Friday, May 4, 2012

You Can Take The Hound Out Of The Hunt, But ...

Baby Mockingbirds 

The Northern Mockingbird is the state bird of Texas.  I took this picture of two fledgling mockingbirds as they were getting old enough to hop from the nest.

When they first started leaving the nest and ended up on the ground, I kept picking them up and returning them to safety after my dogs found one and almost caused an untimely end.  Just goes to show, you can take the hound out of the hunt but you can't take the hunt out of the hound.

Eventually  I realized I couldn't keep them safe in the nest because they were trying to learn to fly and couldn't accomplish that feat unless they had a running start out in the open, which is a very dangerous place to be when one is a baby bird.  I've noticed it takes the fledglings several days out of the nest to learn to fly up to the taller boughs of nearby trees, all the while they make a little bird call for their parents because they are still too young to capture food for themselves.  The parents continue bringing them food as well as keeping an eye on them in case predators or danger is in the area.

I heard an adult mockingbird make the most precious, calming sound to one of her babies the other day while I was nearby - it was kind of a trill of notes unlike any other sound I've heard a mockingbird make before and I knew the parent was trying to make sure the baby stayed quiet.

Right this very moment I have two sets of adult mockingbirds trying to raise more babies in my backyard.  One set is in my old man's beard vine and another in my sapling live oak tree.
Mockingbirds mimic 50 other bird's songs. They have also been known to imitate other sounds they hear such as rusty hinges, whistling, cackling hens, and dogs barking so expertly that even an electronic analysis could not tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original. Scientists have found that female mockingbirds are attracted to males that can make the most different sounds.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cozy :: Hot Cocoa with Homemade Marshmallows

Despite all the things going on in my life right now, I'm finding time to decorate for Christmas.  Last year we didn't even put up a Christmas tree which is really unusual for me because I love to turn my house into a cozy cottage for the holidays.

This year, the week after Thanksgiving, we went to get a tree.  I walked into the outdoor section of our big H-E-B Plus and they had trees hanging in rows from the rafters!  I picked out the very first  Fraser Fir I saw and it took all of five minutes to have the store employee cut it down and put it on a cart.  It wasn't too big or too small, it was just right (although a little lopsided) so we bought it, wheeled it out to the pick-up truck and put it in the bed.  It was the fastest, most pleasant, easiest tree-buying experience, ever.

My advent candelabra isn't fancy, I think it's made of plastic and I found it at Goodwill but it looks very cute on the martini bar that separates the kitchen from our dining area.  I always line the bar with garland and multi-colored lights.  It's a good place to put my little collection of Santa's, too.

My Aunt Johnnie is our hero and miracle woman this Christmas season because she left her home and family in Kansas to spend two weeks staying at the Fisher House on Lackland AFB so the doctors could harvest her cells for my Mom's allogeneic bone marrow transplant.  Mom is doing very well and has yet to have any major side effects from the transplant.  We are all keeping a close eye on her and last year my mom taught me a Christmas Novena prayer which I have been reciting for her when I light my Advent candles.

Before she left to go back home, Johnnie and I spent some time together at the Fisher House and as I was leaving she sent me off with homemade marshmallows, cookies, and hot cocoa.  Today I made a cup of the cocoa and plopped a marshmallow on top!  Yum!  While I was taking the photos of my hot chocolate, I put on "Fireplace For Your Home".  It's a video of a crackling fireplace I found on Netflix.  It's funny!  There are two episodes, one with just a crackling fireplace and a second with the crackling fire and accompanying Christmas music.  I prefer episode two.

My coffee set is handmade in Japan.  I have a set of four, each with a tray, little creamer cup, twist handle spoon and mug.  The set has painted butterflies, gray stoneware glaze, and is made of ceramic with a stamped seal on the bottom.  I don't know what the label on the box says so if you are reading this blog post and happen to know how to read Japanese, please message me or leave a comment with a translation to English because I'd love to know what the label says about the coffee set.


Saint Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.  In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother.  Amen.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Old Fashioned Romance :: Emma Rowley

Emma Rowley is a singer/songwriter/actor who I stumbled across on YouTube and I love the song she wrote called "Old Fashonioned Romance".  Check it out!

See EmmaRowleyMusic on YouTube for more!