December and January have not been as cold and I have been observing more birds than usual around here, so I take it as a sign that it will be a mild winter. The forsythia is in full bloom, all covered in yellow flowers that did not shriveled with the frost and ice we had or the light snow that never stuck on the ground. The rose bush still has some buds and even a few flowers. Temperatures at night have been in the mid 20s and during the day in the 40s and 50s, with the occasional 30s in the mix. Not bad at all. The birds have been a very welcomed sight that has help me cope with all the sadness and craziness that is going around in our country. My faith has been an anchor, but watching these little ones go on and about with their day and routine has been a pleasure. Nature, as always, has given more than expected, and I have tried to find beauty in everything that surrounds me. I will share a few images with you, and I hope that these bring you joy as well.
I hope you enjoyed these, and that looking at them brought you a bit of joy. The hand of God is everywhere if we care to look.
As a new year starts, new possibilities and challenges do as well, for us personally, and for Country. I spent the last two weeks pondering many things, letting go of many others, and setting up the stage for a new year, a new year in which no matter what goes around, I expect to keep up the faith as well as a positive outlook. I wrote some goals as well. During this time, I was able to take notice of a new visitor that has been coming around and staying for a while everyday. It is a gorgeous bird that I think it is a hawk or a falcon; I am not sure which one. I have been observing it almost daily and it seems to have established a morning and afternoon routine. Wanting to start the year in a positive note, here are some pictures of this lovely bird.
I have seen this bird around crows as well. It has been a joy to watch it hunt and eat from the ground as well, enjoy the warmth of the sun, and just perch for a while, until in a split of a second it takes fly again.
During the last couple of weeks, I spent time watching nature and its beauty in many forms. I needed to put aside and away all the negativity 2020 left in my memory, and I wanted to start the new year with a hopeful look and a grateful heart. I saw the miracle of nature, the hand of divine creation, the hand of God surrounding me, and it is all I needed to start the new year. May this new year be full of blessings for all of you.
If you visit this blog from time to time, you know that I love to watch birds and take pictures of them. After the cicadas arrived, I noticed that many birds left, including my beloved crows. Also, missing were the Blue Jays and the Cardinals. The cicadas are gone, and many birds are back. I also noticed the absence of the Katydids. I love their loud song during the night in the summer, and I have not heard or seen any. The number of insects around here seem to be low as well, day and night.
Since I moved here, I count myself lucky to have seen my first mixed flock as well as my first Snowy Owl (during the day) perched on a tree near the back woods. I don’t think Snowy Owls are supposed to be in Virginia, but I saw one last year. Sadly, I could not get my camera fast enough. By the time I went and retrieved it the owl was gone. The other day, I got a treat from nature. I saw my first large woodpecker. I have seen many on the small size range, but never one this size. I was able to grab my camera and take a few pictures, although not as many as I wanted to take. It also kept moving, pecking the wood, so its head came out blurry at times.
This is a picture of a smaller woodpecker that I took when I lived in Jersey.
Here are the pictures I took a few days ago. These were taken from the inside through glass because I did not want to scare the bird. It was very hard to photograph because it kept moving all over. I feel I have to apologize for the quality, but at the same time I wanted to share this beautiful sighting with you.
I never know when I am due for a treat from nature, so now I keep the camera downstairs, and hanging from the coat rack.
I believe that God made everything. The beauty of nature has no limits. I have always enjoyed watching nature, even as a kid, I would spent hours observing it, whether it was ants, butterflies, birds, the ocean … Those are some of my favorite memories as a kid. These days, many years after, I still love to watch my surroundings. It recharges me, somehow. Sometimes, one can see the hand of God in the most unusual and tiny places.
One of my favorite wild flowers dressed in the perfect blue.
Four leaf clovers – I have found three around here so far, but I am sure there are more.
Mushrooms are beautiful. There are so many shapes and colors.
Acorns abound in all sizes. A perfect pair.
Even rainy days offer surprises – water diamonds.
Trees present their offerings. This year we will have tons of pinecones, more than in previous years.
Critters that play around, always welcomed.
Nature will always be a special treat for me, a sanctuary, the perfect gift from God.
A very young me, one of many hats I’ve worn over the years.
Hope you enjoyed this post.
What recharges your soul?
With everything that is going on these days, pandemic news, and all, sometimes one has to look elsewhere and see. This is one of my favorite psalms, and I find it beautiful, so I decided to share its beauty here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do because it is truly lovely and sweet.
Psalm 148 (All creation summoned to praise)
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
give praise in the heights.
Praise him, all you angels;
give praise all you hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
give praise all shining stars.
Praise him, highest heavens,
you waters above the heavens.
Let them all praise the Lord’s name;
for the Lord commanded and they were created,
Assigned them duties forever,
gave them tasks that will never change.
Praise the Lord from the earth,
you sea monsters and all deep waters;
You lightning and hail, snow and clouds,
storm winds that fulfill his command;
You mountains and all hills,
fruit trees and all cedars;
You animals wild and tame,
you creatures that crawl and fly;
You kings of the earth and all peoples,
princes and all who govern on earth;
Young men and women too,
old and young alike.
Let them all praise the Lord’s name,
for his name alone is exalted,
majestic above earth and heaven.
The Lord has lifted high the horn of his people;
to the glory of all the faithful,
of Israel, the people near to their God.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you know that I love crows and ravens. I think they are underappreciated beautiful birds. These birds have been misrepresented for many years, centuries, and they have been given a negative label, used in horror movies, Halloween spooky props, and associated with evil and darkness. Poor little ones. They are nature’s creatures just as a white dove is, or a puppy, or even a regal peacock. Their song is mocked, called a screech; what is up with that? Have you ever heard a peacock sing or a fox calling?
I am happy to have many crows in my neck of the woods, and I love to see them hopping (yes, they hop like little bunnies) around. One thing that is particular about them is that I see them walking around in the light rain like there is nothing going on, while other birds tend to wait until the sun comes back out and the rain stops. I have been on a birdie binge, and I thought about including these pictures on the previous bird watching posts, but decided to give the crow its own spotlight. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I did. For the love of crows.
My favorite. Walking around after the rain, all wet. Pardon the focus, and look at that stride.
Hope you enjoyed these.
Among all the chaos during these challenging times, beauty remains untouched, nature prevails in its own way as it has always been since the beginning of time. When we are feeling sad, scared, hopeless, and searching for a silver lining, God blesses us in many ways, even when we cannot see it right away or understand it.
I have been taking pictures of birds from time to time, and many times, I have shared a few on this blog. Birds are beautiful. I took a few pictures the other day, and these were taken from the inside of my home and through window glass, so they are not perfect. However, looking at them I saw something I had not seen before. I looked at those bird’s faces and expressions, and there I saw a miracle, I saw beauty, but more than that, I saw innocence, purity, hope; I saw the love of God. Here, I share a few with you.
I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or stow away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. (Mathew 6:26)
I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine. (Psalm 50:11)
When I moved from the Jersey shore to southern Virginia, I knew that two of the things I would miss most (besides my friends of course) would be being close to the waterfront, and the bird sightings we had. The area I used to lived in was classified as a bird sanctuary, and I enjoyed watching these gorgeous creatures very much. Years ago, I wrote a post that included many pictures of the birds around the area. When I moved here I didn’t know that this area was considered a bird sanctuary as well, and I rejoiced when I saw the marking signs in town. As spring approaches, the little ones are flying in numbers, and I took some pictures which I will share on this post. Here is where I experienced for the first time what is called a mixed flock. It happened during late fall of last year, and I had no idea of what it was. I saw many types of birds flying together, some circling a dead tree covered in honeysuckle vine, and other birds landing on it. They flew in together and they were very loud, and before I had the chance to grab the camera they all left at once (flying together). I researched this and found out that some birds do that to guarantee food and protection from predators during the winter. I thought it was too early, but we had a few early cold days; however, later on we ended up having a mild winter. None the less, it was a magnificent experience that I will cherish forever. This is the picture of the tree minus the birds. I call this tree my monster tree. It is charmingly spooky in a good way. It serves well many critters, and when the honeysuckle blooms I can smell its sweet scent coming through the kitchen window. It is simply delightful.
I see crows all the time, one of my favorite birds. I named this place Mill Creek Little Trees because of the many tiny pine trees surrounding it, however, those pines have grown tall since we bought the place in 2010, and the place seems to have outgrown its name. I thought of a new name, and decided to rename it Black Crow Cottage in honor of the many crows that wander around and my love for these birds. I have many plans for gardens in this place, but that will take some time to put in place, many years that is. A couple weeks ago, hundreds of robins started to arrive, and along with crows and sandpipers ( I will miss them much) they are a favorite as well. This year, for some reason they seem skinnier.
There is a giant old tree near the kitchen entrance, and I was delighted by the sight of these birds because I had never seen them before. Their color detail is beautiful. It looks as if God had taken a small brush and painted a bit of red and yellow on them. They stayed for a while and drank water from a hole in the old tree.
One more pic of these gorgeous creatures.
These birds have been coming around more and more, and they are beautiful as well. They seem to enjoy being on the ground like the robins, and along side them as well.
Enjoying a well deserved lunch.
A few blue birds have been arriving, but they are so fast and aloof that I have not been able to take a picture of them. In the meantime, this little fake blue bird will have to do for now. It would be just wonderful if one day a real blue bird would pose next to him and I was able to take the picture.
Well, this is all I have for now. I hope you enjoy these photos. I am not a photographer and I don’t know the names of most birds, but I enjoy watching and taking pictures of them.
When I moved to the old farmhouse I had already come up with a name for it; I called it Mill Creek Little Trees. The name came to me after thinking of all the little pine trees that grew freely on the property when I first saw it – abandoned, dilapidated, and covered in wild vines and overgrown trees and bushes. In just a few years, and by the time we moved in, they had grown very large and beautiful. I am glad we let them be. Not long ago I was walking outside, and a gentle breeze made its way through the trees. It caught my attention because it seemed as if the trees were whispering, as if nature was having a soft conversation. I felt at peace. It occurred to me that a better name would have been Whispering Pines. I have loved pine trees since I was a child, any type of pine tree. It is synonym of joy, at least for me.
I am convinced that nature’s purpose is to provide peace, joy, solace, and inspiration when humans need it most. It is balance to our lives, and we naturally gravitate to it. Even in the busiest cities, people find a way to commune with nature, whether it is by visiting a park, placing a few potted plants on a window sill, or enjoying the company of a pet. Nature is a stabilizer to our human chaos. It gives us life, literally. We are part of nature but we tend to feel separate from it, as observers. I’ve asked myself if that is just human perception because when I observe animals they seem to flow with the rest of nature, and at peace with it. Our species must harness, conquer, possess, and subdue, and for some reason, it doesn’t feel as a natural flow as with other species; it seems forceful in some way.
The theme of human redemption appears on my novels and I am considering a novel with a stronger approach to the duality of our human nature. Not so much about good vs evil but more about the ambivalence of our fragile/strong soul. I am not a hundred percent sure yet but it seems more likely the more I think about it. For now it is just an idea, a whispering thought.