Sunday, February 4, 2018

So I lie to make excuses

No, I don't. It's just that I can't get this song out of my head. The lyrics have nothing to do with me. (I don't lie to make excuses and I don't tend to blame everybody else). But it's a cool tune and right now, this is my current favorite station on Pandora. It's by Susie Suh and there's a link to the song at the end of this post.

Because I like to share.

It's a chilly day here in Maryland and it's just begun to snow.  My house is a bit chilly too but I kind of like it that way. I do not like when I go to people's houses and the heat is on full blast. This is comfortable and as long as I have on layers and my fingers aren't cold, then I'm good to go. I took the photos in this post yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful sunny day, although cold. But in the sunshine . . . so good. My good friends from NJ had come to visit in the morning. I can't remember when they were both here together, but it was good to have them here. We went out to lunch later and they headed home from there.

I keep my camera and the long lens by the window in the kitchen. I have a chair there and the feeders are right outside the window. Sometimes I'll walk by like I did yesterday, and the light is just so pretty that it makes me stop in my tracks.

I saw this White-breasted nuthatch land on the feeder and grabbed the camera.

Then a Tufted titmouse came along and shooed him away.

Mine. Mine. Mine.

This copper feeder was quite pretty when I first acquired it several years ago. I bought it [here] at Duncraft, but did not pay the price they're asking for it now. Good grief. Since then, the weather and the squirrels have pretty much beaten it up, which is a shame because it was such a pretty feeder.

Whenever I see a feather like this, I am always reminded of the Emily Dickinson poem. 

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.

I put the macro lens on the camera just for fun and took some photos of one of the geraniums that's beginning to bloom. I brought all my geraniums in when the weather turned cold and they're all lined along the west-facing windowsills on the first floor. 

They're cheerful to see when it's cold outside.

I turned to the left and this is the view with my macro lens.

And more to the left.

I own several tealight holders and this is my favorite by far. I found it in an interior design shop many years ago while vacationing in Ocracoke, NC.

The print is from a photographer that I admire: Georgianna Lane. Her ethereal Paris photos are simply beautiful and I own several. She always sends extra little prints and is a generous soul.

A little more to the left and I see that it's time to clean the silver candlesticks again.

Oh, bother.

Here's the music I mentioned above. 

Hope your Sunday is a good one. Did you notice I didn't even mention the Super Bowl? I mean, I know I should care because our local team is playing but . . . I just don't. 

And I'm not apologizing for it either. I do wish them well, though.

Thanks for coming by. It's always a pleasure to see you ~


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Visitor at my feeders

Hello and a late Happy New Year to you all. Let me preface this post by saying that if pictures of a raptor bother you, please move on. Hawks aren't everybody's thing but I find them very cool. And interesting. I'm not often able to get many great photos of them but I caught a few decent ones only yesterday.

I'd come home with a small load of groceries and while I was unloading them onto the kitchen counter, I happened to glance out the window to see a hawk perched directly outside on the dogwood tree by my feeders.

I hunched down in the kitchen and crawled to the window, lest he see me and fly away. I keep my camera there at all times while I'm at home, and I carefully maneuvered the long lens in between my geranium and ivy pots, snapping the few photos you see here.

I was greatly satisfied to get one of him ruffling his feathers here.

I'm using the term him loosely, as I'm not sure whether this is a male or female. And I was also having trouble deciding whether this was a Cooper's or a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. If it's the latter, then it's probably a female, as they tend to be larger than the adult males. And this was not a small bird.

I'm going to go with a female Sharp-Shinned.

It's not often that a hawk will show up at my feeders looking for an easy meal, but when they do, it's nice to have the camera nearby. If I see this one return too many times, I'll take the feeders down for a couple of weeks as I don't want to encourage this kind of behavior. Hawks will come to backyard feeders but they tend to get most of their diet elsewhere. 


After about ten minutes of being crouched on my floor, I felt the need to get up. And the hawk immediately flew away just as I'd suspected.

She landed in the dead dogwood tree outside outside the breakfast nook and I managed to shoot this through the window. But I thought maybe I could do better. So I put on my shoes and a light jacket and went outside. It went up to  56 degrees yesterday. I almost put on my flip flops. Ha. It was zero just a few weeks ago. 

I managed to get close enough to the tree and get a few shots before she flew off.

Look at that red eye.


I got almost right under the tree before she departed and was glad with these shots.

My husband used to get really excited when a hawk would come into the yard.

Or when he would see one along a roadway.

Or whenever he would see one, actually.

So hawks tend to remind me of him. And a couple of things happened after he passed away that had to do with hawks and owls. But that's another story for another day. Suffice it to say that I sometimes think that certain birds (or their feathers) are a sign from the other side. 

And on that note, I'll bid you adieu ~

~ along with the wish that your year is one filled with more good than bad. 

And I thank you for stopping by today.

Your friend,


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Christmas greetings

Hello, my friends. For those who have been reading this blog, you'll know that for the past several years I've been spending my Christmas in Florida visiting with my in-laws with my sons. I've just returned home today to temperatures in the teens after spending a beautiful week of sun-filled warm days. It was heavenly.

I met a lovely couple during my flight home and we chatted for a bit and showed each other our dog photos. I missed George terribly and he was ecstatic to have me return home.

(Hello to Bill and Peggy from the flight. Hope you have a wonderful visit with your family).

These photos were all taken at the Venice Rookery, which remains my favorite place to photograph Great Blue Herons while they nest and raise their young. The nesting area is on a small island in the middle of a lake and photographers come from all over to capture their images.

I tried to get a better photo of this couple as they went back and forth getting food for their young and greeting each other during each return but oh well. I am only there for such a short time and every year I say that I need a better lens. And I need to bring my tripod. You should see the gear these photographers bring. I have serious lens envy.

These were all shot with my Nikon D7000 using a Nikkor 70-300 lens. I've had it for years and the darn thing sticks sometimes and won't auto-focus. But I make do. Unfortunately, I lose some key shots because of this problem.

I find it so pleasurable just being still with my camera and watching these beautiful birds.

Here, a nestling is being fed by its parent. There are several more in the nest but you can't see them.

But I could hear them. They are so loud!

Here a nestling stretches its wings on this beautiful day.

You can see some others in the background.

The male brings much of the nesting material to the female who then proceeds to build the nest. 

They are such graceful birds.

I went at a difficult time, as the sun was quite glaring. I fixed what I could with editing but still . . . I am my own worst critic.

I hope that your holidays were pleasant. 

I find Christmas difficult to get through sometimes as do some of you, I'm sure.

I'll be posting more as I go through my files and hopefully it will be soon ~

Thank you again for all your lovely comments.

Until next time, my friends ~


Saturday, December 9, 2017

The miracle of the falling snow

Hello and wintry greetings from Maryland on this beautiful Saturday. It began snowing this morning and I should have gone out before it did because I really need some groceries. Unfortunately, I slept too late. I like sleeping in a little bit on weekends.

This is one of my favorite trees on the property and it's beautiful when it snows.

The first thing I did when it began snowing was to fill the feeders.

Hello there.

I was a gifted this new feeder for my birthday.

It's supposed to be squirrel-proof.

This isn't that great a photo but I liked how this male cardinal was perched on the hanger.

The squirrels are ruining this feeder. 


I have a baked potato and a yam in the oven and the house smells of them cooking.

I just thought you needed to know that.

About an hour ago, I looked out the breakfast nook window to see these three mourning doves huddled on the snow-laden branches. They're all fluffed up, keeping warm.

It's near dark as I write this and the snow has stopped, leaving us with about 3 inches.

Today reminds me of a story that was written a long time ago. I found it online and it's about snow falling.

This is a small excerpt from it:

Look up at the miracle of the falling snow, ~ the air a dizzy maze of whirling flakes, noiselessly transforming the world, the exquisite crystals dropping in ditch and gutter, and disguising in the same suit of spotless livery all objects upon which they fall.

~ John Burroughs
from "The Snow Walkers" 1896

Until next time, my friends . . .