Are you fascinated by birds, their ability to escape the confines of earth with flight, their marvelous color patterns and not in the least, their song?

Have you complied a life list over the years? What are your favorites among those birds you have seen and heard?

Having watched and studied birds most of my life and compiled a substantial life list from various parts of the country and beyond, I have my favorites amongst the group and they are now prominently displayed on the wall in my great room as seen on the right.

It might even be fun to include your state bird in the center of that group. I am in the process of including all the state birds in my collection. Enter the gallery by clicking on any of the images or on the gallery link above, and see what you like.

Chickens, chickens, chickens

David and I dove headlong into raising chickens.  We brought home eight little bundles of fluff that promise to grow up to be Golden Lace Wyandotte hens, pretty, friendly, and easy keepers.   

What we noticed almost immediately is that they grow and change almost overnight.  What a treat to watch them develop into young chickens. 
See the source image

They are now fully established in the chicken coop and enjoy exploring their outdoor run for bugs, greens, and anything that moves.  With all the added space, they love running and flying around for exercise.  Stay tuned for more exciting developments.

Into the Wind - A New Book to Review

Purchase the book here!

What if you lost your freedom?

That is exactly what happens to Darius, a wild mustang who grew up on the great American plains. His peaceful life is suddenly over when he is captured and forced to live in stock pens, only to be sold and loved by a young girl and then turned into a rodeo bucking horse.

But even in the darkest places, there is always hope. Darius learns that lesson when he meets Earl, a Lakota Sioux Native American.

But can Earl really help him?

Into the Wind is a Young Adult story about self-discovery and growing up on the great American plains. If you like books that include action, warmth, and horses, then you will love this book by author Susan Metcalfe Honneus. This exciting tale is told from the horse’s point of view for teens of all ages.

Get this book today!

Sue says, “I have written a book about the life of a wild horse on the Great Plains in the United States.

“Darius is a wild mustang born free on the open plains.  But can he stay free?  What happens when a helicopter chases the horses or when he is attacked by a cougar?

“This exciting tale of a spirited horse will have you on the edge of your seat and clamoring for more.”

Click this link to get your copy. After reading Darius’ story, please leave a favorable review, because this will help draw attention to the plight of the wild horses on our public lands.

Robins galore!

It is the first day of April and this is no fool’s joke. My backyard and the pasture are quite littered with robins. They are passing through our neighborhood to parts known only to them. Several will stay to take up residence in ideal robin nesting locations. The group is comprised mostly of males with several females along for the journey. The ground is barren devoid of last winter’s snow and an ideal hunting ground for worms and a variety of bugs. When they discover my garden bed covered with mounds of last fall’s leaves, there are at least thirty of them who delight in turning over the leaf litter with their beaks to uncover hidden morsels that found seclusion and security during the winter months underneath. Tomorrow or the next day, they will be gone and we wish them safe travels along the way.

Sky diving

It’s still March, but the weather has turned warm as spring knocks on the proverbial door. The sky is a leaden winter grey and blustery with the March wind evident. Looking out toward the hill behind the farmhouse beyond the pasture, now devoid of snow, I happen to notice the raven pair who have taken up residence on the mountain hillside over the past many years taking advantage of the air currents as they boil and buffet high over the crest of the hill. They fly in unison as they dive close together and then swoop high aloft side by side. Presently another raven appears and joins the aerial ballet. Then three more ravens appear and join the play. Before long, I count thirteen ravens diving and swooping as a group, sometimes in twos and threes and at other times, meeting together to swoop, dive and roll with the air currents. They continue this behavior for several hours, sometimes disappearing beyond the ridge and then again soaring high above to catch another breeze.

The seasons are changing

In spite of the bitter cold temperatures over the last week or so, there is the promise of spring in the air. Three male Red-winged Blackbirds have arrived at my feeders. The males are the first to head north so as to check out the local landscape and compete for the best nesting sites. The females will show up after these guys have set up shop. One lone male Common Grackle has also arrived ahead of his flock. This morning I had about five Common Redpolls show up along with the single Hairy Redpoll that has been with us for most of the latter winter season. These birds will be loading up on their fat reserves by visiting our feeders stocked with sunflower meats. This should see them through to their far northern nesting grounds. Safe travels and look forward to your return next winter.

Today’s the day!

Today is the day the barn swallows fledged! Morning arrived sunny and warm. While hanging bedsheets on the clothesline, I overhead the familiar squeeks and warbles of barn swallows. (I affectionately call them “barnies”.) They are one of my favorite birds and I anxiously anticipate their arrival in May. This year, they chose various mud nests in the horses’ run-in shed from years past ; once selected, they updated and improved them. After laying eggs, brooding and feeding youngsters, today was the day for the young ones to try their wings. Can you just imagine being snuggled tightly in a nest with your siblings, squirming and jostling for a good comfortable position, competing for the insect tidbits brought by parents. As the space becomes too difficult to manage, the young birds will look elsewhere to reside. Today with encouragement from their parents, they hesitated, but finally spread their wings and dropped into the air. I can imagine what it must have felt like to go from such cramped quarters to the freedom of the air and the wide world outside. There were eight of them swooping and diving, benching and turning, up high and then down low over the ground to just rise again over the pasture fence. As I hung my sheets, they would fly low over my head, squeaking exuberantly to each other; the sheer delight was evident. It appeared to me that the parents were showing them how to swoop, dive and rise in the air. Sometimes they would land on the farmhouse roof, and then just as quickly, take off again, enjoying the aerial acrobatics that are their nature to own. What a great start to one’s day, both for me and them.

Yin and yang

Boy was I wrong! I thought spring had won control over the climate a week or so ago. Now, every day the weather vacillates between spring and winter. Yesterday was beautiful, a cloudless sky, warm 59 degrees and perfect for raking leaves and uncovering flower beds to see what has poked up through the soil. I was encouraged to see the daffodil leaves clustered together and spikes of hostas ready to burst forth. Then today, it is 25 degrees, overcast with snow flurries and a very brisk wind. This has been the pattern over the past week. I am hopeful as I know the end of this tale will be where spring wins out in the end.

Resident Kestrel

I was thrilled to see a male Kestrel take up residence in my pasture. I believe he was here with his mate last year. He has been making use of the bluebird houses in the field to scan for mice. He returns to his favorite perching house time and time again. He sometimes varies his outlook posts by sitting on the upmost vertical branch of a sapling. I have not seen a female as yet, but I am hopeful.

COVID-19 Virus masks

My state, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, has requested that we used masks when we have to venture out into the world. As mentioned, they wish we would use homemade masks whenever possible as the surgical masks and N95 masks are critical for the health care personnel. I found a site on the internet which I used to create a mask for myself using a cloth napkin and two rubber bands. When complete, I inserted a section of paper towel to the inside as recommended from another source. It works very well and rather stylish if I do say so myself. Good luck with yours and stay safe and well.

Mellow yellow

It is the first week in April here in the Berkshire hills. The snow has lost the battle with spring which has now gained a firm hold on the land. Trees are still bare, but if you look closely, the leaf buds are swollen and ready to burst forth. The blackbirds are competing for nesting territory with their rancorous song. Male robins are scattered across the pastures possibly moving further north leaving a few to settle here to raise families. The greated contrast came , however, with the American Goldfinches. The females have melded into the background with their soft yellow and dusky feathers. The males are in various stages of their formal brilliant yellow dress for summer, some in full attire while others are transitioning from their winter drab garb.