Tag Archives: Birds

Thursday Thought

 

Amidst all the mayhem and troubles that life can sometimes bring, be on the lookout for the tiny treasures that may be hidden within each day, for there is always beauty to be found.

 

I spy with my little eye

a baby Oriole spying back at me…

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Can you even see it?  I could barely spot it, and I knew it was there.  The color of the leaves is great camouflage with the color of its feathers.

 

Playing I Spy with that little baby Oriole camouflaged up in that tree makes me think of the I SPY book series.  I worked in a school library for 11 years and some of the students’ favorite books to sign out were those I SPY books.   They’re a sort of picture puzzle, riddle book, each page is overly crowded with pictures of every day objects and the reader has to find a specific item hiding in plain sight amidst all the mayhem.  Some of them can be a bit challenging, even for me as an adult, and I’m great at puzzles.  I once had to undergo a battery of grueling tests, one of which consisted of being timed at putting together a puzzle from random shaped, abstract pieces.  I not only immediately figured out what it was supposed be, but I put it together in a matter of seconds, and apparently I was the only one who had ever succeeded in assembling it at all.  I’m not sure what that means in the grand scheme of my intelligence or my personality type at large, but if nothing else, at least it means I’m good at certain types of puzzles.  😉

Anyway…

I guess what my thought is, is that sometimes life is like that – like an I SPY book.  Sometimes the pages of our lives may seem overly crowded with this or that, and it’s a challenge to find the little treasures hidden in plain sight amidst all the mayhem (or amidst the camouflage of tree branches), but keep a lookout, there is beauty to be found.

 

Wishing you a day of beauty and hidden treasures…

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

If I Had a Hammer

 This past weekend, a good of mine invited me to go with her to William O’Brien State Park to attend one of the park’s naturalist programs about bluebirds, which included staying afterwards to build a bluebird house.  For a small fee, they provided all of the materials and instructions, and all we needed to do was bring our own hammer.

♫   If I had a hammer…  ♫ 

I have a hammer!  I even brought two hammers, in fact, because my friend couldn’t find hers.  They were the little weak girlie type of hammers, due to my weak girlie hands.  (Some of you may recall me mentioning my weak girlie hands before in a few of my home improvement posts.)  One of the instructors even made fun of commented on how small my hammer was when he came over to assist me during one part of the process.  But I was like “Hey, I’m a girl, I have girlie hands, I’d never be able to wield a regular manly type of hammer, so don’t knock it, this works for me.”  He seemed surprised when he saw how well I worked with my tiny hammer saying something like “Yeah, you’re actually  doing really well with that little hammer of yours.”

And my birdhouse turned out quite impressive looking, if I do say so myself.  My friend snapped this picture of me with it once it was finished…

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It looks pretty darn good doesn’t it?  Real professional-like.  So what if all the wood pieces were already pre-cut, and all I had to do was assemble it and nail it together with my tiny hammer.  😉

 Surprisingly, it was still a bit of a challenge to assemble, and I’m very good at puzzles.  I had to pound back out a few of my nails when I realized I’d put one of the pieces on backwards, oops!  And my friend had a few issues putting hers together as well, not leaving a big enough gap at the top of the door for ventilation.  She got a bit pissed off at one of the instructors because he’s the one who steered her wrong in attaching her door.  She’s afraid now that her baby bluebirds will suffocate, but I think they’ll be just fine, and her birdhouse looks great.

It was a fun experience building a bluebird house, now I just need to stain or paint it, and put it up somewhere.  I’m not so sure about putting it up in my yard here in the inner city though, because there’s not many wide open spaces around here.  I might give it to my sister to put up out on her property, but I’m so proud of the dang thing and would so love to have bluebirds nesting, I don’t know if I can part with it.  I’ll have to wait and see.

It was a lovely day of weather, so after we finished with our birdhouses we went and explored a little bit around the park.  William O’Brien State Park is a great place to visit, I posted about it once before in “Weekend Wanderings” when my sister and I went and explored there on a whim last autumn.   It’s situated along the banks of the St. Croix River.  And you can see here, there’s still ice on that river, but it’s definitely thawing…

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 I really enjoyed spending time along the river, listening to the sound of the ice crackling, it was so peaceful.  Well, it was peaceful until I noticed the billions of horrifying black spiders scurrying around under my feet.  I’m absolutely terrified of spiders, so that really gave me the creeps, and I got the hell out of there real quick after that.  My friend was laughing at me because I’m such a contradiction – I love the outdoors so much, nature truly feeds my soul, but I’m also seriously afraid of bugs, especially spiders.  I know, I know… spiders are very beneficial to the environment blah, blah, blah, but if I had a hammer… I’d hammer out all the spiders.

But I wouldn’t really do that.

My hammer is way too small.  😉

 

My friend and I both enjoy photography, and had our cameras along.  While I was focusing on plant life…

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She was focusing on birds.  I believe she was pursuing a red bellied woodpecker somewhere off in the trees with her lens, but was unable to get a decent shot.  However, seeing as this post is about having a hammer bluebirds, take a look at this beautiful capture she snapped of a bluebird last summer…

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She really has a knack for photographing birds.  If you click on the picture above, it will bring you to her lovely photostream on Flickr where she shares some of her beautiful nature photos.  🙂

 

I’m so glad my friend invited me to go and do this, it was fun, and we had a very nice time together.  This state park offers many various naturalist programs and since it’s so near by, I plan to attend more of them in the future.  One in particular that caught my eye is their Perseid Meteor Shower Party in August.  I love me some shooting stars!  Star gazing… sigh…  ❤

And did you know there is a hammer constellation in the stars?  In Germanic Astronomy it’s Mjollnir – Thor’s short-handled hammer.  Guess he used a smaller hammer as well.  😉

 

 

✿~Peace & Love~✿

Peace and Love 1

Wintry Spring Morning

I woke up this morning blinded by the light that was coming in through my windows.  My bedroom windows face east so as the sun comes up, its light shines in.  But this sunrise was different.  We had yet another winter storm here late yesterday.  It’s become funny to me now, it’s just so ridiculous to be having this much snow in April.  When the first one hit I was really disappointed because I’m so very anxious to get out in my garden, but now… several winter storms later…

“I throw my hands up in the air sometimes saying ayo, gotta let go.”  😉

And this morning… even with as badly as I want it to be spring, there was simply no denying how absolutely beautiful the snow was.  Especially against the pastel blue of the morning sky.  Ah so very pretty!   ♥   And the reason the light coming in was so blinding was because the branches of the tree outside my window were sparkling!  It had snowed, but we also had some freezing rain so the branches were a combination of snow and ice, and they were glistening in the sunlight!  It almost looked like special effects, it was really quite magical!

I wish I could have taken a photo of the beautiful sight of it all, but not only would my camera never have done it justice, but I also woke up this morning with an upset stomach and wasn’t feeling up for doing much, so I just laid there and enjoyed gazing at it until I felt well enough to get up.

Once I was feeling a little better, I did try and take a few photos, but the lighting was quite a bit different by then, so it’s not anywhere near the same as what I woke up to.  Still kinda pretty though…

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~

I also took some pictures of the little birdies trying to get breakfast at my suet feeder.  You can tell this pair of sparrows were looking at it trying to figure it out…

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I think the birds are a bit hard-up for food with all this snow because I even saw a male cardinal trying to eat from it, and they don’t typically feed at suet feeders.  I didn’t catch a picture of him though.

But a while later I did happen to get a picture of a woodpecker that stopped by.  He checked out my suet feeder, but quickly realized he was a bit too large for it.  He was very striking looking and this photo doesn’t do him justice, but I was lucky to catch a shot of him at all because he only stopped by for a few brief moments.

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~

As I write this, much of the snow from the morning has already melted, and I heard the temps this weekend could reach the 70’s.  So maybe this will finally be the last we’ll see of winter.  Gosh, I sure the heck hope so!  But it was really lovely this morning…

EDIT:  I recently discovered that the bird in the above photo is not a woodpecker, but is actually a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Misadventures and Mixed Pleasures in Wallpaper Removal

The other day, without too much forethought or preparation I went in to test an area of the peeling wallpaper in the upstairs bathroom.  Although I had only intended on testing a small area, I ended up doing one whole entire wall (albeit a very small “whole entire wall,” but a whole wall just the same ;)).   Call me weird, but there’s just something about peeling and picking in general that tends to fascinate me, and once I got going I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

Because the top layer of the wallpaper was already peeling so badly, it came off without much effort (that was the fun part), but the backing… a whole other story.  And the worst part is… whoever installed the wallpaper  (37 years ago) did not prep/prime the wall underneath, so as I attempted to remove the backing of the wallpaper, some of the surface of the drywall peeled off right along with it.  This is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.

I am so disappointed about that because it means that I’m going to have to try and figure out how to repair the drywall, and I have no idea how to do that.  I mean, I can spackle nail holes and slight imperfections reasonably well in preparation for painting, but mudding drywall (which I believe this is going to require) = no clue.  Yeah, not feeling particularly confident there.  At all.

But I’m going to try not fret about that right now, because I’m actually rather enjoying this process.  It’s a bit hard on me, I have bad knees and standing for any length of time really takes its toll on me, so I have to pace myself and just do small amounts at a time, but while I was working, I had a really good mind-set.

Not only did it just feel good to peel stuff, but there was also something that felt very renewing about getting rid of that old, cracked, and decrepit top layer of wallpaper, scraping away the more than slightly resistant backing, and then just getting underneath it all to the foundation of the wall.

<insert life lessons type of metaphor here>

Also, while I worked, the birds were twittering away in the lilac bush outside the windows, and singing me a sweet symphony with their cheerful little chirping sounds.  It was lovely and made my heart feel light.  ♥

When I was able to peel myself away from my peeling, I went and grabbed my camera to see if I could catch a picture of them, and I found that the lilac bush has buds on it!  Yay, finally!

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Yes.. there is hope ~ SPRING is coming!  🙂

~

And I did catch a shot of a little sparrow looking warily at me.  I think I interrupted its singing performance…

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~

Okay, so back to the wallpaper…

Afterwards, I went online to read up a bit and watched numerous “how to” videos on wallpaper removal, and I’ve decided to go out today and get some chemical wallpaper removal stuff.  I really don’t like using chemicals.  I prefer using more natural methods of doing things, but I think it may help me get the rest of this done more effectively.  I’m just going to get a small amount and test it out to see how it works.  I also have the removal of the downstairs bathroom and the kitchen wallpaper looming ahead of me at some point in the future, and I really need to find the most efficient way to do this.

Here is the one photo that was taken of my wallpaper removal misadventures. My daughter came in and snapped this as I was nearing the finishing line removing what was remaining on my “whole entire wall” that I did.  😉

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And look what was just below me underneath that window as I worked…  my little garden box.  Doesn’t look like much, still all covered in snow.  😦

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But… the lilacs are budding and eventually the temps will be rising, so hopefully I’ll be digging around in you soon little garden.  ♥

Gotta take care of this wallpaper first, anyway…

😉

~

I Have Chickadees

A few little feathered friends have finally found their way to the new suet feeder that I wrote about in “Sometimes You Just Have to Wing It” that I put up outside my bedroom window.

I’ve noticed a few sparrows pecking at it from to time, but it’s the cute little Chickadees that are coming to it that I’m really pleased about.  It’s been hard to catch a picture of them though because they are such busy little things, so quick and flitting about, plus they always seem to feed off of the opposite side of the feeder, but I have managed to catch a few photos.

Here’s one nibbling from my feeder.  See how he’s trying to be all sneaky-like over on the other side?

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And here are a couple of shots I caught of one as it briefly paused on some nearby branches…

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They’re so cute!  Thanks for sitting still long enough for me to take your picture, little guy.

~

I really do love little Chickadees, I just think they’re so adorable.  They make such sweet little cheerful sounds and I’m so glad to have them coming to my feeder so I can enjoy watching them from my window.

Here are a couple of videos of their adorableness that I found on YouTube for you to enjoy…

And this one is of their pretty little “sweetie” call.

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Funny thing… as I was going through and watching/listening to those chickadee videos, both of my cats started anxiously looking out the window for birds.  Then one laid on the back of the couch behind me while the other sat on the arm of the couch next to me and watched the videos with me on my laptop.  Yeah, that’s how I spend my evenings ~ watching bird videos on YouTube with my cats.  😉

And speaking of my cats, I happened to snap this shot of my bright eyed cat Sugar the other day while she was sitting on the windowsill looking out intently at the birds.

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Gosh she’s pretty!

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She has also been having little stare down competitions through the window with my little squirrel who lives in my tree.  I’m very proud of him because he hasn’t been bothering my suet feeder at all, he just sits inside his hole and looks out curiously at me.

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He’s so freaking cute!  I’m really becoming quite fond of him.  Please stay out of my garden this summer though, okay little squirrel?

~

Hopefully as time passes, more and more birds will come and eat from my feeder.  I do so enjoy watching them.  And so do my cats.  😉

~

Spring Rain

The morning’s weather so dreary and gray,

I’m finding it hard to keep the blues away.

The clouds feel heavy as does my heart,

gloomy thoughts pervade reluctant to part.

But in the distance I hear a robin’s bright song,

a cheerful reminder spring is coming along.

And this rain will rinse away the rest of the snow,

clearing the earth for beautiful things to grow.

© Julie Rehnelt 2013

~

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These spring lovelies aren’t blooming outside here just yet,

but they’ll be coming along soon after all of this wet.

~

Yeah, once you get into rhyming mode, it’s kinda hard to get out.

😉

And here’s a little sample of “a robin’s bright song” that I was hearing earlier…

~

Sometimes You Just Have to Wing It

Sometimes when you want to feed the birds, you just have to “wing it.”

Remember this perfectly innocent looking suet feeder that I mentioned buying in my post “Garden Center Therapy,” and how I wanted to try to figure out a way to hang it in the tree outside my 2nd story bedroom window?

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 Well, this is how doing that all went down…

Or went up, to be more precise.  Although, I suppose it also did go down.  Oh never mind, here’s what happened…

First I had to enlist the assistance and expertise of my trusty associate and partner in crime, my big sister.  She’s good at figuring stuff like this out because she’s super duper smart and has a massive and ginormous sized brain.  🙂

After she got off work we ran some regular errands and then stopped at The Home Depot to pick up a few materials to help us concoct some sort of MacGyver type of contraption that would enable me to hang my suet feeder in the tree outside my bedroom window without having to use a ladder.

Not only am I not a huge fan of ladders in general, but my dad’s ladder is hidden within the far reaches of the garage and will be inaccessible for quite some time.  And I want to put my feeder up now.  Also, going forward I want to be able to do it from my window and not have to get on a ladder every time I need to refill the feeder.

As far as accessing the feeder once it’s in place, I figured all I would really need is a pole with a hook on the end of it that would be long enough to reach it with.  My sis was thinking about some sort of extendable type of pole, but those felt way too heavy for me with my weak girlie hands, I would need something of much lighter weight.  Well, because I’m in gardening mode right now, what came to mind were those plastic green garden stakes that you can get to prop up plants with.  We found a 6 foot one, screwed a hook onto one end of it, and voila!

So on that part I was good to go.  But how to figure out going about putting something onto the tree for the feeder to hang from without the use of a ladder… now that was an entirely different matter.   After way too much brain pained deliberation (relieving you here from having to read all the gory details of how mine and my sis’ brains formulate solutions), we ended up leaving the store with just some coated wire and a hook/eye turnbuckle thingy.   As to how we would actually use those two things and go about rigging something up on the tree from my window… we figured we’d just wing it.

When we got to the house and contemplated a bit further, I got to thinking that maybe we could just tie the eye end of the turnbuckle to the wire and then toss it out the window and try and get it over the branch, then grab it with my pole/hook thingy and somehow try to tie it off.  Easier said than done.  Trying to tie a knot that is 6 feet away while using a skinny pole with a small hook on the end of it is a lot harder to do than you’d think it would be.  And it didn’t help that the turnbuckle thingy kept spinning about.  But apparently, even though I may not have much strength in these girlie hands of mine, I clearly possess some finesse in my maneuvering abilities with them because I did it!

My sister took this photo of me with her phone while I was working my magic at knot tying from 6 feet away.  You may not be able to see it very well, but the other end of the wire is tied off to the handle on the inside of the window.  Earlier, my sis was holding that other end of the wire and we looked like a couple of puppeteers working at it together hah!  But we really make an excellent team.

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and here’s a closer look…

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Then it was time to test and see if my skills extended to the ability of being able to hang the actual feeder onto my newly installed contraption.

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Oops, crash!

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So down I went to fetch it.

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I decided maybe it would be easier to hang if the feeder was a bit heavier, so that as I unhooked my pole, the weight of the feeder would help it drop down and catch onto the hook of the turnbuckle thingy.  So I put a suet cake inside and made another attempt.  And heavier it was.  I was actually really surprised at just how much heavier, I needed to use both of my weak girlie hands.  My sis snapped this shortly after my triumphant victory…

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And almost immediately after that triumphant victory, I noticed something and grabbed my camera…

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My little squirrel peeking out from his hole!  Omygosh look how cuuuute!!!

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I wonder if he was watching us the whole time?  I don’t know how squirrels minds work, but he had to have thought “What in the world are these two crazy humans doing?!”  Either that or he was thinking “Yay, dinner!”  Hah!  I know he’s eyeballing that new feeder, and I may just end up rigging up some type of feeder for him too.  Hey, it will help keep him away from my garden then, right?  😉

Well, here it is all ready for the little birdies to come and feast upon…

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~

After all is said and done here, I would like to mention that if you ever find yourself watching odd or interesting types of competitions on TV where people are doing things that seem like they should be perfectly easy to do, have mercy, because it just may not be as easy as it looks.  The concept that I had for all of this seemed like it would be easy enough, but it ended up being quite challenging.  I did have a lot of fun doing it though, mostly because I was with my sis.  ♥  Incidentally, that evening I had Chinese take-out for dinner and my fortune cookie read:  “You will show what you are capable of.”  Haha guess I’m capable of winging it!  Well, along with the help and assistance of my trusty associate, of course.  😉

Since putting it up, I haven’t noticed any of my little feathered friends dining at my new feeder yet.  But I’m sure I will eventually, as I have quite a few that frequent my branches from time to time.

Like Chickadees…

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Sparrows…

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And Cardinals…

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Although, Cardinals don’t typically eat from suet type feeders, so I don’t expect to see them eating at mine.  But I was really excited to see this bright pretty gal stop by and to catch a photo of her!  Maybe she’ll decide to build her nest among my branches, what an absolute delight that would be!

~