Wildlife Lesson: Surprise Seasonal Miracles


“Your deepest roots are in nature.  No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.”

Charles Cook



After our very wet spring, many of our critters seemed to disappear.  We had about a dozen deer living in the woods around us.  And momma deer and her twins were spotted in early spring.  But during summer and fall, all but one deer was occasionally spotted.  It seems that the harsh winter took its toll, and many deer died.  Even hunters noted reduced numbers.





And our precious fox, Hunter, also seemed to have moved on after his den was flooded so often.  We missed them terribly.  So on Christmas, we were so surprised to see the flash of red run onto the meadow.  A ‘Christmas miracle’ my husband proclaimed.  At first, we thought it was Hunter….




DSCN1553But upon closer examination, the tale had a pure white tip, and was much darker….not Hunter.  And I think this may be a female.  So we named her, Noel, at first.  Then I remembered that a female fox is called a vixen.  So what better name for our Christmas fox than, Vixen (one of Santa’s reindeer).


She scoped out the area quickly and then we saw her white-tipped tail bid us goodbye (in the last picture below).  We also noticed her winter coat was not as thick as Hunter’s last year when it was -20 degrees.





It was rainy leading up to Christmas and one of our squirrels was out and about.  I love his umbrella tail!





And the green frogs were still not hibernating.  We saw them on Christmas, and just before New Year.  See how dark in color they are now.  They match the dark pond water.





December saw a busy time at the suet feeders….and some fighting.  It is fun to watch the pecking order as they all vie for the feeder.  This is a female Downy Woodpecker.




xmas bird collage

And other Christmas visitors included the Hairy Woodpecker (left), Goldfinch in its brownish-olive color now.  And Chickadees have been frequent visitors, along with that female Downy Woodpecker (lower right).





Our greatest surprise was seeing a deer again on Christmas Eve just before the moon rose.  We think it is one of the twins from last winter.  A small doe.  The last time we saw any deer was late spring, and I had virtually no garden damage except for lilies.  Now I see a bit of daylily foliage nibbled so this deer is about, but mostly at night.  And her winter coat is not thick, and looks pretty ratty.


So there you have some Christmas/seasonal miracle visitors….and surprises!  We feel blessed!




New Years critters

In the first few days of the New Year, Vixen has appeared and was ably hunting voles through the snow.  She (and it is definitely a female) is as good a hunter as our male foxes, if not better.  Perhaps we will see babies or kits one of these springs.

And the deer have returned.  At the first snowfall, we saw many deer tracks, and then three appeared in the meadow.  Maybe momma and her 2 children, now over a year old.  I am hopeful, in this new year, that our critters will continue to share the same habitat with us….and that we will see fawns and lots of other baby critters once again.


What wonderful critter surprises are you seeing?


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.




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


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.

Creativity Sunday-Holiday Views


“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”  

~Norman Vincent Peale



It has been almost 18 years since the passing of my father….40 years for my husband’s father, when he was just 15.  And 10 years ago, his mother died leaving a huge void in our lives.  Our traditional family gatherings were no more.  We seemed a bit lost trying to find our way.



We had just moved to our new house a few months earlier, but I just couldn’t open the boxes of decorations I had lovingly used in year’s past.  We didn’t cut down a tree.  Instead we put up a ceramic tree and a little faux tree, and lit them nightly. And I took whatever new decorations I was gifted, and scattered them about.



DSCN0983But this 10th year in our new house, I found a renewed energy…maybe because I was less stressed and had been retired now a year….maybe it was just time.  This past February, I went through all my Christmas decorations, and saved only those I cherished and might want to use this year.  And I promised myself to open those boxes, and put up some Christmas decorations.  Those I did not use this year would go in the pile to give away.



So in early December, the 4 boxes and our 2 little faux trees came out of the basement.  As I opened the boxes, a rush hit me, and I went about creating new scenes.  Three hours later, the house took on a holiday feeling, and the spirit of Christmas seemed to pour from every corner.  And you know what?  I used every single decoration….coincidence, I think not!



So I wanted to share some of our holiday scenes this year, that mean so very much to us!  With as few words as possible….




tree collage

Here’s one of our little faux trees.




ornament collage

With some of my favorite old decorations…..some as old or older than me.  The background is our ceramic tree that once belonged to my mother-in-law.





Sitting at the base of the tree, is this wonderful container of more old ornaments and garland.





This little tree graces our front hall.




garden tree ornament collage

It is also decorated with old ornaments, and my cherished garden tool ornaments given to me by a very dear, dear friend.





My favorite of these garden tool ornaments is the old-fashioned watering can.





And what better accompaniment for this tree, than my Christmas Garden Fairy.




mantel collage

The mantel was completely redone this year.  I brought out our wonderful Mr. and Mrs. Claus stocking holder and our stockings…..they were missed.  The wreath is one given to me by one of my thoughtful teachers when I first became a school administrator….I adore it.





Here’s another view of the mantel.



And a couple of more lovely scenes….












I leave you with a view from my front windows looking onto the porch…the glow of candlelight keeping the Christmas spirit bright!


I hope you enjoyed these holiday views.  I am linking in with Judith@Lavender Cottage who hosts Mosaic Monday, and with I Heart Macro hosted by Laura@Shine The Divine that happens every Saturday.




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

christmas is

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Happy Holidays

Merry Xmas 15

“The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of love and of generosity and of goodness. It illuminates the picture window of the soul, and we look out upon the world’s busy life and become more interested in people than in things.”

~Thomas S. Monson




On this Christmas Eve, I wish for you much peace, love, laughter and joy!


happy holidays 15And as there are many holiday celebrations going on these days, I hope you are able to spend the season with loved ones and friends!


May your days be merry and bright…..




My Christmas gift to you is a most precious Christmas song by my favorite voice, Dan Fogelberg.


I’ll be back with more holiday photos on Sunday.  Feel free to download the photos here and share.


All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Living From Happiness, 2014-15.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

Poetry Sunday-Christmas Scenes



Christmas Scenes


I look upon the Christmas tree

And fade to childhood memories;


Of snowflakes, boots and mittens warm

Donned on frosty, biting morns.


Sleds dragged down snow-covered streets

To find fresh powder on hills replete.


Later home with frozen fingers and toes

Warmed before the fire with hot cocoa.


Smells of cookies permeate the house

As I stealthily sneak one as quiet as a mouse.


And all about tinsel and lights galore

Are sparkling hung from roofs and doors.


While I await, anticipating the scene

Of Santa and spectacular Christmas dreams,


I sing songs of joy and choruses of mirth

that herald in the day of His spectacular birth.



© Donna Donabella 2014


I am participating in The Personal Photo Challenge hosted by Donna@Cottage Days and Journeys.  This month’s challenge is called Christmas Scenes.   I wrote this poem on my way to see family for Thanksgiving.  I had not seen much of my family for a few years.  And on the plane ride, some lovely thoughts of Christmas were running through my brain.  So I hope you enjoy the poem that is filled with many of my childhood memories.


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


xmas collage

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



Special Note:  These Christmas scenes were taken upon our return home once we did a bit of Christmas decorating.


All photos were taken on auto mode and first processed in iPhoto (so nothing fancy).  The collage was made in Fotor.com.  The tree images were further processed in PicMonkey.com to add some brilliance, snow, frost and stars.




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



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