Wednesday, June 27

Introducing...The Owl Corner! Learning is Fun Again. Plus, A Floral Arrangement and Other Neat Stuff!

The Owl Corner
Photo by Harrison Benjamin, from
Welcome to a new series that I dedicate to my sister called "The Owl Corner".  She loves owls, so I'll add a little info about owls in her honor!  Some brief fun facts on owls:
-More than 130 different types of owls live all around the world, with habitats ranging from the North Pole to the deep tropics.  Only 19 types of owls are found in North America.
-The smallest owl is the Elf Owl, which stands at 5 1/2" tall, and the largest owl is the North American Gray Owl, which stands at over 2'.
-Owls are known for their incredible vision and hearing.
-An owl's feet have two toes that point forward and two toes that point backward to give a stronger grip on prey.
-Owls help control the rodent and insect populations, and are fascinating to watch.  Keep an eye on your small pets outside, though, because large owls (as well as other large birds of prey) have been know to attack kittens and small dogs.

The owl pictured (and oh my gosh, isn't he cute??)  is an Eastern Screech Owl.  It can be found east of the Rockies, and lives on small animals and insects.  They range in size from 6"-10" tall, with the females being larger than the males.  A neat fact: screech owls usually mate with the same partner for life, and usually lay a nest of 2-6 eggs at a time.  They prefer to live in dense trees, and you'll need to have good eyes to spot them during the day: they like to nest in tree cavities and evergreens at least twelve feet off of the ground, and some can even be found sixty-five feet up in the taller trees! 
(Information take from,, and

Fake Flower Arranging 101
The other day, I wandered over to the local Hobby Lobby (it's always dangerous when hubby leaves for business trips, because I have to find some way to entertain myself!) and of course, I headed to the clearance aisles first.  Usually, they only have broken, chipped, useless items in the clearance, but it's my nature to investigate to the fullest extent, and this time, they had some things that I could use!  I am really interested in glass items right now, and I like to use them to decorate the house in all sorts of ways.  This trip, I found a glass thingamajig that looks like it could be used for keeping olive oil or something similar for cooking, but it didn't have a glass stopper in the top (which, if it originally had one, would explain why it was on mega-clearance).  I had to have it, and I also had to have a neat outdoor thermometer that looks like a sun.  I had an idea of what I wanted to use the glass bottle for, so I meandered over to the fake flower aisle.  Normally, I am not a fake flower fan, but I found some that I really liked (I can't call them silk, because they aren't made of anything remotely silk-like.  It's more of a flocked flexible rubber that looks a lot better than it sounds).  I purchased the glass bottle for $1.60, thermometer for $6.00, and flowers--three stems at half price for a total of $6.00--for a grand total of $13.60 plus tax.  I proudly walked out with my prized new possessions, eager to get home and get crafty!  Once home, I clipped the stems of the fake flowers to the lengths that I wanted them.  Then, I arranged them, one stalk at a time, tying each stalk together with floral wire that I already had.  When I had arranged them the way I liked, I tied them together one more time with a length of floral wire, then I wrapped it all with ribbon.  I tied the ribbon around the top, a little lower than where I planned to end with the ribbon.  With the ribbon tied, I began winding the ribbon very tightly around the bunch of stems, going down the stems first, then tightly wrapping back up the stems to the top.  When I got to the place I wanted to stop, I cut the ribbon, folded the cut end under, and fastened it in place with a straight pin.
If you do this, you can be more decorative with the straight pin, using something with a decorative head, or weave multiple colors of ribbons around the stems in a braid pattern.  I was happy with what I did, but the possibilities are really only limited by your imagination.  I then placed the bouquet into the bottle, and wrapped more ribbon around the top of the bottle, making a bow.  And voila!  For about $10, I had created a nice centerpiece or decorative vase for any room in the house.  All you need is a good clearance selection and a little imagination.  I still have to place my thermometer, though.

The Hawk Flies at Midnight
Photo courtesy of
Well, maybe not midnight, but the other day, while I was leaving Jo Ann Crafts (again, hubby leaves me alone, so I have to do something with my lonely self), I heard a rustling in the decorative shrubs near the door as I was heading back to my car.  I looked over, and out of the shrub pops a hawk!  I stopped and watched to see what he would do.  He had something in one of his claws, which piqued my curiosity.  He then hopped out into the mall driveway, and he watched me as I moved closer to see what was in his grasp.  He gave me the bird eye the whole time, as though sizing me up (who would win in a fight--a thirty-something, out of shape woman or a hawk with a very pointy beak and sharp talons?  Before you answer, I should say that I'd put my money on the hawk) but allowed me to get within ten feet of him and see that what he had as a small bird, likely a sparrow, that I didn't think was quite dead yet, because one leg kept twitching.  I didn't know that birds ate other birds, but this one was very obviously about to be the hawk's dinner.  We just stared at each other for a few moments, I observing just how pretty the hawk was, and he likely thinking nothing of the sort about me.  Then, a van came up the driveway, and the hawk flew away with dinner, and I was left standing in the middle of the mall drive watching the hawk fly to the top of the building.  The guy driving the van must have thought I was lost or crazy just standing there, but I didn't care.  It was a rare glimpse of nature that I don't get to see very often while living in town.  It was really fascinating.  Oddly enough, another day last weekend, hubby and I saw a fox in the broad daylight standing in a field near a busy road.  Maybe the animals are trying to take back their property!

Miscellaneous Plug
Finally, I have to mention this nifty storage solution for anyone who likes to do canning: Jar Boxes!  I found this on the Little House on the Prairie Living blog, a blog which I follow and where I find a lot of useful info on homesteading and the like.  The author found these while trying to find a solution to moving all of her full canning jars in her pantry.  I have to say, I'm very interested in these!  They are currently only available online, but will be found at Menard's in the future.  To view her blog about these and see pictures, click HERE.

I struggle every day with the influences of the world around me.  It's not easy, in a world of material means, to remember that having what you want is not really the ultimate goal in life.  Whenever I read the following passage, I always feel a conviction to do better with my goals and priorities: "If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content." 1 Timothy 6:3-8.  To sum it up: When someone tries to twist the words of Jesus for his own gain, he will never be content, and he will always perpetuate a "constant friction" between himself and those around him.  Being content with what God has given us, and not constantly striving for more, is where our focus needs to be, because when we are truly content, truly thankful for the provisions that God has bestowed upon us, that contentment will be more satisfying than anything that money can ever buy.  A great life lesson! 

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