some hope

Last week I walked past the *up the road* neighbor’s house and she had a bunch of thoughtful birdfeeders, therefore she also had a bunch of happy birds, including (I counted) SIX baltimore orioles. As they don’t eat bird seed, I noticed she had a tray of jelly to tempt them for a visit. I love Baltimore Orioles, they are always a thrill to see with their bright orange feathers. I remember finding an oriole nest once, filled with fat baby birds. I remember taking a photo of a bald eagle and seeing an oriole in a branch above. I remember seeing an oriole in the sky, flying after another bird up the road, away from its nest. I’ve taken photos of them and it’s always a good bird day when I get to do that.

So I thought rather enviously, that I would buy some grape jelly, with just *a little bit* of hope that maybe one would come to my not-as-thoughful birdfeeders. I had *some* hope, but not very much. I half- heartedly bought the jelly and half- heartedly put it in a plastic dish (as purple as the jelly) and half -heartedly put it on the porch. I didn’t have great expectations but I did have curiousity and wanted to see what would happen.

Two days later………..

Joy!

(HOW DO THEY KNOW??????????????? Can birds smell grapes out of those hard beaky noses?)

As I thought about this, I at first I believed that I had NO HOPE in them coming, but then I thought, “Well, I must have had SOME hope, or I wouldn’t have put the jelly out in the first place.”

~no hope means giving up…..thinking and doing nothing with our desires/goals (big or small)

~some hope means any amount of thinking and doing……… and living life curious…. because after all, that desire/goal (big or small) just might come to fruition

It might!

You are loved.

it doesn’t take much for a heart to glow

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Good morning friends!  After a raining evening we awoke to a glorious sunshine.  Rich took this photo of me at Seth’s little league game the other night.  ‘Tis the season.  Tonight we have three things going on; David at a track meet (really want to go), Seth at little league (want to go, slightly) and Caleb at a band concert (music trumps sports, IMO).  Therefore, the band concert is where I will be.

I was so tired yesterday that I went to bed at EIGHT THIRTY and slept all night.  I got up a couple times to get a drink but never fully woke up.  Then this morning, when Caleb dared to come right in the room to ask for lunch money, Rich got up to help him and let me sleep for another hour.  It feels so good to sleep again after months of restless nights.

As I sit here, I still feel like I could go back to bed and sleep.

However, I have dirty laundry washing, a load in the dryer, a big basket of clean n’ dry to fold, a cake in the oven (dinette), the dishwasher going, and am going out to lunch soon.  No time for sleeping.

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It’s also the time of year when I’m constantly going for the camera to take bird photos so bear with me.  Maybe you like birds, too?

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This one was from yesterday evening when it was raining (again).  I thought the drops of rain on its feathers was pretty.  It sat nice and still so I could get close.  I was out on the porch for a while as it rained, it suited my tired mood.

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A Heron visited the pond, which is how I got out on the porch in the first place, as Caleb came inside to announce “There is a big bird by the pond, Mom.”

He wasn’t happy about it though because he does not want the fish eaten by a heron.  He wants to catch them himself.

In fact, when I see worms outside I think of Caleb.  Yesterday I rolled over a log and found a nice big one and put it in my pocket.  Thank goodness Rich saw me do it because hours later he had to remind me to get it back out again.  (I had changed out of my skirt and into jeans).  The worm was still in the pocket, as moist as could be which I am sure was a survival tactic as pockets can be rather dry places for a worm.  I said, “Caleb I have something for you,” and you should have seen his face when out came a worm from the pocket.  We put it in a small box with dirt in it for when he goes out to fish again.

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I kept telling him to smile and he just kept twisting his ears.

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Somehow a log ended up in the pond and all day it floats slowly around.  Sometimes I see it on one side, at times it’s in the middle, or the other side, but it always has a turtle or two on it.  I want so much to add a whole fleet of logs and see if each one will gain a passenger or two.  Maybe I’ll even add sails.  How charming would that be?  Turtle boats.

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Irridescent feathers in the EVENING TIME

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Different lighting (same spot) MORNING TIME…..  are you the same bird?  I can’t tell.

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Sweet little bird and do you wonder how I got the yellow background?  My forsythia bush was in the distance and blurred out as the camera focused on the bird.

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showing off a fine suit of clothing (made entirely of feathers!)

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David went outside in the evening to shut in the chickens for the night and caught a spring peeper.  I was thrilled.

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Spring is made more beautiful because of their sweet singing.  Look at those toes.

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I haven’t stopped reading the Newbery books.  I’m currently on this one and I love it.  I’m a forever fan of Nancy Farmer now.  What a bright and original mind she has.  This is the second Newbery book I’ve read by her.

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I made this huge pasta salad yesterday.

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But the rabbit got a dandelion salad.  (possibly more healthy)

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We babysat our neice!  She’s so so so cute and looks so much like Isaac (her dad, my baby brother).

After Isaac and Cassandra came back we ate pasta salad and hamburgers and played a game of PIG which I won (as always), humbly noted.

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Last but not least.

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The beautiful Marsh Marigold (New England wildflower).

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Thank you for the comments left on my blog posts!   I do wonder sometimes if you guys see my replies, as I try to reply to most comments, can someone pretty please let me know if they are seen?  Should I bother?  Thank you. xo

Happy Wednesday, friends!
You are soooooo loved.

“Make someone happy, you can you know,
It doesn’t take much for a heart to glow.”

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but my heart.”

PS, the cake baked to a nice golden brown and smells so good.  I wish I could give you a piece!

 

 

 

 

 

 

smart bird

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In the early part of winter I had cut a big armful of winterberry branches from the side of the stream and put them out by the birdfeeders.  Actually, I had originally put them in the house for a natural Christmas decoration but the cats wouldn’t leave them alone so I ended up putting them outside.  They looked pretty out there and I’ve enjoyed seeing them each time I looked out the window; delightful bright red berries.

Look what came to visit yesterday!  I was on the couch minding my own business when out of the corner of my eye I saw it fly to the tree by the bird feeder.  I said, “What in the world?”  I’ve never had a Robin come to the feeders as they don’t eat seed, much less a Robin in the dead of winter on the most coldest of days.  I thought maybe it was a curious, sociable Robin and was trying to see what all the other neighborhood birds were doing on my porch.

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But it really came to eat the berries.

Smart bird.

15 minutes of bird-watching

I have sorrow in my heart that these photos aren’t great but that can’t stop me from posting them!!  This isn’t National Geographic, this is an ordinary housewife taking photos because when she waved her children off to school she noticed it was a great morning for birdwatching.  I heard the most beautiful morning song calling to me but alas I never did figure out who did the calling.  However, since I was out there anyway (heeding ‘the call’) with my camera, pajamas, & barefoot, I meandered around to see what else I could see.

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At first I was annoyed with the wires but then I thought they added something cool to the photo……and plus it was so neat to see a woodpecker and a nuthatch in the same frame!  The woodpecker was cool and collected, the nuthatch scurried smoothly around the tree like a mouse.

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Thanks to my camera lens, (which is useful like binoculars) I could SEE this bird.  Without the lens it really did look like a mouse.

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…a little bit of red beauty hiding in the bushes…

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mysterious

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This bird doesn’t come to the feeders, I spied it flitting about in the trees behind the house.    It’s a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

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flying away

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gone

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I love morning-glories.

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The rose-bush is doing well.

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A charming juvenile cardinal….

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Chewing on a twig!!!!  It’s so cute.  I love how he uses his tail as a support so he can reach out and chew the twig.

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a scripture that meant a lot to me this morning:

“But what happens when we live God’s way?  He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity.  We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that basic holiness permeates things and people.  We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely………..since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives.  That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse.  We have far more interesting things to do with our lives.  Each of us is an original.”  Galations 5

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morning of the waxwings

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*Jacob and Brittnee*

I took their photos right before my trip to Alaska.

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They make a nice couple, don’t they?  Brittnee is such a joy.  This year she is enrolled at Christian college in Pennsylvania WITH GRACE.

She was Grace’s friend in High School before she and Jacob started dating.  And now they go to the same college!  I would have never dreamed.  God truly has a way of making this sad and dreary life delightful.

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They were all dressed up to go out to a nice dinner together to celebrate their anniversary.

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I still have Alaskan photos to share but I haven’t done it because, in my mind, once I blog about the rest of the trip……. it will be truly “over”.

When David was a preschooler I read him Winnie the Pooh, just the two of us, and could never bring myself to read the last chapter.

I’ve learned that being highly sentimental is a gift.  It takes all kinds of humanity to make the world go ’round.  Each individual is a blessing to the family in which they belong.  I’m so grateful for each grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, parent, cousin….. both my husband’s and my own.

And each friend and neighbor, too.  We belong to each other.

O Lord, how manifold are your works!
In wisdom have you made them all;
the earth is full of your creatures.
Psalm 104:24

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Sarah forgot her school folder the other day.  It was mistily raining.  When I went outside to the car to take the folder to school I heard a racket almost like crickets or maybe birds, so I walked around the back of the house to peer up into the tall trees that grow between our house and the neighbors.  After a short time, I saw that the sound I was hearing was tiny birds, up high and partially hidden in the leaves. “Probably just sparrows,” I thought, but because I couldn’t see them very well I thought I better grab my camera and get a better look.  But what about Sarah’s folder?  My curiosity won out and I retrieved my nice long zoom lens from the house to take a photo and discovered these weren’t ordinary sparrows (are not five sparrows sold for two cents? yet not one of them is forgotten before God), but baby Cedar Waxwings!

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Their mother came with some food and the birds became even noisier.

Behind our house is a bank and the trees grow up from the top of it, so it’s rather high up and proved cumbersome to aim a heavy camera almost straight up into the mist for photos, so I went upstairs to Sarah’s room to lean out her window.

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Meanwhile I was also texting with my brother so I sent him this silly selfie.

I thought about going out the window onto the roof of the addition but decided I was too scared.

I wanted to see if my better vantage point would result in better photos but from the window I couldn’t see the baby birds at all.  They were lost behind all the leaves. However, I got a pretty decent photo of the adult.

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She was at the very top of a tree, probably to stand guard, ready to defend her babies from the Lady with the Camera.

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The nest close by with another baby inside of it.  Oh it was just wonderful to see and experience, and photograph.  And yes, Sarah DID get her folder.

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Yesterday when I went outside the birds were all gone.  I still feel that the 20 minute part of my morning the other day (the morning of the waxwings) was a great gift….I’ve never seen baby cedar waxwings and when I see the adults (once a year) it’s always a thrill.  They are such lovely birds and don’t visit the bird feeder because they eat mostly fruit and insects.

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Since I have my camera right next to me as I type, I looked up from the computer to check the bird feeding station we have on the porch just outside the window.  Maybe today I’ll see another unique visitor…….

….but this is what I saw……

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A Very Bad Kitty!

I brought him right back inside and now he and Sherlock are looking out the window at a cardinal eat sunflower seeds.  The tips of their tails are twitching.

Time for me to eat breakfast and clean the house!

Happy Thursday!  Maybe you’ll see a bird!

big bow, books, and a heron

I had serious reservations about Sarah’s requested hair style this morning (I’m her hair stylist).  “I want the ponytail on the top of my head like this,” she turned upside down and gathered it up in her hands, “and then put the bow on.”  The bow was all of 8 inches across, large, white, with silver sequins all over it.  She won the bow yesterday by “moving up her clip” at school.  Rather ridiculous.  Still, I couldn’t see any reason to deny her.  Up up and up went the hair, with the big bow on the very very top.

Two hours later, I was sitting in the front row of the auditorium trying to find my girl, the one with the big white bow on her head.  And to my amusement, there were girls all over the place with big bows of all different colors on the tops of THEIR heads!  It’s a trend!  An 8 year old school girl fashion trend!

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After the concert, where I heard adorable songs sung by adorable children, I decided to check out a local used book store for more Newbury books.  I’m trying to collect all the gold and silver medal winners, and read them all, too.  Or rather, I determined I would read them, and then found myself collecting them.  I have already read some of them, of course.   And we owned a surprising amount.  But there are over 300 titles and now that I’ve set this goal as a 40-something year old woman, it will be an absolute treat to read most of them for the first time, and some of them over again.  I’ll be sharing most of my “Newbury book news” on my instagram account, with some now and then updates here, too.  Since I began my challenge, I’ve read 1)Roller Skates 2)The Dark Frigate 3)Sounder 4) Secret of the Andes 5)The Twenty One Balloons  and am currently reading 6) Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.  It feels like it’s taking me a hundred years to finish it but that’s not to say that it isn’t a good book because it is.  It’s just taking me almost a solid week to read it.  Next I’ll read Out of the Dust because when I posted a photo of it on Instagram two of my friends said it was a favorite.  If I’m going to read them all I want to own them all (a treasure of a library for myself and my family) and since I love a bargain and a treasure hunt I’ll be spending the summer searching.  It’s such fun.  I get confused.  Some of the titles I’ve never heard of and don’t know what the covers look like.  So I printed off a big long list of the titles to check and double check and rely on my phone to look things up, too.  All that said, I still have managed to end up with some “doubles”.

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I didn’t realize my laptop would stay connected to the internet away far over here by the chicken coop but it is and it does so I am!  The pond is just down the bank in front of me, and I am sitting in an Adirondack chair, with my purse on a little table next to me.  Inside the purse there are 8 eggs as I didn’t want them to roll out of my pockets and crack against the chair seat.  The chickens wandered around my feet for a while, one of them beaked my toes!, but have mostly wandered away, eating bugs and grass while making soft cooing sounds.  They look so pretty against the tall dark pink clover and daisies in bloom next to the coop.

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When I stopped outside with my book to read, I saw a heron at the pond so I put the dog in the basement (he would bark and chase it away) and put my zoom lens on the camera.

They aren’t the best photos in the world but they’re special because I took them standing on my own front porch!

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I’m mainly amused by the long legs.  And knowing eye.

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“The Knowing Eye”

After trying to hide from me in a pine tree, it flew far far away and I retrieved my laptop to try to post the photos outdoors in the very best office in the world!  Nature!  I heard someone say this morning that nature isn’t romantic it’s just out to kill you but you know what, that’s just part of the charm.  At the moment, I feel perfectly safe.  I doubt the Heron would say the same.  He probably thought my long camera was a gun.

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The parting shot.

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Back to Hitty!  I’m determined to finish it before 2!  That’s when I need to pick up Grace from school (she’s been helping her former HS English teacher this week!  One more step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher herself).

Happy Thursday!

bird notebook

Good morning Monday, my friends, do you feed the birds?

A thoughtful collection of bird feeders will bring an interesting variety of feathered visitors.  Sometimes I even say, “Thank you for coming!”

From where I am sitting on the couch I can look right through the living room window and easily see my feeders on the porch.  I have one hanging and three make-shift feeders (which are really copper sifters) sitting in different places; on the porch railing, a plant stand, and a little white table.  Because their bottoms are screens I don’t have to worry about the seed staying wet after it rains.  There is black sunflower seed in three of them, and dry mealworms in the fourth (wishing, hoping, dreaming…….of bluebird visitors).

I have a camera nearby with my zoomiest zoom lens attached.

And in this simple way, our days are peppered with bird behavior.  Sometimes the feeders are empty.  But sometimes chicadees fly in, take a seed, and immediately fly out to eat it in the bushes by our driveway.  They don’t stay long.  As soon as one leaves, another one takes its place, it is well-choreographed and there are never any collisions.  Sometimes a pair of cardinals come to visit.  Or a beautiful house sparrow and nuthatches, and a titmouse or two.  I remember that we need more suet to cater to the local woodpeckers.  I haven’t seen any bluejays lately but I saw some at a neighbor’s feeder yesterday.  My parents get a whole flock of mourning doves on their front porch!

Sometimes one of the children will notice a bird and tell me to “come look, Mom!”  I love that.  I tiptoe over as quietly as I can.  Sometimes I’m too late and “oops, it flew away.”

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“Think of all the animals you know and you will see that there is not another one that is clothed with feathers.”  Fields and Fencerows, by Porter and Hansen

“He will cover you with His feathers.  He will shelter you with his wings.  His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”  Psalm 91:4

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“A wave of song moves across the continent each morning, east to west, with sunrise.  Light–a certain intensity of light–starts birds singing.”  Backyard and Beyond, Edward Duensing and AB Millmoss

“He redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.”  Job 33:24

“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth.  Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.”  Psalm 96:1-2

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The more things should learnest to know and enjoy, the more complete and full will be for thee the delight of living.”  Phalen

“However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all……”  Ecclesiastes 11:8

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“Use at least one full page in your notebook for each bird sighting.  First, record the day and time.  Next, record the place you saw the bird.  Was it in a field or near the water?  Was it on a grassy lawn or in a woodlot?  You might want to add a brief sentence describing the feature by which you identified the bird–it’s color, shape, or field mark.  Do a small sketch of the bird and make notes about the bird’s behavior.  You can squeeze a lot of information on one page.”   Field Trips, by Jim Arnosky

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“These birds were probably not drawn, even thus loosely, together by any social instincts, but by a common want; all were hungry, and the activity of one species attracted and drew after it another and another.  ‘I will look that way, too,’ the kinglet and creeper probably said, when they saw the other birds busy, and heard their merry voices.”   Signs and Seasons by John Burroughs

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no school today (wednesday)

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David is practicing a song on the piano.

A candle is flickering on the coffee table.

Outside the window all is gray (sky) and white (snow) and black (trees).  We are fast losing daylight.  It’s 4:10pm.

Time to turn on lamps, think about what to made for dinner.

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This morning Caleb asked to make breakfast.  He made bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches for himself and younger siblings.  Seth wrote up the menu and took orders.

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This book is so good!

Since today was a snow day but the roads were clear, I took the three boys to our favorite barbershop for haircuts.  Only two boys complained at the news and said, “I don’t want to get my haircut!”  I asked them if they were still three and said go get in the car.  Soon we were on our way. . . . .listening to music, going to the ATM because he only takes cash payments, and pulling into the parking lot.  There were 4 haircuts ahead of us so we had to wait a while.  Thankfully I had my book.  Sports TV was loudly playing and it was fun to watch the boys get their hair cut.  He gave me a notebook and pen when we were done, and the boys each received a piece of very hard bubble gum and a lollipop.

What’s for lunch?  Two boys wanted Dunkin Donuts egg sandwiches but Caleb and I ran into Chipotle for burritos to go.

Back at home, Jack came over and the younger kids went outside to play.

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David, Grace, and I watched Myths & Monsters on Netflix (highly recommended).

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Dave with a new hair cut.  (he has a scrubbed face (eye) from wrestling).

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After the first episode I fell sound asleep on the couch and the kids came back inside to play.

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Rich just came home early.

Happy Snow Day!

 

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