Wildlife Lesson-Early Spring Critters

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“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.

 

 

 

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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).

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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.

Poetry Sunday-Lilies of the Wood

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Lilies of the Wood

 

 

Through the shadows

of early woods,

Carpets of white

arise in pools of light.

Spreading out far and wide

in glorious song of spring’s arrival.

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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In honor of National Wildflower Week, I am highlighting one native plant, that grows in my garden, each week for the next 5 weeks.

 

Wildflowers are amazing to see in the woods in spring.  These lilies of the wood, as I call them, are also known as Trillium grandiflorum.  Upon seeing their carpet of white blooms, across the floor of the forest, I was inspired to write this poem.  You can read more about this beautiful wildflower in my garden post.

 

The Trillium pictured here are those that I grow in my garden, in hopes they will make a mass of stunning blooms one day.

 

 

 

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

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

 

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

lilies of the wood

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-April Spring

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April Spring

 

 

The soul stirs under bright April skies,

Raw and cold, with warm sun, clouds rolling by.

 

 

Rain pours down and pools throughout,

Replenishing the soil; pushing worms out.

 

 

Everywhere in the garden is the rush to grow,

Fresh green foliage wrapped with bright colorful bows.

 

 

More voices join daily in the garden’s song,

First robin’s, then peepers all the day long.

 

 

And my heart quickens its beat on this glorious stage,

As April moves to May and writes a new page.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

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April springs are unique and special.  The weather shifts from cold and rainy to warm and sunny, even within the same day….trying to settle.  This year it has been very unsettled.  The blooms continue to pop up more and more throughout the garden decorating garden beds throughout….much like presents with bows.

 

The flowers here are pretty spring bulbs known as, Chionodoxa, or Glory of the Snow.

 

 

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

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

 

 

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

april spring

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 Perspective

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“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”
~Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

 

 

For me, I would say the world IS a garden.  A big, beautiful garden full of plants and wildlife, so much more fascinating than I could ever dream them to be.  And the intricate webs of life, that are woven in this garden, are so important for us….for you and for me, and for the plants and wildlife we live amongst.

 

 

With Earth Day being celebrated tomorrow…or is it anymore….I am reminded of the call, in 1970, to change how we treat the world, the environment we live in.  It meant something important and special to me, that first Earth Day.  Finally a way to recognize what we must do to change how we are treating our planet.

 

 

IMG_0412And the rallying cry, ‘Earth Day Everyday’ was a perfect mantra for me.  A young 13-year-old wanting to make a difference.  I knew so little then…and now some 46 years later after all I have learned, and all I try to do, I wonder do I make a difference at all.  Will my one garden, grown organically, using less water…will it matter in the grand scheme?  Will it matter to the wildlife in my one plot?

 

 

And realistically in the grand scheme of things maybe not.  But for me it does matter.  I was taught respect.  Something I find sorely lacking these days.  And the respect that we may give others who have earned it, also translates to a respect for the earth that supports us.  Indeed it is essential that we respect the earth.  That we do our best to do no harm.

 

 

I know I am not perfect, nor can I be.  But my efforts do help the microcosm of life, here in my one plot.  The rabbits nest here, the animals find food here to support themselves and their young.  Unlike those around me, who spray every bug until it dies, I cultivate the insects.  I welcome them home.  And my garden is abuzz with their sounds throughout the season.  These insects are the reason my flowers grow, my fruits and vegetables produce, and birds and babes flock here to nest and raise their young.

 

 

IMG_0381From my perspective, it is really rather simple…..do no harm.  Stop spraying your weeds and the insects.  The chemicals not only are killing the wildlife around us, but they are killing us.  More and more research is showing that our exposure to chemicals is causing diseases in us and our pets.    And the chemicals found in our food, is where we get the bulk of these chemicals that are deadly to us.

 

 

I am not going to regale you with research article after research article.  They are there if you chose to read them, or even believe them.  But if we use common sense, why would we want to poison our bodies.  Once I started eating only organic foods, I found many of the health issues I had subsided, and the inflammation in my body was drastically reduced.  Not scientific research…no.  But good common sense….do no harm.

 

 

If chemicals kill weeds and insects, then it follows they poison us too on some level.  Have you ever used some of these chemicals.  I did a long time ago, and even poisoned myself….I was deathly ill after prolonged use….several days of spraying to rid myself of lawn and weeds.  I was lucky to escape with my life in tact.  But then I was only focused on getting rid of the weeds…can’t have weeds you know!  Now I live with the weeds.  The weeds that support wildlife.  I’d rather have weeds, and wildlife and my life, than a chemically sprayed world devoid of life.

 

 

IMG_0413Can you tell I am impassioned about this topic?  Am I preaching to the choir?  Yes, and I am up on my soapbox too.  And maybe my voice will reach very few, but that is not going to stop me from doing what I know in my heart is the right thing….do no harm.  This is my perspective, and only you can reach your own conclusions based on how you see the world.

 

 

I ask that you take a moment this Earth Day, and consider my words.  Look at the world from a different vantage point.  Shift your view, to see the world through the eyes of others that we share this planet with.  Look at the future for yourself and your children, your family.  Bury your face in the grass and see the teeming life there that we depend on, and that depends on us to first do no harm.

 

 

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How are you celebrating Earth Day?  What is your perspective?

 

 

 

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Special Note:  The pictures here are of Iris reticulata that grow in early spring.  I took pictures of the same clump of iris from different perspectives.

 

 

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

perspective

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-Rejoice

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Rejoice

 

 

Snow retreats,

while armfuls of green stems stretch out.

Toward skies of deep blue,

chill winds blow strong.

Yellow faces waving,

bright smiles beam toward the sun.

Rejoice-the daffodils are up!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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One of the first flowers to pop up, in early spring, are the yellow trumpet daffodils.  I look forward to seeing their cheery faces.  This poem was born from observing them bloom.  And even though mine were buried for 4 days under snow, they have perked back up, and are smiling in the 70 degree sun!

 

The pictures here are of the daffodils that bloom in my garden in early April.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is ‘a drop of sunshine’; what gives us more sunshine than the first daffodils of spring!

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

 

 

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

rejoice

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-Seeds Await

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Seeds Await

 

 

Under the ground the seed awaits

For the warmth of the sun upon its head.

Waking from peaceful slumber

To break free and push past its constraints.

Stretching now toward the nourishing light,

Changing and growing into a new form

Soon to show the world the beauty that has lain dormant

Now unfettered-a true celebration!

 

 

© Donna Donabella 2012

 

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I wrote this poem in spring 2012, when I was starting my vegetable garden.  Seeds have always mesmerized me as they have everything in their small capsule to make a plant, flower and fruit.  Quite a miracle that little seed.

 

The pictures here are of seeds I started indoors, last winter and spring.  They were planted out when the weather was warm enough.  And I will be planting seeds directly in the garden soon when the weather warms, and the garden season starts again.

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  This week’s theme is spring, and our views about the season.

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

 

 

 

spring ruralA perfect way to start off spring is to read RURAL’s spring issue.  I am honored to be contributing again to this amazing online magazine, the creation of Jen@The Light Laughed.  I hope you will drop by and read all the amazing articles….and best of all it is free.

 

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I leave you with a few additional words about seeds waiting to grow.  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, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lessons: A Survivor’s Tale

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“All living things contain a measure of madness that moves them in strange, sometimes inexplicable ways. This madness can be saving; it is part and parcel of the ability to adapt. Without it, no species would survive.”

~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

 

 

 

I had a different story for you today.  One that started out with beautiful spring skies, and warm breezes, birds chirping and arriving to their summer homes a bit early.  And then the bottom dropped out, and we had this….this frigid cold, and snow….days of snow.  Snow that froze my daffodils and hyacinths to the ground and kept them there for 4 days.

 

 

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Snow in April is common here.  We get dustings, and even up to 3, 4 or 5 inches.  But it melts fast.  In all my days here, I have never seen so much snow in April, 8 or more inches for 2 days, and no melting even when it stopped.  Cold January and February temps, in the 20s and teens, instead of normal early April temps in the 40s and 50s.

 

 

And as I tell this story, our snow is still here.  And my flowers are still suffering.  But the more poignant part of the story was not about me, and my whining about my poor flowers.  It was about the birds, and especially the American Robins.  They came back in March.  The last to arrive were here on the first full day of spring…our lovely warm spring that has disappeared.

 

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We have loads of robins who visit us.  They pair off, and make their home claiming the land between every 2-3 houses.  Staking their territory to start their home and raise their young.  And our pair has been coming here now for 3 years running.  We know because the female greets us every morning by banging on the window.  She is the only one to ever do this, and she has been doing it now for three years.  But that is another story you can read here.

 

 

 

DSCN3136The robins are used to a bit of snow, and cold.  But this snow swallowed the ground, and not a bit of it was left uncovered.  Why is this significant?  Because robins eat worms and insects in spring, which were nowhere to be found in the snow.  See my poor daffodil buds languishing in the snow.

 

 

 

DSCN3151And it didn’t dawn on me that they would be suffering until I saw this.  Our female struggling in the Barberry branches.  At first I thought, why would she choose to perch in this thorny bush, where the branches are vertical and packed tight with barely any breathing space.  And then I saw it….

 

 

 

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She was eating the berries formed last fall.  We have never seen any birds eating these berries.  Which is a good thing, as the seeds then are scattered (if the birds eat the berries), and this invasive bush colonizes in forests pushing out the native understory plants.  But this day I was glad for the barberry berries as were the robins.

I do have lots of berry producing bushes that are native and preferred by the birds, but those were picked clean in late summer and fall.

 

 

 

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Another sign they were eating these berries, was the tell-tale red droppings in the snow, and on my front porch bench.

 

 

 

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They found evergreens or trees with dense branches for some shelter, but their isn’t much here as the trees are not leafing out for another month.  For birds to survive the cold, it is essential they have food, stay still, especially if they can’t find much food, and use their metabolism to generate heat. And they puff up their feathers to keep the cold air away from their skin, and trap body heat.

 

 

 

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Of course they need water to drink, but all puddles and ponds were frozen.  So at first, I saw them eating snow often to stay hydrated.  As the snow on the driveway and roads melted and formed tiny puddles, they drank from those.

 

 

 

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Seeing their little foot prints in the deep snow, broke my heart.  They seemed to prefer staying on the ground, even sitting on top of the snow in sheltered areas.

 

I have plans to take out the barberry bush in the next year or so, but I will make sure we replace it with a nice berry producing bush, and maybe add a couple more along the side of the house just in case.  After all, we have lots of bird friends who like berries, so the more the better.

 

 

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I guess I should have realized the burden this unexpected weather would put on these birds, but we are so used to seeing birds here all winter.  Of course our full-timers, as I call them, are acclimated to our climate and know how to survive.  Unfortunately for the visitors, they are not used to this, but boy they are wired to survive, and find what they need.

 

I was buoyed by their feistiness, and their determination.  It pulled me out of my snowy weather doldrums, and made me see the bigger picture beyond my flowers….which I bet may survive after all.  I won’t count them out yet either!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Note:  I’ll tell you the nice spring critter story next month, and give you any updates on the robins.  Also please excuse some of the pictures…between the weather, dirty windows and screens they made for some dark and out of focus shots.

 

 

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

survival

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-Ode To A Toad

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Ode To A Toad

 

 

 

On the ground or in the pond

Amongst the leaf litter

Toads can be found.

 

 

Sweltering suns can force them to flee

Below ground

Or in deep meadow green.

 

 

On warm, gentle nights the ‘whirring’ begins

Rushing to ponds

For the courting whirlwind.

 

 

In morning look closely and you’ll spy,

On stout stems,

Pearly stings of eggs loosely tied.

 

 

In no time at all these glistening beads

Alter their form-

To inky blobs between the reeds.

 

 

Warts galore they begin to forage

 For worms, slugs and ants

 Their surrounds, exploring.

 

 

But with the sun waning, the air turning cool,

Underground to slumber

Dreaming again of warm nights by the pool.

 

 

 

©Donna Donabella 2016

 

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I wrote this poem in early spring as I was anticipating the toads returning to the pond.  Each stanza talks about the life of the toad, from where they live, laying their glistening bead-like eggs and hibernating again below the soil when fall returns.  I have not seen or heard them yet as it has turned cold.  But once their song starts, it sings us to sleep every night from spring through summer.

 

The toads pictured here are found in my garden and pond from spring to fall.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  I am not sure if this poem fits with the ‘Surely You Jest’ theme, but I think some people think it amusing that I have written a poem to a toad!

toad collage

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

 

 

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

ode for a toad

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-Crocus

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Crocus

 

 

Petals unfurl,

with shouts of joy!

A youthful gladness-

finally enjoyed.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

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One of the first bulbs to bloom, early in my garden, are the snow crocus pictured here.  They shout spring with splashes of color all over the garden.   Wishing everyone a joyous Easter!

 

 

 

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

crocus collage

I am also linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and Today’s Flowers hosted by Denise@An English Girl Rambles 2016.

 

 

 

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

crocus

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.

3/5/12

Poetry Sunday-Perennial Life

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Perennial Life

 

 

A beautiful spring.

Next a strong summer,

Moves to a waning fall

As blossom and leaf are shed.

 

To winter slumber,

Emerging slowly.

Renewed with the warm spring breezes,

To flower once more with vigor-

Begins the cycle again.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

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As a gardener, I often see my life’s journey as parallel to the seasons in the garden.  This poem was written after one of those reflective moments.

 

Pictured here are Oriental Poppies and their seedheads.  They have such a unique look, and I am struck often by their mandala tops.

 

 

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These are the same poppies in bud and flower.  I love the crinkly, papery petals resembling crepe paper.

 

 

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 link-up.

poppy seeds

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

 

 

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

perennial life

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-Retreating to Spring

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Retreating to Spring

 

 

As I reflect on the garden these days,

I find my mind retreating

to the spring colors,

of bulbs popping up-

the subtle greens emerging

and dotting the brown wet soil.

Of beginning again…always a new start.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2016

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March means spring is on its way…even if the weather is cold and snowy.  We know it isn’t far off.  And as spring approaches, the bulbs start to pop up with the snow’s retreat.

 

With our unusually warm weather, the snow retreated already and bulbs are up.  I am renewed each spring as if my life has the beautiful gift of starting over…..nothing is the same, and I am ready for all the new wonders about to be shown!

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  I am not sure if this poem fits with the ‘Faith, healing’ theme, but the new growth of spring is my healing…it is where I find my spiritual place!

sprouts collage

Please visit these fabulous poetry blogs to read some more wonderful verse.

 

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

retreating to spring

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-Squirreling Around

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“Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel.

Huge portions of what is loosely termed “the squirrel brain” are given over to one thought:  food.

The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
~ Kate DiCamillo

 

 

 

I have not always been fond of squirrels….eastern gray squirrels that is, or Sciurus carolinensis as they are also known. As a matter of fact, in my old garden that grew beneath an orchard of old black walnut trees, I actually loathed these beasts.  They dug up my plants, chewed all the flowers off my tulips and crocuses.  We waged a battle of wits to keep them from our bird feeder…..yes, I was not fond of squirrels back then.

 

 

But here in our present garden, the squirrels are not as big or plentiful.  They are part of the native landscape…residents that hunt up food, and are food for those who hunt them.  So they are kept in check.  Even the small Common Wrens chase them from the spring and summer garden trees when they are nesting.

 

 

 

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And as part of our wildlife garden, I have found them cute and amusing…we’ll see how long that lasts if they destroy my tulips again.  For now, though, I actually get a kick out of them.  Especially in winter when they are wrapped up in their thick winter coats.  We  can see their frequent visits, and even their typical pathways once winter arrives.  They have very distinctive footprints.

 

 

 

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Last March, the squirrels found the suet feeder as the winter’s frigid cold was harsh and all the critters needed extra fat for energy and survival.  This winter they tore it down once as they swung on it.

 

 

 

DSCN1322And this little squirrel, was likely born in winter as Eastern Gray Squirrels breed in summer and winter.  Brrrr!  Not a time I would think of breeding and raising young ones….although all those bodies in a nest must make it toasty.  I am assuming he is one of a few gray squirrels still frequenting the garden.

 

 

 

We don’t have any squirrels actually living in the garden in hollow tree nests, but we have had leaf nests, also known as dreys.  Gray squirrels usually use these dreys primarily in summer as they are supposed to be temporary.  But here we see the nests built and used in winter too.  It is said that if the nests are built high in the trees, then the winter will be harsh.  This year, the squirrels seemed to be unsure with good reason…it has been an atypical winter.

 

 

And within the last year, we have noticed a new visitor…..a Black Squirrel.  The Black Squirrel is a subgroup of our gray squirrel, and not usually seen in these parts.

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This squirrel is pretty aggressive as is usual for Black Squirrels.  When he hopped into our garden, he liked what he saw.  He has taken over the yards of 5 houses as his territory, and if a gray squirrel is found anywhere near, he chases, and chases, and chases them.  Of course the gray squirrels sneak in and make themselves at home when he is gone.

 

 

 

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As tree dwellers, squirrels are at home in our trees.  Especially this fellow.

 

 

 

pumpkin squirrel collage

This pumpkin was smashed in front of our house in late November.  We decided to put it in the veg garden so perhaps the seeds would germinate in summer.  But our friendly gray squirrel is making himself at home.  We watched him take one seed at a time and bury them throughout the garden, especially near the veg beds and in the veg beds.   He even came back later and found a few for a snack.  And the black squirrel has buried several black walnuts, from the nearby woods, in the veg garden….we find the shells all over the garden in fall and winter.

 

 

 

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I do love their faces…too cute and they have the best expressions.  Recently we even had one come to the back stairs to peer in through the kitchen glass door.  He lingered a bit on the railing of the stairs…..

 

 

 

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All I could  capture of him was his tail end.

 

 

 

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As a matter of fact, I often photograph them from the tail side.  After all it is a rather handsome tail.

 

 

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.

 

And I am sharing this lesson with Beth@PlantPostings for her wonderful Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I hope you will join her.  Please check out all these great blogs.

 

 

I leave you with another thought about the lessons I am learning from nature.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

squirrel

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.

End of Month Potpourri-February 2016

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“Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scattered abroad upon the face of the earth.” ~Hugh Macmillan

 

 

 

With scenes like this, I feel a sense of peace and calm even in the midst of a snow storm.  There is a feeling of being wrapped in a blanket, cocooned in safety as I watch this swirling magical world descend.  There is a beauty and magic to winter we miss when we just think about the negatives of snow.

 

 

It’s cold, the roads are a mess and I hate driving in it, I can’t garden or get outside….the list can go on and on.  But when I think of the time I spend indoors in winter, I feel glad to have this special time to rest, recharge and reconnect with my inner self.

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And I do make time for the outdoors almost daily in winter….it is a renewed commitment to being out in all seasons and experiencing what they bring.  I absolutely love walking outside, even in cold winds, because it is refreshing.  I can give it many other terms:  bracing, invigorating, stimulating, energizing, exhilarating, reviving, restorative, rejuvenating, revitalizing.…well you get the picture.  And these words also describe how I feel about winter in general.

 

 

So I thought I would show you a few more pictures of winter this year…..most of it has happened in just one month, January.  Very strange to not have snow for at least 3 months, but I accept each month as they come.

 

 

 

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When winter falls on the meadow, it is a breathtaking sight especially when the cold frosty morning meets the sunshine of the new day.

 

 

 

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Each plant, coated in frost and snow, shimmers with the sunrise.

 

 

 

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The fresh snow sits like cotton balls dipped in glitter.

 

 

 

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And as the sun rises, I am intrigued by the bokeh effect on the landscape.

 

 

 

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The display changes from different vantage points and lighting.  One reason I love to wander around after a snow fall, is to capture the different effects and views.

 

 

 

DSCN1881And  even on the grayer days, there is a beauty to the snow.

 

 

 

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New snowy white flowers appearing where there was once only a seedhead….I call them winter flowers.

 

 

 

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As the gray lightens or darkens the effect on the garden does too.  This Clethra bush is stunning when it is splashes with some snow.  It completely transforms under a heavier coating.

 

 

 

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I hope you enjoyed this little look into winter in my own backyard.  We don’t have to venture too far to see the beauty of nature, frosty and sparkling under the winter snows.  You can also see some additional winter scenes with, winter at the lake, just a 10 minute walk from my door.

 

 

I will be away from my blog for a bit, and won’t have a Thursday post until March 10th.  I’ll see you then.

 

 

 

I leave you with a bit more sentiment about winter.   Feel free to download the photo and share.

winter

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-Fire In The Sky

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Fire in the Sky

 

 

Darkness descends

on the glowing embers of the day,

all color fades to black.

The silence sparkles under moonlight,

as an obsidian horizon spins toward the new dawn-

Fire in the Sky.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2011

 

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This poem was also written in late fall 2011.  As the seasons change, I observe the subtle and not so subtle shifts in nature.  Winter has some of the most stunning and colorful sunsets and sunrises.  The pictures here are of the sunset seen from my garden as autumn shifted to winter.

 

 

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

sunset collage

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

 

 I will be away from my blog for a while taking a break.  So I will not be posting poetry again until mid-March.  I’ll see you then.

 

 

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

fire in sky

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.

Beyond Words: Winter At The Lake

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“You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one; each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.”  ~Paulo Coelho

 

 

 

So we are back again to explore a beautiful spot that lies just across the street….a mere 10 minute walk from my front door.  Several months ago, I started a new series called, Beyond Words.  I wanted to showcase different spots I find, in pictures, with as few words as possible.  I have been focusing on the lake across the street; already seen in late summer, and again in late autumn.

 

 

It was time, now that winter was here, to venture across the street after our first big snowstorm, and a foot of fresh snow.  In autumn I visited on the unseasonably warmest day in November.  And on this winter’s day, in early January, it was the coldest day.  I was in many layers bracing myself against wind chills near -20 degrees.  It was so cold I couldn’t stay out for more than 15 minutes without my fingers turning numb, even though I was wearing gloves made for this severe cold.

 

 

But regardless, I was drawn back to this beach, this place, to see its beauty now in winter.  So let’s go to the lake…….

 

 

 

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It isn’t surprising that no one is here.  I did find a few footprints of another brave explorer.  How desolate it looks, yet very calm and serene.

 

 

 

DSCN2020I have never walked on a snow-covered beach before.  I felt a bit giddy, and just like when I was a child seeing the beach spread out before me….drawing me in.  Knowing I could stay here forever.

 

 

 

DSCN2019Oh the soft feel of the sand beneath the snow….such a different experience.  Looking to the right, is the area where I saw the soft grassy jetty in late summer.  Now it’s icy and snow-covered, but it appears someone is visiting.  Let’s look closer.

 

 

 

geese collageThe gentle waves have frozen in place close to the shore, but there is open water near the jetty.  The wind has stopped and the lake is like glass.  A flock of Canada geese are feeding here in the warmer open water.  They will soon leave as the cold air and winter weather are finally settling in.

 

 

 

DSCN2044And if I shift my gaze a bit to the left and close up, I see the grassy shore now draped in its wintry cloak.

 

 

 

DSCN2045As I pan back, I can see more of this beautiful cove with the pristine beach.  I didn’t want to walk on it.  So instead I shifted back to face the water, and moved a bit forward.

 

 

 

ice collageAnd I took in the view of the lake in front of me.  Snowy beach meeting frozen water’s edge.  Frosty frozen water meeting ripply waves caught in winter’s icy grip, then open water, more ice and the deep blue lake beyond still not frozen.

 

 

 

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And out in that open water are more geese.

 

 

 

other shore collageIf I stretch my gaze to the other shore, I see a foggy haze out in the middle of the lake where the warm water meets the frigid winter’s air.  One of the amazing sights on this day was all the blue.  The blue of the sky meeting the many shades of blue of the water.

 

 

 

snowy bench collageAnd as I shift my gaze left again, even the snow in shadow is blue.  Do you remember this bench from the last post?

 

 

 

DSCN2050It is already getting too cold, so I turn to go.

 

 

 

DSCN2048I’ve left my own path….my tracks in the snow here today.

 

 

 

frozen beach collageThere are no children playing on this day as there were in autumn.  I couldn’t resist photographing this sign again.  The thoughts of swimming here are farthest from my mind on this day.

 

 

 

DSCN2015One last look before I hurry to the waiting, warm car.  Soon enough this picnic spot will be filled to capacity with people celebrating the coming of beach weather.

 

 

 

DSCN2051Before I get in the car, ahead of me I see the sun blazing off the snow, almost blinding me as it illuminates the trees far on the other side of the parking lot.

 

 

 

DSCN2053As we were driving away, I was struck by the beauty of the trees no longer colored in their magnificent yellow and orange autumn cloak.  Now instead, they sparkle in their winter jewels.

 

 

 

DSCN2054Each scene more wondrous….

 

 

 

DSCN2055My soul drinking in every awe-inspiring view as we wound our way to the street, and back home.  It is amazing what wonders lay just 10 minutes away, waiting for us!

 

I’ll be back to visit this spot one more time in spring to give you a glimpse of its splendor, before the beach opens.  With this post, I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts 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:  Oneida Lake is the largest lake entirely within New York State.  It has a surface area of 79.8 square miles, and is located northeast of Syracuse and near the Great Lakes.  There are several parks, marinas and beaches along this lake that spans several counties.

 

 

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I leave you with a few additional thoughts about nature’s heart.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

nature-winter lake

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 Hear The Sound

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Do You Hear The Sound

 

 

Do you hear the sound

of the wind whipping round,

all the snowflakes swirling down

to light upon the ground,

as they pile up around

everything found!

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2012

 

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Winter snows can be amazing….gentle and soft or blowing, swirling and making everything white in no time.  During this winter season, I am sharing some of my winter poems.  This one was written in 2012.

 

Currently, February is acting more like March with warmer temps and melted snows. These pictures are from last year, during our typical snowy and cold February.  You can read more about our typical winter here, on my garden blog.

 

 

 

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.

swirling collage

 

 

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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I leave you with a few additional words about the swirling beauty of snow.  I welcome you to download the photo and share it.

swirling

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-Welcoming Mice in the Garden

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“The bird is powered by its own life and by its motivation.”

 ~A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

 

 

You can tell by looking at this picture, these are not the mice you were probably thinking of when you read the title of this post.  Those mice are free to roam the garden and wild areas.  We rarely see them, except when they come in the house in winter.  We did find their access and have so far put a stop to that.  Sorry, those mice have to stay outside.

 

 

But this little mouse, pictured here, is a Tufted Titmouse or Baeolophus bicolor.  These birds are common to the eastern US, and can be seen acrobatically flitting around gardens and feeders all year.  They are considered a small bird, 5 inches, but seem larger than other small birds like finches.

 

 

Since they tend to hang with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers, I was not surprised to see them in the garden in early December when these other birds were hanging from the suet feeder.

 

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They heralded their appearance by noisily chasing off a Downy Woodpecker who was happily feeding on suet.  The Titmice had been at my neighbor’s feeders two doors down.  But their curiosity got to them, and they had to see what was all the rage at our house….that rage would be suet as it keeps the woodpeckers and chickadees happy all day.

 

 

I usually see these cute birds in spring just before the songbirds make a reappearance from their warmer winter homes.  They come to the feeders, like in winter, and leave the feeders behind once the insects are out and plentiful.  They especially like caterpillars, beetles, ants, spiders and wasps.  Of course they won’t turn down seeds, berries and nuts.

 

 

The one other encounter I have had with Tufted Titmice was a few springs ago when one ran right into our glass French Door….which had grids in the glass.  I had heard the ruckus of two Titmice squabbling and flying around fighting.  Then suddenly that loud bang on glass….you know when you hear it, it’s a bird strike.  It was apparent this bird had not been watching where he was going as he was fighting.

 

titmouse hit collage

I jumped up and looked for the bird.  I saw it laying upright on the patio.  But as you can see from the picture, its neck was bent.  I was sure it had broken its neck as it was dazed…unmoving.  I was reluctant to go out and see if it was alive.  I didn’t want to scare it any further.  I tend to give birds some time to recover if they strike the house, and if they don’t I know the inevitable conclusion.

 

 

 

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He took a long time to straighten, probably a good 15- 20 minutes.  And then more time to get over the concussion he probably had.  After all he was flying full force in that bird fight.  His mate was calling to him for most of the time.  She did move on eventually as it may have appeared he was dead to her.  When he finally flew off, I wished him well and silently told him to please be more careful.

 

 

We don’t see a Titmouse nest as they use tree cavities, especially old woodpecker holes or nests (we don’t have any in our trees yet)….which explains why they hang around woodpeckers.  They can pick up a good, used home quickly.

 

 

I expect to see these cute birds out and about soon as spring starts to show itself soon.  After all we are supposed to get an early spring, aren’t we?

 

titmouse collage

Here are some interesting facts and folklore about the Tufted Titmouse:
  • The common name Titmouse comes from the Old Icelandic word ‘titr’, meaning something small, and from the Old English ‘mase’ meaning small bird.
  • Tufted Titmice seem to always choose the largest seeds they can when foraging.  In fall and winter they often hoard these seeds in bark crevices.
  • Tufted Titmouse pairs do not gather into larger flocks once breeding is done like many other birds.  Sometimes a juvenile will remain with the parents for a time even to help them raise young fledglings.
  • Tufted Titmice often line their inner nest with hair, sometimes taken right from living animals. They have found hair from raccoons, opossums, mice, woodchucks, squirrels, rabbits, livestock, pets, and even humans in their nests.
  • In Cherokee Indian legend, the Titmouse is regarded as a messenger; and has the reputation of a liar.

 

 

What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing these days?

 

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.

 

 

 

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And don’t forget to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count coming February 12-15, 2016.  You can read how to participate here.

 

 

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I leave you with another thought about Life and Birds like the Titmouse.  Feel free to download the photo and share.

titmouse

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-Red Flashes

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Red Flashes

 

 

Red flashing by.

Black socks, trotting slowing.

Stopping, motionless.

Two now-stealthily waiting.

Patience…pouncing, rewarded!

And then gone-

Red flashing by.

 

 

 © Donna Donabella 2014

 

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We have had foxes visiting our garden to hunt for several years now.  They are fascinating to watch.  And the observations of these beautiful creatures led to this poem a couple of years ago.

 

 

 

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The top left picture shows the parent foxes after a soaking early spring rain, and one of their offspring (bottom right)…the mighty Hunter, as we have named him.  He is a beauty with his winter coat, and an excellent hunter.  You can read more about Hunter’s story when he first jumped our fence.  We recently had a new addition to our fox family.  Vixen, as we call her, showed up on Christmas, and has been visiting to hunt.  You can see pictures, and read her story here.

 

The pictures at the top of the post, in the mosaic below, and at the end of the post are of Hunter as he went about his daily hunting last winter.

 

 

 

I am joining in with Poets United for their weekly poetry link up for poets who blog, and Sanaa@A Dash of Sunny for her Prompt Nights every Friday.  Thanks for the invite Sanaa! Please visit these fabulous poetry blogs to read some more wonderful verse.

fox collage

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

 

 

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The latest issue of the on-line magazine, Rural, is out.  It is aptly named, Winter Love. rural winterlove An except of my poem, Blanket of Cotton, and a short essay, In Winter Play In The Garden, are included in this amazing publication.  I am honored to be included with so many creative writers and photographers.

The magazine is the creation of Jen@ The Light Laughed.  I hope you will check out the latest issue of this free online magazine.  You can sign up to read the new issue of Rural here.

 

 

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

fox

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.

An Interview with Catherine Drea@Foxglove Lane

Frost on the lane

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

~ Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

It is time for another interview post.  I have been getting into a routine every couple of months now, interviewing amazing bloggers who have influenced me.  As you might remember, after receiving and award from Julie@Gardening Jules, I had promised to do several interviews of some amazing bloggers and share them with you.

 

 

I decided to nip across the pond for this visit.   I met this amazing blogger through, Vision and Verb, a wonderful website of talented women.  Although I think I knew her a bit before I wrote for V and V, my recollection is fuzzy.  I know I felt a kindred spirit for Catherine@Foxglove Lane immediately.  Perhaps because her photos are soul refreshing, and her words penetrate me to my core, bringing joy and understanding.  Or maybe it was because she lives in Waterford, Ireland.  I have only been to Ireland once, 7 years ago, but I fell in love with my ancestral home of Ireland immediately (I am half Irish).

 

 

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So let’s whiz across the Atlantic and meet Catherine……..

 

 

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I’m Catherine Drea, a blogger, photographer and facilitator (www.foxglovelane.com)  I studied art, psychotherapy, have a Masters in Business Studies but my current love is Contemplative Photography.

I founded a social organisation 20 years ago (www.frameworknet.ie) where I still work part-time.

I live down a long green lane in Ireland with my husband and I have three grown up sons.

 

 

 

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 1. Catherine, why did you start blogging?

 

It was a typically Irish grey and wet Sunday about 5 years ago. I had just discovered the world of blogging. I guess I was suddenly inspired to have a go! I didn’t think about it or plan anything. I just sat down and figured out how to do it and in a couple of hours there it was……. my first blogpost!

 

 

 

The exuberance of summer is summed up in the buzzing and dancing of bees in foxgloves on the lane.

2.  I love the name of your blog.  What is its significance?

 

I chose Foxglove Lane that first day. It is literally the name I have given to our boreen, so full of foxgloves in June. It is home, freedom, peace to me……

 

 

 

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3.  It sounds like heaven to me.  Your blog seems to extend the heaven of your home and Ireland, and others have recognized its wonder through the Ireland Blog Awards you have won.  What do these awards mean to you, and what keeps you blogging?

 

As blogging has become so much more commercial and competitive I am always amazed that my blog, a labour of love (and not about fashion or beauty!) manages to win. I have very mixed feeling about competitions at the best of times, and yet I have benefitted from winning for sure.  

What actually keeps me blogging is probably more complex. It is a creative habit, a form of discipline in a way. It helps to keep my creative muscles fit. Without it where would I be, I live in the absolute middle of nowhere on a tiny island in the Atlantic? Through blogging I have been able to share my work, connect with others and create an online home where I can meet people….

 

 

 

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4.  And this creative home seems one of the reason many of us keep blogging.  So how do you define creativity? What does creativity mean to you?

 

I was an Art teacher and I always felt that creativity was about much more than just artistic attainment. It is about a sense of self, a way of relating to the beautiful mysteries of the world, a way of engaging with your own potential. It is for each of us to find our own way to express that. Creativity for me is an essential part of everyday life……when I start humming I know I am in the zone!!

 

 

 

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5.  Oh I love this idea of creativity as an essential part of everyday life.  Do you have a favorite space or spot that is sacred in or around your home where your creativity flows?

 

I am lucky to live in a beautiful and tranquil place in a wild and untamed couple of acres. I think my favourite spot is at the desk in my studio which looks out on it all. I am constantly distracted especially in winter by the birds, animals and wild weather changes rolling in from the Atlantic. Home is precious for humans,  enabling us to thrive and I feel so lucky to have a roof over my head and a room with a view.

 

 

 

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6.  I have traveled to Ireland, and loved its beauty?  What makes your piece of this special island nirvana for you?

 

Ha! Nirvana it is definitely not! I say that because Ireland has been through an economic crash that has been a real struggle. There is nowhere on earth without it’s challenges and we have had so many. However, Irish people are essentially happy go lucky and can embrace the dark side without too much trouble. I remember John O Donoghue saying that if you ask an Irish person “How are you” they will shrug and say “Sure not too bad!” or “Pulling the divil by the tail” Light and dark are part of us……So I suppose the special magic  is in the resilience and good humour of Irish people.

 

There is no downside to the beauty of the land and sea, it is stunning….just keeping it in pristine condition for the next generation is our challenge….

 

That is what I experienced when I visited…the good nature and humor of the Irish people….

 

 

 

Patrick Ryan's

7.  Tell me what famous person or not so famous person you would like to meet?

 

Well if I wanted to swoon it would be Leonard Cohen, if I wanted to chat it would have to be Elizabeth Gilbert and I would love to have a coffee with a group bloggers including yourself Donna…..I think it might just happen some day…..

 

 

 

Coumenoule Cafe

8.  Oh I would love to have that meet up one day!  So let me shift topics a bit Catherine.  What is or would have been your dream career or job?

 

If I wasn’t doing what I’m doing now I think I might have liked to run a seaside cafe in the South of France. Well who wouldn’t!! A lot of Irish people emigrate. It’s a big part of the culture. I was lucky in many ways to be able to stay in Ireland but if I had gone, it would have been to the Mediterranean and the sun! My amazing Grandmother ran a restaurant in a small town in Ireland, long before women had their own businesses. So I think cafe management could be in my genes!

 

 

 

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9.  Oh that sounds like an amazing dream.  And emigrating to the Mediterranean sounds perfect.  I know you love to travel.  What are some favorite spots you love to travel to and why?

 

I have a fierce touch of wanderlust!! We can get a ferry across to mainland Europe from Ireland and after that we can drive anywhere to get off the beaten track. (A gift for island dwellers) I love France and last year followed 5 rivers cascading through a very traditional part of central France. Recently we spent a month in the Peleponese in the South of the mainland Greece. The small town of Kardamilli there is a blissful spot. New York where I worked as a student is a favourite city, as is  Stockholm where I have family. It can be short or long trip, in wild Ireland or further afield…..any change of scene is inspiration to me!

 

 

 

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10.  Photography is such a big part of your life.  You have an extensive portfolio on your blog where folks can purchase your photos. What is your creative process, and tell us a bit about contemplative photography?

 

I have always taken photographs. My Dad gave me a camera at the age of 10. I study the surroundings of where I live in minute detail and take every opportunity to learn. Contemplative photography is a more soulful approach. I find it is something a lot of women photographers relate to. Although I am committed to fairly complex day job I usually get time to follow some creative instinct every day. Then on my days off I delve deeper into projects. Working from home helps too. I don’t work well under pressure, for prestige, or for money!! It doesn’t suit my muse! As she is a mother earth sort of character I have to be true to myself and my roots or she will squirm about and fail utterly to co-operate.

 

 

 

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11.  I love that you are so connected to your muse and so true to her.  What are some words of wisdom you have for those of us who are still learning about photography?

 

Find and follow the joy in what you do. Linger in those moments because photography is endlessly fiddly and years later your taste will have totally changed and what you adore today you will shun later!! I have gone through a lot of glorious colourful phases and find myself longing to return to the simpler days of black and white….you just never know which way you will be drawn…..I think if you are not “feeling it” something is missing……

 

 

 

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12.  Perfect words of wisdom my friend.  So what new form of arts or crafts would you like to learn now?  

 

I saw some incredible forest yarn bombing in the Basque country once and it remained with me. Crochet and knitting are huge again here and maybe that would be a way to that?

 

 

 

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13.  Catherine you recently wrote a wonderful book, “Seek light, embrace shade, live colour”.  Can you tell us a bit about what inspired you to write this book?  How does it fulfill part of your soul’s journey?

 

People are very “helpful” and everyone told me that  I “should” Looking back I wasn’t ready at all to make a book and it was actually quite hard to deal with the attention it brought. I had a hunch that people who are not very active on line would finally get to share my world in an actual book…..and that proved to be the case….My soul’s journey is an everyday thing….if the truth be told putting myself “out there” always scares the pants off me!!!

 

 

 

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14.  Oh I can relate to that and it “scares the pants off of me too”.  Can you tell us anything about the process that you went through in creating your book that was a great lesson or an aha moment…words of wisdom?

 

The process was simple and I loved making the book. Blurb is a very easy platform to learn and work on. I decided to use my Instagram Gallery as the book was square format and tiny 7×7. The writing part as usual were inspired by the images I selected. The great lesson was when the book went out there, the first edition had 12 spelling mistakes!! Living in rural Ireland with a wonky internet connection meant that the corrections didn’t always get saved. So when I thought I had fixed them, they remained unfixed. I nearly had a heart attack when I discovered on the day of the great launch and after a number of sales that I would have to replace the first books. Blurb were totally unsupportive and my aha moment came when I realised that they really have no back up if something goes wrong. Also Blurb don’t share the names of your  buyers so it is hard to give good customer service. A serious draw-back…….on the other hand once a book is done it is there forever and that’s a plus.

 

 

 

Buy this image by clicking on the small shopping cart symbol above and browsing prints and products.

15.  Very helpful information for those of us contemplating creating a book.  What new projects are you working on you’d like to share?  What are your inspirations for your work?

 

I would love to create an archive from my first photos aged 10 up to the present day. I might also include some great photos taken by other photographers in the family. I also want to concentrate on making more physical manifestation of my work, I’m not sure what that will be but I hope to pursue a year long woodland study and shoot some video.

 

My inspiration will always be the light and shade of the day. I watch weather and conditions all the time…..nature is she who must be obeyed, so you just need to be ready to heed her. I also love studying the work of other photographers, poets and artists.

 

I love the idea of a woodland shoot.  And there is that kindred spirit again …..nature.

 

 

 

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16.  Is there anything else you want to tell us about your life, and what might be next for you?

 

Donna I will be 62 in 2016!!! How did I get here and where am I going to? One thing is sure, none of us is getting out of here alive!

 

I am not ambitious as such, more hopeful and steadfast. And I know that every moment counts!

 

 

 

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My goodness you are still so young my friend, and I love your words of wisdom….every moment does count especially now as I am moving to the other side of middle age….59 for me this year.

 

It was such a delight talking with Catherine.  Learning about her philosophy, her spirit and her creative process.  It renews me as does her beautiful photography.  One of the reason I enjoy these interviews is the connections I make on such a deeper level with amazing, gifted, talented and inspirational folks.  I hope you enjoyed getting to know Catherine a bit more.  I know I certainly did!

 

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Please make sure you visit Catherine in all the amazing places she hangs out.

 

 

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-2016.  Photos are the sole property of Catherine@Foxglove Lane and their use in this post is by permission of the photographer.

Poetry Sunday-Blanket of Cotton

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Blanket of Cotton

 

 

Blanket of cotton

Cascading down

Cocooning, enveloping

All as it surrounds.

 

 

With its soft white cushion

Drifts of stillness, silence abounds.

 

 © Donna Donabella 2015

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Last winter our snow drifts were up to 7 feet, and temps were extremely COLD!  This verse is how I envisioned the snow as it insulated the garden like a blanket.  The pictures included here were taken last year in my garden during our wild winter with huge drifts.

 

 

 

The latest issue of the on-line magazine, Rural, is out.  It is aptly named, Winter Love. rural winterlove An except of my poem, Blanket of Cotton, and a short essay, In Winter Play In The Garden, are included in this amazing publication.  I am honored to be included with so many creative writers and photographers.

The magazine is the creation of Jen@ The Light Laughed.  I hope you will check out the latest issue of this free online magazine.  You can sign up to read the new issue of Rural here.

 

 

 

 

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, with Judith@Lavender Cottage who is hosting Mosaic Monday and with Kara@A Spirit of Simplicity for her Tuesday Afternoon meme.

 

 

 

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

blanket of cotton

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.