Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I'm Here

I am popping in to thank all of you for your many notes, emails, texts, phone calls, etc., to check on me.   I guess my lack of posting caused some concern.  I am okay, just concentrating on some things that need my attention here at home.  I have spent a lot of time outside, enjoying our lovely weather.   Caught a silhouette of a Hummer landing on the feeder for a sip.
I really am an outdoor loving kind of girl.  I got my zoom lens out the other day to see what might catch my eye.   This Male House Finch nibbling some thistle.
Most of you probably already know this about me, but for those who don't, I am a bird nerd!  I love birds.  I have dozens of feeder stations set up around our house, and bird houses to attract them to raise their young.  I had a pair of Bushtits nest in the bottle brush tree last Spring.  They make the most spectacular nest.  They are back.
I have Oriole stations in both the front and back.  They are probably my favorite of all.  Their brilliant color, and the "chittering" of their chirp.  They love to ream the juice of orange halves.  And grape jelly is a favorite treat.  The wooden feeder on the right has a skewer for the orange half.  Also a cup rests in the bottom to fill with grape jelly.  The feeder on the left is kind of unique.  It was a gift from my neighbors who know how much I love the birds.  You pull off those cylinder bottom pieces to skewer the fruit.  In this case, oranges for the Orioles.  I also take orange halves and just skewer them onto any tree limb or spot it will fit, such as I have done above the wooden feeder.
I sat for the longest time to try to snap a photo of an Oriole, but to no avail.  Then when out front, I heard the chittering call that they make, and spotted one in the Sycamore tree.  It is not a good photo, but you can see the brilliant orange of the male.  The females have not returned just yet.  The males always come first.
Another Hummer taking a brief rest on the tippy top of a Bird Of Paradise plant.  Look at her tiny feet!
While I was in the front yard, I was noticing how the roses are all about to burst with brilliant blooms.  They have been blooming for a few weeks, but when they are all in their glory, it is a beautiful sight!  I have 46 rose bushes that line the perimeter or our house.
I love this time of year.  Watching everything come to life again.  Gerbera Daisies are a favorite of mine.
This beautiful flowering plant I discovered hidden on the side of our house one year shortly after moving in.  It blooms in early Spring and is so pretty.  I wanted to move it to the front planter to enjoy it.  It blooms every Spring without fail, and I love it.  But I can't recall the name.
In the grove, the orange trees are all in full bloom.  The fragrance is intoxicating.  I especially love it in the still of the night, and the very early morning.
There are still a lot of oranges on the trees, but they are falling fast.
I wandered around with the girls for a while to see what they were up to.
I followed them to the back of the property, where they found a good spot to dig themselves into the dirt.  This is called Dust Bathing.  All chickens do it.  It is how they keep themselves free of parasites, and keep clean.  They burrow down into loose dirt, flapping their wings to get the dirt up underneath their feathers.
The first time I saw this done, I thought that something was wrong!  But not to worry, this is very normal chicken behavior indeed.
They don't mind being wathced while they bathe.  They just don't want to be disturbed.
You lookin' at me?
After they bathe, they get  up and ruffle their feathers to dispell all of the dirt.  For a minute, they look like "Pig Pen" from the Charlie Brown show.  The dirt aura follows them until it is shook free.
Sitting down, right on the dirt myself, gives you a different vantage point.  I was noticing things that I had never noticed before.  
This place, this yard, this grove.  It is where I find peace and solace.  Sometimes I think we are getting too old to take care of it all ourselves.  I find myself thinking about finding a small house with a small yard somewhere, that will be much easier to keep up. 

But I fear that if we do, I would "look back" and miss this place so much.  So we stay.  For now.  And enjoy the simple things.  Like the bright red of a Geranium in bloom against a chippy aqua chair.
Enjoying the companionship of my faithful friend.
Oh how I love my "Dusty Boy!"
I am trying to keep the avocados picked so that they can be enjoyed by all.  Many remain on the trees still.
I got most of the garden planted a couple of weeks ago, and since these photos have been taken, almost all of my seedlings have poked their eager heads through the rich soil, seeking sunlight to grow.
I still need to get my melons and pumpkins in.  By next week I should have those all planted too.
We think we discovered how the coyotes were getting in so easily.  The property behind us is an open piece of land, that gets plowed a couple of times a year.  We discovered that the back fence has been hit by the plow, causing a gap big enough for them to gain access. 
Greg has closed the gap, and anchored it with a steel post, and so far we have not had any more problems.  But when I let the chickens out to free range, I keep a radio station cranked up enough to be
softly heard in the grove.  I hear that coyotes will think that people are near and won't come if they hear this. 
In closing, I want to share with you a book I found at Lowe's a couple of weeks ago.  It is so informative, on so many subjects.  I am loving it!
We are thinking of beekeeping to raise our own honey.  And I have been preparing to make my own soap.  This book is full of terrific information for anyone interested in homesteading, or just simply utilizing their own patch to the best of their ability. 
Thank you again, to each of you who has asked how I am.  I appreciate each one of you.  I am a very gregarious person by nature.  But every once in a while, I have a hard time finding my voice. 
So as the gardens grow, and the breezes blow, I am looking for my true North.
See you soon.
XO  Kris


Diane said...

Kristy......Your grandpa Fink used to have that coral plant in his yard, and he called it a
Naked Lady.

Holly said...

Your photography skills are great! I can't seem to get good pics of the birds. Everyting looks so pretty and fresh there. Hope to hear more about your bee keeping, how exciting!

Debbie said...

Kris I am sooo impressed with your photography skills. You have captured some REALLY good ones of all those birds, but really ALL of them are so good. We have been having just glorious weather haven't we? Glad you have been busy and happy! Beekeeping? Wow! Somehow I just know you will do a wonderful job with that, and I look forward to seeing pictures of it. Enjoy the rest of your week!

Grayseasailor said...

Thanks for making the time to keep in touch with us, Kris. As always I enjoyed sharing your views of the world around you and your thoughts about life and your life choices. Also, I appreciated your book recommendation. This past weekend my youngest daughter made liquid soap for us and my son-in-law got most of the lawn mowed...the first mowing in 2013!
I wish we could give you our wild honey bees. We had so much trouble with agressive yellow jackets [many family members stung] last year we had to have someone come out to destroy their nests, but they could not get the nest closest to the honey bees in order to protect the honey bees. So we did not enjoy being outside much last summer at home :(
It is wonderful you are having such great crops of avocados and oranges and that that you already have much of your garden planted! Spring!!!

by Teresa said...

My dear friend.. I so enjoyed reading your post today. I've been missing you. I know you love being out in your grove and you're such a hard worker.. you take such good care of your birds, chickens, dogs and family. You're a treasure. You aren't too old to take care of your place, but do think about occasionally getting help with the "heavy lifting". Love you!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Mereknits said...

Kris, this was the most beautiful post today. Every word is from your heart. You let us join you on your life journey and for that I am so thankful. I am so glad you get so much Joy from your surroundings, I do to. We don't have a grove or beautiful chickens, but I love to see the trees in my backyard swaying in the breeze, or a few deer slowly walking back behind my pool. I think you are still at the perfect age to be in your perfect home, if you need help ask, you have very capable men in your life that I bet would do anything for you.
Sending you a hug, hope your voice returns soon.

Sinta Renee said...

Wow, you must keep so busy with your "farm" and then making soap as well... so, why not add beekeeping too! Sounds like a wonderful place to be and enjoy... kind of like a working vacation!

NanaNor's said...

Hi Kris, so glad you are just busy outdoors-I've been wondering about you too but busy here. I
love birds but after the Grackles started killing our Juncos two years ago, I quit putting feeders out. One day I counted ten to twelve dead birds on our lawn. I love seeing your yard! I understand about caring for property, in a year or so I think hubby will find us a home with a smaller yard. Sending hugs your way today.

priscilla said...

Beautiful photos Kris ! I can't believe how your yard looks compared to mine with the piles of snow laying all over and you with all that gorgeous sunnyness and flowers... and a planted garden ! That book looks very interesting .. I am allergic to bees so I think you can have the beekeeping :)
Thinking about you :)

~Niki~ said...

what a great post kris! love seeing all the life in your yard. your chickens are adorable. how do the dogs not bother them? i wonder about that if i ever got my chickens i've been wanting. hugs!

Deb~in~Denver said...

Kris, what a lovely post. Your pictures are gorgeous! I especially love the one of the aqua chair and red geranium, nothing says "country" better than that. I can understand how sitting out near your "girls" and your grove could soothe your soul. It looks so peaceful! Do you notice that you get a lot of butterflies near the cut oranges? I read on Pinterest, that's supposed to attract them. I am hoping to see a few green shoots coming up in the flower beds, this weekend. Well, after the foot of snow melts! I know how hard you work and how busy you are, enjoy some quiet time. We'll all be waiting patiently.

Neicee said...

Hey you bird nerd! Glad to see your well. Love those chickens...Great photos.

Linda said...

Hey Kris....Nice to hear what you have been up to...You sound a lot like me!!
Except of course...I don't grow avacadoes and oranges! hahaha..
So glad you are keeping busy outdoors...I am still waiting!!!

I believe that orange plant is called a CLIVIA..[don't laugh!]...I have one indoors...and it only blooms for me every several years...How wonderful to be able to grow one outside...Perhaps she deserves a more prominent spot in the garden?

Enjoy your week....and Easter...guess you will be heading up to Big Bear...
My Greg and I are going to try a sleepover at the cottage on Saturday...as I am feeding the clan here on Friday...

Talk to you soon my friend...
Vivian did look "stinkin' cute" in that sweater, eh???

Linda :o)

Gloria Baker said...

Dear Kris nice to heard you are OK!:) I miss you so much:)
Love the photos are beautiful and lovely!
Hope you have a Happy easter!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Kris, we all need time to get away formthe computer and do the things that make us happy! I'm glad your absence was that kind of fun and not due to illness. Your yard, hens, groves and garden all look blissful to me! I don't thik you are too old to take care of them, so no more thoughts of giving them up! Keeping busy keeps us youg. My house here in Colorado is bigger than my house was in NY, and even though I'll be 60 soon I don't let that make me feel old or that I can't handle it.

Have a wonderful Easter with your family!

Karen Bates said...

Glad to hear that you are fine. I too, took some time off from blogging and have been mia for sometime.

Your gardens look fabulous and YES, you would miss all that work...opps, the beautiful yard and grove. I think this way sometimes and realize if I give this up, I will just do less and not be as healthy. All this activity is good for us!

mynestofyarnandbuttons said...

WOW WEE Kris have you been busy and it all paid off because it looks fabulous. You have so many lovely areas in your yard and home. Love all the bird feeders and avocados and oranges. How wonderful to have your our groves. BUT don't be afraid to ask for help, so you can still enjoy your home.
Aren't Labs the best? I love my Jack and Dusty looks so sweet, they are such buddies and companions.
Hope you are all better real soon, xoRobin

Kerri said...

When have you been able to find the time to hone in on those awesome photography skills?! :)

Linda said...

Lovely post Kris...we are patiently waiting for the orioles to get here...I have everything ready for them too. My neighbor has that same orange plant in her yard too...it can be split...I keep meaning to get some of hers... its so pretty. Have a wonderful evening!

Val said...

So nice to see you back. You were missed. Hummingbirds are so magical. I love being in the backyard and seeing them. I hope you have a wonderful Easter with your family!

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

So nice to hear from you, Kris! I'm glad that you have been enjoying life! It is beautiful there...looks like you live in Eden! 46 rose bushes! I love seeing all of your beautiful photos! I just spotted that book at the store yesterday, thanks for the recommendation!

Susanne said...

Was good to read this post. I know what you mean when you wrote that at times you wonder about taking care of it all. The same has happened here, we have over an acre of land and it is a lot of trimming and mowing. Now that my husband is gone I have it all to do. Several people have asked me if I plan to stay here. Sure I do, as long as I can take care of it. We built this house on an acre of farm field, not one tree to speak of and so we planted things and lost some of it, and planted more. Our daughters were small when we came here, they grew up in this house, there are memories everywhere and to leave here would break my heart. I know where your head is at when you love a place so much that you can't hardly picture yourself somewhere else. I think you would miss those hens too, lol, and all the other lovely things you seem to enjoy. Face it, you would be lost without all the things that make getting up in the morning worth it. Happy Easter.
(((HUGS))) Susanne :)

RobynFromSimplyme said...

Your photos were beautiful... I love the hummingbirds.. I also like birds.. I love to sit in the quiet of a spring morning and just listen to them all. It's so peaceful to me..Loved the photos of the chickens...and those flowers and orange trees are just delicious!

Jill said...

I love all your pictures of the birds, and flowers! Hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Many Blessings,