Thursday, 21 November 2013

Winged visitors...

Our new blue bird nesting box has attracted the interest if two Bluebird couples! So its likely we'll have to get another....
here is the male bird at the end of the garden.

They are gorgeous birds and let's hope they nest!
Last weekend we had a surprise visit from my brother in law... he'd taken two flights from Indianapolis to get here and, returning, flown into the face of the severe storm front that battered much of the Midwest that weekend. But we had a fabulous 24 hour visit, including trips to Ithaca and Taughannock Falls, the farmers' market and Cornell's Arboretum.


What a joy to see four bluebirds in our garden this week!!!

Great friends, Paul and Cindi, had told us these lovely little ones were here; but all of us were surprised that they might still remain as the season turned. Reading about them, it seems if they find a source of food (berries and fruits in winter) and water, they will remain in the cold north. happy are we to have planted a varietal of crabapple they seem to really enjoy...

This is one of the females, and from the chair in our living room we were able to watch her feasting on the ripened crab apples. They also enjoy the berries on the honeysuckles and service berries we have planted. 

Moments after this photograph was taken Nicholas said, "Look! Look!" as he pointed to the end of the garden. Two bluebirds were investigating the box, in and out they popped..with four birds, two males and two females, we have decided to put a second box up this week...thank heavens the Cornell Ornithology Lab sells them and can advise us as to placement! We shall also be investing in a heated the winter cold proves difficult for all our feathered friends.

No more sitting on a fence about where to live! For them or for us...


Friday, 15 November 2013

First signs of winter...

I am writing this at 7 am, watching three deer walk slowly across the field across the creek. We've had our first snow, which lasted for a few days and has now melted. The angle of the sunlight is glorious at this time of year, lending an array of colour across the hills: muted ochres, rusts, tertiary greys... 

The other evening the setting sun sent fingers of orange into the clouds...

 And a few days before, the hawk had sat quietly in the tree at the bottom of the garden for a long while.


Though the vast majority of leaves have fallen now, there is a stand of tamarack (larch) trees to our west which glow like golden orbs in the early morning light. The tamarack, the Algonquin Indian name for the larch, is a conifer, but in order to preserve its energy, it sheds its pine-like needles in very late autumn, prompting me to examine my own relationship to less light, cold snowy weather, and more challenging environmental factors. Directly opposite our home, are  the glistening white trunks of the canoe bark birches....absolutely stunning.

The Algonquin used the roots of tamarack to sew together their birch bark canoes, Longfellow writes about this in "The Song of Hiawatha".  In the poem, Hiawatha asks the tree's permission before he uses its roots, much as we asked permission to dig in this earth before we began to build.

There are such gifts given to us each and every day with the dance of sun and cloud, the reflections and shadows....the memories of all those who came before us, the hopes of all that are yet to come.

Daily, we are reminded of the blessings we are privileged to enjoy....


Sunday, 3 November 2013


With the changing of the seasons, there is a distinct shift in the wildlife in and about the garden. Ravens have appeared... hopping about for bread and, occasionally, moistening the bread in the water bowl. All the red-winged blackbirds have gone and the mourning doves have gathered in a huge flock of about 50 birds. But they are quiet at this time of year.
Sunset the other day was glorious and the Lyman Whitaker sculpture looked wonderful against the sky!


Recently two new birds have joined us in the garden. At first glance, this might seem that I am referring to a crow...but this bird is nearly 15 inches tall and often has a partner in tow. I mentioned the size of these beautiful black birds to a colleague and she said, "Those aren't crows you have visiting...they are ravens..."


As a lover of the ancient Druids, keepers of stories and holders of wisdom...this caught my attention to be sure. Ravens, for the Druids, were associated with healing as well as the gift of intuition...seeing, if you will.

Nicholas and I have been spending quite a lot of time giving thanks for the animals and birds that visit us on a daily basis and, as we have begun to dwell here on this land, we feel that the light, the shadow, the wind, the rain, the sunshine...and now, the living creatures, all have gifts for us...all are reminders of the Divine in the everyday, all encourage and invite us to explore within ourselves the attributes and gifts they invoke.

Thank you, Raven, for your intelligence and your patience. As you took this stale piece of bread to the bird bath, you immersed it until it was soft enough to eat, in so doing, you could break it into pieces small enough for you to digest. What a wonderful reminder for my own life this morning...