Friday, February 11, 2011

Loving All

Northern Cardinal

Many times I have taken pictures of this Dark-eyed Junco and never get the gleam in it's eyes. It is a winter visitor that tells me fall is nearly over when they arrive at my feeders. This one is wrestling to get a sunflower seed open.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker

Blue Jay

She walked out on the porch and surveyed the landscape around her. It was all covered in a soft snow, with drifts created by the wind. It was a solemn view, but the sun was out and the brilliance hurt her eyes. A streak of red showed where some grain had been put out for their cow. A cardinal joined many other birds to eat any leftovers that were there. A bucket of water sat empty, tipped over by a clumsy foot. It was hard to get at the water this time of year, so they carried it in to the stock everyday. Something so simple to do during the warmer months would soon be around again she felt. She wished to be able to go into the town, where now it was only on horseback, and she didn’t care to ride when it was so cold.

Bells could be heard with lots of laughter and around the curve of their road came a few neighbors in a huge sleigh. Come along they yelled and she put on warm layers and grabbed a blanket. Leaving a short note on a scrap of paper, she jumped onboard and rode down through the velvety snow, joining in song and laughter with her friends. It reminded her of when she was young again and made life so worthwhile to be part of. She now wished she had brought her tiny list when she could see the town on the horizon. Getting closer she went through what she had remembered in her head.

Once in town everyone had different directions to go, all in a hurry so they could return home before the sun set. Days were getting longer so it was fun to grab what they needed and find everyone else to compare shopping. When she lived in town after her husband had retired, this was a sometimes daily ritual instead of monthly. She didn’t wish to trade her easier life for the beauty they had returned to on the prairie. It called to her many times, asking her to return. This was her first winter back in the rural life and she often forgot of the loneliness sometimes found. Her mother told stories of ladies who never left the home for months at a time, becoming very depressed over all the hard work it took just to stay alive. She doubted there were many rustlers or vagrants traveling the prairie one would have to look out for. On a good day she often could hear the neighbors rounding up stock.

The ride home went too quick and soon she was looking back over her pasture. She thought of the lovely day she had spent and hoped to see another soon. The dog barked as her husband pulled in with more water. He had been busy and really hadn’t noticed her leaving, but would be surprised at the cigar she had picked up for him on her travels. It was simple pleasures that brought them closer to each other. There was a powerful feeling being part of the land again. She grabbed at her coat and stood on the porch smiling at one who made her life so full. Her smile drifted across the land on a gentle prairie breeze.
Perhaps we need time
Just to be able to say
How nice it is to be a part
Of other’s lives each day.


  1. I know I left you with a cliffhanger a few posts back.It will surface soon and I hope it keeps your attention looking forward to the next installment.

  2. Love these little jewels you have captured with your camera!

  3. Oh THANK YOU THANK YOU! Love those spots of color and sunshine in the trees. My favorite is the last's PERFECT! It reminds me of me...not in a tree where I'm supposed to be....but wandering through a drift of snow...or something or other!
    Have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. LOVE These!!! Goodness! The woodpecker is gorgeous!
    Hope you have a Great Weekend!!

  5. I do indeed look forward.

    I do also love your birds, please show me your set up for taking such awesome shots of them.

  6. I've never seen as many birds before at my feeders. The juncoes are totally outnumbered by the various types of finches. It's definitely a sign of how difficult this winter has been. Perhaps I'll need a calculator for the Cornel backyard bird count next weekend. :) And the deer, rabbits, squirrels etc.

  7. Hi Steve, I'm used to your cliffhangers... I will be back!!!! ha

    I was so darn independent after my divorce --and spent about 20 yrs. being married to my job. Then I met George Adams. OH MY GOSH... It's wonderful being the part of someone else's life so intimately.... WOW!!!!

    Love your birdie pictures. It is hard to see the eyes of those little Juncos.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Love the birds! I could stay home days on end and not have a care--I hate shopping that much--lol

  9. Oh yes! Can't wait Steve. You've got some great shots there. Since our temps have dropped my birds are really going through the b.o.s.s.

  10. that last one of the junco in the cute! Great backyard birds and what a great title for this post!

  11. Such great shots of color on the Cardinal & Blue Jay. Seeing that makes me hopefull for spring!
    Thank you also for telling others of my wreath giveaway :)

  12. Gorgeous pictures of the birds. The cardinals have always been one of my favorites.

  13. I'm going to miss my little juncos and cardinals when spring comes -- but I have spent many a morning watching them at the feeders.

    Love the colorful birds against the tan tree bark. :)

  14. Beautiful images, all, Steve. When I zoomed in on that last one, it looked like that little bird was standing on a cloud. Try it!

  15. Beautiful birds, specially the blue jay.

  16. Great photos of all your birds. I don't see the woodpeckers up close enough to ever get any good pics. You are right about the little Juncos. It's hard to get their eyes sometimes. it's warming up here this week. Might even get to 40 by the end of it they say!! It will seem like a heat wave after all these below zero days. Have a nice weekend!

  17. You are an amazing talent, Steve!

    Once in awhile my hub sits on the deck and smokes a cigar. Last spring, after he left on a business trip, I saw a half-smoked gar in his make-shift ashtray on the deck. I let the gar be, but savored that special feeling which comes from knowing a certain peace. I think you understand this.

    Your photos are, as always, magnificent. Cardinals are majestic, but the little Juncos are like kittens one wants to snuggle.

    The Red-bellied Woodpecker needs a frame to grace a room.

  18. Like how you found the bird in the clouds Linda. I was out early yesterday after putting up more feeders and got a ton more. I was going for specie specific shots, but some just called out to take them.The cardinals are starting to get a bit territorial so it won't be long before their song and attitude change.

  19. STeve,
    that little Junico maybe doesn't want to be seen? He actually looks cold sitting on that bare stump, but quite cute!
    You know, we use to play board games ALL the time when growing up and my son loves to play them all which makes us so happy! Yahtzee is one of my favorites but I really like most of them! Now in teaching, we have what I call, 'Finish Up Friday' so any work that has been started needs to be completed but the reward is the kids get to play board games and they LOVE it and work very hard NOT to have to do it on Friday!
    We have occassional weeks where things are hectic but typically our lives are very family oriented and evenings are spent together. We really do treasure that time!
    I loved your blog today...a nice reminder to truly appreciate the ones in our lives and I certainly do and that includes you!
    thank you my friend!

  20. Hi,

    Great bird shots. Visit my photo blog and see my bird shots. My photo blog is at I posted a number of photos over a course of 5 days.


  21. WOW~! I love all these birds. Were you at my house? They look just
    Have a Tiggeriffic Day~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)

  22. My birds are starting to sing again instead of the winter squawking...You know Spring is in the air~!
    Love your pictures... and your stories~!
    What letters were in the cigar box that you wrote about several days ago..
    Have a tiggeriffic day~! ta ta for now from Iowa:)

  23. You are getting the same birds we are! Love the beautiful cardinals. There has been a red bellied at our feeders all day for over a month, the sound they makes reminds me of the sound the squirrels make when they are unhappy with the dogs.

    Thanks for the kind words about Quasi Boy, did you show boxers for long? They are a wonderful breed but they are really high energy which I am sure you know.

  24. Beautiful photos! Funny how the Junco's only visit in the wintertime. One of these days I'm going to have to investigate their migratory patterns. All the birds here are frequent visitors to my feeders. I've wondered why the starlings haven't been seen for about a year and then all of a sudden two turned up the other day and today brought their whole family! Such scrappy little things, not the most popular birds I know but they always make me laugh, scrappy little things. Enjoyed the read again too, publish a book!!! I'll be first in line :)

  25. Yes, it is nice to be part of each others lives each day. Lovely story and photos.

  26. ...especially like the red bird for Valentines.

  27. Love the little Junco.. Happy Valentine's Day, prairie whisperer! xoxo


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