Cellpic Sunday, March 28

Found a new wonderful blog to follow with amazing pictures. Journeys with Johnbo. Check out his blog for some amazing pictures.

While this was not taken of a fantastic sight, to some, it did make me smile. And it was taken from my cell phone. Proof that spring is coming. Yay!!

From the office window at church, this cardinal was enjoying the feeder.

He chirped with every bite. I was not sure if he was calling others to come eat or if he was saying “Mine”.

As always I remind you to be kind. You never know what comfort you may give someone who is hurting.

Backyard Acrobatics

I enjoy watching the antics of the birds and squirrels our my windows. It is amazing how animals can adapt to the humans who have invaded their areas. We could probably learn a thing or two from them.

Twice now I have had to call animal control to come get the ground hogs who are bound and determined to dig tunnels in my yard. Guess that is better that porcupines.

Then the squirrels became creative in getting to the suet feeder at the office. I later added a slinky to the post so they can’t climb up it. It a gentle and effective way to keep them off certain feeders. They have their own feeder further over.

Then the antics of the sparrows was amusing when the suet cake got to small. I would think eating from the side of the cage would be easier…no, he climbed down inside it where no one would bother him…smart bird.

The woodpeckers we are used to seeing hanging upside down, which is why I have the bottom feeders. But they like the regular ones better. The nuthatches like the bottom feeders but are very skittish of movement.

Guess its time to pull up the dried up sunflower. All the birds enjoyed eating the seeds from them. Well, I guess they should have, they planted them. Having nature come into your yard is a fun way to help you relax. You can actually learn a lot about the hierarchy of the different birds. Think of putting out a feeder, you would be amazed of who may come by.

And as always remember to be kind…to all kinds. All of nature understands kindness and are part of God’s creation plan too.

Then and Now, a Week

A week is only 7 days but man, the things that can happen in such a short amount of time. Good Friday evening friends, I hope your week was good, as eventful as you wanted it to be and above all safe.

I have been exceptionally busy this week but have approximately 75% of my Christmas decorations up. I know its early but like the commercial on TV says, its only too early if you think its too early. Plus, Hallmark Christmas movies started on October 22, so the house has to look right to watch Christmas movies. Just sayin’.

Because of the amount I like to put up, it takes 2-3 weeks to get it situated like I like it. I takes me a week just to build the village. I added a train this year, a cheap one but it still choo-choos, has a whistle and goes around the track. That’s all I needed. Once everything is up and running, I will start sharing that part of my fun.

I am all about being happier.

I explain all of that because I have not had time to post all the beauty I have seen this week. Coming from the deep south and now living in eastern Iowa, I get a taste of all four seasons. Fall though is probably the shortest, lasting only a few weeks – like 2 weeks max. Summer lasts forever and then winter is a sneeze away from fall. But there are 4 distinct seasons here. What happens with such a short fall is like in a cartoon – poof, the leaves change, sometimes overnight. This last week was fabulous with temps in the upper 60s – its November y’all, In Iowa.(Two years ago it snowed on Halloween.) Then Sunday the temp dropped into the 40s and poof…

Monday and Tuesday were alight with rich color. And because I am not an expert photographer, these picture don’t really show the beauty of their color. But I am sure where you live, the colors are just as striking. And the clear evening skies were amazing.

Wednesday showed more beauty but the cloud cover started moving in and today, Friday, its in the 30s and snowing…Yep, welcome to Iowa.

So thanks, fall, for stopping by with a quick hello. While I love spring, fall to me has the most dramatic colors. Maybe because they have such short lives pushing all their beauty out at once. They they turn brown, turn loose and go to sleep for 5 months. Five months is a long time to not see the rich colors of nature but if we look hard enough, we can also see the beauty of nature as she sleeps. I think the evergreen and its deep green color is a symbol of life and hope and maybe why we put evergreens in our homes, real and artificial, with multicolor balls and lights to remind us the importance of color, smiles and happiness in all that we do. My hope for you this season is to feel the happiness as the lights of Christmas start to come out. Share that joy and remember to always be kind. Being kind, especially at this time of year, can really help a struggling soul to believe in the hope that the struggles may soon be soften in not completely go away. May we all share the kindness this season gives us with the chance to do more.

Always Be Kind, Share when you can

Afternoon Smiles for a Rainy Day

While we in Iowa are not suffering from Ida, we are having the typical summer rainy day. I am not complaining as we needed it badly. I was able to do my chore for the day before it started which was laying out some repair sidewalk pavers from a plumbing catastrophe from this spring. But since about 11:00am it has been softly to occasionally raining hard. I was thoroughly entertained by watching my birds. First it was the daddy cardinal that was still somewhat in molt. He looked even more stressed as what feathers he had regrown were not wet making him look like what we call down south “a drowned cat”. I found an example for you on the internet…

Now this cat is obviously getting a bath but you can tell how much he hates water. He just looks bedraggled, like the bird I saw. But I was very touched by this daddy bird. He was trying to train one of his fledglings how to eat from the feeder. He would show him, then he would feed him to make sure he understood the process. It was interesting and made me smile as all creation understand kindness. Mankind was the one that broke the system…in Eden…but that another story for another day. Today we are smiling.

The birds that were the most fascinating on this rainy day were the hummers. They were unfazed by the rain, sitting out on top of the other feeder hooks as it rained down on top of them with only occasional shaking of their feathers. My hummingbird feeder hangs under the eaves of the house so it is somewhat protected from the rain.

They usually always feed from the outer hole where she is about to land but as the rain would roll around the edge of the gutters above, it would drip right on her head. Boink! This young female would look up at the gutter and you could hear her say “What the hey!”

The wind and rain come up the hill from the river below and blow between mine and my neighbors house and that can sometimes create a strong tunnel of wind. After a few minutes she caught on and moved to the inside feeder hole giving me a better chance of closer pictures. They have gotten use to me always being there so they don’t shy away too often. Especially when I put out fresh food, like I did today.

All of nature is so fascinating and I have really gotten into the backyard birdwatching, well actually this is my front yard but you get the idea. So I post this so that even on a dreary day, if you look hard enough, you can find something to smile about. Maybe its nature, or a good book or what ever you desire is, just let more smiles out. I promise it will make your day brighter.

And as always, I remind you to be kind. It will make you feel more like smiling which makes you beautiful.

A Finch’s Confusion

I see the little guys swoop all around this water thing. They drink from it through those tiny holes. My beak won’t fit so maybe I can drink from the center. Nope too shallow. Everybody is over at the bath getting water. Too crowded for me. So I will just rest in the shade.

Young House Finch

What are you doing here? This is no place for you. Got to the bath with the big guys. This is for us little guys.

Hummer and Finch

I am not bothering you I am just resting.

Then go rest on your feeder. This one is ours.

Hummer and Finch

This cant be a feeder, there are no seeds. This is clear like water. And I was thirsty, less bodies are here.

We don’t eat seeds, we eat nectar from flowers. That’s is why my beak is thin to drink from flowers or here and yours is thick to crush seeds. Go to your seeds.

Hummer

The young ones just don’t get it sometimes. Can you believe that guy!

As we watch and laugh at the things of nature that amuse us, you can’t help but put words to what seems silly. These two birds watched each other for a good ten minutes before the finch decided to go to the large bird bath with his friends. I know the pictures are not real clear but I think you can still enjoy the silliness of the situation they created.

And as always, I remind you of the power of kindness. Even though they were totally different species of bird, they were kind and sharing of the space…for a short spell.

Always Be Kind

FOTD, August 26 – Jungle

Cee gives us great challenges for us to be creative and have fun and today I am going off the beaten path a bit with Flower of the Day and show you my jungle. Those who have read my post in the past know I had the jack-in-the-beanstalk sunflowers (12 footers) going there for a while until a storm came through and knocked them down – all except two. And the reason those are still standing is because of – my jungle. Every year I get a crazy flower in my bonnet and try to grow something I think would be fun only to have it take over my yard. This year was not exception.

My Jungle

You can see this crazy vine has even taken over the sunflower with wisps of the vine protruding outward at several places goin up the stalk. So what is this crazy vine that I thought would be fun to grow…

Birdnest Gourds…

Currently I have about 8 -10 if they all make it and I don’t kill them first. My thought would be -“wouldn’t it be a fun project for the kids at church to paint the dried gourds”. Well we will see if I can complete the process. I will post pictures if we get that far.

In the mean time, remember to be kind. It is something you can always do even when not deserved.

CFFC : Tomorrow

What a fun challenge Cee has given us to match pictures with a song. Here are some pictures that I think may work for this song…

When I am stuck with a day that is gray…

Double Rainbow

The sun will come out…

Sun breaking through

So you gotta hang on…

Upside down

Remember even when your day may be gray, you can still be kind. It make may the day shine bright again.

Maybe even yours – Be Kind

No Professional, But Fun

There are many novice photographers better than me, but I would venture to say I at least will tie with someone who has the most fun trying. Since retiring a few years ago(I retired when I was very young, Ha) I have developed a love of bird watching and tie that into my love for photography and you have mostly fun photographs.

I work part time at the church and have also placed bird feeder there so today is a sample of birds at home as well as at church. Most of the pictures are new but some are favorites. I have become fascinated with the hummingbirds of the area and most from the church were taken today as the phone were very quiet.

These two seem to fight over the feeder or at least like to play chase. I know the pictures are not real clear but I did not have my telephoto lens with me today, so we are zooming way in per the computer.

They seem to have no tail feathers when they sit as their wings are longer and cover them when they rest. But when they fly, it is amazing how they move those for balance and direction.

I love this picture even though the hummer is not real clear. But his reflection shows up in the water as do the flowers below. And you can see how he spreads his tail feathers.

Both of these birds seem to be females as they males have that legendary red throat. I have a male one at my home that guards that feeder.

I need to learn how to work with the shutter speed on my camera to see if I can catch the wings clearer. Below are some other pictures I took today and a few of my favorites of my bigger birds. The cardinals are beginning their molt so they are looking real sad as they lose old before the new arrives.

As we enjoy nature around us, remember nature likes kindness too so remember to be kind to all kinds.

Hello Again, Its me!

Life. It can get so out of control sometimes that you just need to stop, get your bearings and say hello. That’s what life was for me last week. I don’t think I even saw my computer much less wrote anything so this week I will unload with flowers, birds and activities. For now lets talk about birds. I put in a new feeder at work and am now enjoying hummers at the office. The pictures aren’t great but they are from a phone and they are fast little critters.

I also added a new cloth thistle bag at home and the goldfinches seem to like it better than the large thistle feeders.

The blue jays, the woodpeckers and the nuthatch enjoy the peanuts I put in the ring.

And of course the rest of the birds enjoy the house feeder. I have even had some mourning doves stop by.

about I do enjoy the birds and the flowers during the warmer months. They help me settle and bring enjoyment while I see the birds scamper and sometimes become territorial over whose feeder it really is. I hope they enjoy the sunflowers now that they are beginning to seed out. I already have ideas for next year. Enjoy nature in your back yard and remember to always be kind.

FOTD, July 18, Jacks Beanstalk

Spring and summer are such fun times for those of us who love playing in the dirt. Cee’s fun challenge of Flower of the Day, allows us to share this fun. I also love my birds and sometimes they help me by planting flowers with me. This year I wanted to plant a couple of sunflowers so then the birds can eat from those as we share in flowers together. So today we have “The Sunflower Collection” including one that reminds me of the story of Jack and his beanstalk. A few of these are easily 10-12 feet high but it has been so much fun watching them grow. People walking down the sidewalk always stop and enjoy them. The taller ones have not even budded out so I guess they are still growing. When fall comes and they die, I will measure them and let you know their full height.

Here is the group by my gate. My fence is 5 feet tall.

These are the ones the birds planted. Not quite as tall but lots of flowers, some not even open yet.

This one has a flower down low while it still reaches for the sky. It has a huge bud at the top.

This next one is the one I call Jack’s beanstalk. Look at the size of the stalk.

Getting under it, I was able to shoot for the sky. It gives us an idea of what Jack was seeing…sort of.

This one is easily 12 feet high

So much summer fun. I hope you enjoyed my sunflowers. I will drop off pictures as the giant ones bloom. In closing I remind us always the share the value of kindness. It does not have to be as large as a bean stalk but to the one receiving it, it may very well feel that big.