Ladyhawker - On Sabbatical

I am a Woman Falconer! Falconry is a part of my life and personality. In no way however should anyone construe my life and writings to be the example of all falconers. This blog is about my experiences, and it includes my personal life as well. For now, I am in school and cannot practice this sport, so there is not much falconry related stuff to write about. I will fly a bird again . . . Some Day!

Thursday, August 18, 2011


This is just a blog entry to establish a starting date for archives on my current, active blog Phoenix Fire Falconry.  Come visit!  However, I do refer back to this blog from time to time, and would like a link on my new page.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Life

It is the Fall Equinox of 2009, and my life takes a new path. With that new path comes the end of this blog, but the beginning of a new one.

I would like to invite all who have come here, visited me, and shared in my pictures and my tales, to join me at a new location:

Phoenix Fire Falconry

Soon . . . . I shall have a new bird in my life to write about, to photograph, to experience the magic and the mystery that is falconry.

Come share with me!


Sunday, August 09, 2009

The End of One Chapter . . . The Beginning of Another

So much has changed since the last time I blogged. I have also decided that it is time for this blog to come to an end. I'm not giving up blogging . . . just closing out this chapter of my life, and with that, going to begin a new account and blog. When it is created, I'll link from here.

I was networking to get that all-important first job in Respiratory Therapy down in Texas, nearby where my parent's live. It is important to be close and of assistance to help move them from El Paso, into an elderly community near the Ft. Worth area. I have two living sisters. One lives with her family in Mansfield, south of Ft. Worth. The other sister lives with her family in Illinois, but hopes to return to Texas when her husband retires. So, having my parents re-locate in or around the Ft. Worth area would be the best decision. I made a list of all major hospitals in and around the metroplex, and started applying. My first interview came from a hospital called Hendrick Health Systems, in Abilene, TX. They offered the job to me during the interview. It is a 500-bed facility, a regional hospital, and from all that I am hearing, a very good place to learn!

So, I have been busy about the business of re-locating myself. It has been very detail involved, and EXPENSIVE!! I'm glad I had some savings . . . . because otherwise it would not have been possible. I was here about a month ago to try and arrange a place to live. I won't go into all the details, but my attempts did not work out. However, I did find a place here when I arrived that will do. It is a 3-bedroom for $575 a month. The neighborhood is not great, but not terrible either. There is a backyard, and my hawking facilities are already set up. Soon, very soon I will get all my equipment ready and get my license for Texas. However, first I need to start working.

I'm to begin on Tuesday . . . orientation. I'm eager to get started, and to start earning money to begin to pay off all the new bills I just acquired.

OK . . . this is a blog . . . so it is time to rant about something. The bureaucracy of major power companies SUCKS!! They have multiple companies around here to provide electricity, and by all accounts, they all take 3 days to get the power turned on. Stupid!! I have the weekend off completely but can't do much at my place because it is just TOO HOT to work beyond 9 in the AM. The gas is already on, and I know that took someone to come out to the house to turn it on. I could have had the water on as well, but since everything was getting turned on Monday, I told them just turn it on then. I feel pretty safe in thinking that no one will come out to the house to turn the electricity on . . . but that it is a remote thing, done with a computer somewhere. Oh, wait, maybe they will come read the meter. Still sucks!! I hope it is turned on early. I need to start washing things down. Everything is a bit dusty and dirty. I won't go into the nitty gritty details about the move and my new place . . . . suffice to say, I've hemorrhaged out a lot of money this last week. But I have my own place now!!

OK . . . and now for one Very Big THANK YOU!! To my very best friend, and "boyfriend" (yep . . . . you can definitely call him that), Thank You Rich for all of your help!! You made this move possible, and your love and support have made my fledging from my old life a joyous event. I am in Texas for a season, to get experience, and to help address some family business with my parents. However, it is my goal to return up North, and pursue a life with you. Knowing you care makes this alone-time bearable.

I'm excited by the challenges that Abilene will give me. I'm also looking forward to hawking this fall. My Sabbatical will come to an end! Of that . . . I am certain. However, I will begin a new blog for that new life. I've been driving around, exploring my new home, looking for hawking spots. I did find a really good one today. Even saw a wild desert fox as I was checking out the spot. This winter will be good! I've a job to do, goals (will be preparing to take my RRT) (get my parents moved) (get back to falconry) . . . and I have someone to return to! I am happy! And with that happiness I am putting behind me the last many years and all the various emotions I have experienced.

Many times, life comes in stages.

I am beginning a new stage!

More North Shore Pictures

I've been pretty busy, and didn't come back to upload a few more pictures from my trip up to the North Shore. I include them now. Above was a gull sitting on her nest. She sat pretty tight, but did flush as I got really close. She had a chick that was hatching. We moved off so she could go back to her task. I thought it was a really nice, sharp picture! Click the picture for a close up to appreciate the sharp image.
The North Shore was alive with blooming lupens. VERY BIG Lupens!
Splitrock Lighthouse has staff that re-live the life, and give information about the upkeep and management of a lighthouse. The gentleman above was reenacting a lighthouse keeper.
Above is the glass lense for Splitrock Lighthouse. Each lighthouse rotates at a set schedule and color, which is how ships out on the water know WHICH lighthouse they are seeing. It was critically important to keep the rotation at the precise rotation, which is what the lighthouse keeper's job consisted mostly of. You can also see above all the crystals that are precisely aligned to maximize the focus of the light that generates the beam.
Because of their remote location when they were built, there were homes also built that families lived in for durations of time. This usually consisted of the lighthouse keeper and several assistants. The actor above was showing us one of the homes and the everyday furniture in them.
And just another pretty picture! Deep blue columbine!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

North Shore of Lake Superior

There are still way too many things in this area I have not seen nor experienced . . . but in this lull time between graduating and attempting to find a job, I am trying to fill in some of the missing pieces.
Upon my return from Texas, I planned a trip to the North Shore of Lake Superior with my favorite Minnesotan, Rich. Here are just a few pictures I took. I'll post more later with more text after I've gotten some of the pics he took and promised to share. It was a foggy morning for most of the drive up the shore. The mist adds to the mystery of the location.
No trip to the North Shore is complete without a visit to the famous Split Rock Lighthouse. It no longer serves the purpose for which it was built, but remains a beautiful site on the lake shore, despite it's being renovated right now.
Very picturesque!

Guadalupe Peak

While I was visiting in El Paso I took the opportunity to drive the quick day trip over to New Mexico and visit my aunt and uncle. Whereas they live in a very dusty, dry and rather boring area of the desert Southwest, the trip there takes you around the highest point in Texas, the Guadalupe Peak. Be sure to click the above picture for a closer view.
As you drive East out of El Paso, you quickly will see the mountain range on the horizon. This view overlooks the salt flats, a dried up accumulation of salt from an ancient inland sea. Not far from the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is Carlsbad Caverns National Park, one of the finest examples of accessible caves in North America.
The road loops around the mountain, which reaches a height of 8,749 feet, the highest in Texas. The brochure I picked up offering information about this National Park indicates the mountain range is an ancient marine fossil reef, in fact one of the best examples in the world. Believe it or not, at the top of this mountain range is the Lincoln forest, where there is an abundance of animal life, such as elk, mule deer, mountain lion, and black bear to name just a few of the larger species. There is an office headquarters accessible from this drive. I've never hiked the Lincoln forest . . . maybe someday I should come back with a few days and do that. There is a trail that takes you to the peak.
In the desert Southwest, with no trees to block the view, and very dry air, the horizon stretches for miles. It is a desolate yet beautiful place!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

After Graduation

On Tuesday and Wednesday May 26 and 27 I was up in Duluth, MN taking my certifying examination to acquire my CRT license. In hindsight, I'm unwilling to go through the details of that ordeal. The test went well enough, but due to a glitch on the part of the testing agent, I was not able to find out if I had passed for several days. This was very frustrating. However, by Saturday I had received the results in the mail . . . and I passed by a safe margin. So, now I have accomplished my goal and can begin working as an RT. I still need the license from the State of Wisconsin, but that too is being processed and will probably be in my mailbox when I get home. I also need to find a job. Thank You very much to my very good friend, Rich. He continues to be my advocate and best cheerleader. He's also a great road companion. Here we are overlooking Duluth . . . where it was cool from the moist breezes off Lake Superior.
On the following Monday I caught a plane down to El Paso. I've been here for a few days visiting with my mom in her home, and each day visiting my father in the hospital. He has improved greatly, and now it looks like he can come home. He still has some rehab, but is doing great.
I got myself up early today and went out to the desert museum and greeted the sun and the desert life. This gathering of plants and animals is a bit unusual in that water is made more available here than normally in the desert. Most of the plants have been placed here to demonstrate the flora of the desert. This dry garden is attractive to the native life, so a good place to bird watch. I did this previously a few years ago, and frankly think I took better pictures then, but I did get to witness some interesting behavior today.
There are lots of White-Winged Doves here in the desert. The museum also has several pairs of Northern Mockingbirds chasing each other and pulling moths off the walls. I observed one go into a desert plant, which upon inspection revealed a nest with 4 eggs. The most interesting observation was between a pair of Cactus Wrens. The female was busy gathering grasses and making a nest. The male was hanging out in nearby plants, singing his song. Occasionally he'd fly over and bring a piece of grass, but mostly it was the hen doing all the work.

I did observe, but mostly heard, a newcomer for me to the desert life here in El Paso . . . Gambrel's Quail. I don't know if they have always been here, and I just didn't notice, which is possible. Again, the museum offers a prime resource here . . . . water! I heard them, and did see them some, but they never came into view enough and calmly for me to catch any pictures of them.
There were some blooming cactus, but not nearly as pretty as the picture I took a couple years ago. It was a nice morning, and afterwards I picked up a couple of geocaches.

Even in its barrenness . . . the desert is beautiful! In the spring, if there is enough rain at just the right time, this whole area is ablaze with bright orange poppies. It is an event that only happens every few years. I have pictures in my storage shed of a spectacular year, but they are not digital. Next is a video of a baby rabbit that I saw and was able to film. It's just a tiny thing, out of the nest very recently. It doesn't yet know to be afraid of humans. Without a hawk in hand, I'm no threat to it. I did see many cottontails and jacks here. This would be a challenging place to hunt . . . requiring chaps to prevent injury from the cactus. It appears that I will not be exploring this, as my sisters are working on moving my parents to assisted living in Ft. Worth. This is good, as I really don't want to come to El Paso to live. I've been in a few doctor's offices these last few days for my mom . . . . I'm not much impressed.

So . . . enjoy the clip of the very cute bunny!

Desert Baby

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It is Accomplished!
On Friday evening, May 15, 2009 I and my fellow students walked the stage at the La Crosse Center and were recognized for completing the 2-year program with Western Technical College for Respiratory Care. Here I am posing with my instructors, Susan to my right, Lynn to my left, and Bob towering over everyone as he does.
A distance shot as I look up at my friends and family just prior to walking up to the stage.
Traipsing across the stage, trying to NOT trip on my new high heal shoes bought especially for the event, and most likely will never be worn again. It was strongly discouraged for anyone to come up close to the stage, so this distance shot is a little fuzzy.
Prior to graduation I had a little party at Liz's house. My sisters came to see me graduate. I greatly appreciate their support! Thanks Janet for coming all the way from Texas. I'm sorry the weather wasn't as nice as it could have been. Thanks Jennefer for your support, and for coming to visit on this special day.
Earlier that day we took pictures at the college on our last class day. Lynn and Susan now run the program, with Susan as the Director. Bob retired this past year, but continues to work as an RT at Franciscan Skemp, and to be busy in the community.
And a final CONGRATULATIONS to the people who have been through this 'adventure' with me. Out of respect on this public forum I will only give their first names. On the back row from left to right: Colleen, Becky, Lacy, Kristina. On the front from from left to right: Jeff, myself, and Breann.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I stand at a crux point in my life. A goal that I have been working on is actually, finally coming to completion. In three weeks I will graduate with an Associate of Applied Science, Respiratory Therapy. I have one final oral examination that I must pass to graduate. The rest of the time is clinical practice. After graduation I will need to sit for my certifying examination, which I will do within about a week. The next most important step after graduation and certification is to find employment.

Here is the crux! Where will I go?

I do not want to stay here! I have wanted to leave here for a very long time. This very day holds some significance. I didn't even realize it until later in the day, while checking my calendar for something else. Happy Cherynobl Day!

In my heart I want to go West. I long to find myself a progressive modestly sized cosmopolitan city that offers cultural opportunities, interesting cuisine, equally interesting people. I long for the ocean, and the mountain. I have sent my application to the hospital network in Eugene, but lacking experience I think this door is not open to me yet. I may have to wait a little longer.

Fate seems to be pulling me in a direction I don't quite desire, but that I might have to walk.

My father has been hospitalized for well over a month now. He is stable, but you can't say he is really recovering. He had a tumor in his intestines removed. He then suffered from an ulcer, and a pulmonary embolism. He has lost a lot of his strength and has been bed-ridden. He has been increasingly suffering from alzheimer symptoms, and those have only gotten worse while in the hospital because he has not been getting his medications for this. It is very likely he will never return home. He has not recovered from all the events stemming from the tumor, never mind if he'll have the stamina for cancer treatment. He is not taking his hospitalization well . . . and it is causing increasing stress for my mother. Mom is not very healthy herself! And she really should not live by herself.

I think I may be getting pulled "home". El Paso is just about the LAST place I want to go to, but I feel I may need to do this, for awhile.

There are several hospitals in El Paso. One has an opening for a Respiratory Therapist. I will be applying for the position. If this is the path I am to walk for a little while, the job will be made available to me. I cannot let my education go to waste. I need to begin working as soon as possible. I need to get the critical experience necessary that will open up the doors I want to go through, once my family duty is addressed.

I think I can practice my falconry there. I may live with my mother for awhile, but may get my own place because I long for my own privacy. However, I probably could set up my facilities at her house. Certainly, if there are not many red-tails in the area to trap next fall, a roadtrip out East will find lots of them. With a Texas license, I could drive wherever in Texas to find the bird I will need. If I live there, I can make a point to go and visit all those places I never did when I was down in the Southwest . . . the Big Bend of Texas, the Grand Canyon, and more of New Mexico. Also, being just a few hours from my friend Sharon, I could get a New Mexico out of state hunting license, and go visit her from time to time and fly birds with her.

If my path leads me into the desert, until the day comes that I can truly go to where my heart wants to be . . . I will make the best of it.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Spring Break ~ And Now, a DEEEEEP Breath!!

It is now about three weeks after Spring Break. I took these pictures while on Spring Break, but I've been so busy and overwhelmed since that time that I could not post them. The last three weeks have been the final class-time of my study program. We'll still have a few odd Fridays, but for the most part, the classroom portion is OVER! We finished this all off with a final in Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care, and more importantly, a mock board, which we HAD to pass to graduate. The heat was on all of us, but yesterday we all passed it. YES, that big collective sigh you may have heard from Wisconsin . . . that was us!! Our last 5 weeks of clinicals gets going on Monday. Of those 5, one week is set aside for the State Convention, so that is essentially 'play-time'. Sure, we'll be in meetings a lot, but it will be at the Kalahari in the Dells. Real tough duty!!

Over Spring Break I got busy and took care of a pesky detail that has been troubling me . . . what to do with that HUGE birdcage in my storage shed. It's not that I don't want to keep it, as it is a very nice,large cage, but it is HUGE, and HEAVY!! I really don't see myself moving it when I do finally relocate to wherever it is that I'm going. At some future date I may collect it again . . . but for now it has gone on long-term loan to my bird buddy, Darla. My very good friend Rich came along on the adventure . . . and more importantly, brought his nice big Dodge diesel truck. The 8-foot cage, broken into parts, fit nice and handy in the back. We got that down and out into Darla's garage . . . and while there, had her show us around downtown Chicago for a couple days. It's one of those things I hadn't done, so it needed to be done!

We visited the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the arboretum there. I didn't take and won't post any pictures from the zoo. Nothing really spectacular there. I did take some pictures of orchids which are posted at the end of this entry for my friend Dan. We did a lot of walking around, and went to an old-time malt shop for lunch. I won't be posting those pictures either!! At the end of our first day we went to the top of the John Hancock building, took pictures and watched the sun set. There is an "open porch" at the top . . . really it's all screened in, but you are open to the wind. It's a good opportunity to see WHY Chicago is called the "Windy City". Yep, at that height, very windy! There was an audio tour, and you can look out over and hear all about the history of the city.

The next day we returned to downtown Chicago to go to the Field Museum, and catch some authentic Chicago deep-dish pizza. On our journey we drove around and around Millenium park where "the Bean" is. I don't know what hole I've been living in, but I had never heard of this art icon. Anyways, we didn't pay to park (which can get to be very expensive in downtown Chicago) in order to get our own pictures of the Bean, other than out the window as we drove around it. However, I did find and post a link below. So if you want to see a clear picture of it, click the link. It's stainless steel, and very reflective. Kindof neat!

There are lots of things to do in downtown Chicago. We only had time to do a few of them. There is Navy Pier, if you want to go shopping. You have the Field Museum (which we did) and then the art museum, which I wish I had more time to go to. Then there is the Shedd Aquarium, also which we did not go to, but that's OK . . . fish are OK, but I'm not that enthusiastic. There is a big baseball park (*yawn*). The Field Museum was cool, and had a really nice collection of stuffed birds (and other animals too). Mostly, I was trying to avoid being in Darla's camera. Here I missed and was caught by Rich's camera.

The Field Museum has a really nice collection of Egyptian art. I took lots of pictures, of which only a small portion came out clear and sharp. They do have one of the MANY statues of Sekhmet, the Lioness-Headed Goddess, but a rather poor example. An exhibit a few years ago of art of Rameses the Great had a fabulously preserved statue. She has a sun disk on her head with ureas (cobras). The statue in the Field Museum has not passed through history as well preserved. If you click on her name I've linked to a good example of a well-preserved statue. Still, much of what was there was interesting to see.

The best part of the Field Museum is there are lots and lots of dinosaurs!! Well, dinosaur fossels. Here is a Velociraptor chasing down something else!

This is a close-up of one of their signature pieces they are highlighting right now. They call her "Sue" and she is a Tyranosaurus Rex. Previously they had the Brontosaurus, or is it Brachyosaur they call it now?? That has been moved outside. I can only imagine what it would be like to actually see one of these creatures for real, in flesh and blood. I was fascinated with dinosaurs when I was a kid. They are still interesting now!

This is overlooking the inner "courtyard" of the Field Museum. You can easily spend all day here! It was a good setup to bring the world to people, prior to all the fabulous documentaries we have on television now. The stuffed collection of animals is all well and good, but now you can see live footage, which I think is so much more educational . . . other than getting a perspective of the size of some of these creatures. I enjoyed some of the history exhibits, but there just was not enough time to see all of it.

Outside the museum I couldn't resist getting pictures with my friends. Perspective!! See how huge these beasts are!!

Smile Darla!

Strike a pose Rich!

Strike another pose!

Here Rich and I are getting even with Darla for all her picture taking . . . so we are taking a picture of her taking a picture of us!

Here are the promised orchids! So Dan . . . What Are They?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

2009 Wisconsin Falconry Meet

On Saturday February 14, Valentine's Day, I was able to experience the 'love' and 'passion' of my adult life . . . . Falconry! The Wisconsin Falconers Association comes together the second weekend of every February to hunt together, have a guest speaker, a raffle, and generally catch up with each other and the birds being flown this season. It was a very good weekend, as I have had no falconry experiences at all this season due to my school work, and my bird-less status. I brought along my own little posse, Rich from Minnesota, my friend and best falconry "dog" (someone who is not a falconer who goes out into the field and helps flush bunnies), and Christina, a young lady who would like to get into falconry, so I could introduce her to some people. We had a most awesome day!
As soon as I arrived and registered, and bought myself a new thick quilted jean shirt with the WFA logo, I met up with Phil and his family, and Dave, and found out we would have our guest speaker, Greg Thomas, come with us, as he is a red-tail hawker . . . and there is no one better to send off a red-tail hawker with than Dave. We went promptly to one of our favorite fields, and within 5 minutes into the field Greg's bird had his first bunny for the day (pictured at the top of this blog entry). After switching out birds, Dave went next, and within another 10 minutes Becky had the first squirrel of the day. We traded out birds again, flying Phil's bird Belle, but despite several impressive flights, the bunnies and squirrels we were trying for found too much cover in the huge brush piles. We would fly her again later, with success.

We returned to the meet hotel for some noon conferences. I missed the one on imping, which is too bad because I really would have liked to have seen that. This all was followed by lunch, and then more hawking . . . what else! Two more squirrels were added to the daily take. I did get to participate in a telemetry chase. I've never participated in one before . . . and fortunately at the end of it all the truant bird was located and safely returned to his falconer.

The evening was enjoyable, I won several nice things in the raffle, and it was good to see several of my falconry contacts and friends. This will most likely be my last meet with the Wisconsin community. On Friday I passed my final exam in the respiratory lifesupport class (ventilators) and have been told it is pretty much downhill from here on out. There are 12 more weeks until I graduate. I go into clinical rotation on Monday. Sometimes it is hard to believe, but truly there is light at the end of the tunnel. It feels like it has been a very long winter, and that is mostly because I am willing it to go by quickly. I also have not had the comfort of hawking to distract my mind. It is my sincere wish to finish this phase of my life, sit and pass my certifying boards, seek and find a new career somewhere . . . . far from here . . . and build a new life. High on the priorities of that new life will be establishing a new mews and taking a falconry bird again. It was wonderful to get out and hunt with my friends, but I missed having my own bird. I hope soon this bird-less year will come to an end . . . and that I shall never be forced through necessity to be bird-less again.
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