Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hope Through the Hard Times

Sometimes life's difficulties overwhelm us, and we give in to negative thoughts and anxiety.  Our joyfulness is consumed, little by little, until all that remains is misery and regret.  When we focus on all the bad situations in our life, we leave the door wide open for even more negative feelings to creep in.

I felt that way yesterday- overwhelmed by life's struggles.  Anger and bitterness crept in, invading my mind and spirit, creating in me a hostile attitude.  I was grumpy and harsh, and projected those negative feelings onto others.  Then on top of the misery I already felt, there was guilt to cope with- guilt for being ugly towards the ones I love.  

After a few silent tears, I escaped to my sanctuary, the place where I find peace and serenity- the corner of my front porch.  

I thought about how insignificant my problems are in comparison to what others are struggling with right now. I considered all the things I have to be grateful for.  I reflected on the joy I have felt being surrounded by the beauty of God's creations.  I remembered that, as a human being, I am sometimes weak and imperfect, defected by my sinful nature.

After a few moments of silence and reflection, peace was restored within my soul.  The presence of God's love soothed my spirit and freed my mind.  Hope will carry me through the hard times, as it always has...

"Grace is the face that love wears when it meets imperfection" ~ Joseph R. Cooke 

Monday, April 28, 2014

American Goldfinches: North for Summer

It's been several days since we've seen the goldfinches.  Apparently they have migrated north for the remainder of Spring and Summer. I miss having them around. At times there were probably 50 to 60 of these cuties in our front yard or at the feeders. On a good note, bird food will last a lot longer for a while.


I've cleaned and packed away my finch feeders for now.  Come late Autumn, I'll refill them and hang them back out, then I'll be waiting for the return of my sweet little feathered friends ;))))

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Goldfinches Love Nyjer Seed!

I first saw Nyjer-filled socks at Wal Mart a few months ago, but was somewhat skeptical about them. On a shopping trip a few weeks later, I decided to purchase one as a "treat" for our goldfinches.  The sock hung on its hook for a couple of days without being touched.  The birds were apparently more skeptical than I was.  They had bird feeders and wooden ledges filled with plenty of seeds to their what is this peculiar looking thing?  

They finally became curious enough to check it out.  Before long, there were several goldfinches clinging to it, picking seeds from the tiny holes in the nylon net.  Soon the birds were fighting to gain their spot on the sock. I've seen up to a dozen or so of them hanging from it at one time.  They love it!  

Nyjer is the seed of an African yellow daisy.  The plant originated in Nigeria and is known there as "Niger". Many backyard birders also call the seed thistle, but Nyjer is not related to thistle plants or seeds. It is believed that calling the seed thistle may have become popular because goldfinches, which adore Nyjer, also feed on thistle and use thistle down to construct their nests.  Before it is imported, Nyjer seed is sterilized by intense heat to prevent germination of any additional seeds that may be part of the mix. Nyjer is a popular birdseed because after sterilization it will not sprout if spilled and because it is an exceptional energy source for backyard birds.

Nyjer is a type of oilseed containing approximately 35% fat, 18% protein and 18% fiber. Therefore, it makes an excellent winter bird food, when birds require foods with more oil and a higher calorie content so they can store fat to survive colder temperatures. The protein in Nyjer is also useful for regenerating feathers when birds molt in the late fall and early spring.  Had I known this, I would have bought Nyjer sooner for my little feathered friends.  

A few more bird species enjoy Nyjer seed as well, including Mourning Doves, Buntings, House Finches, and Song sparrows.  I sometimes mix a little Nyjer in with the other bird seed.  I like to have a variety available for the birds- they all have their favorites.  :)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sure Signs of Spring

Flowers...a sure sign that Spring has arrived!
Bright, colorful baskets 
beautiful pots and containers
of pink, red, purple, orange and yellow
or sometimes a assortment of several colors and varieties.

I love them all!

I'm soaking in every minute of Spring weather that I can...
all too soon the season will pass and we know what follows-
the dog days of Summer.
Then I'll be wishing for Autumn to come quickly.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cedar Waxwings: North for Summer

It's been a couple weeks since I've seen the waxwings.  They have moved on.  Cedar Waxwings are winter visitors here and across the southern United States.  Some even travel as far as Panama during winter. However, come late spring, they migrate northward to their known breeding territory, the uppermost parts of the United States and the lower half of Canada.  

I have surely enjoyed having them around a little while.  Cedar Waxwings are just gorgeous, one of my favorites!!!  I can hardly believe I had never seen them before, not until this year.  How did I miss out on such beauty all these years?  Probably because I didn't reside in an area with such an abundance of berries, one of their favorite winter foods.  The field next to our house has literally dozens of such trees which made it possible for the birds to fill their tummies as much as they desired to.  I will keep that in mind for future use.  

Photos below were taken from February through the first part of matter what season, these birds are always beautiful!  I will miss them!  

Cedar Waxwings are very sociable birds during non-breeding season.  It's not unusual to see scores of them brooding together in the very tops of tall trees.  

A couple of shots were double exposed... the outcome is really unique...

As the days passed, their plumage became brighter with more yellow color...they seemed to "glow" in the evening sun.

I will look forward to their return late this year...