Unexpected Visitor

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.

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Photo by Maria Diaz

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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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.

 

 

The Beauty of Creation

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Four leaf clovers – I have found three around here so far, but I am sure there are more.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Mushrooms are beautiful. There are so many shapes and colors.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

 

Acorns abound in all sizes. A perfect pair.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Even rainy days offer surprises – water  diamonds.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Trees present their offerings. This year we will have tons of pinecones, more than in previous years.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Critters that play around, always welcomed.

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Photo by M.A.D.

 

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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.

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M.A.D.

Hope you enjoyed this post.

What recharges your soul?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Creation

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Photo by M.A.D.

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)

I

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.

II

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.

Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 

A Crow’s Tale

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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My favorite. Walking around after the rain, all wet. Pardon the focus, and look at that stride.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Hope you enjoyed these.

 

 

 

 

 

Beauty Remains

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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)

 

 

Nature Treat

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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Photo by M,A,D,

One more pic of these gorgeous creatures.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

Enjoying a well deserved lunch.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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.

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Photo by M.A.D.

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.

 

 

 

Whispering Trees

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.

The Tree of Life

Sometime ago, my husband and I were sitting on the porch conversing and looking at our new surroundings. He said, “Trees are funny.” I asked, “How come?” He answered, “They go around each other and bend around to continue.”

I looked at the trees he was talking about and I was mesmerized by what I saw. Many branches giving way to other branches of other trees, twisting and bending just right so there was room for every tree to continue to grow and expand. Unlike ivy, climbers, and other plants and bushes that choke one another to overpower and survive. I said to my husband, “We humans should be more like trees.” He smiled.

Crimson Miracle

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Photo by M.A.D.

 

Crimson Miracle

 

Shriveled leaf, sunrise gone

Shriveled life, blue moon shone

Risen anew, ashes to dust

Wind gentle blows, caressing soul.

 

Cycle of perfect harmony

A thankful heart beats on

Season of crimson miracles

To live, to die, and be reborn.

 

 

 

Majestic New Day

“This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24

The other day, I was thinking about how everyday I look at the same scenery and how a generic mental picture of that scenery is kept on my mind, as if it was a postcard that was filed in my brain. I pondered how I took the visual image for granted every day, and even thought that tomorrow that panorama as seen through the generic image filed in my brain would still be there. Well, I didn’t like the thought, so I had to change it. I needed a “not for granted” appreciation of the everyday scenery. Why? Because writing is a solitary endeavor, and sometimes, too much of it starts to feel stale. I took several pictures of the same scenery on different days. This exercise opened my eyes, and reprogrammed my brain. It also gave me a sense of renewal and gratitude. Pictures sometimes tell it better than words (yes, I said that), so here is a Majestic New Day of the same scenery. This pictures have not been enhanced in any way, which proves how blessed we are every day, and how blind we can become to what each day brings anew.

On an early morning, before sunrise. A thick line of clouds in the horizon, perfectly straight looks like a mountain.

On an early morning, before sunrise. A thick line of clouds on the horizon, perfectly straight looks like a mountain.

The sun is rising on another day, at about the same time.

The sun is rising on another day, at about the same time.

On another day, the same view, the sun already out, and this time a palette of gold.

On another day, the same view, the sun already out, and this time a palette of gold.

Do you see what I mean? The same view in the morning, but on different days this week has no resemblance to the generic mental image that I keep of the view.  It tells a story of a majestic and wonderful gift of a brand new day, that the Creator of this universe paints different every day, and for our enjoyment. I could probably go on an on taking pictures, and each day, it would be different. The generic image might still be in my brain, but not with the same level of appreciation.