Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Encounters of a Bird Kind

I was recently organizing a few of my 15,641 pictures when I noticed that over the past few weeks I had taken quite a few bird pictures. Upon further reflection I realized I had enough material for my own version of an Audubon handbook. I should add my disclaimer here and let you know that I am not a bird expert and some of this information about birds might be incorrect. Do not use any of this info to write a bird report. Now on with this story.

I took this picture when I was in Florida. I ran recklessly into the middle of the road to capture this shot. I was convinced it was a Bald Eagle and was screeching while taking the shot to try and attract this bird to land close by.
My screeching was successful and the bald eagle landed! Although it wasn't a bald eagle. It turns out that this actually was a turkey vulture which really are ugly and large. This particular bird had a wicked attitude and tried to scare me. I informed him that it takes more than some ugly bird to scare me.
So...maybe I was a bit scared. I scurried away quickly after snapping this final shot of Mr. Mean Turkey Vulture although I must admit I do like the color of his feathers but I wouldn't tell him that.

This is the graceful Great Blue Heron that hangs out by the pond near my mom's house in the Sunshine state. He has a calm personality and a much more positive attitude than mean Mr. Turkey Vulture.

He is searching for some dinner. I love the way he can move his neck.

Success! You can see the tail of a small fish sticking out of his bill.

Now some might find the following story disturbing so I am warning you ahead of time. Sometimes nature can be harsh. One day when changing sheets in our guest bedroom I looked out of the window to see that we had a new tenant living in our roof gables. A mother robin had built a nest and was hanging out waiting for the birth of her babies. I was quite excited and each day would sit and watch her as she flew around fixing her nest. Most of the time she just sat and kept her eggs warm. I paced anxiously, waiting for their arrival.

And then on the morning of June 1, 2009 Mama Robin's babies hatched and she began the task of feeding her newborns. I couldn't see them yet but I knew they were in there and was a proud Auntie. Mama Robin was a hard worker, tireless, as she fed, protected and continued to keep them warm.

So imagine my surprise, confusion and dismay when one morning I went to visit the Robin family and instead I found this sitting in the middle of their nest...

a Mourning Dove! What the heck! I yelled to my husband that we had an emergency situation -pronto! He ran up the stairs three at a time since I was distraught, crying and screaming. Totally breathless he asked me what was wrong ~ all I could do was point out at the nest.

We didn't know what to do. Twice I saw the Mama Robin dive bomb the nest but Papa Mourning Dove appeared out of nowhere and chased her off. I don't know where the robin babies are or if there are now baby doves living in the nest. We did consider getting a large pole to boot the intruder off of the nest but we did not do that. We figured that this is nature and we had better not mess around with it. I was sad though and all hopes of getting pictures of the baby robins for the family album vanished. I think this Mourning Dove has beady little eyes and I do not trust her.

And like many of the tenants who have rented from us over the years, this one was no different. I went to check on their nest one morning to find that they had skipped out in the cover of darkness without cleaning up their place and of course, with no rent paid. The worse part is that I will never know why this happened or what happened to the babies.

Emotionally exhausted from the robin/mourning dove drama I decided to focus more on my plants. I have these beautiful cascading 'somethings' hanging from planters on my front porch. And yes, I know they must have an official name besides 'somethings' but there was no identifying tag in them when I bought them so I asked the clerk what they were and she said, "they are cascading somethings." Honest. So...I was standing on a chair so I could reach my 'somethings' and I noticed straw sticking out of the top of the planter. I screamed to my husband who once again came running to see what was the matter this time.

He lifted the planter off of the hook so I could see if there was something inside of my somethings. And sure enough...

A Mama Robin decided that none of the thousands of trees on our property would be a good place to make a nest. Nope. Let's make the nest in the middle of the hanging somethings. Let's start a family right here.

I refuse to get emotionally attached this time. I swear. I am not going to get involved in any drama. But I do wonder why there is only one egg. I wonder if I can water my plant. I wonder how many more days until we have a baby bird chirping away. I wonder if I will be able to get an award winning photo. I wonder where the Mourning Dove is living now. I wonder...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What are you thinking?

Every morning I receive a 'Note From the Universe' in my computer inbox. The daily message from 'The Universe' is a positive tidbit which helps me remember that thoughts become things so I had better think good ones. It helps me start my day with a positive focus and a smile. My husband does occasionally feel the need to tell me that this is a computer generated message and that my message is not personalized. I am not so sure.

Throughout life I, like many people, have had events occur which have made me stop and pay close attention to my universe. Events which made me realize that there is someone or something much bigger than all of us and we need to pay attention to the messages which are floating around us. Often the messages aren't earth shattering or life changing but they do serve as a reminder that 'The Universe' is listening.

One such event occurred this past April when we were visiting my parents in Florida. We walked through my parent's retirement community in the evening and I smelled the most intoxicating, exotic smell which sent my olfactory glands into overdrive. My mom identified the flowering plant as the jasmine. I ran from yard to yard smooshing my face among the tiny delicate white flowers and inhaling deeply. My mom was concerned that the neighbors might report me to the authorities but I couldn't help myself - I was under the influence. I skipped merrily through the streets, nose lifted in the air, searching for a whiff of the most heavenly scent on earth.

"When I get back to NH I am planting jasmine throughout my yard," I proclaimed to all.

"You can't. Jasmine is a warm climate plant. It won't survive in NH."

"When I get back to NH I am buying a jasmine plant," I proclaimed to all.

"You can't. Jasmine will die in NH."

" I am going to have a jasmine plant in NH." I covered my ears and refused to listen to the naysayers.

I then returned home and forgot all about the exotic jasmine. I worked in my garden pulling weeds out from my petunias and hostas and my nose didn't even register any odors. I went to the local Home Depot one Saturday morning for some gardening supplies. As I stood in front of the bags of mulch trying to decide what type to purchase my nose started to twitch. I inhaled more deeply and had a Florida flashback. The scent of jasmine was in the air. I left my cart and followed my nose. I walked up to an older woman and tried to discreetly determine if she was wearing Jasmine perfume. I must have been in her personal space since she turned around, backed up, and slowly moved away from me. My nose ruled her out. I became a bloodhound as I walked quickly up and down aisles trying to find the source of the jasmine. I stopped in front of a row of pallets which was overloaded with a variety of potted plants. I started to rummage through and stacking the non-jasmine plants into the aisle in a rather frantic way.

"Can I help you, ma'am?"

I turned to see a Home Depot man in his official orange vest watching me with curiosity and maybe slight suspicion.

Breathlessly I explained, " There is a Jasmine plant somewhere on this pallet and I have to find it."

"Well, you are correct. It was sent up here to NH accidentally. Jasmine doesn't grow in this zone."

"Oh, it was no accident. The Universe sent it to me."

"Excuse me?"

At this point I had found the very healthy Jasmine with its green, shiny leaves and was hanging onto it with a death grip. I proceeded to explain my trip to Florida and how the Universe had been listening and...

"Why don't I show you to the checkout ma'am?" And he proceeded to walk me to the front of the store.

I stopped and turned to face his skepticism.

"Hasn't the Universe ever communicated with you?"

"Why don't I walk you out to your car?" He stood with his hand on his walkie -talkie ready to call Security.

I hugged my Jasmine plant to my chest and walked towards the exit.

Always one who has to get in the last word, I turned to share my final words of wisdom with him...

"Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand."

And here is my Jasmine plant ~ living a healthy life in NH...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Pay Attention.

I am recovering from a flu/cold/nastiness which hit me last Tuesday. Thoughts of swine flu did dance through my head more than once as I dealt with achy joints, headache, fever,and a sore throat which felt as if I had swallowed razor blades. My energy levels were zapped and even the simplest of tasks were exhausting. I curled up into the fetal position, sipped tea, chugged O.J., popped cold/flu drugs wondering if I would ever feel 'normal' again. I sputtered, I moaned and I stressed over all that I wasn't accomplishing. And then, I decided maybe I had better listen. To who? My body.

My body was sending me a message to slow down and take care of myself. Like many women, I often tend to take care of all those around me and I pride myself on how I am able to 'bash on regardless.' Take care of my adorable, lovable grand babies once a week; zip down to Florida and help Mom care for my Dad ~ emotionally; continue to nurture, love and worry about my four grown children ~ once a mom, always a mom; attend graduation parties, plan and organize retirement parties and baby showers; be a good friend to all of my incredible friends; and love, support and be there for my soul mate of thirty-one years who is up to his eyeballs with stress due to the current economy so... I crashed. My immune system was on overload so when the nasty flu bug came knocking, my body's defense system did little to protect me and I was knocked for a loop. But the good news is that I am recuperating slowly. I did catch up on some reading, watched a few old movies and napped everyday frequently. I need to pay attention and listen to my own body and take care of myself. And off to bed I go...with hopes to have enough energy soon to write a wicked long humorous, inspirational post which will rock the blogging world but for now I will leave you with this: "To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” ~ Buddha

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wordless Wednesday...Here Comes the Sun !

A little bit of sunshine for all of us on the East Coast where it has rained 18 of the last 22 days...

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