Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


19 Comments

Orange smile

I know you saw my orioles already. But it’s early in the season and I’m sure you don’t mind seeing a better image of the youngster that’s hanging around. He’s not fully grown up yet, I figure he’s one of the babies from last season.

I’m young, but I’m still the most handsome dude around.

I’m glad he’s made it home, because he, and the rest of them, make me smile.

More exciting news, my hummingbird couple arrived at our feeder today. I’m sure I’ll have images to share soon. They’ll make you smile too, guaranteed.


12 Comments

They have arrived!

I’ve been watching beautiful images on Facebook birding groups of Baltimore orioles arriving from locations all over Michigan. Even my own Facebook memories show orioles at my feeder the first of May last year, and here it is the third and I haven’t seen a glimpse of that brilliant orange in my backyard.

I began to worry that the new house built this past winter on the lot behind us had contaminated our yard in the orioles eyes. It’s certainly changed how I see our back yard.

And then this afternoon, as I walked into the living room I saw that flash of orange and I smiled. He was only there for a moment, my movement into the room scared him away.

You’re that crazy photo-taking lady, aren’t you!

But later in the afternoon as I was sitting in my big chair by the window my husband told me there was an oriole on the shephards hook. As I turned my head the big orange bird flew away.

Still…I had hope.

Tonight as I sat in a chair on the far side of the room, facing the window but too far away to be noticed by a skittish bird, I was thinking about going to the store to pick up some oranges. Though I had grape jelly in the feeder, something large had stolen the oranges last night that I’d put out yesterday.

And suddenly, even as I was encouraging myself to go get the car keys a burst of orange arrived on the feeder. I grabbed my conveniently placed camera, complete with long lens, and began to shoot. And while I was still looking through the viewfinder there were suddenly two.

Hey, what do you think is up there?

They were both very wary and I was glad I was a long way from them. They kept scanning the yard in between sipping grape jelly. They didn’t stay long, but this time I have proof.

It’s hard to enjoy dinner when you have to be on guard.

And then, just after they left, a youngster showed up. He surprised me so much that I didn’t get him in focus. But I’m excite to know that three different orioles visited tonight.

My dad told me this was a good joint for dinner.

I’m looking forward to seeing the females soon.


44 Comments

Birthday walk

My husband got me a new camera lens for my birthday in April, but we’ve been so busy with our Katie-girl and truck safety stuff that I haven’t had a chance to take it out for a test walk.

Yesterday, even though the weather people said there woud be a 10% chance of rain in the morning, my neighbor and I headed to my favorite park where the herons are nesting in their rookery and little birds are always excited to see us.

One of my favorite places.

Early in the morning the sky was filled with puffy white clouds turning pink as the sun came up. I had high hopes. But shortly the rolling grey clouds moved in from the north, and it began to sprinkle. Still, she was game, and I really wanted to see whether there were baby herons, so we decided to go anyway. We both dressed for a 10% chance of rain.

Along the way, on the 40 minute drive, it began to pour. At worst case, we said, we’d drive by the heron rookery and check it out through the windshield. With the wipers on if need be.

With the new lens I can get this close to a heron’s nest!

But as we pulled into the nature center parking lot the sun began to peep out, making the landscape glow just a little.

Everybody was trying to dry out.

Still, it was windy. And when the sun dropped back behind the clouds it was cold. Cold and windy made the little birds very insistent on our attention and we lingered on the boardwalk that edges the water where the herons live for quite awhile feeding the red winged blackbirds and a drenched, bedraggled woodpecker.

No, I’m not a woodpecker, the lady with the long lens didn’t get a picture of him.

There was no action at the heron condo complex. I actually wondered if they had already hatched their little families and moved on. But there was one heron standing atop a nest, and it’s still early in the season, so mostly I was just confused.

One lone heron stands guard. Turns out that there were other herons there too, sitting low in their nests, out of the wind.

We decided to try walking around the lake, I was hoping to get into the woods and out of the wind. It was really cold. Almost immediately we came upon a Canadian goose couple, one of which stepped into the path and began to hiss at us. Uh oh. I told my neighbor not to get too close, you don’t want to mess with an angry goose. Then I noticed the babies behind them.

Out of focus angry parents, protecting little tennis balls of fluff .

We gave them lots of room as we moved past them, then we watched the babies, from a place far enough away that the parents weren’t threatened. That’s where having a long lens is really helpful.

Hey lady! My siblings are busy messing around in the mud, but I’ll pose for you. Stardom looks good on me!

We didn’t get much further when the wind really picked up and we realized that walking all the way around the lake was going to be pretty miserable. So we turned around and headed back toward the car.

A second family, swimming among the lilly pads, with about a dozen little ones.

The parking lot greeter cranes were delighted we were back so soon. Their business had been a bit slow that morning, what with the weather and all. They were more than happy to get their parking permit payment in the form of a yummy snack.

Hey! Don’t forget to pay your parking fee!

We left damp, chilled and happy. I had the chance to try out the new lens , she got to feed a few birds and one hungry crane couple. We vowed we’d be back soon to monitor those illusive herons.

But we’d pay better attention to the weather report next time.

Sure lady, you go get back in your warm car. We’ll wait here in the wind for someone else to come along and feed us.


31 Comments

Tiny little surprise

I’ve been seeing a couple of bluebirds flitting around, mostly in the neighbor’s front yard. Tonight I saw one in our front yard while I was walking Katie. No camera. Dog.

You know the usual excuses.

But I smiled that I even saw him and Katie and I continued on our walk.

This evening as the sun was going down I noticed this guy sitting in the back yard on the garden fence and I shot through a filthy window while he posed.

Enjoying the last of the warming sun.

It’s not perfect, but it makes me smile.

Then he hopped up on our rain guage and posed again. Just to be sure I got his good side, I suppose.

I hope she’s catching all this.

He even stared at me for awhile, and didn’t fly off.

You got the shot yet, lady?

In fact, I gave up before he finally flew down into the grass for some tasty morsel. I think I have to figure out how to be outside in the evenings if he’s going to hang around. Images without dirty glass between him and me might be spectacular.

Just the thought makes me smile.


20 Comments

Remembering a neighbor

Yesterday I was wandering near one of the towns where I grew up. Since I was so close I visited a local cemetary more to see the lake I lived on than to visit anyone there. It was a cold, windy day, so the lake was choppy and uninviting. It seemed a little surreal to be parked on the shores of the lake, gazing out at the small islands where we used to take off and land on water skies more than 50 years ago. The lake seemed so big when we were growing up, but looked so small yesterday.

Though I didn’t drive by our old house, I did think a bit about the neighbors we had growing up. And somehow, no reason why that I could determine, I wondered whatever happened to a woman who lived next door with her husband and adult son. I knew the two men had died, I’d kept in contact with her for a long time but lost track of her years ago.

So when I got home I googled her and smiled when I read in her obituary that she had lived to be 101. As I read about her life, her family, her accomplishments, memories of her energy and smile felt like hugs. And then I noticed the day of her birth, way back in 1909.

She was born on April 19th, the very day that I’d, for no reason at all, been thinking about her enough to make me look her up.

Happy Birthday Mrs. Holsted. You were a wonderful neighbor to our house full of gregarious kids. I hope you had cake yesterday, with your husband and son. Thanks for popping up in my memories.

You made me smile.


17 Comments

Something to smile about

It’s been a long week at Katie’s house. She came home from the hospital last weekend, with lots of meds, lots of rules, and a plastic cone she dubbed her Easter Bonnet.

Mama. I just don’t think this is a good look for me.

She did look quite adorable in her bonnet once she started smiling again. But don’t tell her I said that, as her head is plenty big enough as it is. And while wearing her bonnet she insists on smashing it into the back of my legs if she dosen’t get everything she wants.

She’s especially adorable when she’s asleep, and not weilding her bonnet as a weapon.

Anyway.

I did get a walk in – – without her, and don’t tell her that either! – – and noticed something that made me smile.

Proof that spring happens no matter what.

It’s definitely spring!

I hope you found at least one thing to smile about this week too. If I stop and think about it I have plenty to be happy about. My girl is home and getting better every day and the trees are blooming and the grass is greening and bits of hope are pushing up out of the ground, ready for another summer.

It’s time to let those smiles fly! Thanks, Trent, for continuing to remind us all just how much we really have to smile about!