Nesting Bald Eagles

American Bald Eagle

Recently I traveled to Bettendorf, Iowa to see my daughter.  Bettendorf is in the Quad Cities area on the border between Iowa and Illinois, and sits right on the west side of Mississippi River.  It is a quiet, charming little community.  Perhaps it was partially so quite because I was there during the winter season.

Lock & Dam #15
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One of the things I found very interesting is that bald eagles, as many as 2500 of them, come there during the winter months to fish along the lock and dam (#15) on the Mississippi River.  These dams were completed in March 1934 by the United States Army Corp of Engineers, and their use by passing ships during the winter months keeps the heavy ice on the Mississippi River broken up.  This is turn makes the eagles happy, because the turbulence below the dams allows them to feast on the fish in the open water.  There is a historic clock tower near the lock & dam where the eagles can easily be viewed fishing in larger groups.

Bald eagles mate for life, and many stay in this area on into the spring, roosting in the wooded bluffs and building gigantic nests in the hardwood trees lining the river.  Eaglets typically hatch in mid to late March.

Bald Eagle

I also learned that the local Alcoa Davenport Works company is the largest employer in the area.  In 2009 a pair of eagles, now named Liberty and Justice, took up residence in a large cottonwood tree on the company grounds, building a tremendous nest 85 feet high off the ground.  The folks at Alcoa installed a fantastic live eagle cam, that takes both close-up and long shots of the eagle nest.  Since its installation over 25 million people have viewed these American icons in their nest.   It is definitely worth checking out now as this pair of eagles have already started “feathering” their nest in preparation for new chicks.  I was able to hear the eagles and catch this juvenile eagle in the nest, but I am sure they will be there far more often now as nesting season progresses.  Such an amazing site to see!  Check out the live eagle cam.

 

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Solid Color Pet Beds

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I have just recently added solid color pet beds to my Shopify store.  I love these!  As with all my pet beds these are custom, and allow you to choose both the interior and exterior color of the pet bed.  With 32 color choices for the interior minky fabric, and 32 color choices for the exterior cotton fabric, there are a total of 1,024 color combinations!

These solid color pet beds blend beautifully with any decor.  And, since my minky and cotton fabrics are “matched” to each other (they use the same color chart), you can request that the interior minky pet bed sides be the same as the exterior color.  This way only the interior pillow cover is the same or a different color, and can be changed out later to one of many other colors.

This is a great way to change up your pet bed for the season…have a lime green color pillow cover for spring and an orange pillow cover for fall.  I do this myself for my little dog Gracie’s pet bed.  The exterior and interior sides are all an ash gray color, and I change out the pillow cover as I like.   So very versatile!  And yes, I am also now offering replacement/additional pillow covers in my standard pet bed sizes just for this purpose.  Enjoy shopping!

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On the Road to Houston

 

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I found myself on a familiar road this weekend, traveling to Houston.  I have lived in both Austin and Houston for many years of my life.  This weekend, however, found me specifically going to Houston to attend the International Quilt Festival at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.

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Traffic was heavy in Houston even around the noon hour on Friday when I arrived.  I enjoyed traveling through most of downtown driving behind a 1960’s 220S Mercedes-Benz, although I felt sorry for the guy driving because it was a stick shift, with almost solid stop and go traffic!  It did, however, let me pretend to maybe be traveling in Europe rather than in Houston.

The hotel I stayed in, the Westin Houston Downtown, was exceptionally nice!  Clearly I am not accustomed to such luxury, because I got pretty excited over the amenities, including a bathrobe, lighted makeup mirror, waterfall shower, and a REALLY nicely detailed room.  Sumptuous!!  I can definitely recommend this place if you are ever in the downtown Houston area.  It is conveniently located near both the convention center and Minute Maid ballpark, and other downtown attractions.

The George Brown Convention Center is simply HUGE.  A friend at work told me that her daughter was there once for a volleyball tournament, and that this building holds 100 volleyball courts.  After seeing the inside, I can believe it.  One end held the food court, then about a million retail booths (mostly related to quilting of course), and then there was the quilt show at the other far end of the building.  Thankfully many, many chairs were located along the lengths of the walls for a place to rest weary feet.

Enjoy the photos.  I will be posting more of the beautiful quilts during the week.  Just too many for one post!

On The Move

 

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I only want a peek!

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Seriously…where are my toys?

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Ok…I think we’re good to go now!

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  There have been trips to the airport at 4:30am, multiple texts and phone calls, vehicles in for servicing, and packing assistance.   But now the center of the whirlwind, my daughter, is gone.  The reasons are good – she secured a new job and a new apartment in a matter of days in her new home state of Minnesota, where she will complete her last semester of school at the University of Minnesota this fall.

She left early this morning for the long two-day drive back to Minneapolis with her three kitties.  I know that Binx, Mr. Moo, and Caska travel well, as my husband and I brought them to our home in Texas last February.  Having been under my care for such a long time, though, I have grown quite attached to them and will miss them greatly.  Already this house seems too quite…although my daughter and her kitties have once again left my home, they will certainly never leave my heart!  And I want PHOTOS of the kitties enjoying the STAIRS in their new home!!

Have you ever cared for a grown child’s pets long-term?  Did you become as attached to them as I have to my daughter’s kitties?

This post is part of a Wednesday blog hop. Please click the “Blog Paws” button in the sidebar to follow all the other wonderful pet blogs. Happy Blogging!

Cross Country Kitties

My daughter said it was surreal, having both her Dad and I sitting across from her and her boyfriend at a table in a local restaurant, sharing a meal in St. Paul, Minnesota.  It certainly felt that way to us too, having made a rather impromptu two day trip driving across the country to help her move, and to bring her three cats home with us to central Texas.  We finished our meal and made plans for the next day – where to meet up and arrangements for pickup of the U-Haul for moving – and then headed to our hotel for a good night’s sleep.  We would need it.

Now I don’t know about you, but my husband and I aren’t big on moving, although we have certainly helped our daughter move a number of times.  Year after year, one apartment to another.  When she moved away from Texas to Minnesota a couple of years ago she went alone, and we thought our apartment moving days were over!  And this move would not be easy.  Third floor, wet slippery slushy snow, and high temps in the 20’s.  We were fortunate that, although bitterly cold by our standards, it was a gorgeous sunny day.  We were even crazy enough to delight in the fact that we were getting to experience a little bit of “real” winter!  That nostalgia had worn off by the end of moving day, though, as our weary bodies were ready for a hot shower and a clean bed.  And we were still mentally preparing ourselves for the long two day ride home, with three cats in tow.

As we awoke to Day 4 of our cross country adventure, the weather had changed.  It was even colder outside, and the sun was gone now.  It looked like a winter day, with gray and overcast skies.  Snow was expected with a front that was coming in later in the day, and we really wanted to head out as early as possible and get ahead of any potentially bad driving conditions.  We had 600 miles to go to make it to Wichita, Kansas before this day was over.  Our daughter picked up her cats from the boarding kennel, and we quickly moved them – each in their own soft crate – from her vehicle to ours.  It was very cold outside and the goodbyes were quick.

I have so often wished that I could talk to pets and that they would understand what I am saying.  It is so hard when you can only reassure them with a gentle voice and hands, but can’t really explain to them what is happening.  Such was the case now, with three plaintive meowing voices coming from the crates.  Poor, scared things.  After we got through downtown Minneapolis I relented and unzipped the crate tops and front panels, and let the roaming begin.  All chose to explore at least briefly.  The two older cats, Caska and Mr. Moo, climbed back into their crates in short order, while the youngest cat Binx continued his loud meowing as he explored my vehicle from the very back to the very front.  He looked out windows, climbed over our shoulders, slinked onto the floorboards (including the driver’s side).  Eventually he settled on my passenger side floorboard.  I had a pillow in my lap and think he felt a little more secure in the temporary darkness.

I had come prepared for this ride home.  We had a big litter box in the very back of my Honda Element, which fortunately does NOT have carpet in it.  We had fastened the back seats up, to leave as much room as possible for luggage and kitties.  I had brought along small plastic bags, spray cleaner, and paper towels, all of which would prove useful on the trip home.  I kept one pet bowl for water, and lightly filled it after some of our own gas/food stops (while the car was not running) so the cats could drink and not get dehydrated.  And all three did take advantage of this.  I made the decision to hold off on food throughout the duration of the day, instead giving the cats food at the overnight hotel.

My biggest fear, the cats potentially escaping from the vehicle, proved to be unfounded.  Unlike dogs, who would be more excited and tend to bolt for the door once open, the cats seemed to want to “hide” in their crates.  My husband and I would take turns on exiting and entering the vehicle, all the time keeping a very watchful eye on the cats.  All in all, the ride on Day 4 went amazingly well.  No pets sick, and all fairly settled.

When we arrived at our overnight destination, we placed their litter box, food and water bowls in the bathroom, and turned the kitties loose for the night.  And cats being the nocturnal creatures they are, you know they stretched their legs and moved about all night.  Once at around 2:00am my husband and I both sat straight up in bed because they had loudly knocked over something in the room.  And Binx climbed all over both of us in bed, and purred loudly under the covers.

Day 5 was pretty much the same as Day 4.  The ride was becoming more routine now, and we were just anxious to get home.  Finally, after more gas stops than seemed imaginable, our round-trip 2400 mile journey was over!  The days ahead will now be filled with helping all of our pet household (which suddenly numbers eight) to make the day-to-day adjustments.

Have you ever traveled with cats?  Ever made a cross country road trip with your kitties?  How did that work for you?  I’d love to know!