Saturday, December 27, 2008

Last photo with a lasting impression

This was one of my last photos of this little visitor prior to our going away. Tomorrow is our Christmas Bird Count and I had hoped that we would be graced with this little guy's presence once again...but I think this Nashville Warbler realized from the empty suet feeders that the home owners were away and so moved on to other feeders and azalea bushes! Darn!! Our weather has warmed up a bit and I am praying that he has found some additional food sources and might visit us again or possibly show up in your backyard.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Counting our Blessings

Portland, Oregon..the pacific northwest. Mild climates and pretty scenery!
Houseboats sitting on a inlet...reflecting the calm afternoon skies!
A place where those who want a feeling of winter go inside to ice-skate because the average December temperatures, in Portland, are in the 40s and 50s.
Here is where our daughter chose to attend graduate school. Having just received her BS from University of Delaware she announced to us that she would like to continue with her education. I put together a wall hanging quilt, prior to her leaving 4 years ago, showing her leaping across the mid west farms, fields and mountains with her cat (the grand cat) under her arm ...moving 3000 miles away...not knowing anyone in the northwest.

...following and eventually achieving her dream..getting her Doctor of Chiropractic degree and her certification in Physical Therapy.
On the 20th day of December 2008 as we were all in a festive mood, Mother Nature decided that Portland would be the recipient, of not only 60 newly inducted DCs, but of a winter snow and ice storm. A storm that would deliver 16+ inches of snow and ice on a town that hasn't seen more than a few inches of snow since 1968!!
Portland and surrounding areas were in no way prepared for such an event. Few streets were plowed, salted or dowsed with cinders. Suddenly, those who would go indoor to skate were cross country skiing throughout the city streets.

All roads leading out of Portland were closed for.. two days!! Very few aircraft were flying into or out of Portland... and the trains were not running due to blizzard like winds...we were all stranded. Over 100 flights a day were canceled, hotel rooms were at a premium, power outages all over the city...everyday life, as they knew it, came to a crawl. We, luckily, had a hotel room, electricity and a rental car.
On the third day, of the storm, rte. 84 was deemed passable and we decided to attempt the drive to Idaho so that we might get out of Portland's continuing demise to ole man winter....We drove through the Cascade mountains, elevation 4,326 feet, hearts beating...knowing we had to get over these mountains in order to get to Boise. The vistas were absolutely breath taking and I have to say my husband did an excellent job of driving our rental, without chains which were actually being required, over these mountainous roads. After 7 hours we finally arrived in Boise! Elated and tired, we departed Boise airport the next morning for Philadelphia. ...all the time knowing that Portland had received another 7 inches of snow the night before.
Creating a new path, as we drove to our destination, made me think about our daughter's future and the path she would create with her newly received degree.
She will no longer have, at her finger tips, those favorite professors and wonderfully supportive friends..
and she knows, as we all do, that we can only glance back, and must move forward..... and as the path widens and her new future begins we wish her great success and happiness.

My husband and I arrived home very late Christmas eve and early this morning our daughter, who managed to get to Seattle by train (after several delays) flew out of Seattle into JFK... safe and sound and by 10 am we were all having a Christmas breakfast...counting our blessings and celebrating the biggest and best birthday of them all. Amen!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

AN EARLY, BUT RARE, CHRISTMAS GIFT is visiting my backyard!!

A Nashville Warbler has been visiting my azaleas for the past several days! Fortunately, for me, he visits an azalea bush that is right outside my computer room window so I have been able to get several photos of him! It was early Monday morning that he was first noticed, flitting from branch to branch apparently eating azalea lace-bug eggs. I spent a lot of time (way too much time...and I wasn't getting done what I needed to do!!) trying to identify this cutie from the web and from books...but at the end of the day I was pretty frustrated. I decided to e-mail a few of the photos to a friend who has been birding for many years. He called me this morning to tell me that our little feathered friend is a Nashville Warbler!

He also shared with me that this little guy's visit is very rare in Pennsylvania during the winter and that in the last 108 years of the Christmas Bird Count in Pa. they have only been found 5 times !
I have to say that when I received his phone call this morning and found out the news I was giggly with excitement. What a nice Christmas present ...he is so small and peppy and has such wonderful colors!

We saw him again this morning and I am crossing my fingers he stays around so we can include him in the 08 Christmas bird count for Pa. on the 28th of December!!
Hopefully this little guy will find a lot of lace-bug eggs on my azaleas! (My poor azaleas!) I know his chances of making it through a Pa. winter aren't too good unless he finds alternate food sources. I did put out some nectar in our hummingbird feeder hoping this will help his food source. We did see him flit over to the suet log which holds a cylindar of suet that is supposedly laced with insects. If you have any ideas of what else I can do, please let me know! In the mean time I think I will just enjoy the fact that he chose my backyard to visit!! :) ya hooooo!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


My best Acquaintances are those With Whom I spoke no word~ Emily Dickinson

He stepped quietly from the thicket of woods...
he was there but a few seconds..
and then he was gone.....a few seconds , a few photos! From what I can see he is sporting ten points??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

THE "GRANDCAT/Camera Critters

Soon there will be a new home and new sights for this cute fellow...but for now the "grandcat" is settling in on the East coast with us, while his owner, our daughter, prepares to graduate next week on the West coast! He has found a nice sunny spot and in less than a minute.....

is the picture of relaxation. Life is hard, then you take a nap!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


I read with great interest that the cardinal, also known as the "red bird" or "cardinal grosbeak," is a member of the Finch family. Finches are thought to be one of the most highly developed and skilled of all birds. In the 1800s cardinals were trapped and sold as a caged pets, however, this type of behavior was brought to an end with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918,.. thank goodness!

Cardinals were thought to have been named after the Cardinals of the Catholic church, who donned bright red robes! Of course, if you ask the female bird of this cardinal family, she will tell you that she is attracted to this brilliant red bird because his bright color signifies to her that he's very territorial and protective, and that he has a huge appetite.. so, he most likely will be a great provider and... hmmmm.... he will have a greater reproductive success than his duller-colored cardinal friends!!
Wow, you cute little red puff ball ...what a rep you have!! ;-)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Skywatch Friday

There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul" ~ Victor Hugo
A new day is dawning...and it will be forgiving.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

two birds, two stories...

From what I've read the White-crowned Sparrow is one of the most researched song birds in North America. They say that much of our knowledge of bird song and development is based on studies that were made of this bird. This guy was quite striking when I first saw him at the park's feeders several weeks ago. The stripes of that black and white crown really caught my eye and I tried to get as close as I could for a few decent shots.I believe he was a little shy as he stayed close to the trees that were in front of me, all the time hopping from one branch to another.

But, there seems to be one in every crowd that loves to put on a show! He was quite bold as he scratched around the ground foraging through the corn and seed shells .
....and just as I was getting ready to leave this poor little guy shows up at the finch feeder. He has a tumor or growth on the crown of his head. He hopped around the feeder, seemed alert and even called to other finches... I stayed and watched for a while.....
He was quite perky and looked well-fed, but I'm not sure if he will make it through the cold and windy winter without having good plumage and being in better health. I stayed just a few seconds more, wished him well and left. Hoping he does well but knowing sometimes you don't always get what you wish for ....

Saturday, December 6, 2008

brave little bird...

One little wren visits my feeder, so cute and serene, seemingly taking a nap....and then I remember..
wake up, wake up little wren, you can't NAP at this'll be a cooper 's snack for sure..
looking at that those little glaring eyes, I don't think he appreciated my concern.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

For Abraham Lincoln / Skywatch Friday

Sometimes a sunrise is just what we need to make us feel better when we are worried.
~David Lind
There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope~Bern Williams
...I hope you feel better soon....

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

How to save money on bird seed.....

You can tell he's in his teenage state-of-mind, he doesn't get to my fence until mid-morning!
look'en this way and that...
wondering why there aren't any birds at the feeders????
maybe, it's because the older guy gets there early and scatters any birds that are even thinking about visiting the feeders!! We seem to be in a holding pattern here....grrr

shoo shoo!!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I find a great deal of pleasure in capturing nature through the lens of my camera but along with my attempts at being an amateur photographer I also dabble with an assortment of threads, yarns and fabrics. My quilting creations are very much free form, I cut out what I want from fabric and stitch it on, using the applique method. Where I think I want more thread color I do some thread painting. I have only been quilting for about two years and honestly, my inspirations always come from observing nature. One of my favorites has always been the Robin. I love the songs they sing and their need to find every worm in my backyard!

They seem to love our pines, yews, and sycamores for building their nests of mud and grass.I especially like all the different hues of oranges on their breasts, the speckled cinnamon brown breasts of their young and the linear designs that appear under their bills as they mature.
Of course, who didn't grow up recognizing and loving those beautiful blue eggs and shells. I suppose all these reasons eventually led me to decide to create a quilted wall hanging with Robins as my focus.
I do create, in the moment, so to speak, but I specifically chose the Sycamore tree because the bark peels and drops, leaving a patchwork of earthy colors that compliment the tree with its rich tones of siennas, browns and greens.
For the floral, I added something similar to the little wild roses that grow in the fields and woods near our house. These I cut out and attached, filling them in with colored thread via my machine.

and of course one always has a ton of scraps... so why not create your own friendly orange goose!!..if for nothing else, it amuses the dog!
and if you are a real crazy saver, like me, you can keep all those pieces of thread, yarn, and loosely woven material for our nesting friends in the spring. They seem to like these scraps as they grab and pull on a piece of lint or string..flying it back to the nest, preparing to create their own yarn on life.

would like to hear your thoughts..