Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Morning smile

Wow, what a crazy time we are living in. But this morning I received a gift and I thought I’d share it with you.

A couple weeks ago, while in a wildlife store purchasing thistle seed for my finches I heard that evening grosbeaks were being seen on local feeders even though their range doesn’t normally come this far south.

I’d never seen an evening grosbeak, so I looked them up in my birdbook and began to keep watch. Nothing much showed up, at least while I was watching, but this morning as I was passing by the glass door in my kitchen I noticed a shape on the railing that didn’t fit my regular bird visitors.

The early morning light is bad, but there she is!

Whatever it was was bigger than my little birds, and sort of the shape of a smallish robin. And then, in the early morning light there was a slight flash of yellow. And that white bar on the wing. The light was so poor, but I couldn’t help but grab the camera, change the lens to the long one, amp up the ISO and try.

I was satisfied with the bad photo because I had proof of my visitor. And that made me smile.

Then the bird, I think it’s a female, flew up into the tree above the birdfeeder, watching the chaos that always surrounds morning breakfast.

A little more light, but still not great.

Still the light was bad and I had to up the ISO until the image looks more like an illustration than a photo. But I was smiling.

She dropped down for a try at the feeder.

“Maybe I’ll grab a quick bite during this lull in activity at the breakfast bar.”

She made it in to grab a seed but the bully bluejays were right there chasing her away.

“Gotta be quick!”

I put the camera away to tend to the dog. But passing by another window I saw morning light slice across her as she sat on the railing, picking up seed others had left behind.

The rising sun gives us just a peek at how beautiful she is.

And then, wonder of wonder, she dropped down to the deck, right into a patch of light.

“Nom, nom, nom.”

I think she did that just for me.

I especially liked this shot, that shows the dog footprints on the frosty deck. Katie and I had just been outside, filing the feeders and sniffing for good stuff.

“Hmmmm…smells like dog around here.”

I’m sure glad she stuck around to show me herself. She’s definitely part of the good stuff around here. She was a gift this cold November morning.

And now I’m sharing it with you.

Smile!

Look how pretty the wings are from the back.


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Magic in the morning

As I stepped off the front porch this morning at 3:30, Katie tugging on the leash looking for her favorite early morning spot to do her business, I searched the sky, as I always do, to find the big dipper.

And just as I found it a shooting star flared right through the middle of the constelation.

Then I noticed the pair of deer in the next yard, watching me watching them. When Katie was finished we casually walked back toward the porch, the deer walked casually off into the darkness.

Later in the morning I was tugged out the back door by Katie, intent on going to her pen the better to enjoy the beautiful early morning sun.

The doe, almost hidden by the forsythia bush, glances back toward her guy.

There, feet away from the deck, were our deer couple. They watched us for a moment, we standing still on the deck, Katie at full alert, fur puffed up, tail in the air, and they just on the other side of a small garden, tails in the air as well.

Then they raced off into the backyard. She went behind a forsythia bush, almost far enough to be hidden, but not quite.

He veered off to the left to stand behind a pile of brush along the back of our property.

Do you see him back there?

I didn’t figure they’d be there long, but I put Katie in her pen where she could bark protectively, and went for the camera. They both watched me as I circled the brush pile to get a better shot of him.

Here’s a better angle.

He watched me and glanced over at her. Eventually he snorted and lept into the air, headed toward her.

I almost got this shot. Looks like he got injured sometime recently.

One last look at me from over near her, then they bounded back into the woods.

See you later, lady!

Everything about this morning was pure magic.

Morning light.


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Death of a woodpecker

You all know how much I love birds. Any birds, really, but especially the birds at my feeder. I like to think they love me too, they certainly are all waiting in the trees above our deck every morning as I put out seed.

One of my favorite visitors.

One of my favorites is the red bellied woodpecker. He lords over the feeder, picks a favorite seed and flies up into the trees to eat it.

Then he’s right back.

So you can imagine my horror yesterday afternoon when I saw him dead on the deck. He’d obviously hit the window, hopefully was killed instantly before he knew anything.

My heart broke.

I was so upset I took Katie to a park for a long walk among the fall foliage, but that’s another blog post. When I got home I buried my beautiful woodpecker boy under a rosebush in my garden.

Final resting place.

I was sad all night, and this morning considered not putting out any seed. I felt like my woodpecker’s death was my fault, for enticing him to my deck in the first place.

So you can imagine my delight when this showed up.

“Got anything to eat lady?”

At first when I saw that red head I was afraid this would be my guy’s widow. I was still filled with remorse. But this one is a male too, and instantly began lording over the seed.

“I stopped by to make you smile!”

I caught my breath as he grabbed a seed and flew up into the trees. Fly that way, little buddy, fly away from the house.

Thanks for stopping by, stay safe!

You are healing my broken heart.

I’m thankful for the morning visit.


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Desperately seeking smiles

We’ve had it rough around here for a few weeks. Though the trees are bursting with color and we had a series of beautiful sunny and above average warm days, no one here was enjoying it.

Katie under the ginko tree with leaves falling in the early morning light.

That’s because husband, brother-in-law who was staying with us, and I all tested positive for Covid a little over two weeks ago.

Yep, no matter that we’d been careful, limited our travel to only necessary trips, washed our hands incessently, wore masks everywhere.

A young cardinal stops for breakfast.

We still ended up with the virus.

And worse, my brother-in-law didn’t survive. So on top of feeling tired with achey muscles and never ending coughs we had to work our way through grief and funeral arrangements.

That early morning light makes her glow.

Now that I’m feeling better, I am recognizing that there were a lot of moments, in amongst the heartache and chaos, that made me smile.

Neighbors and family leapt to help us, doing our grocery shopping, picking up Katie’s perscription from her vet, dropping off cases of water and snacks and flowers and fruit and fully cooked meals.

Red Bellied woodpecker enjoys a snack on the go.

And did I mention soup? We got lots of chicken noodle soup; it’s true that chicken noodle soup is good for the soul. We are proof of that.

Everybody gets into the breakfast act.

Even now that things are settling down we are getting numerous messages and texts, calls and emails from concerned family and friends.

The katsura tree dropped all her leaves at once too.

Covid is a scary, dangerous and unpredictable thing. But it’s possible to smile even in the midst of it if you’re as lucky as we are to have wonderful people surrounding you in love.

Are you pointing that lens at me, lady?

Images are from our backyard these past few days. Lots of smiling there too.

Even our first frost made me smile.


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Walktober in times of covid

Part of our back yard showing up in fall colors.

I look forward to Robin’s Walktober all year. She has hosted it for many years, a period of time in October where we all go for a walk, take a few (or a lot) of pictures, and share the walk with all of you by linking back to her blog. She’ll gather all our walks and present them in a compliation near the end of the month.

Color in the trees dances with the clouds.

I had a lot of plans for this year’s walk. I’ve been thinking about it for months. There are a couple of bird sanctuaries I haven’t visited that I considered exploring. There’s a hilly park closer to home that I think is photogenic no matter the season that I could share.

Light plays in the dying maple leaves.

Our weather has been beautiful, sunny sky, trees bursting with color. Perfect for a Walktober. I just had to decide which direction to take you.

Bitersweet – summerizes how I feel about this fall.

And then covid.

Shortly after Katie did her Walktober covid invaded our house and now we’re isolating at home. My isolation will be up October 18, and though I know Robin would give me a few more days, I don’t know if I’ll be up to tromping up and down hills even then.

The pond across the road provides any number of photographic opportunities.

So this year, reluctantly, my Walktober has been around my own back yard. Katie says I shouldn’t feel sad, that we have a very pretty back yard, and she’s right.

Our yard is beautiful, especially when I’m in it!

Still, the adventurer in me wishes I could get up early some morning and drive across the state to somewhere not seen before. Wishes I could walk new paths, shoot new vistas, breathe free.

The oaks are beginning to glow.

So far the symptoms my husband and I are experiencing are mild, and we hope they stay that way. The hardest part, for me, is the staying at home part. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s only two weeks.

Last bit of summer hangs on for a few more days.

So, I hope you enjoyed the images in this post of my official Walktober meander through my back yard. And I hope each of you can go for a walk and share it with us too! Just link to Robin’s blog, we look forward to seeing another part of the world.

Royal color welcomes fall.

Especially since we can’t go there in person.

The view from our deck.