. They had five children (my Dad was the middle child) and eventually racked up thirteen grandchildren.
Grandpa died in 1981, and the things I remember about him is mint-flavored Chapstick in his front pocket and the barn swallows in “his” barn.
Grandma died in 1994 and she taught me loads of stuff about cooking (like how to make the perfect apple pie and the best homemade chicken noodle soup, from SCRATCH) and how to crochet. She was the quintessential American Grandma. They were already “old” when I was born in 1973, but the memories I hold that have their base in my grandparents has shaped me into the person I am today. And that carries over into the relationship with my Dad. He was so like his father, quiet, gentle as long as you were good (but scary as the dickens when you were disobedient), “uneducated” but smart as Hell, hardworking and just GOOD PEOPLE.
Everyone should have grandparents like I had.

Mish-mash of stuff from my Friday

While dropping Isabelle off at my Mom’s for a sleepover, I checked the bluebird houses that dot Mom’s property. She has also been blessed with four bluebird eggs. That’s another nest for me to worry over.

If not for Phoebe, Julie Zickefoose’s daughter, I would not have looked at this Cheeto twice. But when I pulled it out of the bag, it reminded me of a Y chromosome.

See? You never know what level of entertainment you will get here on

Susan Gets Native!

We have been hiding a dirty secret here at the Williams’ manor. We have mice in the basement. As in where I sit every night to write this blog. That’s why I have been absent for the past few days. We have live-caught two so far. The first one we released in the yard. But it may have returned. I read a study where scientists tagged mice, released them 3 miles away from where they were caught, and they returned within a week. So today, after catching the second, I decided that 3 miles wouldn’t do it. I took them to my Mom’s house…47.3 miles away (give or take a few miles for a side trip to Starbucks) I couldn’t get a photo of the little guy, because he was VERY ready to go when I opened the trap in her garden. Enjoy country life, little vermin.

This is Dave Tennant, educator at RAPTOR. I will be observing/helping him with programs for the next few months to get my feet wet, and hopefully soon will be doing my own programs. He has been doing this for years, and it’s a real treat to hear him talk about the birds. What a nice guy…It will be fun to shadow him.

(And I’m sure you recognize Lucy, the Peregrine Falcon, by now!)

***A photo to mess with Rita’s mind***

Isabelle has a thing for pet carriers. She used to crawl into Roxy’s carrier (that’s my in-laws’ dog) and today she realized that she fit into Bailey’s carrier (that’s my Mom’s dog). It freaks Rita out to see one of her precious granddaughters in a cage. Please don’t call Children’s Services. We let her out. Eventually.

Roses, dogs and snakes

I decided to do something nice for myself. These roses were just shouting for me to pick them up. It didn’t hurt that they were on sale for $2.00.


While Isabelle and I were checking nests and the corn and pumpkin plants, I happened to peek into the well for the basement window, and there was a nice little Eastern Brown snake. As I sit here and type this, the window that he is pressed against in right above my head. Ever get the feeling that you’re being watched???

The newest library card holder

Meet the newest card-carrying member of the library set. Since Isabelle can write her name now (that’s the only requirement), I thought it was time for her to have her own library card.

She is so proud of herself.
*I guess she needs a purse and wallet to carry her new card around.

Good news about Whooping Cranes

Geoff loves to search for animal/bird stories for me, and he came up with a very nice one about Whooping Cranes.

Susan Gets Native again!

The girls and I hit our local nursery to continue the work I have been doing on our property. I absolutely love Earthscapes. They recently opened their doors to the public and it’s a great place to get locally grown, native plants (and everything else you could ever want) but it’s unlike any other nursery I am used to. You sign in, get a MAP of the place because it’s huge (20 + greenhouses) and take a wagon and go hunting for your plants. They have every plant they grow on a list, with the greenhouse number and the row that each plant is in. And they sell big, healthy established plants for WAY LESS than the typical “Home Depot” type of places. I got 6 big plants for less than $40.
Love it, love it, love it!

Note: These plants took a ride in my trunk, so they look a little lopsided)

I broke down and bought a Russian Sage, even though it’s not even native to this continent. It’s non-invasive and just too lovely to pass up. And it smells good.

This is a Salvia (can’t remember the type). I got two of them.

Little Bluestem. A sweet little guy who will hopefully take over a problem corner.

Swamp Milkweed. Thanks, Laura, for the seed offer! But I like instant gratification if I can get it. It’s going in the marsh/pond thingy I have going, but not until I am happy with the shape and depth of the marsh.

Happy Fledging Day!

The bee balm has finally started to bloom…just in time for the new hummingbirds that will be hatching soon.
The baby rats have started coming out of the nest box by themselves and playing.
Geoff has come up with two names that are perfect…Laverne and Shirley. One, he’s a big time TV buff, and two, Laverne was played by Penny Marshall and Penny is their mom…so…
“My” tree swallow chicks fledged today. It’s awesome…instead of two swallows swooping around above the yard, we have seven.
I couldn’t capture all of them on my camera, but there are three above, on the house, and one peeking out of the gourd. Happy life and blue skies, little ones!