Poetry Sunday: Spring’s Song

Spring’s Song

 

Light flickers at the edge of my sight

And rouses me from sleep and the dark of night.

 

 

Breaking before the warmth of a fine spring day

With fire in the sky riding the sun’s drowsy rays.

 

 

Only whispers of a cooling breeze tickling the dew

Finding open windows to gently waft through.

 

 

The birds lullaby adds to my tranquil repose

As I open my eyes and wake from this languid doze.

 

 

And sweet honey scents drift through my dreams

Waking the shadows with dancing, dappled sun beams.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I wrote this poem as I thought about those first true warm spring days where the light, and sounds and scents all change and add such an excitement.  And I am dreaming of those spring days now and that light, and the sounds and especially the scents.  All are gone in winter….replaced by a different canopy.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Spring’s Song.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: The Landscape is Erased

 

The Landscape is Erased

 

In this late fall the sounds abate,

with distant twitters across a garden gate.

 

 

Long gone is the sound of rustling leaves,

an eerie silence sets the stark scene.

 

 

In the quiet of the garden that must relent,

all that remains is the wind’s lonely lament.

 

 

And the rhythm of the rain is sadly replaced,

with an icy, white sheen as the landscape is erased.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I started this poem late last fall when winter started.  And this past week, winter has come too early with 3 storms in a row and 2 feet of snow with frigid temps in the teens and 20s…..making me lament for a bit more fall as we have had very little.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.


I leave you with a few additional words about the Landscape is Released.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Surrendering to the Light

 

Surrendering to the Light

 

Dark and dingy on this misty day,

Soul searching in the weathered decay.

 

 

Once colored gems found among the green,

Soon all is gone to a barren scene.

 

 

Quiet melancholy heavy in the air,

Tears rush forth while heartache is declared.

 

 

Let the grief well up, spew and flow,

While the water washes me clean as I let go.

 

 

This wearisome heart must not yield to the disdain,

Surrendering only to the light and a restful peace regained.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 


I am thrilled to be back blogging and writing again.  It has been over 4 months, and I am feeling healed and much better.  I aggravated an old back injury, had vertigo and then blood pressure issues (not related to the vertigo).

I started this poem when life had me down and the weather seemed to amplify the sentiments.  With this rainbow last week, on a particularly warm November day, I was remembering what is important in my life if I am to live it to the fullest even on the darkest days.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 


I leave you with a few additional words about Surrendering to the Light.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Flower Woman

 

Flower Woman

 

A flower woman

Keeper of the land,

Tilling fertile soil

With her gentle hands.

 

 

Architect with seeds,

Of meadows rich with dew

Preserving the territory,

Creating anew.

 

 

Student of pollywogs

And pollinators  galore,

Enlightening this steward

With tales pure as gold.

 

 

A comrade to nature

She celebrates the rebirth

When the sun rises nearer

Singing sweet songs to the earth.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

 

__________________________________________________________

The idea of this poem was originally written as a birthday tribute for a true flower woman who creates fields of flowers from seed.  I kept the idea, but changed it to reflect the birthday of another gardener/flower woman, me.  I am celebrating my birthday next week, and am pleased to have lived and loved for 61 years now.

The pictures are of native lupines.  They were seeded in my meadow by this flower woman’s hands.  They symbolize imagination.  So apt as I imagined creating this beautiful meadow, and have not been disappointed.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about the Flower Woman.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Expectant

 

Expectant

 

 

Under the dark new moon

Where diamond dust is sprinkled against the black, velvety sky

I plant new seed in fertile soil.

My breath slows becoming one with Mother Earth

Her energy flows through me

Joined with the Universal energy of the heavenly bodies.

Intentions are made, blessed and released

Watered, waiting, expectant.

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

__________________________________________________________

This poem has a double meaning for me…the expectancy of spring and spring planting, and the expectancy of growth along my personal path as I read, learn, experience and share my life lessons.

As the full moon is upon us, I am reminded that spring planting by the phases of the moon is said to enhance harvests.  Some gardeners suggest sowing seeds for crops that yield an above ground harvest between the new moon and full moon.  Root crops are best planted when the moon is going from full moon to new moon.  While I have never tried this, I have gardener friends who swear by this planting method.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about Expectant.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: A Renewal

 

A Renewal

 

My tears glisten in the sunlight

And drop, nourishing the seed

That lingers within.

 

 

They streak my red cheeks

Making rainbows, sparkling

On my eyelashes.

 

 

A renewal has sprung forth,

New sprouts warmed-

Born from the tears of joy.

 

©Donna Donabella 2018

 

 

__________________________________________________________

On this Earth Day, we celebrate 48 years of awareness about being kinder to our home planet….to protect our environment even in the wake of the horrible policies and environmental agenda of this country.  This poem has many levels….a renewal of my garden, the earth and of me personally that always happens in spring with new growth.

The pictures are of early organic lettuce growing in my garden last year.  With our cold spring I have not started my lettuce in the garden yet.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about A Renewal.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: The Yearnings of Spring

 

The Yearnings of Spring

 

There is a deep, urgent longing to break this icy dam winter has cast over me.

 

Where my skin again feels the glowing warmth of the sun,

Where bare feet are tickled by cool, soft, new grass,

Where my eyes catch the young, fresh growth of plants emerging,

And I breathe in the earthy scent of the garden thawed.

 

Where my hands cast seeds imagining a future harvest,

Where the heady perfume of new flowers overwhelms me,

Where every buzz and chirp has my heart beating faster,

And where the water splashing the rocks in the pond invites me to play.

 

As I patiently wait for spring to arrive, I dream of merging with nature.

Yearning to break this icy dam winter has cast over me.

 

© Donna Donabella 2018

 

__________________________________________________________

Even with the vernal equinox coming this week in the northern hemisphere, the first day of spring never quite arrives according to the calendar.  It shows up when it is good and ready…each year a different date.  And this year winter is unrelenting, and March seems to be the new February, with cold and almost 4 feet of new snow in the first two weeks.  Now we are frigid again with snow piles everywhere….no spring thaw in sight for weeks perhaps.  So as I wait, I am thinking about what I am yearning for when spring finally does show itself in earnest.

The pictures are of native Bloodroot from my garden.  They are one of the first native flowers blooming.  You have to watch for their blooms, and savor them while you can, as they fade fast.

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about the Yearnings of Spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2018.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Savoring

DSCN4390

 

 

Savoring

 

For me, food was always an after thought.  Something I had to have to fuel my growing, in-constant-motion- child’s body.  Grabbing a bowl of cereal here and there; a quick sandwich.

 

And into adulthood, this still was the case.  I had my favorites, but still food was merely fuel to be gobbled, rushed, downed and then move on.  Eat at my desk, eat on the run.  Never really savoring.

 

Instead the moments of food bliss were kept for those special treats:

 

The home-made chocolate chip cookies still warm from the oven.  The gooey chocolate-covered fingers licked clean.

The ice cream that I lingered over, and licked slowly off the spoon, tasting the swirl of flavors from lips to tongue.

 

I was lost in the moment with these sugary treats.  And these moments increased with age until sugar was the only thing I savored.  Now, no longer can I dally with sweets.  Instead, I relish the sumptuous taste of the fresh pea or tomato picked from the vine.  Warm in my mouth.  Luscious, now savoring these.  The rush of a sugary addiction transformed.

 

Sweet licks and morsels

Lightly dancing on my tongue

Moments now savored.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

This poem came from a prompt given to me a couple of winters ago challenging me to write a poem about enjoying food.  I have never had a problem enjoying food…there was little I didn’t like.  And sugar was my favorite food….in any way, shape or form.

But with age, has come issues with food.  The need to reduce sugar or eliminate it as much as possible.  Gluten, acid reflux, no preservatives, eating organically all add to the issues where my food intake is now very healthy, and I have made peace with the changes as I turn 60.  This is my haibun poem paying homage to savoring food throughout my life.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

chesecake collage

The pictures here are of my husband’s award-winning cheesecake that he made for me two years ago on my birthday!  One of those rare sugar times.  The picture below is of the peas I savored from my garden well into summer.

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about savoring  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

savoring

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday: Nature Speak

Nature Speak

 

Dewdrops of rain kissing leaf and flower,

Cool crisp breeze cleanses my soul.

The hum of bee and cicada fills the air,

Sun warms my skin, lulling me into a trance.

The leaves bend with the wind,

Keeping time with my heart.

The flow of life all around me,

As I stand in this one moment.

© Donna Donabella 2017

 

__________________________________________________________

I was reading a wonderful book, which inspired me to write a stream of consciousness poem in one minute this summer…staying in the moment.  So I went out after a rainstorm, sat on my step, breathed in and observed for one minute (OK 3 minutes) and wrote my thoughts and observations from the heart.

 

The pictures here are of bees going crazy for my native Summersweet bush flowers this summer…it has a dreamy scent.

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up, Poetry Pantry, for poets who blog.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about nature speak.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

 

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Weaving A Life

Weaving A Life

 

 

When I first looked at the spider, all I could see was a creepy vixen waiting to trap and enslave her prey.  But now, I notice the webs, the homes lovingly created to provide food, shelter and a home to nurture her young.

A mighty creature, the garden spider goes about making beauty all over the garden.  And she also helps keep a healthy habitat for all creatures who rely on the food chain.  Sometimes eating, sometimes eaten~she is essential!

Old tales tell of Grandmother Spider stealing a piece of the sun.  She rode her silken threads back to earth, with her treasure tucked under one of her mighty legs.  And if you look upon her web today, you can still see the sun’s delicate pattern woven there.

And the Ancient Ones wove a spectacular tale about climbing to heaven on spider silk.  Perhaps that is why dream catchers are made in the shape of a spider web.  To catch our dreams as we climb each night into the heavens.

 

 

Silken threads glisten

New patterns made on life’s loom

Woven in a moment, a blink

 

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I love watching spiders in our garden.  They make incredible displays from spring into summer and even into fall, where their handiwork glistens in the dew.  You can see those displays below.  They always seem to be weaving a life as they spin their webs.

I created this haibun, to sing their praises.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their Poetry Pantry link up.

web (1)

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about weaving a life.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2017.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons-The Magic of Toads

DSCN4569

“I believed then – in a deep, easy way that is impossible for me as an adult – that there was more to this world than meets the eye. Trees had spirits; the wind spoke. If you followed a toad or a raven deep into the heart of the forest, they were sure to lead you to something magical.”

~Jennifer McMahon

 

 

 

When we had the pond built, almost 20 years ago, we had high hopes that lots of critters would visit or make a home there.  And we have seen our fair share of critters come to the pond….frogs, insects, turtles, snakes, birds….and the list goes on.  The most consistent visitors making a home, in the pond, has been the frogs laying many eggs every year (see picture above).

 

 

But my favorite, yet elusive, visitor to the pond has to be the toads.  Although we hear the toads, we only see them from time to time as toads are generally nocturnal.  The American toad (Anaxyrus americanus, formerly Bufo americanus) is the species of toad found here.  They love areas with moisture and plenty of insects…..which is exactly what you will find in our garden.

 

 

We heard the toads again in early April, and they seemed quite close each night calling with that amazing long, trilling sound.  So imagine my surprise when we saw them not soon afterward…..

 

 

DSCN3454

I was so surprised because we had never seen two at once, and certainly not in this amorous embrace.  Of course in this position it was quite evident that the large rust colored toad was the female and the smaller the male.  The female makes her home just outside the fence in a small garden we have, and we see her burrowing herself in for the winter, or uncovering herself as spring warms the ground.

 

 

 

DSCN3466

We see the smaller male toads here and there, in the garden and pond and even some tiny young toads.  But we have never seen the making of those little toads.  Not wanting to intrude on these two, I took pictures and quickly left them alone.

 

 

 

DSCN3463

It is interesting to note how the mating ritual takes place.  Males go to shallow ponds, and call to females.  When the female arrives, the male actually grabs or hugs her (the lady must be willing if the smaller male can grab the female twice his size) until she discharges her eggs.   As the eggs come out, the male fertilizes them by discharging fluid with sperm onto the eggs.  I actually witnessed her continuing to push out two long strings of eggs looking like a necklace of black pearls.  See them draped all along the vegetation above.

 

 

 

DSCN3456

If you look closely, you can see the eggs are covered with a jelly like substance in long tubes. The toads found the perfect spot for the eggs; shallow water with vegetation near the irises that had not bloomed yet.

 

 

 

developing toad eggs

Like frogs, once the toads lay the eggs they leave them to develop on their own.  Eggs begin to hatch in a few days.  The process can take up to 10-12 days before the eggs become tadpoles, and then they fully develop into toads in about 2 months time.  American toads usually survive only a year or two in the wild although we have seen the large female here for a few years. Most tadpoles don’t survive very long becoming food for snakes, and frogs.

 

You can see the development of the eggs above over a 10 day period.  We have not seen the toads yet, but they should be emerging sometime this month we hope.

 

 

 

DSCN3455

Here are some additional facts about the American Toad:
  • Toads don’t cause warts, but the American toad produces a toxin that can be harmful if swallowed, or if it gets in your eyes.  So be careful if you handle toads.  We leave them alone.
  • When the tadpoles are ready to leave the pond they emerge usually in groups.
  • Tadpoles have several ways to keep predators at bay. They swim close together in schools, and stay in very shallow water that is thick with vegetation.  We have lots of that especially around the cattails so perhaps we will have several surviving toads emerging soon.

 

 

Special Note:  I wrote a poem about our toads and you can find it here….Ode to A Toad.  The picture at the end of the post is of our House Wren feeding its babies recently.  The wrens have fledged, but we still hear the Wren’s song in the garden.

 

 

 

What wildlife lessons are you learning as summer begins?

 

 

 

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 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.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

 

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

 study nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Learning Everyday

DSCN4746

“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.”

~Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Many times when I look at nature, around me in my garden, I see one thing.  And when I look again at the pictures I take, I see so much more.  I see deep into these scenes, and each one teaches me something daily.  So I thought, why not share some of the things I learned by watching nature in late spring….

 

 

Starting with the top picture, we are watching the baby bunny who was born here in our garden, and now visits.  He is adorable, and I noticed I captured more of his shadow, than of him, as he scampered about.  He was tasting the weeds and plants between the bricks as he is learning what he likes.

 

 

 

sunrise

Seeing the sunrise, is a glorious event that gets better as dawn unfolds.   I have learned to have patience, and take time to see the sun rise completely….you will be glad if you do.

 

 

 

DSCN4383

And don’t forget sunset.  Even through the clouds the view can be amazing!

 

 

 

DSCN4442

I love wandering in the garden early in the morning.  The light playing off and through the plants can take my breath away.

 

 

 

DSCN4377

And even on a gray day I can see beauty.  The water lilies shine against the dark water and lily pads

 

 

 

orange flowers

I am noticing the orange flowers showing up now.  Orange poppies, first daylily and the Geum.  They stand out against the sea of green and purple blooming right now.  And this little bit of bright color, adds so much to my view.

 

 

 

DSCN4335

These ox-eye daisies are an non-native plant that spreads all around my garden.  I used to see them as a nuisance. but now I love the surprise of their blooms ever year.  And at night, you can see them shining all over the garden like beacons.

 

 

 

DSCN4456

Like many native plants, this Zizia aurea has seeded itself around the garden and meadow.  And as you can see it is a pollinator favorite.  I picked a few for a vase, and learned they not only have a beautiful, long-lasting flower, but they have an amazing citrus fragrance too.  I can’t get enough of them.

 

 

 

DSCN4419

Looking closely at a plant, can give you a special surprise.  I love seeing the unusual petals I might not notice unless I took a closer look.

 

 

 

What are you learning from Nature these days?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  

I am moving my Thursday posts to Wednesday starting in July.  I will still have my poetry posts on Sunday, with maybe another poetry post midweek each month.  The little fairy house, below, was made by a neighbor and friend…..isn’t that just the sweetest gift.

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words learning everyday.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

learning

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Do You Talk To The Bees?

DSCN1892

 

 

Do You Talk To The Bees?

 

 

Do you talk to the bees?  Well I do.  I wish them a good morning, with the sun’s first rays.  And as I do,  I give a wide berth to these buzzing teenagers, slow to wake.  They can be ornery, you see.  And if aroused, you might feel the sting of their wrath if they are still trying to sleep on their flowery beds.  They require a soft voice, and gentle touch.  Needing time to stretch their wings and get their bearings, they drink in the moment.  They linger over their first sip of nectar or sniff of silky pollen passion.  But once tasted, they move from plant to plant leaving their mark.  Letting all know, “I have been here”.

 

 

Catching the first light

Dancing through the morning scents

Waking to my day

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

__________________________________________________________

I love to go into my garden and start the day by watching the bees sleeping on flowers.  And I talk with them as they are just beginning to wake.  Thanking them for being part of my garden sanctuary, and pollinating the flowers bringing us abundance.  They remind me to savor the beginning of the day, and live in the moment.

 

The pictures here are of those spring bees that wake early in the garden season, and do their spring dance bringing me indescribable joy.  This haibun poem is in honor of these precious bees, who are under assault from chemical warfare.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

bee collage

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about talking to the bees.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

talk to bees

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Bride’s Feather

DSCN5035

 

 

 

Bride’s Feather

 

 

Behold the sight of creamy white,

Like feathers standing, stretching, bending.

Fireworks of plumes exploding-now dancing on the wind.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

__________________________________________________________

The plant profiled here is called Bride’s Feather, Goat’s beard or Aruncus dioicus.  Its unusual blooms look like fluffy feathers.  And it is a pollinator magnet.  You can read more about it here.  This native plant grows in my summer garden, and is pictured throughout the post.

 

I hope you have enjoyed reading some of my wildflower poems, over the last several weeks.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog.

brides feather collage

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

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about this beautiful native plant.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

goats beard

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson-As Spring Unfolds

DSCN4010

“One should pay attention to even the smallest crawling creature for these too may have a valuable lesson to teach us.”

~Black Elk

 

 

 

As spring warms up, the birds come flocking to our garden.  Many have visited before, and return to find feeders, nesting areas or boxes, and a habitat in which to raise their young.  Chemical free with lots of plant debris.  And water….a nice pond to drink from or bathe in.  More on the pond in another Wildlife post in the months ahead.

 

 

And each critter who wakes or visits, teaches us lessons in how they live, cohabitate and survive.  So here are some of the mid to late spring visitors to our garden.

 

 

DSCN3251

Squirrels naturally assume that wherever they are, is the place to be.  We have found many black walnuts in and around the garden; some eaten, some forgotten.  The squirrels love to play around and explore every nook and cranny of the garden, high and low.  I can tell you this favorite perch on the wren house had to be vacated once the wrens were back.

 

 

 

baby bunny collage

And what a surprise to see this baby bunny just out of the nest.  In March, we saw a pregnant female near the big ash trees in the center of the garden.  I could not find the nest, but eventually, once they left, I saw the small opening.  It is not uncommon to have a nest in our garden each year, but this year they nested early because of the very warm March weather.

 

This little babe was hiding in the middle of a bunch of daffs absolutely still (see last photo at end of post).  I almost didn’t see it.  It eventually moved more to the edge of the daffs the next day, and then it was gone.  We see a small bunny around our neighbor’s shed so perhaps we will see her in our garden eating the clover that is flowering.

 

 

 

bee collage

Pollinators were cautious of the warm March weather, and were slow to emerge in April.  But once they did, they were busy making nests in the bee house we have.  I am not good at identifying bees, but these are small solitary bees.

 

 

 

frog collage

The pond also awoke cautiously in later April.  Frogs…..

 

 

 

DSCN3466

and toads.  This is a female toad laying eggs for the first time in the pond.  I’ll have their story for you this summer.  And I’ll show you the pond project that has been a roaring success for the critters.

 

 

 

DSCN3240

Pileated woodpeckers live here year round, or so it seems.  They have been busy in the garden since February, digging holes and getting the insects that have been living in trees and stumps..  This female visits often.  I plan to have a post about these majestic creatures this fall.

 

 

 

finches collage

Finches live here all year round too.  They eat the dandelion seeds, in spring, that are all over the back lawn…which is mostly dandelions and clover.  The Goldfinch looks very happy, and the House Finch looks like he got caught in the act.

 

 

 

DSCN4019

Red-wing blackbirds came early with the robins this year.  They returned to their territory and nesting areas, and many visited the suet feeders, especially this March and April as the cool weather kept their insect diet at bay.

 

 

 

DSCN3974

Other familiar year round faces are the Cardinals, here, and the Song Sparrow in the picture at the top of the post.  Cardinals sing all year round too.  It is a beautiful song.

 

 

 

DSCN4048

But as May dawns, I look for two migratory birds to return to the garden….the Baltimore Oriole….

 

 

 

DSCN4099

….and the Ruby-throated hummingbirds.  We put up feeders, for both birds, but more birds prefer the Oriole feeder, even the hummer above.  Both birds arrived a day apart in the evening, and were exhausted taking long drinks and resting on the feeder.

 

 

 

DSCN4278

Our oriole feeder holds sweetened water, and cups for grape jelly.  And as we were refilling the jelly, the Orioles couldn’t wait to partake…..you can see we didn’t even have to hang the feeder.

 

 

 

oriole feeder collage

And Orioles (left and top right) are not the only ones who love the sweetened water and jelly.  Downy Woodpeckers (center right) visit frequently, along with Catbirds (lower right), Sparrows and a newcomer to the garden…..

 

 

 

DSCN3961

…Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.  A stunning bird isn’t it.

 

 

 

wren collage

I wasn’t sure the Wrens would return.  I heard their jolly, bright song for weeks and finally they were ready to nest.  It is fascinating to watch them carefully make a nest of small sticks….turning the sticks in their beaks and handing them off to their partner in the box.

 

 

 

waxwing collage

And last but not least, the Cedar Waxwings returned in late May right around my birthday.  Always the best present!

 

 

I am struck by the spring lessons of caution and focus as I observed, looking back at our visiting and year round critters.  Pollinators and pond critters took their time not being lured out of hibernation too soon.  And I was cautious too as I observed an early spring that turned back to winter.  And those critters that came too early, weathered the storm and showed me such resilience.

 

Once the critters arrived for spring, they were focused on their chores of finding food, and procreating.  I too was very focused with garden chores this spring.  And we will see the fruit of their labors soon enough with baby frogs and baby birds being added to the garden habitat.  I hope to see the fruits of my labors as well as the garden season progresses.

 

I am sharing these lessons with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.

 

 

So there you have some of our mid to late spring visitors.  I have at least two more spring stories coming in the next two months….both about the pond.  What critters are showing up in your garden this spring?

 

 

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 hosts Mosaic Monday, and 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.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learn from looking deep into nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

look nature

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Wonderful Viburnum

 IMG_2039

Wonderful Viburnum

 

 

Branches covered in snowy white,

Red and blue berries later delight.

Thick scarlet leaves escape from my sight,

To return bright green in the spring’s sunlight.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

__________________________________________________________

In spring, I love seeing shrubs flower.  One of the most beautiful is the native viburnum, Viburnum dentatum, that blooms right off my patio.  The white flowers turn to blue berries in late summer, and are devoured by birds.  I wrote this poem in honor of this very important native shrub.  You can read more about it here in my garden post.  The pictures here are of that wonderful viburnum that blooms profusely in my garden each year.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme.

viburnum collage

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

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about wonderful viburnum.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

viburnum

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Conversations In The Garden: On Creating a Sanctuary

IMG_0261

“Who will free me from hurry, flurry, the feeling of a crowd pushing behind me, of being hustled and crushed? How can I regain even for a minute the feeling of ample leisure I had during my early, my creative years? Then I seldom felt fussed, or hurried. There was time for work, for play, for love, the confidence that if a task was not done at the appointed time, I easily could fit it into another hour. I used to take leisure for granted, as I did time itself.”

~Bernard Berenson

 

 

Many days I felt like this.  Hurried, hustled and bounced about.  Feeling time was running out, and I had accomplished little.  And even after I ticked everything off my To Do list, more was added instantaneously.  Never time for leisure, relaxation or rest.

 

 

 

IMG_6584

I always dreamed of a safe haven away from the flurry of life….where I could go to get away even for 5 minutes to regain my sanity.  And when I thought about this place I saw the ocean or a meadow….flowers or a beach.  Each of these images are healing for me, and immediately ease my pain and renew my soul.

 

 

 

IMG_5627So when I designed the bones of my garden, I imagined flowers and water there in a special spot…and with it the sound of water.  It was clear that a pond would be the perfect spot to have water and flowers.  And that pond had to have a waterfall, so I could have the healing sound of water nearby, especially since I don’t live close to the ocean.

 

 

 

IMG_2173

It was easy to decide where to place the pond….as close to the house as possible so we could have easy access, and hear the water flowing over the rocks.  Where I could sit on a large rock at its edge and look out over the garden of my soul…my sanctuary!

 

 

 

IMG_1257

And once created, this place took on a magic all its own.  I discovered that my sanctuary was also a safe haven for others who wanted to share it with me.  They didn’t talk, they just hung out with me in the moment….they were my quiet solitude companions that added their song to sing me to sweet solitude and peace.

 

 

 

IMG_2218

I am of course referring to the frogs, toads, birds and insects who also call the pond their home, and their sanctuary.  They bathe here, and give birth here.  And some have made this place their home too.  We commune and talk, but mostly we just sit in peaceful meditation marveling at how incredibly beautiful this place can be.

 

 

 

IMG_6177

I look forward to every spring when we put the pump back in, and the pond stirs to life.  To see the tadpoles and frogs awake.  And the lily pads start forming on the surface, knowing the flowers will be along soon.  To watch the reflections in the water.  This is my heaven on earth….my special haven for healing.

 

 

Have you ever created a sanctuary for yourself?

 

 

 

********

 

 

Special Note:  The pictures here are of my pond in its first year of bloom.  While it is a bit overgrown these days, it is still my sanctuary, and beloved habitat for so many who share the garden with me.

 

I will be taking a week off, and will have another post next Thursday, the 26th!  It is a special day for me….

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words on creating a sanctuary.  I welcome you to download this photo and share it.

sanctuary

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-A Flower Delicacy

DSCN2852

 

 

A Flower Delicacy

 

 

I love to see these tiny little yellow lanterns spreading out across the, almost bare, meadow landscape.  Their liver-spotted leaves give them away before you see their blooms.  Look quickly though for they only flourish a short while.   A flower delicacy fleeting with time, but like a fine wine, they will be forever burned into your senses….sending you looking for their bright yellow blossoms each spring, even if you can only glimpse them for but a moment.

 

Pagoda flower

Alights over spotted leaf

Tiny lanterns glow

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2016

 

__________________________________________________________

One of the first native wildflowers to pop up, in early spring, are the Trout Lilies or Erythronium americanum.  Called a spring ephemeral because they bloom for but a few days or so as the air warms.  You can read more about this native flower in my garden post.  I created the haiku in 2012, and completed the haibun this year.  The pictures here are of Trout Lilies that bloomed in my meadow last April.

 

 

I will be skipping posting a Sunday poem next week, and will return on May 29th with another Sunday poem.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is Art.”  Not sure if this hits the mark, but I adore native plants like this Trout Lily, and they seem to be nature’s work of art for me.

pagoda collage (1)

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about rejoicing in spring.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

pagoda

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Wild Blue Indigo

DSCN8434

 

 

Wild Blue Indigo

 

 

Deep blue of indigo

Stalks reach skyward.

Magnets for the buzzing drone.

Bees drink their fill

With drunken smiles.

Sweet memories linger

With their departure.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I am continuing my spring poems with another wonderful native plant, Wild Blue Indigo or Baptisia australis.  Their spikes of purple flowers rise tall each spring, drawing in dozens of pollinators for weeks on end.  You can read more about this plant here, in my garden post.

 

The pictures here are of the Baptisia that grows in my garden each spring.

 

 

 

baptisia2

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and with Gillena@verses for her Monday WRites meme, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is “Nothing is more memorable than Scent”!

baptisia

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

 

 

__________________________________________________________

I leave you with a few additional words about deep blue indigo.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

wild indigo

All other photos and original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson-Early Spring Critters

DSCN2857

“My favorite weather is bird-chirping weather.”

 ~Loire Hartwould

 

 

 

As spring (March 21st) dawned in the purply-pink sky, there was a perceptible shift in the air, urged on by the warmer spring weather.  As we walked around the area and observed our surrounds, we were greeted by crowds in the trees, in the sky and on the ground; crowds of migratory birds who had returned here early to nest and raise their young.

 

 

Of course it was different when the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) came around in mid-February.  The birds scattered to find warmth as it fell on the coldest weekend of the year with -20F temps and -40F wind chills.   It was lonely and the trees were pretty bare.  Now weeks later, the birds are showing up to usher in spring right on schedule….March 21st.

 

 

 

DSCN2943

When we returned in early March from our trip out west, the weather had warmed a bit and the peepers were singing us to sleep.  And when I walked around our pond, the first week of spring, I saw tadpoles swimming.  The frogs are usually not long off.  The first are usually the Northern leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens).

 

 

 

DSCN2852

Prior to the new birds arriving, I noticed the Mourning Doves (Zenaida macroura) were pairing off and looking around for nesting sites.

 

 

 

DSCN2888

And American Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos), along with various hawks, were seen gathering nesting materials.  This crow was ripping bark from an old vine growing in the meadow.

 

 

 

geese collage

Canada geese (Branta canadensis) were also returning, in droves, in mid-March, littering the skies on their way to the lake across the street.

 

 

 

DSCN2853

And many blackbirds descended upon us as spring started….Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus), Brown-headed Cowbirds (Molothrus ater), and Common Grackles (Quiscalus quiscula).  A few Red-winged Blackbirds were back in February, but the raucous noise of the males returning to their nesting sites was a glad spring chorus in late March.

 

 

 

DSCN2890

But I knew spring was here, when we heard the familiar banging on our front windows.  Our female ‘crazy-toes’ American robin (Turdus migratorius) was back to claim her nesting site, our garden, for her third year.  The banging meant she was back to fight the imaginary robins in our windows.  You can read more about our journey with her here.

 

As I report on the events of the start of spring in March, April receded to winter with snow and cold.  The robins were especially struggling, and you can read about their struggle here.  They seem to have made it through and are now building their nest next door at the abandoned house.

 

 

So there you have some of our first spring visitors.  I will update you on more spring critters next month….April warmed, and the critter activity has been busy!  What signs of spring are you seeing in your area?

 

 

 

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 with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and 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.

 

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons to learned from the singing birds.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

birds sing

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-16.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.