Wildlife Feed

Scenes of Spring ...

Happy Monday, my friends! I hope your week is off to a great start. :)

Are you enjoying the unfolding of Spring as much as I am? Oh my goodness, it's just one happy surprise after another ... and yet there's such a comforting sense of familiarity as well. This is what I love about the seasons ... there's so much joy to be found on so many levels! I've been out and about taking pictures like crazy (with my phone, that is - unfortunately my camera is on the fritz) and I'd like to share them this morning if I may ... 

Purple and white crocus

Prettiest little crocus I've ever seen - love how these tough little blossoms push their way through all manner of leaf litter and rocky soil.

Forsythia joy 1

Forsythia branches for the nature shelf ... they keep getting moved as Oliver (the cat) keeps finding them and knocking them over.

Flower books

 Some inspiring library books - we're planting lots of flowers this year!

Grunt 2

Remember that lovely rhubarb I showed you last week? I finally got around to using it on Sunday ... Bill was outside chopping wood (a felled tree to make way for an apple orchard!) and I had soup simmering on the stove ... the boys were all around the house and the windows were open and it all felt so homey and good. Just as a Sunday should. :)

Felling trees 3

Bill had lots of helpers once the "felling" part was over. :) And I'm busy googling "things to do with fallen trees and branches" on Pinterest. Can't let all that good wood go to waste!

Light it up blue

 This is our blue light for the month of April (Autism Awareness) ...

Bunny chocolate

This is Mama's Easter chocolate, because it's white. :) I finally succumbed to temptation and had a few nibbles with my tea ...

Spring pajamas

Remember those "pretty spring pajamas" I mentioned in relation to the washing machine fiasco earlier this month? Well thankfully they made it out in one piece, and surprisingly none the worse for wear. I love them so much - the print is called, "Dawn Floral." :)

Ducks 2

Final photo - we had a lovely sunrise visit from a pair of mallards the other morning! The Mrs. was quite brave and waddled about the yard while the Mr. enjoyed the temporary vernal pond in our front woods. I rushed from window-to-window snapping pictures and I think I startled her because she very suddenly ran back towards the pond and the pair of them took off into the sunrise ...

Well my friends, I must be off, but I hope to see you here again in a few days. I'll try to have a housekeeping post up later this week ... or maybe a file crate post as I'm working on the new folders right now ... or perhaps something for Earth Day, St. George's Day or Arbor Day? :)

So please stay tuned!

And thanks so much for stopping by ~ Blessings on your day!


Seeds, Snowflakes and a Cake for St. Agnes

Seed snowflake 9

Well, in the midst of all this journal talk, life at home is marching on to a familiar and happy beat. Yesterday was the Feast of St. Agnes as well as National Squirrel Appreciation Day ... representing two sides of our family's seasonal life - liturgical and natural. For the squirrels we made a seed craft, and for St. Agnes, we contemplated the prayer card handed out at last Sunday's Mass and made a snowflake cake in her honor ...

Naturally, I have pictures to share!

Seed snowflake 12

I had some wooden snowflakes leftover from Advent so, when I was thinking about making  "critter treats" with the kids for Squirrel Appreciation Day, I remembered those snowflakes ... and I thought, hmmm. That could work. And, as it happens (according to one legend anyway), snowflakes are known as "St. Agnes Flowers" ...

So, there you go!

To keep the craft kid- and critter-friendly, I made up some homemade paste. Then we smeared those snowflakes with the paste ...

Seed snowflakes 19

And stuck those sticky snowflakes in a mix of seeds and dried fruits ...

Seed snowflake 11

 (Messy crafts are always a hit with the boys!) 

Seed snowflake 10

A short while later we had a tray full of rather seedy looking snowflakes ...

Seed snowflake 13

Bundled up, we headed outside with the treats and leftover seed mix.

Seed snowflake 8

Little Bear immediately found a leaf to hold onto - lol, he's done this since he was tiny. If we're outside he's got either a leaf or a stick in his hand!

Seed snowflakes 6

Marching over to hang his snowflake in the bush ...

Seed snowflake 15

They kind of blend in, don't they? I suppose we could have tinted the paste with some natural food dye and that would have been pretty. Maybe next time!

Seed snowflake 16

 The birds loved the snowflakes, but the squirrels (including my dear little red shown above) liked the scattered seeds and fruit best!

Back inside it was time to start our Feast Day cake ... my best helper is Earlybird who just LOVES to bake. Someday this boy and I will run a little baking business together!

St. agnes cake 3

I followed a simple online scratch yellow cake mix recipe. We took our time measuring out the ingredients ...

St. agnes cake 7

While my littlest fella clung to my legs, lol. He wanted "Pup!" which is how he asks to be picked up. He wanted to be a baker, too!

St. agnes cake 1

At last we had cakes cooling on the counter ... and just before supper I assembled our cake:

St. agnes cake 5

A glossy layer of apricot jam in the middle, some buttercream on top ...

St. agnes cake 6

And the final touch: a sprinkling of snowflakes - aka St. Agnes's flowers!

Our dinner was yummy and simple - baked ziti ("cheesey-pasta," my boys call it), steamed broccoli with lemon, crescent rolls and then of course, cake. Bill got home a bit late because he was working out of state, but we saved him a plate. :)

These are the quiet, homey days I love best. Not too much "out and about," the bulk of our day spent at home. We got some fresh air, made things, read books, baked stuff, and celebrated our faith ...

And we enjoyed our home, truly. I count that all joy!

Well my friends, I'm off for now, but I will give you an idea of the drafts I have in queue at the moment. Posts I'm working on ...

* binder breakdown

* lesson planning/assignments

* new household chore routine

* magazine love :)

* winter meals

* henkeeping advice

Let me know if there's any topics you'd like to chat about or if you have any more planner/journal issues to discuss. I'm always open to ideas!

Enjoy the rest of your Thursday, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Good Morning! Happy Feast!

A few pictures to share with you on this bright and cold winter morning ...

Chicken dark 

A pretty hen visiting our yard yesterday afternoon - love how her dark feathers look against the drab landscape. :)

St. agnes card

A St. Agnes prayer card, and our dinner menu featuring a snowflake cake in her honor. Today is her feast day!

It is, I must also mention, National Squirrel Appreciation Day, which is a favorite holiday in our household ... 

Squirrel nutkin

This is a page from a beautiful book we enjoy perusing called The Ultimate Peter Rabbit: A Visual Guide to the World of Beatrix Potter. This is a two-page spread all about that little rascal, Squirrel Nutkin. I am extremely fond of red squirrels (after my own cats they are my favorite animals) so we'll take a look at this page today and perhaps make some special treats to offer our little woodland friends - seed-filled snowflakes to hang in the trees! If we get it done, you can be sure I'll take pictures and tell you all about it. :)

Have a nice Wednesday, my friends - see you here again very soon!

p.s. I am *thisclose* to finishing our next Q&A post - answering my dear friend Emma's question about seasonal ideas and where/how they get stored. Hope to post later today!


Friday Photos ~ Happy & Homey

Happy Weekend, my friends! :)

Here are some photos I took over the past few chilly days here at my house. (Chilly outside, I mean. Thankfully, it's been fairly warm and toasty inside.) A few post notes at the bottom ...

O with hand in tea mug

Somebody experimented with a monster truck (not seen) and his Mama's half-full tea mug. :) This was late one dark afternoon, post-nap, while we rocked and read in the chair by my bed. It was such a sweet moment - ruined tea notwithstanding. ;)

Archie in sunny bowl

My Archie's favorite napping spot these days ... the fruit bowl on the kitchen table. I think the sunshine - though technically "less than" at this time of year - is truly worth more, seasonally speaking ...

Winter Sunshine > Summer Sunshine

Oliver in window 1

And a picture of Oliver, to be fair, because Archie's always hogging the sunlight spotlight. I just read that "Oliver" is the #1 cat name in America. Any other Olivers out there reading? You know, over their owners' shoulders? :)

Red squirrel on deck in snow

My sweet red squirrel, braving a fierce -5° morning to grab a little breakfast under the feeders.

Cardinal at feeder 2

And the lovely Lady Cardinal - a rare sight at the feeders. (Below our front bushes is where we usually spot her.)

Bird tracks in snow

What I spied upon stepping out my front door this morning! Wee bird tracks left in an overnight dusting! Not a clue which feathered friend they belong to, but lovely to see all the same ...

Bit of tree in sunny votive

My bright (yet absolutely filthy!) window above the kitchen sink - that's the last little bit of our Christmas tree, a reminder to take with us through the year ...

January page

A few pretty things on my kitchen counter desk ...

Pretty tape on page marker

I'm in absolute LOVE with this floral washi tape. (Purchased at the Paper Source last month.) I will use it wherever I can find room as I spruce up my planning binder ...

Tasha tudor package 2

Lovely early birthday gifts from my beloved. <3

Sunburst paper

The loveliest scrapbooking paper - a sunburst for the cover of my domestic journal pages. "Celebrate the everyday" (an affixed sticker) ... that's what it's all about, isn't it? 

Chicken books

And, yes. This is happening. Soon.

:)

Post notes ~ I've just realized that "National Clean Off Your Desk Day" is not today, but MONDAY and all I can say to that is PHEW. Lol. I'm not ready to get my desks post-worthy yet! And by desks, I mean the kitchen counter where I do 99% of my work, the computer desk where Crackerjack does his (+ hours and hours of Minecraft), the pretty writing desk that is used for seat lessons and the good-sized craft desk I am setting up in the library/living room.

I will be posting about my myriad desks and a bit more on my journal and some other stuff like that over the next week or so. I hope, in the meantime, you all enjoy your weekend. Is it as cold where you are as it is here?

(Siri says it's 27° Farenheit right now which is positively balmy compared to yesterday. Warming into the 30s with snow coming on Monday!)

Thanks so much for stopping by, my friends ... I will see you here again very soon!


A Few Weekend Photos ...

 Happy Monday, my friends! I have just a few things to share today ...

Harvest tea 

Here's a box of tea I picked up at Trader Joe's the other day. And I'm actually not a big herbal tea fan, but I simply could NOT resist this box! Has anyone tried it? How do you take your herbal tea? I just seem to need that milk and sugar ...

Red squirrel on deck

 Some of my longtime readers might remember from my old house what a fondness I have for red squirrels. This little guy is fairly shy, but he's been visiting our deck (beneath the birdfeeders) for a while now. He's scrappy and quick ... and I just love him.

Fantasic Mr. Fox

This is our current audiobook - The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl - and Earlybird is LOVING it! (We all are.) So we're jumping down the rabbit (er, fox) hole this month to learn about foxes and other burrowing animals, tunnels, great feasts (favorite foods) and food storage. This is a great story and the movie they made of it a few years ago is one of my favorites. :)

O and daddy yard work 1 

Here's my Bill and our Little Bear, catching some sun and a few falling leaves late yesterday afternoon ... that pretty fleece jacket was once worn by Bookworm! I adore this photo ... might make its way onto the Christmas card!

And now some of you saw this on Facebook already, but ...

Frosted leaf

I thought I'd share it here, too. I just love the way a touch of frost looks on late autumn foliage. It makes it look all gilded with glitter! Which makes me think of crafting, and glittery Christmas projects ...

:)

Well my friends, hope your week's off to a great start! Is it cold where you live? Have you seen frost yet? We're actually up in the 50s today (and tomorrow) but it looks to get quite chilly here after that.

Enjoy your evening, my friends ... see you here again very soon!


Late July Weekend

Purple coneflower

Happy Monday, my friends!

The Summer season is well underway, and things are really growing around here - both flora and fauna! I thought I'd share some of the photos I took this weekend. It was an atypically busy one for us - Crackerjack spent the weekend away at a sleepover, Bill and I enjoyed a dinner out with some of his work friends, and we visited a flea market on Sunday morning. What a fun place that was -  there was so much to see! Everything from antique furniture and vintage books to braided rugs, wrought-iron arbors, funny hats and sunglasses!

I hope you all had a nice weekend - and I hope you enjoy my pictures and notes. :)

Hydrangeas and raspberries

The hydrangeas are getting big! I love the deep pink shade. And the raspberries are starting to appear ...

O raspberries 1

O raspberries 2

He's getting so big! Fourteen months next weekend ...

Also growing like a weed - the wee bunny who calls our front yard home:

Baby bunny on walk 1

(He is just too precious, but I'm a bit of a wreck over him ... I fear for his safety! We live in a very wooded area filled with hawks, owls, fisher cats and weasels. I hope he keeps safe!)

More nature study with Little Bear who just loves it outside ...

O nature study leaf

 LB has such a fascination with leaves right now! And he's all about pointing. Like a little prince, he just sticks out that tiny finger and points, silently, at what he wants. Lol. And if he's outside he wants leaves. To smell them, touch them, pick them ... I think I might make a little Leaf Book for him, his very first nature journal!

And here's something the boys and I spied near the mailbox ...

Indian stovepipe

Have you ever seen this before? This is called "Indian Pipe," aka "Ghost Flower" or *shudder* "Corpse Plant" - which is just a bit eerie, but makes for a GREAT nature study lure! 

Oh, and here's a quick "selfie" taken at Earlybird's request - we were on our way to pick up pizza, a one-in-a-while treat for EB. Little Bear is in back with Bill but you can't see him in his rear-facing car seat!

Pizza selfie

And finally, how about a picture from the flea market?

O and daddy todd farm

Wearing Crackerjack's hat and Daddy's $1 sunglasses ... Little Bear was quite the hit!

:)

Well I'll wrap up now, but I hope this week treats you well ... any travel plans or special events coming up? We're mostly sticking close to home this summer, working on things around here, and getting ready for a family party in a few weeks. Trying to savor every last drop of summer's comforts and joys!

{Before I go ... a quick bit of planner talk. This week I am refreshing my file crate folders as well as my planning binder, and I find myself wondering if I need a daily agenda/planner of some kind. I'm a bit stuck on the idea ... trying to figure out how to work that aspect in. It's such a tricky balance - keeping things simple and straightforward, but still covering all the bases. Anytime I have a quiet moment these days - usually when nursing or rocking the baby - I find my mind juggling these kinds of things. And yet I must remind myself not to overthink it! I can easily think myself into circles!}

Be well, my friends - see you here again very soon!


Field Notes ~ Our 1st Butterfly!

 First butterfly 1

This morning we spotted our first butterfly of the Spring!

First butterfly 2

 It was a tiny little thing ... pale as dust while resting, but a brilliant blue when in flight.

First butterfly 4

 Which leads me to believe it might be an Eastern Tailed-Blue Butterfly, but I'm not wholly sure on that. 

First butterfly 5

I loved how it blended right into the gravel ... such a smart little thing!

First butterfly 3

Little Bear found it very interesting!

**

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ... see you here again very soon!


The Meet & Greet

Archie spies one of the hens from next door ...

Archie and hen 3

Archie and hen 1

:)

Enjoy your Wednesday, my friends! And thank you for all the kind words and wishes for my Mum on her birthday. It's a busy day ahead ~ lots to do (make/bake/clean) for the holiday tomorrow. All my boys are home and Bill has the day off, and with that storm raging outside (just rain and wind now) it will be nice to stay cozy (and productive!) inside. 

What are you making today, anything yummy or fun?

See you here again very soon ...


Owls and Chickens and Turkeys, Oh My!

Happy Friday, my friends ~ I hope you are all well! I have a little nature story to share with you all today ...

So Mum and I were sitting at the breakfast nook earlier, drinking our tea, chatting about Thanksgiving, and enjoying the drizzly November day ... 

Breakfast nook

When suddenly Mum exclaimed, "What on earth is that thing sitting on the fence?"

Owl watching hens 2 

The very large size of the creature seemed to suggest it was too big to be a bird ... but upon closer inspection, we realized it was indeed a ginormous owl! From its perch upon the paddock fence, it was quietly (perhaps sneakily) watching "the ladies" (our neighbors' hens), who were visiting our yard for their "afternoon tea."

So what did I do? Well as I'm sure most of you can guess, I flew outside with my camera ...

Owl watching hens 1

... and got as close as I could, snapping away. It was almost eerie, the way this HUGE bird turned his head to stare me down!

I got just a few shots before he spread his wings and took off. He was aiming right for the hens, so I gave a loud hiss and at the last minute he veered off into the woods. The ladies, understandably flustered, ran off in a line, clucking and crashing through leaf piles as they headed home.

I came back inside with a few pics, wet socks ... and a thumping heart! 

(Our neighbors occasionally share fresh eggs with us ~ I think we've earned our next dozen!)

***

Oh, so where do the turkeys come in?

Well, my mum was telling me about a flock of turkeys she saw on her drive up that morning; they were milling about in a farmer's field not far from here. We were joking that the turkeys were pretending to be cows, as close as we are to Thanksgiving. 

;)

Have you had any wildlife encounters recently? What was the last bird you spied - at home or while out and about?

Enjoy your weekend, my friends ... it will be a homey-but-busy one for us, as we prepare for the holiday next week. We're also keeping our eye on our Earlybird (who continues to do well) and praying about his upcoming tests. (One in a couple of weeks, another after the first of the year.) Thank you again, for all your kind thoughts and prayers.

 See you here again very soon ...

**


Friday Photos ~ November begins!

What a blustery start to the month! It's surprisingly mild here, but the wind is gusting like crazy! Can't help but think of that Clare poem: "I love the fitful gusts that shake The casement all the day ... "

Just a few photos from this week ... how I love the colors at this time of the year! Not fiery and vibrant like October, but more subdued and mellow. Earth's getting sleepy it seems ...

Owen blustery day 3

Autumn sunset with chickens

November begins 1

November begins 3

November begins 4

Farm 10

Farm 12

Farm 13

Farm 15

Farm 17

Farm 18

Farm 20

 Don't forget to "Fall Back" this Saturday night! How will you spend that extra hour Sunday morning?

Have a great weekend, my friends!


Friday Bits-n-Bobs

So yesterday may have been a day for apples but I made use of another autumnal orchard fruit instead ~  a couple of pounds of ripe and juicy Bartlett pears! I baked two dozen pear muffins with the pearsauce I'd made earlier in the week.

Pear muffins 1

And oh my goodness! I had one (maybe three) of these in the afternoon, with a cup of decaffeinated English Teatime, while sitting by an open window soaking in the fresh air and warm autumn sunshine ... just glorious!

(I've also got apples aplenty to use up - a whole bunch of Macs we bought at a favorite farm a couple of weeks ago ... I'll make them into a cobbler for Bookworm who'll be home from college this weekend.)

* And for supper last night I made a pan of ziti and a pan of baked chicken using up some spinach dip and whole grain bread crumbs ... along with a pan of roasted "early autumn" vegetables: squash, sweet peppers, onions, carrots, potatoes ...

  Potatoes 1

Now, a quick disclaimer - I don't want anyone to think I'm cooking like this every day. Hardly. I'm still trying to get into some routines here with a new(ish) baby and a new(ish) home. I'm just so tickled I did all that cooking yesterday I wanted to share it!

* Speaking of baking though, I must rave again about the King Arthur Flour Baking Sheet. If you enjoy baking - particularly seasonal baking - this newsletter is a must. Well, apparently I forgot to change my address when we moved so when I realized I missed the Autumn issue, I called to remedy the error ... and two days later I had my new copy! Wonderful customer service from KAF.

* Now, on Wednesday you know how I told you all about the little mouse we found (or rather the cats found) in our dining room? Well yesterday morning we had another interesting nature sighting ... this gorgeous Barred Owl!

Owl 3

I was upstairs in the bedroom with Little Bear when I first spotted the owl in the trees near the edge of our property. I promptly got myself outside (and the baby in a bouncy seat where Crackerjack could watch him) and took a few snaps. The owl immediately zeroed in on me so I only had the chance to take a couple of passable shots. He then turned his back on me ...

Owl 2

And just flew off into the woods. What a wingspan! He was enormous.

* Oh, and the Michaelmas daisies! Have you seen any where you live? Around here they are abundant along the roadsides. Apt timing of course, seeing as how Sunday is Michaelmas Day ...

Michaelmas daisies 1

Love that pale purple, so pretty against the goldenrod which is also all over the place. One thing I love about this time of year is how we have fall foliage starting - there are hints of red and gold in the treescape - but we still have the bright beauty of September's last roses and dahlias and hydrangeas and such. The best of both worlds ... nature's last lively dance!

:)

Well that's all that's new from me today ... thanks so much for joining me this week as I ease my way back into regular blogging ... have yourselves a GREAT weekend, and I will see you all again sometime soon!

**


Wednesday Bits-n-Bobs

And here I was thinking it might be a slow news day, but then we had ourselves a little morning adventure: our first mouse in the new house!

Mouse 1

All I can think of is Ratatouille when I look at this picture, lol.

Archie and Ollie were skulking around in the dining room all morning, but I wasn't really paying much attention ... after tripping over a cat for the third or fourth time though, it started to sink in that something was up. They were really stuck in this one place, and they were focusing intently on something behind the china cupboard, so I mentioned to the boys that they must sense a mouse in the wall. But as it turned out, they more than sensed it - they had that little critter trapped against the wall!

So after an appropriate amount of screaming (by me) and scrambling about (by us all) we managed to get the cats out of the room and trap the tiny mouse in a tupperware container.

Mouse 3

He was awfully cute I must admit.

Now, as it happened, Bill was working from home today, but taking a call outside, he was completely oblivious to the commotion inside. Once I had the mouse in the container I trotted him right outside (took pictures, natch) and turned him over to my husband - who, as I understand, deposited the creature in the woods out front. (Of course, I'm sure he'll just find his way back in!)

You know, in the 20+ years we've had cats not one of them has ever caught a mouse. I'm not sure if that says more about my cats or my housekeeping, but I think this move "up country" will be very entertaining for Archie and Ollie. I'm sure this won't be the last mousie to find his way inside as Winter's chill seeps into town!

***

Well, I thought I might have one or two other things to mention to you today, but that's all I've got for now. Actually, that's all Little Bear's giving me time for right now ... as I finish this up he's getting rather impatient in the baby swing next to me! 

More to come tomorrow, my friends ... have yourselves a good night!

**


Monday Bits-n-Bobs

Just sharing some thoughts from my day ... :)

* Walking around the yard yesterday with Little Bear, we encountered a beautiful fawn. All speckled and a little bigger than the ones we saw over the summer, this one was all alone. She just looked at us while I cooed her and told LB what we were looking at ... the fawn just flicked her fluffy white tail and walked peacefully into the woods. Such a moment ...

* Spotted this creature (a praying mantis, I believe) on our way back in from getting the mail today - he was GINORMOUS. I'd guess 6 inches or so? Positively prehistoric. ;) It took some cajoling to get Earlybird to walk by him back into the house! (He was clinging to the front door frame - the bug, not EB!)

Praying mantis 1

* And this Thursday is Johnny Appleseed's birthday which means some humble apple cake, fresh apple slices and warm cider for snack. A few favorite books and this old Disney movie that Earlybird loves. 

**


Doe a Deer ...

A female deer ...

Cjbday5

.. and her fawn.

:)

This mama deer actually has two fawns - we saw all of them earlier this crisp and glorious morning. (Such a gorgeous August day ~ there's a hint of fall in this rereshing air ...)  The deer have been visiting our yard everyday and though it's hard to get a clear shot - the mama's quite (wisely) skittish - I had to share this slightly blurry one with you all. My friends, I am falling in love with our new backyard ... so many discoveries to come, I'm sure. Can't wait to start our new nature logs!

Just wanted to pop in quickly to share this happy photo ... hope your week's going well!

**


Lovely Little Hummingbird ...

Hummingbird at new house 1

Hummingbird at new house 2

Having our lunch at the kitchen table and watching the lovely hummingbirds fly back and forth to the feeder. Some of you may remember how fond we were of the hummingbirds at our old house - one female in particular whom we named "Harriet".

What shall we name our new pair of hummers , I wonder? (The female is pictured above, but there is a male too - he of the "ruby colored throat" - but he's a bit more camera-shy.)

Well, it was with very heavy hearts that we took down our birdfeeders this spring knowing we'd be moving and not wanting the birds to be so dependent on our feeding. I can't tell you how it saddened me to see the little red squirrel sitting on the branches outside the learning room, chewing a spruce cone because all the feeders were empty - and the hummingbird hovering outside our kitchen window most certainly wondering where the nectar she liked so much went ... :(

So I hope the next owners of our old house will feed the birds (I asked the realtor to put in a little plug for birdfeeding, lol - stressing how much we enjoyed a wide variety of birds through the years). But I can't dwell on that ... here at our new place I am over the moon to "discover" so many types of birds and critters in the short time we've been here ...

And flora, too ... very early this morning - before the heat got to be too much - Earlybird, Little Bear, Crackerjack and I walked around the property and started noticing all the different trees, plants and wildflowers (and weeds!) growing all over the place. For science this coming school year we will be studying Botany and we'll be starting our "research" right here in our very own 2-acre yard! That should be all kinds of fun ...

Spruce cones 1

Ok, I know I promised a "new kitchen" post and that will come very soon, but most likely after tomorrow's holiday. (Is it really the 4th of July already??)

Hope you're all having a good week ... see you here again very soon!

**


Settling In ~ Pictures & Notes

Good Tuesday Evening, everyone!

Well, my laptop broke last week so I've not been online very much ... but happily, the Apple Store worked its magic and I'm back in action. :) Just thought I'd post some pictures and notes from our second week settling into the new house.

First of all, Archie is doing so much better - he's back to his usual self, just a bit "holier" than he was before. (Lol, that was Bill's joke.) Seriously, though, he was so very lucky - the hole in his stomach was such a deep puncture wound, the vet said it stopped just outside the abdominal wall. We still have no idea how it happened ... we're just very glad he's ok.

Here he is "recouping" in his new favorite spot, on one of the kitchen chairs.

Settling in 8

And here he is with his brother. Remember all those window pics of these cats at the old house?

Settling in 2

I have a feeling we'll have lots of new window pics to share here ...

Like this one ...

Settling in 9

Just one day after hanging our hummingbird feeder we had ourselves a hummer!

She had been visiting these spiky flowers that are growing in a flower bed just off the back patio ...

Settling in 11

These flowers are also growing there ... might they be coneflowers?

Settling in 10

And I'm not sure what these cheerful flowers are growing out front ...

Settling in 5

Also seen out front ...

Settling in 1

A teeny tiny baby rabbit ...

(I think he lives under the ferns which I have forbid Bill from clearing.)

And a small "herd" of deer (a third deer is just off to the left) ...

Settling in 4

This is our front yard ... very woodsy as you can see!

Now how about the "wildlife" inside?

Settling in 6

Our older boys enjoying a hot dog supper in the breakfast nook ...

And introducing ...

Owen's 1st tornado warning 1

Settling in 7

"Little Bear"

... as Owen will now be known here at the blog.

:)

(We chose "LB" because ... he makes the cutest little grunty sounds - particularly when nursing - and he sounds just like a little growly bear cub!)

These pictures were taken yesterday when our community was under a tornado warning! We actually had to go down to the basement for a while! The weather's been so crazy lately ...

Ok, so that's all for now, but in my next post I will give you all a peek at my new kitchen!

Hope your week's going well ... thanks so much for stopping by!

**

p.s. I realize my blog sidebars are WAY out of date - I will be working on those just as soon as I can. :)


Backyard surprises ...

A few things the boys found in the (finally, mostly snowless) backyard yesterday ... an owl pellet (ew), a dead robin (aw), leaves fossilizing in the sandbox (neat!) and a snowdrop growing by the chimney ...

Snowdrop by chimney

(sweet!).

The weather is quite seasonable this week - partly sunny, with temps in the high 40s/low 50s. And as of this morning they're calling for a sunny, mild Easter Sunday! That would be so lovely ...

A bit later today Soon I will post our Easter Dinner Menu ... just have a last few nuts and bolts to work out with my mum.

:)

Have a great Tuesday, my friends!


Well, hello there little harbinger!

(I was going to make this a "Wordless Wednesday" post, but I'm too excited not to babble a bit!)

First chipmunk

So today's big news - since the smoke was black and not white :) - Earlybird and I just spotted the first chipmunk of the year! As I'm sure most of you know, chipmunks go into hibernation in mid-fall, and emerge at winter's end. We like to keep track of when they leave and return - and it's always a cause for celebration when they are spotted sometime in late winter/early spring. We're big fans of chipmunks around here!

So take heart my northeastern friends - spring can't be too far away! And boy is it ever a lovely day here in New England - the light is bright and the ground is nearly clear of snow. And the air! Oh, the air ... soft and cool, but not cold. I have a few windows open because the temperature is near 50 degrees!

Can you tell I'm just a wee bit excited for spring?

:)

(And no, I'm not paying any attention to those snowflakes in next week's forecast. Nope. None at all.)

Enjoy your Wednesday, my friends!


A Nutty Little Nature Story

Pinecone picker 1

I was wishing I still had my "nature notes" column up, because Earlybird and I observed the funniest little nature "story" yesterday!

It was a lovely afternoon, golden and breezy - and we were sitting in the learning room, with a couple of windows cracked open. EB was at the computer, and I was reading in my chair, when the sound of rustling leaves caught my attention. I thought it might be an animal of some sort walking by, but every time I looked outside I saw nothing. I did notice some rambunctious blue jays hopping around, so I dismissed the "ruckus" at that.

But, next thing I know, I start hearing little "pops" and "bangs" on the roof and windows. Now I'm kind of freaking out because I truly can't figure out what is making all this noise! I'm thinking perhaps some early Halloween "tricks" were being played on us!

Finally I figured I'd best take a closer look ... so I walked out front and when I looked back at the house I immediately noticed a flurry of movement at the top of the HUGE spruce tree that stands beside our house. The branches were swaying like crazy!

Glinting in the sun, and weaving in and out of the branches, was a bright ball of reddish-brown fur, and a closer inspection revealed this:

Pinecone picker 2

A tiny red squirrel was perched way up high in the tree (and let me tell you, that is one super tall tree!) and making quite a business out of "harvesting" spruce cones! He'd climb onto a branch and nibble at the cone till it fell ...

Pinecone picker 6

... and THAT was what we were hearing!

Cone after cone being dropped from the tree by the squirrel. They'd hit the ground, the roof, the windows ... like little bombs, lol! This went on for over half an hour - such an industrious fellow!

Archie was quite taken with the whole procedure:

Pinecone picker 3

EB and I walked out to the feeder area to take a closer look and we were amazed by how many cones were covering the ground!

Pinecone picker 4

So we'll be watching these next few days to see how many cones disappear and who all is spiriting them off. (One squirrel or more?) We often find cones half-stripped looking like this ...

Pinecone picker 5

And these have been quite nibbled as you can see.

On the diet of red squirrels ...

"His food is far more varied than many suppose and he will eat almost anything eatable; he is a little pirate and enjoys stealing from others with keenest zest. In spring he eats leaf buds and hunts our orchards for apple seeds. In winter he feeds on nuts, buds, and cones; it is marvelous how he will take a cone apart, tearing off the scales and leaving them in a heap while searching for seeds; he is especially fond of the seeds of Norway spruce and hemlock."

(From the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna B. Comstock) 

So Earlybird and I are starting the "squirrels and other rodents" portion of our animal study this week. We already have lots of great "field observation" to report! Throughout November we'll be covering the general topic of hibernation as well.

***

Well, my friends, I hope you're all having a good week. I'm almost caught up with Call the Midwife ... made it about halfway through the show last night, and hope to finish up this evening or next. When I do, I'll pop back into Monday's post to catch up with comments. :)

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and your loved ones ... I'll see you here again very soon!



Ever Wonder about Wolves?

Good morning, everyone! Did you know it's National Dog Week?

I myself had no idea, but it very conveniently coincides with our current dogs/foxes/wolves study. :) Another happy happenstance, we were kindly invited on a field trip to Wolf Hollow this week! Long time reader and friend, Melissa R, arranged the visit for her homeschool group and invited the boys and I to attend. I am so glad we were able to make it - it was great to meet Melissa and it was nice to be reacquainted with the wonderful wolves of Wolf Hollow.

This morning, if I may, I'd like to share a few photos from our visit with you ...

Wolf hollow 11

(Bookworm and Crackerjack, standing beside the info board.)

Despite his current interest in wolves, Earlybird declared this field trip, "kinda too scary," lol. So he stayed home with Nana. He's been loving all the pictures, though, and has said he might want to go "next time." Baby steps ... :)

Shown below is the Alpha Male, Weeble.

Wolf hollow 2

Isn't he gorgeous? He is getting on in age, but quite obviously held a position of respect. At the same time he seemed quite gentle, and he was the only one to howl for us.

A few of the wolves were quite feisty ...

Wolf hollow 4

The black male on the right is Grendel, who will most likely be the next Alpha. (All these wolves are "gray wolves" despite the variation in fur color.)

In a confrontation such as this, the wolf with a higher pack position holds his tail higher ...

Wolf hollow 5

Below, on the right, is the Alpha Female, Nina - aka "Mom."

Wolf hollow 6

(You can meet all the Wolf Hollow wolves here.)

In a wolf pack, it is the Alpha Female who bears the puppies. One very interesting (and slightly shocking) thing we learned, was that a female wolf is able to sense the overall pack situation (food availability, etc.) and only birth a managable amount of pups. Apparently her body will reabsorb any extraneous pups. That's kind of incredible! o.O

Another interesting thing we learned was that wolves have evolved to have an inborn fear of humans. As our speaker pointed out, if we happened to be walking in a forest where wolves were living, we would never see them. They would steer clear of us - our smell, our sounds, our very existence.

They really are amazing animals, and they live very much like a family - looking after, and out for, each other ... It's disturbing how misunderstood they've been through the years and continue to be in this day and age. 

Wolf hollow 8

We truly enjoyed our visit to Wolf Hollow, and came away with a renewed sense of respect and responsibility. I look forward to exploring wolves (and their brethren, foxes and dogs) more at home with the boys. If you'd like to learn more about wolves, please check out the Wolf Hollow website.

***

Well my friends, thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you all have a nice Friday ... see you here again very soon!