Kentucky Wildflowers are Springing Up All Over!

Just another DYC (Darn Yellow Composit)
LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
Twin-leaf
LeslieAnne Hasty(c) 2019
Wild Violets in Clover, Grass, and Yarrow
LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
Potentilla (I think)
LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019

Wild Cherry
LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
Redbud flowers close up
LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019

As always, corrections, comments, and criticisms welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com

With Grace and Gratitude

LeslieAnne Hasty

#Kentuckywildflowers#appalachianspring#Appalachianhike#Kentuckyhiking#Appalachianwildflowers

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Hiking on the hill

Yesterday my son took me on a “baby hike” to show me some of the plants he’d found while running the Beagles. Here are the photos:

Trillium by LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
Bloodroot LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
LeslieAnneHasty (c) 2019

I’ve got to look this one up, not sure about the name!

Here are some more:

Wild Violets LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019
Wild Cherry LeslieAnne Hasty (c) 2019

Today we’re going to get photos of some more lovely Kentucky Spring flowers!

As always, comments, corrections, and criticism welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com.

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

Our Bunnies Are NOT Spoiled!

New baby bunnies are SO adorable, even my teenage son couldn’t help but play with them!

As they grew, they stayed cite, and got played with even more!

It’s crazy having a cuteness overload every day!

Two of these babies must have some lionhead genes, because they’re very fluffy around the neck. Here’s one, above…

This is Niblet, the one Ty decided to keep as his own. He’s training it to let him clip the sharp ends of its nails.

Short but sweet today! As always, though, comments, criticisms or corrections welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com anytime!

Have a FABULOUS day!

With Grace and Gratitude

LeslieAnne Hasty

7 Facts about Sugar Gliders!

You know that incredibly cute animal at the flea markets that they call a sugar glider or honey bear?  Well, they’ll sell you that adorable critter without telling you some REALLY important information!!

Before you spend your hard-earned money on a tiny creature that “isn’t any trouble at all”, make sure you read this!! 

First, what IS a Sugar Glider? “Petaurus breviceps” is an Australian marsupial mammal about the same size as a Northern Flying Squirrel “Glaucomys sabrinus”. They have a pouch like a kangaroo. Their babies are the size of a grain of rice when they’re born, and they have to climb up mamma’s fur to get to the pouch, and attach to a teat for milk. Here’s a photo:

Photo by andyround62 via pixabay

1) Sugar gliders are naturally nocturnal.  This means that they come out at night, and that’s when they generally want attention, food and water.  Some gliders will adjust to being awake during the day, but their biological clock tells them to be up at night. If you aren’t a night person, think about how that will affect your home life.  They WILL run around in their cage, run on their wheel, and they do BARK when they want something!! 

2) Sugar gliders require a special diet to stay healthy, and they can easily live 15 years!  This means you will have to make batches of food ahead and freeze it in ice cube trays, in order to feed them properly.  The ingredients aren’t hard to find, and it’s not difficult to make, but you can’t just feed them dry food like you can a dog or cat.

Cute sugar glider at home

3) Sugar gliders are not usually a good pet for a small child.  They will nip or bite if they get scared(like any animal), and they have very sharp teeth!  They can also nip you accidentally when you are giving them treats, and they can draw blood easily! If your glider hasn’t been well-socialized as a baby, they’ll be startled by a child’s quick movements and loud noises, and some gliders won’t ever get used to that.

4) Sugar gliders really need daily handling.  If you are a person who gets tired easily or has to travel a lot, this is probably not the pet for you. You MUST get them out of their cage EVERY DAY to play, jump and climb on you. This is SO important to keeping them tame and friendly.

5) Gliders do NOT potty train (as a general rule).  They will mark you as their territory and this means you get pooped and peed on every day.  If you are very picky about this sort of thing, this is not the pet for you!

Thomas, Comet and Ivory taking over my back!

6) Male gliders CAN and SHOULD be neutered. They will continue to breed the females as long as they are alive.  Neutering ensures that you don’t end up with a colony of 30 from the original 2 or 3 you brought home (True Story)!

7) Gliders love company! You should always get two, preferably same sex pairs who have grown up together. In the wild, they live in colonies of ten to a hundred or more, and living by themselves isn’t natural for them. One human doesn’t replace all that interaction that they’re designed for!

And besides all that, they need some other things.   A REALLY BIG special cage, designed for gliders or small birds, in order to have lots of toys and branches to play on while you are busy is an absolute necessity.  A veterinarian who has training in exotic animal care to get your male gliders neutered when they are old enough and for annual checkups.

And, yes, sugar gliders do have a “musky” odor.  If you don’t get your males fixed, they can be pretty strong. Most glider people don’t mind the little bit that remains.

Ivory is a Leucistic glider; she has black eyes but all white fur.

There is a lot of information on the Internet, but honestly, you really have to dig to find ACCURATE stuff.  There are multiple glider rescues out there who are in the business of helping people who get overwhelmed with life,for instance they end up having to move, only to find out that the state they’re moving to has a law against owning gliders. It’s very easy to work with these people and they will educate you on all the things you need to know!

There are plenty of reputable breeders out there who are doing a great job of tracking where their babies go and who’s breeding with who.  If you decide that you want a baby, PLEASE find a GOOD responsible breeder!  This means that you won’t end up with a glider whose parents were siblings, has multiple health problems or who will die just as you really get attached.  A good breeder will always want to keep in contact and help you out.  They can help you find a local veterinarian who does annual checkups, neuters and answers questions!!!

There are several reputable Glider owner and rescue groups on FaceBook, many of whom will assign you a “Glider Mentor” to answer your questions and help you out.  If you’re not sure where to look, drop me an email at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com and I will be happy to get you hooked in!  Also, I recommend “My Sugar Glider Journal”, (available on Amazon at  https://amzn.to/2xlars6  ) as a way to get some more information, and to give yourself time to decide if gliders are right for you!

In conclusion, Sugar gliders are NOT for everyone, but if you decide you want to be one of those special people, PLEASE be responsible and do it right.  There are too many gliders out there who suffer in terrible conditions, and you don’t want to make it worse, do you?

As always, thanks for reading! Comments, complaints, corrections or criticism is welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

Copyright LeslieAnne Hasty

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A cat without a tail?

Have you ever had the pleasure of meeting a  Manx?  Manx cats are naturally tail-challenged, and are a bit different from your ordinary cat…

This is my current cat boss, China Belle.

Manx are originally from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, and they can have no tail at all, like China here, or a stubby tail.  Manx with no tail at all are most valued for showing.  

The “taillessness” is classified as a spinal defect, but in no way should you consider a Manx cat “handicapped”!  Manx tails come in varying lengths, from the “Rumpy” like my China (zero tail) to “Rumpy Risers” (a knob of tail) to the “Stumpy” (a short tail that’s ofter curved or kinked).  “Longies” have a long tail, but still shorter than most other cats.  

Manx can have short hair, long hair, or even in-between.  The longhaired variety is called the Cymric, and Manx or Cymric may both appear in the same litter.

Photo by seven song via Unsplash

Manx typically are rounded all over. Round-faced, round-bodied, and round-eyed, they’re just round all over! It makes the silhouette quite distinctive, even without the “missing” tail.

Manx have longer back legs, and this makes them very agile jumpers. You shouldn’t be surprised to see them at the top of your bookcase, snoozing contentedly. This also makes them walk with a bit of a ‘hop’.

Snoozing on the couch back.

I’ve read that Manx are lap cats, and I have to say that’s a bit misleading. My Manx insists on sleeping behind my legs at night, sitting next to me on the couch, and will only grudgingly take up position on the couch back is anyone else wants to sit on the seat.

Some authorities state that Manx love water, and this may be true of pure Manx, but my mix doesn’t share this trait. She will touch water if there’s a fish swimming under the surface, but that’s the extent of her interest.

Manx are very intelligent, and VERY handy with their paws. They are frequently able to turn on water faucets, open cabinet drawers and doors, and pick up toys from the floor.

They also tend to get the “galloping ???” racing around the house, sliding around corners and generally being fast. When China gets done with her lap running, she’ll slip up next to me on the loveseat and take a nap.

Photo by max sandelin via Unsplash

One last thing about Manx – every one I’ve ever had was just as vocal as a Siamese! China will talk to me whenever her food or water dishes are empty, whenever she feels that it’s time to go out on the porch, or when she feels her litterbox is not clean enough!

As always, questions, comments, corrections or criticisms are welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com. I love to hear from YOU!

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

The Redbuds, they are a-blooming!

Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

This week in Eastern Kentucky, the Redbuds are putting on their spring finery, gaining a fuchsia pink glow all around the edges of each tree.  It’s a very distinctive color, and right now when most of the trees and shrubs are still debating whether spring is truly here or not, the Redbuds are a truehighlight in the woods.


Redbud flowers are edible!  I found this.out while doing a spring bird watching your at Carter Caves State Park, down the road near Olive Hill, Kentucky.  The tree is classified in the family that includes sweet peas, so it’s actually a legume like a pea.  “Cercis canadensis” may or may not have the ability to fix nitrogen into the soil like most plants in this family,  I found that different sources disagree.

 

Image by Jing from Pixabay

Another fun fact about the Redbud is that the flowers actually form on the branches and the trunks of the trees!  Scientists call it “cauliflory”, and the Latin term translates as “stem-flower”.  Each flower leaves a tiny bump behind it on the trunk or branch, and the older the tree gets, the bumper its stems will become.  Few plants use this strategy in the temperate zones – most of the “stem-flowering” plants are found in tropical forests.

The Redbud is the state tree of Oklahoma, they only get between 15 and 30 feet tall, and they make a lovely background counterpoint above a bed of flowering bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinth, or tulips.

When the flowers begin to fade, the beautiful heart-shaped leaves take over, and they’re quite pretty as well! They start out pinkish red, turn green, then fade into soft golden yellow in fall. Here’s a photo of a newer leaf:

Image by Rebecca Matthews from Pixabay

If you have some room in your yard for a small tree, I’d suggest the Redbud as a great addition. They’re tough, always love pretty, and will reward you with years of blooms and a little shade too! In the fall, they’ll reward you with a golden glow that will have your neighbors asking “What IS that tree?”

Image by Deedster from Pixabay

I hope you enjoyed this post about the Redbud. As always, feel free to comment, criticize, or question me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com

Have a lovely day!

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

Meadowlarks trilling!

Here in Kentucky, our Eastern Meadowlarks have returned and are perching on fenceposts all over. These birds sound to me a lot like the ones I got used to back home in Arizona, but according to The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Easterns have 50 to 100 different variations of their song, where the Westerns only have around 10 to 12 variations!

The Eastern Meadowlark is scientifically named “Sturnella magna”, and they’re actually classed as a blackbird, not a lark at all. Whatever class they’re in, they are a delight to the eyes and ears. If you have pet birds, you may enjoy looking up the different songs and playing them for your house birds – mine get very excited to hear wild birds singing in the house early in the morning!

With that bright yellow breast and black necklace, Easterns are a very distinctive sight in the country here in Kentucky. We have a couple of pairs along the little creek below our house, and the males keep really close tabs on each other, constantly singing back and forth to make sure no-one is invading!

Apparently, the two species can be found in the same habitats in places such as Texas. Researchers from Texas A & M found that the two do not interbreed (other research has shown that they do on occasion), and I think that’s because the females know perfectly well which kinds of songs they like better! The two are pretty hard to tell apart in the field, though, for us humans. Males of the two species will defend their territory against each other, too.

Western Meadowlarks (“Sturnella neglecta”) aren’t seen much in the low deserts in Arizona, (except in artificial grasslands like golf courses), but in the high desert the habitat is a lot more like the grasslands that they favor.

Meadowlarks are really easy to spot, even if they flying away from you! They’ve got a distinctive flight pattern, and a very short, broad tail compared to the other songbirds I can see at this time of year. They’re so lovely to have around, always seeming cheerful and always ready to sing.

Both Eastern and Western Meadowlarks feed on grains, seeds and insects. They often feed by inserting their bill into the soil and then pushing it open (gaping) to reach seeds and insects that are beneath the surface.

They both build nests on the ground, in a small depression, lined with grass and bark. Some Meadowlarks even make little canopies and tunnel entrances by weaving grass stems together.

Meadowlarks lay from 2 to 7 eggs incubated by the female for 13 to 16 days. The babies stay in the nest for 10 to 12 days, and the parents feed them for another couple of weeks until they can fly well. They’ll raise one or two clutches each year, but if you’re out looking for nesting birds, be careful! A female Meadowlark will abandon her nest if she’s forced away from it!

And then there’s the Horned Lark – who is actually a lark! Back home in the high desert, we had literally CLOUDS of them! They’d come to water in a huge flock, dipping and diving, taking turns flying, foraging and drinking at least twice a day.

Horned Larks are really cool, about half the size of the Meadowlarks, and with a nifty black and white mask that stands out in the crowd. The “horns” are just little tufts of feathers, and in my experience are not that easily seen. The big giveaway here was the mask, and the size, and the fact that I nearly always saw them in a group.

This photo (above) is really cool because it shows the pale yellow throat, which you may not be able to spot outside without binoculars. “Eremophila alpestris” will nest on the ground very early and usually next to a grass clump or rock. The female builds her nest with grass and weeds and lines it with fine grass or plant down like thistle seed down.

Horned Larks usually lay from 2 to 5 eggs which are incubated by the hen for around 10 to 12 days. Both parents feed the babies in the nest for 9 to 12 days, but the young won’t be able to fly for another weeks or so. In the north, Horned larks only get to raise one brood, but farther south, they may raise as many as three.

A few farmers in the Midwest are starting the practice of leaving “Prairie Strips” in their fields among the corn and soybeans. In Iowa, the tallgrass prairie covered about 85 percent of the land in the 1830’s. Now, less than one-tenth of one percent of Iowa still holds the original prairie ecosystem. These “Prairie Strips” offer habitat for an incredible number of plant and animal species, and farmers employing them are finding them valuable to catch and filter run-off during heavy rains.

The Iowa State researchers who spearheaded this practice in 2007 are hopeful that it will spread to neighboring farms, and their research results after ten years showed that a ten percent conversion to “Prairie Strips” actually gave a high return on the farmer’s investment! Soil loss by erosion was reduced by 95 percent, and loss of phosphorus and nitrogen from the soil dropped by 77 percent and 70 percent. When you realize that the soil lost to erosion takes years to re-build, and that the farmer is having to pay for all that fertilizer, that’s a really significant number!

I hope I didn’t get too far off track today, and as always, invite you to send comments, complaints, or criticism to me: FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com Thanks for reading!

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

2 Mockingbirds (Are One Too Many)!

Mockingbirds are very intelligent, and if you know that they’re close relatives of the crows, you already knew that! But here are some fun facts about Mockingbirds that you may NOT have known…

The Northern Mockingbird is nearly as popular as the Cardinal as a State bird! Five states have the mockingbird as their very own state bird: Texas, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Florida.

Both male and female Mockingbirds sing, although the hen does tend to be quieter. They both look pretty much the same, with the female being slightly smaller. Males migrate in first and set about claiming a territory by flying up and flashing their white wing patches. When the females arrive a few weeks later, males will continue to display to entice a hen to check him out.

Both parents build the nest, then the hen will lay her 2 to 6 eggs and incubate them for about two weeks. After hatching, both parents feed the baby birds for (according to the books) about 10 days, then the fledglings are considered to be independent.

Mom and Dad will generally raise at least two and sometimes three clutches of babies in a single summer.

Mockingbirds in the wild generally live about eight years, and in captivity they can live to 20 years old!

Male mockingbirds sings different songs in the spring than in the fall, and mockingbirds are well known to sing through the night. If you’re lucky enough to have a pair at your house like we do, it’s pretty amazing to wake up in the night to birdsong! They can learn up to 200 different songs, so they don’t have a lot of “repeats”.

Thomas Jefferson had a pet mockingbird! It was named “Dick”.

And, mockingbirds are extremely territorial and protective- they’ve been caught on camera attacking cats or dogs, as well as people who got too close to their nest!

Mockingbirds live throughout North America- in parts of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. They’re easy to find in trees or on posts overlooking fields, pastures, and backyards, singing loudly and flying down to catch a tasty insect or eat a berry or two.

Mockingbirds eat mostly insects through the summer, then switch to friuts and berries in the fall as these foods become more available. My local mockingbirds have eaten dried fruit in our feeder in the early spring when the other birds ignore it.

You can find more Northern Mockingbird information at https://forum.americanexpedition.us/northern-mockingbird, and there are lots more sites like All About Birds and the Audubon Society’s page if you’re interested.

Keep your bird feeder filled and see if you can attract your own mockingbird songster!

As always,
feel free to email me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with comments,
corrections, and complaints!

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne
Hasty

 

Mynah birds: Master Mimics

Have you ever heard a Mynah bird mimic human speech? They’re one of the bird world’s outstanding mimics, and make a really interesting pet, too!

Common mynah by smarko on Pixabay

Mynah birds have been kept as pets for centuries, and they fascinated early explorers who’d never heard of animals that could “talk back”. Wealthy folk in Ancient Greece commonly had Mynahs, and in India they were revered as sacred birds and so were always treated respectfully.

Young Mynah birds that have been hand-raised make the best pets, and everything that I found about them seems to concur that they’ll learn all their sounds, voices and calls before they’re two years old. So you’d want to know a bit more about an adult bird before you bring it home!

The Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis) is now established in South Florida, as escapees have flourished in the tropical climate there. It’s sometimes called the “House Myna”, and has been a popular cage bird for many years.

This Great Mynah pictured above is one you’ll have to go to a zoo or aviary to see. Acridotheres grandis is a native of NorthEastern India to SouthEast Asia, where they’re common in grassland and pastures. According to BirdLife.org, there are also naturalized populations of these birds in Tiawan and Japan.

The Bali Myna shown here is also known as the Bali Starling (Leucospar rothschildi), Bali Mynah, or Rothschild’s Myna, and is locally called “jalak Bali”. They are the Island of Bali’s official bird, and are only found in one small area of the island. They’re on the endangered list, and they’re SO strikingly different and beautiful! I was privileged to see a pair at the Phoenix Zoo’s walk-in aviary, and they are truly stunning!

Mynah birds may not be the birdy genius that you expect of, say, a parrot, but they’re well worth studying! If you’d like to learn more, please take a look at “My Mynah Journal” at https://amzn.to/2VbKXUX , where you can learn and journal about your prospective (or actual) pet Myna.

Happy Birding!

As always,feel free to email me at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com with comments, corrections, and complaints!

With Grace and Gratitude,

LeslieAnne Hasty

 

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Pressed Flowers – Day Two

Love this idea! Will try this myself this year!

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