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sherriepalmer:

I think this post is just beautiful and full of truth. If you like this, please check out the bottledworder blog.

Originally posted on bottledworder:

They weave their gossamer threads around you so you never know when they’re there and when they’re not.

Then when you think they’re nowhere in sight, absent, withdrawn, perhaps gone forever they come back just like that, their voices like silver bells tinkling all around you or like heavy, brass temple gongs that start you into waking up.

They may be the kind that make their presence known always, wrapped around you like heavy, warm blankets that protect you from the cold or they may be like the occasional star that shows itself in your cloudy skies to make you find direction when your compass fails.

Their touch is light, their demands little.

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End of Summer

It’s like a switch has been flipped. All of a sudden this week the birds have grown silent and invisible. Overnight they have disappeared. I still see the hummingbird but I can’t tell now if its one of the youngsters or not.

Now instead of the cacophony of bird calls and the flurry of feathered activity in the yard, there is silence and absence.

The fireflies have finished their light shows for the year as well. The nights now belong to the bats eating the mosquitoes for which I am grateful.

The only sounds now are the crickets and cicadas which tell me loudly that it is still summer but that it is coming to an end. I know here in Pennsylvania we can have summer weather for at least another month and that’s great.

As much as I look forward to having less to do in the yard, I really dislike the Autumn. Maybe because I am too tuned into the plants and feel the trees slowing and the annuals dying. Despite the beauty of the colors of the leaves in the fall, I find it sad.

For now I will enjoy every day of being able to be barefoot. I relish the warm ground and soft grass. The bright flowers are showing off their incredible variety of colors and shapes. I will save seeds from my favorite flowers to plant next year. I will clean up the gardens so they will be ready for the spring. And I won’t take any days for granted.

I am grateful for a wonderful Summer this year.

Bird Summer

I have decided that this has been the summer of birds for me. I’ve had summers with different themes in the past. And when I have approached this topic with friends, they usually agree when they think about it. I know Nature has cycles and I wonder if I will notice a pattern as the years go on. For now I just observe.

One year was the year of spiders since there were spider webs everywhere. Starting in August I noticed that there were beautiful webs in every available place outside. When it was raining or the sun shone at just the right angle you would see the amazing beauty of the webs. The bad part that year was walking through them by accident and that horrible feeling wondering if there was a spider tagging along for a ride!

One year it was mice. They seemed to be in all of my gardens. I found tunnels through the mulch, under plants, and anywhere they could make paths. They stayed out of my house, so that was okay.

One year it was ants. They didn’t stay out of the house. Yuck.

One year it was butterflies. That was fun and beautiful. They seemed to be everywhere and there were some I hadn’t noticed before.

This year for me its birds.

We seem to have had a variety of birds that we don’t usually see like woodpeckers and the herons.

As those of you who follow this blog know, we had the green heron family in our yard for most of the summer. One of the chicks stayed for a long time but now I think it finally moved on. But in the last week or so I have seen baby catbirds, robins, finches, sparrows and wrens.

The most fun for me has been the hummingbirds. There is a mother bird and two youngsters. Twice this summer while watering my garden I have had these tiny but brave birds hover right next to me as if to say hello and thank me for the flowers they enjoy outside the porch. I wish I could manage to get a picture of them but they have alluded me so far.

In the meantime I enjoy watching all these amazing bird families. Very entertaining!

How about you? How has Nature gifted you this summer?

Green Herons: Backyard Entertainment!

Green Heron chick

Green Heron chick

This summer I have new neighbors. A Green Heron family. I glimpsed one of the parents weeks ago thinking it was a duck trying to land in our trees. All I really got a good look at was long yellowish/orange legs which belonged on some kind of water bird. And I knew it was about the size of a small duck. I wasn’t even sure ducks nested in trees but found out that some do. Later that week I saw two of them flying overhead.

 
I kept trying to get to get a good enough view to figure out what it was. A week or two later, I finally got a better look and heard them. From those clues I figured out that they were Green Herons.
Earlier this week I saw a couple of young ones trying to get around from branch to branch in the trees. They are awkward looking and not very coordinated but fun to watch. I finally got some pictures.
Two days ago one of the babies was walking in my backyard. It had a little less fuzz and more grown up feathers.

Exploring the backyard

Exploring the backyard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve also noticed that the two chicks like to perch near each other in the sun in the mornings while they give themselves a good grooming.

Siblings

Siblings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today, both chicks were walking around in the backyard. 

 

Both exploring the ground.

Both exploring the ground.

I imagine they will be flying away for good soon but it has been a lot of fun to watch them.

Harry Potter, Again?

 

Harry Potter Books

Harry Potter Books

 

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling holds a special place in my heart.

I first met Harry when my daughter introduced me to the first book when it came out. She and I read the book together and fell in love with the new wizarding world of modern day Harry Potter. She was enchanted because she was the same age as the character of Harry Potter and grew up with him. I was enchanted with the detailed original world and characters I was reading about.

Later, when I worked at a bookstore, I got to experience being a part of the midnight release parties. I was in charge of the trivia contests we had. Being a part of the excitement was amazing. I would buy two copies of each new book so that my daughter and I could stay up all night reading them together. We couldn’t wait to see what happened next!

By the time the last book was being released, I held discussion groups in the months leading up to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The anticipation of how the series would end filled every fan with mixed feelings. We couldn’t wait to see how it ended but we dreaded that it would all be over. During these groups, we poured over every detail, tried to outdo each other in the trivia games and guess what would happen in the last book. I was amazed at the range of ages at these groups. Yes, it was mostly kids that but these books were enjoyed by people of all ages. Looking around and watching parents and grandparents discussing these books with their children, teens and grandchildren was awesome. How often does this kind of thing happen these days?

Why am I bringing this up now? Because recently I have enjoyed rediscovering the fun, wonder and good writing of these books. I work in a library now and am hosting two discussion groups about the Harry Potter books as part of the Summer Reading program. Last week was the first of the two groups and we discussed books 1-4.

Once again, I was sitting with a group of people ranging in age from a six-year-old to a couple of grandparents! The magic is still happening! It was wonderful hearing what parts of the story were their favorites, what parts made them laugh and what parts made them cry. Once again I am amazed at how much fun everyone has in trying to answer trivia questions or talking about what they would do if they had an Invisibility Cloak or the Marauder’s Map. How much they dislike Dolores Umbridge or how much they love Hagrid, Dobby and Luna Lovegood.

I was afraid it would be old and I would have to force myself to get through it all. I’ve had that happen with other books when I’ve reread them after time has passed. What a wonderful, and yes, magical surprise to find out that these books are just as good, ten years or so later!

From time to time I have reviewed books and written about authors in this blog and since I am fully immersed in the world of Hogwarts and all things Harry Potter once again, I felt it was time to share the fun with you.

I know it’s easy to let all the media hype steer you away from the massive icon Harry Potter has become but maybe you should give the books a try? If you do, I would love to hear what you think.

In the meantime, I am brushing up on my trivia knowledge from books 5-7!