Friday, January 31, 2014

You have to love 'em..........................

I know, it's always an on again off again love affair when it comes to these garden visitors!
Here in the southeastern US, like most homeowners, we have to share our land with the grey squirrels. In all honesty I suppose they are nice enough to share their land with us as they were probably here first!

Click on pics to enlarge.

Hope you put aside thoughts of pesky birdseed stealing, 
feeder chewing, porch rail gnawing varmints 
when you see just how cute they look calmly eating and 
playing on a sunny, snowy day.

You have been so kind with comments regarding my recent bird images, thank you. Again I want to just let you know all these squirrel pics were taken through my windows - and yes, they are a bit grimy, hopefully the window cleaner (me!) will get to work on them come Spring. 
For all these squirrel images I used the Nikon Coolpix S6400 set on auto, and PicMonkey for cropping and editing.
Don't you agree these handy little point and shoot digital cameras are just getting better and better?

Thursday, January 30, 2014


All these birds and more visited the cottage yesterday. All appeared ravenous, the snow covering their usual breakfast, lunch, and even dinner as not much melted in the day long below freezing temperatures.  
I went to my bird book and found that wrens, when their usual little insect delicacies are unavailable, love peanut butter, as do many other birds.  I mixed some with shortbread (Walker's of course - only the best for my feathered friends!) crumbs and scattered them about. 
My porch rail, and the old fountain, were soon a favorite place, not only for our pair of 'live-in' Carolina wrens, but for many of the smaller birds.
This morning I've just repeated the feast as they are already out there hunting around for food - it's such a great feeling knowing one can help these precious little creatures when the weather is harsh.

Carolina wren - one of the pair who sleep on the porch 
nightly in the hanging basket.

Male red-bellied woodpecker cleaning out the feeder.....Bob 
is out there refilling daily.

Sweet tiny chickadee.......year round they bring much joy 
to our garden.

The visiting pine siskin nibbling a sunflower seed -
very like a sparrow with touches of yellow.

The tufted titmouse, one of many who frequent the garden. 

Again, my sweet wren who, with its mate, will hopefully 
share a new family with us come Spring as they have 
for many and be healthy little bird!

'Mr. Cardinal' as we always refer to the always cheery 
bright red male - there are about a dozen who bring 
their ladies to enjoy the feeder.

Another pic of my wren nibbling the peanut butter 
coated crumbs.

All these photos were taken through the dining room window....a lot of time spent standing very still as birds seem to see every move you make! No special lens used - and only my point and shoot cameras (the Olympus and Nikon) set on auto, I didn't even take time to get the DSLR out!

Next time...........the snowy visitors to the back garden!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

At long last..................snow!

It started falling at exactly 5:00 PM yesterday...............and here in Raleigh as we slept through a freezing night it continued lightly. This was the view as I looked down the street just after sunrise. We have to be satisfied with a measly 2" - you guys up north having kept most of it to yourselves! Of course snow in the south is always special - we've been hoping for some this season to give the kids a 'snow day' and help the garden.

It's always pretty from the window and as the morning has been non-stop sunshine the snow has melted a bit, but only a tiny bit due to below freezing temps., still just 22F now at 1:30 PM, and not going above freezing today, then plummeting back down to 9F overnight.

Our lawn became one with the curb and road.

Needless to say, cameras were at the ready in hopes of capturing some bird shots - they are so beautiful in the snow.
Male towhee and chickadee.

A new solitary bird who has been hopping about the front porch a lot recently........the pine siskin.

Yesterday afternoon our front lawn was covered in robins.............maybe fifty or more around 4:30 PM.
Earlier I had seen them on a neighboring street, picking their way through a garden, then apparently moving along to where still green grass was visible. Many neighbors here in the south grow summer grass which is brown through the winter months. Maybe worms had surfaced the day before when temps. hit 61F and it was like a spring day. Bob and I actually went walking and felt warm!

Several hardy robins have stayed around today, trying to get on the feeders.........this one sat for quite a while in the bare fig tree - leaves behind are on a maple, oak leaves still cling to the small tree we're growing from an acorn in front.

Off to gather more pics.......this may be our only snow this season. More later.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Felt Christmas Ornament Linky Party......................

Hi friends, still awaiting news from the tech hospital regarding my laptop, meanwhile borrowing Bob's iMac to write and publish this post.

I committed to Dawn at her Creative Cain Cabin challenge to make two small nature inspired ornaments a month this year.......they can then be used next holiday season, or any time until then. Dawn's blog partner in this endeavor is my long time blog friend dear Claudia at Mockingbird Hill Cottage. Each month Dawn and Claudia will provide the patterns and instructions for the ornaments and you have the entire month to produce them before linking to Dawn's Linky Party at the month's end. You don't have to be a perfect sewer, you can even use glue if you want, it's just a fun thing to create something easy and quick each month.
Without my laptop this past week I've been doing things I'd let being completing my entries here for this first month's challenge, the cuties being the owl and the bear.

I gave my bear a removable Valentine tie.

As I love owls I actually made two!
I stuffed mine with a little poly filler, also added a hanger.
Hope you join in............meanwhile head over to visit Dawn and Claudia to see how different our cute critters turned out.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dreaming in shades of blue.................

......and I thought an afternoon trying to pick a carpet color was hell. Now once again I'm back at paint stores, pulling paint chips from racks, even taking photos of photos of painted walls and gathering more chips, how ridiculous is that? No, don't answer please!

Hubby actually hugged me when he saw me getting up from the dining room floor which was looking like this on a recent afternoon.
He laughed, told me he loved how I was so diligent when it came to getting things right, picking what I really thought best and like the most.............and then announced that I certainly don't sit about wasting time, that I'm always "doing something".  Meanwhile I just hope and pray that I'm always going to be 'doing something', especially when I think about that subject we dislike discussing, aging! 

Anyway, this post was to address paint, as in picking a color and who will be slapping the lucky winner on the wall. One more tidbit on age, there comes a time when the person with the roller and brush is someone else, not you, and believe me it's worth every penny. Falling off ladders, destroying your already aching shoulders, and accidentally kicking over the bucket of paint as you fall off the ladder, can run into thousands of dollars in medical bills, whereas a reasonably good painter is more like hundreds, enough said.

The project in mind is just the small entry hall in the cottage. It's already dark as I had it painted in Charcoal a few years back. It feels all warm and welcoming, like being wrapped in a cozy wool blanket. My other rooms are light and bright with mostly off-white and cream walls and somehow it all works well together. Because the charcoal needs freshening up, it's a bit dusty and there are some scratches from daily wear and installing  new flooring, I'm thinking of repainting in a deep, dark blue. There are so many to choose from..........will hopefully find the right one soon.  

I've commandeered DH's iMac this morning to get this post that I started last week up - still awaiting news on my MacBook Air and whether the recovery of my photos has been successful. It was nothing to do with the Mac itself - a pretty little gremlin and her grandmother did something very silly while cleaning up - yes it was 100% our fault. We should have stayed in the kitchen that day, we were great at chopping and stirring, not so good at trying to be techies!!!!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sit a while.................

I'm frustrated, upset, mad and just plain fed up!!
My lovely best friend MacBook is in the 'hospital'. I've lost my 
entire iPhoto library on my hard drive - fortunately I'd downloaded 
all pics from travels, except the last big trip to Europe in October, on portable 
drives, phew, thank goodness I did that!
 I just have big problems trying to be a real blogger here on the iPad, so awkward and limited.
See y'all soon I hope, meanwhile I won't be posting, commenting or e-mailing for a while.
Decided to make myself useful doing some knitting, sewing felt animals, reading
books waiting in the stack on the nightstand, making soup etc.......... on these very frigid days.
I will stop by and read your posts. 
Hugs to you all dear readers and friends.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The loveliness................

........of woodland on a mild and sunny winter day.

No time to write more this morning.................with school out I have a busy schedule taking granddaughter Jasmin to appointments etc. and doing some cooking with her as she'd like to learn how to cook vegetarian, yippee!

Yesterday I walked a little in the afternoon. Not a lot to photograph at eye level but, looking upward, I loved the Carolina blue cloudless sky and touches of pine green among the bare branches.

More next time.....................

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Southern Plantation House could be yours!

On leaving Trader Joe's earlier this week I noticed a 
huge swathe of felled trees on the small hillside 
directly across from the shopping center.
It was almost dusk, the men had left for the day, so I 
drove up the hill for a closer look. Only had my iPhone to 
snap pics but had fun this morning doing a little editing 
in PicMonkey.

Large mechanical monsters had, in just a week or so, removed 
the old tangled woodland, that hurt me, to show the early 
Federal style Crabtree Jones plantation house, circa 1795, 
hiding in the about a 'This Old House' moment.

If you're interested in the history of the plantation house, 
or if YOU would like to purchase it - it's available
It will be moved for you at the new landowner/developer's 
expense - just a wee bit to the left on the hill, 
on a 1/2 acre lot - and of course you will be 
very busy with a major reno for a while, methinks 
a very long while - and will definitely need deep pockets!

The new home will be on the very edge of an older 
small and charming subdivision............and just think, 
Trader J's is just across the street. As I'm just 5 minutes 
away, we could go shopping together, and have a cuppa when 
you need to take a break from all that work!

The house is now on the National Register and designated 
as a Raleigh Historic Landmark. It is probably the 
oldest remaining private residence in Raleigh, 
a lovely city to live in by the way. 
Seriously would love to see someone take it on and 
restore it to the beautiful home it once 
spread the word if you know anyone up for the challenge!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Enriching our lives.............

.................with thanks to creative friends.

Yesterday the mail brought Summer color to the cottage from Gina.   

I introduced you to Gina back November when she taught us 
how to turn acorns into gold! 
Her life, in a stunning house in a Utah alfalfa field, 
is full of color and the beautiful art she creates.
I purchased a little bag of Gina's very own 
harvested hollyhock seeds to plant in my cottage 
garden. Being biennial I'll probably 
have to wait until Summer 2015 to see them 
grow and bloom, but I can be patient sometimes.

Gina also prints lovely pictures on small cotton bags. 
These have many hold trinkets and gifts, 
dried lavender and herbs, jewelry, and little 
personal treasures. 
There are many to choose from in her Etsy shop - 
I decided these were perfect for me.
If you haven't visited Gina's beautiful blog, ART & ALFALFA,
 I suggest you do - your dull, chilly Winter days will 
immediately become brighter. She has been writing about 
her recent travels to Europe for the holidays, and her 
busy creative life in a beautiful part of the USA.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Yesterday's altered image............................

This was yesterday morning. Awaking to the first fog 
of the still new year was a surprise - the garden had 
taken on a new perspective and things with color seemed 
to glow through the gloom. The feeder was empty...... 
birds hiding in the shrubs awaited breakfast.
All sounds were muffled in a grey world.

Later the sun popped out, the day brightened 
and became quite pleasant. Here on the front porch 
pretty things dangle to help keep the Winter days 
cheerful - the new and pretty painted birdhouse, 
a welcomed gift at Christmas from my neighbors.....

....and, if you're wondering about the still hanging, 
straggly rust-colored Boston ferns, there are two, go HERE.

An early arrival of the mail truck was unexpected, 
he usually leaves us until the very end of his route, 
arriving late afternoon. The box held something lovely for 
me which I'll share next time!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

January Note Card Party.........................

No matter the season, beautiful birds are always in flight 
around the world. I'm showcasing four of my favorites here. 
I think they would make colorful note cards for bird loving friends on any occasion.

Female Cardinal - My Garden, Boxing Day - December 2010

Carolina Wren - My Garden - January 2014

Crested Barbet - Okavango Delta, Botswana, 2012

Lilac-Breasted Roller - Mala Mala, South Africa 2012

Be sure to pop over to Vee's blog, A Haven For Vee 
for this month's Note Card Party - and 
we'd love to have you join in.