Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Descent of the cardinals (and their friends).

I interrupt my eagle search to bring you this morning’s craziness right here at home. We’re getting a light snow. It’s cold. Katie and I were napping as the early morning light began to invade our dreams.

“Come on over, there’s plenty for everybody!”

I glanced outside and was both amazed and guilty as I saw birds all over the empty feeders, searching frantically for something, anything, to eat.

“Hey! Can we get a little water over here?”

Stuffing my naked feet into an old pair of sneakers, and throwing on a sweatshirt, not slowing for a coat, gloves or boots, I ran outside. Katie waited in the comfort of her palace, watching me intently.

“I think this lady serves the best oilers in town.”

My freezing fingers fumbled with the seed bin lid. The birds stayed close, not flying to their usual safe places, sitting on the deck, in the honeysuckle bush, the beech tree, hovering around my head.

They were too hungry to be afraid.

“Don’t judge me, I’m having a bad hair day.”

I filled the thistle feeder, the oiler feeders, the suet cage and then spread seed along the railing so that all of them could eat without having to wait their turns.

“I think I’ll head over to the quieter thistle feeder. These cardinals are crazy”

And they did. And in return they let me take their pictures.

“Yep, she puts on a great spread. She was a little late today, but it was worth the wait.”

I’d say it was a even exchange.

“I heard there was a ‘one shot, one treat’ rule around here. I already gave you my one shot.”


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Seeking an Eagle

Today, while much of the rest of the United States was under various weather advisories, we had sun. It was cold, but the wind of the past few days has blasted off toward the east coast. Nineteen degrees farhrenheit (-7.22 C) and blue skies just begged for a photography adventure.

And I knew just the place.

Maybe this is the eagle!

Not far from me is a National Cemetary; I’ve taken you there before. But lately I’ve been hearing about an eagle hanging around the acres and acres of gleaming white headstones. I’ve been out there a couple times hoping to find him, but couldn’t find the nest and never saw the magnificent bird.

Since it’s so close to home, and it was a pretty day, I figured I wouldn’t be disappointed if I failed again. And you know me, I’ll always find something to take a picture of!

What about those globby shapes over in those trees?

Right near the entrance I saw a bird in the top of a dead tree. Could that be the eagle? Naw…just a big crow.

Then toward the back of the cemetary I saw a bunch of blobs high up in the trees, could those be eagles? Naw..just some clumps of leaves, maybe squirrel nests.

I wandered around some more, but saw nothing else that looked promising. Still, I wasn’t sad, it was such a pretty day…

The sun makes everything beautiful.

…and the moon was setting. I always enjoy a late setting moon.

Moon over Michigan.

And then, just as I gave up and turned the car around to go, I saw this out of the corner of my eye. Could it be?

If that’s another squirrel nest, it belongs to a really big squirrel.

I put that car in park fast and was out of it, moving as quickly as I could across the lawn, then creeping into the woods. I had to pass two signs that warned me not to trespass, hoping to get a shot before someone arrested me.

Taking a break from this year’s remodel project.

And I did. But the eagle knew exactly where I was too, walking on all that crunchy snow I sounded like a herd of elephants making my way through the woods. I only got a couple shots before he took off.

He flew in a big wide circle, and then vanished into the trees.

“Tourists! A guy can’t catch a break around here.”

I didn’t have any stellar shots…but I got to see an eagle fly.

“See ya later, lady!”

On the way home I took a different back road, and realized almost right away that it wound along the back of the cemetary. And guess what?

Well, duh. The view, with the morning sun is way better over here.

There’s a much better view of the eagle’s nest from back there!

And on the way I got to see a barn.

Red barn, white snow, blue sky. Perfect.

When I got home I was still excited about seeing the eagle and having such a good time with the camera on such a pretty day. And I’ve heard there’s an eagle out at Kensington, my favorite park.

That’s not so far away either. The sun is still shining.

Too pretty a day to spend inside.

Should I head out there? What are the odds that I’ll find an eagle just sitting around waiting for me to discover him?

What are the odds?

Guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Eagle or no eagle, always good to stop by this place.


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Thankful

One of my brothers flew into town last Wednesday, and on this last night of our Thanksgiving weekend I am thankful for all the family time I’ve had these past five days.

Thanksgiving yummy food and big smiles.

My husband, brother and I spent Thursday with my dad’s sister, my aunt, talking about people from generations before, and eating traditional Thanksgiving fare.

The rest of the weekend we hung out around home, watching the nature in my backyard…

Hey! Are you guys going to share any holiday treats with me?

…and today I took him out to Kensington to experience the bird in the hand phenomenon.

Artsy-fartsy bird in the hand image.

All of it was so much fun.

I’ve got my eye on a treat!

He goes home tomorrow, his own dog is anxiously waiting for him, but Katie sure loved having another admirer in the house. We played together in the new snow a couple of times, and she was all smiles.

Uncle Paul took this picture of me. He didn’t know about my treat policy, but I let him off with a warning.

I’m not looking forward to telling her that her new loyal subject won’t be around to wait on her after tomorrow.

I think I’m late leaving for a warmer climate. Maybe I’ll hitch a ride with that Paul guy.

She and I are both going to miss him.

See ya later, Uncle Paul! Come back any time!


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This week’s noisy smile

It’s been a crazy winter, right? Some parts of our country have seen snow where no snow is expected. Other parts are flooding, or fighting wildfires. I think we’ll all be glad to say goodbye to this winter, and for me, the first true sign that spring is right around the corner is the sound of the red-winged blackbird.

Hmmmmm…this peanut looks good.

It’s a distinctive cry that I haven’t heard around my house yet this year. Other people, not so far away from me, are hearing them already and have for awhile. My Facebook memories say that it was on this date when I heard them first last year.

I’ll just fluff myself up and let out my best territory protection scream. I’m sure the girls will be flocking to me in no time.

Today it’s too windy to hear much of anything here, but yesterday was a beautiful morning and I headed out to Kensington where I almost always find something beautiful or exciting or just fun.

I’ve picked out the perfect patch of cattails to build our home. Now I just need to find the perfect sweetie.

I found all of that in the massive flocks of red-winged blackbirds all screeching for a mate, while flocking to food, hanging on to swaying cattails, or flying up into trees to sing even louder. Their combined sound was almost overwhelming.

I can’t find the ladies anywhere! And trust me, I’ve looked!

But it sure made me smile!

I guess I’ll just keep singing.


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Don’t miss this waterfall!

On my drive north from Alabama last week I took a quick (or not so quick) detour 50 miles east of my route home to see Burgess Falls. Husband and I had been to see it several years ago in the middle of a summer when there was significantly less water flowing than this time of year.

A little waterfall on the hike back to the big one.

It rained hard the evening and night before I drove over to the falls, and it has been raining for months in the Southeast. There was a squishy walk of about a mile back to the falls. I didn’t mind, there were plenty of pretty things to see along the way. Plus I knew I had hours of driving ahead of me. A little walk would be just the thing.

Everything was damp and green and muddy.

The river was roaring, over it’s banks and moving fast. Just like all the other rivers I’d crossed the day before and would cross on my trek north.

My first clue that the waterfall would be ferocious.

I remembered, as I walked, our last visit to this park where we had trekked down a steep metal staircase, and then climbed over boulders to sit at the base of the falls. I was pretty sure that wouldn’t be possible, judging from the volume of water rushing down the river.

And I was right. See those boulders and trees down there in the river? That’s an island and we sat on those rocks and watched people swimming in the pool below the waterfall.

So much water. And the noise!

You wouldn’t want to be out there now. Still, some steps led down ‘to the falls’ so I went down to see what was what.

Wonder what’s down there?

Personally I think those stairs should be closed. It leads you right to the top of the falls where it would be so easy to slip and fall into the raging river.

Teenagers throwing sticks into the water. I couldn’t watch.

I scurried right back up, and told the family at the top who were contemplating the trip down not to do it, it wasn’t worth the climb, and it was too dangerous for their kids.

Other than that I enjoyed my brief time at the falls, and I’d go back again when some of the water dries up. I’m sure there will be plenty of repair work to do before it’s safe to go down to the bottom again.

It was worth getting a little muddy.

Regardless of the water flow this is one stunning waterfall and worth a detour to see it! And I got to see a few barns on the way over there.

Couldn’t resist stopping for this one.

And some more cows.

Cows and their barn.

So even though it added a few hours to my trip home I think it was all worth it. That’s the best part about a road trip –turning left instead of right once in awhile.

Such a pretty place, Tennessee.