Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A dear friend surprised me today with this lovely Christmas arrangement, isn't it gorgeous? I had put off getting a table arrangement so long that it was almost too late to think about doing it, when this was delivered just this morning. What a boost for my Christmas spirit!
We're having a quiet Christmas Eve, but some of the children will be here tomorrow for Christmas Day. Roy and I will just have a glass of egg nog and reminisce about previous Christmases...we've had lots of them together! Hopefully we'll have lots more.
Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bluebird sighting

This blog seems to have become my bird journal, so here's the latest on my backyard birdwatching.
Papa bluebird made a rare winter appearance today. I haven't seen much of him or his mate(nor any of their offspring) since the last fledging mentioned below. Once one of them made a fleeting visit to the birdbath, but nothing since until today. least I assume it was him...came to sit on the favorite perch at the end of the deck and watched the yard for awhile before he flew away. I don't know if he tried to look into the house...Roy had covered the opening with duct tape because some house sparrows had attempted to fit it out for a winter home....and you know how I feel about house sparrows! ;o) Up to now the bluebirds have not offered to seek shelter in it during the winter, so I didn't think they would mind if we closed it up til spring.
Anyway, it was nice to see him today, I hope he visits again. I miss the blues during the winter, even though the winter birds are fun to watch, too.

Well, I went to add this to my Bluebird Journal and discovered that Papa, Mama, and a little field sparrow friend had visited the yard in early October (how could I have forgotten that?). However Papa was alone this time...maybe Mama and little friend migrated....

Sunday, September 12, 2010


They flew away yesterday, and I miss them! But it's nice to know that we had 12 new babies added to the bluebird population from our birdhouse this summer. These last four babies fledged on two consecutive days, Sept. 10th and 11th. Fitting that they hatched on my birtday, August 24, and fledged on our national day of mourning, Sept. 11. I was fortunate (and determined enough) to see all four of these sweeties make their first flights, and it was delightful. They flew off in several different directions, two into the trees, one over the garage, and one up on the roof top! So I'm hoping that Mom and Pop were able to gather them all together eventually....I'm sure they did.
I cleaned the house thoroughly for next season, although the parent birds kept the nest pretty clean this time. All that was left in it were remnants of a green insect of some sort and a small grasshopper or katydid that didn't appeal to the babies palates I guess. They did apparently devour the large slug that Pop wrestled on the deck railing trying either to kill it or bite it into smaller pieces to give to the babies. I watched and chuckled at him for at least five minutes during that struggle. He finally gave up and gave it to them whole and they must have liked it because there was nothing left of it in the nest!
I'm sad that they're gone, but very happy that all went off successfully! I tried to get pictures, but they just popped out too quickly for me to catch them.....must get a bird cam!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Breakfast for the Kids!

Here's the photo I promised in the post below. See the tiny worm he's carrying? Both Mom and Pop are busy now, and will be busy for the next couple of weeks, feeding the little ones. Right now they seem to be carrying only small worms, or pieces thereof for the tiny little mouths they're feeding. They'll continue to feed them both worms and insects for a little while even after they fledge, but I usually don't get to see that.

Here we go again.......

I hoped to have a photo to share, maybe later today. But I couldn't wait to talk about those determined little bluebirds. They did indeed complete a beautiful little nest, or rather, SHE completed a beautiful little nest. He watched while she did the building, and then laid four exquisite tiny blue eggs and sat on them for about two weeks or so. Then, glory be!, they hatched yesterday! I considered that Mother Nature's birthday gift for me, along with a relief from the heat we've been having for nearly three months now, with temperatures only in the 70s all day! It was just too cool to keep the bird house door open long enough to take a picture, but I'll try again today. Mom and Pop are busy bringing tiny worms to feed the younguns!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lunch time!

Lunch time for these little cuties lasts all day and into the evening, rain or shine. We currently having at least three red-throated hummingbirds living in the area who jockey for position at the feeder with the male usually acting as king-of-the-hill. The females outsmart him now and then however, and one of them also shows some aggression if another female tries to feed at the same time. It isn't as if there aren't portals so they could all feed at once!
I know, I know, all I seem to post lately are bird pictures. But I find them fascinating during the summer. We currently have the third pair of bluebirds nesting in the bird house, she's sitting on four beautiful little blue eggs right now. They should be hatching soon. With any luck at all for this brood we will have had a round dozen fledging from the birdhouse this summer.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Would You Believe?

I can hardly believe it myself. We usually have two bluebird nestings per season in the little house in the backyard, and we've had two already this year, with a total of 8 little blues added to the population. A few days ago, another pair appeared and checked out the house for several days but I thought perhaps they were just keeping an eye on it as often happens even during the winter. But this week they've been showing up more often and staying longer, and today the female is obviously ready to lay eggs because she's in and out of the house every few minutes carrying nesting material.
I actually hoped they wouldn't do this again, given the extreme heat we're having this summer, but I guess they know what they're doing!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another Fledging Completed!

Well, our shy little bird finally got up his courage this morning. I did see him peeking out the doorway and watched for quite awhile hoping to see him fly. But the clever little guy apparently waited until I took a brief break to make coffee or something because when I went out about noon after seeing no activity around the house for several hours the nest was empty. I was sad that they were all gone, and happy that they all fledged safely. I don't know if we'll have more nesting in that house this summer. I rather hope not, since I worried so about the poor little things out there in the blazing sun during our excessive heat. We still have the rest of July and all of August and September to go before we can expect a real break.
But we had eight little additions to the bluebird population from that house this summer and that makes me feel so good! I just hope they all survive to have families of their own.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Latest from the Bird Front

Today was fledging day for the bluebirds. Of the three hatchlings in the house, I saw one make his "maiden" flight this afternoon with neither parent in sight. He suddenly appeared at the door, popped himself out and flew into a neighboring tree. I could see him sitting there trying to keep his balance on the swaying branch. The unaccustomed movement kept him fluttering for several minutes. But his Papa soon found him and gave him a snack and he was able to settle down.
There is still at least one hatchling left in the nest. I think one must have fledged before I noticed, and this one simply could not make up his mind to go in spite of his parents' coaxing. He sat in the doorway for a very long time, but just couldn't get up the courage to leave. At one point during his decision making, it began to rain, and I'm sure that confused and intimidated him along with everything else. At dusk he was still inside. I don't know if he finally left or has decided to stay inside one more night!
I will open the house sometime tomorrow morning if I see no activity at the nest box. I'm sure he'll be okay, but I'm always concerned until I know they've all fledged successfully.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Okay here's this week's theme...Black and White

Judy's chosen theme for this week, Black & White intimidated me a bit because I haven't made black and white pictures for many years. Of course, I could have gone an entirely different direction with this theme, but chose to try my hand at B&W photos. So here are some that I played with in my photo program. It was fun, but oh my, I do miss my color!!!!

Heirloom.......only a week late!

Better late than never? I'm having some trouble finding something that will look well in black and white for this week's theme, so I'm catching up with last week's theme which was "Heirlooms". This is the only thing I really wanted from my MIL's things and I felt fortunate to get it. Well, there was a set of dishes that I would love to have had, but they very rightly went to her daughter. I did get another set of her dishes, which is nice and one of my daughters will love to inherit it eventually.
Now to go look some more for something to post in B&W!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Photo a Week, Things with Wings

Only in Texas! (I can say that because I grew up there!)
This is just too funny and I couldn't resist. I just got this in an email today. It's from a group of these structures (can you guess what it is?) being exhibited in Texas and I realized it fits the theme for this week perfectly, solving my dilemma over what to post!
I am late this week, partly because of the holiday, and mostly because I'm cranky. We are without air-conditioning (our central air bit the dust last week) and the temperatures are hovering just under and just over 90 degrees for the past several days. We've been promised a fix by this afternoon and I think my husband is grateful for that. Even coming from the hot dry climate in Texas, I still cannot tolerate heat! Oh, and to add to the stress, our two electric fans which were supposed to keep me from sweltering during the night are on the blink, too! Thank goodness for ceiling fans in other parts of the house!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Photo a Week

The theme for this week is "Signs" and I hope these will fit the criteria. These "signs" are on the door to my studio....poor neglected space that it is. The text on the skirt of the above figure reads: "I don't know what Inpiration is, but I hope when it comes it finds me working....Picasso"

And I think you can read the text on this one. It suits me sooooooo well right now!!
My muse had better get herself back soon, or I'm going to turn this room back into a guest room!!!!!!!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm ready for my close-up!

In the excitement over a black snake in the yard and the accompanying cacophony of about 20 or 30 backyard birds raising a ruckus, this baby bird, who is NOT ready to fledge yet, looked like he was ready to take off anyway! I was so worried that he might jump or fall out of the nest, but after Roy dispatched the snake and everything calmed down, he finally did go back my relief. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to grab my camera before he did and get a couple of shots.
Here's the close-up:

Wanna see a hungry baby?

You'll have to look closely, but if you do, you'll see a little beak wide open, waiting for Papa to come back with a juicy worm or crunchy bug! These little guys should be ready to fledge within a few more days. I hope to get a better picture of them before they do. They often spend some time peeking out the door getting accustomed to the bright light and all the activity awaiting them when they get up the strength..and the venture out.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Photo a Week My Workspace

Sorry the photos are so dreary, but it was that kind of day. Here's where I work, when I work. Right now, not a lot is getting done. I have projects in the works, but little to nothing to show for them at this point. I'm beginning to feel concerned that my creative juices have dried up completely and that makes me very sad. I have a great group of supportive and very creative friends and that should motivate me, right? So far, all I seem to do is play with my paints and brushes, read encouraging books, and try to reclaim the passion for art I once had. My hope is that it's all temporary and I'll get those wheels turning again soon! Better never to have had the passion than to have it, then lose it...........
Wow, sorry to be so gloomy today! That's what looking at my neglected workspace does to me. Next post will be brighter, I promise!!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Here they are!

It's warmer today, and sunny, so I took the opportunity while the parent birds were away to open the nest a bit to take this photo of five little baby bluebirds! I know they just look like a furry blob, but the picture is sharp, it's the babies that are fuzzy! They really fill the nest up now. They are about twice as big as they were on Mother's Day when I first saw them. They have to grow fast to be able to fledge in a couple of weeks! Papa flew in to see that I hadn't disturbed his children not long after I came back in the house. They tolerate house-monitoring very well, but they have to make sure everything is as it should be when I leave!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I'm Late, I'm Late.....again

The theme for this Monday's (I know, it's Tuesday now) Photo a Week was "Something Mum/MOM" and although I had a lovely Mum/Mom and a sweet Mother's Day myself, here was my biggest surprise on Mother's Day. The bluebird eggs hatched and we have 5 little fuzzy bodies in there now! Mum/Mom and Dad are busily searching out insects and fat little worms to feed the babies and I'm having great fun watching the activity. I hope to get a photo of the babies before they get too active, but I don't like to open the nest box when it's cold and windy. Maybe tomorrow, if it doesn't rain all day.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

WIP Bluebird project

Well, it's obviously not MY bluebird project, but Momma Blue's own work in progress. I saw her leave the nest on break a little while ago and took the opportunity to monitor the nest again. I actually had the presence of mind to take my camera this time and got this shot of the eggs. You can't see the fifth one very well, but it's there. They look huge here, but they're about the size of a small marble. Momma and Papa are going to be pretty busy feeding this brood if these all hatch!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Photo a Week

"What's on your bedside table?" is the theme for this week, so here's mine. The angel was a housewarming gift years ago and the lamp belonged to Roy's mother. Not very exciting, I know, but there you have it!
Here's one a little more interesting, maybe. My peonies started popping out in the almost 90 degree temperature yesterday and this is what I woke up to this morning. It was raining from time to time, but the bunny didn't let that bother him, that grass is getting to just the size he likes to munch on!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo a Week

Theme for this week is "something odd or funny" and who is funnier than ScoobyDoo?
And the fact that I have him sitting on my computer desk could be categorized as odd, considering my advanced age and the fact that I never, ever, watch ScoobyDoo!
But my dear husband came home from running errands with this for me. It was LONG after Halloween, so I'm assuming it was on a sale table somewhere. For Valentines Day he brought me two little candy boxes with a darling little teddy bear atop each one....I like those better! LOL!

But I keep ScoobyDoo on my computer table for now, so DH won't feel hurt that I didn't like his gift!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Photo a Week - Reflections

Now before you think I'm dotty this morning (well you may be right about that, but that's another post....), I'm using a different take on "reflections", okay? I have been "reflecting" upon the joy we took in watching the antics last summer of a baby rabbit whose mother gave birth to him in a hole underneath one of our storage sheds and hoping we'd have a similar delight this year. Well, no baby rabbits as of yet, but yesterday evening this young fellow appeared at the back of the yard, near the old rabbit hole, and this morning he came close to the back steps as the baby last year used to do frequently. Then he hopped off around behind the deck, just as the little one did. So I am assuming that this is our baby rabbit with a year's growth on him. He's still not fully grown, but I feel certain it's the same bunny. I am so happy to see him!

And here is a new visitor...or I should say a visitor not usually seen so close to my window. I put this cute little bird bath on the deck railing a month or so ago, put some water in it and waited to see the birds coming to drink. Nothing......
So I decided to try some seed in it, and attracted only squirrels for awhile. But this fellow showed up a couple of days ago and although I don't usually like to see them in the yard I had to admire his beauty and was happy to get this shot before he flew away.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nest building

Serious building has begun. The pair have both been adding a twig or two to the nest from time to time, but until today I haven’t seen any frequent activities toward that end. This was Papa bringing a twig earlier, Momma flies in and out so quickly I can't get a photo of her. They’ve been on guard at some point during each day and have discouraged visitors from time to time. But this morning Momma has been going back and forth to the neighbor’s yard to gather pine needles for her birthing bed. She has been appearing at least a couple of times a minute with a new twig or two to add to it. The male peeks in to see her progress and if she isn’t in the house he might pop in to check more closely. But when she comes back, she goes in and chases him out. I think it must be nearing egg-laying time for her. I do hope they’ll have a successful season.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

PhotoaWeek--Late Again

The theme this week was "Favorite Color" and I can never choose just one. So here are some of my favorites! This is a new box of pastels that, as you can see, I've hardly used yet. I'm tempted to just keep them in this pristine condition just to look at!
I'm sorry to be so late with the photo this week, I got busy on Monday, and then came down with a serious migraine yesterday and stayed in bed almost all day. Thank goodness mine don't last more than one day as a rule, so today I'm fit again. I hope you are all having a glorious spring day as we are having in Maryland! There is one fluffy cloud floating by that looks just like a huge version of the cotton balls I keep on my vanity.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Are you ready?

Our bluebird season is officially underway it seems. Some have been coming intermittently all winter, but this pair seems to have laid claim to the house and has been showing up to establish ownership everyday lately. No signs of building a nest yet, however. The chickadees, who got first dibs at it last year, were here at one point, but haven't been back again. I just shooed a nasty house sparrow off the roof who thought he'd take advantage of the bluebird's brief absence to check out the house. They're a terrible threat to the blues all summer and I do what I can to ward them off. We're hoping for at least a couple of bluebird nestings this spring and summer if all goes well.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Feet" Theme - Phoro of the Week

Awww, he was posed so nicely for his photo when he won Best of Breed at the dog show! These are Ollie's feet and he's my daughter's youngest Bedlington Terrier.

And these are the feet of "Papa", the male bluebird who is laying a claim to the birdhouse in our backyard....if he keeps a careful lookout, he and his mate might just get moved in before the chickadees come and take it over this year!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Changing Seasons Photo of the Week

This should give you a picture of what the seasons are like in Maryland. Sometimes it's beautiful here, and sometimes....well, you can see what our winter gave us this year! But the autumns are usually gorgeous and this red maple is one of my favorites. I have only two tiny patches of crocus coming up so far to give me some hope for spring. This striped one is lovely I think, but so far there's only this one tiny blossom. Now I hope the coming summer will be lots milder than our winter was!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

What Am I? revealed.......

Jennifer, you are SO clever! Yes, it is a letter opener and perhaps the best one I've ever owned. It's made of wood and has the sharpest edge of my small collection. The second best one I have is actually my bone folder!
This was a fun theme, Sue, thanks!

Quilt Square

First, I feel like shouting this out....THERE'S NO SNOW IN MY BACKYARD! We had back to back blizzards last month with 24-30 inches of snow in all, and I just this morning noticed that after a light rain during the night, the last of it has melted out back. There's still a strip in the side yard, but it's so nice to look out my window here by the computer and NOT see snow. Roy has spent several days cutting down damaged trees and fallen limbs that succumbed to the weight of the snow and hauling all the debris to the dump. We are fervently hoping we won't get any more snow this year!

Now, I here is the quilt square I mentioned working on for Hoppa and Bruce. I was so happy to be asked to participate (well actually I think I volunteered) even though I haven't worked with fabric in a long time. It was fun to do, even though my eyesight isn't really up to doing close up work these days and I haven't invested in a magnifying lamp yet, thinking I probably wouldn't need it much now. But I wanted to do some beading on it. So I used some organza ribbons to weave the background, beaded a tiny border around the perimeter, as well as around the little heart and appliqued the heart to the square, and it was done! Nice to have accomplished something in my studio for a change!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

First sign of spring

This is one of my favorite signs of spring...the bluebird's return. This is one of the pair that has been checking the bluebird house in the backyard periodically through the winter. But in the past few days they have been coming regularly every day to monitor the house and make sure the chickadees don't get to start nesting in it before they did happen last year. Today they were here off and on all morning keeping an eye on the other birds who were visiting the feeders out there, so I feel sure they'll begin to build a nest in the house soon. Doesn't Papa look beautiful in his new summer feathers?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photo of the Week: What Am I?

This should have been posted on Monday, but here it is Wednesday, and I'm just getting it done! There's no hope for me! I got sidetracked finishing a quilt square for a friend's wedding canopy, which I will try to remember to post later.
Anyway, here's my take on the What Am I theme for this week.

Now I'm going to be mean and wait to post the full photo of this item til tomorrow to see if you can tell what it is from these photos. I'll bet some of you will figure it out right away!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Monday Photo of the Week - Buttons

Sue's theme for this week is buttons and most of us who sew and/or do art work of various kinds have a varied collection of buttons so this should have been an easy one, right? I immediately thought of a pair of beautiful handmade ceramic buttons my daughter gave me at Christmas time some years ago and planned to use those as this weeks photo. Well, of course I couldn't find them. I see them regularly, going through my belongings looking for this or that, but when I really wanted to use them they've stayed hidden! So from my very generous and eclectic collection I've chosen a variety that I've collected while involved in one creative activity or another.
The first is a selection of buttons I bought thinking to use them as ornaments for cloth dolls I was making. The beaded one would have made a cute little doll hat!

This is a broach someone made for my mother-in-law which she eventually passed on to me. I thought it was pretty and cleverly done, but I never wore it.

I had ideas for using this last group during a period of collage and book altering I was into for awhile. Funny and sad, too, how so many of our ideas fall by the wayside and we're left with a lot of "flotsam" to dispose of at some later time.....sigh.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photo of the Week

The theme this week was "I Made This", one of my own suggestions, and I'm not sure it was my best idea! I thought it might motivate me to get into my studio and actually make something new, or at least finish something old.....but did it?
So here, albeit a day late, is something I sculpted an age ago...well a couple of years ago, anyway. I was having so much fun working with polymer at that time along with Linda and some other online friends and I wish I had been able to continue with the sculpting. But for reasons I won't go into here (they're much too boring) I had to give that up along with some other things I loved doing. So here he is as he sits on a shelf in my studio. His dowel usually is stuck into a brass candlestick, so he enjoys a great position where he can oversee whatever I do in there (which isn't much lately).
I obviously did not make his glasses, but they suit him well I think.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photo of the Week......Clouds

I'm late getting my Photo of the Week posted because my server has had some problems during our winter storms and the aftermath, so it has been difficult to receive or send messages and/or photos. Being snowed in is bad enough, but without internet???? One does get cranky!!!!!!!
Anyway, since our skies have displayed nothing but doom and gloom for much too long now, I'm having to bend the rules(if we have rules?) and use some photos I took during the summer. I was going through a watercolor "phase" and doing some cloud practices. I love this first photo where the framework of trees appears in silhouette and the clouds and fading sunlight become the focus.
The second shot is looking down the street that passes the front of my house. After almost 17 years in this house, I'm still fascinated by having so much open sky in this location. It's a pleasure to be able to appreciate not only cloud formations, but flocks of migrating geese a few times a year, a rare eclipse or meteor shower, and even the turkey vultures that frequently soar above the neighborhood looking for an easy meal.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Hearts and Flowers-Photo of the Week

Having been "treated" to a blizzard this past weekend, I took lots of snow pictures but I guess most of us are getting overloaded with those. However, this one comes very close to fitting this weeks theme. The snow that's blocking the entrance to this birdhouse on our deck railing (yes that is a birdhouse and it does not have a tall pointy roof..that's all snow) is heart shaped, don't you think? Anyway, we got 28-30 inches out of this storm and are promised up to 5 more inches later this week. I'd move south, but about mid-summer I'd be ready to move back to Maryland!

This was the photo I originally planned to post this week. My Christmas/Thanksgiving/Whatever cactus has decided it's a Valentine cactus instead! I've never had one bloom this late (or is it "early"?) before, but I appreciate it. I needed some color in my house this week!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Mulberry Tree at Sunset

Here's another shot of my little(not so little anymore actually) Mulberry tree as the sun is going down on the other side of the house. I love the color!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Photo of the Week-From my Window

As the sun sets on the opposite side of the house, it lends a golden glow to the trees in my backyard and especially to this graceful little Mulberry tree that I love. I don't usually care much for the Mulberries because they leaf out so late in the spring and lose their leaves so early in the fall. But this is the one I saved from destruction when the thicket back there was being cleared. It was just a twig and all bent over from the vines that had captured it, but I staked it up and demanded that it be given a chance to survive. I may have blogged about this before but some of you may have missed it. Anyway, I think it looks so pretty at this time of day. I took this on Friday of last week and we were "treated" to another snowstorm on Saturday. Below you can see some of the neighborhood birds that were happy to have something to eat during the storm. I filled up that feeder just in time!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday snowstorm

The photo isn't so great, but it's hard to focus through the snow falling. It just started an hour or so ago when I took this, but the birds seem to think we're going to get a lot. We always have birds at the feeders, but this morning it looks like they've called in all the uncles and cousins to tank up before the snow covers the ground. At the thistle feeder we usually get only a couple of goldfinches at a time during the winter, but this morning there are eight of them vying for a place at the feeder where there are only six perches. Take turns, guys......

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

EDM Challenge 4

EDM Challenge 4
Originally uploaded by MaryO 2
This is a drawing I made last year of one of those mugs (below) for a challenge on my drawing list.