Friday, February 28, 2014

Its a crisp blue nineteen degrees out this morning. The "bird-spa", i.e. the heated bird bath has been popular this morning. I had to go out first thing and add another gallon of water to it.

One fat squirrel obviously got up early this morning for the backyard buffet. It was on a feeder when I came out here with my coffee. It would eat for a few minutes and then just set there and kind of snooze. That's kind of what I do out here in the mornings on some days; have a little coffee, watch the birds, doze off, --- repeat. It works well.

I filled all the feeders again yesterday afternoon so maybe it will last through most of the weekend. We are still on tap for some kind of winter storm through part of the weekend. What comes through will determine how quickly the feeders get empty. If it gets really bad, the back yard will be swarming with birds and squirrels trying to fill up with all the energy and the warm water that they can. Its kind of like people at the grocery store. Mention a winter storm and the milk and bread goes flying off the shelves as if we were in for the apocalypse or something. (Okay, yes I did go out yesterday and buy more ice-melt while there was some still some on the shelves.)

This is the last day of February. Two months of 2014 is pretty much gone. When the weather is bad it feels as if time has stopped and when the weather is good it seems as if its gone too quickly. But a sixth of the year is history and I know I could have better use of my time. Thoughts of losing a little weight haven't been activated. There is a new Stephen King novel sitting right where I put it two months ago without so much as the first page read. The cage I want to put around the hydrangias hasn't been started, and the winter haircut for the roses hasn't been done.

But --- life is good. Despite what I have or have not gotten done this past two months, God continues to bless me. I have a life filled with love and a heart filled with peace. What more could I ask for?

Have a blessed day, --- I will.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Brilliant blue and cold and windy is the scenario for the world outside my sunporch. According to my weather app, at 25 degrees right now -- we are at today's high. That is not a happy thing. Unfortunately the bird feeders are again almost empty which means I need to go out in the cold and fill everything. Again --- not a happy thing. So far the weekend promises nothing but more cold, rain, freezing rain, sleet, and throw in a little snow just to complete the mix. I don't know who paid for this winter but they got a bargain and their money's worth. But enough whining! I'm sure that a whole lot of warm and beautiful days will come soon. As Ms. Kate and I were saying yesterday, we think it bothers us more simply because we are getting older.

Speaking of Ms. Kate, we had a nice 48th anniversary day. One of the good things about the world of social media is the connecting with so many friends from around the world and from our past. We received so many notes of well wishes from friends and loved ones on our FaceBook pages. It was heart warming.

Well something just spooked the couple of squirrels that are out there. They suddenly bolted across the yard and high up the trees and are chattering fiercely about something. Possibly there is a Hawk back in the area although they don'seem too bothered by them, so, who knows what goes on in the mind of a squirrel. All I can tell is that they are truly pissef off. One left the yard totally and the other is streaking from one brach to another, back and forth, and chattering constantly.

The coffee cup is empty and I suppose I must get out of my recliner and become productive. As always I thank God for yet another day filled with blessings and the love of friends and family. I hope your day is just as wonderful.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The backyard runway is busy this morning with all the flying in and taking off. A light layer of fresh snow and sixteen degrees has everything scrambling for food and energy. But there is enough out there to feed them sufficiently even though a few of the feeders are empty. Once the squirrels arrive though, they will stay on those feeders until they are empty on a day like this.

Today is our forty eighth wedding anniversary. We have no special plans. We'll go out for dinner at our favorite resturant this afternoon in between running the weeks church bulletins and choir practice. Just being alive and being together is a wonderful present in and of itself. God is good and we are blessed.

There is still some light snow falling. The news folks say there is just enough to cause slick spots on the roads. Several accidents and slide-offs have already happened since midnight.

The snow so far isn't deeper than the spring flowers that are sticking themselves out. That keeps the hope alive that warmer weather really is on the way. However, this is only round one of what the local weatherman call "snow opportunities" for this week. March is likely to "come in like a lion but hopefully go out like a lamb" as the old saying goes.

I hope, as always, that you have a blessed day. Hug someone today and hold tight to those you love. It isn't an accident that those you love are in your life; God put them there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tuesday, Tuesday, --- what do we do with Tuesday? Its not a Monday, so we can't "hate it". Its not a Wednesday so we can celebrate it as "hump day". It just kind of sits there waiting to be put to good use.

It is somewhat sunny and thirty degrees this morning. The Cardinals have been out there for the past hour. We had eight this morning. A couple of Robins, several Chickadees, Goldfinches, Housefinches, and Carolina Wrens pretty much round out the visitors list this morning. One squirrel just showed up and has made itself quite comfortable at one of the feeders.

It is supposed to get to 38 degrees today and unfortunately that is going to be the high for the week. The forecasters are even using that ugly "S" word again for a couple of days this week. Just when ya' think it might be getting warmer, a bit of winter sneaks back in. However, just like in a Vegas casino, the weather is always the same here in the sunporch. I am so glad we decided to add this thing on to the house. I have spent many, many hours enjoying it.

Tomorrow is our 48th wedding anniversary. Add on the four years we dated and we have been together for fifty two years. I'm quite sure God put young Kathy Parton in my life all those years ago. I have been truly blessed to have her as my wife. Together we have created a family of daughters and grandchildren and now great grandchildren that completely loves one another. God is good, --- every day!

Monday, February 24, 2014

It is very obvious this morning that the Barkingtons are gone back home. Chatter from the top of the tree was evident that the "all clear" sign was being sent. It didn't long for the squirrels to come back down and begin having their breakfast without worry of two dogs chasing them around the yard.

I think the word used in the Bambi movie was "twitterpated". It would appear that many of my fine feathered friends are in fact twitterpated today. The different species have seemingly "paired-up" and are staying in constant close contact with one another. It hasn't gotten to the state of a back yard orgy yet but maybe they are sneaking off to the holly trees for that --- as the holly trees provide more cover and "intimacy" as it were. It won't be long until I start seeing birds carrying bits of grass and mud etc to build their nests.

God is stringing together more pretty days than nasty ones. Its cool outside but the sun is shining and that just makes the day seem so much warmer than it really is. As I sit out here on the porch on a morning like this though, it is easy to drift back off to snooze-land. I think my brain has already switched to daylight saving time as I'm seeing an extra hour in the morning as I crawl out of bed. So when I take my cup of coffee out to the porch and sit in my recliner with a light throw to cover me up  -- sometimes the coffee gets a little cold before I finish it. My life is so good and I totally realize that I am truly blessed.

I have a lot of work to get done today down in my office. The Lenten season starts next week with Ash Wednesday and there will be extra services etc to work on. Again --- God has blessed me with these two wonderful churches that I am privileged to serve.

As you read my blog today, take a deep breath, close your eyes and say a prayer of gratitude your personal blessings.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Its a sunny Saturday and all is well here on the sunporch. Julie and the Barkingtons arrived yesterday afternoon and are now out here with me. I think we are on pot two from the old coffee pot. The dogs have been in and out and in and out numerous times. But the yard is clear of squirrels and will continue to be until they head back home tomorrow afternoon.

I spent several hours out in the yard yesterday raking up winter and late fall stuff. The two huge tulip poplars drop all of their seed pods in the late fall and there were twigs etc that all needed to be cleaned up. I'm maybe forty percent done in the back yard and still have a long way to go in the rest of the yard. The ground is starting to thaw pretty good and that makes things really mushy in some places.

There are lots and lots of spring bulbs sticking their leaves up out of the ground. I have a large pussy willow immediately out side the sunporch door. It is the tree that holds so many of my bird feders. I noticed yesterday that the blooms on it are popping out all over it. That is my best indication that spring is truly upon us.

Mornings here on the porch watching what is going on is such a great glimpse of God's universe. One can only imagine what the world was like before God introduced man to it. I wonder what my little patch of this world looked like. When we read our Bibles and the story of creation --- we think of it happening "over there" in Bible land. We forget that God touches a world all at once.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Up before the birds and critters today, or at least it seems that way. There are only a couple of Goldfinches out there, but it won't be long until the gang all arrives. What is the old saying --- "if you feed them, they will come"?

I must start my morning by saying "thank you" to the Lord. Yesterday my prayer was that no one would be harmed in the storms we were to get. According to news reports, except for some power outages, which we had for a couple of hours, there were no injuries reported or serious damage. So, thank you, Lord, for keeping your children safe.

Its 38 degrees and windy this morning. Weather folks say it will be another couple days of sunny skies but cooler temperatures. I can certainly live with that. Spring is clawing its way back despite winter's attempt to keep it away. I was looking at a front flowerbed yesterday and most of the earliest spring flowers are up. Nature is so amazing. How can people continue to doubt the existence of our great and mighty God? As I tell folks, "you may doubt that God exists, but not for one second does God doubt you exist".

My first fuzzy tailed rat has arrived. They are going to be upset for most of the weekend. Julie is coming over for the weekend and she brings " the Barkingtons"; her two dogs that live to chase squirrels up the trees. So, the squirrels better grab their food this morning  because come noon --- its game - on!

Think kind thoughts today. Hug the ones you love and smile at the strangers. I did that at Target yesterday. I saw an employee stocking shelves and she obviously would rather been anywhere else, doing anything else. I smiled at her and said "hi", and her whole face and body changed. I think I made her day just a bit better. I happened to see her a couple of more times while I was there and each time she smiled at me first. It is so easy to allow God to use us to make a difference in some ones life.

Have a blessed day.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It is a cloudy, windy morning and we are under the gun for storms this afternoon. But 70 degrees in February in this part of the country is almost a guarantee of a severe storm. So, --- my prayer this morning, Lord, is for safety for all in the path of this pending storm.

We have lots of Cardinals this morning and even more Finches of all varieties. I have a couple of Downy Woodpeckers that are happy with the bark-butter feeders as they flit in and out. It is always a joy to watch.

I've debated whether to go out and rake up some of the birdseed hulls that now cover large spots under my feeders. But, I think I'm sitting on my "lazy button" and it won't turn off. So, life in the recliner on the sunporch goes on.

Ms. Kate has joined me this morning on the porch and that makes it special. She generally doesn't come out in the mornings because she gets cold. It is nice to have her smiling face here with me.

Take time today to take stock of all of the good things in your life. It is so easy to concentrate on the negative but resist that temptation. Smile at a stranger and watch their face change; then remind yourself that you made that happen with no effort at all. Who said that God doesn't work through us? Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Thank you Lord for this second beautiful day in a row!

It is a wonderful sight to actually see my grass and yard instead if snow and ice. By late yesterday afternoon it had melted sufficiently for me to carry the 100 lbs of black oil sunflower seed out to the shed and fill the storage can. Then I took to the task of filling 18 of the feeders. I 'll need to fill one more today but wanted them to finish it off first.

The gang is all arriving; at least the cardinals and the finches are here, with only two tail flipping squirrels so far. I'm surprised that those nasty starlings aren't here. I hope they have moved on. They make such a mess and simply ravage the feeders. The yard is so much more tranquil without them.

I have writing to do today. This afternoon and evening will consist of going to the churches to run the weekly bulletins, have a meeting with the organist to work on the Easter Sunrise Service, followed by choir practice.

Life is such a joy if we only let it be. The blessings in my life are immeasureable. I have God's grace to thank for that because it is certainly more than I deserve. If you are following my blog, have a blessed day. I will.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy brilliant Tuesday morning! It has been three days since my last entry and three days since my last time one the porch. Sunday was a full day at the churches; Monday was morning physical with the doctor, and that was followed by conducting a funeral. Today is at least a partial day to relax.

The critters and bird friends are not happy with me this morning. They have emptied every feeder and at the moment it is too icey out there for me to risk it. The storage can is empty which means I need to carry those two 50 pound bags of bird feed out to the shed and refill everything. On the other side of the coin though is the fact that they could eat for a couple days from all the seeds they have spilled on the ground. It would help clean up the mess they have made around all of the sunflower seed feeders. The temperature is supposed to be going up to 53 dgrees today so I'll go out later and restock the buffet. Right now though, I'm content to enjoy the morning and thank our amazing God for this touch of spring.

I hope you have a blessed day. Remember that no matter what is going on in your life --- God loves you and is right there beside you.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Ahhhh! My blue sky is back. But at 14 degrees there won't be a lot of melting going on. I made a treacherous trip out to the mailbox to post some letters and almost hit the sidewalk. I hope it warms enough to melt the street today.

There is one less Starling here today. I looked out the kitchen window yesterday and a huge Red Tail Hawk had one pinned to the ground and was waiting on it to die. Eventually the hawk flew off, clutching the prey in its talons. However, there appears to be no mourning going on out here this morning. Such is the life in wild nature.

I'm hoping it does warm up soon. I have to do a funeral on Monday and we need to be able to get to church tomorrow. February is now half over so its time for winter to ease up. This has been a winter of historic snow falls and ice storms nationwide. It is ironic that the place that really needs snow, Sochi, Russia, isn't getting it and they are trying to hold the Winter Olympics there.

I hope anyone following my blog will be having a blessed day. I certainly intend to. God is good --- all the time.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Where is my sunshine? Yesterday was so beautiful and today is grey with a forecast of 1 - 3 inches of snow. I remind myself it is still February and that means it is winter.

My backyard friends must think the "bird Santa" came last night. I went out late and filled all of the feeders in preparation for the pending snow today. So there is a lot of flittering and fluttering and posturing going on out there as each one tries to be the boss of a particular favorite feeder. It is so much fun to watch.

Weather guys are saying another blast of cold air is coming in today. I'm going to crown them the "Kings of One More". They keep promising warm weather but each night they say "but first we have to get through one more day or one more event".

So, no more grousing for the day. It is Valentines Day and I am blessed with a wonderful love of my life. God has sure been good to me and I give God all praise and gratitude for His blessings.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

What a beautiful morning! The sky is clear blue and the sun is shining brightly. The yard is still snow covered but there has been a lot of melting. Weather guys say we will get more snow tomorrow and I really hope it doesn't happen.

I need to fill the feeders again today. Ms. Kate and I went to the bird food stores yesterday to restock. We spent another $125.00 on bird feed. That happens at least once a month. That is another reason to look forwad to spring and summer; they have other sources of food then and it don't cost me as much. We easily go through 700 pounds of black oil sunflower seed a year, not to mention all of the other foods like suet cakes and seed cakes etc. Sitting here in the sun porch, watching the guys entertain me is not a free show! But --- if I didn't have the food out there I wouldn't have the birds either.

I hope today brings you a sense of peace in your life. I firmly believe we choose each morning what kind of day we are going to have. A cheery "good morning" exchange every morning between Ms. Kate and I just starts my day off right. Add to that a prayer of thanksgiving for my blessings and a warm cup of coffee out here in the sun porch and life is excellent!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Little or no time for blogging this morning as I had a Pastor's Circle meeting first thing. But --- the thing that struck me most immediately was that there was no new snow and the sun was shining. So --- thank you Lord for that special blessing to start my day.

Monday, February 10, 2014

This morning we have "five fuzzies in a frey". I know that's silly but I do have five squirrels out there hopping, jumping, running, and chasing each other away from the feeders that Ms. Kate and I filled yesterday afternoon.

When I first came out here this morning it was the time for the Cardinals to feed. My usual eight to twelve were nervously flittering back and forth as they went from feeder to feeder. Their efforts put down a new layer of seed on the fresh snow.

Then came the squirrels and of course the Starlings. The Starlings chase off squirrels and the squirrels chase off Starlings. In the mean time the Chickadees, Junkos, Finches, and Sparrows dash in and out trying to get their share. It is a joy to sit here with my cup of coffee and watch the antics of God's creatures. They do bring me joy and I consider it to be just one more example of God's blessings.

May your day be filled with love and comfort from friends and family. Don't forget to say a prayer for some one who may need a bit of uplifting in their spirit.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Another cloudy and gloomy morning. If it were not for my sleeping sweetheart in the other room and my menagerie of feathered friends out side the porch windows, I could feel depressed. Instead, I'll sit here and be thankful for God's blessings in my life.

I must admit that it does feel strange to be out here this morning. By now on Sunday mornings I'm usually on my way to church. However, we had to cancel services at both churches today because of the horrible icey conditions of our parking lots. The councils determined that it was just too unsafe for our folks to try to be on them. You got to know that when our farmers say it is more than their huge John Deere tractors can handle, it must be bad. (And the "red tractor" drivers couldn't get it done eithers. LOL) But, not going to church this morning is going to confuse my brain all week.

The gang is all here this morning, although at the moment there are more Starlings than anything else. I purposely didn't fill the feeders yesterday . There is plenty of food out there and I want them to clean it all up from the ground. Even my birds and squirrels need be part of the "clean plate" club.

God has opened up a whole new day and a whole new week. I urge each of you to make the best use of it. Smile at strangers, tell your friends you love them, check on a senior citizen, pray for others, and stop every day to give God praise.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A blessed Saturday morning to all my friends and family. It is, of course, snowing once again, and dare I say it, --- it is beautiful. Yes, like everyone else, I'm so over snow. But as I sit here, there is a silence and peacefulness about it that makes it enjoyable too.

While I don't see them right now, I hear a couple squirrels off in the trees chattering about something. They can be some real noisy butts sometimes. Maybe they are fussing at me because a couple of the feeders are empty. At the moment there is literally nothing going on in the back yard except for one lone Chickadee and one lone Cardinal enjoying the feeders all to themselves.

I noticed this past Suday that the Canadian Geese seem to be in full migration as are the Robins. Each of my neighbors have a huge Holly tree and every year the Robins swarm in by the hundreds and strip the trees of their red berries. It is amazing to watch. The trees appear to be shivering with all of the Robins fluttering around in them.

From one lone Cardinal we're up to a dozen now so the gang is arriving. It is time to just sit and enjoy. I hope your day is peaceful and filled with the love of friends and family. Take time to give God praise for the love that fills your life; it all began with Him.

Friday, February 7, 2014

I am extremely late getting to the sun porch today. We had too much on the plate to be sitting in a recliner. But now, it is almost nap - thirty and the sun is streaming nicely through the windows making it very comfortable out here.

Fluffed and puffed would be my description for what few birds are out here. The Cardinals will be back for an evening meal in about 15 minutes or so. The Starlings have fairly well emptied some of the feeders but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to fill everything back up.

I hope you have had a very blessed day; I certainly did. Ms. Kate and I had lunch out and then I took her to her craft shop. We also went to visit with my 96 year old mother.

Well, there are now 13 Cardinals out then enjoying supper. I guess I better make sure they said grace.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Another cold and semi-grey day through the windows of the porch this morning. I wasn't looking forward to seeing snowflakes again this morning but this is the winter that won't quit. However, it is 13 degrees outside and a comfortable 65 here in the sun porch. My cup of coffee and a light blanket makes it extremely comfortable.

I found that I was totally wrong yesterday about the birds and squirrels getting through the ice on the feeders. I went out yesterday evening and found they they were infact completely frozen over. So, I chipped it all away and topped off everything once again. This morning the free buffet out there is obvious. There must be a minimum of fifty Starlings out there; all fussing and flittering, and gobbling up the food. The Cardinals are holding back waiting their turn so as to not get run over by the ruffians of the neighborhood. The squirrels are having a tough time getting up the poles again today which is fine by me. I only have one out there so far this morning. It has jumped half way up that pole dozens of times this morning, only to slide back down, then looks over at me like its my fault. But --- I have no doubt it will get up pole that eventually.

I hope you have a blessed day filled with the love and warmth of your family and the love of God.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

There are few things funnier in my back yard than watching the squirrels try to climb an ice covered pole. They jump up: --- slide back down; repeat the process. However, having said that, there are few critters more determined to get what they need to survive than those squirrels. No matter how hard it might be, no matter what gyrations they may have to go through, they will work to achieve their goal. Humans could learn a lot of work ethc from a squirrel.

Everything is ice covered this morning of course, but there is plenty of food out there for the gang and their sharp beaks and and claws managed quickly to break through the ice to the bird seed.

We had a special visitor this morning; a huge owl was sitting on a limb just outside my window. It was a wonderful sight. We seldom get the large birds in the yard.

If you got out of a warm bed in a warm house this morning --- thank God for those blessings. Many people in this country did not. If you shared a hug or kiss with a loved one this morning, thank God for that blessing. Many people could not. I hope you have a most blessed day.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another cold and gloomy morning out there in the back yard. The pending storm has the morning gang all in a tizzy and out of sync. The squirrels are late, and there are only three or four Cardinals here this morning. My one lone Robin is here and makes itself comfortable flapping all of the warm water out of the heated bird bath. How it doesn't freeze is a wonder to me. God's designs for nature never cease to amaze me.

 I do have a major battle going on though between a flock of Starlings. They completely cleaned out all of the bark butter paste and pellt containers yesterday and I didn't refill them last night. So, there has been a Starling knife fight going on for the past half an hour over micro-crumbs of "the good stuff" when the ground is covered with remnants of kicked out sunflower seeds from all of the feeders.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Thanks to my ever-smart computer guru daughter Julie for turning my FaceBook posts into this blog!

Monday Morning on the Porch

     I find it interesting how routine our backyard critters and aviary friends are. 0800 seems to be "time to go to work". On the dot, the first squirrel runs across the yard from somewhere and climbs up the pole to the one feeder that we acually allocate as the "squirrel feeder". At the same time, the Blue Jay announces his presence from midway up the tulip poplar tree, and within minutes the back yard has come alive with birds of every kind. 
I topped off all of the feeders yesterday afternoon in anticipation of snowfall last night. However, thank you Lord, we were spared any snow for the first time this winter. They say the groundhog saw his shadow and we will have six more weeks of winter. Considering it is only February 3rd and mid winter solstace isn't until March 21st, of course we are going to have six more weeks of winter.
Squirrel number four is now here so let the rodent acrobatics begin. Y'all have a very blessed day. Smile at a stranger today: you will both feel better.