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Archive for May, 2009

Hello again, fellow Blue Bird enthusiasts, and WELCOME to Week #13 of the 2009 Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Survey, on the campus of the South Mississippi Regional Center, in Long Beach.

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Master Naturalist Buddy John checks Blue Bird Trail nesting box #7 during this week’s Survey.

It’s been another active week on the Trail with lots of new Blue Bird babies and eggs counted during Friday’s Survey!

When Master Naturalist Buddy John and I were about to start out along the Trail Friday morning, John commented that he was excited to do the Survey this week, as he expected we would find lots of new babies and eggs.

He was right!

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After discovering during last week’s Survey that a predator had taken 3 of the 4 eggs in nesting box #2 on the Trail, we were surprised during this week’s Survey to discover that the female Blue Bird nesting in that box, had gotten busy during this past week and laid another 4 eggs, to bring the total number there to 5 now.

Let’s talk Totals this 2009 Season so far:

First Hatch Totals:
33 eggs total, 5 of which were sterile.
28 Blue Bird babies flew the nest.

Second Hatch Totals (so far):
36 eggs total, 3 of which were lost to a predator.
19 eggs in nesting boxes.
14 babies in nesting boxes.

Season Totals (so far):
69 eggs: 5 sterile, 3 to a predator.
28 babies have flown the nest.
19 eggs in nesting boxes.
14 babies in nesting boxes.

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We discovered five new Blue Bird babies in nesting box #11 Friday morning, probably hatched within the previous few days.

Here are the results of Friday’s Blue Bird Trail Survey – May 29, 2009:

Nesting Box #1 – 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 4 new Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #2 – 5 Blue Bird eggs; Mama Blue Bird went right to work and laid 4 new eggs during the past week. – Last Week:1 Blue Bird egg, predator got 3 eggs.

Nesting Box #3 – No new activity, nest removed, box cleaned. – Last Week: Nest built, no new activity.

Nesting Box #4 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

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Here are the 4 second hatch eggs in nesting box #4, on Friday.

Nesting Box #5 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #6 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #7 – 4 Blue Bird babies. – Last Week: 3 Blue Bird babies, 1 Blue Bird egg.

Nesting Box #8 – Some straw, no new activity, removed straw, cleaned box. – Last Week: Some straw in box, no new activity.

Nesting Box #9 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

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When we opened the cover on nesting box #13, we found 5 hungry new babies waiting for their next morsel from their parents.

Nesting Box #10 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #11 – 5 new Blue Bird babies. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #12 – Some straw in box, ne new activity, removed straw, cleaned box. – Last Week: Some new straw in box, no activity.

Nesting Box #13 – 5 new Blue Bird babies. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

Have a great weekend!

Oh yes, guess what we had Friday morning first thing in our department at work: a Hurricane Preparedness Training video! It’s get ready time…

On Monday, the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins!

Here we go again!

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In addition to my admitted interests in Family, EMS, Blue Birds, Hurricane Katrina Recovery and various others subjects, for the past 50 years, I have had a deep interest in American History, more specifically, in American Civil War History.

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Your author relaxing at the National Cemetery at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

When I was in grade school, in a small, one-room school in northern Richland County, Wisconsin, I loved to read, and read most of the books in our small school library there.

My favorite ones there, were those about history, and my absolute favorite book was about a Pony Express rider, riding in the Great Plains, from one Pony Express Station to another, which were located approximately 20 miles from each other on the route.

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A Confederate Infantry Company delivers “volley fire” at a recent Boscobel, Wisconsin Civil War Weekend reenactment daily battle.

In my senior year in high school, I wrote a term paper for my English class, about the Battle of Gettysburg. Unknown to me at the time, was that I had a great great grandfather, Albert Harland Rolfe, from western vernon County, Wisconsin, who fought with the Union forces at Gettysburg during that awful three-day carnage, which many historians believe was the “High Tide” of the Confederacy. After that defeat, the Confederate cause seemed to go downhill.

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A Union Artillery “Battery” ‘fires’ a powder charge at a Confederate position, during a recent reenactment at the Boscobel, WI Civil War Weekend.

The research sources I used for the term paper were all from our local town library, one of the many Carnegie-supported libraries in the United States. The research and reading I did on the subject, were fascinating to me, and at that point in time, I was definitely hooked on American history, especially American civil war history.

During my college years, history continued to be one of my favorite subjects of study, and I took a number of history courses that were interesting to me.

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Members of a Union Calvary Unit perform a ‘scripted’ battle sequence during a recent Civil War Reenactment in Boscobel, Wisconsin.

Shortly thereafter, when Blond Girl and I were living and working in western Wyoming, in the small Mormon town of Lovell, one of my co-workers suggested that I check out the vast library at the Mormon Church in town, which I did.

Upon seeing all the historical information available in and through the library there, I jumped in with both feet and spent literally several hours a week at the library, conducting geological research on my and Blond Girl’s primary family lines.

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Members of a Union Infantry Regiment form a line of battle during a recent Civil War Reenactment at Boscobel, Wisconsin.

Part of the research I became attracted to and fascinated with during that time, was research about Civil War soldiers/ancestors, more specifically about Albert Harland Rolfe, and other ancestors who were in Union Service during that conflict.

Later, upon our return to Wisconsin, I continued my historical research, including research at the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, and research via the mail, with the National Archives, in Washington D.C., checking out civil war service and pension records.

Eventually, I discovered that I had had five great great grandfathers and one great great great grandfather who served with Unions forces in the civil war, and my wife had several great greats who served also.

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Members of a Union Infantry Regiment, complete with their United States flag and Regimental Flag, assemble on a line of battle, during a recent civil war reenactment in Boscobel, Wisconsin.

I also did several oral history interviews with my great great uncle, Dr. Jean Rolfe, retired Education professor at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, concerning his father, the same Albert Harland Rolfe, who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg.

By that time, my extensive research on Grandfather Rolfe had revealed that he served with Company K, 6th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, a regiment which was part of the famed “Iron Brigade” of the Union Army of the Potomac, from April 1862, until he was discharged in July of 1865.

The regiments making up the “Iron Brigade” were the 2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantrys, the 19th Indiana Volunteer Infantry, 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry, and the 4th U.S. Artillery. All five of the Infantry Regiments making up the First Infantry Brigade of the Union Army of the Potomac, were made up of “western men,” from the states of the Union which were then on the western edge of the U.S.

Through much of the civil war, the Union “Iron Brigade” of the Union Army of the Potomac, ended up in battle after battle in the eastern theatre of the war, fighting the famed “Stonewall Brigade,” of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, two very tough brigades who gave as well as they received.

At the Battle of Gettysburg, these two Brigades fought an incredibly bloody battle on the first day, July 1, head-to-head, directly across from one another, in which both Brigades suffered and inflicted some of the highest casualty rates of the entire war. Neither unit was the same after that battle.

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Members of a Union Artillery Battery fire a powder charge during a recent civil war reenactment in Boscobel.

The remarkable thing about his service, was that he fought with the Union Army of the Potomac through most of the terrible battles in the Eastern Theater of the Civil War, including the battles of Brawner’s Farm, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, South Mountain, Antietem, Gettysburg, Cold Harbor, Richmond, St. Petersburg, and others, without being wounded or killed, until April 1, 1865, when he was finally wounded at the Battle of Five Forks, south of St. Petersburg, Virginia, just 9 days before Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army at Appomattox. By that time, there were only a few men in that Company and Regiment who were in the original “muster in” of the unit in April 1861.

During the past 30 years, I have been privileged to have visited a number of Civil War battle field sites, including Malvern Hill, Gettysburg, South Mountain, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg, The Wilderness, Manassas, Brawner’s Farm, Cedar Creek, Richmond, St. Petersburg, Five Forks, Appomattox, Shiloh, Corinth, Tupelo, Brice’s Cross Roads, and Vicksburg – which due to my mission work in Mississippi over the years, I have been able to visit and explore 8 times. Blond Girl and I both had ancestor Union soldiers at Vicksburg, with Grant and the Union Army.

Approximately 15 years ago, I became a Civil War Reenactor, and a member of the same unit my great great grandfather Rolfe was in back then, a modern day reenactor unit, Company K, 6th Wisconsin Voluntary Infantry.

Ironically, almost all of the reenactors in Company K were from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with myself being the only member from Wisconsin, and the only member who actually had an ancestor who was a soldier in the original Company K.

I have several reenactor friends in Wisconsin who were born and raised there, but who reenact with Confederate infantry, cavalry and artillery units, not Union units. Over the years, I have met and become friends with a number of Confederate and Union reenactors, and I am glad to be able to call those who reenact with both sides, my friends.

Eleven years ago, along with approximately 28,000 other civil war reenactors, I was privileged to participate for 5 amazing days in the 135th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, which was held on a 2000-acre ranch just a few miles from the actual battlefield.

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Your author, participating in the 135th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, eleven years ago, a few miles from Gettysburg, along with some 28,000 other civil war reenactors. This image is from the Sunday, the final day of the 5-day reenactment, and shows your author and other members of the “Black Hat Battalion” of the Union Infantry forces, waiting for the charge from across the mile-wide valley, of the 12,000+ Confederate Infantry forces of Lt. Gen. James Longstreet, under the command of Gen. George Pickett, reenacting the famous “Pickett’s Charge”, the final battle of the 3-day event. The 12,000+ Rebel soldiers, a full-scale charge, can be seen across the valley, as they march out of the tree line to begin their fateful charge. Only a small number of the Rebel forces actually survived the doomed, mile-long, march, to actually make it to the stone wall, behind which the Union Infantry and Artillery, waited.

I will always remember those 5 incredible days and nights, and someday, do a post about the experience.

For the past 8-9 years, I have continued my connection with civil war reenacting, but moved from reenacting as a Union soldier, into a medical role, serving as the volunteer Coordinator of the Event EMS Response Team at the Annual Boscobel, Wisconsin Muskets and Memories Civil War Weekend held the first weekend of August, each summer in southwestern Wisconsin.

I enjoyed reenacting as a soldier, trying to get a little better perspective of what it might have been like during the civil war for those who fought there, and helping to educate others about soldiering in the civil war, during my portrayal of my great great grandfather Rolfe, in the Iron Brigade of the Union Army of the Potomac.

I believe most civil war reenactors today, do it because they love history, enjoy it as a hobby, honor those on both sides who thought, rightly or wrongly, that their cause was just, and enjoy helping educate others about what happened back then in that terrible tragedy of American history.

I don’t see myself as reenacting as an infantry soldier anymore in my life, as I don’t really want to put my body through that kind of physical torment anymore. Perhaps it might be fun to do a reenactment with an artillery battery, though. I would like to see my sons try reenacting some day, but that will be their decision.

For now, I will continue to participate in the annual Boscobel event, helping to keep the participants there as safe as possible.

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Group image of the Boscobel Muskets and Memories Civil War Weekend Event volunteer EMS Response Team, at the 2007 reenactment event, which provided continuous, on-site, emergency medical response all through the weekend. Your author is standing, second row, far left.

During the daily battles on Saturday and Sunday afternoons of this huge event, the EMS Response Team rings the battle field with EMS Teams, and also send several EMTs and Paramedics, in uniform, out on the battle field with the troops, to be that much closer should any reenactor become injured or ill during the battle.

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The EMS Response Team at the Boscobel civil war reenactment always sends several of our medical crew volunteers, including these two fellows with canvas ice water buckets, right out onto the reenactment battle field during battles, outfitted in military uniforms or lab coats, to be as close as possible to where battle field accidents and injuries might occur during the battle sequences. The rest of the EMS Response Team are located around the battle field during the battle sequences, ready for immediate response to emergencies occurring on the field.

The Boscobel Civil War Weekend is one of the largest civil war reenactments in the midwest, with approximately 1000+ reenactors participating annually, including 30+ big guns (artillery), 60-80 cavalry, the rest Confederate and Union infantry.

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During the Boscobel Civil War Weekend reenactments, EMS response to battlefield emergencies is always immediate and effective, as it was for this heat stroke emergency near the end of a recent Boscobel reenactment. EMS Response Team members include, from lower left: second soldier-blue coated- a paramedic, woman in period dress – EMT, second blue-coated soldier to her right, with white canvas emergency bag – EMT, three additional EMTs in safety yellow t-shirts, provide emergency care to a reenactor patient.

This Boscobel event has been regularly characterized as one of the top ten events of its kind in the entire country. Proudly, I can relate that our EMS Response Team is second to none in the U.S. in its presence and role at such an event.

I look forward to participating with our volunteer EMS Response Team during the first weekend of August in Boscobel (only 9 weeks from now), including with my youngest son, whose middle name, interestingly enough, happens to be Rolfe, named after his great great great grandfather.

This year at the Boscobel Civil War Weekend event, the Saturday battle will commemorate the Battle of Second Manassas (Second Bull Run), while Sunday’s event, will feature Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, on April 9, 1865.

If you are in the neighborhood of Boscobel that first weekend in August, stop by for an interesting look back in history.

Enjoy History!

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Hello, again, fellow Blue Bird enthusiasts!

Welcome to the 2009 – Week #12 Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Update on the campus of the South Mississippi Regional Center, in Long Beach.

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A beautiful Blue Bird male, sitting on Nesting Box #7, which, it was revealed in this week’s Trail Survey, held the first babies of the Second Hatch of this season.

Activity during the Second Hatch is increasing, with today’s Trail Survey revealing the first 3 Blue Bird babies of this hatch.

Today’s Survey also noted a total of 25 eggs now incubating in the nesting boxes.

Unfortunately, it also revealed that a predator visited one of the boxes since last week, resulting in three missing eggs from last week’s count. Master Naturalist Buddy John and I are not sure what predator came by, although John did see a raccoon scurrying across the campus yesterday, during the day, when they are usually holed up in a tree somewhere sleeping.

Here are the results of Friday’s Blue Bird Trail Survey – May 22, 2009:

Nesting Box #1 – 4 new Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: Full Blue Bird nest built.

Nesting Box #2 – 1 Blue Bird egg; predator visit. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #3 – Nest built, no new activity. – Last Week: Nest built.

Nesting Box #4 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 3 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #5 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #6 – 4 new Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest built.

Nesting Box #7 – 3 new Blue Bird babies, 1 Blue Bird egg. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #8 – Some straw in box. – Last Week: Some new straw in box.

Nesting Box #9 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #10 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #11 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #12 – Some straw in box. – Last Week: Some new straw in box.

Nesting Box #13 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird eggs.

Survey totals this 2009 Blue Bird Season include: 28 Blue Bird babies flown from the nesting boxes, 5 sterile eggs, 25 Blue Bird eggs currently incubating in nesting boxes, 3 Blue Bird eggs lost to predators, 33 Blue Bird eggs produced in First Hatch, 31 Blue Bird eggs produced so far during Second Hatch, 64 Blue Bird eggs total produced so far during 2009 Season.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

p.s.- 8 more days until the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins!

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Hello again, fellow Blue Bird enthusiasts, and welcome to Week #11 of the 2009 Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Survey in Long Beach.

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Emily, the Tree-Climbing Wonder Dog, walks among our ginormous crop of Gulf Coast Dandelions, during this morning’s Blue Bird Trail Survey.

It’s been another busy week of activity on here on the Long Beach Blue Bird Trail, with 13 new Blue Bird eggs and another completed next found in the nesting boxes this morning, during the survey of the second hatch of the season. The new eggs bring the current second hatch total to 21 eggs now in the nests.

Master Naturalist Buddy John commented during this morning’s Trail Survey that the daily air temperatures on the Trail are now warm enough to incubate the Blue Bird eggs, without the mother bird even sitting on the eggs.

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Nesting Box #2 has its second batch of eggs this season.

Here are the results of Friday’s Blue Bird Trail Survey – May 15, 2009:

Nesting Box #1 – Full Blue Bird nest built. – Last Week: 1 Blue Bird baby flew from the nest, 3 sterile Blue Bird eggs confirmed, removed old nest, cleaned box.

Nesting Box #2 – 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest completed, 3 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #3 – Nest built, no new activity. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest built.

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Nesting Box #4 had 3 new Blue Bird eggs when surveyed this morning.

Nesting Box #4 – 3 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest built.

Nesting Box #5 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #6 – New Blue Bird nest built. – Last Week: Some new straw in box.

Nesting Box #7 – 4 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest complete, 3 Blue Bird eggs.

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Several new Cross Vine, or Trumpeter Vine plants came into bright bloom this week.

Nesting Box #8 – Some straw in box. – Last Week: Some new straw in box.

Nesting Box #9 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #10 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

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Emily loves going along on the Friday morning Trail Surveys.

Nesting Box #11 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest built, 1 Blue Bird egg.

Nesting Box #12 – Some straw in box. – Last Week: Some new straw in box.

Nesting Box #13 – 5 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest built, 1 Blue Bird egg.

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Master Naturalist Buddy John and Emily head back to the office after checking the final nesting box on the Trail this morning.

Season totals so far include: 28 Blue Bird babies have flown from nests, 5 eggs have been sterile, and 21 new eggs are in nests incubating. With three additional nests now being complete, without eggs yet, we expect to see the total new egg count increase during next week’s Trail Survey.

Have a great week!

Oh yes: only 16 more days remaining until the 2009 Atlantic/Gulf Coast Hurricane Season begins. Lucky us…

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This is the time of the year when I get to wish the love of my life, Blond Girl, my wife for the past 40+ years, two special wishes: Happy Mother’s Day (today), and Happy Birthday (tomorrow).

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Blond Girl during one of our many trips to Mississippi.

I often tell people that I must have been a decent person in my most recent past life, to have been so privileged during this life, to meet, come to love, marry, and then create and raise three wonderful children with, children that any parent would be proud to have.

I willingly concede that most of the credit for how wonderful our children turned out, honestly goes to their mother. We were fortunate and truly blessed then to be able to have her be a SAHM (stay at home mom), for their early years, providing to them daily, all day, with an unlimited amount of love and nourishment and Christian direction in their lives.

Financially, with only one of us working then, those years were a real strain on us to survive, even to put food on the table at times. But,we managed somehow, and the kids came out just fine. Thank you, Jesus, and Blond Girl!

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Family pic, taken a number of years ago. L-R: MIL, Youngest Son, Daughter, Blond Girl, Dad, Oldest Son.

When we married, neither of us had graduated from college yet. So, during the first two years of our marriage, I worked full-time as a Sub-Assembly Supervisor for the SCM Corporation, and Blond Girl continued with her classes, at the same college she was at when we became engaged (Blond Girl’s Surprise 21st Birthday Party).

She graduated then, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Spanish, and began working full-time. And at that point, after the plant I had been working at closed, I was working three part-time jobs, and also started back at classes, finally graduating two years later.

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More recently family pic. L-R: Dad, Youngest Son, Oldest Grandson, Daughter, DIL (Wife of Oldest Son) – holding Youngest Grandson, Oldest Son, Blond Girl/Mom.

After graduating in December, the following spring, I took two graduate courses, continuing to work, then started into the beef cattle business with my father, and in the spring of 1974, accepted a position as the Foreman of a large cattle in northeastern Wyoming.

I left Wisconsin to start the job in February, while Blond Girl continued working at a medical center several miles from our home.

At that time, Blond Girl was pregnant, expecting our first born in mid-August. I flew back to Wisconsin in June, picked up Blond Girl and all of our belongings, and, with the assistance of my mother, we moved out to the ranch and settled in to one of the ranch houses where I had been living since February.

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Oldest Son, who has an interesting sense of humor, a number of years ago.

In mid-August, our oldest son was born in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, a 55-mile drive over the Little Bear Lodge Mountains from the ranch, a drive which was a real story in itself. In June, 1976, our Daughter was born, in the same hospital.

From the first day we brought our oldest son home from the hospital, Blond Girl was a wonderful mother.

About a year later, to the delight of both our parents, we moved back to Wisconsin, and ended up living with 10-15 miles of both sets of parents.

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Our Daughter, taken about 5 years ago, at her wedding.

Four years later, our youngest Son was born, and our family was complete. I have lots and lots of memories of their growing years, with their loving mom right at the center of every one of those memories.

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Youngest Son, in an image from several years ago when he was a senior in college, helping MC a seasonal fundraiser for intellectually challenged children.

During the later part of those years when she was home with the children, she also made room in her heart and our home, to have my mother come to our home, so that Blond Girl could also care for her, as my mom started her long recovery from a serious stroke she has suffered.

During that time my mother was with us, my father was at home in their home, recovering from his second heart operation, a quadruple bypass. During his recovery, he was not able to provide care for my mother, so she came to live with us.

It was good for our children to share that recovery experience with their grandmother, especially our Daughter, who shared her bed with her Grandmother. Unfortunately, Grandma passed on within a year.

My mother was also a wonderful mother to myself and by brother and sisters, and I miss her very much.

Blond Girl, thank you for all that you have given of yourself to our children all their lives, and also to our two grandchildren. And thank you also for all you have given to me during these 40+ years of marriage.

You are truly an angel unaware! (Thank you, Jesus!)

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

And

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I love you so much!

~Your husband

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Welcome back, Blue Bird enthusiasts! It’s Week #10 of the 2009 Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Survey in Long Beach.

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Master Naturalist Buddy John makes a notation at Nesting Box #7 during Week #10 of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Survey.

And the heat and humidity are back on the Gulf Coast! [sweat drips off the author’s brow] And, wouldn’t you know, just as the weather here on the Gulf Coast turns hot and humid, my air conditioner quits running! Great!

We are basically at the halfway point of the 2009 Blue Bird mating season here, and activity on the Trail continued in high gear this past week.

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A juvenile Blue Bird which flew from Nesting Box #6 stays close to his mother Friday morning, in a tree near the nesting box.

Master Naturalist Buddy John and your author are very enthused with the results of the 2009 Blue Bird mating season thus far.

The First Hatch of the season has officially ended now, with the last remaining Blue Bird baby from Hatch 1, residing in Box #1, flying from the nest during this past week.

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They stayed close on the Nesting Box, too.

The Trail totals from the First Hatch of 2009, included: 33 total Blue Bird eggs, 5 of which were sterile, and 28 Blue Bird babies flying from the nests, since the first trail survey of 2009, back on March 4.

In the 21 weeks of the 2008 Season, we had a total of 45 Blue Bird babies fly from the nests.

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This juvenile Blue Bird feeds on the ground near the Nesting Box.

This week during the Survey, we found: 1 Blue Bird baby had flown from the nest, 8 new Blue Bird eggs in nests, 5 nests built or under construction, and only 3 empty nesting boxes. A great flurry of activity to move into the Second Hatch.

Here are the results of Friday’s Blue Bird Trail Survey – May 8, 2009:

Nesting Box #1 – 1 Blue Bird baby flew from the nest, 3 sterile Blue Bird eggs confirmed, removed old nest, cleaned box. – Last Week: 1 Blue Bird baby, 3 Blue Bird eggs.

Nesting Box #2 – New Blue Bird nest completed, 3 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: A few pieces of new straw in box.

Nesting Box #3 – New Blue Bird nest built. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #4 – New Blue Bird nest built. – Last Week: New Blue Bird nest under construction.

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There were 3 new Blue Bird eggs in Nesting Box #4 in Friday morning’s Survey.

Nesting Box #5 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #6 – Some new straw in box. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #7 – New Blue Bird nest complete, 3 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: New nest partially built.

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There were 3 new Blue Bird eggs in Nesting Box #7 this morning, too.

Nesting Box #8 – Some new straw in box. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #9 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #10 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #11 – New Blue Bird nest built, 1 Blue Bird egg. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nesting Box #12 – Some new straw in box. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird babies flew from the nest, no eggs in old nest; removed old nest, cleaned box.

Nesting Box #13 – New Blue Bird nest built, 1 Blue Bird egg. – Last Week: Empty nest, no activity.

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These beautiful little yellow wildflowers were in great abundance in the north pasture this week.

Oh yes: only 23 more days remaining until the 2009 Atlantic/Gulf Coast Hurricane Season begins.

Here at the South Mississippi Regional Center this morning, a hurricane evacuation drill was held, complete with our clients being loaded onto buses and vans for a short trip away from the Center, and then back again.

The drill went very smoothly. Hopefully, no evacuations will be necessary during this hurricane season.

Have a good week!

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Hello again, fellow Blue Bird enthusiasts, and welcome to Week #9 of the 2009 Mississippi Gulf Coast Blue Bird Trail Survey at the South Mississippi Regional Center in Long Beach!

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This magnificent Blue Bird male was photographed sitting on nesting Box #7 this week, which has a new nest under construction after the first hatch babies flew the nest.

Master Naturalist Buddy John continues to recovery from his leg ailment, and that is good news!

This week, we moved a little bit closer to the end of the first hatch of the 2009 season, when we noted that four more Blue Bird babies flew from a nesting box during the past week, bringing the total number of nest fliers to 27 for the season.

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A male Blue Bird brings some straw to nesting box #4, helping his mate build a new nest there.

The only remaining nesting box with first hatch activity is Box #1, which has 1 Blue Bird baby, and three eggs in it. We don’t know yet if these eggs are sterile or fertile, but it is looking like they may be the former. Another week should tell their status.

It has been enjoyable during the past week, to watch many of the new Blue Bird flier babies, “hanging around” their former nesting boxes, and in several cases, shadowing their parents within a foot or so when the parent is on the ground, searching for bugs and such, hoping the parent will still feed them.

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Two of the juvenile Blue Birds from the first hatch in nesting box #6, have been hanging around with each other all week within about 40 yards of the box.

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A closeup of one of the Nesting box #6 first hatch juveniles.

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Another of the nesting box #6 juveniles.

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And another Blue Bird juvenile.

A few of the nesting boxes already have new nest building activity in them, only a few days after the babies from the first hatch flew from the nests.

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Blue Birds commonly have a regular diet of various kinds of bugs, spending a lot of time on the ground searching for them.

Here are the results of Friday’s Blue Bird Trail Survey – May 1, 2009:

Nest #1 – 1 Blue Bird baby, 3 Blue Bird eggs. – Last Week: 1 Blue Bird baby, 3 Blue Bird eggs.

Nest #2 – A few pieces of new straw. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, 1 sterile Blue Bird egg. Removed old nest, cleaned nesting box.

Nest #3 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nest #4 – New nest built. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird babies flew the nest. Removed old nest, cleaned nesting box.

Nest #5 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nest #6 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, removed nest, cleaned nesting box.

Nest #7 – New nest partially built. – Last Week: 4 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, 1 sterile Blue Bird egg, removed old nest and sterile egg, cleaned nesting box.

Nest #8 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: 5 Blue Bird babies flew the nest, removed the old nest, cleaned nesting box.

Nest #9 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nest #10 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nest #11 – Empty box, no activity. – Last Week: Empty box, no activity.

Nest #12 – 4 Blue Bird babies flew from the nest, no eggs in old nest; removed old nest, cleaned box. – Last Week: 4 large Blue Bird babies.

Nest #13 – Empty nest, no activity. – Last Week: Empty nest, no activity.

Other critters and flora spotted during the week, on the campus of the SMRC, include:

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While I was leaning against a small tree, trying to photograph one of the Blue Birds on a nesting box, I heard a scowling noise directly above me in the tree. Looking up, I spotted this little rascal looking straight down at me, probably wondering what the heck I was doing.

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We have lots of Mockingbirds on the campus, making all kinds of racket during the day.

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Another Mockingbird on the other side of campus.

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We have lots of Lagustrom bushes on the campus, too.

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Of course, there are also tons of Magnolia trees in Mississippi, especially since it is the state tree.

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We have lots of stumps on the north part of the Campus, thanks to the strong winds of Hurricane Katrina.

Totals thus far for the first hatch of the 2009 season include: 27 Blue Bird babies have flown from nests, two eggs have been sterile, with possibly another three more eggs sterile, in a nest, and 1 remaining baby still in a nest, growing.

Oh yes, only 29 more days until the gulf coast hurricane season begins.

Have a good week!

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