Surprise Someone

Do something nice for someone else unexpectedly – do it today!

– In the fast food line? Pick up the meal for the car behind you.

– Offer to take someone’s grocery cart for them in the parking lot after they’re done loading their car.

– Carry something for a senior citizen (frankly, do anything for a senior citizen).

– Let the mom with the upset child go in line in front of you.

– Pick up a small-amount grocery gift card for the next time you want to help someone on the street but are uncomfortable handing out cash.

– Next time you appreciate good service from someone (waiter, car wash worker, cashier, or anyone else for that matter) look up the phone number for the place and tell their manager what a great job they’re doing.

 

A Surprise Appearance

2014-03-13 Amaryllis

A co-worker gifted me this Amaryllis bulb when I worked in our main office building several years ago.  It came to me in a paper box ready to be planted. If I recall correctly, it did bloom that first year, but in the many years since, it never did again. Each year it would sprout its long, arching leaves without a bloom to slowly hang on for what seemed like months until they eventually would fall away and whither against the sides of the pot.

Not knowing any better, the second or third year, I cut the leaves away when they faded. It seemed like the right thing to do for it then, but I’ve since learned that it needs those leaves, bloom or no bloom, as it recycles its energy into its bulb for the next period of growth.

The photo above was taken 6 days ago (only the second time I’ve seen a bud at all). And as of today it’s shot up over a foot tall. It was storing up all that energy in its large bulb all this time just for this moment. It’s almost as though it’s reaching up and demanding to be seen.

2014-03-19 Amaryllis

I’ve started turning the planter (it’s roughly the size of a basketball, the pot) each day to try to correct how far to one direction the bud is growing towards the light of the nearby window.

What a wonderful gift this continues to be.  I’d reluctantly accepted that I’d done something irreparable and it would never bloom again.  But all this time, hidden under the soil, it was slowly and tenaciously living on and preparing for the chance to flower once more.

Chance Meeting

2014-03-16 HawkThe sharpness of the picture here is not the greatest, as far as posting to a blog goes. By sheer chance my eye just happened to catch the blob sitting a ways off in the tree line. I couldn’t tell at first if it was a clump of leaves or something else. Once I took a moment to allow my eyes to focus on it through my lens, I realized it was a Red-shouldered Hawk. I had just seconds to try to focus on the bird instead of the branches and with terrible light. Every enhancement my Macbook offered to edit this picture just didn’t help that much. I’m still glad I got the picture though, regardless.

2014-03-16 Hawk 2They’re pretty common around here as far as the type of hawk you see. But I still get excited when I see one quietly perched in the high branches, observing the movements of the smaller animals below on the ground. It’s far easier to see one gliding across a highway or over a farm field than sitting in a tree. Somehow, I felt like this one knew it was being watched and as soon as I clicked the shutter, off it flew.

Snowy Song Sparrow – Or Maybe Not?

2014-03-03 Sparrow 1

So this guy has me puzzled a bit. It looks like a song sparrow, but I’ve never seen one with the reddish-brown markings on the face before.

2014-03-03 Sparrow 2

Then I was really confused to see it had the same rusty color on the wings a bit too. It’s entirely possible it’s a song sparrow with some variation, but after a quick look through my go-to online source (www.allaboutbirds.org), I didn’t find a perfect match so far. If I’m wrong and you have a thought as to what it is instead, let me know.

2014-03-03 Sparrow 3

It’s injured its leg somehow and had quite a time hopping around and resting on its belly in the snow while gobbling up seed. He or she will be OK I think as it seemed pretty adept at flying and managing on the ground. This morning I found it huddled under our porch where it’s dry, all fluffed into a ball and moving so that’s a good sign in the bitter cold.

Cue the Snow…Again

2014-03-03 Snow

One more round of the white stuff today. We’re expecting 4-8″ so we’ll be indoors again for a bit. I had settled in last night watching the Oscars and just before I drifted off completely on the sofa, woke up with a start. Knowing the weather was coming and temperatures would be dropping, I realized we hadn’t topped off the bird feeders and they were quite low on seed.

So the husband being the good man he is, threw on a coat with me and we trudged out back to fill up all the feeders and make sure the squirrels and the rest of the wild kingdom would have food today.

2014-03-03 Bath

You might not think of ensuring birds have water in snow, but they still need this. We keep a water warmer in the bird bath and this helps in the winter quite a bit. It kicks on when the temperature goes below freezing and keeps the water just warm enough that it doesn’t freeze over. It has lasted for 4 years now and is still going strong through all types of weather conditions. We bring it in once the possibility of freezing temperatures is gone for the season.

2014-03-03 Junco

This little junco was balancing  on one foot this morning while keeping the other foot warm tucked in its downy feathers.

While it’s a little bit of a bummer to have gone from the balmy sunshine of yesterday to the frigid snow of today, this should be the last one. And truthfully, I’ll be wishing for the snow once we’re in the throes of August most likely so I’ll still enjoy today.

Hope you can find something to enjoy about today too wherever you are!