Wildlife Lessons-The Gentleness of Deer

DSCN2128“In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar.”

~ Anonymous

 

 

Every summer we wait patiently (OK sometimes not so patiently) for the new fawns to emerge from the woods and step into the meadow.  The mama deer (a white-tailed deer or Odocoileus virginianus) is careful to make sure they are a couple of months old before allowing them out in public.

 

 

It is a tremendous sight to see these special DSCN2817creatures.  Young, so full of wonder, awe and play.  I feel younger myself as I watch them, and I melt back to my childhood and those days of new discoveries when I hadn’t a care in the world.  Drinking in the world through my senses.  That is how I imagine it is to be one these lovely creatures; these young deer just experiencing the world for the first time.

 

 

 

And so it was on my husband’s birthday, that two lovely, adorable little fawns stepped into the meadow for the first time…mama right by their side, always not too out of reach.  DSCN1224Watching them explore, being admonished by their parent for taking off, or warned that danger was near and they had to flee.  It brought back a flood of memories of me holding a cherished adult hand, fading behind them a bit skittish to come out and meet others….still shy and a bit fearful, but safer knowing my mother, father or grandfather had my hand.

 

 

 

 

 

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Once the fawns appear we are on fawn watch daily calling, ‘they’re out…in the meadow or in the neighbor’s yard by the pool or they are running the loop’.  I cannot tell you how my
heart soars watching them in the intimate moments with mama….stealing a glimpse as she nurses them…WOW!  Or watching them groom each other with those little tongues….and how adorable are those spots almost in specific patterns that must mean something.

 

 

 

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Seeing mama show them the flowers, plants and shrubs to eat.  Each having a favorite that they enjoy in the meadow as they appear to disappear amongst the tall goldenrod and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Just a pair of ears moving slowly through the plants.

 

 

And watching with pride the first day they cross the road.  Scared for them as they wander DSCN3993down the fence line, cognizant of the people about…running back many times…today is not the day.  And finally they meander, too slow I think, across the asphalt, and my heart stops hoping no cars are about.  They stop for a few moments to explore other gardens.  Then realizing mama is gone they race to the safety of the woods to visit.

 

 

DSCN4836The twin fawns that were born this year continue to grow up around us.  Not old enough to jump the fence yet in fall and winter.  Seeing their spots fade and their thick winter coats replace the youthful innocence.  Praying they make it through the winter.  Seeing their mother inside the fence the night of our first snowfall, covered in snow and close to the fence with her babes nuzzling her nose, from the other side,  every so often to make sure they were OK.

 

 

Spotting them recently still with mama running the fence line at dusk to cross the road DSCN6710and go to the woods, I worry about them in this bitter cold.  I miss seeing them daily, and will wait for spring when we will hopefully see them again.  We think one is female ( a bit smaller) and one male (a bit larger)…will they stay together for another year; I don’t know.  But I am sure one day I will find them inside the fence.  And we will have a meeting of the minds as I let them know the meadow is for them, the garden inside the fence for me.  Somehow I don’t think they will interested in what I have to say.

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about deer:

  • According to Native American lore, deer represent gentleness.
  • Deer are said to represent the gentleness of spirit to heal our wounds and help us find peace.
  • The spots on the fawn represent the dark and light in others that we must love if we are to bring gentleness and peace to ourselves and others.
  • Deer represent the love and compassion we need to find balance in our lives so we can accept ourselves as enough as we are.

 

 

 

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With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  Please check them all out.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about deer and all wildlife.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Winter Woods

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Winter Woods

 

Winter slips silently around me

Walking me to cold, crisp woods

To gaze upon the peaceful slumber

Suddenly exhilarated, restored in found solace.

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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This poem was written on February 6, 2012,  during a particularly cold, snowy winter.  There is something about the snow; like being in a fantasy world, peaceful where you do not even notice the cold.  I love to walk in snowy woods, and let my senses do my thinking.

 

And I am reminded of that winter this year, but now being retired I can enjoy it daily, either inside or out, without worrying about travelling in snow.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note: The pictures here are of winter woods found in my garden this winter.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the solace of winter woods.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Snowflakes

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Snowflakes

 

Snowflakes glisten

descending, suspended

in mid-air as if time is standing still-

catching on leaf and blade;

green gone to white.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

 

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I wrote this poem during a very cold, white winter in 2012.  And the first week in January of this year, 2015, we had quite a snowstorm that is pictured here.  I love how the snow falls about the garden especially around the gazebo.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

gazebo collage

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others. I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs. 

 

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Special Note: The snow pictures here are from a recent lake effect snow storm where we had 11 inches in 5 hours.

 

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I leave you with a little reminder of the beauty of snow.   I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

snowflakes

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden-On The Freedom To Soar

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“If you let go a little you will have a little happiness. If you let go a lot you will have a lot of happiness. If you let go completely you will be free.” ~Ajahn Chah 

 

 

As the New Year dawned, I was excited for all the adventures and changes that I imagined were ahead of me.  But as the days stretched out in front of me, I felt as if my enthusiasm had already waned.  I thought, ‘really, how could this be already’….’had I chosen the wrong mantra’.  No.  I knew in my heart that I was meant to use the word Soar this year as a mantra.

 

So what was wrong?  Why wasn’t I feeling any different?  Yes, I know it is not like magic when we start a new year, and presto things are changed.  But something crucial was missing.  So as I read and reflected a bit, I noticed that I was still tethered to the past.

 

With gardening we sometimes get tired of our garden…plants die, others become thugs and soon the landscape changes.  If we neglect our space, the weeds take hold and push out plants until our garden sometimes becomes unrecognizable.

 

DSCN0471That is what I noticed this past year as I lived with my garden for a year.  While there were many flowers and plants that made the garden beautiful, there were far too many weedy patches that needed a bit of work if I was going to see any semblance of a garden again.

 

As it is with my garden, so it is with my life and the weedy patches there.  Old habits, old thought patterns, old assumptions and judgements were cropping up along with old emotional reactions.  And when I dug deeper, I saw I was still surrounded by the old clutter.  Things used in a prior life that no longer served me in retirement.  If I was to stretch my wings I needed to clear out the old, to make way for the new.

 

Ready to let go and move on now, I am changing some key habits especially at the beginning and end of my day.  And my garden is integral to these new habits.  While I continue the work to transform my garden into more of a wildlife garden, I am looking for more spots where I can hear the birds, watch the hummers and butterflies, hear the water falling into the pond as the frogs croak their greeting to the sun.  The garden is a haven, a sanctuary where I plan to start each day.

 

I also want to plant more flowers that I can use for a cutting garden.  I have found making a weekly vase such a soulful experience.  Wandering, observing, creating…such deep meaningful pursuits with the satisfaction of a beautiful arrangement to see throughout my day.  I have enjoyed it so much that I plan to make more vases more often spreading them throughout the house.  Bringing more of the garden indoors will be a new habit.

 

DSCN2570I am even thinking about making it easier for me to do a bit of writing in my sanctuary.  The gazebo is a perfect spot that is underutilized so I need to find a way to be able to sit there, listen to nature and write…especially poetry which I write with pen and paper.

 

And ending my day in the garden…sitting, reflecting, perhaps writing in my journal, watching the sunset and playing more with the waning light as I try to capture it with my camera.  All wonderful ways to close the day.  And before the mosquitoes come out to stay, there are months of wonderful bug free nights where I can sit and gaze at the night sky.  Something I long to do more of…such a powerful end-of-the-day ceremony.

 

I have always had a tendency to observe myself living rather than actually experiencing life…mostly because of fear or crazy, self-imposed work habits.  But now I am feeling the need to free myself, to no longer miss out on this life.  And these new habits cultivated in the garden will go a long way in helping me spread my wings finally, and take those tentative first steps out of the security of my nest and experience the new life waiting for me in the sky.

 

 

Note:   I am using bees in flight in this post to help emphasize the idea of free flight and soaring in the garden.

 

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I leave you with another image of my word of the year, Soar.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons-Butterflies

DSCN1244“Like a butterfly stuck in a chrysalis, waiting for the perfect moment, I was waiting for the day I could burst forth and fly away and find my home.” ― Emme Rollins

 

 

I have long identified with butterflies.  Seeing them instantly brought me great inexplicable joy and happiness.  A freeing, playful spirit would overtake me.  I would want to follow them as it I could fly away on their adventures sipping the sweet nectar of different plants and choosing which I prefered.

 

And I never quite understood why these creatures held such magic over me until I began to garden for them, and then study them a bit.  When one gardens for butterflies, you make a concerted effort to bring in the flowers that will nourish and nurture them through each stage.  You bring in shelter too.  By getting to know how they live, you begin to know them….it is inevitable.  And to really understand them, you must also study their lore.

 

DSCN3557Butterflies seem very fragile.  Thin wings…wisp of creature that a strong wind could demolish…sensitive to their environment where slight changes could bring about their demise.   But if you watch them carefully and study them a bit, you get to know how really resilient these creatures are.  Flying thousands of miles to get where they must go…where they know instinctively they must go.  Battling storms and adverse conditions, yet still moving onward even in their short lives.

 

And it is the resilience that I most identify with now…still the playful, free spirit, but more the knowing of their place, their journey and never deterring…such commitment.  Of course these are human emotions I give to these creatures, but still it feels right to think of them in this way.

 

This year with my mantra/word for the year being Soar, I feel a strong pull, almost kindred spirit, to creatures of the air and especially the butterflies.  It is a transformational year too as I enter my second year of retirement, where I feel ready to shed the old and stretch my new wings getting ready to Soar into the brilliant blue skies.  So having butterflies as the symbol of my year, is perfect as they have long represented transformation in folklore.

 

As I look toward the future, I am looking back at the butterflies that Soared into my life and garden in 2014.  They were not great in numbers, but we did have a greater variety.

 

 

red admiral collage

The Red Admiral or Vanessa atalanta is usually a yearly visitor.

 

 

 

white admiral collageAnd the White Admiral or Limenitis arthemis arthemis has been visiting the last few years, now that we have been gardening for butterflies.

 

 

 

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This Eastern Tiger Swallowtail or Papilio glaucus bravely flew around the garden although he was missing the bottom half of his wings.  Pretty resilient critter finding lots of nourishing nectar here.  We generally have a few of these lovely butterflies visit.

 

 

 

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His cousin, the Black Swallowtail or Papilio polyxenes, frequents our garden more, and we usually have many of these caterpillars on our dill or Italian parsley.  I grow a patch just for these creatures.

 

 

 

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Another cousin, I had not noticed in our garden before, was the Giant Swallowtail or Papilio cresphontes.  Very similar to the others, but the body and wings are a bit different.  It was a treat to see him nectaring on the Clethra bush.

 

Another new butterfly was the Fritillary that is pictured at the top of the post.  It is hard to identify it with just the one photo.  This one was hard to get a picture of as it wouldn’t stay in one place long enough.  But I think it could be an Aphrodite Fritillary or Speyeria aphrodite…maybe an Atlantis Fritillary or Speyeria atlantis….most likely though it is probably a Meadow Fritillary or Boloria bellona.  I will watch for more of these lovelies in my garden as their host plant is violets which I have plenty of.

 

 

 

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Surprisingly the most plentiful butterfly in our garden is the Monarch or Danaus plexippus.  I think with all the milkweed we have now, and loads of their nectaring favorites like Echinacea, Monarda, aster and Helianthus, we see them on their way North and again as they migrate South. Not many caterpillars spotted in years past, but I hope that changes.

 

My plan for this year is to continue to add specific plants to entice loads more butterfly species into the garden.  I hope to compile a database of what host and nectar plants I already have that may draw in different species, and then go looking for caterpillars as I am more out and about in my garden.  It is my version of play….fascinating stuff really!

 

 

 

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Here is some interesting folklore about butterflies:

  • According to the Blackfoot Indians, butterflies carry our dreams to us at night.
  • Native American cultures consider the butterfly a symbol of the sacred and the unknown.
  • Since ancient times, the butterfly has been a symbol for the soul.

 

 

With this wildlife story, I am joining in the meme Wildlife Wednesday hosted by Tina@My Gardener Says that happens the first Wednesday of every month, and with Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  Please check them both out.

 

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I leave you with another thought about butterflies.  Feel free to download this photo and share.

butterflies

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Sky Painting



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Sky Painting

 

 Splashes of paint on a cloudy morn

Carried like fire, the sky adorned.

 

Deep purple hues, bright orange splashes

Undulating hints of gray dots and dashes.

 

Then spread across the deep bright blue

Pictures forming, ever shifting anew.

 

Now marshmallow fluff, mountains in the sky

Clouds collide painting pictures, rolling by.

 

The sun creates the palette, the wind is the painter

Seeking new canvas as soon or later,

 

A new scene emerges with each breath I’m taking

Behold nature’s finest; look the sky is painting.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was created as we were SOARing through the sky at 35,000 feet.  I am always mesmerized by the clouds from high in the sky as well as when the sunrises.  Actually I find the sky paints the clouds best during sunrise.

 

And given that my new word for the year is SOAR, this poem is the perfect complement. You can read about my word of the year as it will be my guiding force this new year!

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

sky painting

 

 

I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

fiery clouds

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others.  I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are from recent sunrises where I watched the sun paint the clouds and sky.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about clouds and light.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2015.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Creativity In Winter

 

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The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of a world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?  

~J. B. Priestley

 

 

With the solstice behind us and we head into more daylight hours, I thought I would share with you some of my winter, and the beauty it brings me inspiring my creativity.  The first photo is my meadow in winter as the snow makes dollops of cream on the goldenrod seedheads.

 

 

 

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The trees are another wonderful place for winter creativity and inspiration.  The snow clothes the trees leaving me to wonder how beautiful a tree can truly be in winter.  This is my beloved silver maple covered in lichen and snow.

 

 

 

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We have many types of snowfall, and I love the gentle slow falling flakes shown here against the backdrop of the gazebo slightly off center.

 

 

 

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Here’s another tree shot of the same silver maple, but this time it is the red flower buds that stand out in winter waiting for the warm spring.

 

 

 

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Then there is the beauty of snowfall in black and white.  Here is it falling a bit steadier with no wind again against the backdrop of the gazebo.

 

 

 

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And here is a part of the garden that was recently covered in snow.  The snow washes the landscape clean and there are few colors left making black and white photos of it very intriguing and creative in my opinion.

 

 

 

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One other spot that is magical in the garden in winter is the big birdhouse.

 

 

 

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And finally I leave you with a mosaic for the season that shows you more of the bokeh effect (out-of-focus areas of the photo) of snow.  You can see this same effect in many of my photos of snow in this post.

 

 

I hope you enjoyed these winter scenes created by nature.  I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.  And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about the magic of the first snow.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

 

Poetry Sunday-Push Pause Please

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Push Pause Please

 

As our days speed by and I fight for my glee,

I long for a way to regain my sanity.

For time to stand still for just a little while….

to push pause please and bring me a smile:

 

Pause for a bit of ruminating

Pause for a saunter or stroll,

Pause to see beauty through my camera lens

Pause to hear nature’s calls.

Pause while the rain pitter patters,

Pause for a flower bud tight

And pause to reflect at the end of my day,

in the sun’s tranquil, golden light.

 

Oh yes a button to push at anytime,

to push to my heart’s content.

Yes I will push pause each time I must,

For a pause is time heaven sent.

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was written in the fall, when I knew the garden would be done blooming soon, and the sometimes hectic days of the holidays would be looming.  The phrase, push pause please, came into my head loud and clear almost like a song or chant to be sung.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others.  I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 

 

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Special Note:  In the Language of Flowers the lavender pictured here means calm.  When I see lavender, I pause and take in its intoxicating scent.  A sweet pause and time to reflect.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about taking a pause.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Life Long Learner In The Garden

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Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. ~ Robert Frost

 

 

I have always considered myself a lifelong learner especially in the garden.  And I find I learn the best through my experiences good or bad.  Bad sometimes being the over the top, knee-jerk reactions to things.  They have become less and less since retiring, but they still happen.  Case in point was this spring as we awaited the nesting of the birds, especially the robins who usually nest in our front dwarf willows.

 

DSCN5908Every year we look forward to watching the robins make their nest, lay the eggs one a day, nurture the babies and see them fledge.  So we were ecstatic when we saw a pair of robins checking out one of the trees in April just after the last spring snow.  You can see the female robin above.  Little did we know at the time that we would get to know her up close and personal.

 

Soon after the robin pair checked out the tree, I was sure they were set on that tree, and was happy knowing we would have a nest here again.  A few days later though something strange happened.  The bluebirds had chosen a house in the back garden, built a nest and were all set until a lone robin chased them out.  Robins don’t nest in houses so I was perplexed as to why this robin was continuing to bully the bluebirds out of their nest.  You can see her sitting here unrelenting as the bluebirds fought her unsuccessfully.  They went on to another house and built a nest where they had a few babies who fledged.

 

DSCN5987Then one day, soon after the bluebird house fight, we heard an unusual banging on the front windows.  Perched on the front porch bench was a robin pecking at the window.  I thought nothing of it until the pecking moved from window to window all day long.  It seemed the robin was protecting the area around the tree she had chosen, and saw another robin in the window.  I read online to cover the windows with decals or paper to break up the robin’s image.  It went on to say that if the robin didn’t stop she could wear herself out and die.  Not to mention the incessant banging against the window did not stop if we ignored it, and the noise was making us me crazy!

 

So I proceeded to cover every other pane with white paper.  I left it loose on the ends so it would fly up and discourage the bird as she was now flying up and pecking into the windows.  We moved the bench off the porch and she then took to flying from the trees right at the window.  Eventually she eased up on the pecking, and just when we thought we had her calmed down, she went to the back of the house and started pecking relentlessly at our bedroom windows launching herself from the roof below.  It was then that I surmised that the robin was clearing all similar birds from the area, including the bluebirds as they are also part of the thrush family.

 

At one point I had 3 of the windows in the front of the house and our bedroom windows DSCN6164completely covered with wrapping paper and white paper.  Of course our neighbors noticed the paper on the windows and were asking all sorts of questions.  And still the robin pecked at the windows more out of habit than anything by now.  This was beginning to wear thin for us, and my patience was about gone.  She seemed a bit more than quirky and we thought perhaps all the banging had loosened a few screws in her head.

 

So back to the internet, and with more research I bought an owl that we could hang.  I really wanted her to nest here, but I was more concerned for the bird and our sanity.  The owl seemed to work right away.  The robin moved on to the unoccupied house next door.  We had done all we could, and wished her well.

 

DSCN6619We unwrapped the house, and were settling in to the calm again when we heard an occasional peck at the front windows as the robins visited to find food in our garden.  Then I spied the female gathering nesting materials.  I was happy she would be nesting, and was shocked to see she had completed the foundation of nest in the original tree they had checked out in April.  And right under the hanging owl.  Great deterrent that owl!

 

As she built her nest, she would fly by, weave the nesting materials and then peck at the windows.  She took forever to build the nest as she kept getting distracted by the robin she saw still in the window….I think at this point she had developed ADD.  Her mate could be seen flying to the tree and calling to her to get back to the nest-building.  But in three days she finally completed the nest, and three days after that she laid her first egg.  Whew!

 

And after all that has happened, I have been trying to figure out the lesson of this robin DSCN8859adventure.  One thing I have learned throughout my life is that the more distressing the experience, the more profound the lesson.  And each experience will be interpreted differently depending on our view of the world.  But most importantly, try not to judge the situation.  Instead dig into your feelings looking for the wisdom found therein.

 

So what is the wisdom from this experience.  The obvious lesson was; don’t try to change nature.  But when I thought about it a bit more, I realized the bigger lesson was one of resilience and perseverance.  You can hit your head against a wall or window many times before you might find success, but it is important to keep trying if you really want to reach the goal.  And boy was this robin a role model for reaching a goal in the midst of many obstacles or perhaps perceived obstacles.

 

DSCN5803So this fall, as I think about the deer already browsing the garden and the voles digging holes in my veg beds, I also think about the robin.  Her lessons so vital to me….we can only do what we can do in our gardens after all we share the land with the critters.…and of course, don’t beat your head against the wall for too long, but keep working on the problem by getting a new perspective.  Then we can work through the obstacles toward a solution.

 

 

 

Note:  There is much animal symbolism surrounding the Robin.  Their bright yellow beak stands for the sun’s rays.  The white ring around the robin’s eye is symbolic of clarity, and great wisdom. When clear understanding is needed the robin is called upon.

 

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Update in fall:

While this story started in early spring when the robin’s returned it did not end with the first nest in our tree.  After a week of the robins laying the eggs, we arose to find some of the eggs pushed from the nest.  It appears something was wrong with them so the robin’s destroyed them and started over.

This time they moved to my next door neighbor’s tree and within hours had a new nest, and a couple days later they were laying another clutch of eggs.  She did not peck at their windows as they have a dog, but she flew for an occasional peck at our windows to make sure our robin in the window stayed at bay.

We never saw any fledglings, but heard there were some.  And just this fall we saw lots of young robin’s still around our garden.  It seems the robin is more than just a harbinger of spring here in our garden.

 

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I am sharing this lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.  I am also linking in with Michelle@Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.  And I am joining Saturday’s Critters hosted by Eileen@Viewing nature with Eileen that happens every Saturday.  Please check them all out.

 

Also as the solstice approaches, please join me join in at my garden blog, Gardens Eye View,  for my quarterly meme, Seasonal Celebrations, where you can find all the details for linking up to this celebration of the new seasons around the world.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about my garden lesson learned this year.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Winter Begins

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Winter Begins

 

 

Flowing, following the elusive light as the season wanes and darkens

Deeper into its cold, biting phase.

 

Searching, basking, squinting against the rays as they rise higher

Making diamonds in the snow.

 

Slowly brightening our fleeting daylight as colors play on the clouds,

Beginning and ending each day.

 

As fall moves to winter and the light seeks our senses more each day,

Filling our hours with blissful delight.

 

I have come full circle through the year, and the light has remained

Giving its glossy, glowing, luminous gifts unending.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2014

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This poem was originally shared on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, on January 6th, 2014 soon after the Winter Solstice and New Year.  With the darkness receding as winter began, I wanted to celebrate the light.  The light lost and found again through the seasons and through my life over the past few years.  It was this following of the light that helped keep me going through the dark times in my life.

 

I thought it would be appropriate to share my thoughts on winter again as we approach the new Winter Solstice and the coming of the light.  Where autumn comes out of its darkness and we follow the light to spring.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

If you enjoy reading this blog, I welcome you to share it with others.  I enjoy spreading the blog love, and I appreciate all who come and read my blogs.  I hope to more overtly spread some blog love through both my blogs in the future. 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are from last winter as I watched the snow play on the landscape and sparkle especially in the early morning light.

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about winter and light.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Autumn’s Kiss

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Autumn’s Kiss

 

A chillin’ kiss on frosty morn,

On every blade and flower adorns.

 

As summer fades and autumn is born

The icy dew does bid us warned.

 

 

 

For soon the nights will be long and cold

As winter slips in to take its hold.

 

So cherish for now each warm sunny day,

As they skip on the breeze and fade away.

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

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I wrote this poem last October 3rd, 2013 on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, in anticipation of the coming frost.   Frost came suddenly in late October that year, and the pictures here show the killing frost in the garden readying the landscape for winter’s chill and frozen time.

 

 

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I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

 

 

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I am also linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday, and with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

 

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Special Note:  This year we waited until the middle of November for our killing frost which came with snow.

 

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I leave you with a little bit of sentiment about keeping warm in frosty cold.  I welcome you to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

The Quiet Miracles of Change

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“The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.”   ― Kiran Desai 

 

As a gardener, I can be quite obsessive when I start plants from seed; especially those for the veg garden.  I will read up on their requirements for planting, and how to tend them once they emerge from the soil.  And I will continue my daily vigilance once they start to grow, so I can monitor when they need water and have enough light and heat, all important for their growth and survival.

 

So it is no surprise that when I am contemplating a change in my life, I can be quite obsessive there too.  Or at least I have been in the past.  Reading, researching a topic, coming up with new schedules, ideas, plans….well you get the idea.  Sometimes, the change met with success, and sometimes not.  Sometimes I gave it time, and many times I did not as I wanted change to happen quickly.

 

And was the change sustained by me if there was immediate success?  Of course, but not so much when the change was delayed.  Many times I would file it away, and forget about what I had done thinking it did not work.  I would abandon all my efforts.  The funny thing is, that change was still growing and going.  I may not have been aware of it, but when I came back around to it, I found to my glee that change had happened.  And many times just like a seed planted and forgotten, nature takes care of it helping it to still grow.  All the work was important, but it just needed time. 

 

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Now I tend to let things go more.  I will read, write, contemplate and make the steps necessary for a change…but then I let it go.  You know the old saying, ‘if it was meant to be, it will be’; if not then perhaps something better is on the way instead, and I have learned from this too.

 

I call these changes that go on outside of my consciousness, quiet miracles.  They happen all the time because each day, each moment we are changing and different.  Each new bit of knowledge, each ah-ha moment, adds to the one before and the one coming after it….and it all changes again.  We aren’t aware of these quiet miracles until we see the fruit of our labors; if we are lucky to see them at all.  Some quiet miracles happen without us ever knowing.  One day in the future, you might hear about it from someone in passing, or from a blog reader in a comment. You might finally see the change in yourself or someone else.   And it is then you know that this quiet miracle has happened, giving you a sweet surprise that makes the effort worthwhile.

 

Recently I was doing a journaling exercise and was exploring this concept of change.  You can read more about it in a guest post I did for Mari McCarthy on her blog.  She is a journaling guru who has helped me to focus myself through journaling from time to time.  And in exploring change, I became aware of the idea of letting go.  Aware that courage is a part of change too.  I even wrote a poem about change, and posted it this past Sunday.  I consider the poem one of those quiet miracles.

 

I now am embracing change by recognizing these quiet miracles.  What’s the next surprise I will see?  They are just waiting, growing beneath the soil drinking in the nourishment needed until that brave day they break free and bloom right before my eyes.  Are you seeing any of the quiet miracles of change?  You just need to stop, wait, look….it is right over there.

 

 

Note:  The Sunflower here represents Pure Thoughts in the Language of Flowers.  Change is a powerful purifier of thoughts.

 

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I leave you with another thought about change.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Late October Evenin’

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Late October Evenin’

 

Darkness descends upon me a little earlier every day,

As colors seem to leap from the trees to paint the sky.

The cold winds howl through scraping branches,

While my bones ache a bit more now.

And as the last slip of light hastens me home-

Soon I will feel the hearth warm my soul and bring gentle rest.

 

© Donna Donabella 2013

 

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I first wrote this poem last fall as I observed the fall sky and the colder evenings.  It was originally published on my garden blog, Gardens Eye View, on November 4, 2013.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.  Visit them to read some more wonderful verse.

 

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I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.  

 

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Special Note:  The sky here is what I see in autumn outside my door as the sun sets in all its splendor and the blue hour descends.

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I leave you with a bit of a sentiment about the lure of the evening as the light fades.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Creating Something New

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“There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”
― Sophia Loren

 

 

This week’s photo challenge had us looking for something new along with themes such as little, lines, morning, soft and nature.   Again the themes this past week overlapped and I decided to go with an overarching theme…that of something new.  Every day is new for me, and when I pick up my camera I never know what is going to appear unusual, beautiful, intriguing and a must capture.

 

All but one picture was taken in my garden depicting nature.  And while taking pictures of my garden is nothing new, all of these pictures were taken at the start of a new day in the  soft morning light.  The first picture is of Obedient plant glowing as the first soft golden rays of the morning sun shines down on the garden.

 

I am linking in with the I Heart Macro meme hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.  And I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday.

 

 

hibiscus This is one of my hardy hibiscus greeting the soft morning light.

 

 

 

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Joe Pye weed glowing….

 

 

 

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…along with perennial Helianthus a much smaller (little) native sunflower.

 

 

 

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And the lines of zebra grass make a great backdrop for Queen Anne’s lace.

 

 

 

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This fading Echinacea flower is almost transparent in the morning light.

 

 

 

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Last week I showed you this Great Burnet in black and white.  And while I loved its texture in monochrome, I do adore its wine color too.

 

 

 

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My native Tradescantia, still growing in late summer, becomes a golden purple casting a wonderful shadow in the morning light.

 

 

 

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This picture of the same Obedient plant, at one at the top of the post, was also taken in morning but the clouds rolled in.  That did not deter this little hummingbird.  Can you see her just approaching from the right….just peeking her head in.

 

 

 

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And finally my favorite little vase together with my special little Zuni bear fetish are also greeting the morning sun.

 

 

 

I leave you with another shot of creativity in nature…. a white admiral butterfly, which is a new critter in the garden this year.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

 

 

 

You Need To Listen To Me

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“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

 

 

As summer wanes, the silence increases.  Little birdsong is left as many parents and young ones get ready for the trip South.  Crickets and locust still continue their chirping day and night, but the frogs’ croaking has lessened as well.

 

With the movement now of summer to fall, I begin to hear the crunching of the leaves.  I hear the grasses rustle and sway.  Soothing sounds that nature gives us that seem to move with my breathing in and out.

 

And with the quieter times in the garden, I revel in that solitude.  It gives me a chance to listen intently to every little sound now.  And to listen to my internal voice.  It usually is too busy with so much outside stimuli that I can never quite hear its message entirely.

 

DSCN2616I often think we don’t listen enough to ourselves and to others.  I have definitely been more of a talker instead of a listener.  Nodding, shaking my head…in a hurry…get to the point…I need to move on to a meeting….oh yes I have done that too…now what was I going to respond…need to keep that thought in my head…what were they saying…..that was the usual discourse going through my head as someone was talking.  Not listening, just hearing dribs and drabs so it would appear as though I was.

 

And I wasn’t proud of those moments.  Sometimes I wished I had the time to listen more, to really listen.  Maybe to make the time to listen.  When I took time to listen to people who came to me, I was helpful even it was just to lend an ear and not to give advice.  People need to run their ideas or their troubles by someone and sometimes come up with their own solutions.

 

But beyond those times when someone came and I had time, I wish I had connected more with people.  Spending less time talking….this is hard for me…..and more time listening.   Hearing them, letting them talk.  Getting to know someone by letting them tell you about themselves without interjecting about my life.

 

But listening isn’t easy, is it.  To keep your attention focused on someone else.  Really hearing their words, watching their body language totally engaged with them.  Not wanting to respond and get your ideas or experiences out.

 

It is a gift to give someone your full attention.  And when I give this gift, I find I have less of a need to talk.  Instead I crave the connection that comes from this gift…a more special experience.  Giving someone my attention, my time….I can’t think of a better gift, can you.

 

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Special Note:  The plant featured in this post is Northern Sea Oats.  It is a wonderful native grass that grows here, and I love to listen to it rustle from late summer through winter.

 

I leave you with another thought about listening in my garden.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

 

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All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.