They're everywhere - that is, everywhere we have feeders! Finches hanging on socks and feeders, cardinals on trays, woodpeckers hanging upside down on suet feeders. Now that winter storms Q, Rocky, and Saturn have each taken their turn of dusting -or dumping- us with snow, the birds are feeder happy, and we are happy to have them flitting and flying to and from the feeders around our house. We have placed a flat-tray sunflower feeder and hung a suet block right by the window, and the birds don't seem to mind a bit that I sit here a watch them sample seed and nibble fat. So, here's hoping that the next storm is "Tiny" or "Timid" not "Torrent" or "Trouble". But in any case, we have plenty of fire wood in the shed - and seed in the trunk.
Everyone enjoys this type of pre-spring snow. The dogs prance around, kicking up clouds of snow dust, creating mini white outs as they dash around. And, though I am not a big fan of snow, I enjoy it much more this time of year, when I know that spring is hovering just out of view. Why, I even saw the first sprouts of daffodils last Sunday, just an inch and a half tall... but they still speak of spring.
So, let "Q" dance across our prairie. This downy blanket of snow won't last long. That shadowless groundhog told us so!
Lots of good cooking going on in this prairie home! What are you going to do when each window breathes in the cold winter wind and chills you to the bone? I say turn on the oven and stove top and cook away! One of my many New Year's resolutions is to cook new dishes. So, last night I pulled out a cookbook I had never tried, "One Pot Cooking" and cooked Spicy Monkfish -only I used Tilapia - it took about two hours to make, so this isn't one that you just whip us. But, it is wonderfully spicy - great for cold nights. And, I made enough for three meals. I then turned my attention to flourless chocolate cake. It is so easy (this is a 10-minute treat, not including baking time) that you could whip it up for a church supper or quick potluck treat. Next, I am tackling orange scones and chocolate almond biscotti. Did I tell you that one of my resolutions is to lose weight?
The shortest day of the year did not bring with it the end of the world. No, instead it brought something that unfolded gradually as the day wore on and the light faded fast. It brought hope. Hope in the knowledge that tomorrow the sun would stay a bit longer. Hope that God has a plan for each of our lives - and for the world as a whole - and that He unveils it piece by piece - only He knows its end! Hope because each year we celebrate this time of His birth and His rebirth in us!
With the ending of the winter solstice, the world gets a bit brighter every day!
Each year, snow or no snow, the prairie greets the Christmas season with a flair all of its own. And try as we may with lights and garland, we just can't compete with its elegance.
The wild winterberry bushes area dotted red with the berries that emerged last month, looking very much like they are bedecked with fairy ornaments.
Pine cones litter the trees and the ground. The red twig Dogwood bushes are just starting to reveal their crimson stalks. Now a dusting of snow would set all of this off nicely... but I am certainly enjoying the 70 degree weather. Perhaps Christmas eve?
...fill my prairie field. It seems that everything is in bloom, and the butterflies and hummingbirds simply cannot get enough of it!
The hummingbirds are energized by the nectar. The bees a bit lethargic. But, the butterflies are simply drunk with the sweet syrup of late spring. They land on hands, flit to shoulders, and loop through the air - bouncing on breezes - without a care.
And, I find myself walking a bit slower, breathing a bit deeper, and drinking in all that is around me - bouncing butterflies and all!
As I previously posted, hummingbirds are one of my favorite birds... by the time summer comes, I consider them nearly to be pets. When fall's cool breezes stir, and they pack their little bags for warmer weather, I feel a bit blue as I clean the feeders and place them away until the following spring. Yes, humming birds are one of my favorites - but not my absolute favorite. That honor goes to....
...the ever elusive Baltimore Oriole! From the first day I saw that flash of orange across the prairie sky, I was hooked. I wanted more!
These beauties are hard to spot. They flit and fly - and it is only when they are airborne that you see that brilliant orange blaze.
So, why am I perturbed?
My feeders - two types - are ready - cleaned and filled - waiting for them. One is full of bright orange liquid - that looks just like Tang. The other is a votive candle holder full of grape jelly that sits in a white bird-sized gazebo. Really, these feeders are lovely. Just ask the humming birds who are gorging themselves on the Tang....or the wasps who think the grape jelly is divine.
But, you can't ask the Baltimore Orioles.... they aren't here!
(But, if you see them, put in a good word for my little prairie feast!)