Poetry Sunday-Bride’s Feather





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.

Conversations In The Garden: On Boredom


“I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored.”  ~Louis C.K.




This quote, that I found recently, struck me as an in-your-face truism.  And I will be the first to say, I can get bored easily.  Or at least I thought I was bored.  Especially in winter when I am cooped up inside…ughh!  Now what do I do….sit and look at the white landscape.  Yes, the snow is pretty, but really I need something different after a while.



What I didn’t know then was, ‘I need something different’ was code for, ‘Routine is what is boring me’.  The same old, same old…..white landscape, too cold (or so I thought) to go out…..nothing new happening, ‘cabin fever’ feeling was creeping in.
And when I thoDSCN2001ught about it, that feeling doesn’t just happen in winter.  It actually happens in summer when it gets too hot to go out and do much.  And I find myself cocooned inside with the air-conditioning.  And then it struck me, how sad is that!



Did you ever notice that you will hear children saying, ‘I’m bored’ more easily than adults.  I know I did especially in winter, and toward the end of summer vacation.  Sounds familiar…..hmmmm!



I will even become bored with my garden….more bored by the look of it.  The same tried and true bulbs bloom every spring in the same spots.  The same bushes and trees leaf out.  The same weeds take over as I lose steam at the end of May trying to combat them….they’re everywhere….my God, they don’t stop!  At about that point, I give up and go inside just as the garden is heating up.  I know it is a sacrilege to be bored in a garden….but it happens.  What is causing this?  And really how can I be bored with so much life to be lived?



innovate3aSo am I really bored?  Or is that I need to shake it up a bit?  Try something new.  So I began exploring this a bit more toward the end of fall.  I think that is why the word, Innovate, really resounded for me as a mantra for the new year.



Like any activity or habit, if we don’t stretch ourselves, we can become tired of the sameness that comes from repetition.  Now some folks love the safety and security of repetition.  My husband does…..(Shhhsecretly sometimes so do I, but don’t tell him that).  He likes his comfortable routines, and when I need to shake up mine a bit, he unfortunately or fortunately has to come along with me many times…..with much kicking and moaning, I might add.  But once we start, we both find we like the change.



So there it is…change…..it is change I am seeking.  We fight it, we run from it, but inevitably it is what we seek…what we crave.  I know I do.  My brain craves new scenery, new scents, new experiences.  Some changes in the garden help….new bulbs, new designs….trying a few new vegetables; tomatillos this year.



DSCN1899But my soul seeks change as well.  It wants to explore, to contemplate life in new places, and meet new folks.  Engage in stimulating conversation or just watch the sunrise or set from a different locale.  To learn about myself more, and watch this woman grow.



So this is my year to Innovate….embrace change in my habits.  We are walking almost daily even when the temps are in the teens and it is snowing….what a wonderful experience!  We are planning some travel to see family…they are scattered around the country and we just don’t get to see them often enough…fingers crossed my health stays good for travel!  And we are exploring our surrounds…..going to the beach on the coldest day of winter was breathtaking!



Of course these are only a beginning….as I move through my day, I wonder how I can stretch myself.  Instead of reading 60 books this year, can I expand my normal repertoire or genre (mysteries and garden books)…I have added some spiritual books, memoirs and non-fiction to the list and love the intellectual stimulation.



DSCN1926So I am really bored?  Or maybe I just need a little shift.  A few more layers to endure the sharp bite of the wind, as I go out even on the coldest, snowiest day to find a warm, cozy world.  It seems just a gentle push up and over the hump or edge of that rut, I have worn into my path, is just enough to set me off onto a new adventure…..




Do you ever feel stuck in a rut or bored?  What have you found that helps lift you out and over that hump?







Special Note:  The pictures here are recent winter scenes, photographed through my windows.




I leave you with a few additional words On Boredom.  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, 2014-2016.  Any reprints or use of other photos or content is by permission only.

Wildlife Lesson: Bathing’s For The Birds

whos turn

“The bath is one of the places I prefer, certainly not a place I leave readily, a place where one can close the door and remove oneself, put oneself in parentheses, as it were, from the rest of humanity. It is a place for reading and thinking, where one’s mind wanders easily, where time seems temporarily suspended.”

― Sheila Kohler




A pond is a garden teeming with plants and wildlife.  One of the wonders of having a pond in the garden is being able to watch wildlife.  Frogs, toads, dragonflies and snakes all come to the pond to live and play regularly.  And if you are lucky you can see birds stepping into the pond for a bath.





Our pond has too much vegetation along the edge which prevents the birds from bathing.  We need to do a little maintenance to correct this problem.  But the bigger birds have figured out another way to bathe.  They sit in the top of the waterfall and bathe away.  I don’t think he wants us watching him!




male bather

It’s as if they have their own private spa there.  Taking their time with a luxuriating bath or a quick flap of the wings and they’re off.  But mind you, it is not a first come first serve outdoor bath.  No you have to be a robin to get the first chance to use it.  And male robins rule the bath.




lady robin bath

In the picture at the top of the post, our crazy robin momma is none-too-pleased with the catbird who thought she was going to take a bath.  So move over momma catbird, and wait your turn.  This momma robin is spending her second year in our garden so she has special bathing privileges.  I even spied her once covered in mud after she built a nest.  I was standing right next to the waterfall, but she was so desperate to get all that mud off, she hurried and didn’t let my presence stop her.





I start to see the bathing commence once the robin’s hit town in spring.  Sometimes I feel like a voyeur.  Right up until the tall perennial helianthus puts up screen, in early August, we can keep watching like peeping toms.  By mid-August the robins are almost ready to leave our garden for their winter home.





Robins and catbirds aren’t the only birds who use the pond for a bath.  We have orioles and an occasional brave cedar waxwing try it out.  But because of the force of the water flowing from the waterfall, only big birds can use it as a bath.





You can see how this bath is a great source of amusement for us.  Seeing this male robin all wet and poofed up makes me laugh.  And the males seem to be bath hogs.  Most will stay in the bath for long periods, then hop out, shake, stand there for a few minutes and bathe again.  I have seen some hog the bath for upwards of 20 minutes or more keeping the other birds out, even the female robins.  Females are too busy to take a long bath….sounds familiar doesn’t it.




you are all wet

We have a few other smaller bird baths in the garden for other birds, but secretly I think the other birds are jealous of those who use the big bath.  OK, I will admit the robins who live in or nearby our garden are spoiled, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I think even when we fix the pond so birds can wade in and bathe, the robins will still use the waterfall bath.  After all wouldn’t you want a private bath if you could have one.


I hope you enjoyed the bathing birds from our spring and summer garden.  It seems bathing is for the birds here in our garden.


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.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every week.




I leave you with another thought about bird baths…actually taking a bath in general!  Feel free to download the photo 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.

Wildlife Lesson-Who’s Your Momma?

baby cowbird5

“I have a mother,” said the baby bird.

“I know I do.

I will find her.

I will. I WILL!”

~P. D. Eastman, Are You My Mother?



One day this summer, I was looking out on the garden as I had heard a bit of chattering that told me baby birds were about….or I should say fledglings or newly fledged birds.  As I looked, I spied a new arrival on the patio….a common landing area where we see many new fledglings rest and explore until they get their courage up to take another flight.



As I watched this babe (you could tell he was newly fledged as he hardly had a tail and hebaby cowbird2 was sporting baby feathers still, here and there), I thought to myself that I had never seen this type of baby bird before.  Certainly too big for a sparrow, and not quite right for a red-winged blackbird.



The babe was definitely curious taking in his surroundings, wandering on the step of the patio and seeking out seeds.  He hopped about, but always kept one eye on the sky as he cried a bit to be fed.



baby cowbird4As I was still trying to figure out who this was, another bird swooped down.  It was a smaller song sparrow.  I thought nothing of it until, the sparrow approached the baby bird, and suddenly fed the big baby bird.  Immediately the lightbulb in my brain went on, and I knew immediately who our visitor was; a fledgling Brown-headed Cowbird.



Now if you don’t know, cowbirds are one of the few birds who do not build a nest.  Instead they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests.  I always found it fascinating that these birds laid eggs, and left the care and upbringing of the egg and baby to other birds much like a foster care program for birds.



I have read many birds are not amused with this behavior by the cowbirds, and baby cowbirdwill destroy the eggs if they notice them in the nest.  Song sparrow and cowbird eggs are very similar in appearance so it is no wonder they are duped into thinking the egg is theirs.  It must be quite tight in the nest though with the baby cowbird, as they are double the size of baby sparrows.



The sparrow fed the baby cowbird there on the patio for a while and then they were off to the trees and others areas in the garden more protected and remote.  As they flew off, I marveled at this scene that had played out before me, and how these stories give me pause to reflect about our own human race.  Perhaps we could take a page from nature and try to work more in harmony helping each other without question and prejudice.  It’s a dream!




baby cowbird3

Here are some interesting facts about Brown-headed Cowbirds:

  • The female cowbird usually chooses an open cup-nest to lay one egg.
  • The female will wait until the host bird has at least one egg in its nest, many times removing an egg from the nest before laying her own.
  • Female cowbirds will continue to lay one egg at a time for about a month, and can lay up to 40 eggs in host nests.  That’s a lot of cowbirds.
  • The incubation of cowbird eggs is short taking typically 10 to 12 days, thus allowing the young cowbird to get a head start in the nest.
  • Young cowbirds grow quickly, which gives them a competitive edge for food over the other young in the nest.
  • Young cowbirds will also leave the nest quickly usually after 8 to 13 days.
  • It takes the young cowbirds quite a long time to become fully independent from their host parents, about 25 to 39 days.
  • Once they become independent they will form small flocks with other juvenile cowbirds and juvenile birds in general.
  • The care for the cowbird from egg to independent juvenile is usually at the expense of the host bird’s other young, as the cowbird is bigger and grows faster thereby giving it food and attention more than the host bird’s young ones.



baby robin collage

This summer we have witnessed many fledglings in and around the garden especially baby robins.  No robins nested in the garden this year, preferring the undisturbed abandoned house next door.  And it appears our crazy robin momma had a couple of small broods as we saw her feeding babies weeks apart.


This babe flew to the arbor and stayed there for quite a while as it took in its surroundings.  It was quite content to stay put for more than an hour waiting for its parent to come and feed it.




young robin

I spied him, or a sibling, a few weeks later in the garden searching for food and not far from his parents still.



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 withMichelle@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.



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




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

baby bird

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.