FOREVER EVOLVING? WHERE AM I? – Marilyn Armstrong

Blogging Insights # 30 – Evolving

The question from BLOGGING INSIGHTS #30 – EVOLVING is:

“Your blog is never static.It is a living and breathing organism that continues to grow as you grow as a blogger. Sometimes this growth takes unexpected directions and you end up with something very different from what you had envisioned.”

Credit for today’s question goes to Di of Pensitivity.

Since I never expected anything, it is exactly what I expected but also, totally different. I really was just trying to post photographs that were sitting in my hard drive. No one ever saw them. I had done this before on a variety of platforms that closed down.

I was never really “into” it. Maybe because I was still working and I wrote all day, so I wasn’t all that eager to do some more writing when I got home. I hadn’t had the time to develop photographically, either. I worked a lot of hours, had a child to raise, a house to maintain and I really enjoyed my few hours of doing nothing.

Looking for a few seeds?

So I started this blog without expectations. I also didn’t think it would last long. All the others had closed down, so I figure a couple of years or even less, and this one would close down too.

What I didn’t expect was that I would develop a pretty large readership so quickly nor did I think politics was going to become a big part of my landscape. Mostly, I didn’t think that from this experience would come real friendships across oceans and continents.

Square and still blooming!

It has been eight years and I’ve put up more than 10,600 posts. Some are reblogged from other authors who have said something I wish I’d said, but they said it better. If someone else wrote it well, there’s no reason for me to reinvent the wheel.

Blogs don’t need wheels. We roll through cyberspace where there are no roads.

A couple of thousand posts were likely written by co-authors who have gathered under Serendipity’s umbrella.

How did it happen? I don’t know. I still wonder why anyone bothers to read what I write. I greatly appreciate it, but there are so many blogs around, why me? I’ve never gotten huge responses. I’ve never gotten a million hits, though I’m close to a million total after blogging for eight years. Typically, I get good responses to well-written posts. Garry almost always gets better numbers than I do.

I also gave up studying stats. Numbers make me crazy.

I also never imagined that birds were going to become such a huge part of the blog. Birds, orchids. Christmas cacti, Flying squirrels. Raccoons. Squirrels. Even little baby chipmunks. Until I put up feeders, I didn’t realize I lived in the Forest Primevil.

And some of those squirrels fly!

Given that I had no expectations, it is exactly what I wanted. A free-for-all. A place where I can say what I want without a boss warning me about deadlines. Trying to make sense of history, where we fit into history, and what is going on in this messed up world.

Still blooming and more buds

One of the things I have been told — repeatedly — is that I must find a niche. I disagree. On this blog, I am free to be me, free to pretend I’m someone else, free to find unique and new areas that interest me. I can write articles I am sure no one will read because they are a bit obscure, but I don’t have someone telling me how many characters I need to fit into this column. I figured I’d do more book reviews, but I can’t read as much as I used to, so now I review special books that have personal meaning to me.

Finally, I am doing what Garry always told me to do. I write about dogs.

RED BELLIED WOODPECKER AND A FUCHSIA – Marilyn Armstrong

AS THE END OF MAY APPROACHES … 

I got some nice pictures of our favorite woodpecker enjoying dinner at the feeder. The birds seem to like being near the big plant. I think it makes them feel safe. It is much harder to shoot with the big plant in the way, so I’m going to have some practicing to do to get quality photographs.

Yesterday was the first time I shot using my iPhone. The pictures are admirably sharp and clear and it’s a definitely “better than nothing” camera that doesn’t require hauling a heavy camera and lenses.

For me, it isn’t a camera. It’s had to focus, it only shoots at 72 ppi and it’s really hard to keep your fingers out of the photo. Probably great for snapshooters, but the process of having to mail the shots to my PC then transferring them is a serious pain in the butt.

It’s good to have it and it has many other uses, but it isn’t going to be my favorite photographic device!

ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK: THE AMERICAN FLAG BIRD – Marilyn Armstrong

I know they should be red, white, and blue … but the bird came back today a few times and I got more interesting pictures today. What an interesting bird he is! the designs on his wings which might look a little like stars, look like all kinds of things, and that combination of white and red on the breast …

Well, take a look. This is truly an interesting bird.

Garry wants to know what I find interesting about birds. I want to know what he finds interesting about old western TV series from the 1950s and 1960s. It’s not that I don’t like westerns. I can sing along with every one of those show’s songs. I’ve seen them all and not just once.

This is not the first time Garry has decided to rerun Cheyenne or Bat Masterson. Owen, who never saw the shows can also sing along. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure the dogs can sing along and one of them is trying to do that right this very minute.

There are many ways to stay sane. For me, it’s remembering that these creatures I feed are important. They are as important as I am. If you are of a religious bent (which I am not, but I can still quote the Bible), “dominion over animals” doesn’t mean “wipe them out because they are in the way.”

BIRDS, MATING SQUIRRELS, AND OTHER CREATURES – Marilyn Armstrong

When I got up early this morning — with every intention of going directly back to bed — but I took a look at our deck and started to laugh. I have never seen that many squirrels at one time, ever. They were chasing each other in circles on the deck, chasing each other up and down the deck staircase and along the deck rails. It was very funny to see and it just ruined my morning nap.

After that, I went and turned on the coffee. I had put out new food yesterday and there were a lot of birds. Most of them were familiar. Woodpeckers, Goldfinches, Brown-headed Cowbirds, Chipper Sparrows and another sparrow that looks almost exactly the same, but has a redder color in the strip above his eye. Sometimes bird-watching gets a bit too detailed for me, Even looking at their pictures in my books, I couldn’t see a difference.

I got some pictures of the Blue Jays in the woods, which is a lot harder than getting them on the feeders, and just as I was packing up, a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak showed up. Stood on top of the feeder giving me his “good side.”

Up in the tree 1

Up in the tree – 2

A good day to enjoy the woods

I didn’t imagine he’d hang around long enough for me to get his picture, but he did. Not great views. The angle wasn’t interesting — but with wildlife, you take what you can get.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak

I really wanted him to do something interesting

He didn’t do anything interesting. He just ate.

Considering the rest of how life and the country are going, all I can do is give my thanks that I have birds and critters to help me remember that this is my planet and I have a right to be here, even if I’m considered to be too old to be worth saving.

A RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER ON A BRIGHT, SPRING DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

We put different food in the feeder today. Well, actually, I put the food in. Owen lowered the feeders so I can reach them myself and not wait for him to get home. There were a lot of baby birds out there today. Tiny little Goldfinches, miniature Nuthatches, really small Chickadees, and occasionally a baby so young, he doesn’t even have all his feathers.

A very redhead

A rare head-on face-forward shot.

I got a really good lens-lock on a Red-bellied Woodpecker and I since these are one of the birds that usually disappear when I have a camera ready, I took as many pictures as I could. Also, I took a lot of Nuthatch pictures, but that will have to wait for another day.

MORE OF THE RED HOUSE FINCH – Marilyn Armstrong

One of the things I have been learning to do is take more pictures faster. I have a tendency to focus and try to find perfection, the result of which is often not getting the picture at all. Now, I get the bird (or squirrel) in the viewer, I shoot. My camera is fast which helps. If I keep shooting, there will be something, even if I don’t see it as I shoot.

The thing is, I’m shooting through a French door, which is made up of panels. Small panels, so while I’m quickly shooting, I often get the pieces of the window along the edges of the frame. I’m learning to live with the limitations.

Those darker edges create an abstract background that I’m learning to work with rather than fighting with it.

If you keep waiting for perfect pictures, you’ll never find one. Also, these windows are east-facing so until well  past noon, the sun is coming directly in through the doors, a problem I can’t yet fix. I’m wondering if there is a filter that would help, but it’s difficult because the sun is right in my eyes.

Spring

When the trees fill with leaves, I think it will create shade. And the woods is full of leaves or more to the point, leaf buds — and pollen.

Achoo.

Cee’s Pick Me Up …