Friday, January 29, 2016


I've been preoccupied lately with a feathered friend that flew in about a month ago.  I spotted her at the bird bath getting a drink.  At first I thought she was migrating through but since then, I've realized that she's set up her abode in my neighborhood, at least for now.  

My visitor is a juvenile Cooper's hawk.  She's large, much bigger than a crow and you can see her eyes are still yellow.  She's regal really.  

She's very casual in hunting.  She'll look around and walk the fence.  She'll swoop into my yard to stand and listen.  Meanwhile, all the birds and squirrels are hiding in the bushes waiting for her to leave.  I watched her jump down from the fence to casually walk along the ground.  When she was in the right spot, she quickly darted into the hollies and grabbed her meal.  

I've named my visitor Ladyhawk.  She doesn't show up every day because I think she makes the rounds, but she is poetry in motion.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter Lambs

I drove down to North Carolina to spend Christmas with my family and had a wonderful time.  My son lives in Cary and my daughter lives in New Bern, about 2.5 hours apart.  I was on my way from Cary to New Bern when I spotted these babies on the side of the road in a fenced off meadow.  I say "meadow" but it's hard for me to actually feel like eastern NC has meadows.  When I think of meadow, I imagine waist-high grass and lush greenery and wildflowers.  Anyway, I digress.  LOL

My grandson was riding with me and when I saw the sheep in the meadow on the opposite side of the road, I pulled over.  He was a little concerned and pointed out the sign that said "Sheep not for sale."  But I told him it was okay because I'm only going to take their picture.  I pulled to the shoulder of the road and took these precious pictures of the lambs with their mothers.  Every mother's head came up to see who the stranger was and to make sure the stranger wasn't going to get too close.  

Most of the babies were twins!  I was a little surprised to see babies in December but it wasn't that cold there.  This past week, though, they were hammered with snow and ice and I couldn't help but think about those babies and hope that they were all right in the freezing rain.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Because of Love

(This story exists in different forms.  Snopes states that original author is Reverand David L. Griffith who penned the story in 1998 or 1999 when he was the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Utica, Oklahoma.  It was part of a series of sermons he presented on the value of keeping old things.  I think we should cherish the old things too.  I am reprinting this story here because I love it.  For me, it represents Christmas and what I think about as part of this special time of year).  I've posted it before a few years ago, but it's such a beautiful and touching story that I wanted to share it again.  I hope you don't mind.


The young couple had made their usual hurried pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small heard of goats.  The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm becuase of the huge pine which topped the hill behind the farm and through the years had become a talisman to the old man and his wife and a landmark in the countryside.   
The old folks no longer showed their goats for the years had taken their toll, but they sold a little milk and a few kids each year.  And the goats were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.  

Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young people confronted the old folks:  "Why do you not at least dispose of the Old One?  She is no longer of use to you.  It's been years since you've had either kids or milk from her.  You should cut corners and save where you can.  Why do you keep her anyway? "  The old man looked down as his worn boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind the ears.  He replied softly, "We keep her because of love.  Only because of love."   Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. 

So it was that because of the leave taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn.  None saw the first spark fall, none but the Old one.  In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames  were licking at the loft full of hay.   With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved goats.  But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back.  He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left -- and the old man and his wife.  They thanked those who had come to their aid.  And the old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulder as he clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana.  Brokenly, he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas.  Let us, therefore, climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair.  We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared."

And so he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his hand.  As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.  Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine.  And it was aglow with heavenly candles, and poised on its topmost bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass.  Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this.  Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of  wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward.  There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the Old One,  close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.  At the first hint of smoke, she  had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the goats through it.  Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily through the snow.  The kids were frightened and dashed about.  The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames and hoped like rabbits.  The milkers pressed uneasily against the Old One as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine.  And now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of those she loved.  Her body was brittle with years, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift -- because of love.   Only because of love.

(And so, my friends, I hope you all experience many blessings  as we all get ready for the holidays)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Snow Day

Yesterday we had ice and beautiful ice sculptures.  Today we had snow and a snow day off!!  Wahooo!  I knew there was a reason I loved snow besides the fact that I just love the white stuff.  I slept in, got up late, made coffee and took these great photos.  

By the time I went out to shovel the drive around 2 p.m., most of the snow on the blacktop had melted.  It warmed up and the crepe myrtle lost is frosting mantle.  It was beautiful in the afternoon setting sun.

I heated up the homemade soup I'd made yesterday.  When I looked out the window, this is what I saw, a glorious ending to a beautiful day.  I hope yours was as wonderful as mine.

I just love winter!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Winter Wonderland

It's early December, usually too early for a snowfall here in northern Virginia; but yesterday started out with snow gently falling and covering everything.  As the day progressed, we had freezing rain that covered everything.  When I woke up this morning, it really looked like a twinkling fairyland.  Everything was encased in ice.  

It made the entire landscape look like crystal ornaments.  It's kind of melting now, but they're saying we're due for more snow tonight into tomorrow, anywhere between 3 and 5 inches.  I've already called out for work.  I can't think of anything worse than getting stuck in downtown DC and trying to get home in traffic.  The last time I tried to drive home after it had started snowing, it took me over four hours, a drive that is usually 45 minutes to an hour.  Better safe than sorry.  I hope you're all staying warm, dry, and snug!  

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Flowers Everywhere

I took a trip to wine country here in Loudoun County last week and remembered a huge field of Queen Anne's Lace that I had seen about three weeks prior.  I was hoping that the flowers were still blooming and I had to stop and take some photos.  The flowers had mostly gone by, but there were still plenty in bloom. 

An old white oak, probably nearing the end of its life.  We've lost a lot of them in the local area.

I also couldn't resist stopping to take some pictures of some bales of hay.

 The road to my dreams

 A pretty stand of bamboo

Another beautiful white oak.  This one still alive.

 I also saw this family of deer feeding in a meadow.  

And finally the real beauty here in Virginia

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Want a Pickle With That

I definitely wanted a Pickle with that, which is why I have a new birdy baby at my house.  Meet Pickle.  He's only about 8 weeks old.  I bought him from a breeder in Maryland who hand fed and hand tamed him.  He's still in the "stranger-danger" phase, but he's getting used to me and letting me take him out of his cage and put him on my shoulder just to hang out.  In fact, he's hanging out with me right now.  :)

I love his coloring, and he's a healthy little baby.  I'm looking forward to lots of years together with him. Even though he's a little afraid, he hasn't tried to bite me once.  Good boy, Pickle.
Here's my baby sleeping on me.

Isn't he beautiful?

Hanging out with mom

I hope he really gets used to hanging out with me.  I love having a bird again after missing those little birdy sounds the last few weeks.  I was never able to tame my other bird, Binks, even though I loved her.  Having a baby that's hand fed makes such a difference.  Even though he's a little skittish, he'll sit step up and let me take him out of the cage after just a few tries.  Love my baby Pickle.