SQUARES FROM BEFORE – Marilyn Armstrong


There are all those flying squirrels … and then there are the squirrels that leap from branch to branch. No gliding, but some very serious leaping!

And they are always up there … and up and up. The squirrels haven’t taken possession of the feeders this year nearly as much as they did last year. Maybe it’s all the competition from the rather aggressive Cowbirds and woodpeckers, and of course the night raids by dozens of flying squirrels and the raccoons.

High up, looking down
Definitely high up
Up on the feeder



When the power came back on last night, I managed to format enough pictures for your squares, but there are a lot more. And I took some more today, though I haven’t yet downloaded them. I have quite a few more in this batch to process.

I don’t know if I will do all of them. Maybe I’ll save a few for later. Right now, my yellow sunbeam birds are brightening the forest and my life.

I need the sunshine they bring with them!

Part of the flock
They fly in groups all over the woods like beams of sunshine
More Goldfinches and who is on top?


In the middle of the morning, the power went out. I took bird pictures, many of which were blurry, but it was raining really hard and besides, I can’t see very well.

It’s absolutely amazing that these little bright Goldfinches can fly in the middle of drenching rain with hurricane-level winds. But they do it. Maybe they find their way between the wind … a quiet place.

These birds are so bright and yellow you can see them all over the woods. I really love those bright birds. Because this was a rather grim day with no water, no heat, no computers. Good thing we have oil lamps and books, eh?

Sketchy Goldfinches
More sketchy Goldfinches
More bright yellow birds

Despite are weather, this is actually what we call spring. It’s why we don’t talk about lovely spring weather in New England. We don’t have lovely spring weather. Actually, the weather around here is pretty bad most of the year. It used to be bitterly cold in the winter, but it wasn’t this winter. It’s steamy and buggy all summer. Autumn, typically the only season we can applaud, has been getting shorter and shorter.

I hope we solve our planetary issues pretty soon. Living around here was bad enough before, but it’s a lot worse now.

IT’S ALL ON TOP – Marilyn Armstrong


These are top pictures. Top of the line, top of the heap, top of the steeple. These are all the top of something. Exactly what depends on the picture.

But they are all, definitely, absolutely and totally, on top of something! Let’s enjoy the bird’s eye view of reality. Or look at the peak and think of how high we could go.

High in the sky, a helicopter
Three top-of-the roof pigeons

On Top of the World

On top of the rail yet still looking up

A FEW MORE SQUIRRELS – Marilyn Armstrong


These are some of the ones I couldn’t fit into squares. It’s the shape of the feeders against the dark woods. Also, some of these are really much harder to process than they look. Really hard to get a smooth edge or a clear tone differentiation.

Still, there are a lot of squirrels here, so let’s all glide into the trees.

Two on separate feeders – and I barely got it squared. But I did get it done. Oh, can you see the one in the air in the back trying to glide in?
But this one is square!
This one is NOT square. Sorry! But can you see the big shiny eyes?


My ultimate spiky square- BIRDS AGAIN

I’ll have to remember to stop trying to make all my pictures square, that other shapes are okay now!

Spikes and pokes, sharp and pointy, we’re nearing the end. I started with birds and squirrels.

Tomorrow, I’ll return but not necessarily in squares with my pink Christmas Cactus. It is just about to bloom!

A small and rather petite Blue Jay
Squabbling Juncos
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse
Two finches and a chickadee (and the tail of something else!)
Red-bellied Woodpecker


Squirrels on the deck

How about a dove?

Squirrel on the flat feeder
Nuthatch on feeder
Posing for a better shot?
In the sunlight of spring

Spikes and pokes, sharp and pointy, we’re nearing the end. I started with birds and squirrels and it looks like I will end with them, too.

A NEW BEAK IN TOWN – Marilyn Armstrong


I saw him at the feeder on Monday. “That’s a new kid,” I announced, but of course I didn’t get a picture because I wasn’t holding the camera. Just watching the birdies flutter about.

This morning, I heard the call. The wild call of the Carolina Wren. He has the loudest call of any bird of that size, which is smaller than a Robin, but bigger than a Finch.

You can’t miss the call. You can hear it through closed windows and doors. This time, I heard it in the living room … and the sound was coming from the backyard. I went back there, missed him, but while I was standing there with my camera in my hand, staring at the empty feeder, who should land but the aforementioned and previously heard, Carolina Wren.

The Carolina Wren and his little yellow Goldfinch pal

As I was reading up on this little wren, there was a lot of commentary on how these migratory birds have largely stopped migrating. Partly, because of climate change and alterations to their environment, but even more because of …


Squared. with pointed beak — Carolina Wren

People with feeders have dramatically changed the migration of birds. Whereas they used to fly to the tropics, many just fly down to like … Maryland or New Jersey … and now, many are not bothering to migrate at all.

I read an exchange between someone in South Carolina bemoaning her lack of Carolina Wrens and was answered by someone in Michigan who said, “Well, we just got a foot of snow and they are happily eating at my feeder on the porch!”

The last of the square pictures. Some of the shots just did NOT want to be square, not without losing a piece of wing or tail …

We feeder owners are supposed to report seeing birds showing up where they should not be … and especially if they seem to be suffering from an ailment.


Thursday’s beaks and paws

As I stood at the French doors in the dining room, I watched both Cardinals — male and physical come and go. I didn’t even both reaching for the camera.

They play this game with me every morning and I didn’t feel like playing today.

They flew off and I got a short visit from one of the red-bellied ladderback woodpeckers. He waited for me, but my camera didn’t feel like focusing. He got annoyed and left. Who could blame him?

Watching me, watching you …

No problem. The little squirrel popped onto the railing. He went into the flat feeder and chugged a pound or two of seeds, then came back to the rail. Where he sat and looked at me. I tapped on the glass. He ignored me. I tapped harder. He ignored me harder.

A quick snack before departure …

Duke got disgusted with me and the squirrel and went out back to do some anti-squirrel barking. Meanwhile, after one more round in the flat feeder, the young squirrel rambled off into the trees. Slowly. I think he waved at us on his way to the giant trees.

Looks like a baby Blue Jay!
Breeding colors – Goldfinch

With the squirrel gone, the birds came back. I took a few pictures. Then I went and drank coffee. The birds are wary of that big, furry, four-legged, bird!

Garry appears worried that the birds aren’t eating enough. I assured him that they appear fat and happy, so they are eating enough. You know you’re hooked when you’re worried your wild birds aren’t getting enough to eat.

Fat Nuthatch
Goldfinch and a Nuthatch

Not to worry. We have about 40-pounds of high-quality birdseed and as they get fully into breeding, they’ll also get hungry. They will eat. They always eat.

Brightest Goldfinch

I also saw a really huge hawk in the woods yesterday. It was so big, I wondered if it might be a young American Eagle. We’ve had them nest in our woods before, but usually, they like being by the river. But then again, we’re less than half a mile from the river and that’s not much for an eagle. Barely a flap of the wings, come to think about it.


Our final spiky Tuesday

I went out to drop off a package at FedEx and took a camera. Marilyn hasn’t been getting out much unless you count visiting the doctor and tests, so I feel an obligation to always have a camera with me.

It was coincidental but has a lot to do with fences and a general pointedness that’s part early spring in New England. Everything is poking up, but no leaves are out so everything is poky, pointy, and spiky.

Marilyn, having squared my pictures, has deemed this the right pictures du jour.

Photo: Garry Armstrong – at the place where they sell boats (it isn’t a marina … no water in sight!)
Photo Garry Armstrong – Pointy in Uxbridge. What IS that pile of dirt?
Photo: Garry Armstrong – More fencing around the boat store
Photo: Garry Armstrong – Well, I think it’s pointy!

PRICKLY AS A ROSE – Marilyn Armstrong

Prickly as a Rose

Garry bought me roses and they are still looking lovely on the table in the living room. While I was poking around, I found pictures of the last of my roses from this past October.

I was looking at them today as we were coming home from shopping. I realized that the rose bushes have gone into a full wrestling match in the garden. The barbed roses have wound themselves around the rhododendrons that have grown like crazy since I cut the roses back last year.

Tame roses from the florist
Home-grown barbed roses. These are the most merciless roses in the world …

I sat there, staring at them, and seriously wondering how in the world to untangle the two bushes. These aren’t little bushes, either. Both are more than six feet high and at least that or more across. I can feel the pain of thorns already and I haven’t even picked up the pruning shears. It’s going to be pointy, poky, thorny, bloody springtime!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy whatever, but these are flowers. This time.

FOTD – 03/25/2019

THE SUPERSTITIONS – Marilyn Armstrong

The Superstitions: Most Jagged Mountains – 03/19/19

The Superstitions, known locally (I am told) as “The Supes” are a heap of jagged rocks. Nothing except cactus grows there. Maybe the odd bit of ironwood too. It’s pretty barren and very harsh.

Perfect for this challenge!

Not only spiky squares. Jagged, barbed, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and pointy things and that’s certainly one of them.