Life and Wildlife

The view from my office window. Our year-round cool temperatures and days and days of rain result in the most luxuriant green landscapes. See the blurry little squirrel who keeps an eye on me?
Unblurred. What a cutie. I love how he holds his little front paws in front of him, like he’s about to ask an uncomfortable question of me.

Back in the days when I used to have a full-time job, a big part of my world was outside the window from my home office. Lately, I’m in class often and it’s newsletter time for both the Great Spirit church and the Cherokees, so it’s like the old days again. I spend more than half my awake time in front of the screen, and thus, in front of the window looking out. Once I moved into this house and determined where the office window would be, I planted things I want to look at, and placed bird feeders on purpose, to keep myself entertained. You can tell which photos are three weeks old and which are newer, by the development of the plants. It’s definitely spring here.

Dark-eyed Junco in the branches of the Japanese maple.
On days when I allow the Hussies to roam free, I spend an embarrassing amount of time chasing them out of this spot. They can’t resist the bird seeds that the squirrel spills from the feeder. I always wonder what the people think, when they drive past my home and see me hollering and chasing chickens! I think this is Jamie, but it’s hard to tell, since I am not looking at her better side.

There is someone new in the photo above. I took a closer look.

Is it a male golden-crowned sparrow? These are rare at my feeder.
My computer scrolls through old photos as a screen saver. I found this one amusing, since it was a photo of chickens in my yard and right behind that screen was the fluffy butt of one of those same chickens.

In the photo above, note the hummingbird feeder, half-filled with sugar water just visible outside to the left of the screen. Its hanger had broken, so I set it on top of the rock wall until I decided how to best continue using it. It sat there undisturbed for at least a month, and by pure coincidence, I was watching when Mr. Squirrel decided to go check it out. You can guess the next step.

Somebody’s in trouble.
The reward for being a brat. Delicious sugar water. See his little nose reflection?

I never get tired of looking. I’ve read your blogs and I know many of you are the same. It may be the same juncos that I see every day, but they still grab my heart. It may be the same ungrateful squirrels that constantly climb inside the bird feeder and spill everything out so the seeds get wet and the deer can eat them, but I can’t help myself and I still love the squirrels.

A juvenile? or female? black-headed grosbeak at the feeder, trying to keep its balance on the lopsided thing. The culprit of the lopsidedness happily eats spilled seeds below.
What do you think? Juvenile, or just a raggedy-looking female black-headed grosbeak?

I planted that poor rhododendron the first spring I lived here, in 2016, but the soil at the base of the cedar tree has nothing in it for sustenance. The Japanese maple was planted only a year after the rhodie, and it’s small too. Some years they were barely alive, since the cedar sucks every drop of moisture in the summer. I need to give them more vitamins. I resolve this year to do better for them.

Not kidding, this squirrel often watches me at my desk. Maybe he thinks *I* am the one in the zoo!

I am fueled by coffee as much as my restless drive to always be involved in something. This means I get up from my desk and walk to the kitchen often, to refill my cup. This is when I glance out the windows on the other side of the house, and see all my visitors in that direction.

One morning, a male mallard duck sat right in the middle of the lawn, when he is usually on the creek or the pond. What is he doing?
I assumed he was hurt, because the behavior was so unusual. I gently slid the door open to get a better shot with my camera and whoosh! off he flew.
Speaking of birds who don’t usually visit, these two showed up. In my seven years here, it’s the first time I have ever spotted Canada geese on my property. I got some video and made a neat TikTok of them.

I just realized that I still have not posted the story of the construction of a new little cage for my Small Hens. The one they moved to when they moved out of my house. I have the cage right off the deck so I can easily check on the babies when I go for coffee. I recently caught this funny photo of the babies watching a deer. Since January, deer activity at my place has dropped dramatically. There are days that go by when I don’t see a deer at all, and that is highly unusual. So when this deer came up close to the house to eat the apple tree, the Small Hens held still and silent and watched her.

All four Small Hens are riveted by the presence of a deer. The deer is uninterested in the hens.

Pedro and I built their pen out of PVC pipe, poultry netting, and zip ties. It was quick and fun to build. That’s a damaged inflatable mattress on top, that I’m using as a roof to make them feel more safe, to keep the rain off, and to provide some weight to keep the structure more stable. I’ll post the “Making Of” story soon. I think it’s pretty cool.

Oh be still my heart. What a precious tiny baby.

This morning I spotted my first spotted deer of the season. What a darling! They always are. In my delight to share the new fawn, I decided to sit down and share all my photos of the rest too. Thanks for coming by my place and sharing my morning coffee with me.

The little one was leaping to get over the tall grass, but also because babies like to leap.
Bye you two. Please come again. ❤

12 thoughts on “Life and Wildlife

  1. The junco’s have departed our area to head north, and we won’t see them again until late November. I also love watching them…as does H.I.M. Xenia and the dog.

    1. I am so fortunate to have the juncos all year long. It must be the mild weather here. Naturally the dog and Xenia like to watch too! 🙂 My cat Racecar watches them from my office too, but she’s an old lady and doesn’t chase anymore.

    1. Thank you, Derrick. I’m glad I had the opportunity to photograph the real life Bambi. Yesterday I spotted twin fawns coming toward my place, so I ran to get my camera and…they were gone. Mom and twins disappeared. Ah well, it’s fun to keep trying.

  2. It doesn’t surpriseme in the least that you are a magnet for wildlife. I live in the suburbs where interesting visitations are pretty rare. Love the grosbeak! I say juvenile!

    1. That is kind of you to say. I like to believe they feel safe here. I especially love it when the deer take naps in my yard. Then I know they must be comfortable. Yes, I am leaning toward juvenile too. I wish his parents would show up because they are such a beautiful bird.

  3. Ohh, thank you, Crystal, for these glimpses. ❤ Spectacular photos of your wonderful visitors. They have instilled me with deep peace. As for over here, guess where I'm off to in three days: to Piran! With my uncle, he is here yet. And Flavia is back from Iraq and I'm having lunch with her in Ostia tomorrow! Hurrah! And this time I'll stay in Slovenia for some three months. I need it. I send you and Pedro and all your beautiful friends much love.

    1. Good news! It will be exciting to catch up with Flavia and hear about her adventures. It will be so wonderful to stay in Slovenia for so long. You will miss the hottest part of the year in Tuscany, and that is perfect. Please tell Meta that I still dream of living next door and sharing coffee with her in the mornings. And let Branko know that I always think of him as part of our incredible journey into the Julian Alps ❤

      1. Oh, how lovely. I’ll read them this out loud. 🙂 But only coffee with Meta, how about me? 😉 We would love you as a neighbour but I fear you’ll soon start to feel a bit cramped there. You are used to so much space!

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