An Early Spring

Ok, so spring made an early appearance here in Mid Missouri.

We’ve had consistant, beautiful weather since mid March, which is rare here.

This has put all of our foliage and flowers ahead of schedule by a few weeks. Fun for me and my camera.

On rainy days, I’m now painting.

I love being creative.

And just a reminder for all of my local peeps, Spring Art Walk on Main street in St. Charles is this weekend, April 27 – 29,

See my Facebook page for more info.

Have a great day!

Stay Inspired

 I took this picture when walking around the Missouri Botanical Gardens with my daughter.

She pointed out this beautifully simple, non-flashy, yet stunning delicate flower that I probably would’ve otherwise passed by.

I hope you stay inspired!

To purchase a copy of this print, contact me through my Facebook page or email.

The Family That Lived Outside My Door

I have been lucky to have a sweet family live outside my sliding glass door for the past several weeks.

I have watched their personal journey and felt at times like a giant gawker.

Here are the links to Post 1, Post 2, Post 3 and this is my last installment of the story of this miniature family.

I considered having a huge goodbye party like Oprah, but, well, didn’t want to detract any attention from her. After all, she had her show for 25 years, the Robirdsons haven’t been around quite that long.

When opening the squeaky screen door, one of the babies, who was considering leaving the nest, jumped ship so we were down to 3.

 

Then, just a day or two later, I could see that baby #2 was stretching his legs, trying to gather the nerve to make that big leap.

Then there were two. 

 While at work, the other 2 left. I came home to this:

We humans can become so self-absorbed that we, at times, forget about the other creatures we share this earth with. The Robirdsons are a family, different from ours yet the same. It truly makes me wonder if they are they more like us than we will ever know. After all, in the matter of a little over a month, the Robirdsons have had a family, cared for it, raised it and sent them on their way. It takes humans 20 years (more or less) to do the same thing.

I literally stare at my empty nest hanging outside my window and feel that bitter-sweet set of emotions. I miss seeing the little ones snuggling together all sweet and adorable and yet I know that this is what nature intends for every living thing.

Goodbye Robirdsons, thank you for sharing your precious family with me. Sorry if the goofy lady with the camera freaked you out at times but you reminded me that this world is full of wonders both big and small and they exist right in front of our eyes if we take the time to see them.

Thank you for that.

They’re Growing Up Quick

Days 5, 6 and 7 of the Robirdsons

If you missed it, here is my first post on the Robirdsons.

And here is my second post.

I will have one last post after this one about my little birdy family.

Seriously, I try so hard to stay away from this little family in my back window but I just love to watch them.

 Does this mean I need to get a life?

Um, nevermind, don’t answer that, it was a rhetorical question, I don’t think I really want to know.

 

These hungry little piglets seem like they grow by the hour.

 

We had a couple of days of damp and colder than normal weather and momma took her place on her nest in order to keep her babies warm.

 

I feel as though I am truly blessed having a front row seat to this little life event. 

 

 

It’s rare to see momma and pappa at the same time on the nest but I was happy to get the rare shot. 

Ok, now admit it, they are (finally) adorable!

 It’s getting close, I can feel it, they are getting old enough to go out on their own.

 

The Robirdsons – Day 4

 Here are a few pictures of the Robirdson Quads just 4 days after they were hatched.

If you missed my first installment of the Robirdsons, you can read it here.

Their feathers are starting to come in, and like human babies they eat and sleep a lot.

Notice in the picture below that Momma has a worm in her beak.

Momma and Daddy Robirdson fed them every half hour or so all day long. I am amazed at their stamina and dedication.

Dare I say they are approaching cute! 

My oldest daughter, now home from college for the summer, laughs at me everytime I climb on the kitchen chair to take pictures of these babies. She said “Mom, you are going to be crushed when they leave the nest.” I promptly explained to her with one daughter that goes away to college and is about ready to enter her senior year and another getting ready to go off to college, I am getting used to the feeling of my babies leaving the nest and am just enjoying them while they are here.

My first Quadruplet newborn session – The Robirdsons

Ok, so my quads aren’t exactly human newborns but still amazing and adorable (eventually) in their bird way.

 Earlier this spring, about a week before Easter, I had planned on replanting a new batch of flowers in the hanging pot outside my back door. I admittedly let the darned thing hang outside all winter long where the dainty annuals from last year became nothing more than withered sticks.

My plans for fresh new annual colors soon changed as I noticed one evening while cooking dinner that the flower pot had new residents moving in, Momma and Pappa robin were making a new nest in MY flower pot.   As I watched their hard work I through the upcoming days I eventually dubbed this sweet little family, the Robirdsons.

Every day for close to a week they flew back and forth, several times a day, carrying sticks and grass and the makings of a new home for their little ones that were soon to arrive. They placed their building materials carefully and packed them down.

Easter morning, I climbed up on the kitchen chair and peeking into their nest from my side of the glass saw this:

 And then I re-focused my lens a little past my original target and saw an Easter character standing close by.

 Could the Easter bunny have dropped these here? Surely not.

 So as this was my first close up experience with this species, I wondered how long it would be until we had little baby Robirdsons in our nest.  Curious I was,  so I did what any modern human would do and I Googled it to find out that our babies were due 12 – 14 days after the last egg was laid.

Momma was a good momma bird and barely left her nest, especially during that second week and I, strangely enough, found myself growing excited and impatient in anticipation of their arrival.

Sure enough, 2 weeks later, on Mothers Day none the less, our hatchlings arrived, 4 in total and lets just say they were definately the kind of face only a mother could love.

 

Momma Robirdson sat on her nest to protect her new flock but would occasionally fly off to find food and bring it back to her babies. 

 

 Momma also didn’t really like the fact that I was standing on a kitchen chair on the other side of the glass so I would try to get my pictures quick, then leave them alone. Only over the next few days, my quick little picture jaunts have become more and more frequent because I am just so fascinated. I tried pulling my fake Ficus tree out of the corner to cover me and to try to make the Mrs. more comfortable but this is one smart momma who can still see me taking quick peeks into their little family world.

The last 3 pictures above were taken on May 11th and as I write this only a few days from then, I am amazed at how fast my babies Mrs Robinsons babies have changed, you will be too. 

More details to come soon!

Wildlife in the Morning

Sometimes I read about places people have been, or even where they live and I see pictures of these places and ‘wanderlust’ strikes hard.

 I want to see things, go places, enjoy this world of ours in all its beauty.

And then a morning like the other morning comes about and again, I remember to be thankful for the area I live in.

I wake up earlier than normal for work, grab G2 (my camera, yes thats its name, hubby is G1) and I head out.

I am fortunate to work close to a wildlife preserve, Busch’s Wildlife.

Its an area of many lakes and walking trails. The scenery is beautiful nature.

 It isn’t anything spectacular, there are no mountains, no canyons, no oceans, no craggy rock formations. Just the outdoor basics.

Its a place of peace, to be quiet with nature.

Wait, did I say it isn’t anything spectacular?

Well, maybe I was wrong….

I am wrong once a year.

Ok, maybe more than that…<cough> slightly more.

As I walked from the lake, back to my car, the crisp morning air wrapped around me and made me feel alive,

 and thankful.

This earth is our gift and we should appreciate all of its wonders.

The utter quiet of the morning was shattered by their calls, it was a stark reminder that autumn approaches.

I am fortunate to live in a place of seasons.

(Remind me of that in February ok?)

 I drove the gravel roads, from one lake to another, admiring the different ways the beauty glowed in the early morning light.

 

Then the clouds moved in, and covered the sun.

Did you know the best time to photograph outside is on an overcast day?

Unless of course you are photographing the sun.

Then maybe not so much.

I digress. 

I broke out my Macro lens, just a few more shots,

 its getting to be that time,

time to go to work.

I doubt there are many better ways to start one’s day.

 

 

 

Earlier, when I said ‘nothing spectacular’,

 well

I guess that depends on when

 and where

 and how you see it.

Squirrel Update!

Ok, so for those of you who didnt know about the friendly neighborhood squirrel <–read about it here. (I’ll wait until you get back.) <whistles>

Now that  you’ve been caught up, its time for a Squirrel update. First off, the squirrel has a name, Sandy. My sweet neighbors’ grandaughters named the adorable squirrel after the charater in Spongebob Squarepants cartoon. Parents of young ones out there will know my reference.

Anyway, Sandy the squirrel decided to hang around quite a bit at the neighbors house and let me tell you, they loved every minute of it. There were even a few times they let Sandy in their home, that is, until this was built:

Ends up my retired neighbors’ husband is quite handy with the woodworking and paints!

Yes, as you can see, this is the finest in squirrel accomodations.It not only has painted on landscaping that one never has to water, it has a mailbox, a window (although not really a ‘see through’ window) and a place, right over the squirrel doorway, that tells all other squirrels in the neighborhood, this is not your home, its Sandy’s home. They even somehow knew Sandy was a patriotic squirrel as they provided her with her own small American flag to fly high and proud. Yes my friends, the two little bowls you see there are for her feeding of a nutty assortment and the other, for a cool sip to wash it all down. The roof is even hinged so that if need be, they can open the door to see that she(?) is ok. Oh and I almost forgot, they provided her with a small hand towel to wrap herself in in case she got cold. These people thought of everything and its just hystericaly adorable.

Sandy caught their hearts and they spoiled her like a grandchild. I have to admit, I completely understood my neighbors motherly instinct when it came to this overly social baby squirrel. Sandy is simply adorable and a sight to see.

My neighbors asked me a small favor a few weeks later, they knew my daughter was away studying in college for her wildlife degree. They wondered when she would be returning from school as they had a vacation planned and was hoping that she would be able to come over a few times a day and make sure Sandy had nuts & fresh water. My daughter was due home before they left and jumped at the chance and was as bewildered as the rest of us that this baby squirrel went against what was supposed to be her natural instincts and adopted human caretakers.

As you can see above, my daughter got aquainted with our new miniature neighbor and took her responsibility seriously. I know my photos are not technically the best but I believe it was because I couldn’t help but chuckle while witnessing this interaction, something not even instruments to reduce camera shake can completely overcome.

Sandy did have her hesitation when it came to us humans. She wouldn’t go near my daughter (above) until said daughter offered her what must be squirrel chocolate, a walnut. She was very friendly with my neighbor but as time went by, even stopped letting my neighbor hold her. It seems as she gets older, her instincts are kicking in a bit, which is ultimately what we all really want for her.

What is to become of this nutty little squirrel? To be continued….