BACK COMES THE CACTUS – Marilyn Armstrong

IT ISN’T CHRISTMAS, BUT THE CACTUS IS BACK! FOTD – 02/18/2019

I thought there might be another blooming of the Christmas cactus. Why? It just looks so incredibly healthy and it’s been putting up new shoots like crazy. I wasn’t paying much attention to it, probably because of the birds. But I was noticing that the orchid has sent up a new shoot and when I looked, I realized that cactus if full of buds.

So … I took a few pictures. I think we’ll have actual flowers next week or even the middle of the week. That was a really fast turnaround, fastest ever for me.

 

IT’S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE – Marilyn Armstrong

Life is a road which urgently needs repaving. It’s full of pot-holes, rocks, broken branches, quicksand, and mud. It’s amazing how anyone can navigate the distance. What makes repaving plans tricky is no two people travel the same road.

There are far too many roads. All of them need grading and paving.

Okay, sure, sometimes paths cross … even run side-by-side occasionally for miles — years — at a time. But even when they cross or run parallel, they aren’t one road.

It’s like a family with three kids. Say you’ve got an older brother and a younger sister. Your brother becomes a businessman and lives a pretty normal life.

Your sister discovers her own version of chaos theory. She proceeds to live a life of crisis and yeah, chaos. Not theory, but the real deal. As for you, you’re not entirely sane, but compared to your sister, you’re solidly grounded and compared to your brother, you’re a wild child. That’s worrisome because you know how much weird stuff is going on in your head.

All three kids had the same parents. As far as anyone knows, you also all had (more or less) the same upbringing.

So, I guess that road is going to stay uneven. Life will continue to be unfair. It will leave many of us looking skyward, searching for answers and sometimes, for questions.

We have great parents, crappy lives. Horrible parents, amazing lives. That’s just life. Infinitely variable, lumpy, bumpy, and charmingly uneven.

ANOTHER DAY AT THE FEEDER — Marilyn Armstrong

I was doing really well. I was not going to take any more bird pictures because I have a lot of pictures of birds. But then, suddenly, as I was about to make my sandwich, I saw not one but two woodpeckers approaching my feeder.

For once, Bonnie wasn’t following me and barking and Duke wasn’t attacking the doors. The camera had a fresh battery and chip and I had even left the lens cap off the camera in case I needed it in a hurry.

I hoisted the camera up and shot 73 pictures in about 3 minutes. This was after going to the lab and having blood drawn. And fighting with a headache from hell. But I got some cool pictures, so all’s right with the world, if not with my eyeballs.

The Woodpecker and the Junco
Two really cute birds

WHAT WOULD THE BIRDS DO? – Marilyn Armstrong

I didn’t take pictures today. When I was ready to shoot, the birds were off in the boughs of trees. Sleeping, I presume. They probably had a later dinner, but I was tired and I have a lot of pictures already taken. This is a sort of “best of birds” from the past week.

A pair of Mourning Doves

So today, just pictures. Tomorrow is a feeder filling day. Which may mean I can shoot — or not. It depends on how terrified they are when we fill the feeder. Thursday I’ve got my cardiologist and that’s just outside of Boston so I won’t be doing much that day.

And we are supposedly getting snow Friday and Saturday. So we’ll so how the rest of the week goes.

BIRDS. A LOT OF BIRDS – Marilyn Armstrong

I actually displayed a good deal of self-control. I avoided the camera and the birds almost all day, but I was up really early so by two in the afternoon, I needed to point a lens at the birds. I was sure I’d seen a robin. Of course I know it’s a month too early for robins, but there was a flash of red on what looked like a bird’s tummy … so …

It wasn’t a robin. It was a red finch. He came with his own lady finch today.

I thought there was a squirrel waiting in the woods but it turned out to be a big Mourning Dove. My eyes are not good on long distances, so I saw big, brown, squishy creature sitting on a tree limb. It had to be a squirrel.

The same mourning dove, again
Mourning Dove

It wasn’t. Mourning Dove. Big, soft, brown. On a tree limb. Far enough away that I couldn’t clearly see him, but I aimed the camera. It saw him. Or her. Is there a difference between the girls and the boys?

Chickadee in flight, Nuthatch on the feeder

I ordered some of the upgraded birdseed today. See if I can get some new faces around the feeder. Always the same few dozen chickadees, warblers, finches, and nuthatches.

It’s the same Red-bellied Woodpecker. Still eating

And three or four woodpeckers. And Juncos. We need some more action around here!

There really was something different on the feeder, but my battery went dead. It had been sending me little flashing orange reminders for a while, but I didn’t take the hint, so by the time I changed the battery, whatever had been there was gone.

Red-Bellied Woodpecker
Red-Bellied Nuthatch. It’s those splotchy brownish-red patches that are the “red belly” part of the bird.

I took some pictures. I couldn’t help myself.

HOLY MOLY – THE YEAR IS ENDING! Marilyn Armstrong

I can’t believe the year’s ending. Didn’t it just start?

The last time I remember anything, it was November and we were visiting Tom and Ellin in Connecticut. We came home in the snow … and we haven’t seen anything but a few flurries since. I twirled around twice and it was Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and now … almost New Year’s Eve.

We don’t do anything for New Year’s Eve. Not only is the weather always bad, but the roads are full of drunks … and these days, drunks who are also texting. This is the holiday on which neither of us will drive.

Blue-eyed cat in the barn

Well, honestly? I don’t like traveling on any holiday. One year it took us 14 hours to drive home from Philadelphia — which is normally about a five-hour drive. The only way to be away on a holiday is to leave at least a week before the holiday and come back at least a week after the holiday is over.

I digress. Time for me to post all the square pictures I have made that I never got around to posting.

Square traffic – talk about wasted time!

I can’t even think of a time-related thing for everything, but everything has a time, right? There’s the time you took the picture. The time you needed to process it. The extra time you needed to fix it because you over-processed it and you had to start again.

The time it takes me to process pictures often takes an entire day. Or two.

THE EYES OF BEASTS: A PHOTO A WEEK – Marilyn Armstrong

A Photo a Week Challenge: Eyes