Saturday, February 28, 2009

Northern Cardinal

Although the signs of Spring are everywhere winter still blows her icy kisses this weekend. The cardinals and other song birds are all puffed up staying warm in the chill and the bird feeder looks like the lunch rush. I can't keep enough seed out for them - it's gone in an instant, and then they flutter about and cheep loudly and look at the window practically tapping their little feet, probably thinking..."hey in there...where's the grub?" Whenever I'm in a glum mood all I have to do is sit still and watch the birds for a bit and all is better. Their cheerful demeanor reminds me that nothing is important enough to ruffle my feathers. So I sit when I can, take deep breaths, relax, lower my shoulders, watch the birds and do not think at all.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Red Buckeyes

Spring is just around the corner and I'm so excited! The narcissus are peeking up through the mulch, yellow heads waving in the breezes. Forsythia is beginning to bloom.....again. The red maples are already blooming. There are plump buds ready to burst open on both the sweetspires and the red buckeyes.

These red buckeyes are on our bank - the riparian zone between our house and the lake. They are critical deterrents to erosion, along with other native foliage. As well, they offer brilliant red blossoms every spring. Our bank looks like it's on fire, there are so many red buckeyes that we've kept and maintained. The hummingbirds love them and seek them out immediately when they return from points South.

Red buckeyes appear rather alien at the beginning, much like Invasion of the Body Snatchers pods or something. As beautiful as they are at springs first blush, they appear awkward in the budding stage, with gangling fingerlings of new leaves unfurling and a brainy looking mauve bud slowly emerging from the center. The buds burst into candles of bright red blossoms which last well into the first of summer. By mid-summer the leaves are already turning yellow and dropping off, which makes them questionable specimen plants for a front yard but perfect for riparian protection. These are one of my favorite native plants. They can become a small dogwood-sized tree or can be pruned into shrubs. Red Buckeyes. Lovely.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

December 6, 2005

The Canon 20D was brand new and a mist was rising off the lake. At the time, nothing looked spectacular or ethereal while I was was just mist. I still look at these and feel awe.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Lately I've not had time for blogging or reading my favorite blogs and keeping up with blogging friends or even going out to shoot photos. My shoulders are practically wrapped around my ears, they're so tense and knotted. My calendar is filled with obligations. I dread the ringing phone. A frantic life isn't my cup of tea, so how did I get here?

A weakness of mine is the inability to say "no." I'm working on it, but I think it's a leftover from my childhood, not wanting to disappoint anyone. Being helpful is something that I enjoy, however I enjoy it to a fault. Taking care of family and friends and being productive fills my world with joy, but I tend to overdo it. Like now.

Time to say "yes" to ME, and put myself, my health, my passions, my energies First And Foremost. Intellectually I've known this, of course. Emotionally, I've had trouble wrapping my head around the concept of putting myself first. When I do I'm happy and well-adjusted, but then guilt begins creeping in - aha, a little epiphany.

Clearly, this is The Year to focus on a journey toward being true to myself.

I would love to hear of your own personal journeys, and tips on how you balance everything.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Dakota Valentine

My mom has a thing for shelties. Her first sheltie, Maggie, crossed the rainbow bridge several years ago and my mom has been grieving since. The sight of a sheltie brings her to tears every single time. My mom lives alone but is very social with church, watercolor painting classes, PEO, bridge club and has many friends. Still, she gets so lonely rambling around her house. Kayla and I have been encouraging her to adopt through a sheltie rescue or the pound but they've never had a dog for her. Finally, she said to me "When it's my time God will send a sheltie to me."

Well, God put an ad in the paper Thursday that said "Free Sheltie to a Good Home," along with His phone number. She paced the floors and debated with herself and finally picked up the phone to place a call. The ad said to call after 5 but she couldn't wait that long. She rambled about Maggie and living alone and how long she's been wanting a sheltie, left her name and phone number, and waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, she could wait no longer and called the number again at 9 pm. A lady answered and prompted mom with some questions. When mom said Maggie's name the lady said to someone in the room "She's the one!"

As usual, Saturday morning I was up before everyone else. The coffee was brewing, and I'd just turned on the computer to check weather and e-mail when I heard a gentle tapping on the door. Baylee was happy - it was Mur! Mind, I'm sitting in my PJ's so I'm glad it was someone I knew! She came in and whispered..."I have a sheltie!" We hugged and cried and she told me the story about the ad in the paper. We drove to get him at noon, met the family and heard their story of sacrifice. Dakota needed a good home because their work situation wasn't good for a dog - he was in the crate most of the day and they knew it wasn't a good arrangement for an active little dog. They chose mom because she was familiar with the breed and had rescued a sheltie before - Maggie came from a really, really bad place. Dakota is the sweetest, cutest sheltie I've ever seen....not that I'm biased or anything. He loves his little blue ball and loves to chase shadows. His personality fills the room and my mom's heart. We added the name "Valentine" in honor of the day he came into our lives and for the love that we already feel for him. So, meet Dakota Valentine!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Editor's Note: Since changing backgrounds and font colors this post WILL NOT CHANGE to black font. I've tried and tried and rebooted and tried. Foiled by Blogger.

Must, bid the Morn awake!
Sad Winter now declines,
Each bird doth choose a mate;
This day's Saint Valentine's.
For that good bishop's sake
Get up and let us see
What beauty it shall be
That Fortune us assigns.
~Michael Drayton

I hope everyone has a wonderful, warm, heartfelt Valentine's Weekend!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dreaming of Butterflies

My nursing skills have definitely gotten a workout these past 2 months. Kayla's been sick which means I've been other-oriented, still. She's recuperating and I'm taking a moment to breathe. Dreaming of springtime, dreaming of butterflies and what to plant this year to attract them. I've always gone with lantana - the Dallas Red has been stellar here, and seems to be a favorite along with my old fashioned asters. However, I'm considering changing (gasp!) and planting Butterfly Weed. Anyone had any experience with Butterfly Weed that they can share? The butterfly above is my all-time of today...the dark form Tiger Swallowtail. At least I think that's what it is. If you know it to be something else please enlighten me.

...back to the teen...


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