How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.
“If you get rid of unfair practices,
quit blaming victims,
quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
If you are generous with the hungry
and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out,
Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness,
your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight.
I will always show you where to go.
I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places—
firm muscles, strong bones.
You’ll be like a well-watered garden,
a gurgling spring that never runs dry.
You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew,
rebuild the foundations from out of your past.
You’ll be known as those who can fix anything,
restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate,
make the community livable again.”
– Isaiah 58:12, The Message
Come, Spirit of Courage, creative Source of Healing. Amen.
Since late April I have enjoyed keeping an eye on the Cornel Lab of Ornithology’s the live web cam of the nest of a pair of Great Blue Herons. Thousands of us watched the fun as eggs were laid, chicks hatched, parents fed, babies grew and finally fledged in the last couple of weeks. But the live web cam didn’t hold a candle to the bird adventures I witnessed — in person — at our family cabin in Colorado.
At the cabin on the front porch, there’s a wren box that’s been there for years — probably built by Grandpa Tom Wilson. The Rock Wrens were feeding babies. All day long, they were catching and hauling bugs in to feed the babies. Anyone sitting on the front porch could watch the fun. You could hear the chirping of the chicks and when the mom or dad entered the bird box; the whole box rocked back and forth during the feeding. Then there was the singing of the wrens after feeding the babies. I also enjoyed the way the birds clean off their beaks on a branch after feeding the babies. It was wonderful entertainment.
Here’s a parent geting ready to slip into the box with a bug.
One day as I sat on the front porch, I saw the cutest little flycatcher in the tree. (I think it was the Cordilleran Flycatcher, but I’m not sure.) At one point, it got a little bit too close to the wren box and there was a scuffle. Feathers flew all over the porch. I guess they were flycatcher feathers. So the little flycatcher settled into the tree on the other side of the cabin — outside the bathroom window.
I woke up at sunrise one morning and saw the little bird soaking in the early morning sunshine. Here is a photo I took through the bathroom window.
The pictures through the glass were a bit fuzzy, so I took the screen out of the window to take a few more pictures. She or he wasn’t concerned about any of it and sat for me through the whole photo shoot.
The Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were putting on a show from dawn to dusk. The male bird’s wings make a trilling noise when they fly, so it’s easy to keep up with them. While we were there, the males were courting. They fly straight up to a great height and then make a “U” shape down and up to the same height. The way the cabin sits on the side of the mountain, we were able to watch the mid-point of the display. It was quite impressive.
There was a little branch at the edge of the backyard that hangs out over the canyon. The branch was a favorite perch of the male hummingbird; he was able to keep an eye on his territory. I shot this photo of the hummingbird just as the sun was coming up. He was puffed out against the cool of the morning.
I’m thankful for the bird show. Grateful for birds, for the cabin, for the privilege of being there.
Jack’s friend, Tracy, called early this week to say that she had a job for Jack. Tracy needed help with Sammy the maltipoo puppy who was coming over for a few days. She needed someone (like Jack) — to keep Sammy entertained. (Awwww, Jack … we remember when you were just a tiny puppy, and now you’ve got your first job.)
So Jack’s been at Tracy’s helping with Sammy. When we went to pick him up today, we observed his work for a while. (He’s very good at this babysitting stuff.)
Sammy is the cutest pup ever. Here he is chewing on a stick and looking adorable.
Jack’s got good babysitting tricks. One is a game called, “Chase Me. I’ve Got the Ball.” Sometimes Sammy chases Jack.
And sometimes, Jack chases Sammy.
Either way, it works great.
Another game in Jack’s toolkit is “Chase Me. I’ve Got the Stick.” Here’s the early part of the game where both pups are getting ahold of the stick.
And here goes Sammy with the stick!
Sammy’s still got the stick! Go, Jack, go!!
This is Said. He lives with Tracy all the time. And he’s Very Ready for Jack and Sammy to go home. He needs just a little peace and quiet for a change.
Jack said he’s got the greatest job ever!!
1. Chasing and being chased by Sammy.
2. Running. Eating. Taking naps.
3. And then Running. Eating. Taking Naps. Barking. Playing. …
Tonight, back at home, Jack’s asleep. He’s tired out. Babysitting is hard, hard work.
Feeding birds is a love I inherited from my parents and grandparents. We love the the birds — and especially the little wrens. They have such spunk, such personality. We wanted to make a home for them, so we bought them a little wren house and put it on the lower deck. Isn’t this a great home for a wren family?
This is their new bird bath — it’s heated. The birds sat around on the edge of the bird bath all winter. I imagined that they were wrapped in little towels pretending they were at the spa.
The wrens love the suet. They are so cute when they hang on the feeder.
We feed, exclusively, hot pepper suet (because the squirrels don’t like hot peppers). We get this at Home Depot.
Check out another new addition — a covered bird feeder. We got this to feed the bluebirds, but the wrens eat there too. (Actually, the bluebirds never came, so the wrens had it all to themselves.
Here’s what goes into the covered feeder — mealworms!! (Woo Hoo!!)
Yes, these are actually mealworms — here’s the bag they came in. They are dried mealworms, but you can make them look alive by putting oil on them. (Eeew!)
So, it’s the perfect place for a wren family to settle in — Right?
Nesting season came, and there was no wren nest in the box. Not the first week. Not the second week. Not the third week. 😦
I went over to Neighbor Deen’s house — and what did I find? I found my wrens had built next door at Deen’s house.
And not only had they built next door at Neighbor Deen’s house and not at our house. They built their nest on top of a string mop. (Ouch!! Rejection!!) Oh, well. That’s life.
We kept providing them food and water — because we love the birds — even if they rejected our beautiful, perfect little wren house on the lower deck.
After a few weeks, the eggs hatched. The nest fell apart as the little birds grew. Here they are all hunkered down just a couple of days before they fledged. You can see their dark feathers and little yellow beaks.
Thank God for the birds … especially the wrens. Do you have wrens nesting at your house? What’s the secret to becoming a wren landlord?
I love Spring. I love pups. And I love taking pictures. Here are pictures from photo shoots this spring with Jack and his good buddies, Spec and Girlfriend.
It was Jack’s eyes that caught our attention when he was a tiny puppy. And when his eyebrows aren’t too long, you can still see them. Aren’t they the cutest eyes? He’s wearing his St. Patrick’s Day bandana in this photo.
Here’s Jack again in his lucky Irish bandana. I used one of The Pioneer Woman’s photoshop action to make this photo dramatic. Not that Jack needs any help with drama …
In the middle of this photo shoot, some people walked by. Jack’s always alert and he jumped up to bark and growl and watch the people until they left “his” street. (See what I mean by drama?)
Jack’s buddy, Spec, stays with us a couple of days a week. (He stays with us when Sandy, his human, is traveling.) Spec is 13 years old very wise. He’s also nearly deaf and doesn’t seem to mind Jack’s sonic bark. He’s a handsome guy.
Spec is such a cute “little old man.” Here he is on the back porch. As I said, he can’t really hear. But he loves to be outside on the back porch, keeping watch and randomly barking. Bark! (“I’m in charge here!”) Bark! Bark! (“Is anyone out there?”) Bark! Bark! Bark! (“This is my porch!”)
Girlfriend is the dog next door. Girlfriend is a miniature Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle mix). She was Jack’s first friend after we brought him home. He has great fun playing with her. I took these pictures of Girlfriend one night when the light was so perfect and the grass so green.
Girlfriend’s got a hurt knee, so she and Jack don’t get to play together very often. Jack’s pretty sad about it. When Jack arrived, he was smaller than her. She still can’t figure out how he got so big.
If you are still reading after all this canine photo love, thank you — and here’s one last picture of Jack. Did I mention that I love, love, love the Spring. And pups. And taking pictures.