Number Four is at the Door….

DSC_0328

…Be this an autumn or a spring

My wisdom loses way

One side of me the nuts are ripe

The other side is May

(from The Ones that Disappeared are Back by Emily Dickinson)

DSC_0321 2

With our fourth Nor’easter, it’s now apparent that March does indeed intend to go out with a roar!  I’m not complaining, getting to sleep in as school was cancelled, leisurely drink coffee while enjoying spelt-blueberry pancakes, in no rush to be anywhere, is fine with me.

DSC_0327

I’m not sure how the flowers and budding trees will feel about it, but it is what it is, so I decided to capture a few pictures and watch the progress as we have transitioned from morning sleet to now thick flakes, on this second day of spring.

DSC_0293

Above, one of our many squirrels enjoying his fair share of sunflower seeds before the rain turned to snow, and below “red” enjoying some seeds of his own in a different spot…

DSC_0310
red-bellied woodpecker

The picture of the cardinal and finches below is blurred by the window panes, but they are a such a cute trio I had to include them…

DSC_0286

The mourning doves are gathering seeds as the snow falls around them…

DSC_0322

A strange sight to see snow on such vibrant pink….

DSC_0334

Ferns, a fun hiding place for Gabby, seeing yet another snowfall…

DSC_0329

Maybe this will be the last snowfall, who knows….but it’s all beautiful nature just the same.  A very happy day to you all, whatever your weather may be!

Until next time!

DSC_0338

∼ Jen

Morning Memories…January-February

DSC_0111
male and female Eastern towhee

With three Nor’easters in the last several weeks, March has certainly come in like a lion. It still remains to be seen if this transitional month will exit like a lamb-one can only hope!  As I look out my widow, spring is literally budding forth…time for one last look back at this year’s winter memories.

dsc_01221-e1521049812591.jpg
female Eastern towhee enjoying sunflower seed

American robin, below, enjoying morning sunlight on rocks before getting drink from waterfall…

DSC_0055 2

DSC_0098

DSC_0065

Geese oblivious to the icy waters…

DSC_0144DSC_0010DSC_0005

A variety of birds decorate the bare branches like natural ornaments…

DSC_0153

Tufted titmouse enjoying a sunny morning at the feeder…

DSC_0128

Sparrows breakfasting together…

DSC_0102 2

Grey squirrel gone rogue… enjoying an acorn instead of raiding my bird feeders…

dsc_0110.jpg

Male cardinal enjoying what’s left of beauty berries…

DSC_0017

…and posing beautifully on dried hydragenea blooms….

DSC_0023DSC_0022

Downed holly tree, one of a handful that fell in creek in past few months…lots of spring clean up awaits, but on the bright side, our main creek view has greatly increased….

DSC_0090

The hammock became a convenient platform feeder during the deep snows..

DSC_0081

And many other seeds were enjoyed under the protection of a sleeping vine…

DSC_0056

DSC_0002

Blue jays continually beautified our landscape….

DSC_0011

DSC_0044

The below adorable site I happened to catch one morning made me really glad I have not gotten around to fixing this bird home….

DSC_0068

DSC_0076

I was so glad my husband came to get me one morning to watch a flock of robins enjoying the holly tree berries…

DSC_0044 2

Our bench sat vacant as a silent watcher over the frozen creek and snowy landscape…

DSC_0084

And so, another winter is almost past in our part of the world, and the beauty of spring now begins to bud forth, replacing one natural beauty with another.  Whichever natural tapestry God is weaving in your part of the world, I hope you enjoy the daily show!

DSC_0092

Until next time!

∼Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

Re-blog from The Rabbit Patch:

The tender sprouts are an emerald green and do not seem to hold a grudge against the cold February nights, as people often will.  ∼ Michelle, Rabbit Patch Diary

I found Michelle’s blog early on in my blogging and am so happy that I did!  Her words paint such vivid pictures of nature you feel as if you are part of the experience, but what I love the most is she sees the beauty in everyday life…beauty that others may simply pass over.  I asked her permission to reblog her post on “February” and with less than ten days to go in go in this usually unappreciated month, I hope it inspires you to enjoy what’s left of it as it did for me.  Enjoy!!

For the Love of February

Seeing Blue

 

 

DSC_0325

Over the past few months one bird has appeared very prominent in our backyard…the rascally bluejay.  I’m sure it has nothing to do with the peanuts I put out to lure him in or the sunflower seeds placed strategically about. Whatever the reason, I’m glad he and his many cohorts are decorating the scenery with their beauty and are affording me many pictures of their antics.

DSC_0669

 I decided the blue beauty was worthy of his own post and looked through the many    pictures I have of him to pair up with the following poem by Emily Dickinson. I hope you enjoy!

The Blue Jay – Poem by Emily Dickinson

No brigadier throughout the year
So civic as the jay.
A neighbor and a warrior too,
With shrill felicity

DSC_0540

Pursuing winds that censure us
A February day,
The brother of the universe
Was never blown away.

DSC_0321

The snow and he are intimate;
I’ve often seen them play
When heaven looked upon us all
With such severity,

DSC_0128

I felt apology were due
To an insulted sky,
Whose pompous frown was nutriment
To their temerity.

DSC_0685 2

The pillow of this daring head
Is pungent evergreens;
His larder — terse and militant —
Unknown, refreshing things;

DSC_0675 2

His character a tonic,
His future a dispute;
Unfair an immortality
That leaves this neighbor out.

– Emily Dickinson

DSC_0616

Until next time, if a jay’s in your corner of the world, buy some peanuts to welcome in this fun neighbor!
DSC_0712
 ∼Jen

Morning Memories…December

DSC_0399

Christmas decorations have been put away and the New Year has cheerfully been rung in around the world…now to mentally adjust to the new date of 2018.  I can still remember back in high school when we had an assignment on what we thought the year 2000 would be like….back then, that was like trying to imagine living in outer space. Eighteen years into this millennium and it still sometimes feels surreal to me.

DSC_0368

We had our first snowstorm of the season in early December which gave me some beautiful pictures to look back on.  As I sit writing this, we are in the midst of our first blizzard, dubbed a “bomb cyclone.”  Thankfully, we have not lost power, and I have been baking off and on for two days.  Something about snowstorms puts me in the baking mood, which my family always appreciates.

DSC_0393

I was out early the day after the December snowfall taking pictures before I even had my morning coffee….for me that’s saying a lot.  I wanted to get some pics before Princess and the neighbor’s dogs started leaving their tracks.

DSC_0389

Something about the morning after a freshly fallen snow is just magical.

DSC_0204

DSC_0411
snow covered beauty berry

The snow was the kind that clung to the branches, and the snow-laden limbs overhanging the creek were indeed picturesque.

DSC_0391

I had plenty of bird food, with one area in particular resembling a southern smorgasbord, minus the grits, of course. Between the sunflower seed, peanuts, a variety of suet cakes and mealworms I was a shoo-in for birder of the neighborhood.

DSC_0296
downy woodpecker

Unfortunately, it has also become a natural hunting ground for the neighbor’s cats and at least one hawk. I try to keep everything in as safe an area as possible for them, which can be a challenge… a place with no hiding spots for the furry intruders but with a covered brush area for the ground feeders, to hopefully hide from dastardly Mr. Hawk.

DSC_0300
tufted titmouse

Whenever I see the little dark-eyed junco around the feeders, I know a snow is in the near future-he certainly lives up to his nick-name “snowbird.”

DSC_0341
dark-eyed junco

He was caught below doing his happy little “snow victory dance.”

DSC_0343

This is a good article about how to welcome the little guy and other wintering birds that may come to your area.

DSC_0138
blue-jay
DSC_0445
male northern cardinal
DSC_0276
carolina wren

The snow only lasted a few days before the weather warmed up, only to  plunge us into a bitter cold streak a week later. The birds kept me entertained as the cold brought them to the feeders early each day.

DSC_0776 2
carolina wren

The secret to keeping blue jays happy and continually coming back is found in the power of the peanut!

DSC_0644 2

Though the male cardinal is known for his beauty, I find the female equally beautiful…

DSC_0550
northern female cardinal

The little group of finches gathered together at the feeder one morning reminded me of little old men meeting up at a country store to gab over breakfast…

DSC_0767
house finch

The wood thrush is a rarely seen visitor, but he makes his presence known by his hopping about and flinging through the leaves so violently with its beak it’s a wonder he doesn’t give himself whiplash.

DSC_0511
wood thrush

Besides birds, the squirrels are always good for a show, and I really don’t mind them raiding the bird feeders or grabbing the jay’s peanuts.

DSC_0724

He was not the only wild mammal to visit our yard…before I had barely opened my eyes one morning I spied a fox trotting off with something in its mouth.  I was relieved to see it wasn’t my cat but a little sad to think one of my squirrels had just become his breakfast.

DSC_0854

The geese didn’t seem to mind the frigid water temperatures and they delight me each morning as they honk their goodbyes when leaving the peninsula.  They don’t wander  into our section of the creek often, so I enjoy it when they do.

I end with a morning view from our anniversary getaway. The deck was obviously too cold to enjoy, but the scenery was well worth waking up to.

DSC_0481

I hope my dear blogging friends going through the blizzard with me are staying warm and cozy and enjoying the beauty of the snow and the wildlife it highlights.

DSC_0110

Until next time,

∼ Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

Merry Christmas…

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 8.51.19 AM

 To my dear friends and treasured acquaintances here in the blogosphere, I wish you a very merry and wonderful Christmas season!

DSC_0041

As I sit here sipping my coffee, watching my cat sleep peacefully by the fire, I can’t help but recall all I have to be thankful for in my life, and I wish this  same peace and joy on all who may read this.

DSC_0445

We know it’s not about the material possessions, status, or any of those other things that have no lasting meaning…peace and happiness come from inside and the relationships we surround ourselves with.

DSC_0386

 One of my most peaceful Christmas seasons came at a time when I didn’t know when my next paycheck was coming…true peace transcends those things.

chickadeeDSC_0283

And at this time of the year especially, as we celebrate the birth of our savior, we find life’s truest joy…

Screen Shot 2017-12-23 at 8.50.37 AM

I have been reading the last in the Thomas Kinkade’s Cape Light series, this one written by Katherine Spencer, and I loved the way a character in the book summed up the manger scene:

….it is a scene of community, cooperation, a coming together of so many diverse players in this joyful drama.  Characters of high birth and low. A tradesman and his young wife, seeking a new home. A shepherd and a king. A wise man and even an angel. All from different backgrounds, with different perspectives on the world and different opinions, I’m sure. But their differences seemed suddenly trivial, eclipsed by their common experience the awe-inspiring experience that connected them, that brought them to common ground, both literal and spiritually. The recognition and adoration of the baby Jesus.

…finally, I thought of the beautiful, innocent baby in this scene.  A baby who responds the same to the admiration of the shepherd or the king. A baby who doesn’t know the difference between any of the different faces surrounding him.  He reaches toward all of them with equal love. Because that is the way God has created and loves us.  We are all equal in His eyes and all worthy of love, respect, and care.

 

May you each experience this true and lasting joy.

Until next time,

∼Jen

 

 

The Last Two…

DSC_0936

“Hmm, what’s this? Looks like the little lady put out some peanuts for our morning snack”

 

DSC_0922

“Whoa, wait a minute there blue, those nuts are spoken for.”

 

DSC_0923

“That’s right, off you go, I saw these first.”

 

DSC_0938

“What, you again….didn’t we already have this discussion?”

 

DSC_0939

“Back away, back away I tell you!”

 

DSC_0941

“Uh, oh, this is not looking good…”

 

DSC_0944

“One, one little nut to get me through this coming snow, the world’s gone mad I tell you…”

 

DSC_0945

So, who got the last nut? Your guess is as good as mine! Snow is in our forecast, so, I’m off to fight the crowds of milk and bread buyers….I’ll be putting peanuts in my cart;)

Until next time, go buy some peanuts, you’ll be glad you did!

∼Jen

 

 

Morning Memories…October-November

DSC_0567

Well, Thanksgiving is behind us, and though it is not officially the end of fall,  winter doesn’t seem too far off.  I love living in a place where I can enjoy each of the four seasons, and quiet mornings, sipping coffee, seem a wonderful way to savor them.

DSC_0689

Once again, I have gathered those pictures from my morning photo shoots to relive the moments. With fall being very hectic I missed October’s post so am combining the two months…I hope you enjoy.

DSC_0462
Red-bellied woodpecker

Woodpeckers like these are the reason I ask my husband to leave the smaller dead trees on our property standing.

DSC_0448

The pileated woodpecker, below, is quite the character, and also quite loud, competing only with “Harold” in volume.

DSC_0770

The net was put on the pond in October, and the frogs put on quite the show as they bounced on it like a trampoline.  There is a large opening allowing them access into and out of the pond, and one was actually observed bouncing, then doing a backflip into this exposed area…Nadia Comăneci would have been impressed.

DSC_0580

Taking a break from gymnastics….

frogDSC_0477

The squirrels enjoyed raiding the peanuts and sunflower seeds from the bird-feeders…

DSC_0881

DSC_0506

Downy woodpecker is a frequent visitor to the bird feeder area, especially enjoying the suet…

DSC_0769
Downy Woodpecker 

Another favorite at the feeder is the tufted titmouse, such a friendly little guy…he flys off to nearby branches to bang open the sunflower seeds.

DSC_0901
Tufted Titmouse

DSC_0740

Sparrows and chickadees were also in abundance, however, the chickadee was not very photogenic;) Though I think the below sparrow is a white-throated one, I am not confident of that-feel free to educate me!

DSC_0841

DSC_0826

Of all the birds I enjoyed watching in the last two months, I was more than thrilled when the typically seen cardinal reappeared after more than a months absence.  His presence one morning in the tree below made my day!

DSC_0596

I tried to convince myself the cardinals were not around the feeders because of the abundance of fall seeds, but after seeing red feathers on the ground, and the character below on at least three occasions near the feeders, I was beginning to worry.

DSC_0786

I’ll be the first to admit, though I admire nature more than most, I am not at all a fan of hawks!!!  If I saw them flying with a snake dangling from their mouth I may feel differently, however, I have only ever seen them zooming by with poor, helpless songbirds in their clutches.

DSC_0513
Morning sunlight on the creek

Lastly on my trip down photo memory-lane… I was able to photograph the raccoon below as he neared the creek at low tide, then nimbly walked across a newly-fallen tree to the peninsula on the other side.  I wish I could have gotten his front, but he is still a beaut from behind.

It was an adventurous two months of coffee-time scenery, and I enjoyed many other nature moments and firsts not captured on film. Though it’s hard, sometimes I resist the dash for the camera and force myself to simply sit still and treasure the moment.

DSC_0711

Until next time, may you have many memorable nature moments as well.

∼Jen

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…Psalm 143:8

A Grateful Heart

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

DSC_0084
Mourning Doves in the fall

Well, today is that glorious day we set aside here in the states to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us from our gracious Heavenly Father.

IMG_0585
A fall walk

It’s usually a day spent with family, enjoying one another’s company,  grateful for each one gathered, while recounting another year of the many things to be thankful for. Our family is fortunate this year that we will all be present and accounted for…with a family of five siblings, that is no small feat!

IMG_0496
Toad trying not to be seen

Usually, I would be scurrying around preparing the corn pudding, baking pumpkin pies and the usual things I contribute to the feast. Today I will be doing those things and a few more at a leisurely pace, as our family will gather tomorrow so that all can be present.

DSC_0858
Purple Finch

 I am reminded this year, as in many past Thanksgivings, of the importance of counting our blessings and truly being grateful for what we have, even in the hard, and sometimes lonely times which we all go through in life.

DSC_0459

In doing so, I usually look back to a trip I took with members of my church to Haiti as a young adult. I vividly remember my first sight of the poverty-stricken country… I wanted to run back to the airport and catch the first flight back.  I had never seen such conditions up close and personal, and it left an impact on me I will never forget.

DSC_0517
A quiet bench in the fall

What impacted me more, though, was the absolute joy and gratitude, and what could only be described as graciousness, from the Christian people we had the opportunity to meet with while there. I recall going to a church out in the country-dirt floor, rough lumber for pews, no electricity-and the absolute spirit of thanks these people had as they
showed off their prize possession. We were also invited into their homes, where they shared enthusiastically from their very meager supplies, meals served with the greatest of hospitality.

DSC_0482
Glen Ellen Farms, upper Maryland

 After experiencing such phenomenal gratefulness in the face of such abject poverty, I remember getting back to the states where hearing complaints for the smallest of things felt like being slapped in the face with an ice-cold cloth.  And, after determining I would never grumble or complain again, sadly, I too, soon fell into my old ways of not always being thankful for even the littlest of blessings in life.

DSC_0495
Geese at Assateague Island, VA

Oh,there are many times I thank God just for hot running water, as there we experienced just a trickle in the shower, while some of the locals were bathing in mud puddles in the street.  And when I take my  first sip of steaming coffee in the morning, I am usually very grateful.

DSC_0149

But, there are those times, when I simply forget and grumble about the smallest of things when I have so, so much to be thankful for….a  loving family, friends, a warm home, food, clean water, books to read and the ability to read them, the love and care of my Heavenly Father… the list could go on all day.

DSC_0649
Squirrel on island of moss

My prayer continues to be that I will always be grateful for even the smallest of blessings and be mindful of those less fortunate than myself.

DSC_0260
Wild turkeys encountered on a cycling trip

Wherever you are, whether celebrating Thanksgiving here in the States or elsewhere in this big, wonderful world, may you celebrate all the things to be thankful for in your life, this day and each day forward.

Jen wallpaper2

Until next time

∼ Jen

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 118:1